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Father's Issues / Speaking of passports...
« on: Dec 26, 2009, 06:50:30 PM »
So after all of this talk of Sean Goldman and passports, I started wondering a few things.  My DH was asked about 2 years back by BM to meet her at the post office and sign for a passport. She was getting married on a cruise and SS was going.  DH told her to just give him a time to meet her. Well, things were a little rough at that time and she ended up getting really mad at DH.  She never brought up the issue again and we just figured that she didn't get one since the passport rules had not changed at that time.  Well SS gets back from the cruise and is excited about his passport. He talked about going to the post office and getting his photo taken.  Hmmmm....  How did she get a passport without DH signing for it?  DH has an updated birth cert after paternity testing was done, however, she still has the old one.  Could she have obtained a passport with this b.c. that does not list DH?  Even though this was 2 years ago, could this be something against her in a court situation if and when we need to go to change the parenting plan? 

Visitation Issues / 9 year old playing us like a fiddle
« on: Oct 15, 2009, 01:02:11 PM »
DH and I are having a big issue with his DS (my SS) age 9.   It started few years back when we did EOWeek in the summers.  SS kept asking for an equal schedule year round. We didn’t live close enough for that to happen.  Last year, we moved 10 minutes away from BM’s house and school.  Verbal agreement to go EOW full year.  When school started, BM did not follow through and since that point she has even lessened the time SS comes home to our house. DH has asked 2 times, in writing, to allow equal parenting time. BM always has a new reason to deny this. But the one that is most frequent  that SS tells her that he just wants EOWeekend and that’s it, however, he always tells us he wants it equal.  She is letting this be his decision and DH has stopped speaking to BM about, but always listens to his son when he wants to talk about it. He has been having crying fits at both houses regarding the issue, with totally opposite reasons.  To us it is he is trying to get Mom to understand that he wants it equal, what should he say or do. When he talks to Mom he says that we are always talking to him about it and trying to make him do this.  But he is the one that brings it up!!!  The only time I brought it up is when I asked him how it went the past week speaking to Mom.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have said anything, but what’s done is done now.  Two weeks ago he asked DH to help him write BM a letter so he could give it to her.  He gave it to her saying, “here, I was supposed to give this to you.”  He has been crying that he doesn’t want either of us to pick him up for practices AND he even said he doesn’t want to come here this weekend.  She is NOT making him.  He says he doesn’t want to be with me because he will have to talk about “it” but he is the one who spills his guts when he is with us.  We have no idea what is going on.  We feel like we are totally getting played by a 9 year old, but don’t understand why he keeps telling us one thing and her the total opposite.  I am devastated and DH does not want to lose his son.  He has said that I am not allowed to talk about anything at all with SS other than the current days events to try to get to the bottom of this.  So now we will go 3 weeks in a row without seeing SS.  BM doesn't even think it is healthy for SS to come here AT ALL and is considering going back to original court order.
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BTW…current court order is from when SS was an infant.  States EOSunday 2 hours supervised. (teenage parents-DH was supposed to learn parenting skills) Parents can extend time when agreed upon. Obviously, they have adjusted the schedule since then.  We were saving to go to court, however, DH lost his job, so that is not an option until he gets a new one.  He is a professional with a Master’s degree, so hopefully he finds one soon.
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We know BM is just trying to protect her son, however, we have just been trying to listen to his feelings and help him get the confidence to be (what we thought was ) truthful to BM.  But what is the truth? Why is he using me as the reason he doesn’t  want to come here now to Mom when he comes to me with his feelings when he is here? Is this common?  What should we do?

Father's Issues / FERPA
« on: Sep 26, 2009, 05:54:29 PM »
Hey all.  question about FERPA.  How does it apply to Friday Folder type documents in elementary classrooms.  In previous years, my SS's teachers have been very willing to work with DH on providing him copies of everything in the Friday Folder.  He simply received a mailing with all papers from the Friday Folder. This year, the teacher feels this is a lot of extra work and the principal has intervened saying only report cards and general newsletters will be mailed.  Grades are available online, however, DH has previously received copies of tests and assignments in addition to using the online program, that way he can actually see an area of success or concern.  An online grade means nothing.  I have been searching online but cannot seem to find clear information on what is considered a "school record" under FERPA.  Some things say tests and assignments that get recorded in a grade book are.  Most of it has to do with college. We feel that whatever is sent to mom should also be sent to dad.  K-3 teachers had no problem, but now 4th grade does.  Any help would be appreciated.

