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Author Topic: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation  (Read 5288 times)

Stanford

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My state is in Illinois.

Hello all, I'm wanting to move to Indiana to be closer to work. My ex, 8 year old daughter, and divorce decree are in Illinois. I DO NOT wish to interupt my child's school schedule or pull her away from her hometown and community so I'm not filing for joint custody. The judge said if we couldn't agree on joint custody, she would get sole custody.

Which she has now because she can't agree on anything and has to be in control of everything. Basically, I'm just asking if my fiancé and I have a shot at getting this visitation (I'll list in a moment) or if we should wait until we're married first. My ex wife won't settle without a court battle because the ball must always remain in her court.

She is remarried, a stay at home mom, and three other children live under the roof (2 step and 1 biological). Our decree now states that I have her half the week and her mother has her half the week, we have a set holiday schedule, right of first refusal that she abuses, each parent shall pick up the child at the end of visitation, and 15 minutes on the phone every night and the child has the right to talk to the other parent whenever the child wishes.

Since my work schedule has changed, we have decided to do every other weekend with me, kept the same holiday schedule, and we are doing all the driving which is about 70 miles and 3 hour drive (because of a time change). She abuses the right of first refusal because me and my fiancé both work. One of us is always home though as our schedules are opposite. She won't let us have any time if I work because she says she has the right of first refusal because she doesn't work!

I'm a volunteer firefighter and one night when I was on a call, I left our daughter with my father, and since I was gone for more than two hours, she just came and picked her up! Without even telling me! I just came home to no child. I don't get any phone time except maybe two nights a week and for five minutes. Her mother is always yelling in the background for her to hurry up because she can't stand that my our daughter misses us (my fiancé and I). She also refuses to give us any more time in the summer because I work and "she's tired of catering to our work schedule."

I want to know of this schedule sounds appropriate for an 8 year old and a long distance visitation. I would like to keep the same holiday schedule because she's used to it. I want every other weekend, every spring break, and one week of Christmas break in the school year. I don't want to interupt her schedule or pull her away from her comfortable community as much as I would like joint custody. In the summer, I would like visitation to swap.

Giving me her all summer and her mother every other weekend, with giving her mother the option of two weeks of vacation within a certain notice of course. I would like have guaranteed phone time, as we miss her through the school year. I would also like to meet halfway for the exchange which is approx 40 miles for each of us. I would like to claim her every year on our taxes because her mother doesn't work. I would like to be able to buy her new sports equip, horse lessons, karate lessons, and new clothes, etc.

I would at least like to claim her every other year if every year isn't possible. I would also like to get of the right of first refusal because my fiancé and I both work! She is a stay at home mom, of course she is always going to use that as an excuse to keep our daughter from me. Any advice is welcome. Again, I don't want to interupt her home life, I just want to see her more without her mother having the option to say "no." It's not near as much as I would like, but it's more than I'm getting now.


MixedBag

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2016, 07:01:56 AM »
Welcome!

Some of my feedback you're gonna like and some you're not gonna like....ok...?  so here goes...

1.  Whether or not you get married I personally believe will have no impact on anything.

2.  Getting rid of "right of first refusal" -- just let it go....OR if mom needs some concession back, offer that.  Don't put it in any motion because with the proposed distance it's probably a mute point anyways.

3.  Right of first refusal works IF both parents cooperate AND if it's defined in the order as to when it's invoked.  With Mom being a SAHM .... I can see where quite often she thinks it's time with her....because you are not there.

70 miles....that's long distance in your eyes....

First, I'd document -- like mark up a calendar that shows what you two parents have been doing lately because you said that what's in the order already doesn't work and that you two have modified it on your own.

Second, I think with 70 miles, there's more holidays that should be considered and written up.  You say you want every spring break....well what are you giving up in exchange .... like should Mom have every Thanksgiving?  Child's birthday....3 day weekends from school as the school calendar creates those, Easter, .... Father's day/Mother's day...

I think I'd recommend filing a motion with the court that addresses the need for a new parenting plan given the relocation of the father in order to pursue a better career which will positively impact the child's life due to higher wages down the road and that the original court ordered time with each parent no longer works and is no longer being followed by EITHER parent.  And go from there.

