Visitation Issue and a Parents Responsibility

Updated on November 03, 2012
I.S. asks from Sacramento, CA
20 answers

This is long, so I will try to keep it short.

I moved to Sacramento CA back in Jan 2012 to have affordable housing for my son and I. His father lives in the bay area still. He agreed to allow me to move to Sacramento and we both agreed to help out with the commute on the weekends he has his son. Originally I agreed to do most of the travel, this was before knowing my financial situation. Now that I live up here, lost my job i moved up here for and got a new job with it requiring a 20 mile commute one way, funds are stretched and makes it financially difficult to drive to the bay area (amtrak is not an option, as its more). As a way to help out I have asked my sons dad to meet me half way. Every occasion I have asked this, he basically just tells me to not worry about coming down. Currently he has our son every other weekend starting Saturday morning and returning Sunday night. Prior to my move, he was taking his son on Friday nights. But gave that up to make things easier for us on not commuting to the bay area on Friday nights.

On Halloween he did not see his son even though it was technically his year. Finances and time off are not a option for me. He is self employed. I feel if he wanted to spend Halloween with his son, he would make the effort to drive up here, as he has that option to take off work early. Because of him missing Halloween he started ranting and raving about how its my fault he doesn't see his son and that I should be bringing him down on the weekends he has him as I agreed to do. Since fathers day he has not seen his son because of his scheduled coaching tournament for the kids he coaches and working nights. He never asked me to switch weekends, nor did I offer. From June to August 6 i was unemployed only receiving $400 a month in cash aid, so going to the bay area was just not possible, even if i did switch weekends.

Since his rant and rave he is telling me he can't afford to go get his son either. Mind you my ex recently purchased a used truck, an ATV and a travel trailer that he makes payments on. Instead of making funds available, he made the selfish choice in purchasing things that are unnecessary, part of why he has no funds. My reasons of no funds is due to necessary things (food, gas, rent, etc). I do not have car payments and have no car as I borrow my brothers till I can afford payments (as I can not).

With these rants he has stated he will take me back to court to get a judgement from the courts to make me drive back and forth each weekend cause I can afford it. I can't, plain and simple. If we met half way or I received help (child support) i could make it happen.

Now as a parent (the father) wouldn't you do what was necessary to be able to see your child? Is it my responsibility to bring him down every other weekend because I moved? For divorced parents who live far apart (1hr+ or more), what is your childs visitation schedule with the other parent? My son is 4.5 and in pre-school full time.

Any input, advise or suggestions would be VERY helpful!!

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So What Happened?

Just to add so some are more clear....we have a court order. He pays child support (but does not and hasnt in 3yrs). Visitation is as followed (we do not follow this as we agreed verbally on something different). He was ordered 1,3,4th weekends starting Friday night till Sunday at 4pm with Wednesdays at 4-7pm. Then our holiday schedule which i will not state. We never followed this order. We agreed to stick with alternating weekends starting Friday night till Sunday (this is when I lived 10mins away). He never took him Wednesdays nor over nights as agreed till last year. I had his okay, even though he wasn't happy about it for us to move 1h 45mins away. Yes I agreed to help for most, but he also agreed to help so I wouldn't have to. I on all the weekends that was his that I could afford it, I did go, round trip and more then willing to meet half way on the weekends I couldnt afford to go all the way. He just said forget it about seeing his son. I am trying every way I can for him to see his son, regardless of my choice to move. If he paid his child support as ordered, we would of never moved as that extra $ would of helped keep an affordable roof over my head. He chooses not to pay child support because it was my choice to leave him and he choose to buy his "toys". Also when i was on county aid due to a job loss, he felt i was getting $400 a month from county aid was my child support when i was jobless.

** When I was on county aid the county was pursuing him and ended up suspending his license due to back child support.
** When I moved i got off county aid and the county is still pursuing him for his rears but nothing moving forward. I stopped having child support services in helping me collect because he verbally agreed prior to my move he would help me with the cost of seeing his son on his weekends (he was going to give me a gas card to help...has not done so). He has yet to uphold on anything he has promised. Again I am willing to go broke so he can see his son, but when the effort isn't mutual why should my son go without the necessary items if his father will not help support him?
** If he isn't willing to help out and make an effort I will pursue the child support and he will have to pay his rears in ADDITION to what he owes in child support.

More Answers



answers from Louisville on

From most things I've heard, the onus is on the parent who created the distance to provide transportation to the other parent.

It's none of your business what dad spends his funds on. And he has a right be be angry - you moved his child away and aren't holding up your end by making the child available for visitation.

If you want child support, take dad to court for it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

YOU told him you would do the driving if he agreed to the move. He's only trying to demand that you do what you said you were going to do. He may not have agreed had he known that you would renig on your agreement.

Why don't you get child support?

