What to expect - Visitation

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Latest post Wed, Mar 29 2017 2:01 PM by Drew. 17 replies.
  • Thu, Mar 23 2017 8:14 PM

    • Snarah
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    What to expect - Visitation

    My husband of 14 years reconnected with his first love a couple of months ago, and left my three children and I. He returned to our home state to live with her the night I caught him talking to her on the phone. Since then he facetime's with our five year old daughter nightly, which I initiate in order to try to keep her connected with her dad. It's agonizing at best, since he lives with his mistress and readily flaunts his happiness. We also have a 10 month old boy, and an 11 year old boy who has severe autism and is non-verbal. I'm agonizing on what to do, and wondering what might happen when it comes time to determine visitation. My husband's vision is that my kids and I will move back to Michigan to be close to him, since my family is there, and I moving to our current state was solely to live in a house he inherited and to get a fresh start. That was over ten years ago and we've lived here ever since.. However, I'm not so sure that is what is best for my kids. I hate it where I am (AR), but this is the only home my kids know. I have a good job, friends, secure childcare for our baby, my oldest son is settled with school and therapy, and my daughter attends the same school where I work. Moving would mean living in my sister's basement until I can get hired as a teacher, losing their health insurance, starting over with finding school, therapy (when I can secure insurance), child care, etc. Then once I do find a job I'll have to find a new place to live, and potentially have to re-set up school, therapy, childcare, etc. all over again wherever I get employed. For however long it takes to find employment, I'll be totally financially dependent on my sister....All this just to be close to the man who deserted us, and his mistress...

    In other words, I'm leaning toward's staying put. But, given the distance we are from their dad, what would visitation likely be given my oldest is severely autistic and isn't going to be able to handle extended trips to stay with him? Will courts typically seperate kids? By the time something gets situated it's unlikely the baby will even remember his dad. I want my kids to have their dad, but I have no idea how to make it possible and do what is right for my kids. Is it possible the court will mandate he has to come here to visit them?

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 6:31 AM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    First, you take a deep breath and then you do what's best for the kids.  He's the one that moved.  You can't make him do anything.  If he wants to be in the kids' lives, he has to make the effort.  If you file for the divorce in your current state, that is the state that will decide.  Consult a local attorney.

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 6:49 AM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    I am sorry you are going through this. I would not move. A move is a huge big deal and you would be stating over. I would stay put. Your husband has made a choice, he is going to have to deal with travelling to see the kids. In the meantime I would file for child support and temp spousal if it applies.

    There is no way the courts are going to make a severely disabled child fly to visit his father. If the father wants to visit he comes to you, plain and simple. The 5 year old is too young to fly alone I would tell Dad all expenses to visit are on him. He needs a rude awakening that he likely will have to pay child support as well as fund visits. He created he visits. HE has made the poor choice of leaving his family for his GF.

    Please talk to an attorney and file for custody and child support asap so your state has jurisdiction, and start spelling out visits. They will likely have to take place in AR for the oldest at least. The baby flies free on the lap but if Dad wants to pay to fly the kids round trip for visits that is his choice. I would say absolutely NO to the disabled one leaving his environment.

    Good luck

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 8:49 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    I would take some serious steps,immidiate steps lock down all,possible financial doorways and CC he might access and avoid paying any bills solely his to pay ...in your community property state that may be not so easy...but  gather all possible financial assets andnaccess and control under a safe umbrella at least until dust settles by order. 

    I would get legal counsel...and seeek court ordered support  and divorce or separation if such is appropriate in your state . Absent court order its hard to force him to support his family or prevent him from  taking his children on 'visits

     

    Think thru what he and his mistress are least likely to want ....!    

    Hire seasoned advocate  brains and avoid dealing via your well intended heart 

     

     




  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 11:12 AM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    Snarah:
    given the distance we are from their dad, what would visitation likely be given my oldest is severely autistic and isn't going to be able to handle extended trips to stay with him?

