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Author Topic: Need Advice-Moved out of State 8 yrs ago-FL to NJ - want to reduce summer visit  (Read 4539 times)

ChrissyL2

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I am from NJ but got married and moved to FL.  We were married 7 years and had one daughter.  We divorced and I moved back home to NJ with my family and obtained physical custody of my daughter with shared parental rights.  He didn't ask me or my daughter to stay and let us leave the State.  His visitation schedule is up to 8 weeks in the Summer, half of winter recess (alternating xmas/new years) and Spring Break.  We have been divorced since 2002 when our daughter turned 2.  For the first 8 years, he took our daughter very infrequently - a long weekend in the Summer up to 2 weeks in the Summer, sometimes skipped xmas visits and only once took her for Easter Break.  Then, when I remarried and moved to South Jersey and bought a new house and she was starting 3rd grade two years ago, he decided he wanted her for 8 weeks in the Summer.  Because the agreement says he can despite his past record of infrequent visits, I had to let her go.  Now, that our daughter is 11, she doesn't want to go in the Summers for long periods...she has friends and activities and wants to go only 4 or 5 weeks.  Do I have a leg to stand on to revisit this in Court?  He goes months without calling her at times.  Every time she comes back from visiting him, there are issues - severe sunburn, pink eye, earring holes severly infected, didn't shower for several days.  I feel like he is just taking her now to get back and me b/c my life has turned around versus wanting to see his daughter.  I want my daughter to know him and be involved but not to the point where it affects her life here with her friends and life.  She is getting older now so he probably takes her more b/c she can take care of herself.  My heart breaks every time she goes.  I never thought my life would turn out like this.  I had a daughter b/c I want to be there for her always.  I can't imagine how he can just let us go, never really see her for years by his own choice and then suddenly want her more but only to get back at me.  I wonder if there is anything I can do.  I don't want to go back and fight or risk losing my daughter in any way but I feel like it's not fair to her as she gets older to have this situation over her head and be away for such long periods in the Summer.  Plus, we will never be able to take a family vacation or do anything if I never have a time with her when she is off from school available to me to do a vacation, etc.
 
Any advice is helpful  Appreciate you taking the time to read this.


Simplydad

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The short answer is no.....the courts are not going to care about disrupting her life with friends or anything like that.  The best interest of the child will always be to spend time with both parents and the child does not get to choose if they can or cannot go.
 
Now if you have concerns about her well being then you may want to start documenting the issues you are having.  However at 11 years old the child should know they need to bath. Do you have documentation of the severe sumburn (doctor's reports).  Otherwise it will more than likely be a non issue because people get sunburn every day.  Earing holes severly infected? I am assuming that the child had her ears peirced when with dad and it got infected?
 
A lof of the things you mention seem like common things in childhood.  I am not saying that your ex is or is not doing what he is supposed to be doing but what you mentioned does not sound something the courts will consider unless it is frequent occurance.

Giggles

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I have to agree with SimplyDad....many of the issues you pointed out the court really wouldn't care about.
 
 
Let me ask you...if your daughter didn't want to go to school...would you allow that?  No of course not she doesn't have a say in the matter.  Same applies to visiting Dad...she doesn't have a say in the matter....now you on the other hand know more of the situation....Have you tried talking with Dad about the length of time?
 
My YD is 11 and I fully understand that age....and wanting to be and do with friends.
 
Oh and as far as Dad not calling all that often...it is a 2 way street...you should be encouraging DD to call her Dad more often as well.
 
My YD's father and I don't even have a court order for visitation...and we're long distance.  The way we're able to work it is...I let him know when her school breaks are...and he lets me know when he'd like to have her.  He's allowed to call her at any time and if YD wants to call him...she knows where the phone is and his number.  I also on occasion will ask her if she's talked to her Dad lately.  Which then reminds her that she hasn't so she calls him at that time.
 
I learned a long time ago...."family court" is no place for families!! LOL
 
Good luck
Now I'm living....Just another day in Paradise!!

Kitty C.

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I will preface this post by saying that I will try to hold back....but I can't make any promises.......

