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Suggestions on best way to approach this conversation

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

To make a long story short, BM is entitled to 3 weeks of BM's summer break each year. DH has until April 1 to let BM know if she is going to have the first week and the last two weeks of summer break or the first two weeks and the last week of SD's summer break. If he doesn't then BM gets to decide which weeks she wants. Since SD has missed several flights to us BM currently owes DH 2 days. So we would like to get the 2 days owed to us on the summer break coming up. 

Since BM moved, we now have to go to a further airport that is about 2 hours away (from our new house) so we have been booking SD's flights on weekends so there is no chance of us not making it to the airport on time. So the dates we would like to do would give BM 10 full days at the beginning and then 9 full days at the end. So it would give BM 19 days instead of 21 so DH would get back his 2 days. 

So not only is it bringing up the issue of wanting to get back our 2 days, but also at being flexible that it wouldn't be exactly two weeks or exactly one week as the CO states. 

Any advice on how to approach it to hopefully get what we want? DH partly doesn't want to draw attention to the 2 extra days or that it isn't exactly following the court order by being one whole week and two whole weeks because BM definitely does not pay attention to the CO, but if BM does realize something is up about it will be less likely to agree if it looks like DH is trying to pull a fast one on BM instead of having a conversation about it.

I think it would be best to first approach BM by asking her if it would be okay if the summer weeks weren't exactly one week or two weeks since the airport is much further from us since BM moved and makes week pick ups almost impossible. Then after that, have DH say he would love to have two extra days added to his summer visitation since he missed them with DH missing flights. 


ESMOD's picture

Is it in the CO that she is obligated to "repay" him those days?  or is this something  he wants to approach with her.. like the variance to the week issue?

I don't know if there is some chance that the 2 week one week is to allow her at least one 2 week period during summer break in case she wants to take a vacation with her? 

I would have hoped that he had already planted the seed of the makeup time when the missed flights occured.. but if he hasn't.. he may find she is not going to agree to it.    and.. unfortunately.. she may also prefer the more rigid week and 2 week schedule (that if you are doing weekend flights.. could actually sort of work out?

But, if he wants to try with her.. he can approach her and just say.

"I am going to plan to add the two days of visitation I missed into this year's summer break.  I am also going to work out a schedule that should be easier for us both to manage with flights on the weekends.. I am looking at 9 days beginning and 10 days end of summer.. please let me know if you have questions."


NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

on whether they need to be made up or not. There is nothing addressing it at all. 

BM moved last summer and in her doing so made us have to drive almost 3 hours to a different airport to get SD. Rather than make an issue about it, we just scheduled SD's flights for the weekends. In doing so, BM ended up getting 24 days, but really 25 days total because SD missed her flight to us, instead of the 21 days the CO gives her.

The big thing is we don't want to give up extra days with SD like we did last summer. We just bought a house that puts us 40 minutes closer to the airport we need to go to, so that makes it a little bit better. So it is either we will need to do week day flights both directions or BM being flexible about it not being a rigid 2 week and 1 week exactly. 

ESMOD's picture

In the end... it just depends on her willingness to work with you..she may not agree to give up those days.. she may not want to deviate from the 2/1 week schedule.. so he can ask for what he wants.. and see if she agrees.

He could say.

I would like to propose taking my days X at the beginning (state dates).. and Y at the end.. "state dates".  If you have any questions, please let me know.".


I mean.. either he is absolutely transparent and gives his justification up front.. or on the back end.. and ultimately.. she could say "no".. and you would have to figure out how to make it work with the flight schedules (without makeup days.. wouldn't it be possible to do it on weekends though?)   He should know which is more likely to get results I guess.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

I just feel like if we aren't transparent and she realizes that she is losing 2 days or that it isn't exactly 2 week or 1 week spurts then it might make more conflict where there is already conflict. Where if being transparent she might say yes so she doesn't look bad by saying no to the extra two days at least. 

Either way she could say no, but at least it shows he tried to communicate with her.

floralsm's picture

I think the less reasoning you give the better with HCBM's. From my experience it's best not to explain the reasoning for anything that may benefit you. If you say it is because of the distance of the airports for you.. she may be like so? Not my problem. What ESMOD said is pretty spot on with an explanation. Just a simple 'hey I am wanting to plan the extra 2 days I missed last time and these are the days in total I am looking at.. x and y, let me know if that works'. The less info you give them the better. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

I am just really hoping SD does not miss her spring break flight to us because we have to wake up before 4 am to confirm SD is indeed on the plane for her 7 am flight so then we can get up and get ready to pick up SD. After last summer and SD not getting on the plane with us already in the city near the airport, we won't leave our house to get SD until she is confirmed on the plane. 

floralsm's picture

Oh what? BM doesn't put her on the plane sometimes when SD is supposed to be in your care? Maybe your DH sending a text saying 'leaving now to meet SD at the airport is she on her way?' And document every time you get a no show from SD. Is that a breach of the CO if that does happen? 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

3 out of 4 flights on the day she is supposed to fly out. The first time because BM didn't leave in enough time to take SD to the airport and when they got there the plane was already boarded, the second time because BM did not look at the picture of the flight information or look up information about the flight so she had the wrong time, and the third time because SD got an answer wrong to one of the questions and threw herself on the ground screaming so they wouldn't work with BM to put her on the flight after that scene.

