Visitation out of state


#1

Hello,

I posted the following in the Legal forum but wanted to get people’s opinions as well. Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions regarding this…thanks so much!!

Me and my spouse have been separated almost two years. We have been trying to do ‘kitchen table’ negotiations. We are and have been in agreement on almost every issue…except the visitation schedule. I live in WA state. The last agreement we had was I would have my two boys for 5 weeks in the summer, out here and I would be paying all travelling expenses. 5 weeks is about half my older son’s summer vacation right now (he is 9). My youngest is just under 3. Up until last night, that agreement was in place verbally and I was in the process of putting that into the separation agreement. She changed he rmind last night and stated she did not want to let me have them more than two weeks. This is unacceptable to me and I am prepared to go to court and represent myself…I will fight for my children to see me more than 2 weeks/yr. However, I wanted to get people’s inpout here on what the general consesus would be for this situation. I understand that there are many mitigating factors and nothing is a be all end all recipe in these situations. However, my gut tells me that a court would never think it was OK for children to only see their father (or any parent for that matter) only two weeks a year for visitation. We are both extremelly good parents and always have been…and we both think so about each other in that way. When we were together me and my boys were so very close and I was a great dad to them…we still are close and I am still a very good dad despite my being far away.

Any and all input/opinions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!!


#2

Generally speaking for a non custodial parent, visitations are every other weekend and 4 weeks in summer, occasionally with a night during the week. The weekend thing could be negotiated to another week in the summer or any other time the children are out of school. My suggestion would be to attempt a long weekend at least around the holidays. You are correct in that the courts may need to be involved if your stbx can not agree, but you would have to go to mediation. I do not believe that any court would approve of only two weeks a year, but there have been stranger things…
My question would be, why did your ex decide to change her mind? Have you been working with this arrangement for the two years or have you just recently moved? Normally, the courts do not want to disrupt the children’s schedule more than necessary but with the distance involved, and your willingness to work with the mother, they would consider that a plus for you. I do suggest that if this goes to court you do not offer to pay all travel expenses…I know this sounds harsh, but I believe it is both parents responsibility to make sure the children get time with them. It’s not up to one parent to do all the work and get so little benefit. Unless you are extremely wealthy, you should offer to pay for half the travel expenses because that is likely how the courts would divide it up anyway…
Good luck and keep us posted.