I was also involved in a LD parenting agreement....between IA and CA.  BF had CO'd ALL summer (from one week after school was out to one week before school started) and EO Christmas.  He was also allowed extended times anytime he would be in the state......and that happened ONLY once, when DS had surgery.  BF didn't call every week and often, when DS would call him, he'd end up either talking to his SM or leaving a message.  Didn't change the fact that DS loved his father dearly.

From the time DS was 6 y.o. till the summer of his 13th year, DS flew unaccompanied every summer and EO X-mas.  I cried every time I put him on a plane.  My SS's BM asked me once how I could do that....putting DS on a plane by himself and sending him so far away for so long........and I turned on her and asked her 'How can I NOT???  That's his FATHER!'  Shut her up real quick.....

Now, for those of you who know me well enough, you also know the next part.  The reason why DS's time with his dad abruptly ended is because his dad died.  In 2002, shortly after DS arrived in CA, his dad was diagnosed with cancer and died 3 weeks later.  It devastated DS...it literally ripped the foundation right out from underneath him.  For a long time, DS showed a lot of anger and it took sometime for me to realize that the anger was from the pain from the loss of his dad.  His life never was easy (LONG story) but his dad's death sent him in a downward spiral.

DS is now 22 and still drifting, lost.  I have done everything I could and then some to try to help him, but there is only so much I can do.  But I am not God...I cannot bring his dad back.

For an eye opener, when DS was around 8, he asked me when his dad was coming to see him and I told him I didn't know, I couldn't answer for him.  Not long after, it changed to 'If Daddy doesn't come see me, I'm not going to go see him!'  I panicked inside, but emphasized to him how much fun he has while he's there, not just with his dad but other family as well.  By putting on a happy face and encouraging him, he continued to go willingly.  But about a year after his dad's death, I asked DS what he thought it might have been like if he wouldn't have been there when his dad died and he immediately turned to me and said 'Oh, Mom!  It would have been HORRIBLE!'

I will repeat what Giggles said...........your child does NOT have a say in whether she wants to go...it is NOT a decision she gets to make, certainly not at that age.  But I will be brutally honest here....all I see in your post is a blatant attempt to deny the father time with his child, an attempt to minimize him in her life.  Be careful of what you wish for.  My SS will be 18 in Feb. and it would not surprise me if he tells BM then that he's leaving...she tried for many years to severely limit his time with DH, just pushing the CO envelope.  SS didn't understand then, but he certainly does now!  We've always lived about 2 blocks away and were lucky to see him 4 days a month when he was little.  Now SS harbors so much animosity towards BM that I truly am fearful for their future relationship.  Is that what you want to create?  Because it is a distinct possibility if you try to minimize or eliminate her father in her life.

You say 'I feel like he is just taking her now to get back and me b/c my life has turned around versus wanting to see his daughter.'  That's a pretty drastic assumption on your part, don't you think?  There was no love lost between DS's dad and I (and there is SO much more to our situation, including BF taking DS without my knowledge back to CA and the resulting interstate custody dispute), so we had ample reasons to hate each other...but we both loved our son.  And that is ALL that counted...whatever history BF and I had together, we set it aside for the sake of our son.

'I don't want to go back and fight or risk losing my daughter in any way but I feel like it's not fair to her as she gets older to have this situation over her head and be away for such long periods in the Summer.  Plus, we will never be able to take a family vacation or do anything if I never have a time with her when she is off from school available to me to do a vacation, etc.'

It's not fair that she spends time with her father?  This situation is hanging over her head??  You make it sound like she's going to the Inquisition!  If you are projecting any of your feelings about this, either consciously or sub-consciously, no wonder she might feel that way.  But if you encourage her, rather than making it sound like some nasty chore or dental procedure she has to endure, she would be MUCH more willing to go.  If you put on a happy face and tell her how much fun she's going to have, you probably would never have to deal with her lack of interest in going.

