Interested to hear from divorced parents

conandrob240

if you aren't the primary parent and you have a certain custody schedule (which is already pretty light and completely dictated by your needs), what is the protocol if you can't see them that night?

So, for example, you decided your night was Thursday, picking them up after work and keeping them until bus gets them Friday morning for school. It's been established that that is your night. At 1pm, you send a text. " my back is hurting today. Not going to be able to take the kids. I'll let you know about Sunday".

Would you expect that the parent who's night it is finds alternative arrangements for their care then?

I am asking quite seriously. I know we have established the person in question is a jerk but what would your expectation be as the primary caregiver in these circumstances? Primary caregiver has to work tonight.

I say he's welcome to use his ex MIL as a babysitter if he's injured but that she should be paid a prevailing babysitting rate then. I also say it's pretty ridiculous to send a text like "oh well, too bad" and not take any accountability.

Yes, she can and will take him to court ( she's in the process of starting a child support case anyway) but just as an immediate question- how would you handle?

I'll add that this has come up a few times before. my mother usually just sucks it up, cancels her plans and watches them.


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conandrob240

no one? I'm genuinely interested. He says she's being petty. She says it's unfair.

My inclination would be that if a parent can't come through last minute as committed, they should arrange coverage including getting a sitter if need be. But I'm not sure. WWYD or what have you done in this circumstance?


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spontaneous

Not divorced, but I've seen people go through this. Primary parent should document when this happens.

If after a few months of records she sees it only happened a few times, then let it go, people get sick.

But if she sees and documents that he is doing it on a regular basis, then have her talk to her lawyer and ask if she would be able to approach about a change to the custody agreement/child support since non-primary parent is unable to even watch his kids once a week. I don't know if she can or not, but the lawyer should know, and having documented the number of times he skipped out on his once a week visits leaving her to cover child care is better than just saying "he does it a lot."


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conandrob240

I agree once in a while, you be mature and give the other parent a break. I think it's extra I nfuriating to her when it's presented so matter of factly. I think a call saying how sorry you are and can we find a solution would have gone a long way.

I'll tell her to keep a record. It's happened a lot since his new baby was born so it's extra upsetting especially when the kids are already feeling 2nd class.


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conandrob240

I'll add he only sees them on Thurs nights and a few hours on Sunday so if it's a few times over a few months, even that is a lot to miss.


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spontaneous

Even once a month is a lot if he sees them that infrequently. The guy is an ***, and unfortunately it is the children who will get the brunt, especially in terms of their self esteem and emotional health.


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Judith

I'll bite. I'm my child's primary custodian. Her father sees her when it's convenient for him. We get along, but I learned something early on. Life's unfair. I know who he is, I know his limitations, I can expect with regularity that he will flake so what do I do if he was going to watch her but cancelled? I had plan B ready. If he says he's going to send a check but doesn't? I already budget without his contribution in mind. I accepted that I can't change who he is, the only thing I can do is change my attitude. Fair? No. But I have peace. We don't argue. I manage my child's expections carefully so she's not overly disappointed when he doesn't show up. When she's old enough she will make up her own mind about him. If I get lawyers involved trying to force his hand, I'm just going to get stressed, my child will feed off my anxiety, it's going to cost me money, only the lawyers come out ahead in these scenarios. Is it ideal for us to be alone? Hardly, but she's as well adjusted as she could be (so far) given our dynamic. I don't pay him any mind. What's the point? He doesn't care. For this reason we are very civil. HTH.


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Michael

Well put Eliz McCord

It is how I deal with my Ex (only genders are reversed in my case).


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Tom

I had majority custody of my kids who are now fledged. I wanted to show my kids that I am there for them. I don't remember if this happened. I've been able to forget a lot of the unpleasantness, and there was a lot of it.

Ideally, I would take the kids even though there wasn't enough advance notice and even though I had other plans and the other parent was committed to taking the kids.

A friend of mine described an excellent tool for keeping logs of the scheduled and actual parenting. If this log needs to be shown to the court in order to make a change, the court needs a summary that can be understood at a glance. He said take a wall calendar, made of paper. Use a blue highlighter to mark the days when you plan to have the kids. Use a pink highlighter for when the other parent plans to have the kids. When you have the kids outside of the schedule, go over the pink with a yellow highlighter, which will turn the square orange. When the other parent has the kids outside of the schedule, go over the blue with a yellow highlighter, which will turn the square green. If the parent ditches their responsibility a lot, there will be a lot of orange squares, which the judge needs to see.

