Christmas visitation schedule question. Paperwork states that he gets the week before

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Posted 11/25/2012 by hilsmom in NSBR Board
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hilsmom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 6:30:18 AM
I get what you are all saying about the day of celebration not mattering. I do. I grew up with a father who worked offshore. He still works offshore. He missed almost every single holiday most years. And no matter when we celebrate, we will make it special for her. That's not the issue. I gave in to every single demand to split holiday time, vacation time, etc that he had. But yes, I think he is being completely unreasonable to pull our child out of school to go sit at a stranger's house for four days. He is not off work those days. I offered days when he WAS off. I offered not just random days, but to let him have a five day weekend til Christmas morning, then take an entire week from New Year's Eve til the 6th and not interfere with school. I have bent, and bent, and bent. And you can believe that if I were the one who wanted to pull her out of school for ANY reason, I would be dragged back to court and called unfit.


Happiness looks good on everyone!

leftturnonly
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Posted: 11/26/2012 6:55:52 AM
Fine. Tell him you will follow the court order.

As soon as her vacation from school begins, so does his visitation which ends Christmas Day.


"One week during Christmas VACATION, in even numbered years to include the week prior to Christmas and Christmas Eve and in odd-numbered years to include the week after Christmas and to include Christmas Day; the actual pick up and delivery times for the Christmas holidays to be determined and agreed upon by the parties."


* One week during her vacation time from school.
* 2012 is an even year.
* Her vacation time from school, not to exceed one week, previous to and including Christmas eve and early Christmas morning.
* Pick up time for him will be at the class dismissal for the holidays.
* Pick up time for you will be Christmas morning
* His visitation for however many days are left in his week during her Christmas vacations are the real question here. You're just assuming the order means prior to Christmas, but it doesn't explicitly state that his full time is to be prior, nor that all of his days must be consecutive.


ETA - If this were a court order for a school like the one I attended, this would mean he would pick her up on Christmas eve and keep her with him overnight. You'd get her Christmas day, and then he would have her the following six days.







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Posted: 11/26/2012 6:57:27 AM
Well then let him take her and get her to and from school on time that week.


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hilsmom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 7:06:08 AM

You're just assuming the order means prior to Christmas, but it doesn't explicitly state that his full time is to be prior, nor that all of his days must be consecutive.





No, no! I am NOT assuming that at all. I offered CONSECUTIVE extra days later in the vacation. I offered to split MY week also, giving him the weekend before Christmas, the weekend after Christmas, extra days that next week, even offered to let him do an entire week later in the break. I am NOT trying to "steal" his time. I understand that he is entitled to visitation. The only thing we BOTH agree on is that we will rotate CE and CD each year.



Happiness looks good on everyone!

leftturnonly
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Posted: 11/26/2012 7:22:42 AM

No, no! I am NOT assuming that at all. I offered CONSECUTIVE extra days later in the vacation. I offered to split MY week also, giving him the weekend before Christmas, the weekend after Christmas, extra days that next week, even offered to let him do an entire week later in the break. I am NOT trying to "steal" his time. I understand that he is entitled to visitation. The only thing we BOTH agree on is that we will rotate CE and CD each year.


Whoa! You're completely misreading what I said.

Your order does not explicitly say his time is to be on consecutive days, does it?

Frankly, I think it is far more of a stretch to just completely overlook the VACATION that is spelled out in your legal custody agreement as well as the part where you both work out the details than to agree that he has the right to demand her to be out of school.

You're offering him..... what isn't yours to offer, since you haven't said that your custody gives you consecutive days off during her vacation either.

In no way did I suggest that you weren't trying to be as fair as is humanly possible in this. Instead, I think you're trying too hard and allowing too much leniency in the interpretation of your actual court order.

There's no reason the order can't be read the way I interpreted it, is there?