If you don't have court-ordered visitation, then I would just not worry about it. If he wants visitation, he can take you to court and then you can file your own papers for support.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

hmmmmm. There's a lot going on here. First, I think it's in your best interest to put something official in writing since you all can't agree and your son is suffering by not seeing his dad. It doesn't matter who is to "blame", it is what it is.

First.... I believe that in an ideal world EVERYONE would do what is necessary to make sure kids have as much time as possible with each parent. However, we don't live in an ideal world.

Essentially..... yes, you moved and agreed to bear the brunt of expenses to get your son to see his dad.... therefore.... Your responsibility. You made an agreement and you have now backed out of it, because it didn't work out they way you thought it would. Yes, it's tough for you..... but, again, your son is the one who really suffers.

You REALLY need a child support order and a parenting agreement and this all to be spelled out and filed in court. This actually protects ALLL THREE OF YOU. Because you are trying to justify you going back on your word by making his dad out to be the bad guy. He's probably saying you moved away and now aren't holding up your end of the bargain so he can't see his son. If this was spelled out each of you would HAVE to do whatever it took to get your son time with each parent or you would be in contempt of court.

Here is what I can tell you....... I live 2 states away from my daughter's dad (16 hours by car / 2 1/2 hour flight). We have a visitation agreement that stipulates he can have the following:
*Every Spring Break
*4 weeks in the summer (include child's b'day in even years)
*Thanksgiving break in even years
*Christmas Break in odd years
*Father's day extended weekend (4 days) unless it interferes with school
*One additional 4 day weekend that does not interfere with school or mother's holidays.

We split travel costs 50/50.

One additional thing.... I urge you to change your mindset. It isn't your responsibility to bring him to see his dad every other weekend because you moved..... It's your responsibility to ensure that your son is able to have a relationship with his dad BECAUSE IT'S WHAT'S BEST FOR YOUR SON. Doesn't matter if it SUCKS for you.... or SUCKS for your ex. You do it for you son.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

If you received welfare when he was supposed to be paying for child support the court will garnish his wages to pay it back to the state. So go ahead and let him take you to court, at least you'll get your child support.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you agreed to transport your son and this is the reason the ex was willing to have his son living so far away, then you may have a problem. It's not for your or the ex to determine who can afford the transport. It's up to the court, and you may be headed back there. Obviously if you do not own a car, the transport may be impossible for you to provide, and your financial situation has changed, but it sounds like mediation or litigation may be the way to solve this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would think you should go to court and they will probably tell him it's his weekend it's up to him to go get them. If it's not in a court order you don't have to follow through with it. If you can yes that's great but obviously you cant. His visitation will probably be changed to specified holidays and like a month in the summer not every other weekend. AT least that's how it works here.

Good luck and God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If you are not getting child support then you should go back to court anyways, he has to help out with his child. As for the driving, meeting him half way is more than fair, he has to make some effort. But seriously, I would get someone working on your child support, he should owe you back pay as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

There are many personal feelings and issues going on with the two of you. In reality the situation boils down to just one issue. Who is responsible for transportation. And that issue can be resolved by the court. So let him go to court.

I suggest that he won't do that because it takes time and money to do so. He's angry and making wild accusations and threats. You can choose to ignore his wild talk and just stick to the fact that you have agreed to share transportation. You do not have a court order staing any differently. End of discussion.

If the court order doesn't say he gets his son every weekend then you do not have to participate in seeing that he gets to have him every weekend. Unless the court order states that you cannot move without court approval then he doesn't have a case for that part of his rant. If the court order says that he has to agree, he has agreed and it's too late to change his mind. You have, as proof, all the months during which you did meet him halfway.

It's very difficult to keep emotions out of this. I urge you to write down the facts and let go of your hurt and angry feelings. Being angry back to him will not resolve and will only further complicate the issue.

Based solely on your post, I suggest that your ex is out of line and that the court will not force you to provide all of the transportation. Sharing transportation is reasonable.

For your own peace of mind, make an appointment with an attorney to get their take on it. Legal Aid is a good place to start.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Your ex-husband does not have a "choice" about paying child support if it is court ordered. He cannot decide that government support you receive is the equivalent to child support. Moreover, child support is for the benefit of your son, so you don't have the option of excusing your ex-husband's non-payment.
If you have an attorney, talk to them about your options. If not, check whether Sacramento has any legal organizations that provide free services to low-income individuals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Here's my 2 cents.

Go to court in your area and ask for a change of venue because otherwise you will be schlepping back to your old area or getting an attorney to represent you in the courts there.

Your son having a relationship with his father is very important. It shouldn't really matter if it is difficult for you to do but make it happen as much as it depends on you. Your son won't always be 4.5 some day he will be 14.5 and even 24.5 and he will need both of you even if the both of you aren't together any longer.

Get the agreement in writing, follow the agreement (even if it is difficult to do), and always do what is best for your son which will conflict with what you may want for yourself and your schedule and financial resources.

