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Main Forums => Dear Socrateaser => Topic started by: bananas on Jan 12, 2004, 02:14:41 PM

Title: visitation interference
Post by: bananas on Jan 12, 2004, 02:14:41 PM

My son and my ex live in FL, I live in OH.  The court order and all post-decree hearings have been held here since they moved to FL.  

My son is 18 now and won't graduate HS until June.  He didn't come for summer break last summer (he was 17 and was supposed to come for six weeks) and didn't come for Christmas break (he was 18 by that time) for one week.  So I've missed seven weeks of court-ordered visitation with my son.  He has also told me he won't be coming for spring break visitation, which is also court-ordered.  I will pay CS for him for five more months, until he graduates.

I was thinking about taking my ex to court for a show cause/contempt hearing for the missed visitation.  I just wonder how much the court really enforces its visitation orders when the child is this age.  I know that I will never get any make-up visitation even if I win, because he will be emancipated when he graduates in five months.  So my proposal would be to terminate my child support early as sanctions for the missed visitation.  My ex would lose about $1000 if the support was terminated today.  If my case didn't get heard until March, for example, she would only lose $600.  So we're not talking about a ton of money here.

The other thing is, my ex did not change her address with the court as mandated by court order.  The court has issued two new orders in the last six months.  Both times, she did not get the orders because the time limit ran out to forward her mail.  The orders were both due to changes in my employment, so they were just to notify my new employers to  withhold my earnings for CS.  No biggie because that doesn't really affect her.

So here's my evil plan*:  I file the contempt (pro se of course) for missed visitation, and let the court set a court date.  They mail her a summons to appear and the court date, which she won't get.  She fails to show because she didn't get the notice.  The court then finds her in contempt based on her no-show.

1.  How enforceable is a visitation order when the child is this age (i.e. do you think I can get a contempt ruling for two missed visitations even though the child is 17-18 years old)?

2.  Do you think my evil plan* will work?

3.  If you think it will work, do you think I could possibly get the CS stopped early as sanctions?

4.  Should I just let it go?
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: LizaLou1 on Jan 13, 2004, 08:12:31 AM
Not Soc, but here are a couple of thoughts.

Child support and visitation are two separate and distinct issues.  One does not equal the other.   So, don't expect child support to be stopped for punitive reasons, but it can be withheld to pay off court ordered debts to you.

We also deal with interstate visitation and  kids in FL (ages 13 & 15).  In our case the Judge ordered the BM to pay our legal fees and court costs as well as jail time for not allowing Christmas, Spring Break and summer visits.  The BM's child support was withheld per a court order as a means for her to reimburse our legal fees.  So for 7 months we paid no child support.

You probably have already checked, but take a look at your decree.  DH is not released from child support until the children reach the age of majority - age 19, are emancipated or start college.   In AL emancipated does not mean graduated from high school.  So you may not be off the hook in 5 months.  

As to your evil plan....Working the system to work for oneself is just part of the game we are all forced to play with the court system so good luck.  But, I do wonder about your goal.  Is it all about the money or what is best for your child?  I hope it's the latter.  

Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: bananas on Jan 13, 2004, 08:27:06 AM
What's best for my child is if he lived with me.  But that's not going to happen.

My court order says I pay child support until the child is 18 or graduates from HS, whichever occurs later.  I will be done with CS when he graduates.

You reminded me of an interesting fact that I forgot to mention.  My ex has been letting my son make decisions regarding visitation since he was 12.  My son and my ex both tell me the decision to visit is his.  Hence, my son says it's his choice.  So it's not that the BM isn't "allowing" visitation, it's just that my son has been permitted by her to think he's in charge of it.

If he's going to act like an adult, then I feel the court should see him as an adult also.  I think emancipating him now would free him of the need to choose to visit or not.  If there's no court order, then he can visit when he sees fit (if ever).

I only pay $200 per month now.  I don't see how my son will be harmed if this terminates now vs in five months.  What exactly IS "best for the child" at this stage in the game?
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: sweetnsad on Jan 13, 2004, 11:51:50 AM
Not Soc, but here's my opinion:

I know how much you would like to terminate child support because you think your son is acting like an adult and making "adult" decisions, but you can't.  Child support and visitation, as mentioned above, are two different issues and one doesn't cancel out the other.

IMO, it was wrong of the mother to allow her son the right to decide whether he visited or at that age don't like to be uprooted from their daily routines, so of course he wasn't going to visit would take him away from his friends, extracurricular activities, etc...this was VERY poor judgement on the part of the mother and it goes to show that some parents will use their children to get what they want.

