My ex is trying to have more visitation days and is taking me back to court but he verbally abuses me in front of our daughter? Will he win more visitation?

Mary - posted on 01/09/2013 ( 29 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 12 years old and also wants to live with her dad. She thinks the rules in my house are too strict and has complained to dad about it and now he wants more visitation. Right now he only gets her on Sundays and it has been like this for 9 years. She also has a very bad attitude and answers back with profanity. She talks like her dad too using his profanity. I feel like she is being brainwashed. Has anyone been through this??

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Jolene - posted on 01/10/2013

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Mary, the schedule he is requesting is not unreasonable. My daughter had every other weekend and every Wednesday night and it worked fine.

A few things to consider:
1. At your daughter's age the courts will put a lot of weight on what she says she wants. She will not get final say but it will be powerful so it may happen no matter how hard you fight it.
2. The thing about courts is that they will make a determination one way or the other. I completely agree with those who say try to work it out outside of court. As a mediator told us once “Either you both compromise on what you can live with or the judge will decide for both of you and neither of you will probably like it. “
3. If it does go to court you may wind up with a full 50/50 split, one week with him and one with you. Which would you rather have – his Tuesday, Thursday and alternate weekends or one week on and off?
4. Exchanges should be happening at school unless it is a long holiday. For example he drops her off at school on Wednesday morning and you pick her up after school. It saves a lot of grief for everyone, especially the kids.
5. As for your parents’ doing the work, that is on them and something you cannot control.
6. You need to clamp down on how she treats you. Totally unacceptable.
7. When she asks about child support you need to tell her that it is court ordered and an issue between the adults and leave it at that. You cannot control dad being a jerk and should not try to defend yourself based on his poor parenting choices.
8. Kids figure things out for themselves ultimately as to who the real parent is and who the problem parent is. Never bad mouth the other parent, do what is best for you daughter (and that means being flexible and realizing the other parent has rights), and bide your time. She will come to realize who truly cares but it will take time.
9. Tread carefully if changes are made for more time with dad and she suddenly wants to return back to you. This is a VERY BAD game some kids play in getting angry at one parent and using the other parent for an escape. If you allow it you are in for some very painful teen years.
Good luck!

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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ariana has a point why does any talking have to occur on drop offs? pick her up from school, drop her off, do not leave the car, tell her "bye" and get your hugs from the car... don't call to change plans, stick by the order, not very much at all needs to be discussed. if there is, do it by texts, that way any abuse can be documented and used as evidence. if he calls to yell at you, hang up the phone... don't answer it if it is him, let him go to voice mail, and you can use the messages as evidence of the abuse.

Ariana - posted on 01/09/2013

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If he verbally abuses you in front of your daughter then maybe you should have someone else do any pickup dropoffs concerning her, or make it so you don't speak with him during that time, even if he tries to start talking if he decides to be verbally abusive ignore him and just get your daughter from/to him and leave.

As far as that goes only the court can say if he'll win more visitation or not.

You could try going to family councelling with your daughter to work on your relationship and why she wants to be with her father more often. If you go to something like that it could help you get your view of the situation out to her in a way where she'll be more willing to listen, and possibly more willing to talk about everything going on.

Mary Jane - posted on 01/11/2013

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I feel for you. I was a bratty teen with my divorced parents, too, although I never would dare to swear at them. I think you should tell your ex and your daughter that you are "willing to consider it" provided the three of you FIRST seek professional help from a family therapist who can nip these issues in the bud. I ended up bouncing back and forth between my parents every time one of them didn't let me have my way. Looking back, I wish ONE or BOTH of them would have taken some control.

Tracy - posted on 01/11/2013

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Jolene the schedule he is asking for is unreasonable as that girl will be bouncing from one house to the other. My ex wanted this and they therapist that taught my parenting class said if the judge granted this then to call her as it is not in the best interest of any kid to be bounced back and forth between homes. Also if he only takes her to court fo visitation the judge will hmm ot change custody arrangement. However before he can get anything changed in court he has to prove there is a major change in circumstance. My ex was going to bring my kids in to testify to get more visitation but all I need was their concouncilor to testify and make her visitation suggestion, which was very generous and the judge even told my exs lawyer as much. He finally agreed and my kids were saved that horrible experience as it is never good to have a kid put in the middle.