    It may depend on whether the divorce is filed in AR or MI.  I can't lend any knowledge to the autistic child situation, but visitation in a situation like this ordinarily would be something along the lines of extended time during school breaks and some holidays (unless the parent who moved out of state is willing to come back to where you are for visitation).  Of course, frequent phone and Skype-type contact would also be part of it.

     

    Snarah:
    Will courts typically seperate kids?

    They generally try not to do so.

     

    Snarah:
    Is it possible the court will mandate he has to come here to visit them?

    It's unlikely the court would deny all visitation unless he comes to you.  A normall 11yo could get on a plane by himself for visitation.  The other two are obviously too young for that, so dad would have to come pick them up for visitation.  Also, since he's the one who created the separation, he'll likely have to shoulder the expense of visitation-related travel.

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 12:32 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    He created the distance. It is his problem if he wants visitation. He cannot force you to return to MI.

    As for what the courts may decide about your eleven year old son with severe autism, if you have competent medical testimony that he cannot handle flying by himself, then it is unlikely that a court would require him to do so. You may very well need competent medical testimony about his issues and that one can get expensive for both sides. 

    To my knowledge, Arkansas is is not a community property state. I think Drew was thinking of Arizona, which is.

    Frankly, it would probably be to your advantage to have this matter decided by Arkansas rather than Michigan and MI cannot decide any custody/visitation issues for your children as they do not appear to be legal residents of MI. MI does not have jurisdiction over non-residents and if you have been living in AR for the last ten years, then your children are legal residents of AR, not MI. 

    Consult a local AR family law attorney and get "the ball moving". 

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 12:56 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] Re: What to expect - Visitation

    Drew:
    in your community property state

    Arkansas (AR) is not a community property state.

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 2:45 PM In reply to

    • Snarah
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    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    Thanks everyone. I have hired a lawyer, and divorce/temporary custody has been filed for. I'm still in limbo though, since my 'husband' has asked for the divorce to be dismissed. I have no idea why or what he's up to, considering he moved right in with his girlfriend and has no desire to stay married. I can only guess he thinks if he waits long enough to establish residency in MI he can re-file there and get the upper hand. But, the kids live here....

     

    My decision to stay here or go is really going to be based on what visitation will end up being, since there is no way I could ship my kids to him for weeks on end in the summer. He was a good stay at home dad, but I suspect he did this in part to re-live his glory days of partying, which if I'm correct would not be at all appropriate for kids. The woman he reconnected, according to his own stories, is a person he got hooked on drugs with 20+ years ago. I can't say anything about her current lifestyle other than she's a bartender in a hole in the wall bar.  

    AR is a community property state, unfortunately the house I live in was gifted to my husband. Therefore I have no claim to it. My husband keeps saying if I move to MI he'll sell it and give me half, but his word is not necessarily trustworthy these days. Regardless of the money, I'm just not sure going to MI would be good for my kids at all. I can support my kids without that money, I just need time to save a down payment for my own place. A rental with my oldest son is going to be tricky since he's very loud and at times destructive. I'll rent if need be, but it really depends on what visitation ends up looking like.

    If the court says I have to ship my kids to him for long periods of time I'll just move there and give him eowe, so at least the time with them will be short and hopefully less likely to be spend watching them drink and get high....

    My lawyer is great, but expensive, and says it could go either way. He's pretty sure I have a good shot at getting full custody, but visitation will be tricky given my oldest son's autism and the ages of the younger two. I was just hoping someone here might have known of how visitation might work in a situation like this. 

     

    Thanks for all the input.

  • Fri, Mar 24 2017 3:23 PM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    Snarah:
    My decision to stay here or go is really going to be based on what visitation will end up being, since there is no way I could ship my kids to him for weeks on end in the summer.

    At some point, this is going to be a reality if you both remain where you are now, so you should discuss this with the attorney you said you've hired.

     

    Snarah:
    AR is a community property state

    No, it's not; it's an equitable division state.

     

    Snarah:
    unfortunately the house I live in was gifted to my husband. Therefore I have no claim to it.

