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Thread: Legal question regarding parenting plan

  1. #1
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    Legal question regarding parenting plan

    For anyone who may have knowledge on the topic.

    My fiancee' has a daughter through a former relationship. They recently finalized their parenting plan. She has primary custody, and the father gets her every other Thursday through Sunday.

    The wording of the signed parenting plan states as follows:

    "The child will reside with the father every other Thursday by 7:00 PM until Sunday at 8:00 PM. Child will be picked up from school/day care on Thursdays unless it is unavailable or work schedule does not permit, in that case, child is to be picked up from mother by 7:00 PM"

    We have had a family outing planned for tomorrow until about 5:00 PM. In the past, he normally picks her up around 5:30 PM. Well, today, he insisted that he picks her up at 2:00 PM tomorrow. My fiancee' declined this, as we have plans. He is claiming that she is in contempt of the parenting plan, because she is denying him the ability to see her, even though the parenting plan doesn't specify a time, other than "by 7:00 PM". He is claiming that he's unavailable at 5:30, and that he wants to get her at 2:00, and if she refuses that, that she is in violation.

    What are everyone's opinions on this? With this wording, it seems as if he can interpret it any way he wishes, even arguing that getting her at 12:01 would be justifiable.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Lord Sega's Avatar
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    Ok, first IANAL, best to talk with a lawyer (preferably the one represented her in the divorce). The language may need to be clarified through the court.

    2) Always best to calmly talk (face to face is best) or phone. I personally don't like texting, but that would give a record if needed later (but that works both ways).

    C) If talking about parenting plan times / details, DO NOT talk in any way about child support. Both are part of the divorce, but should be viewed and treated completely separate. Courts could view bringing a money issue into a time issue as an inappropriate lever, and would frown on the side trying to use it that way.

    IV) My situation is different than yours. When I got divorced, my now Ex did not fight it at all. I have full custody of our two daughters (our oldest was her's from before who I adopted prior to the divorce). She is also supposed to pay child support to me, although that has been real sporadic. When we need to deviate from the parenting plan, we contact the other soon as we know we need to change it, and we work it out. So I have never really had to worry about nit-picking the plan and dragging the other into court over niggling details.

    Now, to your question... quote "every other Thursday by 7:00 PM until Sunday at 8:00 PM."

    In my opinion (and I could be wrong) "by 7:00 pm" is really read as "no later than 7:00". That you fiance allows an earlier pick up at 5:30ish is a courtesy, her Ex should be targeting 7pm (not later), but a little early is good. 2pm is not a little before 7pm. By the Ex's reasoning he could pick the kid up at noon, or 8am, or 3am on Thursday and be "by 7pm".

    The Sunday return is the same, "by 8:00pm" is really "no later that 8pm", with a little leeway, like 7:30 to 8pm drop off. Again, the Ex's interpretation of "by" means he could drop the kid off at 2am Sunday and that has the kid home to mom "by" 8pm.

    If the her Ex is going to push the semantics and not work with mom on a reasonable time window, then you will need to get with the lawyer and have the parenting plan wording redone to be specific (i.e. pick up between 6:30 to 7pm Thursday and drop off between 7:30 to 8pm Sunday) and add something like "unless previously arranged and agreed to by the other parent with a minimum of one day in advance".

    Always best to work things out peacefully, but I have heard the horror stories of friends and co-workers being pulled into court over stupid stuff because the two people's emotions and hate get in the way of discussing the problem and working out a solution. If she can avoid it, stay out of court, but after she and her Ex make changes that both can agree on, they need to write it down and both sign with a original to each. I do understand that sometimes there is no choice but to get the court & lawyers involved. Especially if there is any domestic violence in the past. If that's the case then she definitely needs to run everything through lawyers. Don't escalate the situation with a face to face.

