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Is this arrangement an informal one, or is it one that was signed off on and incorporated into a custody / visitation order with the courts (signed by a judge)?
The arrangement is based on the legal custody agreement. He chose the dates he wanted (he said last two weeks of june, first two weeks of july....and that i get him every other weekend. At that time I said I wished to get him July 4th Thurs instead of Fri) there was no complaint then.
Our custody papers say he can choose his dates, this is what worked for the both of us. It is now that he has a problem.
To be clear, the only change is that you are getting your child on Thursday instead of Friday (which you would have otherwise)?
...and he wants an entire week in return?
We already agreed to Th instead of Fri. And yes, he says if I get him for that time (th- sun) he expects to keep him an extra week.
I had him the weekend before last, and his father didn't come pick him up until Monday (we were home, he chose not to come) so he says I "took another day from him then"
if this is not specified in the order, and if he were to actually keep the child for an extra week, then it certainly appears that that would be contempt of court, since he would not be complying with the strict terms of the order. As for situations that are not contemplated in the order, but occur anyway (such as taking the child on a Thursday rather than a Friday with the consent of the other parent) the court will read into the order the duty to act reasonably. If one parent is clearly not acting reasonably, then the court can rule against that parent, even potentially holding that parent in contempt for failing to follow the terms of the order and to comply with the clear intent of that order.
if he chose not to come and pick up your son, that would be his own actions, and certainly could not be something that would constitute a viable complaint should he bring it up to the court.
Ok, so the agreements of time he set in April should not be negociated. Correct?
As for communication, it's a little bit more difficult, in that he does have to allow reasonable communication between you and your son while he has actual custody of your son, but that does not mean you have the option of calling every 15 minutes. Again, it's what is reasonable under the circumstances.
As for the agreements of time that were set in April, they will stand unless you agree to a modification of them. While he does have the right to pick the dates, once he does pick those dates any modification has to be with your consent.
I have a copy of his summer arrangement, is there any reason I have to negociate on what was said and agreed upon then?
no, you do not have to negotiate again, and can hold him to those dates.
If he agrees voluntarily to allow you more time, that's up to him, but any modification that would give him more time from your time would have to be consented to by you.
Ok, I just am unsure what to do at the time I am there to pick my son up. He is likely to not be home...and typically won't answer.
He cannot just unilaterally choose to take one more week.
As for picking your sign-up, if this is a persistent issue, that is a separate issue to bring up with the court and would also be contempt in that your ex is not complying with the terms of custody and visitation.
His dates he chose gave him 30 days, but with my weekends....he loses a few. Since that was not previously decided to be made up...that is not required (unless I chose to allow it). Am I understanding correctly?
Threats to take them to court for contempt might work, however this is entirely dependent upon his personality, and could have the reverse effect, making him less likely to work with you. Ultimately that's up to you to decide.
Generally speaking, yes, unless the order specifically gives him that right to pick and choose the dates and unilaterally modify the agreement.
But courts typically will see that an arrangement already set is set unless the two parents agree to modify it.
If I need to go further (trying to work with him is fruitless) should I just contact a lawyer or could I use a paralegal or another alternative?
While you could file for contempt on your own, having an attorney assist would be a good idea. If the court finds contempt, it can order that he pay your attorney fees.
I'd like to have my custody arrangements amended basically.
The reason that having an attorney is a good idea is because there are procedural and evidentiary issues that have to be complied with. Especially if you are filing for an amended custody arrangement, you would want to have an attorney. That is a separate issue than contempt, and is more involved.
Ok, I greatly appreciate your help.
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5 for sure! Thanks
You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!