And of course, don't show your anger to the kids. Try to keep them out of the dispute. Make it seem like a regular day except that they're with you on Thursday.

(I use the term "you" to mean the parent whose side you are on. I know you're not the parent here.)


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sprout

(Tom: I think that last "pink" was supposed to say "blue")


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mammabear

I'm the primary parent. I will always be there and am almost always the one that needs to bend to accommodate the other parent. Unfair? Sure.

That said, visitation should be set and the schedule honored by both parents. Unless there is a huge emergency, your set time is your set time. Neither parent can just make unilateral changes. Any changes must be agreed upon.


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spontaneous

In this case it is interfering with the primary parent's ability to work. If the non-primary parent won't/can't take the kids that day, HE should be the one paying for childcare. If it were just a case of him not taking the kids on a day both were off, then maybe I could see just letting it go for the sake of not creating more issues, but the mother doesn't sound as though she is well off enough to just pay for sitters on a regular basis when the father decides to flake, and though the grandmother is stepping in for now, how long will she be able to, or willing to, do so.


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conandrob240

yes, the primary parent is struggling to work. She did not work during the marriage. She works tons of hours as she is trying to establish a career and the grandmother watches the kids lots during this all.

I agree that you may just have to suck it up as the primary parent if you have a crummy ex. Sounds like many of you sucked up a lot! I'm sorry for you!

I disagree on the "he's a flake, oh well" attitude when it comes to child care or child support- I wouldn't suck that up. This is a grey area to me where, as parents, you try to work together. But he doesn't think it's his responsibility- he considers his time with them just a "visit". A text with a "hey, sorry I hurt my back. I can't take the kids tonight" seems very disrespectful to me if her job and her time. An apology and an attempt to come up with a plan might have better received. The bottom line is, she can skip work and probably get fired or the grandmother can now cancel her plans to attend a retirement party for a dear friend. Or he can find a sitter. Seems an easy answer as to which is most fair.


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conandrob240

thanks for the calendar tip, Tom. I told my mom to keep a,log with her amount of care on it also so a judge could see that too. If my mothers color is purple, the calendar will be mostly that color, sadly.

I really am not on a side. I think they both suck in different ways. He's being unfair right now with seeing the kids and child support. But she's been unfair to him and the kids in many other ways at different points in time.

I don't think they argue in front of the kids- they only go at it via text which seems silly but maybe it's for the best with them. They used to scream at each other for hours a day for 20 years so I suppose this is better. They don't know when he flakes or that he doesn't want to pay child support. They don't even like to go with him anyway so if they get to stay with Nana instead, they are at their happiest anyway so it's not like they are standing at the window missing him.


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Tom


sprout said:

(Tom: I think that last "pink" was supposed to say "blue")

Fixed. Thanks!


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Tom


mammabear said:

I'm the primary parent. I will always be there and am almost always the one that needs to bend to accommodate the other parent. Unfair? Sure.

That said, visitation should be set and the schedule honored by both parents. Unless there is a huge emergency, your set time is your set time. Neither parent can just make unilateral changes. Any changes must be agreed upon.

I strongly agree with all of this.


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peteglider

In an ideal world co parents would give each other a heads up reasonably early. I agree that the one who suddenly can't make ought to be responsible for childcare - but my own experience was it never happened. Likewise, you'd think the other parent would re schedule - to make up that time with the kids - and yes, in my experience that didn't happen either.

Either the other parent is responsible or not. No way to institutionalize that and unless you have a large legal budget, no wAy to practically enforce it.

Yes, the kids suffer in the end. One parent making excuses why they can't be there, and other trying not to make kids feel bad because of change in plans. I stopped counting the nights, weekends, and weeks I didn't have because of my ex. Yes, it sucked fir me too


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Marilyn

I thought that child support issue would be determined - either through a mediator or judge - taking into consideration the number and ages of the children and earnings of each parent. It would then be stated in the divorce settlement papers.