    Last comment, as the boyfriend / fiance, you should NOT be a part of the negotiations, she has to work it out with her Ex (and never in front of the kid(s)).
    BUT, that does not mean you are completely outside of it, just not in the middle of it.
    Be emotionally supportive, discuss the strategy / plan with her prior and what to do after, but do not be in the discussion. It could escalate a situation that is already very emotional, and the Ex could view it as a 2-on-1 and go defensive / stubborn and not work with her on a reasonable solution.
    Let her know you have her back, but it is her situation as one of the two parents to deal with.

    Again, IANAL, this is just my thoughts & views, take from this what you will, and if in doubt go talk with a lawyer. Good luck.
    Last edited by Lord Sega; 03-27-2014 at 03:20 AM. Reason: minor fixes
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    "we have plans?" really? the order says by 7pm pick up on thursday ...

    is 2pm "by 7pm"? Yes.

    is 12:01am on thursday "by 7pm" sure is

    the order is meant to give greater flexibility to the father, not the mother IMO

    can be a pain sometimes? sure. welcome to parenthood....

    and remember .. you'll have no legal rights at all concerning the child, even when married to the mother...zip, nada, nif
    only the mother and father.

    If you have issues now, then you should re-assess your continued relationship with the mother.

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    Obligatory IANAL

    I don't think you (she) would be found in contempt. Yes it says "by 7PM" but it doesn't say that you MUST release custody of the kid before then barring the clause about school/day care pick up (which in this situation doesn't apply as it is technically unavailable due to the kid not being there). Likewise if he tried to demand picking the kid up at 0001 and you said no I HIGHLY doubt his complaint would fly in court given the unreasonableness of it. Now if you agreed to a 0001 pickup then that would be a different story, but just demanding it? Yea no.

    While it would be a **** move on his part to take you to court over this, ultimately I think you would prevail. You can show his normal pickup time, that you had plans beforehand for she wouldn't be available, that he demanded a change to the normal rotation of things, that he did so with at most 24hrs notice, AND that he refused to work with you. If he knew of your plans in advance you could also potentially use that in trying to make his sudden last minute change and unwillingness to work with you as being vindictive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    and remember .. you'll have no legal rights at all concerning the child, even when married to the mother...zip, nada, nif
    only the mother and father.
    not entirely true... a sure fire simple way to obtain legal rights and obligations regarding the child, all he has to do is legally adopt the child. My father did exactly that regarding my 2 older sisters. My sisters are legally his children.

    If he is truly intent on the relationship, adoption is a a valid option. Adoption would also grant him legal rights should they separate later on down the line because he would be the child's legal father. As a side benefit/disadvantage, the biological father would have all of his legal rights regarding the child terminated by the adoption.
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    Having been to many hundreds of Domestic disputes , I would personally find a unencumbered women.

    2nd marriages are more likely to end in divorces then firsts.

    Getting involved in custody disputes is a good way to end up with a domestic abuse charge.

    A marriage is hard enough with out the baggage of previous marriage and child.

    Having problems now show me what to expect if you happen to have children and you end up in a custody dispute.


    No thank you

    Hope every thing works out for the best.
    Last edited by Firearms Iinstuctor; 03-27-2014 at 08:10 AM.
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  7. #7
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Give the Father a break. Maybe he had plans too! Thursday is his day, don't argue about it and everyone will be a little better off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Give the Father a break. Maybe he had plans too! Thursday is his day, don't argue about it and everyone will be a little better off.
    And maybe he was trying to be vindictive and get back at his ex by suddenly changing when he normally picks up the kid simply because he knew they had plans? There's a set time (by 7PM) and maybe he should try to work with his ex rather than expecting her to bend to his will at the drop of the hat.

    Of course we're only getting one side and not all of the details. But there's no reason that (without more information) they should just be expected to give up their plans because the father said "jump."

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    And maybe he was trying to be vindictive and get back at his ex by suddenly changing when he normally picks up the kid simply because he knew they had plans? There's a set time (by 7PM) and maybe he should try to work with his ex rather than expecting her to bend to his will at the drop of the hat.

