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Author Topic: Visitation Issue-Need Advice  (Read 4208 times)

mdegol

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Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« on: Mar 27, 2009, 07:05:25 AM »
We live long distance.  He lives in Texas and I am in Massachusetts.  We are not communicating well, and it seems to be getting worse (related to his girlfriend).  She always accompanies him on visits.  Prior to the final settlement, he was visiting the child (a baby) in my state and did both pickup and drop off.

At the settlement one of the compromises I made was that I would share pickup and drop off with him back and forth from his hotel. 

During the first three visits he had me pick-up the baby in a parking lot near a hotel that he was supposedly staying that was reasonably close.  I told him I preferred the lobby of the hotel, but didn’t fight.   The next visit he wanted to change it so that we would do both pickup and dropoff in the same parking lot, so I would have to bring the baby to him and get the baby after.  I didn't like this, since it meant that I might be doing the whole distance and it is just so much better for the baby to leave from my house to get him ready.  Anyway, in retaliation they choose a hotel in the middle of the city, and was four times the distance of the previous hotel (60 miles).  They also wrote me a very nasty note that actually was a little scary since they pretended to be me (signed his name at the top my name at the bottom) writing the note as though I was offering to do both pickup and dropoff from the airport along with a lot of other rude and mocking things.  (BTW: these two people are 45 years old and "educated" professionals).  But rather than respond with anger, I made him admit that he wrote the email (since it was written as though I had written it although it came from his email account) and simply did the pickup at that more long distance hotel.  The next time I needed to contact him I asked him to please choose a hotel closer as he did the first 3 visits.  He responded that he had decided it would be better for me to pick the baby up at the airport from the terminal that they are departing.  Since the nasty email said they wanted me to do both pickup and dropoff at the airport, I decided to draw the line.  Anyway, I wrote back to him and stated that we are supposed to share transportation to and from the hotel.  Prior to this compromise he was doing both pickup and dropoff.  I would like to follow the terms of the settlement.  So what he did then was write me telling me he was staying at the Hilton that is connected to the airport (clever!).  This hotel is extremely expensive (2 nights are 725.00) and I am just sure they are not actually staying there (he is a penny pincher) unless it would be only to antagonize me.  I wrote back and asked for proof that he is staying there and that it is an unreasonable expense to include in any child support deduction (another long issue).  He wrote back saying he didn’t have to prove anything, and if I didn’t like it take him to court.  He says if I deny his visit or shorten it in any way, he will take me to court. He also says I have a choice, either the curb of the terminal or the lobby of the hotel. I don’t think I am going to write back at least for a while (the visit is in 6 weeks).

The issue for me is each time they push more and more.  I am having a hard time knowing where to draw the line.  I don’t want to go to court over it, but I am sure that if I don’t find a way to nip this in the bud, I will be doing both pickup and dropoff at the airport and who knows what else.  And they will just be emboldened to harass me more and more.  This behavior is not isolated to only this issue.  BTW, he would LOVE me to deny a visit, since he knows this would get me in a lot of trouble, and is always trying to set up situations for me to take various "bait".  So he regularly includes statements like that, even though I have never threatened or denied a visit (of course).  I have also only extended time for visits rather than shorten them and been completely flexible with dates (he doesn't follow the schedule) and pickup and dropoff times (within reason).  So, don't worry, that is not something I would consider to be an option.  Basically, my lawyer said that I could refuse to pick the baby up, and tell him that he needs to return him to my residence since he is being unreasonable and be in comtempt and explain myself (this was the option he was pushing), or I can give in which I guess sets a precedent and maybe file for a modification specifying limits.  Or I could just give in again, and see what the next demand is going to be, because there WILL be another step in this.  I cannot and will not refuse to pick the baby up, since my baby is too important to play games like that with and the father is so stubborn, there would be a good chance that he would not return him, wait at the pickup location that he has dictated, and who knows what he would do from there??   Any other ideas?


Ref

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #1 on: Mar 27, 2009, 11:27:09 AM »
What exactly does your parenting agreement say as far as pick-up and drop-off? If it were silent on who does what leg of the trip, I would write him a letter that says that you will agree to him picking up the baby at your home and you will meet him at the hotel to pick-up.
 
