Just settled a final...
Just settled a final order for week-about shared custody this past Friday. I have 3 children, 2 of which I have shared custody. The oldest one is 15 yrs old and has been estranged and alienated from me. The one issue that has not been resolved, aside from child support pymts (where we are going to trial) is the school location. The children began this school 2 years ago when my ex had primary custody. With the shared custody, that school is 100 km return from my residence and 14 km from where the ex lives. Cannot get school transportation for that distance. For me to drive them to school then go back and pick them up is 200 km/day or 1000 km/week. Plus I have a job that takes me in the opposite direction and my hours are very long from when I leave in the morning until I return at night. My ex has created a lot of problems, been very vindictive, has been manipulating and using the children involving them in the conflict. This was address at the custody settlement conf and this is why we now have shared week-about custody. There is a school between our two residents that is 23 km both from her place and from mine, BUT it does not offer school bus transportation for either one of us. This school is only 18 km return more away from her than where the children attend now, but is 100 km return for me. She will not work to co-operate with me. Even though her and husband do not work (he is military with PTSD) and she won't go to work even though she is able-bodied. Myself and my common-law spouse also have a newborn baby and we both have to work. What can I do to make it fairer for me with respect to the children's schooling. At the end of April I was layed off from my job and I had to drive the children back & forth to their school until the end of the year. It cost me $144 per week just on the gas, not counting the wear and tear on my vehicle to take my children to school from the end of April until the end of June. I start this new job tomorrow as mentioned above and will be going the opposite direction - it's construction work with long hours and about 1-1/2 hours away from my residence. Where legally do I stand with respect to the location of the school. This was one of the issues that was not agreed up in the Final Order for custody. School begins in two weeks. What can I do?
Lawyer's Assistant: Is there a custody agreement in place? Does it address educational decisions?
I was self-represented this past Friday when we attended the Settlement Conference. My ex-wife's lawyer had drawn up a draft order in the 11th hour just before our court appearance on Friday. Initially, they were going for sole custody and were looking to go to trial. They changed their mind at the last minute because of a letter from CAS that addressed the fact that my son, while in her care, was forced to lie about allegations against me. This letter corresponded with the OCL who had acknowledged in her brief that the children while in the care of their mother were being coached to say untruthful things about me. The draft order consisted of custody and child support. In her draft order she included the school where the children will attend. I did NOT agree to that and the Judge was aware of this. In addition there were a couple of other issues regarding custody that I did NOT agree to. The judge gave the final order for her lawyer to write up. I haven't see yet what she has written up; however, I was told I had to sign it. The OCL is also a witness as she took part in the discussion on the issues to be resolved. The OCL is well aware of my concern about the schooling situation and in a call today she said this is a final order for the shared week-about access and that my ex and I have to come to an agreement on the schooling.
My concern is that I know we won't be able to agree because she is very angry that I now have shared week-about custody. In fact, as soon as she got the children on Friday to start her week with them, she had my son phone the OCL in less than one hour after leaving court house.
In other words, what the judge warned her about in coaching the children went in one ear and out the other. I expect my son got into very serious trouble with her when she learned that he told the CAS the truth and admitted he had lied to them about making the complaint about me a couple of weeks ago and the time before that. That letter from CAS forced the other side to change their tactic from sole custody to shared week-about. What do I do, if her lawyer goes ahead and puts in the school location that she had put in her draft order regardless of what was discussed and was not agreed to at the settlement conference.
Lawyer's Assistant: The Family Lawyer will be able to walk you through that. Has there been any mediation on this issue?
No. The mediation was just this past Friday and the education portion of it was NOT agreed to during that medication process.
Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
I'm not sure. I just want to know how do I proceed with this schooling issue when it was not agreed upon within the custody agreement that was signed this past Friday. Can the other side just ignore my concerns which forces me to have to pay someone to drive my children 200 km/day to go to that school?