Visitation Issues / Feeling defeated
« on: Jun 20, 2009, 05:09:31 PM »
I just need a place to vent. My fiance and I just feel like throwing in the towel. My soon to be step son has been asking to have more time with dad since he was about 4. He had the typical EOWeekend schedule, however, during the summer it has been EOWeek for the past 3 summers.  Last summer, many changes took place.  Mom got a new house which meant a new school. We bought a house within 10 minutes of both his new house and school. A new sibling was born at mom's house and a few other minor details.  During this time, SS got his hopes up that mom would agree to alternate weeks the whole year, but he also had several meltdowns at her house with all of the stress.  Needless to say, she blamed all of the meltdowns on me and my fiance and threatened to go back to the original parenting time which was very minimal and put into place when SS was an infant.  He is now 9.  She cooled down a bit, sat down with SS and my fiance together.  She agreed to go EOWeek for school, but then said no once school started.  Summer is here again and we gave her a schedule for EOWeek with a few modifications (in her favor) since we will be on our honeymoon for a week. She said she would look at it but wanted to do shortened weeks for a while, since SS had such a hard time last summer.  We are just feeling so defeated.  We have been trying to work toward a 50/50 schedule without involving the courts,  but it seems the older SS gets and the more he wants to be with his dad, the more she pulls him back, talks bad about dad's decisions, and eliminates time with him. There have been so many issues since we moved so close. We thought things we get better and it hasn't.  My fiance just lost his job (he was in corporate finance) so our plans to have the courts sort it out are put on hold.  I am having such a hard time being a support to him when I sit back and watch him be so nice to her while he gets walked all over and treated like nothing more than a sperm donor and a paycheck.  We both feel like just giving her what she wants--let her have her son, collect her money, and to basically disappear from SS life.  She has a husband, a new baby, and another on the way but can't let issues from their teenage relationship go. They are almost 30 now, but my fiance seems to be the only one who can forgive and truly move on. There really is no question here.  I am just overwhelmed, disappointed, frustrated, and at the end of my rope.  I am tired of seeing this little boy who I love cry each weekend and wonder why his mom won't share him and even more tired of seeing the man that I love look totally defeated and ready to give up.  It is hard to stay positive and keep hopeful when nothing seems to be going the right way. Thanks for reading and letting me vent. 

Custody Issues / How many times does fiance try?
« on: Feb 20, 2009, 05:07:06 PM »
Fiance has an almost  9 year old son.  BM has sole physical, joint legal.  Original order is only an Order of Filiation from when they were 17 (m) and 19 (d). It states that dad has EOSunday supervised until he learns parenting skills. Both parties can agree to extend parenting time.  Since 2004 they have agreed to EOWkend with EOWeek in the summer. Alternate holidays.  BM has always said that if we moved closer Dad could have more time during the school week.  This summer, she and her husband bought a house and we purchased a home 9 minutes away. Fiance, BM and son all sat down for a talk before school started. They agreed to continue EOWeek through school year. BM then said no after the first week of school. He has been documenting parenting time, discipline, school, health/medical, every phone call, major conversations with son and BM, and extra expenses for about 5 years. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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Here are my questions.  How many times should he request a 50/50 schedule from her before he motions the court?  How much does he need to prove to a court that joint physical is what is best?  Should he give BM another written request, trying to address some of her concerns, before going the court route?  He doesn’t want to annoy her, but truly wants to work things out with her before trying through the courts. The last written request to BM was in early December to which she called next day screaming and upset with fiancé and said NO!  We thought about sending another one in March asking to start after the April spring break.  Any opinions or comments are greatly appreciated.

