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Author Topic: "Shared" transportation  (Read 10984 times)

justme

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"Shared" transportation
« on: Jul 03, 2009, 06:02:25 AM »
This is a rather complicated story but I hope someone can offer some of their own experience.
 
I live in NY state, and my also ex lives in NY state about 4 hours away.  We've been divorced since 12/07 and separated since 12/05 when he moved to where he is now.  Our agreement/order is relatively vague as to costs of visitation and simply states that we will share in transportation.  He has visitation every other weekend 6PM Friday to 6PM Sunday.  Until recently, we worked it out without a problem.  Sometimes I would meet him halfway, sometimes he would do most of the driving, sometimes I was able to drive her farther.  We never paid attention to the 6PM time because it never worked for either of us.  Our daughter recently reached an age where she can travel unaccompanied on the train.  The train is very convenient for both of us.  However, my ex has now started making demands that I pay 50% of the train fare.  When I refused, he deducted the money from my support.  I then took him to court and won because our order specifically doesn't allow for deductions.  The NY support collection unit now handles the support payments so he cannot make any more deductions.  The visitation transportation costs were not addressed at that court session.  He still insists that I should be paying for half of the train fare, and that if she doesn't go on the train I have to meet him at 6PM halfway between or I am interfering with his visitation.  I work until 5:30 on Fridays, and I volunteer with an EMS corps from 6PM to 6AM Sunday nights so I have to stay within our distract.  The train station is outside of our district so I can't even pick her up there after 6.  He insists that she comes home on a train that arrives at 6:10. 
 
We used to work these things out very easily.  We both just adjusted our schedules to get the job done.  Now he e-mails me with a schedule he knows I can't do, such as meeting him half then when I offer what I can, he tells me he is going to take me to court for interfering with his visitation.  I'm not worried about court - I have much documentation where I encourage him to spend more time with her and times where I told him that he could have weekends that weren't officially "his", and I have done about 1/3 or more of the driving this year so I am officially "sharing".  I don't think the court will tell me to take time off from work or my EMS responsibilities.  And my daughter is available at 6PM unless she has an activity of her own.  But if he does take me to court, I would like to get the responsibilities and costs clarified.  I have shared in the transportation for the sake of our daughter, but my feeling is that he should be responsible for the transportation since he moved so far away of his own choice.  In fact, the divorce was granted on abandonment.  I started working full time this year and a four hour drive on a Friday night is exhausting, so I would like to be relieved of having to meet him half way.
 
In cases like this, what responsibility does the court generally expect of the non-custodial parent?  I'm thinking that since he moved away, I'm being extraordinarily generous driving her anywhere.  I'm just wondering what the standard is in NY state.  And if there is any written guideline that I could use in court I would appreciate it.
 
Thanks.
 
PS - This might give you some insight on the personality I am trying to deal with...  He has stated that he doesn't want to waste time responding to my e-mails so he says he will only answer e-mails on the 1st of each month.


MixedBag

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #1 on: Jul 03, 2009, 07:20:59 AM »
I deal with long distances too....
 
IMHO -- o.k.?  Because I don't totally agree with your position.  Sorry!
 
IF for a long time, you two have been flexible and you two have been driving, that is "transportation shared".
 
In many senses, I'm glad that Dad wasn't allowed to deduct reimbursement for transportation on his own from Child Support.
 
HOWEVER, "transportation shared" is very vague.  I think that if a train ride is an option, then YES, the cost of the ticket should be shared.
 
Now as for getting her back by 6:10....you don't give enough details for me to have an opinion as to whether or not dad is truly being unreasonable.
 
Personally, your volunteer work -- while commendable -- is volunteer work.
 
You must have been able to work around it before if you shared in the driving before.
 
Have you asked the EMS folks about "EOW" being available "one hour later" ?  And explained why?
 
Do you have another family member that can pick her up?  (You know, once my EX#1 took my son from EX#2 to the airport for me when I couldn't, and that was a 5 hour round trip.)
 
How much would a cab cost?
 
If you're on standby, doesn't that mean you have a radio?  For contacting you?
 
 
Normally, yes the move away parent bears the burden of transportation.  BUT again, IMHO, that's when the move just happened.  Yours is too old to come back now and say "HE moved away."
 
I'd be THRILLED to be able to drive not too far and send my kids to the other parent, and then eliminate a long drive. 
 
