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ulysses101
ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3360
Experience:  Over 10 years litigation experience in family, criminal, and civil law
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I have been having issues with my ex not letting my son go

Customer Question

I have been having issues with my ex not letting my son go to his hockey events during his time. I always thought we were to maintain the life of the child as normal during parenting time. My son is very upset and does not want to go with him. This time it is a hockey school that is only once a year and my ex knew he was registered. Should he not let him attend his regular activities?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Family Law
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Hello, thank you for the question.

What province are you in?

What instrument dictates the custody and time sharing? Is it a court order, or domestic contract? Or something else?

Do you have it in front of you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Saskatchewan. He gets them every second weekend and half holidays. We went thru lawyers and attended court but nothing was signed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My son is 9 yrs old
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

So is there a court order, then? Is court still ongoing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
None of the papers were signed. The court order was driving arrangements for the drop off and pick up for the children and summer time. But we never ended up signing anything in the end so I'm not sure.
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Do you have any court dates coming up?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, we have to start with whatever order or contract is in force at the moment. You have a court order you said. Do you have it in front of you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I don't
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, we're not going to get far without it. There's an order of some kind, so we can't say what father's obligations are during access until we have the order. Do you want to get a copy and then get back to me?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will c what I can find but I never received an order from the court
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

When did you last have a conversation with your lawyer from court? Is the lawyer still retained? If you don't have a copy handy, you can get a copy from your lawyer, or even directly from the court file.

This issue isn't going to be solved quickly, and I can't tell you anything at all until we know what the current order says. Can you get the order and then reply to me? I'll be here.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a copy of the proposed consent order
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

That means nothing unless it was actually made into a court order. Was it? I'm getting the impression that you're not sure?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No nothing was signed. The court made two decisions that we could not agree on and that was the end of it
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would have received a copy if there was one I would think
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if there is no order what are my option
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

So there was a trial or summary judgement or something for a final order. Yes, you should have got a copy of the order unless it was very recent and the order hasn't yet been drafted or issued. You need the order(s), you should know what's in them because that's what governs the rights and obligations of each of you.

Call your lawyer's office in the morning and get a copy, at least confirm that the order has been issued because there are already questions and potential dispute over access details. If the order isn't ready yet, ask how long before you can get it. If it's been prepared already, get a copy from the lawyer or directly from your file at court. You need it.

When you get it, let me know. If you talk about this with your own lawyer and it's resolved, let me know too ok?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay I will. Thanks
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I'll be here. Don't reply to this, or the site will bug me that I need to reply. When you have your order or other news, let me know and we'll continue. Thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I am just wondering why I have been charged the full cost of this service??
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

You haven't been charged anything yet. You've made a deposit to the site. You can ask for it back at any time.

If you have questions about how the site operates I'll try to answer them, although I'm not an employee of the site.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh it showed up on my credit card. I requested the refund cuz I felt they did not do as they said with satisfied results before payment.
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I understand. It can be confusing for first time users of the site.

So if you asked the site for a refund, then it should be returned to your credit card. But you have an account with the site now I assume, and you've given the site your card #***** So we can continue this thread and if you're satisfied when we're done the site can pull payment from your card. The site won't take money from your card until you post new question threads. Then the site has payment for the question on deposit.

The site collects a deposit when I customer asks a question. Then if the customer accepts the answer, the site splits the deposit with the expert. That's how it makes money. But you don't have to pay for answers, there's the satisfaction guarantee, and it essentially works on the honour system.

But the site still wants the deposit first, otherwise far fewer people would pay. That's the model they use. I have nothing to do with that.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ya I can understand that. Makes sense. So can I still continue now that I have requested refund? ?
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I assume so. If the question thread is closed after you get your refund, then we'll have our answer. Or you can ask customer service.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok well I have received a copy of the court order
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

That's great! Did your lawyer have it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
but I am still very confused. I never signed anything. Do I not have to sign?? I find it very confusing how they can make the order without signatures?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
At least I was under the impression that I had to sign for it to become ground rules
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

If the parties can agree to what will be in a court order, then they and their lawyers write up the agreement and sign it. It's usually called "minutes of settlement". Then the court reviews it and if it's appropriate the court makes the order as per the minutes.

But if there's no agreement and there has to be a hearing or trial where the judge makes a decision, then the judge writes down their decision and that's made into a court order. In such a case, the parties don't sign anything.

