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Knew This Would Happen Pt. 2

CastleJJ's picture

I posted a blog last weekend about a fight we had with BM. BM is trying to withhold and interfere with summer visitation with SS9. 

DH received an email tonight from SS' football league that SS' tryout is next week, which is well before DH's parenting time which means that DH will have SS for two two week blocks as originally scheduled with no interference from BM. 

DH emailed BM to beat her to the punch and allow him to confirm the schedule without allowing room for manipulation or changes. BM agreed but... 

BM informed DH that SS9 is going to be missing a large chunk of pre-season conditioning to be with DH this summer. She tried to say that SS is very upset about it (DH knows he is not). BM said that visitation will significantly set back SS' football abilities compared to his peers. BM then gave DH a "warning" that SS' football obligations are only going to increase starting next summer and that BM and DH "as his parents, are going to have to get 'creative' to find a solution to balance visitation with football obligations." 

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the "warning" DH and I knew was coming. BM is warning DH that visitation will be limited in years to come and/or that DH will have to put in a ton of work (at BM's demand) to make summer visitation work. DH believes BM is going to start demanding out of state visitation with SS in BM's state. This has been BM's MO all along. Even the judge refused to order out of state visitation, but BM has been hell bent for years on making that happen. This is BM's way to set the PAS groundwork to get DH to 0 visitation or to make DH submit/cave to her again just so DH can maintain contact with SS. Outside of summer, we only see SS for alternating holiday breaks so if we eliminate summer, we will have 2 weeks per year. 

DH and I are done. We are not going back to court since the system has failed us terribly up until this point and BM will not agree in mediation so it is a waste of time. I dont think we have much time with SS left and I don't know how to help and protect SS from the emotional abuse/PAS he experiences from BM. This kid is only 9! I feel like every phone call we have with SS, he is always just so sad and DH and I can't make it better for him.


ndc's picture

I'm dumbfounded that a judge put this kid's sports ahead of his relationship with his father.  I don't blame you for not going back to court after the result you got.  It's very sad for the child, though.  Team sports can be a good experience, and a learning experience, for kids, but it's highly unlikely that this kid is going to be a professional or even college scholarship athlete (very few are), and those team sport experiences can be had without sabotaging his relationship with his father.  Family court is so often a real disappointment.

CastleJJ's picture

Family court absolutely sucks. 

BM thinks that SS will be the next NFL gravytrain that she can ride on. Plus it's a status thing, so BM can tell everyone that SS is a big shot athlete. SS is talented, but SS is also scrawny and petite. His talent does not scream professional or advanced. 

DH has always been under the belief that sports are to enrich a child's life, but not consume it. SS is enrolled in sports year round with no break. BM only has it consume SS' life to prevent visitation. DH said that he thinks SS will want to quit football soon. SS never talks about it during our visitation and never wants to practice or play catch with us.  He just wants to be a normal kid. He likes to build Legos, play pretend, do crafts, etc. SS said that at BM's he is only allowed to practice football, watch football, workout, and run drills. Before SS left to go back to BM's after spring break visitation, SS started randomly doing push ups, saying that BM would be mad that SS didn't maintain his conditioning over break. He never has time to play and be a kid. BM will never let SS quit because it is the only thing keeping SS from DH and it provides BM with the image she wants to portray. SS will never quit because he is always seeking BM's approval.

ntm's picture

I find it fascinating when SM's use the words "we" or "DH and I." I think SMs fight harder than the dads and it's the father's battle, not "ours." Let it go, and let him manage the battle if he wants to fight. 

Secondly, it's natural as a child gets older that they will develop friends and interests outside the purview of the immediate family that will interfere with the amount of time they spend with their parents, even in intact families. My DS is getting PREP SCHOOL invitations for lacrosse. I'm on Facebook laughing at the price tag and fellow parents of serious athletes are telling me to ask about scholarships. He is at lacrosse practice so much and then doing homework until midnight that I see him maybe 30 minutes out of a day. 

