S.P.A.R.C.

Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center
crazy gamesriddles and jokesfunny picturesdeath psychic!mad triviafunny & odd!pregnancy testshape testwin custodyrecipes

Author Topic: Will it stop?  (Read 18761 times)

Momfortwo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 119
  • Karma: -60
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #10 on: Oct 08, 2009, 04:53:24 AM »

I wish that people would stop being so territorial with children's affections.  Having a parent leave for deployment can be extremely hard on a child.  Not only do they not get to see their parent, but they also worry about them and whether or not they will ever come back.  Why would anyone want to add to that stress by making it so they can't see the rest of that part of their family either - and also worry that they may not only lose their parent but a whole section of their family?  What a horrible thing to put a child through!

 
And I wish stepparents would stop overstepping their boundaries.  It is hard on a child being away from a parent for extended periods of time.  It's even harder when they are away from both parents.  Which is why it is better for the child to be with the mother over the stepmother. 
 
Judges have also been known (and this is more likely than what happened in your case) not to give the stepparent the deployed parent's parenting time.  Why?  Because the stepparent has no legal standing and no right to parenting time.  A judge may order visits (but they wouldn't be equal to what the parenting time is) depending on the circumstances and how close they live to each other. 
 
BTW, it is common for ROFR to apply to stepparents.  The whole purpose of ROFR is to give the other parent more time with the child when the other isn't available. 
 
 
 
 


MomofTwo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Karma: -2
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #11 on: Oct 08, 2009, 06:38:52 AM »
Absolutely agree with Mom42 on ROFR - it is very common for this to be used when only a step parent is available and not the parent to care for/spend time with the children.   

Also agree with Mom42 - a step parent is a legal stranger and many judges will not side with giving them a deployed paren'ts parenting time over biological parent. Visitation ... maybe, and again based on the circumstances -length of deployment,  current schedule, distance, age of child, additional siblings... Parenting time is considered a  fundamental personal privilege of a parent and most courts will not view with giving that time to a step parent.  Only recently did one state change their view on this (giving deployed parents parenting time to a family member) and the person being deployed is to  have to actually notify the courts prior.  This is already facing great legal challenges.

I have seen cases go both ways but most times, biological parent retains custody while other parent is deployed with some sort of possible altered visitation schedule for the step parent.  They do not take precedence over a parent.   

The law that is in place is that a parent not deployed, cannot go to court and file for custodial / visitation schedule changes when the other  parent is deployed.  That is the law in place to preserve the relationship of the parent/child.  There is no law or governing statutes that protect a step-parent/ child relationship when the other parent is deployed.   What needs to be done is to focus on the parent that is deployed and devise an altered schedule of allowing video conferencing for the deployed parent when they are gone and cannot facilitate their visits.  The child knowing they are safe and having the ability to see that parent and talk to them is far more important than anything else.

gemini3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: 1004
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #12 on: Oct 08, 2009, 07:25:24 AM »

And I wish stepparents would stop overstepping their boundaries.  It is hard on a child being away from a parent for extended periods of time.  It's even harder when they are away from both parents.  Which is why it is better for the child to be with the mother over the stepmother. 

Judges have also been known (and this is more likely than what happened in your case) not to give the stepparent the deployed parent's parenting time.  Why?  Because the stepparent has no legal standing and no right to parenting time.  A judge may order visits (but they wouldn't be equal to what the parenting time is) depending on the circumstances and how close they live to each other. 

BTW, it is common for ROFR to apply to stepparents.  The whole purpose of ROFR is to give the other parent more time with the child when the other isn't available. 

 
I guess I'm not clear on what you consider step-parents "overstepping their boundaries".  What exactly do you feel a step-parents boundaries are?  Do you think that forming a close relationship with their step-child is overstepping boundaries?  Or, maybe, maintaining that relationship while her husband is deployed is overstepping boundaries?
 
I'm also not clear on what you think the difference is between "visitation" and "parenting time".  Because, legally, there is no difference.  The only difference is in the terminology used.
 
