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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Long Distance Visitation Plan

    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.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    You should have went to the school. HE cannot stop you.

    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  3. #3
    You should be able to see your son more often than once a month for just a weekend...

    Have you googled long-distance parenting plans in Maryland? That will give you a better idea of what's standard and what you should ask for in court. My husband has a LD parenting plan in which he has his daughter at HIS home for extended periods of time, i.e. alternating Spring Break and Thanksgiving (week long visits), alternating the 2 weeks of vacation time for the child for Christmas, and 5 weeks during the Summer.

  4. #4
    Hi Cheryl,

    I'm glad to see you found the boards and posted here I wasn't sure if the link I sent you yesterday would work.

    I'll just throw in my (non-legal) two cents: good for you for asserting your right to visitation!!! Just because you're in another state doesn't mean that you have to be any less involved in your son's life. Document every instance where your ex denied you visitation. He does not get to dictate your visitation and control everything. You both have to abide by the court order. And if he's not letting you co-parent your son (by denying you participation in school events, contact, visitation, etc.), then he's going to hopefully get a rude awakening by the judge if he's found to be in contempt.

    When you tried to do the mediation, did you schedule an appointment and he refused? Or was no appointment made? Did you get anything from the mediator stating that you arrived for the session and your ex refused to appear? That might be helpful to your contempt case.

    Listen to the seniors here who give you their legal advice. They know their stuff!

    Best of luck and keep us posted on how it goes for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Thank you for your reply and best wishes.

    As was suggested in an earlier reply that I should have gone to the school regardless of his threats, that is true. However, such an action would have created such an angry response from my ex and he would have engaged my son in it, I just wasn't willing to put my son in that situation.

    I have reams and reams of paper ... emails denying me visitation and access to my son. Including an email where he flatly refuses to go to mediation. He says, "there's nothing to mediate". How sad.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    you need to document document
    ask for 1 weekend a month (generally there is a long weekend just about every month in the schools- ask for that one. On months there isn't one, ask for a set weekend - 2nd weekend, 3rd, whatever)
    ask for alternating holidays (you have thanksgiving 1 year and he does the next- and split christmas break rotating yearly on which one of you has the actual christmas holiday)
    ask for extended summer visit- 6 weeks or so

    since you agreed to private school and the child is accustomed to it, the judge will probably rule it is in child's best interest to continue.

    DO NOT let him tell you that you cannot contact doctors, schools, coaches, etc. You have every right to that info by federal law. DO IT!!!! Go to the school board with your papers if you have to. Request the school also mail you a report card and get email addresses for his teachers. I keep up with my daughters that way- email and the school website

    he does not get to decide if you are a good influence or anything else

    the big thing is that you have to stop worrying about his reaction. Let him whine, stink, whatever- he has no right. By just giving in, you let him win- STOP

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by cheryl426a View Post
    Thank you for your reply and best wishes.

    As was suggested in an earlier reply that I should have gone to the school regardless of his threats, that is true. However, such an action would have created such an angry response from my ex and he would have engaged my son in it, I just wasn't willing to put my son in that situation.

    I have reams and reams of paper ... emails denying me visitation and access to my son. Including an email where he flatly refuses to go to mediation. He says, "there's nothing to mediate". How sad.
    You are going to be required to provide your ex's attorney with copies of all of those emails. Those should probably be included with your answers to the interrogatories.

    Its also quite possible that once your ex's attorney sees those emails, that he will encourage your ex to come to an agreement.

    If you don't have an attorney, I strongly recommend that you get one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I have a hearing scheduled for May 8th regarding visitation. I called my ex's attorney yesterday to see if he could encourage my ex to go to mediation. I had a great conversation with this attorney - nice guy. I told him that I wanted:

    - at least 2 days / month visit with my son. My ex wants me to tell him that I will be in MD every X weekend / month. I cannot do that, however I can give him 3-4 weeks' in advance of my travel plans.

    - I want my son to be able to visit me in Minnesota during summer break, etc.

    The attorney thought this was extremely reasonable and he presented it to my ex last night. My ex emailed me this morning saying that, "I am told that you spoke with my attorney. This is to let you know that I will not go along with his recomendation. You can either find a mediator or be in court on the 8th. I will bring [our son] to court and he can testify to who he really wants to be with."

    Regarding a mediator, I see no reason to go to a mediator when I know that he won't negotiate on the two biggest points. I guess he'll have to hear it from a judge.

    I will suggest to the court that since he is refusing my basic (and reasonable) request, that we modify custody.

    Is there an online (free) source where I can search for cases with similar circumstances which would help me state my case in court, i.e. denial of visitation leads to change in custody?

    Thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    OMG- if he tries to bring an 8yo child into the courtroom, the judge is going to eat him alive-

  10. #10
    Yet another e-mail to give to both attorneys to prove how unwilling he is to cooperate. Let him make his own noose with his actions. He's going to find out the hard way that he's got to play fair.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    woohoo- he is going to hang himself

  12. #12
    Don't forget to ask about seeing your son on or near his birthday. Also don't forget about Mother's Day weekend. My husband just went through a year long negotiation for a long distance plan and unfortunately didn't realize that the Father's Day provision was removed from the first draft. Now we are back in court again.

    You'll probably need to be very specific with days and times. If you want to pick him up on a Friday night, you need to say the weekend is from 5:00 p.m. Friday evening until 5:00 p.m. Sunday evening. Or something like that. If you don't, you'll find that what you think the weekend is and your X thinks the weekend is will be very different.

    You'll also need to be specific about the transportation issue to and from your home. Although since you moved I imagine it will all be your responsibility.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Where you can copy from my work
    I'm a bit worried that all the responders in your thread seem to think you can just stomp into court with your emails and win.

    Email can be tricky, legally. Easily faked. Not always allowed as evidence. Depends upon the state.

    Check with your attorney, before you count your chickens.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    spring break as well, thanksgiving, long weekends, visits with you when you are in the area.....so like if your son came to visit you the first weekend in may, but you had the opportunity to be in MD for memorial day weekend you could see him then even though you had already had "your weekend"

    hang in there.....

    enable your pm's

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    With Capt'n Hook
    Suggestions for long-distance plan:

    1. Specify the distance to an airport that is reasonable. My X has me drive 90 miles (right past good airport at 35 miles) cuz he saved $10.00.

    2. Specify last arrival time/ earliest departure times.

    3. At 8 yo, your son can fly UM as long as he is NOT changing planes.

    4. For one school year, as for Thanksgiving & Spring Break; the following school year should be Christmas/Winter break.

    5. Ask for most of the summer, but do allow some time in the summer for the CP to get in some vacation too. My order is half the summer, but I'd be happy if I got 2-3 weeks at the end of the summer to buy school clothes, take a vacation and just get back into the groove before school starts.

    6. Ask for Mother's day weekend.

    7. Ask for virtual visitation. Webcam maybe once a week for an hour. Ask Zephyr for her virtual visitation plan. I think that you can do yahoo (or whatever) messenger too.

    8. Specify the number of phone calls per week. Considering what your X is like, you may want to include times. Might want to consider purchasing a cellphone for child that he can use to call you.

    9. It is NOT unreasonable to not have a specific weekend, but be prepared to have it documented that you give (x) weeks notice.

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