If PC is the way to get to Heaven, I'm going straight to Hell.



leftturnonly
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Posted: 11/26/2012 7:27:00 AM
You're not the only one who had legal counsel and had the opportunity to read and understand your agreement thoroughly before signing it.

So did he.

This *is* what he agreed to.





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hilsmom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 7:29:34 AM
Thanks Leftturn! I have an appointment with our family attorney this morning regarding a property matter, so while I am there, I will have him take a look. I am just so stressed about this whole situation. I think I am gonna have to step back and breathe, and just talk with him and see what he says.


Happiness looks good on everyone!

SweetPeasMom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 8:42:01 AM
I read the wording as it starts on her vacation time, meaning when she is out of school. I am not sure what "a week" is counted as (5 days, 7 days, etc). I hope you can get some clarification. I am in the camp that 4 days of school is too much to miss. There is still a lot of school left this year, what happens when she gets sick and needs to miss a day but not sick enough to go to the dr?

While you are at it, you might want to think about Spring Break week and Easter.


Wendy



Seanna.
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Posted: 11/26/2012 9:12:04 AM
I'm sorry he is such a jerk. And the situation is pretty unfair to your daughter, that's for sure. But you are going to need to pace yourself. I want you to know I read everything you said about what a piece of crap this man is, and I totally believe every word you wrote. I really do.

But Lauren's last note about this being minor--that really is true. This is not going to be the only thing he chooses to be an ass over--and you should know that better than anyone, because you have many years of bearing witness to his utter assy-ness.

I am not a divorced mom but I have seen enough of this stuff to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that what BF has written here is one of the most valuable pieces of advice you are ever going to read on the subject:


Let me just tell you a universal secret of almost all divorced moms.

When you are going through it, almost every single hill seems like one that you are willing to die on.

A few years down the road, you will look back at those hills and realize they weren't worth dying on after all and regret some of the things that you said or did.

Trust those of us who are telling you that this is not the hill to dig your heels into.


When I went to edit my signature, the "Edit Signature" title was spelled wrong. So that was distracting and I forgot what I wanted my new signature to be.

Alex M
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Posted: 11/26/2012 10:10:22 AM
4 days of school is a lot to miss, even if your school has very low key activities planned for that particular week. Her teacher may have fun stuff to do the last day that wouldn't be as much of a big deal to miss but I don't know that I'd necessarily assume the last 4 days would be able to be missed.

If you get along with his attorney I don't see the harm in asking whether that wording meant your dd was supposed to skip school in the week before Christmas in order to give each parent a week of uninterrupted time before the holiday or if it meant that each parent was entitled a weeks worth of time during her school vacation. At the very least you'll get clarification from someone who knows your situation better than all of us, even if we have experience with our own divorces or our local family court.

I actually had a similar situation with my ex once my dd started school and he did have her a week but he had to make sure she went to school on those days and then he just got her a bunch of overnights in a row. I met him halfway each morning and each night to switch off since he lived much further away from her school but she did go to school.



2boysandwill
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Posted: 11/26/2012 10:51:26 AM
You know, I started reading this thred yesterday but didn't post because it's kind of a pain to type everything on my phone. The below however kind of confirms what I think is going on here.


But yes, I think he is being completely unreasonable to pull our child out of school to go sit at a stranger's house for four days. He is not off work those days. I offered days when he WAS off. I offered not just random days, but to let him have a five day weekend til Christmas morning, then take an entire week from New Year's Eve til the 6th and not interfere with school. I have bent, and bent, and bent.


Considering all the history and nastiness involved, it seems like you have this "vision" of what you'd like visitations to be. All of these expectations, although most beneficial to your child, are not wrong. BUT I do think you are asking your husband to do things and behave in ways that are simply aren't him.

This is the part about divorce that sucks because all you want your husband to do is be reasonable and do the right thing for your daughter's sake. Well? Once you come to terms that your ex husband isn't going to do things (even the most reasonable ones) you'll stop being so angry about everything and you'll start focusing on what is really important (your daughter).