Anyone who has a familial relationship with the child has a legal standing to request time with that child - be it grandparents, aunts and uncles, or step-parents.
 
And, the children have a right to have a relationship with their step-parent.  What a weird situation it would be for a child to spend time every week, or every other week, with an adult and never form any kind of bond or relationship with them.

gemini3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: 1004
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #13 on: Oct 08, 2009, 07:42:34 AM »

Also agree with Mom42 - a step parent is a legal stranger and many judges will not side with giving them a deployed paren'ts parenting time over biological parent. Visitation ... maybe, and again based on the circumstances -length of deployment,  current schedule, distance, age of child, additional siblings...

Again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology.
 
 

Parenting time is considered a  fundamental personal privilege of a parent and most courts will not view with giving that time to a step parent.

Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege".  And I believe it is the right of a child to be able to spend time with, and have a relationship with, all of the people in their family without feeling like they are betraying their loyalty to another member of their family.
 

Only recently did one state change their view on this (giving deployed parents parenting time to a family member) and the person being deployed is to  have to actually notify the courts prior.  This is already facing great legal challenges.

Not sure what singular case you are referring to, but there have been many instances of this in the state where I live, and also in many other states.  My husbands case is one of them - and I'm pretty sure that's not the "only once" you are referring to.

I have seen cases go both ways but most times, biological parent retains custody while other parent is deployed with some sort of possible altered visitation schedule for the step parent.  They do not take precedence over a parent.

No one was discussing the step-parent having custody of the child.  We're discussing visitation with the child while the father is deployed.  Continuing visitation doesn't give the step-parent custody.


The law that is in place is that a parent not deployed, cannot go to court and file for custodial / visitation schedule changes when the other  parent is deployed.  That is the law in place to preserve the relationship of the parent/child.  There is no law or governing statutes that protect a step-parent/ child relationship when the other parent is deployed.   What needs to be done is to focus on the parent that is deployed and devise an altered schedule of allowing video conferencing for the deployed parent when they are gone and cannot facilitate their visits.  The child knowing they are safe and having the ability to see that parent and talk to them is far more important than anything else.

 
Yes, that law was passed last year to protect the thousands of service members who find themselves served with divorce/custody paperwork while they are deployed and unable to respond.  I think the least we can do for the men and women who give their lives to the service of this country is protect the relationship they have with their children while they are away.  In my opinion, part of that relationship is the family dynamic.  The familial relationship the child has with both sides of their divorced family is important.  Just as the CP has routines, rules, and family traditions that they follow with their child, the NCP has the same.  And the step-parent is a part of that family unit.  Neither family unit is more important than the other - they are BOTH important to the child. 
 
The child should be able to maintain as much stability as possible, and that includes the relationships that child has with the NCP's family.
 
What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections.  As I stated in my first post - if you wouldn't have an issue with a child visiting their aunts and uncles or grandparents, then you shouldn't have an issue with them visiting their step-parent.  The step-parent is a part of the child's family.

Kitty C.

  • Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2612
  • Karma: 938
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 08, 2009, 08:37:11 AM »
I see both sides of this........what is legally allowable (depending on the state involved) and what would be the right thing to do by the child.  In situations like this, I truly believe that it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.  We personally have no idea what exactly the relationship is between the step-parent and child....and if there is a significant emotional attachment, IMO there should be at least SOME kind of visitation/parenting time established while the father is deployed.  To do so otherwise would be a serious disruption in the child's life. 
 
In a previous post it was mentioned that contact with deployed military members is iffy at best, but I've seen and heard instances of video phone contacts with family.  Given that it's difficult enough to set this up, it would be almost impossible for a military member to request this for TWO locations, let alone one.   And I know that they make an extra effort around the holidays to make this happen, if at all possible.  Wouldn't it be tragic for the child if they were to find out that they could have talked to and actually SEEN their father and never got that chance?  If this child is old enough to realize why Daddy is away for so long, then they are also old enough to understand that it is a dangerous situation.......the child's stress of worrying about the father should not be compounded by severely limiting contact with the very people who are also closest to him.
 
