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Started by Ref, Jan 19, 2007, 10:08:52 AM

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I read your post on Soc's board and I think I might be able to offer some advice.

First, these State boards really suck. Don't depend on anyone answering anything on these boards for a LONG TIME.

A little background. I am SM to a SD who lives in Florida with BM and my DH and I live in pennsylvania. Talk about long distance! Well, we have been dealing with this for 13 years now and a little more than 800 days left before it is over.

DH's court case is in Escambia County. If this is where you have to go, he had a great attorney.

Anyway, what does your parenting agreement say about phone contact and visitation?

DH's initial agreement was awful. It just said "reasonable" which meant that BM was allowed to determine what was reasonable. It gave her WAY too much control.

Anyway, this is what my DH got worked out after his court case.

1. Every other school vacation. It was specifically spelled out with dates and times and which holidays he would have on odd years and which he had on even years.

2. Any weekend he is to travel to Escambia with 7 days notice

3. All summer except the first 14 days and the last 7 days.

3. BM and DH split transportation costs with Dh deciding flights.

4. Child is allowed to contact either parent at any time and each parent has the right to contact the child once a day between 8am and 8pm for a maximum of 30 minutes (DH and BM changed it to an hour), unless there is an emergency.

Basically, what he got was the standard parenting agreement without the standard weekends and a longer summer.

How old is your son? We got an 800 number for SD to call us whenever she wanted from a payphone or home or wherever so Bm wouldn't have the excuse of money (even though it says she should pay). We also got her a calling card form this board that you can put $ on and specify what #s she can call. We have DH's cell and DH's mom's # on it. DH and I also got her a cellphone. BM has managed to keep her from calling our 800 number and calling card and she got rid of the cellphone, but they were very useful for a good period of time. Another option is to get a myspace account and set a webpage for your son. You can update it every day with pictures of his 1/2 sister and your side of his family and stories of what is going on.

Try to get your hands on the standard parenting agreement for the area and modify it to what you think you will want. I think it is required that the court refer you to mediation before a court date will be set. Take advantage of that and prepare for what you think is fair. Judges HATE to deviate from the standard agreement too much, so you are probably in luck.

Hopefully you will get your CS hearing done after or at the same time (usually handled in mediation as well). If it is after and you don't get the split travel costs, try to get an adjustment in your CS. There is Florida case law that they consider time with both parents and legitimate expense that should be split. They also knock out the childs health insurance costs in proportion to your income.

Also, it really is good that your ex wants to communicate through email. Both of you have it on record and it keeps things civil. We have  a program called readnotify.com that tracks emails. It is necessary for us because BM lies about receiveing emails etc..

Anyway, I have a lot of advice. I am not a lawyer, but I have been educated through having to go through this myself for so many years.

Good Luck.



Thank you for the advice so far.

My son is 8 yrs old. Our case is in Okaloosa County. My case with my ex is way deep. Once he got married his spouse became involved in my relatioship with my son and one time when I called she took the phone from him and her and I had a striaght up arguement. Now I know for a fact that not all step-parents are bad people and that there a nation full of them that try to what is right by the child but so far in my experience with the ex's spouse this has not been the case.

In the orginal parenting plan set by the state and the ex's attorny I had everything a NCP could ask for. I even had special orders incase the ex was TDY (though that never went through) I even had special summer visitations where he could spend the WHOLE summer with me unless it interfered in extracurricular activities.

As for CS I want to pay it. I have no problem paying it.

I could go on and on about my case but it would be too much to talk about.

If there is any more advise I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,


What are the grounds for him changing visitation? If he is claiming that the substantial change in circumstances is that you haven't see the child is over a year, he might have you there.

Have you been paying child support this whole time? Most of the NCP's here don't mind paying support but wish it was allocated to the child better. Part of the cost of raising a child is making sure that both parents have contact. That is why the courts usually feel it is fair to adjust the support.

DH's attorney is Stephen T. Holman in Pensacola. We actually worked with his associate, Thomas Wheeler, last time. They are both excellent. They focus on Father's Rights, which usually translates to Non-custodial Rights. They service Okaloosa County and they did a great job for us not being in the state. One warning, they are not cheap. BM's attorney was and she lost every court case she brought to the table because she got what she paid for.

Their webpage has some of the standard agreements. Here is Okaloosa's.


In it you will see that both of you should share summer and winter visitation costs and that you are responsible for all others. Atleast this will take some pressure off you financially, so that you can see your son and let him see the other side of his family.

We have done the long distance thing with terrible but subtle efforts by BM to keep everyone out of SD's life. We have tried many many different angles. It is tireing, but when your son has questions to ask when he is older, you will have some pretty good honest answers.

Was your ex's wife arrested for abusing your son?

Oh! Also, if your son is going to therapy, I suggest you contact the therapist and ask to have a phone session with him/her. After you make the appointment, post on the mom's without custody board with questions on how to deal with this discussion. This will let the therapist know that you are interested in seeing your boy and will let her get to know you personally. It would be much harder for her to keep your son from you if she knows you personally, rather than just through stories.

Good luck


Thank you!

I have contacted my son's therapist mulitpul times and she has yet to return my calls, What do I do?

Yes, the ex's spouse was arrested for abusing my son. I have been watching her case closely. It seems she had children from another marriage and her ex now has custody of them.

I am just at my wits end with what I can do. My ex has taken advantage of me since the begining and now that I am no longer fearful of him I have to start doing somehting. I am afraid of losing my son.



but I can't figure out how to put links on these things. There is a sample letter called a FERPA letter on the "articles" section of the home page of this board.

It is for doctors and schools. The FERPA law is a federal law that allows any parent access to information about their kid's medical/educational information so long as they are not barred by court order. It is a little tricky with therapy. The doctors tend to send only the bare minumum, such as diagnosis and dates of past appointments.

You have to be very careful with all of this. You don't want to call like crazy. You will just make it look like you are obsessing. I would write a letter to the doctor stating your concern for your son and your interest in making an appointment with her over the phone, just the two of you, to discuss how you can help him out. Let her know you will be calling her office the next day to make an appointment and you look forward to speaking with her. Enclose a copy of your parenting agreement showing you have access to your child and let her know you have joint legal. Mail that FedEx or UPS so that you have tracking information. Then make sure to call the next day and make an appointment. Hopefully this will work.

If you can not make an appointment, send the your version of the sample FERPA letter I referenced above. I honestly think it is a little too cold, so I warmed up the one DH sent out.

If you would like to get some info on how your son is doing in school, you can send the same type of letter. Even though the law requires them to give you info unless the other parent has provided them of evidence of you being barred, they usually hold out until they get a copy of your parenting agreement, so my advice is to cut to the chase and send it with a nice letter. Soften up the one that they have on this page. Send this FedEx, UPS or certified as well.

Sometime if you can't get info from the other parent, you have to go to other adults for the contact you need. If you get a dialog with the school, you can talk to his guidence counselor and find out how he is doing with that.

Just a couple more tidbits...Please keep asking questions. You may want to start posting on the mothers without custody board. There is bound to be better advice there than what I can offer you by myself here.

Good Luck