I'm a strong believer that your exhusband will dig his own grave in due time. I'm a strong believer that children are much more resilient and stronger than what we give them credit for. You're daughter is 7 and soon she will begin to gage for herself whether or not she wants to continue seeing her dad for long periods of time. That's the part of divorce that sucks because we then put our children in positions that we wish we didn't have to unless they are older and more mature to make sense of it all.

But eventually, the chips are going to fall wherever they need to. In the meantime however, you *have* to follow the court order. If you truly think visitation needs to be amended then do it.

But you do need to stop "bending and bending and bending" because in the end, it really and truly is only YOU that is doing that. And while your daughter can certainly see that, she is still too young to understand and appreciate what all of that entails.

OntarioScrapper
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Posted: 11/26/2012 10:58:00 AM
OP it looks like you will need to re word how Christmas vacation is split up based on your child's school vacation time. We moved to an area where the first year I was surprised that the kids went to school up to the 23 which was a Wednesday! I was used to schools which would have that week off leading up to Christmas year. Apparently, the previous school year there was a poll for the parents to find out if they wanted more time off for the kids after Christmas.


Angela

Periwrinkle
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Posted: 11/26/2012 11:06:33 AM
I've not got time to read this whole thread but I'm going to toss my two cents in just in case you ever decide to modify your agreement.

One of the hardest things about divorce (for me anyway) is joint custody after the fact. It can be really difficult to have to make joint decisions that are best for the children with someone you just really don't get along with. You've got to suck it up and do what is best for your child, and that means two things. Her dad gets her on his court ordered appointed days, AND as much as YOU dislike him, you've got to start watching what you say and how you react to him in her presence. It's obvious that you don't think very highly of him, and it is entirely possible that how you feel about him is coloring her desire and willingness to spend time with him. That isn't fair to both of them.

It took me a while to get that last bit myself, but it gets easier. Last night when my son came home talking about how gluey his dad's mashed potatoes were, I used that as an opportunity to stay something positive about their dad. I fed the man for 13 years, he's not a cook. His new wife won't/can't cook and I pointed out to my son how awesome it was that their dad is stepping up to the plate and making sure that they have not only the nice family Thanksgiving dinner that everyone wants but that he makes them dinner when they are there too. I even mentioned that I still sometimes screw up mashed potatoes myself. My son's face lit up.

I also want to tie in to a thread that I started last week. My daughter came home in tears because her teacher, while trying to remind kids to enjoy the time with their parents also pointed out that every year one of his students loses a parent. In his email to me, he stated that so many of his students just DREAD the holidays because of family fighting, and money and I suspect that this is the kind of stuff that he is referring to. Don't ruin your child's holiday in your attempt to ruin your ex's. It's her Christmas too, and she should be able to go to her dad's, with your blessing and support.

Okay, off my soap box. Custody agreement: Ours is written this way. The holiday break is evenly divided in half starting with the day that school lets out. The parent that gets Christmas, gets the first half of the break. It breaks it down to the hour in case Christmas does not fall during that week. I think last year it was on the day after the middle and so he brought them back one day later at 1pm. Christmas Eve is not addressed at all. A lot of people have gasped at that when it comes up in conversation BUT, by splitting the holiday/eve in half you are essentially committing both parties to staying in town, or at least being in the same town on Christmas Eve. Neither of us would be able to travel to see out of state family. If one of us moved (which we anticipated) it would be a nightmare.

As a side note to anyone who might get divorced in Utah... If you aren't LDS, there isn't a need to include pioneer day in your decree. BUT, do have them address Easter specifically. In Utah Spring break is always in conjunction with Easter. In Oregon, Spring break is a set week of the year. As such, Easter Sunday just falls to whoever happens to have the kids Easter weekend. Wish I'd caught that, but Its not worth going back to the table over.




