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Main Forums => Visitation Issues => Topic started by: Asergea on May 04, 2006, 01:15:53 AM

Title: Summer Visitation
Post by: Asergea on May 04, 2006, 01:15:53 AM

I have a 21 month old daughter and won a visitation order for 2 week ends a month and 4 weeks in the summer.

The Ex is saying that my daughter is in early head start and as a result, I cannot have her for the full 4 weeks, I can only have her for a week on and week off..
Can she do that????

The aggreement has one paragraph that says that we shall cooperate and follow through on education, tutoring, additional educational or remedial,  but there are at least 2 paragraphs that say she is not to interfere with my parenting time,  set up any activities during my parenting time or deny me any parenting time in any manner..

Any advice?
Title: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: notnew on May 04, 2006, 06:05:28 AM
I don't know where you live or what the school schedule is in your county, but where I live and when my kids went to headstart, the school  year began in late August/early September and ended in June. That means a "typical" summer (6 weeks at least).

21 months seems WAY too young to be in head start. Keep in mind, Head Start is a federally funded program that you have to qualify for (low income usually, but I don't know all of the criteria). Both of my kids went and I had to do a dance to get my son in when he was still 3 years old (birthday had an effect on enrollment).

How far away do you reside?  If I were you and lived close enough, I'd advise BM that child can continue to attend this program during the weeks she is with you. If BM balks at that, then you have proof of her attempting interference. Try to get as much as you can in writing (you write to her and she should respond. If she doesn't that proves her failure to cooperate and communicate - not in the best interest of the child).

Either way, I'd take it to court if necessary and challenge her actions. Word of advise; you are early in this game and BM is up to old tricks that too many of us have seen and experienced. Don't be tolerable of these antics and blatent violations of court order. Document, document, document and when you have compiled a few things, take her to court. As many times as necessary. Once she gets the message that you are serious and will follow-up with court action, she may change her tune. Then again, she may not and hopefully you will be able to gain custody at some time in the future so you can have the chance to show BM what a REAL parent is supposed to act like and NOT interfere with the other parent's relationship (as tempting as it is to get back at her when you have the chance, it is not what is good for the child).

If schooling program is some kind of enrichment program that can be deemed as benefecial for the child, you may have an uphill battle in preventing her from attending. Court always says they are looking at the child's best interest (although you will have your doubts). If BM presents it as a benefit to the child, then you may have trouble demonstrating that it is purposeful interference. You may counteract with your own plan at enrichment activities while she is with you. But for a 21 month old I am hard pressed to come up with a lot of ideas other than one-on-one time with parent reading, abc's, 123's, etc. type of stuff.

BTW - how can you cooperate with educational stuff when you obviously weren't even aware of it? Sounds like another violation to me. Also, how in the heck do you get this kind of paragraph inserted when a kid is 21 months old and very possibly not even POTTY TRAINED? What kind of remedial education could she possibly need?  Hard to make orders pertaining to child supposedly in the best interest when the circumstances don't even exist yet?  Everything may change by the time your daughter reaches REAL age to enter school.

If you have an attorney, I would consult with him/her for direction on how to proceed.

If you are pro-se (representing yourself), I'd post to Socrateaser and see what he says.

You absolutely should get your four weeks. Remember, don't agree to something you feel you can't live with and think you can change it later - that will not work and you cannot get agreements changed just becuase you don't like it. Stick to your guns and if she won't abide by the court order, put it back in front of the court.

Lastly, DO not engage in argumentive converstaions with BM. Keep your communications business like and to the point. Document everything you can with letters, they are your proof. If you can find out where this head start program is, go there and meet her teachers, become involved, etc. The court does not care about the emotional side of these issues. In fact blowing your cool will anger them and could result in even more restrictions on your parenting rights.

Good Luck!
Title: RE: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: Asergea on May 04, 2006, 11:07:37 AM
Thank you so much for the advice..

She's in early head start but lives 2 & 1/2 hrs away I cannot afford to take her back and forth.

It sounds like she will be trying everything under the sun to prevent me from excersising my rights, So I will stick to my Guns.

Appreciate the reply, very much. :)
Title: RE: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: IceMountain on May 04, 2006, 05:26:04 PM
This is IceMountain's wife.

I work for a Head Start program.  Where I work Head Start's program year is August to May BUT Early Head Start is a year round program.

