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Author Topic: out of state visitation - jefferson county alabama  (Read 8189 times)
secondwifestep
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« on: July 27, 2007, 06:20:53 PM »

My husband and I are relocating out of state - he has told his daughter (noncustodial - 9 years old) and her mother.  He sent the mother the standard out of state visitation guidelines for jefferson county.  We're not asking for anything special or different.  He is asking the mother for the two of them to agree to something so they can avoid a drawn out battle in court, and a lot of legal expenses on top of that.  The first thing the mother objected to was the 6 weeks continuous visit in the summer.  Is it typical for jefferson county to deviate from the standard regarding this 6 week summer visitation?  Right now, daughter comes over for 2 2-week periods in the summer.  My husband and I really want to avoid court hassles wth her, so we're open for negotiation.  We were thinking that maybe 2 3-week visits in the summer would be okay - but that would increase OUR expenses for getting her up to Virginia.  I say we agree to this, but we ask that the mother be responsible for paying for travel expenses for one of those 3-week periods.  Keep in mind that she is 9, so until she is 12, we will have to fly down here to pick her up - so we're not just paying for her plane ticket; we're paying for ours as well.

Also, when the daughter turns 12 we want her to fly (direct of course) from Atlanta - however the guidelines state the mother must transport her to the airport, as long as it is within a 150 mile radius of her home - well guess what?  Atlanta airport is 153.7 miles from her mother's house according to mapquest.  Any chances the judge will be lenient regarding this?  There aren't any other airports that fly direct within 150 mile radius.

Thanks for advice as always.
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Lee Borden
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 08:56:28 PM »

In almost all cases, you'll have much more negotiating power if you stick to the guidelines. So if the guidelines say 6 weeks in the summer, do that, not 2 3-week periods. And if the guidelines say "the nearest commercial airport offering direct flight service to the airport at which the Husband will receive the children," that's what you're likely to get, not an extra burden for Mom to drive the child to a more distant airport.
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anniewalker
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2007, 12:58:30 PM »

a) does B'Ham not offer direct flights to an airport near mom's house?
b) Mapquest isn't the only online mapping service.  There is also www.randmcnally.com, www.freetrip.com, www.streetlookup.com, www.aaamaps.com, and maps.yahoo.com.  See if one of those gives you different results.
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secondwifestep
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2007, 02:52:57 PM »

a.) mom lives in bham and bham airport does not offer direct flights to where dad's new home will be - atlanta is the closest airport offering direct flights - if she were to fly from bham airport, we would have to drive 4 hours from dad's new home to pick her up
b.) one of the suggested mapping services gave me 150.27 miles, but only because i put the end destination as atlanta - the rest give me 153 miles - i find it hard to believe that 3 miles is an extra burden

as an update - the mom has not called or written to discuss the out of state visitation guidelines regarding what she doesn't like about them.  dad has sent another email asking her if she has looked at them and what she thinks, but she has not replied. it has been a week.  our goal was to try to work something out with her, have the papers drawn up, and settle it without having to go back to court.  i assume she's consulting with her attorney.  i'm sure mom's attorney is thinking about looking at child support again since it's been 4 years since it's been re-visited.  who knows - her attorney could be telling her to try to get her alimony (which ended 3 months ago) extended. 

how long should we wait to hear from her before telling our attorney to go ahead and have her served with the court papers requesting the change in visitation schedule?  our attorney is advising us that it will be at least the end of the year/beginning of next year when we get a court date.  we need these changes made before christmas because right now we only have 4 days at christmas.

i'm not sure i understand what lee is saying - "you'll have much more negotiating power if you stick to the guidelines."  well if the mom has issues with 6 continuous weeks during the summer and wants to split them into 2 3-week periods, it seems that if we agree to that, then we'll get to settle this easier without having to go to court.  i don't understand what negotiating power we want - we just want standard, but if she will say okay to everything if we split summer into 2  3-week periods, then it seems that's in our best interest - and we'll save money by not drawing it out into a lengthy court hearing.
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Lee Borden
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2007, 06:41:43 PM »

What I mean is that the judge will likely be predisposed to order his or her "standard" language. You can make changes to it if you want, but don't expect to win any points with the judge or the other parent by doing so.
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secondwifestep
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 11:53:05 AM »

Just an update for those interested in this post:

My husband is currently negotiating the out of state visitation schedule with his ex - all in the presence of the child psychiatrist that we have been seeing for about a year now. 

