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Author Topic: Child has missed a substantial time in school while residing with CP.  (Read 1902 times)


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I have access to the child's school records and have found the following:

absent from school 19 times during the year 2004 and tardy 4 times, 20 times during the year 2005, and tardy 2 times. He has been absent 10 times this year and it is only June. Additionally 2 absences of those absences have been unexcused. He has also been tardy twice this year.

Might this represent a substantial change of circumstances?



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You need not just the numbers...
« Reply #1 on: Jun 06, 2006, 10:15:13 AM »
You need not just the numbers, you need the specific dates. Also, get the doctor's records and look at dates of service with the doctor and the dates not in school. This can prove there is considerable helath problems with child -- which you are not being apprised of -- or that CP's allegations that they are for doctor's appointments/illnesses are incorrect. (And CP will allege illness.)

SS was having trouble in school with absences etc. SS was 5 when the trouble started and is now 15. SS is a lost cause (another story and very long) because we did not have enough $$ to get a lawyer and DH is unable to go pro se due to learning disabilities.

We found that SS was absent on every Monday if BM had to come get him from our home the day before. They just played hookey that Monday (her normal day off). He was absent EO Monday unless BM had denied the visitation the weekend before. She also let him play hookey for his brother's birthday and for HER birthday (last days of school) but not for his own.

Check into the Truancy laws of your State. They may provide you with some assistance. If CP is flaunting those laws then she is not acting in the best interests of her child and that may meet threshhold for a Substantial/Significant Change in circumstances and get you the hearing to change custody.

Document everything, but don't let it get stale.

A true soldier fights, not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves whats behind him...dear parents, please remember not to continue to fight because you hate your ex, but because you love your children.


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I'd say you need
« Reply #2 on: Jun 06, 2006, 12:16:59 PM »
the grades more than anything.  If the kid is doing great and has missed school - big deal.  If the grades are bad and this much missed time, then you have a starting point.


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My Opinion and experience
« Reply #3 on: Jun 07, 2006, 06:46:37 AM »
Absent 10 times and it is only June? School lets out in a week or two doesn't it? I don't know how much of an issue you can make out of this. when you say 2 are unexcused - does that mean CP didn't write a note?

While I think the amount of tardy's is within normal limits (how many times have we been tardy to work this year?), the absences are too many in my book. However, I don't think enough to warrant a change of circumstances.  Has the school or Board or Education made an issue of this? If you stand a chance on these grounds, their involvement in the case would strengthen yours.

I have seen your postings on the boards and I can clearly see that you love your child. However, from my view, it looks like there is a full-scale war going on between the parents and that can be detrimental to your case no matter what the other side is doing.

I don't know how long you have been dealing with this issue, but I can tell you that I've been dealing with this since before this web site existed and I can tell you that I've learned a whole lot about how the court looks at things. While it is easy to blame the court (and they do cause a lot of problems with things) for everything, when you look at things in the context of applying law to the case, sometimes it actually makes sense.

Think about it for a minute. Family law is based on the assumption that people are going behave in a responsible and mature manner as it should be. The court looks at marriage as a contractual agreement - no emotions involved. Child custody/visitation issues are an ugly side bar brought in front of the court when one or both involved are being unreasonable. So, the court ends up being the parent with two children standing in front of them saying "he/she hit me first", or "he/she is not playing fair", on an on. The process is designed to bring about a resolution between the two people WITHOUT the court having to make the decision. When the court has to make the decision, usually nobody is really happy with the outcome and thus more problems erupt later on. If you have a brother/sister, how many times can you remember being punished for doing nothing just becuase your parents couldn't sort out what had really happened?  Didn't that make you mad and sometimes didnt' you just punch your brother/sister in the arm or something when nobody else was looking? Same premise, just whole different ballgame and unfortunately a child is involved.

The court does consider failing to ensure education a material change. But you have to have solid and irrefuteable (sp.?) evidence. I don't know that this rises to that level.

If you push it and go to court too soon, you blow your chance AND more importantly, give the other side notice that you are watching and the opportunity to make changes, be they temporary or not. While you want to improve your child's life, I know the intent was not to give the other side a chance to sweep their actions under the rug, clean things up for a short period of time and then fall back into the same or worse behavior patterns. My experience has shown that the # of times the other side is successful in diverting attention away from their behaviors, the level of their actions actually get worse. And you end up looking like the aggressor and worse, petty, when that is the farthest thing from the truth.

