What is the name of your state? Minnesota
What is the name of the state where your son / ex husband lives? Maryland
Age of son? 14
Divorce signed August, 2006
Custody: due to emotional and verbal abuse throughout marriage, husband's narcissistic personality disorder and unwillingness to compromise/negotiate, I gave full legal and physical custody of our son to my ex-husband.
Financial responsibility: I pay child support, half of private school ($10,000/yr), health insurance
Visitation Plan while in MD: I saw my son every other weekend and one night/week for dinner. With holidays etc. split between my ex husband and I. My ex husband was difficult during the marriage and continued his behavior during visits with my son. As an example, my son took medication for ADHD and my ex-husband refused to pack it during a weekend visit telling me to figure out how to get it myself from the pharmacy (which was not possible because I didn't have a prescription).
Move to MN: I voluntarily moved to MN in August 2007, it was not due to a job change. In order to move on with my life, I desparately needed to change my surroundings. My job allows me to visit MD approximately once/month so I knew that I would still have at least monthly visits with my son. The divorce decree stated that if one party moved out of state, the parties were required to seek a mediator to modify the visitation plan. I informed my ex-husband of my intended move and he refused to see a mediator (I moved anyway). He is an extremely controlling individual that believes that counseling, mediators, etc. are a waste of time/money.
Visits since move to MN: I saw my son in August 2007. I was in MD every month to see my son from September through March, giving 3-4 weeks' notice before my arrival. My ex husband refused to let me see him. Why? "I was a bad influence on my son." Statements like, "you will not have visitation with him until such time as I feel you are a positive influence in his life." There was no specific reason except that he could control the situation which he knew hurt me. My ex husband only allowed me to phone my son by calling his cell phone (ex husband's) so that contact was extremely limted as well.
In addition to not allowing me to see my son, he restricted my access to his private school. I wanted to attend a parent/teacher conference and stay involved in my son's education as I always had. He sent me an email stating, "If you go to XX school to speak with [child's] teacher, I will file a contempt of court action." " As for XX school, [child] didn't invite you. Nobody invited you and that makes you unwelcome. As [child's] legal guardian, it is my place to step in and prevent problems before they occur. In that vein I am invoking my legal right and am telling you to stay away from XX school." According to the court order, I am required to pay half of my son's education.
Current situation: I tried everything I could to see my son. The last resort was to file a Petition for Contempt (Denial of Visitation) which I did on March 3, 2008. Show Cause Order was signed by the judge and a contempt hearing is scheduled for May 8, 2008.
I am requesting the court's assistance in helping to create a long distance visitation plan so I can see my son. My ex husband is demanding that I visit my son on the same weekend every month because he needs that stability (I think at 14 he is able to be a bit flexible regarding which specific weekend). I cannot do this but I can provide 3-4 weeks' notice telling him which weekend I will be in Maryland. He is also refusing to allow my son to visit me in Minnesota. Can you provide any advice / guidance on these two issues for me to present in court on May 8? I am also asking the court that unless I am granted permission to participate in my son's education that I am given permission to cease financial support. Not only am I asking this because of no access to the school, the economy is less than ideal and limited finances are making this investment extremely difficult. Public school is an option that should be considered but my ex husband is unwilling to consider it. Can you provide any guidance/advice on this issue? I suspect that I'm on thin ice with this one since it's in the divorce document that I pay 1/2 of his education. But would appreciate your thoughts.
My ex-husband's attorney filed the following in response to my Contempt Charge. I have until May 11 to respond - which is AFTER the hearing. Can I mention these during the hearing and ask them to be dismissed?
Motion for Modification of Child Support
Complaint for Contempt of Court and Request for Show Cause Order
Motion to Continue and Consolidate Show Cause Hearings
Request for Production of Documents
Interrogatories - in addition to general questions, they want me to go through the visitation plan as set forth by the court and detail each time I was refused access to my son since August 2007 and what I did to try and communicate with my son.
I am sorry this has gotten so long. But I tried to keep it succinct, just the facts, etc. I was referred to your site by a person on Long_Distance_Moms who was extremely pleased with your advice.