Now, I'm going to end this particular post for now, because it's taken me over an hour to write it....I've typed and erased more than I've already posted here.  But I won't end this without addressing that very last sentence:

DS and I NEVER celebrated the 4th of July together for EIGHT years.  I even put him on a plane on MY birthday once (since it is in early June).  DS NEVER got to play any summer sports here, because he would just end up leaving halfway through the season.  There are SO many things we never got to do together.  But I DO know what he DID get to do....spend time with his dad and create those memories.  They even went to Winnepeg, Manitoba one summer, so BF could show DS where he grew up.  I thank God every day that I overcame my anxiety and agreed to that trip.

And you know what?  I would have give up ALL my summers and ALL my Christmases with DS and then some if it meant DS could have his dad back!   DS wasn't blind and deaf...he knew BF and I couldn't live together, but he most certainly understood that we both loved him very much.  And I realize that if I would have denied him ANY time with his father, as fleeting as it was, the anger he's dealt with regarding hid dad's death would have been solely aimed at ME.  And deservingly so....

Life is fleeting........the father OR you OR your child could be taken from this physical plane in a heartbeat at anytime.   

Okay.......I'm done..........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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STANDING OVATION!!!!!! Kitty's story is a sad one, but one parents can learn from. She set aside her feelings towards her ex and encouraged the relationship.
 
Children NEED both parents in their life (so long as they aren't abusive or neglectful). Your daughter may be picking up on your anxiety. Remember to place the focus on your DD, NOT on you or BF.
 
My SD has anxiety when she comes here, too, because her BM has told her stuff like "DH doesn't want to see you", and she tries to diminish their relationship by calling him his name, rather than "your dad" and she'll tell her "When you come back to your home", etc. It got SO bad 2 summers ago, that BM was talking to SD on the phone a day before they were getting on the plane to come here, that SD said "I wish I didn't have a Daddy, or a stepmom, or a brother or sister!" and burst into tears on the phone with BM. BM got the reaction she wanted, but it TORTURED SD, because DH was in the room, and she had a hard time all summer dealing with it. She kept apologizing to DH, to me, and to our bios (who were only 1 and 2). She told DH "I didn't mean it. But mom was making me feel so bad!" :( You may not REALIZE that YOUR feelings may be leading her to HER feelings. Try to encourage the relationship. Who knows, maybe she will be happy to go.
 
And I do have to agree that at 11, she is old enough to know how to bathe, and earring holes being infected are common, not necessarily neglect, and sunburn, well, heck, I can coat our kids in it 3x in an hour and sometimes they still get it (we're fair skinned. lol).
 
 

I will preface this post by saying that I will try to hold back....but I can't make any promises.......

I was also involved in a LD parenting agreement....between IA and CA.  BF had CO'd ALL summer (from one week after school was out to one week before school started) and EO Christmas.  He was also allowed extended times anytime he would be in the state......and that happened ONLY once, when DS had surgery.  BF didn't call every week and often, when DS would call him, he'd end up either talking to his SM or leaving a message.  Didn't change the fact that DS loved his father dearly.

From the time DS was 6 y.o. till the summer of his 13th year, DS flew unaccompanied every summer and EO X-mas.  I cried every time I put him on a plane.  My SS's BM asked me once how I could do that....putting DS on a plane by himself and sending him so far away for so long........and I turned on her and asked her 'How can I NOT???  That's his FATHER!'  Shut her up real quick.....

Now, for those of you who know me well enough, you also know the next part.  The reason why DS's time with his dad abruptly ended is because his dad died.  In 2002, shortly after DS arrived in CA, his dad was diagnosed with cancer and died 3 weeks later.  It devastated DS...it literally ripped the foundation right out from underneath him.  For a long time, DS showed a lot of anger and it took sometime for me to realize that the anger was from the pain from the loss of his dad.  His life never was easy (LONG story) but his dad's death sent him in a downward spiral.

DS is now 22 and still drifting, lost.  I have done everything I could and then some to try to help him, but there is only so much I can do.  But I am not God...I cannot bring his dad back.

