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  1. #1
    StpMmy2Bekky is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Extra Curricular Activities Required?

    Michigan:

    I live in Michigan. Recently the custodial parent (biological mother) has enrolled my step daughter in many extra curricular activities that all take place while she is in our (her father and me) care. I have heard / read somewhere that parenting time comes before extra curricular activities in the eyes of the court. I have tried calling my local court, but am having no luck getting my telephone call returned.

    Here's my question: Are we required to take my step daughter to her games/practices even though they take place on our time? Or is there a STATE LAW that states that parenting time comes before other activities? Custodial parent says that if she doesn't show up for practices, she won't be able to participate in the games. We have tried switching visitation days so that minor child can attend her practices on her mother's time, but her mother said absolutely not. I feel like a glorified taxi/babysitter! We only get her two hours weekly and every other weekend. Practices take place Wed (our night) 5-6:45pm, Fridays at the same time, and games are every other Saturday while she is in our care. We support step daughters choice to join a team, but since her mother is the one who signed her up, shouldn't she be the one taking her to the practices/games? She is only eight years old, which is a very influential age group. Now, just as much as ever, she needs quality time with her father and I. HELP!!
  2. #2
    JulieHun is offline Member
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    Best Interest of the Child....

    I honestly believe, that if the child is 8 years old, the Mother would have to sign her up for these activities...That does not mean the child doesnt want to be in them.
    I think its best that , if she has these on your husbands visitation time, it is a good way for him to spend time with her. If this is what she likes, Im sure it will make her SOO proud to have her Dad there watching her.
    I wouldnt try to fight it...this may be taking something away from the child that the child wants.....That should be your husbands main concern.
    It will also show cooperation with your husband and his ex, hopefully they can have and maintain a good relationship, for there daughters sake.
    Its HIS visitation, and to be active in her life, is exactly that, to be active in her life and all that it evolves.
    As a stepmom, just show support, and smile alot.
  3. #3
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    I can't imagine that you would be required to use your time with her for anything the mom signed her up for. As your time is very limited, you should make the best of it for the girl and dad....but that doesn't mean sitting at a field watching while the girl practices the entire time away (and providing the transportation). Try to arrange for other time with her, and let mom use her (much more) time to take her to activities. All the extra stuff is fun and usually good for the child, but maintaining a relationship through actual sharing of time is more important.

    Of course, that's not a "legal" answer for your jurisdiction. Did your husband have a lawyer for the divorce/custody filings? Look for a local chapter of ERDF (Equal Rights for Divorced Fathers). They can provide attorneys and advice based oon your state laws.
  4. #4
    kayceebee is offline Member
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    I know when I sign my kids up for a sport, I do not know at that time what the practice schedule will be until the assign fields for practice time.

    I've had several conflicts with extra curricular activities and the boys' dad. My 6 year old really wanted to play soccer this year. Games are on Saturday. EOW he is at his Dad's. Prior to paying the fee and purchasing the gear, I talked to my ex and asked him what he thought. He answered as I expected - I won't get him to the games, but you can keep him and take him. I did and his Dad picked him up after his game (he did come to one!)

    Karate is another issue. My 6 year old goes to Karate everyday after school. Our agreement is that he can have the kids overnight on Wednesdays. Well, he didn't want to wait 30 minutes for Karate to end. My 6 year old told his Dad he didn't want to miss Karate ever Wednesday (Wed. is stripe testing day). His dad gave him and ultimatum and it blew up in his face. I now have the kids on Wednesdays.

    Here's the thing. My son said, "Mom, you watch me almost every day - why doesn't Daddy like to see me do Karate." I hate when I get those questions. I would love to say because his Dad has his priorities messed up - but I find a way to put a not so negative spin on it.

    Take pride in involving yourself in your childs live. Go to practice. Be proud to know that the child is thrilled that all their parents (bio and step) are proud of them. My kids are only 6 and 4 and know what to not expect from their Dad. When he does show up at the 1 soccer game its like a celebrity is there. Dads Here!!! I take pride in knowing that Im the one they can count on. They know Ill be there no matter whos weekend it is. Attending a practice is a PARENTING thing be a parent and fulfill your responsibilities.
  5. #5
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Are we talking year-round, or seasonally? Has Dad talked to the kid about the sport? Has he talked to the coach and explained the situation? His daughter is not the only child in this situation. At 8, most teams are not so tremendously competitive that coaches won't work with you.