If you go back to court, I would push for this wording  to be put in your agreement. It always made more sense to me that the person who wants time with the child be responsible for pick-up. That incentivises the parent who wants to see the baby to do the leg work.
 
Make sure you document all the driving you are doing too. Keep a calendar of the pick-up adn drop-offs and who did the driving. Include any toll receipts or stop a a gas station near the pick-up point and pick-up some gum and keep the receipt.

One more thing. With him living so far away, how often do you have to deal with this inconvience? If it is once or twice a year, I wouldn't push the issue. He is being a jerk about it, but it is not worth the hours of crap you would have to go through to save a hour a year worth of driving IMO.
 
Good luck. It sounds like you are going to have years of this ahead of you. The only off topic advice I have is to pick your battles carefully. Sometimes letting the other parent win allows you and your child to live a happier life than if you fought and won.
 
Ref
 
PS I don't like the like gray font. It is really hard to read!

mdegol

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #2 on: Mar 27, 2009, 01:08:40 PM »
Thank you very much for the advice.  I am glad I found this site so I can at least sound off a little bit and maybe help some other people in a similar situation. 
 
The agreement only says that we will share pick-up and drop-off.  Yes, it makes the most sense to me also, that the parent taking over do the pickup.  Unfortunately, it allows them to make me chase them all over the state.  But I suppose I should count my blessing for now, since like you said, it is not every other weekend because of the distance. 
 
His visitation is every third weekend plus holidays, and when child is 2 years old it will be the weekends and holidays, plus 4 non-consectutive weeks a year until 6 years old, and then after 6 years old it will be the weekends, holidays and 1 week during school year and 1 month in summer.  However, he has actually only visited 4 times with two planned in the next 3 months, when he could have visited 20 times.  So, in a year it will only have been 6 visits.  This is another issue since he got a child support reduction based on these 20 visits (like 600/month reduction!) since he absolutely insisted that he was going to be doing it.  Seems like the time in between visits is getting longer and longer.  Girlfriend really resents traveling.  The next big issue will be when they want to take him to Texas for these longer visits, since the agreement states nothing about how that is supposed to happen, except that father or a member of father's family will accompany child for all airline travel.  I assume (since I am not going to be completely difficult and force father to pick up child in those cases) I will have to take him to and from the airport, which I don't mind 4 or 5 times a year for long visits, but would not want for weekend visits. My settlement was way too vague considering how poorly we are getting along. 
 
I was kind of thinking the same thing, which is small wins for them, which makes them feel better about their life, might actually be better for me since in the end I just want to be left in peace as much as possible.  And I think they get a lot of pleasure out of thinking that they "got" me somehow.  If I were just dealing with the father, I wouldn't be so nervous about giving in, but the girlfriend really seems like the type where you give an inch and she takes a mile (not to mention she is very intrusive acting like this is her situation rather than her boyfriend's situation, I saw her talk more than anyone during the settlement).  It is like, every compromise I make is simply something I "should" be doing anyway, so it really isn't a compromise just them making me what I am supposed to be doing anyway.  In other words, I can't win.
 
I am not sure why the font came out like that...I hope I can fix it...
 
 

ocean

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #3 on: Mar 27, 2009, 05:46:37 PM »
How far are you from the airport? I would pick a half way point and offer that. If he doesn't like that he can take you back to court. Make sure you document it with a certified letter, signed by him only (ask the post office). Simple letter,
To ex,
According to our court order is states we share travel. I am xx miles from airport. I am willing to meet you half way at the Mc Donald at xyz. This way we do equal amount of traveling. Please let me know IN WRITING if you do not agree and give an alternative fair place to exchange. Otherwise I will have daughter at the mcdonald's on (put next date) at (time).
You

Then dont answer the craziness e-mails..unless necessary. Try to ignore most of it and when it gets closer reiternate what you already wrote.

gemini3

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #4 on: Mar 30, 2009, 03:00:15 PM »
My issue is that there is no reason for you not to know where he will be staying with your child while he is in town visiting.  That is ridiculous.