The first flight to the further airport we drove up in the morning so we wouldn't be late to spend the day in the city while we waited and SD did not get on that flight so we drove minimum of 6 hour round trip to and from the airport for SD to not get on the plane to then the next day drive the 6 hour trip again to actually get SD so we won't leave until SD is actually on the plane anymore.

Rags's picture

Particularly when there is a confusing element to distance from airports.

How does BM moving change your distance from an airport?

It appears that you moving to your new home is likely the impetus for the 2hr travel to the airport issue on your end.

Though the SpermClan certainly did play games with SS's return flights home following SpermLand visitation, we never took that time away from their next visitation. It never dawned on either my DW nor on me to do that. 

They would occassionally play the 'the flight got conceled' card or the 'oops, we forgot what day it was', 'missed the flight due to traffic', or any number of bullshit excuses.  We made sure to have the police or sheriff show up where ever they were to support my FIL in taking possession of SS and then getting him to the airport. Never did we fail to get him home on a flight later than the following day and we made damned sure they did not get rewarded for their game playing.  SS would be with my ILs rather than the SpermClan in those situations.

We had the benefit of my DW's childhood BFF being the daughter of the small town Chief of Police and then the County Sheriff after he retired from the PD.  He hates the Spermidiot so humiliating the SpermGrandHag with a police presence when the SpermClan would get stupid in returning SS on time from visitation was an option for us.  We used it when neccessary.

Usually, Law Enforcement will not get involved with civil court order enforcement.

The start and end of summer visitaiton is not an uncommon area for confusion or manipulation. In our case, the SpermClan had to notify DW no less than 60 days prior to the start of any visitation if they intended to excercise that visitation.  Winter and Spring were pretty much fixed for start and end dates so they were not a major or regular point of contention in our blended family experience.  Summer was a different story under our CO.  DW was entitled under the CO to have 10 days of visitation with SS in the SpermClan region of residence any time after the first two weeks of their 5wk summer visitation.  They played all kinds of games with that.  DW was never able to take her 10 days of mid summer visitation with SS mid way through the SpermClan's summer visitation.  Not once in the 16+ years of our CO.  So, we just told them when their 5wks in the summer would start which automatically stipulated when it would end.  5wks is 5wks. The CO was clear. No visitaiton could interfere with SS's school schedule.  That gave us any time we wanted in SpermLand to visit with my IL clan with SS remaining with us.  We stipulated the start of their visitaiton to accompodate our scheduled times with my IL clan.

When the SpermClan would get pissed that they had reservations at some vacation rental, our answer was always 'tough shit' and that their constant denying DW of her 10 days with SS made our give a shit about their plans ZERO.

That pissed the SpermClan off to no end, but, they would never say much about it since we would bare their asses in court for denying DW her CO'd 10 days if they pushed it too hard.

See if you can work it out in other ways rather than fighting about the 2 days.

As for the 2hr drive to the airport.... that one I am not sure has a fix.

One way we took care of the travel stuff is that the SpermClan was far more sensitive to travel costs than we were.  They always wanted to split a round trip airfare. So, DW would make the reservations.  The CO required each party to pay for getting SS to their location.  If they wanted a favor from us, it cost them the ability to control times of flights. When they bitched too much, we made them buy a one way ticket wich was far more expensive than splitting a round trip.

Figure out what is important to BM and use it to your advantage.

Good luck.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

had direct flights to the city 30 minutes from SD, but since BM moved states, the airport near us does not have direct flights to the only airport less than 5+ hours from BM. So we have to go to the further airport now that is currently about 3 hours before traffic from us, but us moving more up north makes it about 2 hours before traffic to that airport. So we like to do it on the weekend so no one has to take time off to get SD. When it was the closer airport, it didn't matter, but now with work week rush hour and distance, one of us would have to either take off or get off early to pick up or take SD to that airport.

Well BM doesn't pay for any of the transportation so at least there is that. It seems like she now works actually during the week so the weekend flights might be better for her too. We just don't want to give up more days so we either get those 2 days back or we don't, but we aren't waiting until the following weekend like we did last summer so BM got the minimum she was supposed to before and after our visitation. DH wants to get what he is entitled to and not give up extra days anymore. So worse case BM says no to the extra days, fine, but we aren't giving up extra days to her. BM says no to the weekend flights making it not exactly two weeks and one week, fine then one of us will pick up and drop SD off during the week.


Rags's picture

Unaccompanied minors could fly a multiple flight (non-direct) itenerary when he was a young minor.  We paid an unaccompanied minor fee when we checked him in for his flight ($60 if I recall correctly). The SpermClan did the same when they checked him in for his return flight.

Is that not still a thing?

I would not go out of my way for BM's drive to the airport if I were you or your DH.


NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

connections. SD is 6 so she can only be on flights that are direct and honestly connections suck so we will probably do the drive to allow SD to continue on only direct flights for the forseeable future. We are hoping that eventually there is a direct flight from BM's airport to the closer airport to us, but right now there is not. Sad It also is not right to ask BM to drive 5+ hours one way to a different airport so SD arrives at our closer airport. So right now our hands are tied unless DH wanted to fly to BM's area to pick up SD and fly back with her each time. 

Rags's picture

When SS was too young to fly unaccompanied, each party had to transport him.  So, the SpermClan would either send one of his GGFs or his Aunt's, Husband's mother.  

My DW would go pick him up and incorporate that into a visit with her family.  As SS got towards the end of that phase we would offer for one of DW's sibs or friends to fly with SS back to us then they would stay for a visit.

Either way, both sides were out a one way for the Skid and a round trip for the accompanying adult.

As for it being unfair for BM to drive 5hrs... she is the one who moved. Why would you put that PITA on yourself to accomodate rather than BM driving the 5hrs?

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

anyone to do that with. There is DH's dad, but he hasn't seen SD since she was 1. It has been nice she has been old enough to fly unaccompanied.

I know where you are coming from and I wish, but I feel like if we did that BM would request a CO modification and a judge would give DH shit since there is a closer option for us than there is for BM. We both moved and it was in the CO that was going to happen. BM was supposed to move summer of 2020 and then we were to move May 2021, we moved, but BM did not move until June 2022. 

ESMOD's picture

I think the point is well taken that your initial move across the country made these trips necessary.. and that BM's smaller move may have made it a bit more difficult.. but if you hadn't relocated to the west coast... this would not be near the same issue.  For that reason.. I think your DH probably has to (and has I get it).. deal with the inconvenience of going to airports.. whether it be weekday or not.. if that is what ends up being necessary.  I see no problem asking for the dates you want and simply stating that it adds up to a couple more days to make up for the missed flights.. she may be fine with that.

She may also claim "notmyfaultedness" and say he doesn't get to make up days for things not her fault.. (traffic.. tantrum kid).. in the end.. when you involve air travel and esp a young child.. things get unfortunately more complicated.. but hopefully will get easier through the years.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

coast. BM was moving states away that would of been a 13 hour car trip one way or 26 hour car trip to pick up SD from VA where we were. So it was always going to come down to flights regardless because that car trip isn't done in a day either. 


ndc's picture

I would not mention anything about the airport distance or it working better for you to not do weekday flights.  My recollection is that your BM is more inept and disorganized than evil, but a HCBM will often not agree to something simply to make things harder for the other parent.  I probably would mention the makeup days just in case BM is capable of basic arithmetic. But I wouldn't make a big deal of it - I'd throw the dates out there and see if she agrees. Since she isn't all that familiar with the CO, she may just go with it. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

because BM doesn't pay attention to the CO so just see if she has an issue with the dates and go from there. Well she knows about the distance and we will be reminding her of the distance prior to SD's spring break because we have to wake up before 4 am to ensure SD makes her flight so we can drive up to the airport on time so we hope she doesn't miss another flight.

justmakingthebest's picture

Keep it short and sweet. I would just notify her of the dates of the flight and ask for a response on if that is ok. I wouldn't bring attention to the 10 days at the begining or 3 at the end- just we would like to book the flights for June __ to August __. Does that work for you?


Harry's picture

If you start a war with BM. She will have SD miss the return flight.  Like making Monday a week day the first flight SD can make.  You know the old car troubles thing. It needs gas. And can Only get that gas on a week day 

SeeYouNever's picture

I would "propose" The travel dates for SD and not provide any explanation just ask BM to pick which set works best for her.

I I would just send the email with sets of dates and ask BM to pick them. She does not need to understand your thought process or why certain days do or don't work for you. The less information she gets the better.

" Hi BM, We are trying to figure out our summer schedule. We've already looked into flights for the following days. Please let us know which set works best for you so we can book the flights and get it in our calendars.


Then just list the flights, times, dates and airports. She made just agree to it and if she doesn't then you have to go from there. You're clearly upsetting yourself with the wise and what is so I think the best thing to do in this situation is to get the ball rolling on actual planning rather than worrying about planning.

Good luck

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

thing I worry about giving her an option like that to pick from is then she is going to try and abuse the inch you give her and take a mile. DH has until April 1 to tell BM if she is getting the first two weeks and last week or the first week and last two weeks of summer break, the rest is on DH to decide. If DH doesn't notify her by April 1, then it is up to BM to decide which weeks she wants.

SeeYouNever's picture

Then you DH should make the decision and inform her of the dates and times of the flights. Don't leave it up to her.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

wanting to add the two missed days to the upcoming summer visit. BM has not said no yet, but said she needs to look into that and she needs to think about that. So we will be booking the visits to be exactly the amount of time she is entitled to and not a day more this time. DH doesn't want to short her on her visits if she denies the make up days and make him in contempt, but will file contempt if SD misses more days go forward.