Just the usual visit drama... - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 5Likes
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-05-2014, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Just the usual visit drama...

DSS's non-custodial, out of state mom now refuses to let him return from his summer visit, for high school Orientation/Picture Day at the end of this week. She will only send him back the night before the first full day of classes, this coming Tuesday.

This began a week ago, with what DH insists was a drunken call from Mom - at night - during which she made the above threat and repeatedly demanded to know exactly where DH was and what he was doing (?????). DH responded with an email:
- Asking her to keep non-emergency discussions in writing (like the court has ordered);
- Explaining the importance of Orientation;
- Reminding her that a month and a half ago, DSS stated (through his guardian ad litem) that he wanted to be home for Orientation; DH bought plane tickets which allowed that; and Mom tacitly agreed to it; and
- Empathizing with her sadness over ending any visit, but asking her to consider whether postponing it a few days is really worth making DSS miss Orientation/school photos and making him cross 3 time zones less than 24 hours before starting school?

Not to mention that when Mom had custody, she claimed the hallmark of good parenting was being so anal about "consistent schedules and routines" that if DSS had so much as a 2nd-grade test when DH traveled to visit him, Mom would bar any father-son contact for the entire week, to preserve DSS's "normal routines" (which she had ensured did not include Dad). That same woman cannot pretend she doesn't understand that a teen - 2 years from applying for college - who's been 2,500 miles from home for 6 weeks shouldn't do his return travel the night before school starts! When his alarm rings at 6am Tuesday morning, he's going to feel like it's 3am!

But Mom is steadfast. All that matters is that she was legally entitled to 7 weeks. The fact that schools are shortening the summers and 7 weeks is no longer even possible is irrelevant. She cannot possibly be expected to travel HERE to get more time with her kid. She will only see him on her own turf and she doesn't care what he has to sacrifice, to spend the exact, proper number of days with her.

When DSS first learned she wanted to delay his return, he decided he'd just take a bus to the airport. But Mom has moved out to a rural area, where it turns out DSS can't even get a taxi to pick him up and drive him to a major airport. I guess DH could involve police, but that seems like overkill.

The weird thing is, when DSS reiterated to Mom that he wants to attend Orientation, she told him she wasn't keeping him there; DH said DSS's flights had to be changed so he could stay longer! Then DSS would call DH, confused. After the second round of this B.S., DH forwarded his email thread with Mom to DSS. After that, DSS had a long, midnight conversation with DH.

DSS says he's been bored out of his mind at Mom's, since his friend left a few weeks ago. Mom has a life that I'm sure would be enviable to many single, middle-aged women (a semi-high-profile career in the big city; spending workweeks in nice hotels and weekends in her quiet, cutesy cabin near a quaint country town - which she rents out to tourists during the week). But she has made no effort to include the interests or desires of a teenage boy, in her life. She expects DSS to adapt and love her lifestyle - and prefer it to his own, here with us; and tell her he wants to move there - simply because he gets to be around her and nothing else should matter to him. Well, probably nothing else did...when he was six.

DSS is pissed that Mom doesn't care that he wants to be here with his friends, for what truly amounts to the first day of school. He's pissed that Mom hammered it into his head, for years, that if DH and the judges actually cared about DSS, they'd let him dictate his own custody and visitation arrangements - that both parents agreed to this GAL set-up, where DSS can express his wishes - that DSS made the effort to express them, despite the risk of hurting Mom's feelings... but Mom has simply rejected and overruled him. Evidently, his wishes only mattered when she thought they were identical to hers.