I would send him an e-mail saying that you would like for him to pick the child up from your home at the beginning of the visitation period, and that you will pick the child up from his hotel at the end.


mdegol

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #5 on: Mar 31, 2009, 07:37:19 PM »
I think that they don't want me to know where they are staying that is part of the reason that they are trying to avoid me picking my child up at the hotel.  I would like to know where he is, and that was one of the reasons that I liked this provision, since it would neccesitate them telling me where they are staying, and it is part of the reason I never would have agreed to other locations for pick up.  Actually, I wasn't specific in my last post, the settlement states "The parties are to share pickup and dropoff from the father's hotel" so it specifically mentions his hotel rather than the airport.  He is just being a jerk. Also, I think they just want me to have to travel as far as possible in any case.  Anyway, they have tried to change or manipulate many other aspects of the settlement. 
 
An interesting issue is that he gets a big child support reduction for his travel expenses, much bigger than what he should be getting when compared with the actual amount of times he has visited son.  If I were to take him back to court, I would take him over this issue, since he is getting a reduction of 600.00 and actually would end up making a profit of more than 1000.00 a year with the current reduction.  It should be more like 300.00/month with the amount that he is traveling (and that would be generous since he is coming every two months or more on average).  Anyway, my point is, when I would ask for this adjustment he would have to prove what he has spent, and I would then know what hotel he actually stayed at during each of his visits.  Knowing him, it would be a reasonably priced one, in other words, not the one he is telling me to pick my son up at.  So, I would be able to prove contempt at that point, if I traveled further than his hotel, or if he lied about which hotel he is staying at.  I don't know what a judge would do about it though, maybe nothing I suspect.  (I have heard my judge is rather pro-father).
 
One of my issues is that we will have a 3 week old infant at the next visit, and it would be a total of a 2 hour car ride back and forth to the airport, so I am sure this will be difficult since I will be breastfeeding *sigh* and then only one of us will be able to go into the hotel to pick son up from them.  I like to be accompanied during these exchanges by my husband.  But I don't want to tell tham that I am expecting a new baby, since one of girlfriend's issues is jealousy, or at least she doesn't want anything good to happen for me, and I think this may trigger her to react and cause trouble.  Even the father may have  a reaction to this news since he often cited my ability to have more children as a reason that I should give over custody to them (girlfriend had a hysterectomy, although she does have 2 older children).  I know its weird but that is how they think.  The reason they don't know, is one that I didn't tell them, and two because the last visit was 2 months ago, and it still wasn't noticible. 
 
Anyway even if they knew they would probably be even more inclined to make sure I have to travel as far as possible.
 
The visit after this next one is father's day, and he already told me to pickup son at same airport hotel.  That would be two contempts I guess.  Do you think that would look bad since he is being deceptive?  Or would I look bad, as though I am not being flexible, considering how far he is traveling?
 
And to answer Ocean, I am 60 miles from the airport. Actually, at one point they suggested a halfway point, which I refused, and maybe I am regretting a little now, because I liked having pickup be at my home for getting son ready, and also because they had been staying at a hotel during the first 3 visits that was actually at a halfway point, so I figured they would just be tricking me into doing almost the whole pickup and dropoff (which they may be doing now in a different way).  I just wanted to be simple and as originally intended during negotiation, where pickup was from my home and I pickup at at his hotel, and there was an implication that they would be choosing the more inexpensive hotels located somewhat near my area, since they are dramatically cheaper than downtown Boston.  The reason it was vague was to give them flexibility, since they were traveling a long distance and professed a desire to keep expenses as low as possible.
 
So anyway, I guess I am stuck for now, since I am not going to lose too much sleep over this with a baby coming...and I am not willing to spend the money on a trip to court over the issue.
 
And my last note stated that but he blatently said that it was his way or I could take him to court.  I guess he has to commit the act anyway to be in contempt, correct?

ocean

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Re: Visitation Issue-Need Advice
« Reply #6 on: Apr 01, 2009, 06:01:54 AM »
You are allowing him control here. YOu should not do all the driving and then file contempt. If you do that, the courts will say that you have done it before and keep up what already is happening. You have the child so he cant take you to court until you dont show up at a half way point. You should ask for a specific drop off point in court since father refuses to drive from his hotel.

Also, you shouldnt just show up in the car with a 3 week old (what happens if you are late and it is only 1 week??).
If you send him an email that state you are due on XX and for this visit only he will have to pick up child from you and that you will make it up to him on Father's Day weekend? They will find out and better they find out at home and calm down then in front of your child....

 

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