I worked for another Head Start program in a city (now I work in a smaller area).  That program went year round for Head Start.  But, we had alot of enrolled children that did not participate in the summer and it did not affect their spot for the fall program.

So, as you can see, it definitely depends on the program your child attends.  But, remember, as the child's parent you have the same right to the child's information as you do when she/he gets into public school.  So, if you decide you are willing to try to work with the other parent, I would suggest contacting the program directly to see what the schedule is.

But, all in all, the previous poster is right.  She can't interfere with your court ordered time... Head Start or no Head Start.  Summer parenting time is really important because it is the only time many NCP's have the opportunity to parent their child for a prolonged period.  I live for the summers when my SS is here!!
Title: RE: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: ocean on May 04, 2006, 07:04:28 PM
Is it possible to put her in the head start program by you? Can yoy call her therapists and see what you can do with her when she is with you? (certain exercises you can do from your home instead for the 4 weeks). I would see if you can talk to the school and see what they suggest. Explain the situation and that you are far away for the 4 weeks and what can you do to keep her up so she does not relapse when she is with you. Then you can tell ex that you spoke to school and will do XYZ and the school said it was okay. Good luck!
Title: RE: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: Sunshine1 on May 04, 2006, 08:48:15 PM
This happened to us, except BM lived about 45 minutes away. Enrolled kids in headstart to get a leg up in the custody battle...except it didn't work, the judge ordered a one week on and a one week off rotation until the divorce/custody was final.

Headstart is not mandatory, neither is Kindergarten.  It is not a requirement and you have every right to NOT enroll your child in it.  Tell her she can go on her time but you wish to exercise your visitation enrolling her in other activities (you don't have to, just somethign to tell her).  And our kids wen to headstart one week on and one week off, we had them enrolled in another program while they were with us.

Good Luck! Stand your ground, it is obvioulsy spelled out in the order she is not to interfere.
Title: RE: Head Start School Calendar
Post by: Asergea on May 05, 2006, 01:19:35 AM
BM, has just mentioned that My daughter is also in early intervention as well.
What does that mean?

It's the first I've heard of it.

Any thoughts?
Title: Early Intervention?
Post by: notnew on May 05, 2006, 07:34:37 AM
If I were you, I'd contact the Head Start program directly. Send a letter to BM asking for all information regarding school program, early intervention, etc. Give her a specific date that you need a reply by. That way, you have given a reasonable request and if she fails to respond, you have your paperwork to back up your allegations when you file contempt.

I am serious about documenting things. The time to talk to her about things is over. It is certainly alright to speak with her about things, but follow-up your conversations with a letter to clarify and document the conversation. You may not realize it, but you are closer to going back to court then you realize (in my humble opinion). She is in contempt already by denying you the summer visitation as per the Order.

Do you have anything from her in writing saying you cannot have the 4 weeks?  If so, you could file for contempt based on her written denial ahead of time to ensure you get your time before you lose it.

Even though you live so far away, it will be worthwhile for you to take a day off of work and have a conference with the teachers at the head start. The other posters have made good suggesstions about alernating programs etc.  

Early Intervention program? The child is 21 months old. What kind of problems could she possibly have had in the past that qualify her for intervention programs?  Are they afraid she is going to drop out of high school?  May not learn how to count to 10?  Excuse me for being a smart-a$$ but it seems so ridiculous to be discussing this type of thing for a BABY!

Good Luck!

Title: I think we may be getting confused on the terms here ..Early Intervention...
Post by: Genie on May 06, 2006, 10:28:43 PM
is birth - 3 years therapy services etc for children with disabilities or children that are delayed developmentally, speech, fine or gross motor skills.  This includes babies that were premies since they are normally delayed by amount of weeks/months they were early.  

I think we need a little more information here on why daughter is in the program and then I can base my answer on that.  For examply, my OD has early intervention services b/c she has down syndrome.  In my case, I would've had a problem with extended visitation b/c the therapies she received (and they were alot and many times a week) were a HUGE help to her development and reaching her milestones.  Now 2 weeks wouldn't be too much to miss but several months would've been devastating and would've put her back to where she started.

Head start or early childhood programs do not start till the day after the child's 3rd birthday.  I think either the terms are getting confused or BM is trying to make it sound like more than actually is in your daughter's case to deny this time. If it sounds like it is actually school, she thinks she would get her way better.