    Of course we're only getting one side and not all of the details. But there's no reason that (without more information) they should just be expected to give up their plans because the father said "jump."
    Maybe we don't know. Maybe the mother is being vindictive and wanting delay the fathers time with her child?

    I can say I have been through this, by 7 PM isn't a set time for pick up, that means pick up is to happen before that time. As shown by the order that the father picks the child up at school. Thursdays are his day it is the fathers responsibility to retrieve his child on Thursday, if he doesn't by 7 he is negligent in his responsibility.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument no one is being vindictive and everybody are good parents. Courts rule one parent has custody and the other doesn't (dual custody is rare). That being said the mother has the better end of the bargain with custody and court granted more time, fighting for a few more hrs on the fathers day over semantics, is silly and harmful and will hurt everyone involved. She should just relax and realize that for what ever reasons, this is going to be how it is for the next several years. And not to plan things on Thursdays that would involve the child without discussing first with the father. Hopefully everyone for the child's sake can work things out amicably.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Maybe we don't know. Maybe the mother is being vindictive and wanting delay the fathers time with her child?

    I can say I have been through this, by 7 PM isn't a set time for pick up, that means pick up is to happen before that time. As shown by the order that the father picks the child up at school. Thursdays are his day it is the fathers responsibility to retrieve his child on Thursday, if he doesn't by 7 he is negligent in his responsibility.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument no one is being vindictive and everybody are good parents. Courts rule one parent has custody and the other doesn't (dual custody is rare). That being said the mother has the better end of the bargain with custody and court granted more time, fighting for a few more hrs on the fathers day over semantics, is silly and harmful and will hurt everyone involved. She should just relax and realize that for what ever reasons, this is going to be how it is for the next several years. And not to plan things on Thursdays that would involve the child without discussing first with the father. Hopefully everyone for the child's sake can work things out amicably.
    And I've been the kid caught in the middle before. If they told the father beforehand and he is suddenly changing when he wants to pick up the child without giving a good reason, then tough. If she didn't tell him then that is a foul on her. The next question would by, why is suddenly needing to change the pick up time? And if he honestly can't be there at 5:30PM like normal, then does that mean he's going to need to have a babysitter and why can't the mom agree to drop the kid off after whatever is suddenly so pressing? But the signed document doesn't specify a time that she must turn over the kid, just that the standard will be picking the child up from school (is their school even out by 2:30PM because I know mine wasn't until 7th grade).

    Now of course it would be best for it to be worked out amicably, and i would recommend that they draft up a new plan that includes a "no earlier than" bit in it to establish a proper window (I know that we couldn't pick up my stepbrother before 5 or 6pm and his mother NEVER let us pick him up early even if it was just 5 minutes early after the 2hr drive). But that wasn't the question. The question was, is not letting him pick up the child so early a contempt charge? And I would say no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    "we have plans?" really? the order says by 7pm pick up on thursday ...

    is 2pm "by 7pm"? Yes.

    is 12:01am on thursday "by 7pm" sure is

    the order is meant to give greater flexibility to the father, not the mother IMO

    can be a pain sometimes? sure. welcome to parenthood....

    and remember .. you'll have no legal rights at all concerning the child, even when married to the mother...zip, nada, nif
    only the mother and father.

    If you have issues now, then you should re-assess your continued relationship with the mother.
    I appreciate your comments. However, when I took on this relationship, I was well aware what it included. I, too, have a daughter from a former marriage. As you grow older and have children, these issues will arise. There is no relationship without issues. Those that simply throw in the towel and wave the white flag at the first sign of adversity are the ones destined to re-marry a dozen times. I admit that I was in an 8 year marriage that simply failed, but I can look back and say that I applied 100% of my efforts in to it, but she did not, and choose not to. Regardless of the issues, if both parties are not only willing, but adamant about putting forward 100% of their effort to persevere through their issues, then that is truly the recipe for a successful, happy relationship, and builds character beyond belief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Maybe we don't know. Maybe the mother is being vindictive and wanting delay the fathers time with her child?