I seem to remember that your child is pretty young. I think around 6? Correct me if I'm wrong. If I were you, I'd be vigilant for the next year or so watching over things and keeping records (unless something more urgent arises). You should be receiving copies of all report cards, interim reports, etc. so it shouldn't be hard to track all of this. Also, you should keep in contact with the child's pediatrician. This helps you to see if the child actually sees the doctor when absent. If you are standing in court accusing and the other side can produce medical proof for the absences, you have fired a blank round.

There are a lot of things that we, as parents, KNOW are unacceptable and terrible parenting. However, the court is not living in your home or the other side's. They do not know all the details you do and they never will. You have to pick your battles wisely. Sadly, this means sometimes accepting a lower standard of parenting for your child. It is not right, but it is the way it is sometimes. A whole bunch of us were raised in what we would consider unfit situations. Not all of our lives were damaged beyond repair. Not an easy thing to swallow I know.

Your priorities should be:

Maintaining your current visitation order and spending as much quality time with your child as you can.

Make your time with your child "normal". You are not daddy warbucks who shows up and shows the child a wonderful time before dropping him back into CP world that is dreary and boring due to daily routines we all have to live by.

Make sure your child has all the things they need (not want, big difference). If CP has failed to provide as they should, keep receipts, school notices, and other documentation. As long as it's not ancient (I would think these types of things in addition to other acts of negligent parenting would be good for about two years - opinion only). They could be helpful.

Bite the bullet and try to IMPROVE your communications with the other side. I have seen where you won't talk to other side becuase conversations are being recorded. I don't know the validity of the these recordings. However, as long as you keep your cool and don't say anything that could be used against you, who cares?

Remember, anything and everything the other side can do to get under your skin will be done as long as you let them know it is working. Removing that level of control from the situation goes a LONG way in changing how things process AND how others (court) sees things. If you remain business like and unemotional during all exchanges, communications, etc., and other side is throwing a fit left and right, who looks unreasonable? THAT is how you gain an advantage.

There is a lot of things I could say, but you probably know it all already. The most important thing is this: You want to go ahead Pro Se, then  you have to learn to think like a lawyer and know how the courts work and what they expect from you. You have to make sure your filings are as professional as possible. You follow procedure to the letter as much as possible. You will get a lot farther in the court that way as opposed to being a raving parent screaming about all the things the other side is doing.

I suppose I have rambled on too much. Please remember, I'm not trying to offend, just give an objective view. Also, these are my opinions, not legal advice.


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RE: My Opinion and experience
« Reply #4 on: Jun 08, 2006, 04:39:55 AM »
Thank you all very much for your time and thought.

I have been documenting the dates of the abscences (it is very easy to do as the information is available online with authentication credentials).

All of your advice has been solid.

I have already sent CP a certified mail explaining some of the problems.
(Which may cause CP to realize that I am out for custody, but still good in some ways I am sure that is good because it shows concern on my behalf and good documentation, substantiates my effort to obtain positive changes, and at bare minimum serves as a good footnote).

I disagree with one thing. I do not want to fall back into the pattern of speaking with CP. CP threatens my second family. I need to keep myself off of that phone.

Thanks for your time!


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RE: My Opinion and experience
« Reply #5 on: Jun 10, 2006, 11:15:43 PM »
Something else you might try, speaking w/ child's teachers. If child has history of bad grades (probably due to missing classes) you're going to want someone to back you up that it's the absenses that's affecting grades. Now, you might have a hard time, you might even have to have them subpoenaed (is that spelled right?!) for them to answer your questions to the fullest.

Not sure what state you're in, but in Texas child must attend at least 90% of class, meaning not more than 9 absenses per semester (180 days of class.) Also, most tardy policies (both from when I attended and school districts that we've dealt with) say 3 tardies = 1 unexcused absense.

Oh, and here, to have the records admissible in court you need to get the school to send them to you. Send them an affidavit to fill out to return w/ records. And if they "forget" to send something, then subpoena them too! (Only know that cuz we're dealing with it right now!!!!!!!)


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RE: My Opinion and experience
« Reply #6 on: Jun 12, 2006, 06:16:58 PM »
I have issues with the phone with my ex as well.  Email has been a god send.  And for anything vital i use certifed mail, whihc he usually chooses to allow to be returned without so much as going to pick it up.  Thus I have proof that he is not allowing me to co parent my children.


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