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Author Topic: Help w/noncustodial parent getting child to go to school in Washington State.  (Read 6744 times)

Barney

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   I am a concerned father who had my relationship restored with my 14 year old son just this last spring.  I started having concerns prior to the end of last school year with his attendance and grades.  Since starting high school as a freshman this year he has accumulated some 27 days unexcused absences.
   Fortunately, his mother has left those absences unexcused. After talking with the school they are going to proceed with instituting Washington's Becca bill.
   Is there anything more as a noncustodial parent that I can be doing, ie. filing papers with the courts, at risk youth petitions, cps reports etc?
   When talking with mom we are both for allowing the court system to take our son to juvenile as directed by the judge as the law will allow; however my concern is that my sons' mother has just given up on her parenting responsibilities and nothing will change on her end.
   There is an obvious total lack of respect for my son towards his mother just in this aspect of their relationship alone.  This child is her third child in which she has had these issues with and the other two children did not graduate high school and either never advanced to college or have been dropped from college because of poor academics.
   I am not necessarily looking for a big court battle with trying to modify custody but I would like to be able to do as much as I can to try and help them hold eachother accountable for both of their roles in this relationship.
   Thankyou in advance and any insight is greatly appreciated.


Kitty C.

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Just out of curiosity....what is Washington's Becca bill and how would that help in your case?
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

Barney

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The Becca law is aimed at keeping kids in school and states that it was enacted to:
 
1.  Protect children from endangering themselves
2.  Keep families together through assessment and treatment services
3.  Provide tools for schools, parents and Juvenile Court to keep kids in school
4.  Hold children and parents accountable to the order of the court
 
In regards to truancy it is the schools that must file the petition with the court system when the student reaches five unexcused absences in a month or ten days in a school year.
 
That's what the law is in a nut shell. As far as answering the second part of your question; I guess the idea is to hope that your child doesn't develop a taste for juvenile.

MrCustodyCoach

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It's clear she has a long and storied past in this regard and I don't think that there is much you're going to do as an NCP to help them realize the err of their ways.

Your only chance is to take custody of the boy and do it direct.  You clearly have a good case to do so, I'm wondering why you wouldn't pursue it.
Mr. Custody Coach - Win Child Custody "Better Prepared, Better Outcome"

*The opinions in this post are solely my own and do not represent the only way to address any particular issue.

Barney

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   I am afraid that custody modification is the next step. Not that I won't pursue this matter. I am trying to be calm and hopeful that with a little assistance (both from myself and now the court) his mother will feel more empowered to actually use outside avenues to help repair what underlying issues my son is using as an excuse to walk all over her.
   Having said all of that, I hope I am correct is interpreting your statement "and do it direct" is to mean; retain a custody attorney.
   Should this be done before using our local family law office and trying to get a hearing to go in front of a judge or commissioner to establish my concerns with the courts?
   I also feel it noteworthy to add that I am also dealing with a child that naturally has some inherent feelings of "what happens to mom" if I was to go live with dad.  His mother has not worked for around seven years receives dissability payments of around $650.00 per month.  With the support order modification done earlier this year that brings her total monthly income to just under $1300.00.  There is also a housing allowance involved.   
   I feel that my son has taken all of this into consideration and is well aware and most certainly feels like he his her meal ticket and feeds off of this.  On the other had she knows this too and is unwilling to implement discipline or exercise her authority as a parent to do what she needs to do.
   Getting an attorney to prove this in front of a judge without some actual fact finding is my real concern.  At what point will a judge take into consideration what the child tells him or her? Should I pursue getting others involved first and what is the best way to do that?         


MomofTwo

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In your original post, you said you just amended your relationship with this child very recently.  What were the circumstances leading up to that? How long were you not involved?  Her limited income is not just cause for a custody change.  Do you have shared legal custody currently? 

Barney

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In the summer (August) of 1999, my now wife and I were served papers accusing me of physical abuse and her youngest son of sexual abuse.  At the time I was working 6 days a week and going to school full time.  We were in the middle of finalizing our wedding arrangements for November 20th, 1999.  I retained an attorney at that time and after consulting with him and going over all of the demands and accusations of the documents I finally came to the decision that I; A) Did not have the money to fight all of this. B) Was not going to put my son through all of fighting, alienation etc. involved with all of this. C) Was not going to put her son through the process. (boys were 4 and 6 at the time) D) This was obvioulsy in perfect timing with my new marriage. F) I was not sure where we would be living after I finished school.  G) I knew my son would still want to have contact with me later.  So I signed all of the paperwork to include a restraining order until he was 18.
So some nine and a half years later I get paperwork in the mail to modify my support.  I contact the same lawyer and have him go over the papers with me.  The day before the hearing at the courthouse my attorney gets a message from my sons' mother stating that "if I am at the hearing she will sign paperwork to rescind the restraining order paperwork".
We had the papers drawn up, signed and entered with the court. Within a month I was at their front door picking him up.
I referenced her income only for the purpose of my son knowing what that would eventually do to her financially with him not being there.
Legal custody as it is written or the boxes are checked in the current papers that were entered into court stipulate that medical and education decisions are hers and I have a say in religious matters.
 

gemini3

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Your son is obviously going through a hard time.  I can relate because I was estranged from my own father for ten years.  I dropped out of school, ran away from home, and generally did whatever I could to make a giant mess of my life.  Unfortunately, the problems your son is having will not be corrected overnight.  Fortunately, your presence in his life can have a healing effect on him.
 
My suggestion would be to let his mother handle this issue with your son at this time.  You showing up after ten years and trying to assert your authority over him is not going to have the intended effect - and will probably have the opposite.  I think he will resent it if you go that route.
 
In my opinion, I think you should focus on re-building your relationship with your son and earning his trust and respect.  Only then can you have any impact on his behavior.  This will take time a commitment on your part, and expect that he will push you away at first.  But, if you show him that you're going to be there, that you love him and care about him, and that you regret the years that you lost with him, I think he will come around.
 
Good luck, and congratulations on the opportunity to reconnect with your son.

smtotwo

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DH and I are dealing with a similar situation. Pot, truancy, disrespect and disregard for mother. For 2 yrs he had 2 sneak to see us when he visited maternal grandmother. He had a time adjusting, its been almost a year. He knows 1) we have rules that apply to both him and my bio son. 2) consequences. His mother could not control him. We think this is because he wanted/needed his father. We have not had the attitude problems his mother had. 1 rules. 2 consequences.

MixedBag

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smtotwo -- hope you noticed the date on this original thread.....it's been a while, and I think there was some stuff lost in the recent crash at this site.

 

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