    I can say I have been through this, by 7 PM isn't a set time for pick up, that means pick up is to happen before that time. As shown by the order that the father picks the child up at school. Thursdays are his day it is the fathers responsibility to retrieve his child on Thursday, if he doesn't by 7 he is negligent in his responsibility.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument no one is being vindictive and everybody are good parents. Courts rule one parent has custody and the other doesn't (dual custody is rare). That being said the mother has the better end of the bargain with custody and court granted more time, fighting for a few more hrs on the fathers day over semantics, is silly and harmful and will hurt everyone involved. She should just relax and realize that for what ever reasons, this is going to be how it is for the next several years. And not to plan things on Thursdays that would involve the child without discussing first with the father. Hopefully everyone for the child's sake can work things out amicably.
    I agree with this, and have told her. I also suggested she and her ex work on adding a mutually agreed upon time to the parenting plan, otherwise the pick up time will always be open for interpretation, and the fighting may never stop. I agree that the only way to be in contempt is if she held her child beyond 7:00 PM, but what gets me is how the attorneys failed to put in a window for a pick up time. Leaves room for this kind of B.S. to happen. I said discuss a mutually agreed upon pick up time out of true logical and logistical reasons, not personal reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Give the Father a break. Maybe he had plans too! Thursday is his day, don't argue about it and everyone will be a little better off.
    The problem is, 5:30 has always been the pick up time in the past, in the temporary order. They agreed on the "by 7:00 PM" to give him more flexibility if he's running late. She never expected him to want to come early, and now, he expects her to change everything at the drop of a hat.

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    Lightbulb

    So, he sent a text to my fiancée and said that he would be willing to pick her up from us at 2, since we won't be home. She still refused that, as she said she feels it's too early, and breaking the normal routine of the typical 530. I told her she should just let him to avoid the hassle, and then agree to a mutual time to add in to the parenting plan so this type of stuff doesn't happen in the future. She is pretty adamant about not letting her go before 530. It turns out that he had class on Thursdays from 5-7 pm, and he's unavailable to get her at that time frame. Her argument is that she doesn't feel he should pick her up and put her with a babysitter for two hours while he is in school. My thoughts are to just let it be for now, until they get a time set in stone, but she feels if she gives him any slack on the time, then he will start wanting to change other provisions that aren't necessarily specified in the parenting plan.

    I said, most likely what will happen is that he will file a motion with the court to petition for a modification be made on the time, and if the two of them can't agree on a time frame, then the court will assign one. I honestly think that is a pain in the ass, but that's just me.

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    Aaron, you have been provided some very good advice and not so good advice so far for you to digest!

    however, one piece you might wish to seriously heed...stay completely out of the fracas as it is between previous lovers who have apparently significant emotional issues with each other and the child(ren) is theirs.

    your parenting skill(s) and advice do not and should not play into the short and long game(s) about to begin with these adults.

    that said, be there for your 'friend' for support and please keep your support completely unemotional w/o comments like: the 'the fool can't do that', etc., especially since, statistically, this is not going to end well for everyone ~ the child, the adults who are acting like children, as well as yourself looking for a future relationship and who will come across as the parent!

    these types of situations are complex and pull on everyone's emotions and could/can screws up the child(ren)'s psyche for a lifetime.

    one final piece of advice: you state you are going to bring yet another shared child into the relationship, think very very hard about the working relationship with this environment for all concerned.

    ipse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    So, he sent a text to my fiancée and said that he would be willing to pick her up from us at 2, since we won't be home. She still refused that, as she said she feels it's too early, and breaking the normal routine of the typical 530. I told her she should just let him to avoid the hassle, and then agree to a mutual time to add in to the parenting plan so this type of stuff doesn't happen in the future. She is pretty adamant about not letting her go before 530. It turns out that he had class on Thursdays from 5-7 pm, and he's unavailable to get her at that time frame. Her argument is that she doesn't feel he should pick her up and put her with a babysitter for two hours while he is in school. My thoughts are to just let it be for now, until they get a time set in stone, but she feels if she gives him any slack on the time, then he will start wanting to change other provisions that aren't necessarily specified in the parenting plan.