For an eye opener, when DS was around 8, he asked me when his dad was coming to see him and I told him I didn't know, I couldn't answer for him.  Not long after, it changed to 'If Daddy doesn't come see me, I'm not going to go see him!'  I panicked inside, but emphasized to him how much fun he has while he's there, not just with his dad but other family as well.  By putting on a happy face and encouraging him, he continued to go willingly.  But about a year after his dad's death, I asked DS what he thought it might have been like if he wouldn't have been there when his dad died and he immediately turned to me and said 'Oh, Mom!  It would have been HORRIBLE!'

I will repeat what Giggles said...........your child does NOT have a say in whether she wants to go...it is NOT a decision she gets to make, certainly not at that age.  But I will be brutally honest here....all I see in your post is a blatant attempt to deny the father time with his child, an attempt to minimize him in her life.  Be careful of what you wish for.  My SS will be 18 in Feb. and it would not surprise me if he tells BM then that he's leaving...she tried for many years to severely limit his time with DH, just pushing the CO envelope.  SS didn't understand then, but he certainly does now!  We've always lived about 2 blocks away and were lucky to see him 4 days a month when he was little.  Now SS harbors so much animosity towards BM that I truly am fearful for their future relationship.  Is that what you want to create?  Because it is a distinct possibility if you try to minimize or eliminate her father in her life.

You say 'I feel like he is just taking her now to get back and me b/c my life has turned around versus wanting to see his daughter.'  That's a pretty drastic assumption on your part, don't you think?  There was no love lost between DS's dad and I (and there is SO much more to our situation, including BF taking DS without my knowledge back to CA and the resulting interstate custody dispute), so we had ample reasons to hate each other...but we both loved our son.  And that is ALL that counted...whatever history BF and I had together, we set it aside for the sake of our son.

'I don't want to go back and fight or risk losing my daughter in any way but I feel like it's not fair to her as she gets older to have this situation over her head and be away for such long periods in the Summer.  Plus, we will never be able to take a family vacation or do anything if I never have a time with her when she is off from school available to me to do a vacation, etc.'

It's not fair that she spends time with her father?  This situation is hanging over her head??  You make it sound like she's going to the Inquisition!  If you are projecting any of your feelings about this, either consciously or sub-consciously, no wonder she might feel that way.  But if you encourage her, rather than making it sound like some nasty chore or dental procedure she has to endure, she would be MUCH more willing to go.  If you put on a happy face and tell her how much fun she's going to have, you probably would never have to deal with her lack of interest in going.

Now, I'm going to end this particular post for now, because it's taken me over an hour to write it....I've typed and erased more than I've already posted here.  But I won't end this without addressing that very last sentence:

DS and I NEVER celebrated the 4th of July together for EIGHT years.  I even put him on a plane on MY birthday once (since it is in early June).  DS NEVER got to play any summer sports here, because he would just end up leaving halfway through the season.  There are SO many things we never got to do together.  But I DO know what he DID get to do....spend time with his dad and create those memories.  They even went to Winnepeg, Manitoba one summer, so BF could show DS where he grew up.  I thank God every day that I overcame my anxiety and agreed to that trip.

And you know what?  I would have give up ALL my summers and ALL my Christmases with DS and then some if it meant DS could have his dad back!   DS wasn't blind and deaf...he knew BF and I couldn't live together, but he most certainly understood that we both loved him very much.  And I realize that if I would have denied him ANY time with his father, as fleeting as it was, the anger he's dealt with regarding hid dad's death would have been solely aimed at ME.  And deservingly so....

Life is fleeting........the father OR you OR your child could be taken from this physical plane in a heartbeat at anytime.   

Okay.......I'm done..........for now...........


ocean

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I agree...the only thing you may get in court is if you wanted a 2 week span each summer so you can take a vacation with her. The rest, family court will not care too much about. She only has a few years left. She can keep in touch with her friends by texting, emails, facebook... Many kids go to camps and away anyway. Maybe she can got a camp at dad's house (look to see if there are town opportunities and offer to sign her up). Your house is not going to be the same as dad's house. She is old enough to make a sandwich, get her own drinks, brush her hair and teeth. Send her with everything and tell her that girls take care of themselves in the bathroom to just ask dad if she can take a shower after dinner or in the morning. If you get child support for her through the summer, offer to send her with some money so he has a few dollars to spend on her. Send her with some games, camera to take pics, water games (mask, goggles, ones you blow up) if he has a pool/beach nearby. Tell her she is lucky to go to Fla all summer.