I don't know what else to tell you except, grin and bear it for at least another five months...until your son turns 18 or he's only five more months of CS, and then your son is officially an adult...there isn't anything you can do should have been done when he was younger, forcing the visitation.  Forcing it now is useless seeing as he's as old as he is and able to decide for himself what he wants to do.

I'm sorry this has happened to you and wish you best of luck in getting back on track with your son....someday, your son will remember that he wasn't made to visit Dad and it may hurt him that his mother did this.
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: bananas on Jan 13, 2004, 01:38:07 PM
I appreciate your post.

I have been filing contempt when my son hasn't visited in the past.  It's just that instead of imposing sanctions on my ex, the court has basically been asking me what I would suggest to end the problem.  The last two times I have been to court on this issue, I have made suggestions and they have implemented those suggestions into the order.  Sometimes son comes, sometimes he doesn't.  

This time, he hasn't come twice in a row.  Do you still think I should just let it go and not file contempt?
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: sweetnsad on Jan 13, 2004, 01:47:58 PM
To be perfectly honest, yes, I think you should let it go, but only because your son is almost 18 and can make decisions on his would just be a waste of time and money on your part, and probably nothing would change anyway.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be negative.  I feel bad for you and wish that there was something more positive I could contribute.  Hopefully Soc will come through soon with something more inspiring.

Your ex is 100% to blame for this IMO...she should have encouraged the visitation and made him go when he was younger.  Children need both their parents.  Why is that so hard for some CP's to understand?

Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: nosonew on Jan 13, 2004, 02:07:51 PM
How would doing any of the things (besides #4) help your relationship with your son?  It won't.  A 17-18 year old probably has a job, friends, girlfriend, etc.  At this age they have their own "life" away from their parents, and although I'm sure you have alot of resentments towards the bm for her past and present behavior, you will only hurt your relationship with your son if you continue.  Suggest this:  take the $ you would have spent fighting bm, go to Florida for a vacation.  Spend that time with son, enjoy, soak up the sun, and GET OVER IT!  Work on your relationship with your son...and that is my TWO CENTS!
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: reagantrooper on Jan 13, 2004, 02:26:12 PM
Just ket it GO!
If this is your only child with your X CONGRATS its over!
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: LizaLou1 on Jan 15, 2004, 08:06:48 AM
Long story short....We know the BM "encouraged" the DH's children to the point of harrassment NOT to visit.  Then, let them make the final decision.  This is a form of putting "the child in the middle" type of thing because it forces the child to choose between parents, even if only for a short visit.  The BM is the queen of parental alienation.  

When DH took BM back to court for denying visitation she said it was the children's decision not hers.  She even put the kids on the stand to say they did not want to visit.

Our Judge said neither the mother nor the children made visitation decisions - only he did. He saw right through the BM.    When the next visitation came around, the Mom refused visitation again, so off to jail she goes.  

The fact that your child has been making visitation decisions for some time now may work against you.  And your are probably right about their being no harm in terminating child support now.  I just  think it's a loser in court.

In the natural order of things kids grow up and move on (some move on more than others).  SO, you might consider forcing (to the point of going back to court) this last visitation because it might be your last time chance to bond.  You never know, he might appreciate your "fighting" to see him.

Best of Luck.

Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: Imom on Jan 15, 2004, 02:21:03 PM
This is my biggest fear since I've been researching this whole custody thing. Altough we (bd) is the cp I fear that when ss gets into the late teens he wont want to go visit bm, he is already started to complain and he's only 8. I do have a question I thought at 18 your were allowed to make your own choices, so when does the co end.
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: LizaLou1 on Jan 19, 2004, 08:01:21 PM
In our state a kid is still a minor till the age of 19 by law.  So, in my book an 18 year old is still a child and subject to visitation orders.  My daughter, who is 8, doesn't want to visit her dad sometimes.  But, I tell her it's not optional because being with her dad is very important.  By the way, her dad is an OK guy and we have no problems.  Our problems are with DH's ex.

All situations are different.  I wish you the best.


Title: SOC, any thoughts, if you have time? eom
Post by: bananas on Jan 23, 2004, 12:37:58 PM
Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: socrateaser on Jan 24, 2004, 08:25:55 PM
An 18 year old is an adult and is emancipated -- Period. The fact that you continue to pay support has nothing to do with the child's status as an adult. And, no court will deny support to a parent for frustrating access to the child, because that punishes the child. The best you could do would be to get a money sanction against the other parent to be paid after all support is terminated.

A child nearing adult status has his/her own friends and life, so you wouldn't be able to prove that the other parent was responsible without the child's testimony. If you think you can get that, then file for contempt -- otherwise, you're wasting your time.

Title: RE: visitation interference
Post by: dumbo on Jan 28, 2004, 02:39:46 PM
:+  You are a Jackass. It's no wonder your son dosen't want to come for visitation.