Visitation Issues / Long-How to deal with BM and upset child
« on: Jan 28, 2009, 01:45:04 PM »
Fiance has a 9 year old son.  BM has sole physical, joint legal.  Original order is only an Order of Filiation from when they were 17 (m) and 19 (d). It states that dad has EOSunday supervised until he learns parenting skills. Both parties can agree to extend parenting time.  Since 2004 they have agreed to EOWkend with EOWeek in the summer. Alternate holidays.
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BM has always said that if we moved closer Dad could have more time during the school week.  Well this summer, she and her husband bought a house and we purchased a home 9 minutes away.  Our house is in a MUCH better school district but closer to the school in her district that she enrolled him in.  STBSS was so excited that both houses would be so close (used to be 35-40 minute drive) He talked all summer of going EOWeek forever.  Mom started “freaking” and took the last 2 weeks of summer with dad away from son and said that son needed to enter counseling or they needed to have the 3 of them sit down for a talk because things are just too different in both of the homes.
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Here is the issue…BM has been giving STBSS decision making power with little things like extra nights or weekends with dad since he was 4. (dad does not agree, but she always asks SS after dad asks her if it would be possible) Since our move she has extended this decision making power to the following:
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1.    SS may choose what school district he attends next year.
2.    SS may decide if he wants to go EOWeek year round
3.    SS can choose his Halloween costume.
4.    SS may decide what district he wants to play baseball in.
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Results of the above:
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1.    Not an issue yet because the year is not over, however, why would he choose to leave friends at age 9?  Parents should place him in the best available district.
2.    SS told BM in the sit down (she said counseling was too much money. We think she didn’t want a non-bias adult telling her her son was fine with dad) that he wanted to go EOWeek. She said ok. One week later called fiancé to say that she was not ready to go there and that maybe he could have extended weekends. SS asked mom on his own accord if he still do it and she told him no because he needs to spend more time with his new baby sibling.  SS has asked dad several times since August if he would talk to mom again. Fiance wrote a formal letter stating SS wishes and how they could make it work. Included a calendar and still gave her about 10 days more for the year. She called next day screaming about “brainwashing their son” and said he only asks that to make dad happy and that she would consider it when he was 13 or 14 and not to bring it up to son again.  She also said that the schedule was not changing and did not allow extended weekends.
3.    SS wanted to be a ______ and asked me to help him make a costume.  He also asked me last year because I happen to be very Marth Stewartish and BM is very far from it to no fault of her own. We put together a very cool costume with just a few missing pieces that we asked mom to get.  When he came to us after trick-or treating, he had on a totally new costume or should I say black sweatsuit.  When dad asked why he didn’t be the other thing he started crying and said “mom said since it was HER Halloween she wanted to pick out the costume this year.”
4.    This Friday, fiancé asked for the birth certificate to sign SS up for baseball in our town.  Fields are 5 minutes from her house. She said she just got info for her town and then said to SS in front of dad, “I guess you will just have to decide where you want to play then, Buddy.  If you play in _____you will be with you friends.”   When they got into the car, fiancé said, I don’t care where you play, but if you choose to play in our town then we have to sign up tomorrow, so it has to be a quick decision.  SS said he didn’t have to think about it. He already knows he wants to play in our town because the sports are better and he wants to make friends in this neighborhood.  Fiance took him to sign up next day. Paid $100 and needless to say, BM called today saying their son would not be playing in our town and would play his sports in his own school district.
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She has set a pattern that if she gives son a choice and he chooses her then his feelings are valid and truthful. If he chooses something with Dad, then he either can’t do it, or she thinks he was just trying to please Dad and he still can’t do it.
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We, however, are left to pick up the pieces when he is in tears or very confused during our weekends.  Fiance doesn’t care where he plays or what he chooses. He is just sick of it being son’s choice and then he is not validated by mom.  He will not address this with mom because when he has tried previously he gets screamed at or is threatened to only see son on the original EOSunday supervised schedule.  Anyone deal with this?  Any advice?  We are at a loss.  Thanks.
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Custody Issues / What constitutes a change in circumstance?
« on: Dec 16, 2008, 03:45:17 PM »
What constitutes a change in circumstance?