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your interests for your kid. I faithfully ride with a cycling club on Tuesday nights, but now that my 9th grader is on JV, if he has a home game on Tuesdays, my seat is in the bleachers, not on my bike. And it's completely true that the commitment ramps up as they get older, and it ramps up earlier for the talented ones. We are fully booked for weekend tournaments from the last weekend in June through the first weekend in August, and it's been that way for three years, so since he was 12. We have missed family vacations and family reunions. He will be required to do lacrosse camp during the weekdays in July and early August and then team practices and tryouts will start. My son's goal is to play D1 and this is the type of commitment that's required. He was playing three weekend tournaments during June and July starting in third grade. We still had our Augusts then. We lost August to JV soccer when he was 13 and going into 8th grade. 

It's a tough spot for a long distance custody agreement, but if your DH denies the kid his passion, he's going to resent him. Your DH may need to take vacation time and rent a cottage or hotel room where his child plays football in order to exercise his visitation rights  

This is all a whole different ball of wax if the child doesn't like or is actually a terrible at the sport. But if that's the case, he'll be cut and your DH won't need to make accommodations for visitation around the sport  

Remember, this is not a Two Musketeers battle  This is a DH battle. Take a deep breath and let it go.


tog redux's picture

Sorry, I well know how it feels to watch the  inevitable coming. Maybe as SS gets older it will become clear that he's not NFL material. Seems to me that sports are a great way to control the ex and make it seem like you are MOTY. 

The good news is that you are free and clear for this summer! Try not to worry about next year. Hopefully DH ignored the crap out of BM's warning. He can drop the rope with BM and no longer fight with her, while still hanging on to SS as long as possible. 

Also, don't be bothered by the poster above who knows nothing about parental alienation and hasn't been in your shoes. YOU know the truth of your situation even if others can't see it. 

CastleJJ's picture

Yes, DH and I are trying to focus on this year and this year only, which means that we are free and clear for this summer. 

tog redux's picture

I say DH just replies "ok" to everything BM sends. That'll make her crazy, lol. She wants a fight, these HCBMs always do. They live for it. 

CastleJJ's picture

DH just replied "I look forward to seeing SS on x date," and said nothing else. 

thinkthrice's picture

Enrolled them in all sorts of sports thinking they were athletic.  Unless you define athletic as being very overweight and extremely tall for one's age then there was not an athletic cell in the entire lot of them.  In fact they were extremely awkward and klutzy not unlike the Gir.  But boy did they know how to showboat!

And yes both Chef and the Girhippo had fantasies of the skids being in professional sports.  Very much living vicariously through them.  Problem is the skids had no interest in sports other than watching video games and snacking 24/7 if that is a sport.  It was merely a social event for the Gir and her fellow coven members, errr siiiiiinnnnngle sooooccccceeeeeerrrrr mooooommmmms.  The skids had no friends because of their horrible personalities so it wasn't like they were gaining any social skills in sports, either.

Enrolling kids in multiple extracurricular activities such as Sports is a win-win-win for the HCGUBM.  It reduces bonding time with Dad and SM, makes it appear that the HCGUBM cares for the children, and it can also increase CS.

Tell that witch that SS can condition on Dad's time just as well as on her turf.  

CastleJJ's picture

LOL oh we tried the whole conditioning thing once. DH found a local camp a few years ago that was hosted by our state's NFL team. They had NFL players from that team teaching kids football skills and techniques. It was going to be for 3 days during our visitation and DH was going to foot the bill 100%, so it wouldn't have fallen on BM at all. DH wanted to enroll SS but because he didn't have legal custody and our CO was unclear about what we could and couldn't do, we had to clear it with BM. 

BM refused saying that it wouldn't be beneficial to SS because it wasn't SS practicing with his actual teammates under direction of his actual coach. BM wanted SS to get to know his teammates and how his coach operated. Later in the summer, BM emails DH informing him that she signed SS up for the exact same camp in her state, hosted by her state's NFL team and that SS was so excited to attend... 

DH is going to do some fun conditioning activities with SS this summer, but we aren't going to make it our sole focus. SS will have plenty of time to be a kid at our house. 

justmakingthebest's picture

The ONLY positive thing I can say about anything that has happened for us in court was sports were not allowed to interfere with parenting time. We are out of state too and this was the only "win" we have ever had. 

