What if its not covered in the sep agreement

You’re not breaking the law. Though you ARE being spiteful, and in this case the kids are being used. NOW…don’t think I’m coming down on you–because I’m not. I’ve been there too.

My suggestion is that (if it is possible for you) to take the children to school this week. Let her know you will do this for this week, but that she will have to make arrangements for the other weeks. Also tell her that if she pursues legal action, you have evidence of HER breeching the contract you have concerning visitation.

I assume your children are young since they are being driven to school. The children should not be allowed to decide if they want to come see you or not. They should be picked up on your visitation weekends…period. Remind her that joint custody means you communicate concerning any extracurricular activities beforehand (if the wording in your agreement states that–usually joint custody has something to that affect).

If she starts complying with the agreement you have, then you can be more amenable to ‘helping out’. Technically, time that is not your custodial time is on your ex. I was held STRICTLY to my agreement, but since my ex was the non-custodial parent, he decided when he would have them and if it didn’t work with his schedule-he would skip his nights. If I asked him to pick the kids up from afterschool activities on MY nights, I was often told no…that was my responsibility…and technically it was. So I often rearranged my schedule to do so.

You feel bad not helping your kids, but she does need to comply to the arrangement you have. You dont’ want to go back to court for breech if you can avoid it. I don’t see that a judge would rule in her favor based on the ‘joint custody’ verbeage of the agreement.

Just my advise. But you’re not breaking the law by saying no.

No you are not breaking any laws by following the custody agreement, though it would probably look better if you would find something different to take a stand on…

I understand wanting to put your foot down and be able to tell her no about anything after being treated as you explained. I also understand not pushing the visitations, but your ex can not expect to claim “joint custody” without adhering to it herself.

Read over your agreement and see if what it states about paying for 1/2 and for the “joint” custody. NC defaults to joint legal custody if not specified, which is education, religious, and medical decisions. Joint physical custody is what she is trying to enforce.
If your papers do not specify what you are paying half of then quit reimbursing her for some of this stuff that you are not aware of or agree to. Please don’t continue to allow this behavior.
Once you have read over the papers again, I suggest that you point out to her, in writing that if she wants you to work with her (them) on this matter that you expect the visitations to be enforced. You are going to have to start putting your foot down in all aspects if you expect to get any relief.
If this were me, I would suggest that the child begin staying the night with you on Wed & Thurs nights. If your papers say joint physical custody, then you have the right to request overnights. I suggest that you have Wed & Thurs night and every other weekend. The child does not have the right to make that decision and her mother should be encouraging visitations. It is not the child’s choice.

Joint custody takes working together to raise the child separately.
If both parents are not willing to do this, then joint custody can not work.
If you want to make a stand, make it on something that is a little less likely to get the child in trouble.

Okay, she just left me a voicemail…now she says she is going to family court to get a court order that says I have to pick up the kids and get them to school and get them back to her house and on what days I have to do this. And then if I defy the court order, she is going for full custody since I am not will not help take care of the kids.

This seems to be getting carried away. But she just cant up and get a court order signed that says what I must start doing, can she?? I thought this is what court was for??

She is blowing smoke. She can’t get a court order to mandate you pick the kids up on such and such a date. I laughed at that. She has to file a complaint against you, serve you that complaint, have you answer, then take it to court. It’s not something she can march to the courthouse and get today.

She can go back to court and modify the custody arrangement, but she would have to show just cause to do so. I wonder if she wants to spend the money to do that. I doubt she can get FULL custody simply because you can’t pick the kids up. PLEASE… She is using the control on you that has worked in the past. I would call her bluff.

Do not listen to her. If she wants to change the agreement, then let her take you to court to try. You haven’t broken the agreement as it stands and she will have to have really good compelling evidence as to why it needs to be changed. If she does serve you papers, you have an opportunity to ‘answer’. At that point you bring up the past instances where your visitation was denied. THAT is more powerful evidence in your favor to have things go YOUR way.