    I said, most likely what will happen is that he will file a motion with the court to petition for a modification be made on the time, and if the two of them can't agree on a time frame, then the court will assign one. I honestly think that is a pain in the ass, but that's just me.
    Take notice ! This is how she is going to treat you later ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Take notice ! This is how she is going to treat you later ....
    That's a -maybe-, but I know what you mean. Hopefully he does. Best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    So, he sent a text to my fiancée and said that he would be willing to pick her up from us at 2, since we won't be home. She still refused that, as she said she feels it's too early, and breaking the normal routine of the typical 530. I told her she should just let him to avoid the hassle, and then agree to a mutual time to add in to the parenting plan so this type of stuff doesn't happen in the future. She is pretty adamant about not letting her go before 530. It turns out that he had class on Thursdays from 5-7 pm, and he's unavailable to get her at that time frame. Her argument is that she doesn't feel he should pick her up and put her with a babysitter for two hours while he is in school. My thoughts are to just let it be for now, until they get a time set in stone, but she feels if she gives him any slack on the time, then he will start wanting to change other provisions that aren't necessarily specified in the parenting plan.

    I said, most likely what will happen is that he will file a motion with the court to petition for a modification be made on the time, and if the two of them can't agree on a time frame, then the court will assign one. I honestly think that is a pain in the ass, but that's just me.
    It would be no different than if she needed a sitter during her "time". I can't make a judgement on either parent and when it comes to kids both parents tend to think they are in the right. I would say leave Thursday flexible open the lines of communication, and remember that leeway and understanding will rarely be returned if it isn't offered also. There may be a time she needs to be flexible too and will want the father to cooperate.

    Unfortunately with my ex she was such a vindictive person who made everything a hassle with my kids I had to withdraw a bit for my kids sake. Which really sucked because before the break up I was the parent that did everything for and with and lived for my kids. Yet I realized for my kids sanity I couldn't go on insisting on my court ordered "rights". I hope for their sake the parents can just relax and deal with the new situation with what is best for the kids.
    Last edited by sudden valley gunner; 03-27-2014 at 10:28 PM.
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    And this is even TANGENTIALLY related to our Forum's espoused purpose HOW? Seems to even pass the acceptance of "the social lounge"

    OP is asking an OPEN CARRY firearms board for what amounts to legal advise on how to comply or not with a court ordered custody plan of his girlfriends child and the child's father. ANY advise he gets is worth exactly what he pays for it.

    Suggestion: No matter what the advise given by anyone here, what is the penalty of failure to comply in the eyes of the court and exactly who is at risk? Hint: It ain't any of us of this forum.
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    Regular Member Lord Sega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    And this is even TANGENTIALLY related to our Forum's espoused purpose HOW? Seems to even pass the acceptance of "the social lounge"
    BASIC RULE: (8) KEEP IT ON-TOPIC: All gun rights discussions not directly related to open carry should take place in the "General Discussions" forum and topics that are not related to gun rights at all should take place in "The Lounge". Please police your own posts before posting them and help keep OCDO strong and focused. [emphasis mine]

    The Lounge is a catch-all for anything (that doesn't break one of the other rules).

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    OP is asking an OPEN CARRY firearms board for what amounts to legal advise on how to comply or not with a court ordered custody plan of his girlfriends child and the child's father. ANY advise he gets is worth exactly what he pays for it.