 

tigger

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #2 on: Feb 19, 2016, 07:12:11 AM »
Since you're moving, the responsibility of travel would be on you. 

As for RoFR, I had it in my papers that it didn't come into play until 4 hours AND only if aunts, uncles and grandparents were unavailable.  I also included stepparents (but not SO - didn't matter though as the ex remarried 2 weeks after the divorce). 

You may also be able to request long weekends/school holidays - MLK Day, teacher workdays (that land on a Monday), etc.  Also, specify what time your weekend starts.  Ours stated after school on Friday or if a non-school day 12 noon. 
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boilergal

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #3 on: Feb 19, 2016, 09:37:05 AM »
Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth...
I think you should be willing to alternate holidays.  Spring break in odd or even years, christmas and half of break in odd or even years.  The child should be able to have major holidays with both parents in an alternating type of scenario.


My X and I do this with my 12 yo.  My X had a terrible set up with his older son where it was 1/2 of the holiday for all holidays.  1/2 of Christmas Day, 1/2 of thanksgiving day etc. with no school breaks other than some summer time.


I'd recommend coming up with something you can propose that has some things you are willing to concede in negotiations.   Maybe ask for her on your birthday every year and her birthday alternating years but know in your mind that you can let both of those go as part of negotiating.


I agree that ROFR should be an item that you concede.  It's harder with the distance.  And I agree with Tigger about transportation.  Since you are moving, that issue falls to you.


I'd ask for tax deduction for every year and concede to alternate years.  Ask for more than you really need that is reasonable.  Don't ask for crazy stuff just in order to negotiate it away.  Things that you are willing to concede should be logical and reasonable "asks" that you can then give up.


good luck

tigger

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #4 on: Feb 19, 2016, 10:12:09 AM »
The child should be able to have major holidays with both parents in an alternating type of scenario.

My X and I do this with my 12 yo.  My X had a terrible set up with his older son where it was 1/2 of the holiday for all holidays.  1/2 of Christmas Day, 1/2 of thanksgiving day etc. with no school breaks other than some summer time.

I agree.  My ex and I started out with 1/2 of each holiday and it was horrible.  Not good for the adults or kids and we were only 15 minutes apart.  We started out with me having every Christmas Eve due to a 30+ year family tradition with my grandmother.  That was to continue for several years but once she passed I agreed to discontinue and begin the alternating year agreement.  Realizing that sharing EVERY holiday EVERY year was putting a strain on both families we agreed to revisit that portion of the order.  We agreed to switch it to alternating years but I took it a step further (based on a conversation with my ex's wife's ex.)  He didn't realize when they did their agreement that one parent had their son for all but one holiday in the same year.  My ex was trying to get our agreement to match his wife's agreement (not knowing that Mark and I were communicating).  I sat down and started with the Christmas break (knowing that it was most important to him to have all the kids together for that holiday) and worked from there.  When I gave him my proposal, they balked at it - because they wanted an agreement identical to hers.  Wasn't gonna happen.  My proposal was fair as it alternated years but also alternated holidays within the year. 

We ended up with the following:

Easter: Father Even, Mother Odd Friday at end of school or 12 noon if non-school day until Sunday at 5 p.m.
Memorial Day: Father Odd, Mother Even Friday at end of school or 12 noon if non school day until Monday 8 p.m.
4th of July: Father Even, Mother Odd 7/3 at end of school (in case they went to a year round which never happened) or 12 noon if non-school day until 7/6 at 10 a.m.
Labor Day: Father Odd, Mother Even (with a clause concerning my birthday as it falls on Labor Day weekend if the birthday lands on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday) Friday at end of school or 12 noon if non school day until Monday 8 p.m.
Thanksgiving: Father Even, Mother Odd Wed before at end of school or 12 noon if non-school day until Sunday at 5 p.m.
Christmas:  Father Odd, Mother Even 12/19 - 12/25 at 3pm
New Years: Father Even, Mother Odd 12/25 3 pm to 1/1 at 10 am

He also demanded that Halloween be included and wanted to change the alternating based on that but since a) I don't "celebrate" Halloween and b) it was just one night with usually no overnight stay - I told him to take whatever year he wanted and leave the rest alone. 