Mary get a good lawyer if he does take you to court and listen to what she says to do. Don't settle on something that you know is not in the best interest of you daughter. Giving him everyother weekend may not be a bad compromise, but until he files something just let him talk. Your daughter is going through a natural response to a teenager not liking the parent that disciplines. My daughter went through it and know that court is over she has settled down. Keep correcting your daughter, let her know you love her, tune out the stuff she says her dad says....don't let her pit the two of you against each other. Avoid contact with the father. Communicate throught text and emails. Then you have everything documented. Maybe have you parents step in to get your daughter for you as he lives in their basement. Stay strong and talk Jolenes advise about not saying anything negative about your ex in frount of you daughter.

You know your situation and the best advice as how to deal with this is talking with a lawyer. I settled and gave my ex morre time with the kids but it is during the summer as it allows them to have a stable home during the school year and arent shuffled back and forth between houses. But until he files something don't worry.

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Mary - posted on 01/14/2013

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Just wanted to comment that Tracy was absolutely correct in this instance that it is very hard to change the court order unless there is a major change in circumstance. My ex told my daughter that he will not be able to continue taking me to court because he would have to prove that mom is bad.

I took my daughter to the psycologist and she got a lot of stuff off of her chest. We are still working on our communication but I told her that my rules might seem tough but I have them there because I love her. I know that there will be more disputes in the future but hopefully I can stay strong. Thanks you guys :)

Mary - posted on 01/11/2013

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. We will be seeing a counselor tonight and hopefully it goes well. I will no longer communicate with my ex unless needed and the suggestion to have my parents pick or bring her over sounds better so i don't have to see my ex.

My daughter is still acting verbally and I hope everyone is right that this is just a phase and we will hopefully settle down. It is really hard to be around her. One minute she is complaining about me and then the next minute she's telling me how her day went at school....

Theresa - posted on 01/11/2013

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Sounds like Dad doesn't know what parenting full time is really like. And as far as your daughter goes the grass is always greener esp. at that age.

I suggest you think about letting Dad have custody sun--tues. He drops her off at school Wed. and she goes home to your house after school. Or whatever days work for your family. Consecutive days are very important though. If you're willing to try this it might be good to do while she has your parents around to make sure things are safe.

Put the agreement in writing and state it is a trial basis 2-3 months. Make it clear to your daughter that you love her and but willing to bend. Let her know this is not what you want but if she and he decide to do this you will try. Be clear to both that you not be running left behind homework assignments or afterschool activity needs. That will be dads responsibility on his days. I bet after a few months he will want to go back to the old arrangement and she will be happy to come home.

Of course if drugs, alcohol or physical abuse are a concern disregard my suggestion and fight for her with all you have.

Holly - posted on 01/11/2013

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mary, nothing you said makes a difference as to whether or not he wouldn't/ shouldn't get more visitation with his daughter.

Mary - posted on 01/10/2013

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If she's at her dad's house she will be home alone too. We both work in the morning...:(

He doesn't pay me that much. I actually sent him to court just to get child support which he didn't want to pay for. I denied the retroactive child support for the missing years he didn't pay. He also owned a business at the time and didn't have money to give me but I didn't ask for it then. Only when he had a steady job.

I got married and my husband supports our children so that is how i'm surviving...I also had to get a roommate for additional income. I enrolled her in a before and after school care which allowed me to drop off early and pick up late but cost almost the same amount of the child support he gave me.

Tracy - posted on 01/10/2013

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First and for most there has to be a major change of circumstance for any thing to change on your parenting plan. If there isn't then your lawyer can get it dismissed. I have been through this exact same thing just recently. Email me and I will give you more details. But get your daughter in counseling...this help me.

Dove - posted on 01/10/2013

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I'd rather have my child with her father over being home alone for 3 hours every day..... Legal or not, 'I' was the kid who was home alone for hours at a time and I hated it. If she wants the time with her dad... work it out.

