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Author Topic: help with drafting a letter, please  (Read 6080 times)

bloom6372

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help with drafting a letter, please
« on: Feb 16, 2011, 09:46:21 PM »
My SD is at about 1st grade level in her work. She had to repeat Kindergarten, and now is on the path to failing second grade. BM put off the testing for ADHD, put off allowing DH to request the IEP/504 Process be started, and put off tutoring (DH offered to pay for it in 2009, and continued to tell her every few months, and she just responded 2.5 weeks ago). She hasn't had SD start the tutoring that DH is paying for (it's online, and there's a parent account to monitor the work). My DH wants to request that BM allow SD to "try" a school year with us to see if the programs and services available on our military base can help SD get back on track. He just doesn't know how to say it without flat out saying "I don't think you're taking care of her needs, so I will if you'll let me". Here's what he is willing to propose:
-Maintain joint physical and legal custody
-DH primary parent for a trial period of one full school year, beginning August 1. If SD achieves and maintains, or exceeds, grade level, then DH will maintain primary physical custody.
-DH will pay a lower CS and pay for SD to visit BM for Christmas break (he'd also make up a schedule should he maintain custody after the one school year, which will be the same time he is stationed back in the US) OR he will pay a higher CS and BM will pay for travel... We aren't worried about the money if it means SD will get the help she needs, and BM is all about money, so we figure it'd be an added incentive.
-DH will email BM atleast once a week (he'll set the same day each week) to let BM know what happened during the week and what is upcoming for SD. He will also reply within 24 hours to any emails she sends him regarding SD
-2 phone calls a week (on specified times). These can either be on the phone or on Skype. More as SD wishes
-Email access to SD (we'd monitor her internet usage). We'd set up an acct just for SD to email BM and her family.
-Copies of all progress reports, report cards, notes home, etc.
-Results of any doctor/dental appointments, and notice of all appointments, events, activities, etc.
-BM would get all but 3 weeks of summer (normally, she has only 3 weeks of summer).
-Copies of school work sent every 2 weeks.
-Letters in the mail from SD every 2 weeks (more as SD wants).
-Emails with pictures atleast once a month (we usually do more, but if we don't take many, we don't want her complaining).
 
DH doesn't know how to write up the proposal to her. In the past, he had written her a letter requesting she allow SD to come live here during his 3 year tour. She was going to let her, but her then BF (now DH) told her not to, because after 3 years, she "wouldn't be able to get SD back after 3 years". DH is NOT about taking SD from BM, he's about getting SD help.  Any ideas on the letter?
 
Also, BM does NOT want anything through the courts if she isn't primary parent (that's what DH was told about the last proposal). If they just did a notarized stipulation and DH waited until the end of his tour here to submit it to the Courts, would that be okay (when he would get to be primary custodian if SD's grades are good)? He wants to do whatever it takes to get SD here, but he also needs to cover his butt. SD would be here for 10 months-would that be long enough if he filed with the Courts to keep primary when he returns?


ocean

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #1 on: Feb 16, 2011, 10:17:00 PM »
Are you still out of the country?

bloom6372

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #2 on: Feb 16, 2011, 11:46:13 PM »
Yes, until 2012.

ocean

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #3 on: Feb 17, 2011, 06:25:44 AM »
How about not so detailed the first time...or just add one or two of the things that would be important to her...(child support and XXX).

Ex,

As you know xx has been having a very hard time in school since Kindergarten. I would like to work with you to get her back on track. Would you consider sending her here for in August for the next school year and see how she does? I would agree to keep child support the same for the year or cut it in half and I will pay for her airfare at Christmas to see you. She can stay with you this summer after school so you have some quality time with her and then have her come here for school. I am not looking to change anything in the courts, just a notarized letter that she will be with me for the next school year to enroll her in school and for doctor appointments. Please let me know if this is something you would consider and I will email you with a more detailed plan to see if you want to add anything. We need to work together and get her back on track.

You

gemini3

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #4 on: Feb 17, 2011, 06:43:15 AM »
I agree with what ocean said.  I think you risk her balking if she sees that he wants to keep SD if her grades improve.  She knows she hasn't done what she should have, and I'm sure she can figure out that SD is going to do better with you guys - so she would in essence be signing away custody. 
 
Start with step 1, which is getting SD there for the school year, and focus just on that.