ChrissyL2

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  Sometimes you just need to hear it.  I think bottom line is I just miss my daughter tremendously when she is gone. 

Giggles

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  Sometimes you just need to hear it.  I think bottom line is I just miss my daughter tremendously when she is gone. 

 
I understand that completely.  Every summer when my YD and DS get on those planes...I bawl my eyes out...AFTER they are boarded.
 
The saying I like best for this board is..."Love your kids MORE than you hate your X"
 
Like bloom said....Kids do NEED both thier parents in thier lives.
 
I have an OD (she's now 19).  Her father and I divorced when she was very young (2 y/o).  Originally my X started with custody due to the fact that I wasn't sure at the time that I could take care of myself much less a toddler so I put HER needs first.  We eventually went to 50/50 and it worked GREAT.  When she was 5 X got orders and the courts allowed him to maintain custody and move with her.  It would have been an extremely LONG distance so I did what I could to move closer.  After those battles with the courts and spending what would have amounted to her college education we realized that we should be the ones making the decisions for OUR child.  We both started putting her needs first! You will NEED to learn to talk with her Father and be able to "co-parent" very soon.  Her teens are coming and she will try and manipulate the BOTH of you.  My OD tried that but thankfully her father and I would discuss the issues and come to a joint conclusion.  My OD is now a very well rounded, stable young woman.  She grew up knowing that she could rely on BOTH her father and I.
Now I'm living....Just another day in Paradise!!

Kitty C.

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  Sometimes you just need to hear it.  I think bottom line is I just miss my daughter tremendously when she is gone. 

 
I can feel for you, Chrissy...........BT, DT in spades.  When I said I cried every time I put DS on a plane, I certainly didn't do it in front of him.  He flew in and out of a smaller airport (Eppley in Omaha) and I would watch his plane take off and just lose it.
 
BUT, since he started flying when he was little, we had a game we played when he returned.  He was always escorted on and off the plane by an attendant, so when he came back, he would almost always be last to appear in the jetway...holding the hand of the attendant escorting him.  But once he would see me, he would let go and come at me at a dead run and practically bowl me over!  He'd lock his arms around my neck and just hang on!  So it got to be a game....a day or so before he was due to return, I would call him and ask him 'Are you going to make Mommy a bowling pin??' and he always said 'You bet, Mommy!'  I found out from his dad that DS did the same to him!
 
Of course, as he got older, he was a 'little' more subdued about it...but not by much!  Then when his dad died, I was determined he would not fly home alone, so I flew to CA for the memorial.  On the way home, we had to change planes in Denver and it was the first time I'd been there since DIA was rebuilt.  But DS had been through there many times and HE showed ME around!  If anything, all his flying alone gave him a self-confidence in a way I would have never been able to provide.  And he always 'made friends' on the plane...I even had some adults through the years who would tell me about their conversations with DS and how much they enjoyed it.  Made me proud!
 
Chrissy, I was forced to put my own feelings aside for the sake of my child.  If I hadn't done so, I would hate to think how it all would have turned out.  Someone once told me LONG ago that we don't raise children, we're raising ADULTS, which is absolutely true.  Our role as parents is to teach them how to adapt and thrive in the real and adult world and anything we do that hinders that growth and education is only a detriment to the child....JMO.
 
I've seen first-hand what can happen when a parent 'only wants their child to be HAPPY'........if a child never experiences disappointment, how will they handle it when they become an adult?  Because we ALL know that the adult world is full of disappointments.  SS's mom frequently said she only wanted her sons to be happy and my only thought was 'Boy, are you setting them up for a rude awakening when they turn 18!'
 
Your daughter might be very disappointed that she would be missing events or time with friends while she's with her dad...but when she's an adult, she will have learned what committment to family means and have an established relationship with her father and other family members.  And she will learn other life lessons along the way, learning them in some ways that will be invaluable to her.  And it will be up to you, Mom, to make sure she has the opportunity to learn those lessons.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

 

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