Bottom line, it really doesn't make a difference what is legal or allowable, it's whatever can be agreed to in court and what the respective families can work out for the sake of the child.  And that is soley based on the emotional attachment the child has with not only the father, but his entire family as well.  It's what's best for the child.....and isn't that what we're here for in the first place??
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


gemini3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: 1004
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #15 on: Oct 08, 2009, 08:56:02 AM »
One more thing -
 
If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.

MomofTwo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Karma: -2
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #16 on: Oct 08, 2009, 09:06:39 AM »
Regarding "again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology"  You are correct, but out of respect to all NCP, I was using a more appropriate term.  Visitation has the connotation of just that, a child visiting their parent and not actually residing with them.  In many states, there is a push to stop using the terms CP and NCP because of the negative conotation to the non primary residential parent.   

Regarding "Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege"... I disagree.  Parenting time/visitation, or whatever you choose to call it - is a right, not an obligation.  There are many ncp's who have visitation on paper, yet don't bother with their children.  I don't care to argue semantics..bottom line is, call it what you want, but time with their children is not an obligation.  My ex hasn't called or bothered to use his vistation to see his children in four years.  He apparently has not felt obligated to bother with them.  I don't disagree children should know both sides of their family, but it is most definitely not an obligation.  (don't get me wrong, personally it is - parents ARE obligated to their children, but we all know a NCP who doesn't use their visitatin can't be filed with contempt for not doing so. So, it is a right/privelege, not an obligation).

I was not referring to one case of a step parent being given the parenting time of a deployed person, I was referring to state statutes actually reflecting this.  The only state to do this is Tennessee and in that state, it is facing opposition already.

"What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections..." I disagree, but that is only my opinion.  I think Kitty summed it up perfectly, it is wrong to assume all step parents have a loving relationship with their step children.   Each case needs to be evaluated individually on their own merits and based on the best intersts of that child(ren.)   I was in no way referrring to anything more than a legal perspective and legally many states do not allow parenting time to be assigned to anyone other than the biological parent.  Custody agreements are between two people and the court.  That agreement does not (unless otherwise specified) apply to anyone else and most states do not allow you to designate your parenting time to someone else.   

Again, I am not taking a stand that a step parent should or should not see the child while the parent is deployed.  I have been in the situation where my step-daughter came to spend time with me/her siblings - when her Dad was not around.  I loved her and welcomed her to do that every time it occured....but had she or her mother wanted to amend that, at any time I would have done so. Not because I didn't want her around, but because I understood and out of respect.  For the record, she is legally no longer my step daughter but I talk to her every week and she is still always welcome to visit and she does.   

Gestalt

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 73
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #17 on: Oct 08, 2009, 09:34:58 AM »
One more thing -

If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.

What? That makes no sense. CP is not obligated to give up the time that she is guaranteed by the court order because dad's lifestyle choices end up costing him time with the child.

Before people start bashing me as a soldier hater- hubby is a 12 years vet- his service was a choice. In making that choice he accepted both the benefits and the consequences of enlistment.

gemini3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: 1004
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #18 on: Oct 08, 2009, 11:30:39 AM »


One more thing -

If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.


What? That makes no sense. CP is not obligated to give up the time that she is guaranteed by the court order because dad's lifestyle choices end up costing him time with the child.

Before people start bashing me as a soldier hater- hubby is a 12 years vet- his service was a choice. In making that choice he accepted both the benefits and the consequences of enlistment.


CP is getting time that was guaranteed to the NCP by the court due to the NCP's service to our country.  So, in making up the visitation, she's not losing any time.  By not allowing the make up the NCP is losing time and the CP is gaining.

I think that saying that it's a "lifestyle" choice is a bit myopic.  It's a little bit more than that.  Especially since refusing to an order to deploy can get you court marshalled.   It's not like he is missing his visitation because he chose to take a trip to Spain - he was ordered to deploy.