The ex had an issue with the 6 weeks visit during summer, so they have agreed to 2 separate 3-week periods during the summer - we are fine with this; we think it will be better for everybody.  Here's an interesting twist though - the ex wants to spend the first 3-week visit in our new home state next summer (staying with a friend of hers who lives there) so she can be close to the kid while she goes through the first out of state summer visit.  She wants the kid to be able to have access to her in case she needs it.  Not sure what people think about this - let me know your opinions.

She also seems to not have a problem with the child flying by herself, so that is good for us.  We were really worried she would fight that.

She also agreed that dad can see kid whenever he is in town.

The only thing that is left to decide is Christmas.  He gets 4 days at Christmas now - from 3PM on the 25th through 3PM on the 29th.  She has an issue with him getting more time at Christmas than he does now - she apparently doesn't understand that he will no longer have his every other weekend visits and that's why holidays are longer periods of visitation.  Hopefully they will work something out in their next counseling session.  He has offered an alternative: odd years, kid comes from Dec 22 - 28; even years, kid comes from Dec 27 - Jan 2.  Kid's birthday is Jan 1, so i think that is what the mom has problems with - the kid will be with us on her birthday every year with the standard visitation as is.  WIth his alternative, kid spends Christmas with dad and birthday with mom one year, and then Christmas with mom and birthday with dad one year.

However, we are not willing to negotiate anything less than 7 days - which is what standard is.  The counseler keeps telling the mom that if she doesn't agree to something that he will go to court and more than likely get standard out of state which would mean 7 days at christmas and 6 weeks continuous during summer.

Hopefully this will end soon.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for all the advice so far.  Please let me know any opinions.
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anniewalker
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 02:14:08 PM »

The only advice I have is to watch those dates around Christmas!  School systems are CRAZY and school supersedes visitation.  So, you may want to do an alternate clause like "if the child's school schedule is in conflict with these dates then the dates will be the day after school is recessed for the winter break until 7 calendar days after in even years; and eight calendar days before school reconvenes from winter break to the day before in odd years".  I am sure your atty will have an idea of how to word it.  My goal is to word everything with a contingency plan!  Good luck & thanks for the update!
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secondwifestep
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 09:33:16 AM »

okay here's another update, so maybe someone has some advice/answers for me.

my husband and his ex-wife had another counseling session with the child psychiatrist we have been seeing for about a year.  this is the second session.  we're trying to negotiate out of state visitation without going through a drawn out court battle.  in the first session she agreed to 2 3-week periods in summer, but she had issues with christmas being so long (7 days).  in the second session, she reverted and would not agree to 2 3-week periods in summer - she wants only 2 2-week periods in summer, which is what we have right now.  she also would not agree to anything in christmas.  she does not want the child with us on new year's eve apparently, kinda weird. 

anyhow, it ended without them having agreed to anything and her yelling and screaming at him in the parking lot outside of the counselor's office.

so i guess now we have no choice but to go to court.  he is talking to our lawyer today to have her served. 

so here are my questions:

1. when a person gets served, what do the papers state?  do they just state that he is petitioning the court to change his current visitation schedule to standard out of state?  and do the papers spell out exactly what he is petitioning for?

2. it really stinks that we have to go this route because i would be surprised if we can get a court date before the end of the year, which means our christmas visitation will not be changed.  this isn't fair, but i guess there is nothing that can be done about this.

3. we really dread the possibility of a long drawn out battle with her - we've gone through so many before.  my husband has made every effort to negotiate with her, and we feel that she is being highly unreasonable.  we do not want to have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on this, nor do we feel like we should have to pay for her legal bills.  what is the likelihood that we will have to pay for her legal bills? 

4. if anyone has any ideas, my ears are open.  unfortunately we are dealing with a very difficult person who is not willing to be fair.

i don't want to go into debt (again) over court battles with her.  my husband and i have a 2 year old son, and it's just not fair to any of us that we have to do this with her.

we're not asking for anything extraordinary here - we just want standard out of state.
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anniewalker
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 02:50:19 PM »

Her service will generally have a copy of what is being filed.  So it will be a "Petition to Modify" visitation.  Then it will have the legal mumbo jumbo, something like: Comes now the petitioner, John Doe, and states that he and the respondent, Jane Doe were divorced by order of this court on 01/01/1999.  At that time a visitation schedule was set forth and is attached as attachment1.  Due to a material change of circumstances, to wit the petitioner will be moving to Timbuktu on 12/01/2007 - a distance of 1,000 miles from the respondant's primary residence, the petitioner asks the court to modify the visitation schedule between him and the minor child, Courtney Doe, to reflect the standard out of state visitation used by the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, attached as attachment2.  Blah blah blah blah. 