    Also - how far apart do Mom & Dad live? Perhaps Dad could volunteer to help coach - gives him more involvement with the kiddo than sitting in the stands, and allows the kid to participate, as well.
  6. #6
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    I agreee with Stealth it all comes down to how far are you from the practice and game sites, and your ability to have your own communication with the coaches.

    I have been there done that, and the longer the distance you are from your home the worse it is, and the more you can't wait for the season to end..but it can be done, without sacrificing quality time, and the kids do love to have as many family members as possible for them in the stands.
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  7. #7
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Legally, the parent who has visitation during extracurricular activities where the 'other' parent has signed the child up is not required to participate or take away from parenting time to take the child.

    That's the LEGAL answer.
  8. #8
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    AS the parent of an almost 8 year old, I am aware there is a whole smorgesborg of stuff a parent can sign their kid up for. That does NOT mean our kiddos need to do anything and everything under the sun, or that they need to be entertained with some extracurricular activity everyday after school. Mine has softball Monday nights, will have soccor 9 am Saturdays (leaving us the rest of the day to take off as a family and do things) and camp during the weekdays once school is out. Tae Kwon Do was Sat am. She will have Golf lessons one night a week. My point is that NO, a child does not need to have everynight occupied with some or another extra curricular. WE are keeping four nights a week free for US this summer. And most of these teams, as Stealth stated, are more for activity than competition, so it's not that big a deal if they miss a game here and there.

    AS a parent who signs up their kids for things, there is no reason that activities cannot be selected based upon when they occur, so that they are less likely to interfere with NCPs limited time with their kid. If mom wants kiddo to be involved on certain activities on Dad's night, maybe she should trade nights so that dad gets one of their free nights, as she gets way more time with the child as it is

    Dad shoud also petition for more time.
  9. #9
    kayceebee is offline Member
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    The thing is, in my area anyway, when you send in a regestration form for your child to play on a team - at that time you have no idea when practice will be held. It depends on the coach and the field assignment. I do there should be communication between the CP and the NCP prior to registration. If the NCP refuses to allow the child to participate on their time, yes, the CP will be mad - but the child will be the one hurt.
  10. #10
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayceebee
    The thing is, in my area anyway, when you send in a regestration form for your child to play on a team - at that time you have no idea when practice will be held. It depends on the coach and the field assignment. I do there should be communication between the CP and the NCP prior to registration. If the NCP refuses to allow the child to participate on their time, yes, the CP will be mad - but the child will be the one hurt.
    It's also possible to note on the application that there is a conflict on a particular evening. I used to make sure I noted on the form that my kids would have to miss a minimum of one w/e activity a month, so to please make sure they were placed with an amenable coach. I never had a problem, until travel teams started. They're much more competitive, and if you can't make practices or games regularly - you tend not to get played. Which is fair enough.
  11. #11
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StpMmy2Bekky
    Michigan:

    I live in Michigan. Recently the custodial parent (biological mother) has enrolled my step daughter in many extra curricular activities that all take place while she is in our (her father and me) care. I have heard / read somewhere that parenting time comes before extra curricular activities in the eyes of the court. I have tried calling my local court, but am having no luck getting my telephone call returned.

    Here's my question: Are we required to take my step daughter to her games/practices even though they take place on our time? Or is there a STATE LAW that states that parenting time comes before other activities? Custodial parent says that if she doesn't show up for practices, she won't be able to participate in the games. We have tried switching visitation days so that minor child can attend her practices on her mother's time, but her mother said absolutely not. I feel like a glorified taxi/babysitter! We only get her two hours weekly and every other weekend. Practices take place Wed (our night) 5-6:45pm, Fridays at the same time, and games are every other Saturday while she is in our care. We support step daughters choice to join a team, but since her mother is the one who signed her up, shouldn't she be the one taking her to the practices/games? She is only eight years old, which is a very influential age group. Now, just as much as ever, she needs quality time with her father and I. HELP!!
    I agree with BB- Legally father's parenting time outranks extracurriculars.

    However, based on your post- It sounds like Mom takes the child to 4 weekday practices & 2 weekend games. Dad takes the child to 4 weekday practices & 2 weekend games. They both have an even share of the responsibility.