I don't agree with showing DSS heated emails between his parents. But I can see DH's reasoning. DSS has been SO confused, for SO long, by Mom's lying and distortion. DH has always bent over backward to take the blame for things, so he didn't wind up bad-mouthing his ex the way she bad-mouths him. But one result has been that DSS has a totally cavalier attitude about truth. All that matters is how you spin things. The older he gets, the more complications that creates for DH and me, in trying to raise him. And the older he is, the more ridiculous it is that he would understand so little about his own life, that he sometimes believes the parent who was stripped of her parental rights is the only one who understands and cares about him and tries to do the right thing for him; and that the parent who has put him first and sacrificed for him in so many ways is the irrational, destructive, self-centered force behind all the conflict in their family. At some point, it just isn't right to let DSS think that.

Anyway. None of this is new, at all. (And it's a far sight less upsetting than my old fear that the end-of-summer calls would tell us Mom had enrolled DSS in school out there; that DSS didn't want to live with us anymore; that we'd have to go back to court...and then my DH would self-destruct.) But I do appreciate having a place to vent, without sharing ugly details with people IRL who know DH, DSS and Mom. So, thanks.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our

Last edited by VocalMinority; 08-09-2014 at 07:59 AM.
VocalMinority is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 08-05-2014, 10:58 PM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Wow. The only thing I can think is, why would he ever go back now that this has happened? He must feel that he's being held hostage.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is online now  
Old 08-06-2014, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
You're right. It seems a sure thing at this point, that he's staying with us 'til college, because he wants to. I assume that's why Mom is starting to let him see a different side of her. She has lost the "war" and now she's digging in her heels, trying to win each last, little skirmish. Sad.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
VocalMinority is online now  
Old 08-06-2014, 03:45 PM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
It's sickening that he's got to go through that. Parents are supposed to be mostly concerned with what they can do for their kids, not what they can get from them. Kids are super forgiving and willing to overlook a lot of flaws in a non-custodial parent, she doesn't even need to be that good of a parent to have his loyalty... in fact in many ways being a worse parent works out to their favour, but she can't even get it together enough to stay on his good side?!

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is online now  
Old 08-07-2014, 06:23 PM
 
Kate&Joey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 413
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
I can't believe you're still dealing with her nonsense. Ugh!!!
Kate&Joey is online now  
Old 08-08-2014, 10:20 AM
 
sillysapling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
It's actually nice that she can't get it together. This'll be a lot easier for him to process and heal because it's so obvious that she doesn't care about his wants or needs. If she became the perfect, doting mother to his face while, behind his back, trying to sabotage him and ensnare him- it'd be a lot harder. Not that it isn't going to be hard, but he has a much better chance of recognizing the abuse and getting out.

I think you mentioned he has a therapist, right? He's going to need it. His mother really has essentially kidnapped him.

If you or your husband flew out to pick him up, is there any way for his mom to take your husband to court and say he went against the custody agreement? I know it is NOT ideal, it'll cost hundreds of dollars and may necessitate taking time off of work- but it may be what needs to happen. It's not fair to your DSS.

(also, honestly, at this point I'd be very worried that if she wins this battle the new battle will be "Well, I signed him up for school here so you can't have him back" or some other excuse to refuse to let him go back even for the first day)

"I don't agree with showing DSS heated emails between his parents. "
His mother is gaslighting him and he's 14. He deserves to know what's going on, and he can't know what's going on if his parents just keep playing "he said she said".Your husband can't just *tell* him because he's getting two conflicting stories- being shown what both parents are saying to each other was the best way.

The benefits of helping him to recognize the gaslighting far outweigh any potential negatives of realizing his divorced parents don't get on well.

sillysapling is offline  
Old 08-08-2014, 12:29 PM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Would it be possible to have the guardian ad litem call him and/or his mom at this point? I guess he's missed picture day and orientation by now, unfortunately. Though if he still wants to get the heck out of there A.S.A.P it might be worth a try. But soon after he gets back at least, it might be good to have a third party get his opinion on whata happened while it's fresh, so arrangements for the next visit can include a contingency plan just in case the mother repeats this.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is online now  
Old 08-13-2014, 06:36 AM
 
Springshowers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,823
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
If she agreed to the earlier return then she accepted the reduced time. I don't think that would have been seen to be going against the order.