That is it.  Then you'll both be notified of when / where the court date is.  I think mom will have a hard time convincing the judge to do anything other than the standard. If your lawyer is super crafty, he may throw something in there to the effect that "the petitioner has attempted mediation on this matter using the counseling services of Whatever The Shrink's Name Is and the respondent has been uncooperative and thusly due to her uncooperative nature, the petitioner asks that the respondent be responsible for all legal bills pertaining to this matter. "  That alone may be enough to scare her into being a bit more... cooperative.  The judge may or may not go for it, but having it in there could be enough to spook her into acting like a grown up.

Good luck.
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m_t
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2007, 08:21:46 AM »

I'm not understanding why y'all would need to accompany her until 12. At 9, she can fly unaccompanied on a direct flight. What about having her fly out of Bham as a UM, and you or Dad flying to meet her at an intermediate airport - might be cheaper? There are workarounds.
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secondwifestep
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2007, 11:07:48 AM »

Jefferson County standard out of state visitation schedule states that "when the child turns 12, she can fly by herself" so we are assuming that the judge will not require the child to fly by herself until she is 12.

we've asked the child if she would mind flying by herself, and she says no, but i am anticipating her mother to object to this, and if the judge states in his order the standard language of flying by herself at 12, then that's what mom will stick to regardless of what the child says she feels comfortable doing.

so splitting summer into 2 3-week periods like mom originally agreed to increases our expenses significantly - we fly down here, pick her up, fly back home, and repeat the trip coming back, so essentially we're paying for 3 extra plane tickets by splitting summer visitation up.
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m_t
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2007, 11:10:08 AM »

Perhaps Dad should present the court with UM policy for relevant airlines. My younger has flown alone at that age with no problem at all.
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Fuck Cancer

"Women are angels. When someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly. On a broomstick. We are flexible."

Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them in with your favorite colors.
The Kite Runner, Khale
anniewalker
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2007, 12:24:09 PM »

You are correct SecondWifeStep.  Jefferson County standard out of state visitation states:

    During any periods of visitation, after the children reach the age of 12 years, the said children may travel by commercial airliner, provided:
  • The Husband shall pay all air fares for the transportation of said children.
  • The flights shall be either non-stop or direct and no change of planes will be involved until the children reach the age of 14 years.

Since the object is to get the mom to agree to the Standard Visitation as quickly as possible, I would advise sticking to the Standard and not trying to make changes such as allowing the child to fly alone.  Once you get the visitation agreed to, then mom is free to agree to let the child fly alone if she wants.  It is just my opinion, but I think that if you start jacking with the Standard, you'll be opening up a can of worms for her to do the same.  Then she'll want to change the 6 weeks in the summer, the Christmas schedule, etc.  I learned the hard way with my ex - if you set a precedent to make changes and concessions out of convenience and not necessity, then it will snowball out of control!

Please, keep us posted on your case!
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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
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secondwifestep
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2007, 01:48:06 PM »

yes, anniewalker, that is exactly the position we are taking - keep it simple - just ask for standard.  we will come get her the next 2 years - no big deal.

i anticipate that she will have her attorney send an offer with all kinds of changes to standard - we are advising our attorney to reject any offer and let them know we'll see them in court (of course i'm sure there's not a shot in hell we'll have our case heard before Chirstmas, particularly in Jefferson County).  no need to send letters back and forth between lawyers - more $ for them, and we've already attempted to negotiate with the mom with counseling sessions that we paid for ourselves.

(however, we wouldn't mind changing the 6-weeks to 2 3-week periods, and even if the court rules that the 6-weeks is to remain the same, we'll probably offer to the mom to split that time period in half if she and the child really wants to.)

i do anticipate her possibly opening up some other avenues, like child support, and she might go so far as to ask for alimony again even though it ended 4 months ago.  we'll see; thanks for all the advice and support; i'll keep you posted.
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anniewalker
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2007, 02:07:21 PM »

OK, here is the summer verbiage regarding the weeks:
Six weeks during each summer at a time to be selected by the Husband, provided, however, that Husband shall have notified the Wife of the dates of the intended visitation at least 30 days before such visitation.


Lee may want to weigh in here, but I don't take that to mean six contiguous weeks.  I take it to mean a total of 42 days and that dad has to let mom know 30 days before the start of any of his intended stretches of time. 

For example, I get two weeks of vacation to be taken at any time I wish, with 14 days written notice to my supervisor.  I don't have to take off for two weeks all at once.  I can go 1 day here, 4 days here, and 7 days there if I want.  I just have to let my boss know 14 days before hand when I'm taking it and for how long.  Check with an attorney, I think the visitaion is the same.
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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
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