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We have to go back

NeverEnough321's picture

Due to poor wording of the Minute Order and BM's unwillingness to work out a holiday plan, SO has to start over. We no longer have a lawyer, but even she thought that SO should just go it alone from here on out. It's only a holiday schedule.

Some background, SO filed for modification earlier this year because BM was not following the CO in splitting the holidays. We decided to get a lawyer to take the stress off of filing, scheduling, and getting papers served. The lawyer had us ask for a lot more than we planned, but let us know that is was SO's right, even as noncustodial parent. Mandatory mediation came and went, BM didn't agree to anything. The judge was bias for whatever reason (SO had a lawyer, BM didn't...) and gave SO MWF 3-8pm during the summer because SO has a job and it would disrupt the kids' routines. The kids are Ss14, OSD13, and YSD10. They did nothing this summer. We had asked for half the summer because CO said half, but would've been ok with 2 weeks or something. The judge gave us the 5th weekends. No change in custody. The rest of holidays and vacations are to be decided back in mediation (not mandatory). That was it. Even BM wasn't happy because now she had to do her own pick ups when SO was doing all pick up and drop offs. Mediation was the following week and we had been hopeful that BM would want to negotiate away picking the kids up 3-4 times a week from our home. No dice. The minute order was not available yet, so she wanted to wait until it came out. They havent met again since. 

SO is reluctant to write a new declaration. We want to file and hopefully get this all over with before thanksgiving. He is so disheartened by this judge that he seems resigned to just take whatever the judge says. Then there are moments he says he wants the judge to hear his side of the story. I try to tell him nicely that the judge won't care. It's not a movie. An impassioned speech will not sway her. As I think of encouraging SO to write a good declaration, I can only think, will the judge even care about that? 

I guess I'm wondering if anyone can provide advice on whether a declaration will help at this point. It's been 2 months since SO was before the judge.. would she remember him? Is there any way to convince her that the summer schedule is not in the best interest of the kids? That the kids should be allowed to see their dad for longer than 2 days at a time? Has anyone come back from a bad judge? I have read several stories on here about awful rulings and don't have high hopes.

ESMOD's picture

I don't think it's a problem for him to let the judge know how he feels about the importance of his children having time to spend with him as a father.. and not just constant transiant visitor in their lives.  I would NOT use it to bash prior decision or the judge.. or BM.


NeverEnough321's picture

Absolutely. SO has no plans to mention anything about BM. Only that no agreement was made in mediation. I would hope that SO knows better than to say anything bad about the judge in court. I'm just looking for a nice way to disagree and your suggestion sounds like a good option. Thanks. 

Harry's picture

That SO is the kids father...  He wants to part of the kids life. He wants to parent them.  That he needs solid blocks of time to establish a real relationship.  Not a few hours three times a week.  You as a family want to do family activities,  Vacations,  amusement parts.. historically places..,  activities...  camping.. fishing  ...  

That four solid weeks in the summer is needed  so SO can set up his vacation make reservations ect.  That half of the Christmas, Easter,, mid winter break is needed to keep the family bond intact.  That BM doesn't have more rights to the kids then the BF  Byt yoy respect the kids need structure.. Going to the same school..being able to play school sports or activities.


NeverEnough321's picture

SO will make all these arguments in court, but the Judge was unforgiving. She said unless he works 5 hours a day so he can take kids to school and pick them up afterwards, she will not give him overnights. She will not give him July 4th past 8pm because it is in the middle of a school week and the kids' sleep schedule is not to be disturbed. 

But BM has a job and lets them stay up. Judge says that they already have a routine that should not be disturbed. 

We have filled out the holiday form to the best of our ability... including all times SO has off of work, plus being allowed 1 week of vacation twice a year where he will take PTO. Summer is not in play anymore, but we're still trying for a week of winter break (SO gets a week off), half of spring break, and half of thanksgiving week. Other holidays are most likely going to whoever has them for the long weekend. It's all we can do now.

Winterglow's picture

Has he contacted a fathers' association? You never know what kind of resources they might have.

This judge appears to have a chip on her shoulder about divorced fathers. Either that or she's a man-hater. I think she set up this lunatic schedule knowing that it perturbs the kids and expecting them to refuse to spend time with their father eventually.

NeverEnough321's picture

He hasn't. SO doesn't think anyone will help him without payment at this point. I'll suggest it to him though. 

whatever her intentions were, the kids had no problem with seeing their dad, even if its not overnight. The only issue they may have had is the bad attitude BM didn't bother to hide now that receiving parent needs to do pick ups. She's still complaining about it now. BM is too stubborn to work on a new schedule and would rather inconvenience herself than give SO another minute. We think she's afraid he'll want a CS recalculation. 

Winterglow's picture

A fathers' association might know much more about that judge than you do. They also have accumulated information about what can be done, if anything. They may know nothing that helps but if you never ask ... They're there to help each other and they've all been through their own family hell .

Can't hurt to ask.