Poor DDS to have missed those very important events.
Springshowers is online now  
Old 08-13-2014, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
...If she became the perfect, doting mother to his face while, behind his back, trying to sabotage him...it'd be a lot harder... And that has been the case, most of DSS's life. I agree, it's hard but healthier for him to be increasingly less deceived, as he gets older. For example, he may become attracted to healthier relationships with girls, the less he perceives manipulative, needy behavior as the most loving.

...His mother really has essentially kidnapped him.

If you or your husband flew out to pick him up, is there any way for his mom to take your husband to court and say he went against the custody agreement?...(if she wins this battle the new battle [could] be "Well, I signed him up for school here so you can't have him back" or some other excuse to refuse to let him go back even for the first day)

"I don't agree with showing DSS heated emails between his parents."
His mother is gaslighting him and he's 14. He deserves to know what's going on...Your husband can't just *tell* him because he's getting two conflicting stories- being shown what both parents are saying to each other was the best way.

The benefits of helping him to recognize the gaslighting far outweigh any potential negatives of realizing his divorced parents don't get on well. You're right - worded well!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mummoth View Post
Would it be possible to have the guardian ad litem call him and/or his mom at this point?... soon after he gets back at least, it might be good to have a third party get his opinion on what happened while it's fresh, so arrangements for the next visit can include a contingency plan just in case the mother repeats this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Springshowers View Post
If she agreed to the earlier return then she accepted the reduced time. I don't think that would have been seen to be going against the order...
DSS is home and started school Tuesday. His mom "bent over backward" with a typical Pyrrhic "compromise": she let him fly home Sunday night, despite wanting him to stay until Monday night. He still missed Orientation, pictures and picking up his school-issued iPad - which required him to report to school 40 minutes early, Tuesday morning. But Mom can still say she made a concession.

Legally, it is tricky, as you all point out.

In our extensive experience (when Mom had custody), what she just did - refusing to return DSS when DH wanted him, regardless whether she felt entitled to more time - is indeed considered "custodial interference" (parental kidnapping), in Indiana.

A court here wouldn't convict her, since there were questions about the length of the visit. But had we called police, Indiana officers would've forcibly returned DSS to us and told Mom she could take DH back to court if she thought he was wrong. Would California police have done the same? They should, but who knows?

But the half-week made it a "possession is 9/10 of the law" issue. Since Mom only gained a few days with DSS, she was wrong to make him miss Orientation. (It might've been a different story if, by missing one school day, he could've spent 2 extra weeks with her.) Yet, we would've looked more wrong (even to DSS, I think), had we traveled to CA and spirited him away, or enlisted police help, over only a few disputed days. (Though we would've gone to whatever extremes necessary, had she threatened - or tried - to keep him indefinitely!)

Unfortunately, the GAL did all he's authorized to do. Well in advance of the visit, DSS told the GAL he wanted to be home for summer school and Orientation. The GAL discussed it with both parents. Ideally, broadcasting DSS's wishes should prevent either parent from claiming to be fighting for what DSS truly wants - if he/she isn't - and shame a misguided or selfish parent into compromising.

Mom's response was clever: "What DSS wants is fine with me. As long as I get my 7 weeks, they don't have to be on the dates I requested."
> She appeared to agree to the changes (which, yes, should protect us from fines for violating court orders).
> She appeared to be ignoring the math, rounding up, or just counting wrong: Orientation was only 6 weeks + 2 days after the end of summer school.
> She only made an issue of the time difference after DSS was under her physical control; and at the last minute - when DH couldn't get a hearing for a court order to return him on time. C-l-a-s-s-i-c Mom!

I agree that we should deal with future summers now. DSS is angry with Mom, but may be plagued with guilt by the end of the school year. He already knows which summer school class he wants to take next year, so we already know there will be a battle. And I agree - after Mom won this one, she'll be less compromising next year, not more.