I don't know if you should fight it or not, we have been fighting for 6 years and just gave it up. I just hope that SS knows his dad loves him and tried. 

CastleJJ's picture

We fought it initially. We spent $30k and a year in court from 2019 to 2020. Before 2019, their CO from mediation gave DH two two week blocks of summer visitation with confirmed dates. BM agreed to it during mediation, but she began trying to change the dates as summer progressed. Everything became a fight when BM realized that set dates were inconvenient for her and her PAS tactics. 

During court, BM kept expressing how important SS' sports were to him and demanded that they take precedence over everything. BM even had SS' coach (her BFF) provide a false written statement saying that mandatory training started the day after school released until the day before school started with practices 3 days per week and games every weekend. This letter was dated for January, well before football season, and clearly written as a favor to BM. Well this statement is very different from the schedule provided by the coach last week and every year prior, which only shows stuff occurring in July. During our court battle, DH turned over every bit of proof to the courts that BM was lying including emails from the coach, previous years' schedules, etc. He even included an email between DH and the coach saying nothing was mandatory until late July and to enjoy visitation with SS. The judge told DH that he should have fought harder for more visitation when SS was a baby and that due to this fact, he was ordering that sports take precedence. 

BM has already informed DH that she and SS have a 2 week trip to AZ planned this summer and a 3 week trip to Europe planned for next summer... How is that not going to interfere with those "all important" football commitments?

If we give up summer, we still have half of Christmas break and alternating Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks, but that would only give DH 2 weeks per year at most. DH is debating on just taking whatever time BM offers in the coming years and if it becomes too difficult on us, only taking some of the time she offers. DH and I really can't afford to go back to court and the judge warned DH at the conclusion of their court battle that the judge would likely never increase or change DH's visitation. He basically told DH to "pay CS and let SS9 go." So it doesn't really make sense to go back to court, spend thousands to fight, if we know what the outcome will be. 

justmakingthebest's picture

My husband is supposed to have 6 weeks a year. It is such a joke for that to be what they have to keep a meaningful relationship. 

We aren't fighting anymore. BM's will always win. He could always posture and threaten court for contempt but not actually do it. I guess at this point it is how much stress do you want to cause yourselves. At least that is where we are. Mine is 16, not 9 though. That is a big difference. 

CastleJJ's picture

Exactly. DH argued with BM this weekend that extended visitations of one to two weeks are the only way to maintain a strong relationship with SS to allow time for adjustment. BM disagreed saying that a few long weekends a year is better to maintain a strong relationship with SS. Yet, a few years ago, when DH had one weekend per month with BM doing all transportation, BM argued that shorter visitations are detrimental to SS, so which one is it?! BM only wanted longer visits so she didn't have to drive every month for a 24 hour visit. No BM, any visitation is only better if it benefits you and allows you to maintain control and PAS.

DH has always reminded BM that DH only gets 6 weeks per year and that it isnt adequate to support a strong relationship with SS. BM always tells him, "you only have 6 weeks because of choices you made." DH didnt do anything to BM. He has busted his butt since Day 1 to try to be involved. He has always tried to get her to look at it from his perspective. Could BM maintain a strong relationship if she only got 6 weeks per year? No, but that doesn't matter because BM maintains custody so she doesn't have to worry about that. DH gets 15% visitation per year. That is 57 overnights; BM gets 308...

DH said if SS was older, it would be easier to accept his busy social/sports life, and to let him go, but he is only 9. How do you give up on a literal child? 

CastleJJ's picture

Oh and I should add that BM demanded that for all holiday break visitation, the CO states that, SS has to be returned to BM 2 days prior to school starting to allow for "adjustment." So for Christmas Break, if school starts on Monday, BM picks SS up on Saturday at noon... So essentially BM is saying that SS requires roughly 36 hours to "adjust" to being with BM like normal. So DH can't have SS for at least a week of visitation to allow SS to adjust to being with us once every few months, but BM can shorten visitation by 2 days to allow for adjustment to SS' everyday life... Guess what, the judge ordered it. 

thinkthrice's picture

Goal post moving judges.