    You say you feel like a glorified taxi/babysitter~ Well, welcome to parenthood! You married someone with a child and sometimes these things come with the territory.

    What if/when you have a child with your husband? You 2 will be responsible for ALL the practices/games....who would you complain to then?
  12. #12
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    With all the many activities I've signed my kid up for, I've never run into that. I always knew that this activities was "either Tuesday or Thursday night" or Saturday, either played at 9, 10 or 11" on a given week, but ALWAYS knew the days. Othewise, how can one know if that activity may not end up during another activity that the child has ALSO committed to? Many of the kids in our district, for example, have Hebrew school certain nights (say Tuesday & Thursday), or piano lessons on certain nights, etc. I've never hear of signing a kid up with the idea that then they may be obliging them to be available everynight and every weekend, all weekend in case they, maybe, might then choose any of those times to have practices. That's insane. If parents have paid, say $150 for golf lessons on Wed, and signed up for Monday softball, also paying a fee, they expect that 90% of the time, softball will be Monday NOT on the WED they have already committed to something else.

    Point is, there are activities that one can choose that happen regularly on certain days ONLY. My kid's soccer has never been any day other than the day it is scheduled for, nor has her softball, etc. Except for the very rare Holiday weekend when they may play a different night because of a Monday holiday. With both my husband and I having complicated work schedules, we need to know, in advance, what happens when.
    Last edited by nextwife; 05-26-2005 at 08:48 AM.
  13. #13
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    yes I too, have never had a problem knowing up front what my kids activities are going to be. I always ask ahead. I have to choose carefully for my kid too, as I try to schedule her activities around the visitation times for my husbands other children. I like to keep my weekends free as possible, I do enough running around all week.

    When you are dealing with someone elses schedule common courtesy would be to be very clear about what is expected BEFORE you shell out money for the activity. in todays day and age, a CP who does not explain to a coach thier custody situation is really being lazy about it. And once an NCP knows about a childs activity there is no reason they cannot create thier own relationships with the people in charge also. my step children missed games when family commitments and distance warranted it, and certainly the CP was no saint getting them places either, its called life, and blended families really have to jump through the hoops sometimes.

    legally, yes, no parent has to bring thier kid anywhere, but I really can't see denying a kid 3 months of little league, if thats what they really want to do.
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  14. #14
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    I actually have run into the situation where practices are scheduled by the coach on his/her schedule. That's why I make a point of noting conflicts on the enrollment form.
  15. #15
    StpMmy2Bekky is offline Junior Member
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    Ok, Let's get a few things straight.

    YES, I am the STEP-mother. I married somebody with a child, Casa. And I love that child more than life itself. If you had read my post more carefully, you would have found the exact times of practices and games. So, my step daughter's birth mother takes her to TWO practices, every other Friday night. Not that it's a competition. I ALSO said that we SUPPORT my step daughter's decision to participate. The reason I feel like a glorified taxi cab / babysitter is that we spend our ENTIRE TIME on Wednesday's taking her to and from practice. We miss out on ALMOST an entire Friday night with her as a result, also. Which in turn means that we are missing out on a lot of chances to bond with her, to spend quality time doing other things...such as the horseback riding lessons we had signed her up for but had to cancel as a result of recent events.

    Legally, I understand that parenting time "belongs" to my husband, though it completely irks me when people say that. I have a family of three: My husband, my step daughter, and myself. So, it is OUR time. It is OUR time to spend together as a family, it is OUR time to make OUR memories. Need I go on????

    I simply asked if it is legally required, and thank you to those who gave me a strait forward reply. I understand that, to many birth parents, step parents are a thorn in the foot. Imposters, as some may say. But, I have been in my step daughter's world for HALF of her life, since she was 4. And, as the years go on, it will seem to her as if I've been around forever. A strand of DNA is not all it takes to be a real mom...love, devotion, compassion, trust, honesty, patience and many, many other things are included. All of which I put forth with my step daughter.

    Again, thanks to those who could help. For the others, follow the Golden Rule. Nothing nice to say? Then keep your mouth shut. I believe it was along those lines, right?
    Last edited by StpMmy2Bekky; 05-26-2005 at 08:39 PM.

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