Holly - posted on 01/10/2013

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"As far as who took care of and took her to school and picked her up before, I did. He only had her on Sundays and I was waiting on tables to have a flexible schedule. Currently, she rides the bus to and from school."
I don't know how you can support yourself, let alone your daughter with such little work... perhaps THATS why CS is such a sore subject for him... he busts his ASS to support you and his daughter while you hardly work... I can understand this frustration.

"I'm not so sure if he can handle more days."
this is not for you to judge, as it is none of your business

"I think i have every right to know who takes my daughter to school."
what he does with her on HIS time is HIS business, and unless she is being abused, you have NO right to it.


I did not question your ability to parent your child, i actually agree with your style of parenting, i think that it is atrocious when a child has a filthy mouth, i think. In my opinion a disrespectful child is a horrible thing to have. I think that you do your best. but when your child is with her father, it is up to HIM to parent her as HE sees fit.

Mary - posted on 01/10/2013

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That's true I don't have to speak with him which I won't be doing. As far as who took care of and took her to school and picked her up before, I did. He only had her on Sundays and I was waiting on tables to have a flexible schedule. Currently, she rides the bus to and from school.

He is constantly calling off on Sundays which was his one day to be with her which is violating the court order. I would end up having to call off of work because of this. She is heart broken but I allow him to pick her up on another day during the week. I'm not so sure if he can handle more days. It has been mostly for his schedule and not hers. Parenting to me is not a game, you can't just call out sick. To me there are no sicks days for me. His parenting is everyone needs to do it on my schedule when I have am on her schedule.

I think i have every right to know who takes my daughter to school. I would not feel comfortable with a stranger to take my daughter to school when it should be his responsibility. My parents are also working. When I am at work, I am awake for her to go to the bus stop and she will ride the bus home and be alone for about 3 hours which is allowed in the state of Virginia. I have food made in the refrigerator for her to eat when she comes home.

Holly - posted on 01/10/2013

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Mary, the verbal abuse can stop if you quit making it a point to come out of the car or answer the phone, quit, stop, make it no more. then what is your excuse? because he isn't a good father... why? because you don't agree with his parenting? doesn't mean it is BAD parenting. and since 9 years ago he chose one thing means he can never opt for more parenting time, after 9 years? even if on his parenting time if he asks for someone else to take his daughter to school, how in the world is this your business? are your parents completely incapable of taking her to school? what do you do when you are at work? who picks her up and drops her off and feeds her when you work?


ETA- i am not condoning him verbally abusing you, this needs to stop, but he wont, so you have to avoid situations with him, remember, you slept with him and had his kid, you knew this is how he was... so now you have to live with it, so find a way that you do not have to talk to him. only conversate with text, and only as an AS NEEDED basis; like daughter is in hospital, or daughter in car accident. anything else does not need to be discussed.

Mary - posted on 01/10/2013

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I would not hesistate to give him more custody if he had been a good father continuously but after 12 years now he wants more days? he has ever right to request more but the verbal abuse to me in front of our daughter is "b*tch and c*nt" and she will pick it up from there. His actions rub off on her and she follows. She calls me the same. He talks bad about me to her and tells her he is living in my parents house because he is paying me child support so she feels bad for him and she wants to know where that money is.

Our schedule now is what he chose 9 years ago for Sundays only. Now he wants Tuesday and Thursday night for her to spend the night and he will take her to school and also switch every other weekend. The tuesday and Thursday sleepover bother me because she will not stay in one house. She will be switching back and forth and I think that kids should have a set schedule. He also can't wake up early so I'm afraid he won't take her to school on time. He used to take her to school but when school started earlier as she got older he said he didn't want to do it anymore.

He can't make up his mind. I have given him many opportunities to have her more and everything has changed ever since he moved into my parents house. My parents will end up taking her to school and picking her up, feeding her, etc while he is at work. I'm not sure how he will feel if he still wants custody when he moves out of my parents house in 10 months when his contract is over...

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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i would think that one week with mom and one week with dad with allotted time for phone calls to the other house once every other day at minimal should be GREAT for a girl her age. both parents can take her to the same school... then you don't even have to worry about the child support thing, with you both having split custody, nobody has to pay child support

Jodi - posted on 01/09/2013

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I agree with the other ladies. My ex used to verbally abuse me on pick up, so we ended up arranging pick up and drop off through a 3rd party to avoid the situation. As my son got older, it became a neutral drop off and pick up point, and then eventually, just picking up waiting in the driveway, not even getting out of the car. Your daughter is 12, you should be able to do drop offs and pick ups without having to interact with her father. This will have nothing to do with how much visitation he will or will not get.