    Suggestion: No matter what the advise given by anyone here, what is the penalty of failure to comply in the eyes of the court and exactly who is at risk? Hint: It ain't any of us of this forum.
    Joe, yes you are correct, it is advice worth exactly that. BUT one reason I like this forum is that it is full of level headed people with years of experience, not just in OC or firearms, but experience in life. Of all the blogs and forums I have visited, this is the one where I would come to for advice, on any topic, not just OC.

    The best part for me is that the site really pushes that if you make a statement of fact or law, link or quote your source. If it's opinion, say so or make it obvious. Any BS or statements without backup, or opinion without logic applied are immediately called out. Yes there are some arguments or personality clashes from time to time, but most arguments on a topic, any topic, are usually more of a logical debate type and only rarely a yelling match.
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    So, I have read through this. I was 16 when my parents divorced and it was a very stable split. I was old enough to make my own decisions and they allowed that.

    Did I get to see my abusive, paranoid schitzo, former marine father as little as i would have liked? No.

    I think both parents should stop and take the CHILD into their thoughts.
    How old is your child?
    Did you make agreed ground rules for raising your child?

    Both parents need to be conscious of these things. The father shouldnt make plans on thursdays and should contact the mother in advance. The deal clearly places the child with the Mother for the Majority of time, which means it is the Fathers place to get his house(not just literally) in order. He needs to contact and confirm the pick-up time in advance.

    Your childs school gets off at '3:00 pm', he should aim pickups for that time or make the necessary plans with the mother. [The Time is for this example]

    As a regular pattern, the mother should be able to plan things around it, without fear of it being altered without good notice and sometimes 24 hours doesnt cut it.

  22. #22
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Document everything, every little event. paranoid? Maybe. It is for your protection and the protection of the child. If a parent goes off the rails a judge gives the rational and meticulous parent the benefit of the doubt in his courtroom. Family court judges are like petty kings, yet a king he is.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  23. #23
    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Document everything, every little event. paranoid? Maybe. It is for your protection and the protection of the child. If a parent goes off the rails a judge gives the rational and meticulous parent the benefit of the doubt in his courtroom. Family court judges are like petty kings, yet a king he is.
    +1 to all of it.
    Just watching what my cousin went through, is going through, and will continue to go through makes me wish I'd recorded all the asinine things his ex-wife said/did/insinuated. Would have helped A LOT when she was granted full temporary custody of the kids and he had to defend himself against her false (to put it politely) accusations that he only fed the children sweets and microwave food. Projection much?
    Last edited by Rusty Young Man; 03-30-2014 at 04:18 AM.
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

  24. #24
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    Did I miss someone stating what time school is dismissed on Thursday? Because that is the time the father's time starts ticking.

    What is customary has nothing to do with it particularly if she is going to start invoking the letter of the agreement.

    The agreement sets up a window from between when the child is released from school until 7pm. So unless the child's school releases just after midnight on Thursdays (or noon depending on which 1201 you were referring to) the father could not argue 1201. I'm guessing school releases around 2pm? If so, it would appear that the father is well within the agreement to propose that as an alternative.
    Last edited by jegoodin; 03-30-2014 at 08:07 AM.

  25. #25
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegoodin View Post
    Did I miss someone stating what time school is dismissed on Thursday? Because that is the time the father's time starts ticking.

    What is customary has nothing to do with it particularly if she is going to start invoking the letter of the agreement.

    The agreement sets up a window from between when the child is released from school until 7pm. So unless the child's school releases just after midnight on Thursdays (or noon depending on which 1201 you were referring to) the father could not argue 1201. I'm guessing school releases around 2pm? If so, it would appear that the father is well within the agreement to propose that as an alternative.
    Not necessarily. I had a similar set up, so without the documents it would be hard to say. But they tend to be like lots of government work intentionally vague. MY orders said my days were Thursday -Sunday, then it specified that during school days I was to pick up after school. That doesn't necessarily mean that it applied during non school days.

    The main thing is hopefully both parents would just be flexible and understanding.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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