Think about how to make it work.
 
Pick and choose....to make it work.
 

ocean

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #2 on: Jul 03, 2009, 03:12:48 PM »
Mixed Bag is right..and I am in NY.

Your order says shared. If it went to court it probably will go by salaries. If you both make about the same, usually it is split 50/50.
Choices are :
1. Meet at half way point, both pay for own gas
2. One drives ..one picks up...equal gas
3. Split train, bus, plane fare....many people do this.

The time to fight this was WHEN he moved, not now so you would probably be court ordered to split it 50/50. Probably cheaper than gas anyway!

I am sure also, you can change the EMT shift by one hour so she can come home on the 6:10 train. A judge might think this is petty to be fighting over 10 minutes. Twice a month the ambulance co will cover you for that half hour to hour for you to get her home and back to ambulance garage. OR have someone else pick her up.

Momfortwo

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #3 on: Jul 03, 2009, 08:04:19 PM »
To be honest, I think that your ex should be the one paying for all of the transportation since he was the one who created the distance.  But the time to address that was when the distance was created. 

Instead, it was put into the court order that the two of you share the costs of transportation.  And historically, that is what you have been doing. 

Since it doesn't specifically address who picks up her when, you would be within  the court order if you tell your ex where the child will be at 6 pm when it is the start of his parenting so that he can pick her up at that time and you will pick the child up at the end of his parenting at the time stated in the court order.  This way you are sharing in the transportation costs and you don't have to worry about getting her there by 6 pm. You are putting that onus on him. 

Personally, I wouldn't wait to go to court to get transportation costs spelled out.  You aren't going to be able to get out of paying a share of it as you didn't fight to have him pay all transportation when he moved so far away.  But you can ask that he pays the majority of it, especially since he has been doing most of the transportation. 

justme

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #4 on: Jul 03, 2009, 08:49:57 PM »
Yes, I should have addressed the vagueness at the time of the divorce.  That's my fault.  I'm not going to bring it to court, but if he does I just want to know what the norm is. 
 
Can he demand that I drop everything and go to his appointed place and time, or is the 6PM time when she's supposed to leave or arrive home?  For example, he was insisting that I meet him half way (2 hours from home) at 6PM on Father's Day and that if I didn't I was interfering with his visitation, and when I suggested instead she stay over and come back Monday (because she had no school), next thing I know he bought a train ticket leaving his location at 9AM on Father's Day, with no explanation.  That happened just a couple of days before Father's Day.  So she was home early afternoon on Father's Day and spent almost none of the day with him, and she was quite disgusted with him.  (A whole 'nuther problem for me because she gets mad at me for defending him to her, but I do.)
 
We do have a clause in the agreement that he is supposed to give me 3 weeks notice of any changes, which he never has done, including the above Father's Day boondoggle.  I've turned down some demands because of the short notice, others I have worked with as I could.  It would be about impossible to change the ambulance schedule with short notice.  I committed to the Sunday ambulance shift partly because we had a hole in coverage, so we were already at the thinnest point.  The irony is that I also chose that shift because of the visitation.  He always had sent her back before the Bills game (usually about noon, or the latest 3PM even in the off season) so I figured that I wouldn't have a problem.  I would rather have taken Friday night, but that would definitely have interfered with my ability to drive her. 
 
And if he has her out once every two months that's a lot - he doesn't often exercise his visitation rights and almost never comes here to visit her.  I'm fine with driving half way and sometimes I've even driven the whole way (8 hours round trip).  I have tried to be flexible and have given him many months notice of my commitments.  It seems like he picks those times and dates and tries to interfere with them by making last minute changes and demands.  I've offered alternate scenarios which he usually ignores.  I've brought her out on weekends that weren't "his", because I feel like he doesn't spend enough time with her. 
 
BTW - all of our communication is by e-mail.  I've learned I have to have documentation of this stuff and it served me well in the divorce.  If we converse by phone once in a blue moon, I always send him an e-mail afterwards, "As we discussed on the phone..."
 
Most of this is venting - it is what it is.  I made the choice to marry this guy, but that's over and now most of the time I am happier than I have been in my life.  My kids (I also have 2 adult kids) are great and we all get along wonderfully.  These interactions remind me how lucky I am to be out of the marriage, and that he is so far away!
 
Thanks for listening.