Can you provide more details please?
Title: RE: I think we may be getting confused on the terms here ..Early Intervention...
Post by: Asergea on May 07, 2006, 01:00:22 PM

She is in Early Head start  AND Early intervention,
She seems completely normal, Very Bright, intelligent, no problems with Speech, Motor Skills or Behaviour.

Her mother thinks that she is some "Super Genius" And believes that I am interfereing with her education if I have her for a whole 4 weeks.
and that if I take her for the whole 4 weeks then she will be disqualified from Early Head start. (Remember that she is only 21 months old) I talked to the Early education people and I'm finding out that she can be away for a month without risk of losing the Enrolment or missing out on any education.

I'm about to find out (Tomorrow) as to what made them want her in the Intervention.

I'm also going to find out when she was Enrolled, and that if she was enrolled at a time when her mother knew I'd be awarded a month in the summer, then she has deliberately set up the Early head start to try to prevent me from having her for the month.

Does this make sense?

Thanks to you all :)
Title: Give us an update when you find out - I'm interested to see what happens! - NM
Post by: notnew on May 08, 2006, 08:19:25 AM
Title: RE: Give us an update when you find out - I'm interested to see what happens! - NM
Post by: Asergea on May 08, 2006, 09:51:19 AM
Hey Everyone :)

OK heres the scoop,
The Ex Enrolled my daughter in starting in late september about 2 months after some of the interim hearings where she was advised that the outcome of the case would result in a visitation consistant with the normal 2 weekends a month and a month in the summer.

though she was not at the time ordered.

The Early intervention was for Speech and Language, though at a year old (At the time) I'm very confused as to why that was the case.

I asked the director to pass along all reports and signed enrollment forms from the mother so I can Examine them for my records.
I don't know if that is a right I have as they include earnings from the mother.. So if anyone knows, I'd like to hear from you.

The Director said that she could be away for as much as 30 days and if nessasary would have someone come to my home during the visit to continue the course here once (Though I am a coupleof hours away)

Which I thought was nice.

So there you have it.

Thank you all :)

Title: I think you are on to something here
Post by: notnew on May 08, 2006, 10:14:58 AM
While my daughter spoke a thousand miles a minute as early as possible (second child), my son (first child) was slow to articulate. I remember forcing him to speak (making him ask for a cookie rather than just reaching out, etc.). While he is not a genius by any means, he is also not a dunce. He is in the Air Force now and doing okay.

So, I would tend to believe that BM got child involved in this as a way to block your visitation. You need the paperwork to back that up.

The school can block out the financial information. Under FERPA (information on this page about this Federal Law), the school has 30 days to reply. Hopefully, you will get the information sooner. You know when BM catches wind of this, she will complain to the school and most likely your great communicaiton will end.  Just keep following up with the school, be pleasant, but stern if need be. If you don't get the paperwork as discussed in a timely manner, send the school a letter reminding them of their duty under the law (sample letters on this site).

Sounds like you are on the right track. Good Luck and keep us posted!
Title: As for the Speech therapy she is why...
Post by: Genie on May 12, 2006, 09:21:14 PM
at 1 year of age, per the averages a child should be making certain sounds and saying certain amount of words.  Now of course every child is so different. My SS didn't really start talking till he was about 3 years old but my niece said first word at 10 mos and took off talking from there with lightening speed.

Many pediatricians are fanatical about children saying so many words at so months old. I have a friend whose pediatrician yelled at her husband b/c their son wasn't saying 15 words at his 15 mos checkup and wanted them to have him evaluated for speech therapy.

My previous babysitter from when OD was a baby and getting Early Intervention therapies called them out to evaluate her daughter who was the same age as mine b/c she didn't think she was talking as she should and for some reason she qualified for speech therapy.

So the guidelines and tests must be pretty broad b/c there was a child with no disability what so ever who got the service and who I felt didn't need them but since baby sitter put up a stink she got them. So your X probably did the same thing.

Now I can see if your daughter was developmentally delayed and would say to take this into consideration when wanting 4 weeks.  But since that is not the case and you have proof it won't affect her enrollment, I say stay strong, get your proof and demand your visitation. There isn't much she can do now in my opinion since you can prove the 4 weeks won't disqualify her from being in Head Start.