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Divorced Dads Tips: Christmas and Holiday Access: Long distance Holiday Solutions

Feb 25, 2008
What do the courts have to say about an ex-wife who does not answer the phone, place children on the phone to speak to them about Christmas and Birthday gifts, to confirm that they have arrived?

What can you do when you call everyday and do not get an answer? What do you do when you want the kids to visit and your ex-wife says "take me to court."

Sometimes these orders happen because the divorced dad does not even bother to show up in Family Court for the hearing. That's always a bad idea. Here's why according to one such father. She initially held court without me to set the visitation at reasonable and I have not seen my children since.

Well, part of what the problem is, you have not got really the right kind of order in order to make the kind of progress that you want. For example, as long as you just have an order that says reasonable visitation, what does reasonable mean? Well, that is all open to interpretation. What you need is you need an order that gives you specific access, specific dates, and specific times and if she is disobeying that, then you have got to be very vigorous in taking her in each time in order to demonstrate to the court that there is reasonable grounds for coming back to court.

But it can get even worse when you and Mom live in two different states or provinces.

When you live in a different state or province than where the kids are living, it is not like you can walk into that court in the jurisdiction where the kids live. You live in a totally different area of the country. What do you do in a case like that?

First, the unfortunate reality is this: Because that kid is living in a different jurisdiction, that is where all the action is going to be taking place. This is one of the biggest problems that happen when you have a move away and it can be the most frustrating one. The best suggestion that I can give a parent in that situation is you have got to go follow your child, and nail down the jurisdiction with a non-removal order.

Not having such an order is often why the problem has come about in the first place, as Judges don't let move-away's happen too easily. And when they do, usually you can really nail down the jurisdiction if you follow.

The reason that you have got to go follow ultimately is because the fight is going to be happening in a court where that that child is. If you are not there, picture this that you use procedure that allows you to put paperwork in at your court then your paperwork goes and it travels to the other courts. So, it goes into court where the mother lives. Here is what is going to happen. The mother is going to be heard with her lawyer and who is going to be speaking for you? Your paperwork.

And who will be speaking for your ex-wife? Her lawyer.

It is possible, but again more often than not, when we are talking about inter-jurisdictional matters, if you are not actually there at the hearing it has been our experience that you are not taken in seriously.

However, when you turn up at these hearings, I mean even if you have to travel from where it is that you are living then participate, you are taken darn seriously.

The judge usually looks at someone like that if they have traveled a great distance to come and attend at a hearing that they are much, much more serious. We do understand that there is always is going to be financial constraints.

If you're bothering to spend money on a lawyer, you will also want to make sure that that lawyer is really advocating for you by being there and watching that process. Sometimes you do have to step in and say, "Your Honor, I would like to just add to what my lawyer or attorney has just said," so that you can expand on things the Judge needs to know.

You know your case better than anyone. You are living it. Your lawyer does not necessarily know it to the degree that you do.

One imperfect solution is virtual visitation. It is getting ordered by the courts. It is not a perfect solution, but it is at least a foothold in order to get consistent contact in some manner and some contact is always going to be better than no contact.

This is what virtual visitation is: Basically the child will be sitting in front of a computer with a camera and then dad or one of the grandparents are sitting at a computer in their home in a totally different part of the country also in front of a camera.

It is a video call - It is so much more intimate and so much more fun and interesting to have that kind of a visit with a child than just a phone call. There are throughout the United States and now there is legislation that has gone through, it depends on your state. We are hoping to actually get a pretty amazing guest on our regular teleseminars in the future.

This gentleman actually developed the software for virtual visitation and he has also put together legislative procedures and so on and has been responsible for changing the legislation in several states all over the US to include this as part of the family law within that jurisdiction. So, it became part of a court order so that if mom moved away or if dad moved away, he could still ask for virtual visitation over and above the summer holidays.

If you find yourself in these situations you will need mentoring and ideas in order to make progress in your difficult Family Court matter, which is why we have weekly calls where you can get the help you need.
About the Author
Danny Guspie - Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at

where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.
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