CupcakePea
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Posted: 11/26/2012 12:51:01 PM
I read it that he starts his visitation once christmas VACATION starts for HER. Which is AFTER school gets out, not before. Sucks for him that it starts so late, but that's the way it is!

Advicegivingpea
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Posted: 11/26/2012 1:26:59 PM
I sympathize with what you are going through.

My decree doesn't state things like "week before" or "week after" which I guess can be subject to interpretation. Instead my decree addresses visitation as "beginning when the child's school is dismissed for "xx" (insert spring break, Thanksgiving Holiday, Christmas Holiday, etc) and ending at noon on December 26th" (in the case of Christmas) or "ending when school resumes after "XX holiday". Pretty clear cut that visitation begins when school ends before the visitation and end when school resumes.

twinks
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Posted: 11/26/2012 1:52:57 PM
You should have the same "ethical" standard about obeying the law (court order) as you do school attendance. Basically, if you don't follow the court order, you are teaching your daughter that the law is something you follow, unless it is inconvient.

Divorce is hard especially during the holidays. But, it seems to me that you are making this all his fault and you are the saint in the situation. You are bad mouthing your daughter's father which is going to do her more harm than missing a few days of school. You need to remove yourself from the situation. The court order is the one that says when she is going to see her father - not you, not him - it is neutral.

The court order is something that will always be there. You need to learn to schedule your holiday activities around it. I wouldn't be happy if a couple of weeks before Christmas, my ex called and wanted to change things around and was using my DD to make that happen.

Yes, as a divorced parent we get to suck it up a lot of times. Especially if you take the attitude that you are the one raising and teaching a child to be a kind, respectful, contributing member of society. Suck it up and let it go. Make the best you can of the situation. Focus on your daugher. Help your DD make the transition between homes the best possible. After all, she is the one missing out on the last couple of days of school. She is the one being uprooted between homes.


twinks
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Posted: 11/26/2012 2:49:25 PM
I remembered a few things that a very wise person told me when I got my divorce. It sounds like your exh is a lot like mine - only mine didn't drink.

First - have no expectations. Don't expect him to be reasonable, don't expect him to be anything, do anything, etc. When you have no expectations there is no disappointments or anger.

Second - let your DD have whatever relationship she can with her father. In other words, don't make your feelings about him her feelings. Trust me on this one, she will eventually catch on and will know which side of the bread is buttered. Not now, but, it will happen. The most important thing to this is NEVER bad mouth him in front of or to your DD. It will backfire on you.

Third - pick your battles wisely. I agree that your holiday visitation needs to be modified. But, not this year. The important thing is to obey the court order this year. Don't call attorney's etc. You will have a better chance of it being modified exactly how you want it if you don't make a big deal about it now and follow it.

(Along the lines of modifying your visitation arrangements, I would put in a clause that DD can visit as long as her father is taking care of her. If you have full custody, then he shouldn't be taking her and going off to work leaving her with a sitter - JMHO)

Fourth - There are reasons why you are divorced. If he was unable to reason or compromise before, he certainly isn't going to now. He isn't going to change because you and he are divorced.


Your divorce seems relatively new. All the feelings are still on the surface despite what or the reasons you left him. This is the first Christmas. I realize that you want everything great for your DD. Trying to get her father to understand, comply, negotiate is fruitless. I agree with others that this really isn't a mountain. A hill that needs to be climbed and possibly changed for the future, but, right now, at this time, you need to take care of you and your DD. Hugs! Trust me again, it does get better and those mountains level out to nothing more than speed bumps.

If you want some humorous experiences about Christmas visitations/holidays, just let me know. I have quite a few choice experiences with my ex and DD. He basically just doesn't get it and most likely never will and my DD is 26 years old.

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Posted: 11/26/2012 3:14:40 PM

I read it that he starts his visitation once christmas VACATION starts for HER. Which is AFTER school gets out, not before. Sucks for him that it starts so late, but that's the way it is!