With regard to the visitation, I am not seeing any reason why he shouldn't have more time. Your lack of agreement with his parenting style is not really a good enough reason.

Her profanity....have you heard the way kids this age speak in the school yard? If you have a problem with it, bring consequences for her actions into your household.

I also agree with the others, you could save yourself an expensive court battle by allowing the additional visitation. How much is he asking for?

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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it is also important that using profane language in itself is not verbal abuse... If he says something like i wish you'd pick up the D****ed phone, this is not verbal abuse... some people are ignorant and they only know how to speak using profane language (does not make it ok, esp in front the child) if he were to call you names and threaten you, THIS would be verbal abuse.... and ESP if you egg someone on, (remember they can be documenting too) your documentation against this person can be used against you.

Dove - posted on 01/09/2013

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The attitude is 100% normal for the age (though not acceptable, it is normal). The language is something that is not tolerated in our home, but then it's also never been a real issue. You can certainly make and follow through on consequences for it (and the behavior) though.

As for the verbal abuse to you... why does there have to be talking between the two of you in front of her? Do you do drop off/pick up in a neutral, public place? If not... now might be the time to start or have a friend or relative handle the drop off/pick up situation and save your communication with him to be done via email or phone.

And the visitation... at 12 she may be old enough to have her say in court in which case more visitation is likely. Perhaps instead of a court battle you could suggest mediation to your ex to work out something that is agreeable for all 3 of you.

Ariana - posted on 01/09/2013

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Is it possible to give him a little bit so he doesn't go to court? So maybe have it so he's allowed to see her for a weekend once a month along with the Sundays he gets the other weekends? Something that lets him see her more often without getting the courts involved where he'll get whatever visitation they decide is best.

It's just a suggestion. This along with councelling with your daughter might help the situation. It could show that you're willing to compromise and allow her to see him more often without giving up all control (or control to the courts). Not saying you have to do this but if he's living in your parents house it's unlikely he's going to do anything majorly out of control.

Mary - posted on 01/09/2013

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I didn't think it would have happened. Her father thought she was spending the night and never communicated that to me so I went to pick her up. I didn't do any convicing. I had even called and said please have her ready outside but she didn't come outside. She got ready when I came inside.

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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You should have stayed outside knowing that he would do this in front of your child. on this day did you in fact convince her to come with you? do you think that if you allowed her to stay that this would not have taken place in front of her?

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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mary, nothing is wrong with changing the schedule, as long as it is helpingthe child... and just because you do not agree with the way he chooses to parent his child, doesn't mean it is wrong. I am not by any means saying i agree with it, but as a parent who is divorced we must realize that the OTHER parent is the other parent and we have no right to dictate the way they parent on their time

Mary - posted on 01/09/2013

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Holly: she didn't want to be picked up so i went over there to pick her up. He is living with my parents and renting their basement believe it or not and then he starting calling me bad names in front of her...

Mary - posted on 01/09/2013

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Thanks for your posts. We will be trying family counseling this Friday. :)

My ex is telling her everything that is going on between him taking me to court. She is very happy with that and i do not agree with his parenting style of letting her know all of our legal issues. He even complains to her and tells her how much he pays me for child support. She is wondering where the child support money is and why i'm not spending everything on her. I'm also not supportive of him trying to change the schedule we had for such a long time...

Holly - posted on 01/09/2013

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12yo kids pick up profanity more than just from their fathers. My dad cussed all the time, but i never picked up on it from him. 12yo also are turning into young ladies and are going through many hormonal changes. this could account for the attitude... she is becoming a teenager. and i hate to break it to you, but MANY dad's are "Disney Dads" and kids would rather live with them due to this... BUT keep in mind that the judge will only listen to what the child has to say and make a decision from that, the child themselves does not have the say of WHO they get to live with.

keep in mind it is not fair to say that the child's behavior is the father's fault. The 12yo child needs to be responsible of their own behavior

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