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conandrob240

are you asking me? The child support was generous and large until last month (when his new baby was born)- more than was probably legally required so it was agreed without mediator. Now, he has decided he's to give the NY state standard % but he's made up some rule to suit him that it's only required of his base pay from one job. Which means he's basing it on roughly 60% of his income. So, yes, now it's going to court. I don't think that has anything to do with the original question though. But she now can also work with the lawyer to write into it that if he flakes on his visitation days, he pays x$ for alternate child care


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Meghan

My ex and I have an outstanding relationship and 50/50 custody. That relationship allows more leeway because he's as flexible for me as I am for him. My husband and his ex wife are high conflict (well she is so we have no choice) and we modified the custody agreement to cover every possible contingency. The order gives each parent right of first refusal (if he needs to cover a day with his kids, we notify her and offer her that time) but she is responsible for coverage when it's her agreed upon time. If a parent consistently cannot cover their time, it may be worth modifying the custody agreement so the more responsible parent has the majority of the time. I know neither party is particularly skilled at adulting, based on your previous posts, but my kid doesn't seem to give a hoot if my back hurts or I have a headache. The father can't just hand off his infant to a stranger if he's not in the mood to be a dad (and I get it it happens to me sometimes) but kids don't need to be constantly put in the middle of their parents' bs.


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conandrob240

not following? You could argue who's the more responsible parent. I'd vote ' neither' but that's a whole different story. And I'm not sure I'm following the "hand off his infant" part? The kids are older. His infant isn't part of the story

And there's no custody to modify - he doesn't want them and he has unilaterally decided he will see them from 5pm thurs until 6am on Friday and from 10am until 2 or 3pm on Sunday. that's the only time he wants to see them. Period. Regardless of the ex wife's work schedule, regardless of the fact that the kids' grandparents are caring for them 50+ hours a week while his ex tries to establish a career, regardless of if he has an extra day off that week. Period. If he doesn't see them on his days (either because he backs out or if they have plans), he isn't interested in making up another day. They have no relationship with fathers new wife or new baby (met baby once, met wife maybe 5-6 times in 12 months).

The only question was should the ex have to be responsible for the child care when he cancels 4 hours before he's supposed to pick them up. I think it's reasonable to expect that.


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spontaneous


conandrob240 said:

And I'm not sure I'm following the "hand off his infant" part? The kids are older. His infant isn't part of the story


I think they're trying to say that when he hurts his back he can't just pawn off his infant, so he has no excuse for trying to pawn off his older two children.


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conandrob240

sure he can. That's what his wife and her family are for. They don't even live together believe it or not.


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spontaneous


conandrob240 said:

sure he can. That's what his wife and her family are for. They don't even live together believe it or not.

So in other words he wants to be a parent when it fits neatly into his schedule. Wow.


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conandrob240

I don't know what he wants. He does seem to love them and enjoy being with them. He's not a deadbeat that never wants to see them. But he is also very selfish and into himself. And I think it's inconsiderate to send the text he did without taking accountability. He left a woman who he knows is pretty much incapable of supporting herself and is being stingy with child support and help with the care of the kids. I think the goal is to punish his ex and make her suffer. If the grandparents and other relatives weren't around, neither of them could provide FT care and certainly the ex partner would be living in poverty with the kids. A real man would step up so that his ex in laws weren't so drained physically, mentally and financially. Example: kid needed a tooth pulled and some dental work to the tune of $1000 ( not emergency situation but needed). He is certainly not rich but could have afforded it. On her own, she literally could not. He refused to get the kid treatment until the ex came up with her $500 share knowing it had to come from his in-laws. 


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conandrob240

and just as another example of the silliness. He's better and picked them up this morning. His father is visiting (comes 1-2x a year). He apologized to my sister and said he'd keep them tonight because of the night he missed and because they were enjoying their time with grandpa. My sister insisted they be home at the regular 3pm time even though she had no plans. Just silly bitterness and spite from both of them.


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Tom


mlj said:

I thought that child support issue would be determined - either through a mediator or judge - taking into consideration the number and ages of the children and earnings of each parent. It would then be stated in the divorce settlement papers.


Age is not a factor in consideration of child support amount. Income and fractions of time with the kids are. In theory, it is determined by formula, but it is sometimes (often?) negotiated. Number of kids is a factor, but it weighs less than you might think. Two kids certainly do not get twice the support that one gets.


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conandrob240

right, if you look at NYS standard charts, it's like 20% for one kid, 25% for 2, 29% for 3 and so on. The formula is crazy but the NYS charts are fairly straightforward so that what they've been using. Non-custodial pays x% of salary (defined by NYS law as AGI) to other spouse. Issue now is he's decided to make up rules and not use AGI but just use base salary from one job.


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