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Old 08-08-2005, 06:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Dad not following visitation schedule

My ex-husband and I have been divorced 5 years. He is supposed to be taking the children every other weekend to stay with him and one week in the summer according to our Final Dissolution of Marriage Agreement. As of August 2005, he has only taken them 5 times overnight in 5 years with no time spent taking them in the summer. The children have wanted to go, but he does not take them. He lives only 15 minutes away. At our modification of child support hearing, this was brought up, and he said he would start taking them since the child support amount he now has to make was lowered. He has not taken them. I would like to seek monetary reimbursement for the times he has not taken them when he was supposed to according to our Final Dissolution of Marriage and Modification of Child Support. Is this possible and if so, how much do I ask for if it is? (i.e.Would you divide the child support payment up by days in a month and take that amount and multiply by the days he has not taken them?) Has anyone ever heard of someone being successful in gaining this money? Obviously since the children are teenagers now, the weekends become quite expensive and he never incurs these expenses. If he took the children when he was supposed to, he would be monetarily responsible for their food, personal products (i.e.toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) and "extras" incurred during the weekend or summer visitation, so I feel that I am incurring those expenses when he is not taking them. I love my children dearly, but I want my ex-husband to realize what raising teenagers entails so that he could understand that his lowered child support just doesn't cover their needs.

Last edited by herbcat; 08-08-2005 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herbcat
My ex-husband and I have been divorced 5 years. He is supposed to be taking the children every other weekend to stay with him and one week in the summer according ot our Final Dissolution of Marriage Agreement. As of August 2005, he has only taken them 5 times iovernight n 5 years with no time spent taking them in the summer. The children have wanted to go, but he does not take them. He lives only 15 minutes away. At our modification of child support hearing this was brought up and he said he would start taking them since the child support amount he now has to make was lowered. He has not taken them. I would like to seek monetary reimbursement for the times he has not taken them when he was supposed to according to our Final Dissolution of Marriage and Modification of Child Support. Is this possible and if so, how much do I ask for if it is? (i.e.Would you divide the child support payment up by days in a month and take that amount and multiply by the days he has not taken them?) Has anyone ever heard of someone being successful in gaining this money? Obviously since the children are teenagers now, the weekends become quite expensive and he never incurs these expenses.
You bring up interesting questions:

Are child support payments determined based on the cost of supporting the child, or based on the cost of supporting the child for the days that the custodial parent has the child (not on visitation). If so, is there a minimum here? If there is joint custody or if the child is at the non-custodial parentís place more then X number of days then that fact is taken into consideration when determining child support payments? Do weekend days count?

If child support can be apportioned according to the amount of time spent with each parent, how do you figure costs like school and clothing which are not proportional to the time spent with the non-custodial parent?

Child custody questions like these are complex and there may be different answers in different state jurisdictions. It may also be up to the discretion of the judge. Regardless, consult with your child custody attorney for some answers. If you donít have one already, make sure they are familiar with child custody issues and know the family court system in the appropriate jurisdiction.

My guess is that you probably cannot get financial compensation for the father not taking the child for all the visitations they are allowed to. A court can mandate that the non-custodial parent be financially responsible for the child, but I donít think they can mandate them actually acting as a parent and spending time with the child. If you were looking to REDUCE his visitation based on his neglect, you may win there. But financial compensation sounds unlikely.

Regardless, thatís what specialist lawyers are for, to know the answer to these types of questions off hand. Consulting one is your best bet to clarify your options.
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Old 08-08-2005, 01:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Exclamation

Dad is not specifically paying for the children's educations as a separate, additional thing. One attends public school, one attends a private school, and one is in college. My ex-husband is no longer making child support payments for the one who is in college now since he is over 18 and by law he does not have to support him even though he is a full-time student.
In theory child support supposedly helps to cover expenses like clothing, food, housing, education, medical bills, automobile insurance, and other expenses incurred in having children. However, what he pays in child support each month does not begin to cover even half of that, nor does it cover any extras. Weekends with teenagers are usually the most expensive times, and he does nothing with them nor does he help with any of the expenses during those times. During the weekends (and week in the summers) that he should be taking them, he would have to pay for their food, personal products (i.e. shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and "extras" that having teenagers entails. He doesn't even "pay" them by giving them of his time, which the court did order as every other weekend and one week in the summer.
Does anyone know of any precedents in seeking reimbursement for non-visitation when the custodial parent and the children want the visitation?

Last edited by herbcat; 08-08-2005 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herbcat
Dad is not specifically paying for the children's educations as a separate, additional thing. One attends public school, one attends a private school, and one is in college. My ex-husband is no longer making child support payments for the one who is in college now since he is over 18 and by law he does not have to support him even though he is a full-time student.
In theory child support supposedly helps to cover expenses like clothing, food, housing, education, medical bills, automobile insurance, and other expenses incurred in having children. However, what he pays in child support each month does not begin to cover even half of that, nor does it cover any extras. Weekends with teenagers are usually the most expensive times, and he does nothing with them nor does he help with any of the expenses during those times. During the weekends (and week in the summers) that he should be taking them, he would have to pay for their food, personal products (i.e. shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and "extras" that having teenagers entails. He doesn't even "pay" them by giving them of his time, which the court did order as every other weekend and one week in the summer.
Does anyone know of any precedents in seeking reimbursement for non-visitation when the custodial parent and the children want the visitation?

I think you are missing one of the points of the child support system. Child support is partially based on "ability to pay." If you Ex-husband has no money, he is not responsible to pay for all the expenses of the kids for the same reason that a poor person is not required to by his kids name brand clothing. Your expenses in raising your kids are only one of the factors that determine what his child support payments will be.

Now, if you think he is not paying enough because he can pay more ask the judge for that. I think it will be a lot easier to get then asking to be reimbursed for expenses incurred during weekends that your ex-husband did not take the kids.

My two cents...
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Old 08-09-2005, 07:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Unhappy Do the children have any rights?

My three children are the ones who have "lost" in all of this and they are emotionally upset that there Dad has chosen not to be a part of their lives. He had been telling them that he had no time to spend with them for visitation because of working so much and no money. However, both of those issues have proven to be false as he just remarried a 21 year old in May and they had a baby together 5 months before getting married. The time and money were there; it was just his choice as to how he would spend his time and money. The children have been hurt emotionally by their dad with his refusal to see them. Do the children have any rights and could they, themselves, go to court for lost time with their Dad, emotional pain caused by their dad, as well as weekend and summer reimbursement?
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think I misunderstood your original question. There are no viable causes of action that I know of to sue someone who is unmarried but is having an affair with a married person.

Of course you can use the adultery as a grounds of divorce in some states, and can sometimes use it against your spouse in a divorce case when dividing up assets and determining alimony. What I meant is that I donít think you can successfully sue your spouse in civil court (not family court as part of a divorce proceeding but regular court), as you would sue someone in a personal injury matter. Things like ďintentional infliction of emotional distressĒ and discrimination just donít work in these contexts.

Your childrenís situation is unfortunate, but I very much doubt they can sue their father for being a bad father. He is not the custodial parent, so does not have a responcibility to raise them. It does not sound like you can put a case together for abuse, since the only abuse was neglect and lying to them, which I donít think is enough.

Itís a bad situation, but you canít sue you parents for being bad parentsÖ You can only sue them if they break a specific law. As far as I know, there isnít a law against neglecting to see your kids on the weekend.

Perhaps it is better to just move on and separate yourself and your kids from their father. If he doesnít want to participate in their lives, have him not be a part of their lives.
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