My fiance (BD) and his ex (BM) (never married, teenage pregnancy, now 25 and 27) had an order of filiation in 2000 regarding soon to be SS.  That was the only court order they have regarding custody, visitation, and responsibilities.  There have been support orders modified since then, however, nothing regarding custody or visitation.  That original order states that the mother recieves sole physical (law for unmarried in Michigan) and joint legal with father. The visitation was every other sunday for 2 supervised hours so fiance could learn parenting skills and they could extend as agreed upon by both parties. Well since then (child will be 9 in March) they have worked out their own schedule. It was very rocky in the beginning. They fought a lot over time, but for the past 3 years it has been EOWeekend, split and alternate holidays, and EOWeek in the summer. The past 2 summers BM even agreed to the first 2 weeks with dad. My fiance requested to her in writing last school year 2 weekends on and 1 off during school and she denied saying that she needed to be able to spend that time with him (even though she was working) and said that if he lived closer that he could have more time during the week. We were living 40 minutes away. Well, this past August we did move very close. We are 9 minutes from her house and in a much better school district than hers. We even live closer to his son's current school than she does. At summer's end, the 3 of them had a sit down meeting because STBSS was very upset when at BM's about the different rules and also regarding a permanent EOWeek schedule. They all agreed to try, however, when school started, BM said she wouldn't do it.  STBSS has cried every weekend to his dad since then that he wants everything "even" and requested that his dad please try to talk to mom again. My fiance put together a typed packet outlining the sharing of holidays, a sample calendar, and a very respectful letter requesting that they try this out and gave it to her at drop off on Sunday.  BM called the next day threatening to take it back to supervised Sundays if he didn't stop "brainwashing" their son and told him that maybe they could try it when son is 13 or 14 and isn't just trying to please us and say what we want to hear.

There are many major and minor issues with the whole situation that I will save for another time, however, my question is...Is this move so close to her new home a significant change in circumstance from the original 2000 order?  If not, aside from physical abuse, what could constitute a change in circumstance? Should my fiance go for joint physical or just get what they already have been doing in a current court order?  He knows he is the better parent, however there is no evidence supporting that she is unfit as of yet. He doesn't want sole physical because he truly believes it is best for his son to have both of his parents as equally as possible.  I would really appreciate any and all replies.

Custody Issues / New poster. Looking for opinions.
« on: May 21, 2008, 03:36:22 PM »
I am new to this board, so I am not sure if this is the correct spot.  Here's the background and my question:

My fiance has an 8 year old son, never married, teenage parents, joint legal, sole physical custody to the mother. Eight years ago the visitation was EO Sunday supervised (nursing baby) and they could extend as fiance gained parenting skills.  The first 2 years, fiance went to ex's house 3 or more times a week then she met someone new, began fighting w/my fiance, and then cut off all communication except to ask him to sign off his rights, and later moved in with this man in 2002.  Two years went by where my fiance sent holiday cards, gifts and CS, but no longer called due to the constant fighting.  Her BF said he would not play "daddy" when her son kept asking about his own and that she should contact him.   In October '04, she called to say that their son was asking about him. She realized supervised visiting at her house was not easy on my fiance and agreed to work out visits on their own. Two daytime visits on the weekend quickly turned to weekend overnights and EOW.  Summer '05 he asked for one whole week, which she agreed.  January '06 he asked for spring break and every other week in summer.  She agreed however, the summer never truly worked out that way. (3 solid weeks and then a few 4 day in a rows) Currently, EOW+ extra sometimes, alternate holidays, spring break with dad, split extended holiday vacations and first 2 weeks and last 2 weeks of summer EOWeek in between. On even years, he gets about 30% overnights, odd years about 28%. He knows he has it very good.  He has documented nearly everything along the way. Does not ask for an abatement during 6 consecutive overnights and provides every single thing his son needs in our home except the meds that go back and forth. Son plays baseball in Dad's town and football in Mom's town.

This frequent amount of time has lead to other circumstances, and fiance may be taking ex to court within the next 6 months.  If he is unsuccessful with his attempt, will a judge end up giving my fiance the standard, which in our state, ranges from 20-26% without joint physical? Any experience and opinions would be helpful.  I have many other questions to ask, but thought I would start here.

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