    That's not necessarily true.  You may very well (or may not) have a marital interest in it.  Something else to discuss with your attorney.

  • Sat, Mar 25 2017 11:09 AM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    I am not a lawyer and all I know about visitation orders is what I've read about it:

    (1) typically if the parents work out a mutually-agreed visitation schedule and present it to the court, it will be included in the court order as-is unless the judge thinks it's grossly unfair.

    (2) if the parents don't agree and the judge has to decide, generally the bigger the distance between the parents' homes the more the visitation schedule will skew towards fewer but longer visits.

    (3) if a great distance exists because the noncustodial parent moved, the noncustodial parent will normally be expected to bear all or most of the transportation burden created by the distance (i.e. may well be expected to pick the children up and drop them off at their home or school).

    Snarah:
    my oldest is severely autistic and isn't going to be able to handle extended trips to stay with him

    I don't know much about how courts handle special-needs children, but suspect that you will have to get his doctors to testify in support of your contention here, to have it taken seriously.

    Snarah:
    Moving would mean living in my sister's basement until I can get hired as a teacher, losing their health insurance, starting over with finding school, therapy (when I can secure insurance), child care, etc.

    Seriously?  I did a little googling, and obviously I can't research every school district's residency requirements, but I read that the MI state government passed a law forbidding cities from having residency requirements - ?  Even if/when there is such a requirement, new employees typically have a grace period (I saw 6 months mentioned a couple of times) before they have to move there.

    I would not recommend moving without a job, especially if Dad's ability and/or willingness to financially support the kids is unreliable.  But a long-distance job search while still employed should be possible, if inconvenient.

    I think your youngest two are young enough to handle moving pretty well.  Most 11-year-olds can handle it decently well, too (SOME trauma, sure, but not as much as with teens), but I can believe a kid with special needs would be more difficult.  Is Dad willing to help (i.e. bear the brunt of the effort needed to establish a good education plan for him at his new school, and whatever else might be needed)?

    If you hate it in AR, then you might want to take another look at moving and not dismiss the whole concept so quickly.  Though the way you describe your life there sort of seems to contradict your assertion that you hate it.  Only you know for sure, of course, and it's not my business.

  • Sat, Mar 25 2017 11:45 AM In reply to

    • Snarah
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    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    I guess hate is a strong word when it comes to living here. When we came here we agreed to stay for two years, and then move back home to be close to family when we decided to start a family. Once we got pregnant with our son I wanted to go home, but my husband had a change of heart and convinced me to stay. The house being paid off meant I could be a stay at home mom, and he would work and support us. My oldest was diagnosed with autism when he was two, and six months later my dad passed away, which was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to go home in the first place. When our son was four my husband was in the midst of an emotional affair with a coworker. I wanted to divorce him then, but he begged for forgiveness. Being a stay at home mom at the time, I had no money, job, etc, so I caved and we went to counseling. But, I decided then to go back to college and get a job to never be in a position again where I couldn't support myself. That process kept us here for three more years,which engrained us here even more. He became a stay at home dad, since our son needed someone home to get him to his many appointments. Going home was alway in the back of my mind, but just became less and less likely as time went on. We had our daughter five years ago. When kindergarten was approaching for her, and the plan that my husband would go back to work, he brought up having another child. By this point I was well employed, we were happy, and him staying home was working well for our family....

    I was blindsided when he took off. Our oldest son's autism and needs had unintentionally kept us homebodies, so our social circle had been kept to mostly coworkers of mine. It is just very difficult to take him to public places for very long. I'm not sure how it will work in court, but he's non-verbal and has lots of outbursts. I don't think it would take a medical expert for a judge to see he can't be unnattended period, let alone travel unattended or with any frequency. It's obvious to the naked eye. Ugh, I wish I could foresee what will happen in court.