As for the child support, your son has a right to be provided for by both of his parents. One issue has nothing to do with the other but please for his sake let the courts set up something for your ex to provide finanacially for his son and let the enforcement go through the courts. It is your son's right and not really for you not matter how difficult it may be to acquire. Your son needs to know you fought for what was good for him and what he needed and not so much that you fought with his father.

You can't make his father spend time with him but you should try to make it as easy as possible. Even if that means you guys meet halfway (have that order drawn up in court). Understand the court will try to order what is best for your son even if it is not easy for you.

Again the main thing you should do is get that change of venue so you will be able to make it to court dates easily and then work out an agreement where your ex has more time with his son over holidays and school breaks which may work out better in the long term for you and your son.

I'm sorry you are going through this but I know from personal experience doing what is best for your son is what is best even if you end up having to do something you personally hate.


answers from Iowa City on

Generally both parents either meet at a halfway point or the person who is receiving the child picks the child up. So dad would pick him up from your house on Saturday and you would pick him up from dad's house on Sunday. That keeps things equal.



answers from San Francisco on

Let him take you back to court, they will make him make one complete trip and you the other. Also depending on income they may raise your support. When my sons father took me back to get it lowered they raised his $400. I only made him pay $100 more and only because he took me back. I was happy with what he was paying before



answers from San Francisco on

As a few others have said, go back to the original vistation agreement. Since this current vistation agreements is not a a written, binding contract, it may backfire on you. Go back to the original & get to work on the child support.



answers from San Francisco on

Custody is such an ugly nasty topic for most people. I'm thankful I never had to battle that, but I was a kid whose parents battled over it. My daughter now deals with it but they live in same city.

My thoughts & feelings are that if dad wants to see his kids he will make the effort. If the 2 of you could each drive half way it ,would be ideal. If your example to your children is one of caring, & compassion for each other as parents, then your children will learn the same. If you are bitter & argue then your children become bitter & argumentatve.
Do your best to remember that this child loves you both and needs that love in return. You really need to do your best to budget in the time & money to pay for the gas to make the trips.

What if he had the major chunk of custody & you only had weekends? So start by communicating! You might be amazed what can be accomplished.

And NEVER bad mouth daddy in front of your kids!!! You will never be able to change the fact that he is the father. If you want to complain, tell a friend or your mom, but don't let your kids hear it. That will only hurt yourself in the future.

You will be in my prayers. God bless you all.



answers from Spokane on

i have a friend in ca also who lives an hour and thirty mins from his oldest daughter and they have to drive to get her and take her home even though it is court ordered that they meet half way.

you chose to move there. no you didnt for see financial trouble and such but you moved farther away. i think you should just bite the bullet and say that you need to be met half way. i think thats what the judge will end up saying. i say fight more for child support then him seeing your son.



answers from Minneapolis on

Tell him to take you to court. The court will force him to pay (take from his paychecks) the CS you are due and charge him back support for the three years he hasn't paid. The visitation costs will likely be treated as a secondary issue, child support being the court's main concern. The court process will force a renegotiation of the visitation schedule and responsibilities based on your new location.

When my husband's ex moved their two kids from Minneapolis to Chicago, we paid for every plane ticket to see the kids one weekend a month and alternating holidays. We drove to Chicago (7 hours) several times. At the same time his child support payment was INCREASED. It was completely her choice to move them out of state to follow her boyfriend of the time.



answers from Cleveland on

Honestly itd be best to go to court to get everything in writing



answers from San Francisco on

If you agreed to it then you must abide by it until you can have it changed. The problem is that neither one of you want to agree to what your court order is. I would just ask him if he can pick him up instead the whole way at least half the time. Explain the financial situation and maybe he'll agree. You really have to have the court oder changed to fit both of your schedules and go back to the child support collection agency to get the child support. At least go back to court and notify the judge that he hasn't been paying child support. I'm not really quite sure why you would allow it to go on for so long? Make another court date and let the judge handle it. Nothing can get resolved until you have an order in place. It seems like a bad situation for your child. Hopefuuly he will be able to have both parents in his life. Good luck to you


answers from Biloxi on

Go back to the provisions in the child support and visitation agreement.
That is there to protect both parties.
Stick to that. Do not make arrangements outside of the agreement - if you do then you are both in breach of contract.
If he does not use his visitation it is his issue.
Take him back to court for the child support payment - really - you are struggling - it is for your child's needs.

Okay, rant over.

I had a co-worker who lived three states away from her Ex. They would both drive half way, three times a year to make the "exchange". This seems to be fairly normal - they shared the burden of transportation in order for their daughter to see her Dad.


answers from New York on

Why in the world are you not pursuing child support?? Tell him yes you would LOVE to go to court. Can he prove he has given you any money? The worst that can happen is the court garnishes his wages for child support, you have more money but have to drive half way twice a month.

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