Momfortwo

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #5 on: Jul 04, 2009, 03:39:03 AM »
Chances are that you will be ordered to pay a portion of the train ticket. 
Also, I wouldn't defend your ex's actions to your child.  When you defend his actions, you are taking on the responsibility for his relationship with her.  Only he is responsible for his relationship with his child, not you.  The only thing that you have to do is comply with the court order and not deny his parenting time.   Other than that, his relationship with his child is up to him to either nurture or destroy. 

MixedBag

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #6 on: Jul 04, 2009, 07:10:38 AM »
I've dealt with long distances -- and three different divorces.
 
And now that you mention the time thing, I've handled it two different ways.
 
For my son -- where Dad and I are 12 hours apart, DAD was (imho), the stickler.  Pick up time was 5:15 pm, period.  So I drove 12 hours, picked up at 5:15 -- MAYBE 5 pm, and then we headed out.  And no over a weekend, we would not drive back to Alabama, and return and stuff, but I did drive about 5 hours to go see my brother a lot.
 
Return time was 7 pm....and I think I blew that once in 11 years.
 
In that divorce, I was ordered to do all the transportation, or if it was by airline, I had to reimburse dad for gas for taking our son to the airport and pay for the airline ticket.
 
I was active duty military -- when we divorced, so I'm don't agree with "I moved, I pay" because I was active duty military too when we married.  Military folks move -- that's part of life.
 
But I think the closer example that I can share is when my girls' dad was 4 hours away from me in Panama City, FL.  Transportation was shared -- and his attorney actually said a weekend starts at 5:00 pm.  I went back to him and said "Ummm....you gonna take off work and come get them?"  We ended up agreeing to 7 pm, and driving half way to a meeting point.  And then on Sundays, we met at 7 pm again and the girls were home by 9 pm or so.
 
So.....NCP picks up at court ordered time, and CP retrieves at court appointed time.
 
IMHO, THAT's how the judge will order it if it becomes a problem.
 
SHARED....think shared.....
 
If it takes 4 hours to get from one home to the other, that travel time should be SHARED.
 
Pick and choose your battles....

MomofTwo

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #7 on: Jul 04, 2009, 09:29:54 AM »
What exactly do your orders state about sharing transportation....does it say 50/50 or equally?  If it does not, then you are not responsible for equal costs or transportation but you do need to negotiate some...You aren't willing to share in transportation or costs but you don't think you should have to reschedule to come and get her.  You really can't have it both ways.
 
If your orders says just to "share",  and does not specify equally in driving or expenses, offer to pay a portion of the train ticket one time a month or offer to drive a portion but not equidistant.  You said he doesn't even take his visitation often.  Figure out your gas costs and time and offer to contribute that to a train ticket.   Sharing does not equate to equally unless the order states that.
 
Cover yourself...offer to pay a portion of one ticket per month in writing or whatever you feel comfortable with, but you don't get to do the I have to work and can't get her. You know what his court ordered visitation is and you shouldn't have scheduled something that conflicts with it.  You not paying is you not interfering with his visitation.  You interfering would be he shows up and you won't allow the visitation.   
 
 

Momfortwo

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #8 on: Jul 04, 2009, 10:36:49 AM »

SHARED....think shared.....

If it takes 4 hours to get from one home to the other, that travel time should be SHARED.

Pick and choose your battles....


Status quo is that it is shared.  I do disagree with your statement though. 

The parent who doesn't move away shouldn't be burdened with the additional travel costs due to the other person choosing to move away.

I will agree that if one of the parents was in the military during the marriage and at the time of the divorce, both parents should share in the cost of transportation, regardless of the distance. 

If the parent were to join the military after the divorce, then that parent should pay the cost of the increased transportation costs.

It simply isn't fair to the parent who didn't move away to be burdened with the expense of added transportation costs for something that they had no say in.  And an ex has no say in where the other parent moves. 

MixedBag

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Re: "Shared" transportation
« Reply #9 on: Jul 04, 2009, 10:54:48 AM »
The advice given was based on this person's situation.
 
I agree too that if a parent moves away, that they should bear that additional responsiblity.
 
But that's not the case here -- because the parent who didn't move, didn't make it an issue in a timely manner.
 
Therefore, they have an order that says "transportation is shared"
 
So -- how are you disagreeing with the statement that you highlighed or quoted in your response?
 
 

 

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