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Messages - awakenlynn

Question: Do we stick with our guns and try and make ex follow the court order and meet us at the court ordered times/days or do we cave (again) and try and compromise to ensure we get SD for the holiday? Letting ex drop SD off a day late and then flying SD home.   (I kind of hate caving because this is the judge's punishment to her for interfering and refusing the Christmas visit last year (we were supposed to have split the holiday a week each but ex pulled a stunt and we didn't get SD at all)

We emailed ex 2 days ago and haven't heard anything yet.  Ticket we need dropped in price this morning and has started to go up again this afternoon, we can't buy it until Friday unless I can borrow it somewhere tomorrow.

Background: order says ex is to notify DH no later than 11/1 of each year to let him know if she is flying or driving the SD for the Christmas visit.  If she choses to drive then they meet the day after school lets out for the holiday (Sat) at noon at (city) and pick up is the day before school starts (a Sunday) at noon at (city).  If ex choses to fly SD, once DH is notified he is to purchase tickets for SD.

Ex notified us on 11/1 that she was driving up here for the holidays, BUT would not be able to follow the court order since she could not get Friday off work and she would have to drive overnight.  She would meet at the (city) sometime on Sunday AND we would have to give up another day and she would pick SD up a day early so they could drive back to ex's state OR we could fly SD.  Ex did not give us a specific like she was supposed to.

We emailed ex back that day after looking at tickets (the court ordered flight was way after the family started driving up here) and told ex that since she was driving anyways she had to follow the court order and we would meet her at the court order appointed days and times.

Ex called Sunday (11/15) yelling about how dare we make her drive overnight and she can't get off of work on Friday (she has had 7 months to request the day off).

Hubby and I thought about it overnight.  We don't have the money for a round trip ticket, frankly we don't have money to even buy a 1-way ticket, but we emailed ex and said that IF she SWEARS we get a make-up date then we will meet ex and SD on Sunday at 9am in their hometown (we had planned to be there for his family's Christmas anyways) and we would then fly SD home on Sunday.

We don't have money for the attorney right now, and we document everything, so we will re-retain our attorney and see if we can get her on contempt early next year.  We only have 18 months to go!!!
Document, Document, Document!!!! 

You see bruises, take pictures with date and time, write down when you pick up/drop off son and discussions you have with ex and all others;   Check to see if your state allows recordings/videos--get a cell that can record and stick it in your pocket for your visits, if you can videotape, get a phone that can do that and video your pick ups and drop offs;

Get all the evidence you can!!!  Go to court and go for full custody if you can.  Find an attorney, so do it reduced, so do pro bono, if you have to find a law school that has family law clinics or check with your state for legal aid.  Start researching your state and family know, find out what you need and can do.  But most importantly Document!!!
Hubby went to court in March this year to deal with stuff ex pulled last year.  Now its Thanksgiving again and she is starting her c**p again for the Christmas holiday.

Court order states SPECIFICALLY that ex is to decide if she is going to fly or drive SD NO LATER than November 1st of each year.  So this year she got the November 1st right but said while she is driving the family that is she was to drive SD she would be dropping SD off a day late and picking her up a day early and by the way they won't be there at the court ordered noon the day later when she does finally make it to the area.  OR it was DH choice and he could fly SD.    So ex put it out there with absolutely no decision in there.   

DH emailed her back and said the court order said she was specifically to let us know what she was doing in order for us to know to buy the ticket or not and to email us back with her decision.  If ex was driving then she had to be at the court ordered time on the court ordered day in the court ordered city or she had to let us know if we were flying SD either way or both ways.  We looked into flights, none of the flights that came from the court ordered cities met the time needs ex would have.  (the airport is 3 hours away from their home and the flight is late afternoon, they would have been 3/4 of the way here by the time they left in the morning and ex would have the excuse of why SD missed the flight. 

It is now November 15th.  SD called to talk to dad about the arrangements.  It is not SD's place even at 16 to be put in the middle of it.  DH asked to speak with mom.  She got on the phone and said she has nothing to do with it, SD is 16 and it is THEIR visit not her's.  DH tried to make her understand that the court order is specific and that it wasn't fair putting it on the daughter, but it goes completely over ex's head.  DH finally said since ex is driving then she will drive SD to the court appointed place by the court ordered time and date.  (The court order says visits are to start 6pm the holiday vacation starts, if the ex is driving then they are to meet at 'X' city by noon the first full day (which is Saturday) and we are to drop off in the 'X' city at noon the day before school goes back into session (sunday Jan 3rd). 

Ex called back again later and wanted to discuss the arrangements again.  This time her excuse is that in order to be here by Saturday then she would have to drive all night.  (Nothing new for her) and how DAREwe ask it of her (her kids are 10, 11 and 16 and she would be driving with her husband, she has done it MANY times in the past and in fact lives 12 hours closer than what she was living before(still 14 hours away) and it is something WE have had to do many times in the past (in fact hubby did it in the spring to be there to pick SD up for spring break and court).   Then she moves onto the fact that she has to work and just can't take days off.  1st she does volunteer work for her best friend, 2nd she has known since MARCH of this visit, 3rd all she has to do is show the court order to her 'boss' to get the needed time off.  It is something DH has had to do every year he needs to take time off of work to pick up SD for visits.  HE actually SUPPORTS his family and HE actually pays the child support ex splurges on instead of using it on the SD.  By the time she got this far in her actually ranting, he finally just hung up on her.  She was no where in the world of where he could speak rationally with her.

Now we wait to see what she pulls next.  She hasn't called back, SD hasn't called back.  DH did text SD (on the off chance she would get it) that he was sorry that she had been put in the middle and it wasn't fair to her and that he loved her.  He knows ex will be ranting and raving and blaming him for everything and SD has to deal with her mother's extreme and inappropriate behavior, she is going to get the backlash from it and its not fair.