So, if you have it in front of you please read it carefully. What court made the order and when? Is it a temporary or final order?

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

(Also, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf so if this was an order made on consent, sometimes the lawyer will sign for the client but that's less common)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Queens bench yorkton July 25th 2015
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It doesn't say temporary it just states' it is ordered'
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Take some time and look it over. Maybe there's a box near the top checked for "final" or "temporary", or maybe after it says "it is ordered" it says "on a temporary basis" or "on a final basis".

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

In the body of the order, if it mentions a return date, or says "adjourned sine die" then it's most likely a temporary order. If you have a electronic copy or can scan it then you can attach it to a reply to me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. But it does state all filed?
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, if the order addresses all the issues and there's no further court dates then we'll assume that it's a final order. Since you're unaware of any more court dates and you thought it was all done, then it's probably a final order.

So, I hope that it isn't too long. Can you go to the body of the order, usually in short numbered paragraphs, and start copying what it says? I hope that it isn't too long.

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Leave out the specific names and birthdates, use mom and dad and child instead. We don't want anybody looking up this discussion by joining the site and searching for names.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's 6 pages. And I can not get it to attach. Do you have am e-mail address I can send it to?
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

The site rules say that all communications have to be through the site.

That's a long order.

Let's start with custody. Start reading through the order until you find the paragraph about that, and copy it out. It's likely early on.

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Or, if the order is the same as the "proposed draft" that you had earlier, perhaps you could attach the draft?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We share joint custody I am the primary care giver
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, is that all it says about custody? If so, then find the paragraph(s) about access and tell me about that. We're looking for he time sharing schedule in general (you don't need to put in all the details about summer or holidays). Often an order will say something about a parent's obligation to maintain the child's attendance at extracurricular activities during their time of access / care and control of the child.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No it says nothing like that it only states his time with them what days and how often
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Keep reading the order. I know it's long, but you have to know what's in it. Maybe something like that is mentioned in the section which addresses extraordinary expenses or extracurricular activities. Take your time. You spent a lot of time and probably money to get this order, so you have to know what it says.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It says nothing about the kids daily activities Its all about his time and what he pays, I wish I could get it to attach. I coyld send by picture maybe but the I can not cover names
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I'd rather see it myself. Perhaps you could scan it somewhere and attach it? I can wait. We can always ask the site to seal the thread when we're done.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am going to have to figure out how I can send it
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, I'll be here. Maybe your lawyer's office could send you a copy? They may have it electronically as a pdf.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's what I'm trying to do but it won't attach for some reason
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

That's okay. Figure it out and get it attached. I don't want you to type out six pages of order.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will get back to you once I get it figured out. Sorry.
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

No need to apologize, really. I'll be here. You're already making progress, as you have the order and you're reading it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
but I'm afraid I'm running out of time my son's hockey school is this weekend and his dad figures he is pulling him out to tend to his own plans
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

You may need to simply call your lawyer and get a consult, I hope you can do that for little cost.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I told him I would take him but it's his time he will do what he wants. I no longer have a lawyer to call after court I stopped the services
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Then just take some time and read the order yourself very carefully, every word, and tell me for certain if this issue is addressed anywhere in it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nothing about the kids attending their activities at all
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry I fell asleep last night, it was very late.

The order is apparently silent regarding any specific obligation towards maintaining the child's extracurricular activities during his parenting time, so we have to look at general principles.

Firstly, I'm getting the impression from you that perhaps you don't know exactly what the court order had said, and in fact you weren't sure if there even was one. Such a long order is usually one carefully drafted by the lawyers and submitted as a consent order. I say that because judges don't normally draft a six page order of their own volition because they are people too and don't like writing more than they have to. Please be reminded that custody is about decision making authority only, and joint custody means that the two of you have to agree on major decisions regarding the child's upbringing which includes his enrolment and attendance at extracurricular activities.

You have joint custody. This means that with equal decision making authority, you should by definition be able to discuss this with the father in a rational way. If you can't talk without getting into an argument then joint custody isn't the right arrangement, but joint custody is what you have. Perhaps you should send dad an email so that you can compose it, think about it, and ensure that it has the right tone. In the email you should cite the facts, remind the dad that with joint custody comes the obligation to work out disputes in a child focused manner, and that you'd appreciate hearing from him that he's going to facilitate the hockey but if not then why not. Make sure that the email, if you send it, is respectful and not argumentative or inflammatory.

