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Can she force me?

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Running the Race posted 10/15/2013 12:13 PM

A quick layout of my involvement here,
I pick the kids from school every day,
Do their homework with them, cook/feed them dinner.
I get them every other weekend, volunteer in two of their classes,
I've paid my alimony/child support one month in advance.
I pay for all after school daycare
I told my exw that I wanted to have the kids only be involved in school during this time, until after the 1st of the year.

So here it is: she wants our daughter to do some things (here and there), this will crowd the time I do homework and cook dinner (not a great cook, still learning), so I told her no. Can she take me to court to make me take my daughter?
I'm not suggesting that our kids do nothing the rest of their childhood, I just wanted a 3 month adjustment time.

nowiknow23 posted 10/15/2013 12:21 PM

Can she take me to court to make me take my daughter?
I take it these are extra-curricular activities? If so, she can take you to court, but I can't imagine the judgment would go her way.

If it's something else (like counseling, physical therapy for a condition/injury, etc.) it might be a different story.

Nature_Girl posted 10/15/2013 12:28 PM

Yes, she could take you to court for this, but unlike Nik, I think she would prevail.

suckstobeme posted 10/15/2013 12:35 PM

Do you have a written agreement yet where this adjustment time is laid out? If not, I would be careful about saying no without having reasons or providing an alternative to her proposal.

She can take you to court for whatever she wants. Whether she will be successful is another story. However, from now on, you always have to deal with her with a bit of strategy in mind. In other words, everything you say or write can now be used as evidence. You never want to look like the unreasonable parent or that you're disagreeing with a proposal for any other reason than it's not in the best interests of the kids.

With that said, did she also agree to this adjustment period? Did a counselor suggest it? How did you come up with the time frame? What are the activities that she's suggesting? Are they offered in the winter too or is this the sign up time for the year? Are these same activities offered on saturdays too? Things like that need to be considered. If you don't have a good reason for saying no, or you don't research alternatives and present another way, a judge may view it as you being unreasonable.

Another significant point I like to make (I'm an attorney so I see all kinds of things go down) is that you never want to go back to court unless that is the absolute last resort. I see people all the time say, " we'll, I guess we will just go back to court", as if that's not a big deal. When you are at the mercy of another person's opinion, which is shaped by his or her own life experiences, it may not always go the way you want or feel it should. in fact, family court environments, in my experience, can be a crap shoot.

Bottom line is that you have a lot more years to have to deal with her. It sucks and i too wish that my ex would move far away so i didnt have to "co parent" with him ever again. But, thats unfortunately not our reality right now. Right now, set the tone to at least try to cooperate and it will save a lot of headaches down the road.

Undefinabl3 posted 10/15/2013 13:02 PM

I think this would really depend on the kids.

I was a doer, so any time to just sit and 'calm' would be wasted on me.

I needed to run, jump, and interact with kids my age, more so to take my mind off what was going on at home.

You may want to consider how your child copes and what yoru children's current attitudes are. There may be benefit in getting them out and with their peers.

Running the Race posted 10/15/2013 13:24 PM

I can't say we had anything written down for the first 3 months. Last year when she was about to move out, all the kids grades dropped (they were in about 4 things), I was trying to manage the kids dinner, school, showers, and extra activities. It was too much.
Since she moved out this summer, I asked we hold off on everything just to get a routine, then start to put in activities.
It seemed reasonable, I guess she is changing her mind. Meanwhile, I've got the kids doing really well in school right now. I hate to screw it up.

suckstobeme posted 10/15/2013 13:37 PM

Then that's what you tell her when you remind her of why you both felt it was a good idea to hold off and make it clear that grades and routine are the priority now. If you can, try for one activity to see how it goes for DD. Four is just way too much for most kids and most parents. But, if there is one thing that she loves and it will help ease her back into a more rounded routine, then try it.

Again, it's all about compromise and making sure whatever you say is backed up with good reason. If the grades are up, one activity doesn't sound crazy with the caveat that it has to be cancelled if the grades start to slip again.

Running the Race posted 10/15/2013 13:41 PM

I understand, it's just that, as you can guess, with multiple kids (3) if one gets into something, the other two want to be in something.

Nature_Girl posted 10/15/2013 13:47 PM

Yep. Yep yep yep. I feel your pain. When one gets an activity the other two want an activity as well. I told my kids they could have ONE activity. I found something that's multi-age/grade and put them into it. One night a week, they're all in it, and that's that. It is a rush to get their homework done that night. It's also a rush to get their homework done on the night they see Daddy, too, but I make it happen.

It's tough when the other parent doesn't comprehend that kids have homework which takes time to work through. Rushed homework, rushed meals, rushed bedtime, don't make for happy kids or happy Mommy/Daddy.

Ashland13 posted 10/15/2013 13:58 PM

I don't have much active advice, just to say you aren't alone. Here DD's father is pushing ahead in great stride and DD can hardly catch her breath with all the changes.

I did want to point out that writing things down and keeping records of XWW's requests or changes she makes to kid's schedule or your interactions is something people do that helps.

I've been told that the more I show sameness and routine, the more it helps a judge or court to find a stable parent. Keeping records shows detail and caring.

HopeImOverIt posted 10/15/2013 14:25 PM

It looks like you are divorced. What does your divorce agreement say? Who has custody during these hours? I would think that technically the person who has custody during the time of the proposed activity usually gets final say.

If your divorce agreement stipulates that you have custody during the hours of 3-5pm M-F and she wants to sign them up for running club that meets Wednesdays at 3pm, then I don't think she can force you to take them there at what is YOUR time.

On the other hand if SHE has custody on Wednesday afternoons, then I suspect you can't STOP her from taking them to an activity that meets at that time. Although you would probably be within your rights not to pay for the cost of it.

Unless of course a judge rules otherwise.

My divorce agreement says we are supposed to "consult" on extra-curricular activities but doesn't say who gets the deciding vote. Absent a specific divorce provision, I would assume that the parent who has custody at a given time is within their rights to take the children to any activities they wish, as long as the activities aren't demonstrably harmful.

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