As to us, Monday we go speak with both of our boss's, see if we can get an advance on our paychecks, and pay attorney fees from the court in spring and an a retainer for this part of the case with a promise of another amount straight from any tax refund we MIGHT get.

We hold onto the thought that SD will be 18 and we won't have to deal with ex in 18 months!!!!!   and in the meantime we hope and pray we will get our family complete for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

P.S. hubby and I did agree that is ex would notorize a statement and have it added to the court file that she agreed to 48 hours make up time we would allow ex to drop off SD a day late--Sunday at noon and she could pick up a day early--Saturday at noon.  It didn't go over so well  (ex has absolutely gone back on her word everytime she has promised make up time so it is time to follow the court order strictly and to the letter, what else could we do?).
Just really let the judge know that this was a unique circumstance and when you found out, your first step was to attempt to notify her.  If you can show you have followed the court order every where else and all the extra's you have done, it should help. 

You (or your attorney?) try to show that her case is a frivolous lawsuit too.
See if the state has a low income attorney service and see if they could steer you in the right direction otherwise see if any law schools have a Family Law clinic and see if anyone there can help.
Even if you were to leave TX he can file and have custody awarded to him if you don't show and then you would be the NCP.  It would be better to stay in TX and fight him legally.  If there is legitimate abuse then get a restraining order and supervised visits and permission from the state to move.

If its just bad between you and him and he is a decent father, then do what is best for the kids, not necessarily what you want.  Do what is right and do it correctly.
Unfortunately, it really depends on the judge and attorneys.  DH's case was in IL from 1993 when his daughter was born until 2008.  Both he and ex's hubby were in the military and for the majority of the years both parties lived in other states.  IL made sure the court orders stated clearly that they retained jurisdiction due to military service.

While at one time our court order also read "reasonable visitiation" that was a disaster.  You need a very detailed order such as 1st, 3rd, 5th weekends from time school lets out on Fridays until Sunday 6pm and every Wed's. for example.  Once we got our order spelled out if was as if he had joint custody even though the terms weren't used.   Our case only moved from IL to TX in 2008 when ex's IL attorney chose not to represent her again and suggested she look at TX.  Which wasn't too bad for us, she registered the order so there was no changes.  The TX judge is more strict on ex and hasn't put up with her games and ex has tried.  She pulled one over Christmas last year which kept us from our court ordered visit (it was to be split in half) and so this year the judge ordered us to have the entire visit besides our regular Thanksgiving visit.  Besides that, the child support has dropped and ends when she turns 18 (or graduates--which is later for her) and no orders for it to extend to college like IL does.

Also brother-in-law has full custody of daughter in IL so it can be done.  My advice is to research, research, research!  Be VERY specific and document everything, do nothing unless its in writing.  Also make sure you have a good attorney and review anything before he does it.  With all the work I did for my hubby's case I would qualify as a paralegal now.

Some counties are getting better about making sure dad's do stay involved, it just takes alot of work.  I will keep my fingers crossed for you.  Good luck!
She turns 18 in 2011 a few months before she graduates.  I will make sure hubby has a way to get down there for both the 18th birthday for them to celebrate together and the graduation.

She is so swamped with homework that she is hard to reach even by text messaging.  It can be hard being able to talk to her everyday to once a week or every 2 weeks.  I think sometimes it is harder on me and DH than it is on her.

We had our summer visit and it was a great time.  Our family was finally complete for a short time.  SD is a great girl and we all so much fun together.  She of course fried her phone.  She dropped it in water for the 3rd? time and this time it was DOA.  We have teased her about getting a waterproof phone (they do have them, I had to get hubby one for his work).  But since it is a flip phone and she couldn't get away with texting in class....... she got one she could.

Anyways, hubby called her Tuesday a few days after she got back to her mother's state.  She was in a bad mood.  Her school registration was 8/11 but she and her mother didn't let us know.  It's not like hubby could register her anyways since he doesn't have custody.  Anyways her mother had told her at one of their phone calls and told her daughter she would go.  No surprise, she didn't go and then blamed hubby since SD can't get all the classes she wanted.  If we had known, hubby could have tried to have SD and him call the school and try to let SD register over the phone, but kind of doubted it would of worked because of ex.

SD was upset at dad and he talked to her again tonight.  He wanted to talk to her about registration and let her know away from mom (ex either tries to listen in on the calls or grills SD about her calls) and SD had told dad that she was going to a friend's house to call back later tonight. He did and they discussed it.  She said she was sorry, that after the first time he had hung up with her, she had realized her dad wasn't at fault it was her mother lying to her AGAIN.  I am glad we have such a smart girl.  She has been realizing over the last few years how much mom has lied to her, she told daughter that dad hadn't bought her Christmas ticket  when they were supposed to drive to the airport.  SD had known about the ticket and when dad called he had reminded her we had had the ticket for 3 weeks.

Really wish since she knows how much mom lies to her that should would move here, but she has 2 younger siblings that she takes care of (not mom--her) so she said she has to stay.  She also said she can't wait to leave mom's state, she absolutely hates it there, and she is moving as soon as she graduates (and goes sky diving....she's a teenager and that's what she wants for graduation).  We'll help her out as much as we are able.  Counting down the years/months until she is 18.
Visitation Issues / Re: Missing my son...
Aug 13, 2009, 05:16:57 PM
See maybe if any attorneys would take you on a reduced basis? Otherwise see if there is a law school nearby, many have Family Law clinics and they might be able to help.  Also in some states there is low cost legal aid through the state, you can check to see if you qualify for that too.

Make sure you are documenting EVERYTHING, no matter how insignificant you think it might be.  You want to show the judge you are doing everything in your power to be a parent and what ex is doing to prevent it.