It seems very clear to me that our guidelines need to adjust to changing times:

- The 7-week standard has been around since school summer breaks were ~13 weeks (the 1st week in June through Labor Day weekend). So 7 weeks was ~54% of the summer. But it was 2/3 of this summer. And DSS's school might shave a week off next summer.

- Summer school used to be primarily for remediation. Now, most HS kids here - not just at DSS's school - need to dispense with requirements like PE and Health in summer school, to be able to fit any electives into their class loads. There is no 7-week period when DSS can travel, even if he never attends another Orientation!

- If DSS attends summer school and spends 7 weeks with Mom, he gets 1-2 weeks, all year with us, when he's not in class. That's far from what anyone thought was reasonable, back when a CP got 6 weeks of summer and the NCP, 7.

- Mom should subject herself to some of the inconvenience of travel and spend some time with DSS here, while he's in classes. It would let DSS have both parents involved in his education AND give him vacation/family bonding time with both parents - both things our state recognizes as good for him!

But 7 weeks is a common standard, throughout the country. It's not common to require parents to do any of the traveling (but not unheard-of!) I don't imagine it will be easy, to legally deviate from old standards.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our

Last edited by VocalMinority; 08-13-2014 at 10:32 PM.
VocalMinority is online now  
Old 08-14-2014, 11:02 AM
 
sillysapling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
" Yet, we would've looked more wrong (even to DSS, I think), had we traveled to CA and spirited him away, or enlisted police help, over only a few disputed days."

I want to make it clear that I NEVER meant that you do it unless you got his permission FIRST. Obviously showing up and sayng "You're coming with us whether you like it or not" isn't a good idea- it's basically the same thing she's doing. I would have made the offer, but let *him* decide if he wanted it or not. If you think he would have taken offense at even the offer to come and make sure he gets home on time, well, you know him best. Personally, when I was his age I would have appreciated the offer- even if I didn't take it- to know that someone was willing to go that far to make sure I got what I needed.

sillysapling is offline  
Old 08-14-2014, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
I want to make it clear that I NEVER meant that you do it unless you got his permission FIRST. Obviously showing up and sayng "You're coming with us whether you like it or not" isn't a good idea- it's basically the same thing she's doing. I would have made the offer, but let *him* decide if he wanted it or not. If you think he would have taken offense at even the offer to come and make sure he gets home on time, well, you know him best. Personally, when I was his age I would have appreciated the offer- even if I didn't take it- to know that someone was willing to go that far to make sure I got what I needed.
Sorry! I never thought you meant that.

There's no question DSS wanted to leave. There's also no question that if Mom knew we were coming to get him "early", she'd go to extremes to prevent it. (Suddenly taking him out of town and confiscating or "accidentally misplacing" his phone would be quite plausible.) The only way we could have expected to pick him up early would have been if, say, he told Mom he was going on a bike ride, met us down the road, then called to tell her goodbye after it was too late for her to do anything.

There's no question Mom would then have a panic attack (for which she is already medicated and has been hospitalized, before) and would behave as though DSS was in grave danger and she had no idea where he was, who he was with or what had happened to him. It wouldn't be the first time.

DSS understands this dynamic, too -although I didn't make that clear, in my post. When he was contemplating getting himself to the airport, his plan was to talk Mom into letting him accompany her to the city - for fun - while she worked, then he'd call her from the airplane. Her concern that he might do that was, arguably, why they stayed out in the country until the day he left.

It's one thing for DSS to consider rebelling against his mom - and freaking her out - himself. (Although he hasn't ever actually done that, yet...) If he felt DH and I were actively conspiring against her - albeit conspiring with him - I think he'd feel defensive of her. I think it's very confusing, to want someone to care enough to rescue you from an oppressive parent (which he did), but at the same time to feel sorry and responsible for that emotionally-fragile parent.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
VocalMinority is online now  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off