My partner works 49 mi./ lives 42 mi. away from his ex-wife. Prev. he lived in same town but moved 2yrs ago. Since the move, she has not facilitated a single drop off or pick up. She also has not paid for any of the medical, dental or recreational share of the children's bills as is noted on the order. She has made play dates for the older child on father's visitation weekends and has used the child's disappointment to manipulate a return against the father's time, which again results in another trip back and forth. The mother has parents who live 20 miles beyond our home. She has visited her parents at least 4x's in the past yr, never once attempting to facilitate a drop off. What can the father do? Are there any options not requiring a lawyer? If not, what is the next step?
There are two issues here; reimbursement for child support and the child custody issues.
Your partner should put together a complete accounting of all reimbursement claims owed by his ex-wife - bills, Explanation of Benefits forms, invoices, checks, credit card receipts, etc. - and send them to her with a demand for payment under the terms of the order. If she fails to do that then file an application with the court to have her ordered to pay it, or to have the amount offset the ongoing child support until the reimbursement is made.
As far as the custody issue is concerned, your partner should have a detailed journal of the custody dispute and should send to his ex-wife a proposal for dealing with the transportation and playdate issue. He may want to suggest a mid-way point for exchanges, or an alternating exchange system, but should certainly make sure that NO plans are made by her during his time. Your partner should be able to decide what the children do during their time with him.
I suggest looking over the www.ourfamilywizard.com website, it allows for using a calendar, reimbursement, and email that is specific for the children.
To expand on Mr. Hittelman's response -- If your partner has contacted his ex-wife to try to work out the custody issues as Mr. Hittelman suggested and nothing changes, then he should file an Order to Show Cause for modification of Custody and Visitation with the court and have it served on his ex-wife. If he can't afford to hire an attorney to represent him, I would highly recommend that he visit the Family Court Facilitator's Office or Self-Help Center in his county, because they will help him fill out the paperwork correctly.
Before your partner goes to court, he will attend a court mediation session with his ex-wife to see if they can resolve these problems. He can ask the mediator (and later the Judge) to order the ex-wife not to schedule activities for the child during his time and to follow the current custody orders. He can also ask for a ruling that if the ex-wife continues to flout the orders, that primary custody be transferred to him, since he's more willing to facilitate the child's relationship with the other parent.
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