If father is resisting the hockey because he doesn't believe that the child wants to then tell the father that the child wants to go and that the child needs consistency, and that you two need to discuss the issue. Obviously, the child derives far less benefit from hockey if the child is only attending it half the time. Further, if the child is starting to say that he doesn't want to go to dad's because of this issue, tell father that and say that as a family this stalemate has to be worked through for everyone's benefit as a family.

Look back at the history since the separation. Was the child always in hockey? Prior to this order being made, was dad taking the child to hockey? If the answer is "yes", then father shouldn't be unilaterally changing the status quo of the child's attendance at extracurricular activities. While it's true that the order doesn't compel him to do so, and you cannot tell father what to do on his time, this hockey issue is about the child's extracurricular activities which is as much a custodial matter as an access matter. Thus, you can write to father that after consulting with legal counsel, you've been urged to write to him to make best efforts to resolve the dispute in an adult fashion as behooves custodial parents.

Again, ask dad specifically for all of his reasons for not wanting to take the child. If father says that he doesn't want to give up all his weekend time for the child's hockey, that's understandable. Offer him some more time so that each of you is sacrificing time with the child to facilitate the hockey. The order is the order, and it's what's to happen if the two of you can't agree; by insisting to stick to the order, whoever is insisting is thus saying that there's no compromise on the particular issue. If there's no compromise then that's fine but there should still be a discussion which is rational and child focused.

Remind father that the child wants to go, and that by denying the child then father is putting his relationship with the child in jeopardy; remind father that the child wants to go to hockey and if you two parents are going to change the child's attendance at extracurriculars then that's a custodial matter which you ought to be discussing in good faith.

That all sounds great in writing. I'm recommending the email because you'll have a record of it and of his response if he does so by email too. I'm assuming that the order doesn't have any "dispute resolution" mechanisms built in such as using a parenting co-ordinator in the event of a dispute. If there is any such thing in the order then please let me know, although I'll tell you that you have to avail yourself of that option as a next step.

Before you finish writing, you need to decide on whether this issue is important enough to you and the child that you're willing to take it back to court, because that's what you'll need to do if father digs in his heels. Don't threaten dad with court, but you could say that the two of you should be getting off to a better start than this so soon after a court order, especially since it's a joint custodial arrangement.

If dad is making his decision based on emotion, you won't get him off that by being emotional yourself and pleading for him to do the right thing. He already thinks he's doing the right thing by asserting his rights to manage the child's time while the child is in his care. You're not going to get him to change his mind by calling him a jerk. Instead, be super rational and objective, keep it respectful and concise, don't raise any other issues.

You can't literally make him take the child to hockey. But if father won't do it then you either have to let it go or take it back to court.

Lastly, the child is only nine. Don't put the child in the middle by having the child beg dad to take him, but if father wants to hear from the child that the child wants to go then you're in a tough spot. Perhaps before you write, ask the child if he's told his father that he wants to go to hockey or not and that you won't be upset either way, that you're trying your best to work this out with dad but that you need to know 100% that the child does want to do the hockey. Remember that children lie and will tell their feuding parents what each parent wants to hear in order to not be directly involved, it's always possible that the child has in fact told dad that he doesn't want to go; if father cites this reason then don't assume that father is lying. That happens all the time for a variety of reasons, and is an indication that you and father need better communication skills because you're allowing the child to play the two of you against each other. Feel free to say that in the email too: joint custody is only going to work if the two of you can communicate and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

So in summary, if father won't take the child then he's not in contempt of the court order, and you can't make him take the child. But you have joint custody so you should make every effort to work this out reasonably and hopefully also set a precedent for resolving future disputes. If you can't work this out then you either have to let it go or take it back to court, and you should discuss that option with the lawyer you had. Lastly, you need to make sure that you know what's in your order and that you understand it because there's no point in arguing with father about issues which are already addressed in the order.

If you don't want to write, then perhaps there's a mutual friend or someone like a family member who has the kind of relationship with each you that they might facilitate a discussion about it in person and help mediate.

Does that all make sense? Please reply if there's more to discuss. I'll be here. But if you're satisfied that I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please, which is how I get credit from the site for the time spent on your matter. In that case, keep an eye on your credit card statement to ensure that your initial refund was processed and that you were charged only once more for concluding our discussion. But if there's more to talk about then please get back to me before rating.

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Have you written to him, or made any progress on the hockey issue?

Ulysses

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