Father Refuses to Lose Current Visitation

Petersons– Modification of Visitation
Petitioner: Mom     Respondent: Father
Judge P Rosenstein

Petitioner mom Peterson is seeking to modify an original visitation order and the Respondent, father has some objections.  They have two boys, one, in primary school and the eldest in high school.

As the hearing begins, Judge Rosenstein has reviewed the mediator’s response accompanied with an exhibit of visitation schedule and asked if both parties are in receipt of the same documents and the mediators report.  She also asks the mom if she agrees or disagrees with the visitation schedule:

Father picks kids up from school on Tuesday/Thursday and drops off at home at 8:30pm. Prior to this change, the drops off days were Monday/Tuesday/Thursday.  Monday was taken away. 

Mom prefers 8:00pm drop off so the kids can prepare for showers, food and homework for school the next day.  Judge Rosenstein asks the father if he helps the kids with their homework.  The father states that the school helps with the homework because the youngest child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program).  The older child has AP classes and the mother says both need to be in bed by 9:30pm.

On Thursday night, the father takes the children to attend youth night at church and needs the exception to drop children off at 8:30pm.  Mom is very concerned about the kids completing their homework and says the eldest child states the dad does not allow homework on youth night.

The judge states that homework needs to be completed and asks the father when is youth night?  The father states, on Thursdays from 6pm – 8pm and that the kids have time to complete their homework prior to attending youth night.  The judge commends both parents for managing three boys and that they are doing well and she asks mom are there any other issues that she needs to be addressed?

Mom states that when the boys are on vacation, during school breaks, the father has to work, and he is scheduled to have the boys during this time.  The youngest boy stays two nights per week; however, the mom is seeking that they maintain the same schedule as if the children were in school and have the father pickup; with alternative visitation weekends and drop off at nights.

The judge agrees that the times can be adjusted and the youngest son should spend additional time with the father.  She orders them to stick with the original time-share: Friday – Sunday weekend and Monday/Tuesday – evening drop off.

Further, the judge clarified that the mediator’s recommendation of the previous schedule includes sharing school breaks equally, replaced with no alternate weekends and maintained traveling vacation time.  She also stated that the eldest son is “getting his own mind,” and mom is providing childcare. 

RULING: Judge orders that the eldest son have Tuesday/Thursday drop offs and alternating weekends.

Father asserts that he misses his week because the youngest son wants more time and the eldest doesn’t want any changes at all. 

Mom says the boys are afraid to speak to the mediator, the youngest one cries stating he thought the father would read his responses to the mediator and get upset. 

The judge asks the father to return to the original school schedule; again, the father reiterates if he has to agree to this than he wants to reinstate Monday’s visitation. 

This case is conflicting and confusing and I’m watching as the judge contemplates both parents’ requests.  She says, the father doesn’t want to lose his time and he filed a motion to get more time with the older boys because he felt that when they become 18 they’re gone.  The judge is still struggling with trying to balance different issues regarding the older boys.  She reminded him that the older boys told the mediator that they don’t feel comfortable staying at dad’s one bedroom apartment. 

Dad reiterates that he can see his sons and drop them home later.  The judge states, “I feel really dumb right now” because she is unclear as to what he is getting with the eldest boy if he wants to maximize his time.  

RULING: The judge ordered that the sons keep schedule Tuesday/Thursday every week and alternating weekends with the father.

The mother emphasizes that the boys don’t want to go with the father and it’s always a battle.  If they are forced to go, they want to stay home.  Again, the father is sticking to his guns, to keep the original schedule – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and every other weekend.

Judge Rosenstein mentions that the boys are high achievers and do more stuff with the mom. 

RULING: The judge ordered to use the mediator’s schedule and ordered that mom call dad, if the eldest boys want to go they can.

As they left the courtroom, I’m not certain that the dad was truly happy with the court order.  You know I’m thinking to myself, somebody is going to get a tongue lashing later on.  You know one of those conversations when men think judges side with the mothers.  Well I’m here to tell you that is one of the biggest falsehoods in the history of family court and I have myself to use as an example.  Listen to my commentary for more information.  Bring your comments.

Single Parent Counselor Commentary
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
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