MixedBag

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #5 on: Feb 17, 2011, 07:05:54 AM »
And make sure that in all that you are saying that the military will consider the child "command sponsored" so that she can be enrolled in school and stuff.  A notorized letter might not do the trick.

bloom6372

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #6 on: Feb 17, 2011, 07:24:40 AM »
Thanks guys! I will show that to DH :)
 
And MixedBag--she is already command sponsored. She's on DH's orders and Area Clearance, so she can come live here no problem :) We made sure to get her on it when we came, and we double checked with the schools here, and that's all they'll need to allow her to enroll.
 

And make sure that in all that you are saying that the military will consider the child "command sponsored" so that she can be enrolled in school and stuff.  A notorized letter might not do the trick.

bloom6372

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #7 on: Feb 17, 2011, 08:07:37 AM »

I agree with what ocean said.  I think you risk her balking if she sees that he wants to keep SD if her grades improve.  She knows she hasn't done what she should have, and I'm sure she can figure out that SD is going to do better with you guys - so she would in essence be signing away custody. 

Start with step 1, which is getting SD there for the school year, and focus just on that.

 
How long after we get her should we file for primary, then? We'd want to have DH have primary before he returns to the states, otherwise, she'd go back to BM primarily and we'd have to fight all over to get her back (meaning we'd have to wait til the end of the next school year)...

Kitty C.

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #8 on: Feb 17, 2011, 11:23:17 AM »
'-DH primary parent for a trial period of one full school year, beginning August 1. If SD achieves and maintains, or exceeds, grade level, then DH will maintain primary physical custody.'
 
If the objective is only to get the child the educational help she needs, do you think this statement would be enough to light a fire under BM to do what she's supposed to do?  Sometimes people like her just need to have their feet held to the fire before they finally take action.  If she knows that she could lose custody if SD doesn't improve, maybe she would finally get SD the help she desperately needs.  Do you think she would do that?  If so, then I would include that in your letter.  But if you think it makes no difference to her, leave it out for now.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

bloom6372

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #9 on: Feb 18, 2011, 12:56:26 AM »

'-DH primary parent for a trial period of one full school year, beginning August 1. If SD achieves and maintains, or exceeds, grade level, then DH will maintain primary physical custody.'

If the objective is only to get the child the educational help she needs, do you think this statement would be enough to light a fire under BM to do what she's supposed to do?  Sometimes people like her just need to have their feet held to the fire before they finally take action.  If she knows that she could lose custody if SD doesn't improve, maybe she would finally get SD the help she desperately needs.  Do you think she would do that?  If so, then I would include that in your letter.  But if you think it makes no difference to her, leave it out for now.

 
I honestly don't think so. Even when she was COed to get the testing done, it took 7 months for her to set it up, and that only happened because DH contacted her attorney and threatened to do it himself and then to contact the Court. DH and I thought it'd be good to have that in there, so we wouldn't have to worry about going to Court after the next school year (if she agrees to letting him have this school year) if SD is doing good. But, I guess he could contact her halfway through the year and propose keeping SD if she's doing well (which we think she'll be able to meet grade level with us, between our constant help and the programs available here), and if she says no, I guess he could file with the Courts.

gemini3

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Re: help with drafting a letter, please
« Reply #10 on: Feb 18, 2011, 07:21:11 AM »

How long after we get her should we file for primary, then? We'd want to have DH have primary before he returns to the states, otherwise, she'd go back to BM primarily and we'd have to fight all over to get her back (meaning we'd have to wait til the end of the next school year)...

 
 
I can't say, because it depends on how things go when she's there with you for the school year.  You don't really know how things will go once she's there, how BM will handle it, etc.  That's why I say focus on step 1, since you don't have what you need yet to move to step 2.
 
My personal feeling is that, if you fight for primary now, it probably won't be enough.  The court has no guarantee that she will improve with DH.  But, once she's over there for a while, and has shown consistent improvement - then you have some ammunition.  Plus DH will have to deal with traveling back and forth for the hearings, etc.  I also think that, if you put language in the letter about DH retaining custody if SD improves at school, BM will likely balk because she'll feel like the plan is for DH to get SD over there and never give her back.  So you don't want to risk that.  You want to smooth everything over with BM so that you can get SD over there and get her on the right track.  Once that happens, then decide what to do when DH gets orders.
 
I always think it's best to focus on the child's needs.  The child's immediate need is to get into a more stable situation so that her education can improve.  Getting custody changed is really your need and DH's need.  If SD comes over and improves, and DH gets orders, and SD going back to BM is imminent, then a change in custody becomes the child's need - and then you should act on it.

 

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