Take a stand and don’t let her treat you like a doormat.

You are correct. She will not be able to get a court order. Your agreement already states custody and she has not been compliant.
IF she does decide to file for primary physical custody then I suggest that you start making notes about as much stuff as you can. Write down dates that she didn’t allow visitations to take place, track down all the payments you can find where you paid 1/2. She would have to show the court first why she has not been compliant on visitations. If she files for custody then the two of you will go to mediation first and then you will go to court if you can not work all this out in mediation. Then she will need to show the court why the current agreement is not working…that may be worth the cost of going to court [}:)]…The only thing my husband and his ex did in mediation was to hammer out the details about holidays. She’s using threats to try to get you to do what she wants.

Yes it’s getting carried away because you are putting your foot down. I still suggest that you find an alternative to the school issue. If this were me, I would send her a letter in writing (or an e-mail) stating that when she begins to work with you on the custody/visitations then you will work with her on everything else. Maybe as comingclean2 suggested you agree to do it this week with the agreement that next week start a new schedule. Expect a fight but if the agreement states joint custody, then you have joint custody. She can not have it both ways. On the days you pick up the children from school, they stay overnight with you…that’s just my opinion.

EDIT: I’d also like to add that you should be prepared. If this strong arm tactic doesn’t work, it’s possible that she will put the children in the middle. Either by telling them that you don’t want to see them or by having them contact you to ask why you won’t do this. Some parents will not stoop to this level but some parents will do whatever to get their way, even hurting their children. If they do contact you, you need to let them know that you and your ex will handle it and that they do not need to be involved. You will then need to remind your ex, again in writing, that putting the children in the middle of this because you will not do what she wants is not in their best interest.:Edit

I agree with Stepmother (as usual).

This is why it is SOOO difficult dealing with a nasty ex and the kids. If she does stoop to putting the kids in the middle, then Dad looks like he’s reinforcing what Mom is saying bad by not crumbling and doing what she asked. It is even harder when the kids are young. Older kids/teens can be told outright what the deal is. Younger children are much more impressionable. It’s damned if you do/ damned if you don’t. Very stressful. I still advocate standing your ground, and if the kids call, tell them this is between your mom and me and it has nothing to do with the love you have for them. I guess that’s why I suggested the ‘this week’ deal…so she would have plenty of notice for next week.

No, there is no law that says you must take the children to school if your Wife is unable to do so.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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Here is my dilemna…

My ex-wife wants me to take our daughter to school Thursday and Friday morning. She has been doing this for years and I help on rare occasions. In her request to help her this week, she says: “can you take our child to school early Thurs and Fri? Me and Ryan (her husband) both have to be at work early and I have taken them for the last 6 years. I need you to do your part since our custody is supposed to be joint. Please confirm that you will be taking her.”

Our previous history is that I dont even get our kids on the times as stated in the separation agreement. She lets the kids decide whether they want to come or not. She also signs the kids up for extra things and then sends me the bill for 1/2. None of this is allowed in the separation agreement yet I allow it to happen.

Im tired of her running the show so I told her I would not be taking our child to school later this week and she needed to make other arrangements. Now she is threatening legal action saying it is the LAW that I help with the kids.

The separation agreement says I should have the kids every other weekend, but that is not happening currently. There is nothing in the separation agreement that states I will help get them to school.

Yes, I am acting spiteful, but Im tired of her behavior. For 6 years Ive taken her verbal abuse and the guilt and I have done whatever she’s asked. Ive tried talking to her reasonably, but all she can do is tell me Im a bad parent and remind me of the reasons she divorced me. The ONLY time this is a joint custody is when she wants 1/2 a bill paid or needs me to take the kids somewhere, otherwise she makes all the decisions (school, health, etc) on her own and keeps the kids with her.

What Im asking is this…am I breaking the law? Is there some unwritten rule that says I must fill in when the primary custodian is unable to?

This was longer than I intended, but thought some extra info was needed.

THanks for your time,