We also designated Mother's Day and Father's Day to the respective parent though that meant that my kids were never with the maternal grandfather's on Father's Day while I took them to see the paternal grandmother on Mother's Day.  Not really a way to resolve that as I got along with his parents while he didn't get along with mine. 
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ocean

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #5 on: Feb 19, 2016, 05:29:15 PM »
I agree with the others plus look a the school calendar. Almost every month has a long weekend of holiday.
Also summer should be mostly yours, 6 weeks in a row (without going to mom's). If child can be with mom for that long without seeing you, she can be with you in the summer for that long. You can offer mom a dinner visit in your area if she chooses if you are not on vacation. But that gives you the make up time during the year too.

There are long distance parenting plans on the internet. Look some up, look at school calendar and make it ask for more and settle. You are responsible for driving but may be able to get a meeting place 30 miles from her to make it less driving time. We had on parent on here years ago that made the trip every other weekend and made it work even with the travel. They used the travel time to do hw, catch up, play games, stop eat. So you can do at least once a month and can include something like "dad can have a dinner visit from dismissal from school until 8pm when giving the mother 1 week notice that he will be child's town."

Good luck! Post what you come up with and we can help make adjustments if you want.

MixedBag

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #6 on: Feb 19, 2016, 07:30:06 PM »
The only thing I wanna add is about the tax break....

HONESTLY?  I think that's not worth arguing over -- if "you" didn't get it when you two divorced, I personally believe that a judge will not address it now either.  I think it falls more on the side of the material end of the divorce than time with the child/parenting time or child support which has a tendency to potentially change a time goes by.  But you can't really go back and change material things -- like she got the car, he got the boat....UNLESS there's a joint loan against the item that the other parent defaults on....which means they didn't follow the divorce.

I think the tax thing falls under pick and choose your battles.

Focus on time with the child -- not the money stuff...  and yep, if you move, I also agree that you'll end up doing all the transportation UNLESS again that was set as long distance/half and half from the get go.    Even parents who are long distance from the get go and got a transportation offset to their CS -- can lose it down the road.....it sucks...but it happens.

tigger

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #7 on: Feb 22, 2016, 11:32:38 AM »
I agree with MB - unless she was working when they divorced and the Earned Income Credit/tax deduction helped her financially at that point.  If that's the case then there is a change in circumstance.  Also, isn't there a point where you can take only so many kid deductions?  (Having only two, I never needed to know this.)  If so, then it's not really fair for the stepdad to get the deduction over the father. 
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MixedBag

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #8 on: Feb 22, 2016, 12:16:21 PM »
I think that's the Child Tax Credit -- one is the most and after that the credit is not linear for "more children" -- Over that hump....for me, so I don't remember exactly, and they change those income thresholds and laws as the wind blows.

Kitty C.

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Re: Non-custodial Parent Wants to Modify Visitation After Relocation
« Reply #9 on: Feb 23, 2016, 12:42:34 PM »
I started this post a few days ago and it somehow never got sent....probably a problem on the sender's end.   ;)

I want to address the on-call firefighter issue.  I'm a vol. EMT and a BM/SM.  First of all, how did your ex find out that you were on a call in the first place?  Does she have a scanner she listens to find out if you get paged out?  Those of us in public safety know and understand that the way calls are dispatched may not be exactly what's going on when you get to the scene. 

That being said, your calls probably run anywhere from a half hour to 4+ or all day, depending on how big the fire is and whether mutual aid is involved.  And considering there's no way to know in advance how long the call will be.....and that there would be NO TIME to notify her when you get paged out....I think this is a provision you should have in your order, as well.  That your duty as a firefighter should not be included when considering RoFR.  But the court will want to know who the child is being left with, so you would need to designate 1 or 2 individuals (you mentioned your father and your fiancé would be an option, too) that would be available.  The thing is, they would already have to be IN your home at the time you get paged out, since you won't have enough time to take her to someone.

If there's anyone in your dept. who is divorced, you might want to ask them what they did/are doing about their on-call status.  They might be able to give you some tips, as well.
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