Don't forget that you have the choice of your lifestyle due to the sacrifices that our service members make.

gemini3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: 1004
    • View Profile
Re: Will it stop?
« Reply #19 on: Oct 08, 2009, 11:58:49 AM »

Regarding "again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology"  You are correct, but out of respect to all NCP, I was using a more appropriate term.  Visitation has the connotation of just that, a child visiting their parent and not actually residing with them.  In many states, there is a push to stop using the terms CP and NCP because of the negative conotation to the non primary residential parent.


Yes, I get that.  You said that a judge wouldn't give a step-parent the NCP's parenting time, but would maybe give them visitation.  I was saying that there is no legal difference between the two terms. We're on the same page.


Regarding "Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege"... I disagree.  Parenting time/visitation, or whatever you choose to call it - is a right, not an obligation.  There are many ncp's who have visitation on paper, yet don't bother with their children.  I don't care to argue semantics..bottom line is, call it what you want, but time with their children is not an obligation.  My ex hasn't called or bothered to use his vistation to see his children in four years.  He apparently has not felt obligated to bother with them.  I don't disagree children should know both sides of their family, but it is most definitely not an obligation.  (don't get me wrong, personally it is - parents ARE obligated to their children, but we all know a NCP who doesn't use their visitatin can't be filed with contempt for not doing so. So, it is a right/privelege, not an obligation).


Yes.  Parenting time is a right.  NOT a priviledge - which is what you originally stated it was.  And we're not discussing an NCP who doesn't want to exercise his visitation.  We're talking about a soon-to-be deployed service member who wants his child to maintain a relationship with his side of the family while he is deployed.



"What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections..." I disagree, but that is only my opinion.  I think Kitty summed it up perfectly, it is wrong to assume all step parents have a loving relationship with their step children.   Each case needs to be evaluated individually on their own merits and based on the best intersts of that child(ren.)


I totally agree that a child should not be forced to spend time with a step-parent while their parent is away if that child does not have a relationship with the step-parent.  My statement about being territorial was in response to MomforTwo's post that said:  "The child should be with you while the father is deployed.  If the stepmom lives close by, you can let her visit your child.  But she's not going to get his parenting time.  Nor should she.  She's not the mother, you are."  Which was, in my opinion, territorial.  (She's not the mother, you are.)  There was no credence given to any relationship that the child and step-mother may have.



I was in no way referrring to anything more than a legal perspective and legally many states do not allow parenting time to be assigned to anyone other than the biological parent.  Custody agreements are between two people and the court.  That agreement does not (unless otherwise specified) apply to anyone else and most states do not allow you to designate your parenting time to someone else.


I don't think that there's any statutes that say a parent can't allow their child to spend time with someone else during their parenting time, or vice-versa.  I think that is usually handled on a case by case basis.  It would get a little hairy otherwise... I mean, what if the kids wanted to spend a couple nights with grandma while they're on dad's parenting time?  It's the same thing.


Again, I am not taking a stand that a step parent should or should not see the child while the parent is deployed.  I have been in the situation where my step-daughter came to spend time with me/her siblings - when her Dad was not around.  I loved her and welcomed her to do that every time it occured....but had she or her mother wanted to amend that, at any time I would have done so. Not because I didn't want her around, but because I understood and out of respect.  For the record, she is legally no longer my step daughter but I talk to her every week and she is still always welcome to visit and she does.   


I think it's awesome that you have a great relationship with your step-daughter, and that her mom was willing to share her affections with you.  Unfortunately, there are people out there (and apparently on this board) who are not so generous, and who are basically only "giving" their ex's visitation with the kids because they "have to" due to court order.  They view the children as their property.  I don't agree with that point of view.  I think that those parents need to get over themselves and realize that their kids are going to have a relationship of some sort with their step-parents, and that it's better for the kids if it's a good one, so they should stop trying to interfere with it.

 

Copyright © SPARC - A Parenting Advocacy Group
Use of this website does not constitute a client/attorney relationship and this site does not provide legal advice.
If you need legal assistance for divorce, child custody, or child support issues, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.