    It was never our intention to be here in Arkansas forever, it just sort of happened that way. I honestly have very little support here, but then again wouldn't have much there either. My kids are settled in life, and this is all they've even known. I do have more friends there, but based on yearly visits there, most of my old friends are not comfortable around my oldest son. Life has gone on of course. I miss my home, but it's not likely to be home for my kids. My sister, is vying for us to go back, but she works and has a busy life of her own. My husband says he'll help, but he's unemployed and likely to stay that way if history is any indication. Add in the mistress and the thought of going there, even if it means being alone here, is daunting at best..

    I really don't want to make an emotionally based decision, but I don't know how to seperate emotions from logic at this point. Regardless, I have to sign a teaching contract for next year in the next couple of months, so a decision must be made..


  • Sat, Mar 25 2017 2:58 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    I caught my error as to state but could not get edit to work...others caught it too....AR is not a community property state...generally inherited property is separate property but court has a lot of latitude as to equitable issues .

     

    AR may allow for child support well past 18 if the special needs child is not capable of self support at normal end of CS.....get child's long term needs addressed....

    Obviously dad is not a stay at home dad if he is off with mistress..in general, what is his earning capacity / career options .  

     

     

     

     



  • Sat, Mar 25 2017 6:55 PM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    well its obvious your son is not capable of flying alone and I highly doubt a judge would order that. Also the airlines will not allow a severe special needs child to fly UM. Flight attendants are not babysitters fo special needs. It would be flat out dangerous for everyone involved so that should not even be an option. If your ex wants to visit with the 11 yr old he needs to fly with the boy roundtrip or visit at your house.

    At this point just kind of wait and see how things play out. Sounds like you have free rent for now. If he does promise you 1/2 the value of the house to move, make sure you have that cash in your hands in your own bank account. I would actually close any joint accounts and open your own.

    The economy in parts of MI is crap but some parts of it have super cheap housing. Research the school districts, mainly a school for your autistic son.

    You sure have a good attitude about this. Your life has been turned upside down.I wish you lots of luck

  • Sun, Mar 26 2017 12:16 PM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    Snarah:
    I don't think it would take a medical expert for a judge to see he can't be unnattended period, let alone travel unattended or with any frequency.

    Even if he had no special needs, 11 is still a bit young to fly alone, and of course his siblings are also very much too young to travel unsupervised.  The expectation would of course be that your husband will come pick them up and travel with them, whether by air or by car (his choice).

    If it is your contention that your son cannot handle the trip even if accompanied by your husband, then you would need expert testimony to convince the judge of that.

    Snarah:
    I miss my home, but it's not likely to be home for my kids.

    I guess I don't see why not.  My mom moved with us when I was 10 and my brother was 9, and we both made the adjustment just fine.  My brother had to endure a little bullying at the beginning (he had asthma and eczema) but that actually stopped pretty quickly as he found where he fit in and made friends.  As long as the new location isn't objectively worse than the old (failing schools full of gangs, for example) I think it should be OK.  Kids are pretty adaptable.

    That said, usually the best thing to do when your life is turned upside down is to sit tight until the emotional storm is over and you are in a condition to make good choices.  Don't upend your life even further than it has to be until the dust settles and you are feeling centered again.  Possibly some solo counseling might be a good idea, though maybe not with the counselor who failed to save your marriage.  The fact that your husband's leaving blindsided you suggests that that therapist never uncovered the real reasons for his emotional affair back then.

     

  • Mon, Mar 27 2017 7:40 AM In reply to

    Re: What to expect - Visitation

    A couple more random thoughts:  have you considered the possibility that your husband might get primary custody?  The courts are supposed to give fathers equal consideration, and your husband's experience taking care of the kids as well as his current ability to stay home with them might make him look better than you for that.  Has your lawyer said anything about this?

    Another thing that might happen:  if you decide to stay, they might move to AR to be near the kids.  It doesn't sound like her job is all that attractive, and there are lots of bars everywhere, including AR I'm sure.

    Also, with the house belonging to him and not you, have you asked your lawyer how safe you are from being booted out of it if your husband decides he wants to move in with his GF or sell the place?

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