I agree with this. The wording is quite ambiguous, imo.

Isn't the case in law that when a contract could be understood two different ways, you go with whoever didn't write the contract. So as his lawyer wrote the contract, any ambiguities would fall in your favour as the opposing, didn't-write-the-contract side.

Not a lawyer, but that's how things work in job contracts and the like here, so maybe it is for family court too.

hilsmom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 3:53:58 PM
Well, after a brief phone conversation with his lawyer this morning, she called him and explained that school really doesn't let out til 12/21, and that next year he would get the second week (all at one time) but that this year he would get four days the first visit and that I would give him the remainder of his days around New Year's. Because SHE is the one who explained it, he is completely agreeable.


Also, for everyone who is under the impression that my little girl has even a clue as to what is going on, you are wrong. NO ONE bad mouths her father around her. Not one negative word is said by me or anyone else when she is even on the premises. I do encourage her to go and have fun on her visits. I do explain to her that yes, I miss her very much when she is gone but that I know she is "having a great time at Dad's". What I would say to another adult is completely different than what I would be willing to say to my child. He is her dad, such as it is, and yes, one day, odds are she will see him for exactly what he is. I am NOT in a hurry for that day because I believe it will be hurtful for her. Any conversations he and I have about anything are always by text message because I would not risk her hearing anything that sounded like an argument. I have worked too hard to have a nice, peaceful, loving environment for us to call home, and I won't have him or anyone else undo that.


Happiness looks good on everyone!

Jenny in TX
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Posted: 11/26/2012 4:08:00 PM
Glad that you were able to get everything worked out.

I have read the entire post and I really don't understand why people are getting so upset at you because you don't want her to miss school. I don't care that she is only 7. I am not divorced but we have never allowed our kids to miss school just because. Even if it was the 1/2 day before getting out for Christmas break and all they were doing was watching movies. I think it is very important to teach kids that school is important and they have to go every day regardless. What if she had been 15, would people have thought differently.....probably! From the sounds of it you ex is just unwilling to compromise. Especially since you offered him other days instead.

My parents divorced when I was 8 so I have been there and continue to be there even at 42.

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Posted: 11/26/2012 4:38:32 PM
Hmm...I would think that the requirement of a child being in school every day would trump a court ordered visitation schedule. I don't know though because I'm NOT a lawyer.

I'd have a HUGE problem with my child missing school. I would think that if Dad had custody of his kid the week before Christmas, it would mean that he's responsible for taking child to and from school every day. Even at 7, they miss a LOT when they're absent for several days in a row. My son had to miss a whole week of school the week of Labor Day due to illness and he missed a lot but thankfully, my son is smart and caught up quickly.




SweetPeasMom
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Posted: 11/26/2012 4:46:22 PM
So glad he was able to be reasoned with by someone. That is exactly how I read the visitation agreement.


Wendy



2boysandwill
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Posted: 11/26/2012 4:52:29 PM
I'm glad everything worked out

I don't think you badmouth your ex in front of your daughter...but i do think you have unreasonable expectations of your ex that are cause for your frustration. Like I said, that within itself is not a bad thing...but I think you take yourself through the wringer in the process.

Hang in there...you're a great mom and everything will work itself out.

Enjoy the holidays

writermom1
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Posted: 11/26/2012 5:49:48 PM
So glad it worked out OP.


It took me a while to get that last bit myself, but it gets easier. Last night when my son came home talking about how gluey his dad's mashed potatoes were, I used that as an opportunity to stay something positive about their dad. I fed the man for 13 years, he's not a cook. His new wife won't/can't cook and I pointed out to my son how awesome it was that their dad is stepping up to the plate and making sure that they have not only the nice family Thanksgiving dinner that everyone wants but that he makes them dinner when they are there too. I even mentioned that I still sometimes screw up mashed potatoes myself. My son's face lit up.


Periwrinkle YOU are awesome.



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