Ignoring Orders


#1

I have concerns about my step-kids mother and her husband ignoring court orders that are only a year old. Here are the cut-outs from the order with my notes. I am wondering what if anything can be done about her blatant disregard.

Violations of Court Order from December 2008 to December, 2009

Pg. 5a – Parties shall take all measures deemed advisable to foster feelings of love and affection between the child and the other party, and neither party shall do or say anything that would be likely to estrange the child from the other party or impair the child’s high regard for the other party….

*Not facilitating communication could affect the high regard the children have for their father.  They may grow to believe that he did not call them enough or take enough interest in what the current events are in their lives.  This is not the case because several attempts are made in each week to have these conversations.  The messages are infrequently returned.
*Phone call with children and eldest child (9 years old) asked “Daddy why don’t you call us?”  after talking with the children at 10 pm on a Friday night (they called us).  Again, several attempts are made each week but apparently not passed on to the children.

Pg. 6c – Plaintiff and Defendant shall consult with each other with respect to the education, including school placement, religious training, welfare, whereabouts, and other matter relating to the minor child, whose well-being and development shall at all times be a paramount consideration to the parties.

*We were never notified of any meetings (IEP, parent-teacher, 504) to be able to add our input. (eldest IEP meeting was held, and mother attended 2/2/09. I believe that is when step-father, after the fact, informed us they were taking him off an IEP and putting the child on a 504 Plan instead because of his diagnosis of ADHD.
*Youngest child has an IEP meeting Oct. 6 2009 we received an invitation the beginning of Dec. (first hearing of the meeting) but no follow up information regarding the outcome of the meeting.

**side note… me, their step-mother, has a degree in elementary education and is licensed in two states to practice and has been practicing in Special Education for a year now.

Pg. 6d- If either party shall have knowledge of any illness, accident or other matters seriously affecting the well being of the minor child, such party shall promptly notify the other party.

*Mother told father via text message that children has swine flu in October.  Step-father informed us that the children had influenza type A and the only child to be placed on medication was the youngest. 
*Most recently in December mother told me via text message that the middle child had a sore throat and swollen glands so she took him to an after hours clinic.  Upon leaving notified me he was fine and it was just a cold.  Step-father notified us later that he had an upper respiratory infection.  

Pg. 6e- The Defendant shall be entitled to complete, detailed information from any physician, dentist, or medical or dental consultant or specialist attending the minor child for any reason whatsoever and to be furnished with copies of any reports given by the latter, or any of them, to the other party.

*Haven’t received any medical information, not even bills for ADHD medication, since their arrival back in NC in August.  That is usually how we find out medical information about the children.
*Tried to contact physician 10/27/09 for confirmation of H1N1 diagnosis (according to mother, via text and phone conversation with dad, denied by step-dad in e-mail and phone conversation on the same day) but was denied access to information due to lack of update by mother (spoke with Ashley in records at the pediatrician, she confirmed denial with supervisor).  Father should’ve always been a contact person on the children’s medical information but definitely since 12/08 when the new orders took affect giving him complete and detailed information. {Side note… Medical records were released through Kari in the records department in February 2009.  Have all eldest child’s records 2007-2/2009.}

Pg. 7g– The Plaintiff shall forward to the Defendant a copy of all documents she receives that are related to the minor children’s educational progress, school and extracurricular activities, medical, dental, counseling and therapy services within 3 days of receiving the same.

*We had to call several times and provide legal documentation, via the attorney, to the school to get copies of report cards as well as provide postage to the school for the 2008-2009 school year.  We are still waiting on mother to forward us the information for the 2009-2010 school year.  It is her responsibility to provide us with report cards, progress notes, notes home from the teacher, schedules for football, scouts, dance, etc.  
*An noted in an e-mail from step-father December 4th, he is the boys’ scout leader yet we have never been notified/invited to a scouting event or outing prior to this e-mail informing us that later that evening they will be participating in a holiday parade.
*We have not received interim reports at all for the 2009-2010 school year and the report cards for the first grading quarter were 6 weeks late

Pg. 7h – Each party shall be entitled to speak to the child by telephone at reasonable times and intervals when the child is with the other party. The Plaintiff shall facilitate the Defendant having unfettered telephone and e-mail contact with the minor children at least three times weekly for a period of up to 30 minutes on each occasion.

*Countless times where messages are left 2-4 times per week resulting in 1 phone call back, if that.  Often go for more than a week without a phone call back.  Never has she had the children calls us without us first calling to request to talk to them.  She often will not communicate to the boys that we even called.  I always ask, “Did mom tell you I called?”  Typical response is “No.” I brush it off as saying, “Oh she must have forgotten being so busy taking care of you guys.”

*Mom is also supposed to facilitate the phone calls at “reasonable times”.  More often then not the children are eating dinner, playing a game or doing something that is not conducive to a conversation.  A reasonable time for a conversation is when little distraction occurs and complete attention can be given, as we do here.

*Most recently I made the attempt at the beginning of Dec. to call 4 times in one week without a phone call.

***We are also permitted to talk to the kids on their birthday’s but neither Dad nor myself were able to make contact with eldest child on October 1st despite several attempts by phone and text message throughout the day.

They are now also trying to adjust the December visitation schedule although we don’t agree to the adjustment. Their argument is they want the children to spend more time with their step-grandparents who are in town visiting and will not deliver the children to the exchange point until 5 pm on the 26th. The court order stipulates we get the children from 8 am on Dec. 26th until 6 pm on the day before school resumes. As we live out of state we only get the children for visitation on their school vacations and 6 weeks in the summer for a total of 8.5 weeks a year so their time with us is very precious and we don’t feel this is in the best interest of the children but rather what is convenient for their mother and step-father.

There have been numerous e-mail exchanges and phone calls regarding all of this turmoil over the past year with no resolution or cooperation and I am not sure what to do about. We have a lawyer but just got done fighting a 2 year battle in the court at a large expense and do not want to go through that again so I would like to know if there is an easier and/or cheaper solution but am prepared to pursue legal action if necessary. Please help!!

Sincerely,

New England Step-mom


#2

You may file a motion for contempt which alleges that the other side is wilfully acting contrary to the court order.


#3

Thank you for the advice. However I am curious as to what type of consequences there are for their actions and if it is worth filing any motion if they can just keep acting like this?


#4

Look at it this way, they will never be held accountable if you don’t file. File for contempt and if that doesn’t wake her up, continue filing each time she violates the order. You and I seem in a very similar circumstance. DH just filed for custody because of denied visits, denied legal decisions, etc. His is not a court order though, only a separation agreement.


#5

Same thing happening, the custodial parent breaking the court orders, which are simple to read. The kids are being exposed now and stated “they are saying things” which is one of the orders not allowed about the non custodial parent.
Not keeping non custodial FULLY informed of school problems, one child is having difficulties. Listening in on phone conversation and or taping, which was to stop per order. One child stated “step-parent” takes the other phone and listens when non custodial parent is calling. The children are not aware of court orders
My question: when children tell Non custodial parent these things how is this handled? Do they have to go to court, what options does the non custodial have, to get what they stated before the court.
There are at least 4 things that have been in contempt, order not 1 year old. There are emails that could help.

Thank You


#6

A judge may hear from children in chambers if he or she deems in necessary to discover the truth.