2010-02-10 - 5:55 p.m.
Comes now, Plaintiff, msafire, (“Mother”) in Response to the “Petition for Modification of Custody” filed by Defendant Westley (“Father”) on or about the 25th day of January, 2010:
2. Plaintiff proposes a reasonable compromise to retain the integrity of the children in both homes by suggesting joint legal and physical custody be maintained but offers the solution that the children reside with Mother each Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, and reside with Father each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights with Friday nights alternating between both parties. The transition of children would then consistently occur on Tuesday nights at 7pm when the children go to their Father, and then return to their Mother on either Friday or the Saturday of each week ( alternating such that each parent does then have alternate Fri to Saturday nights at 7pm with the children.) . By merely altering the days of physical custodial arrangement such that Father who seems to be motivated by his own personal desire of greater control of children during the school week such proposed arrangement should address Father’s discontent over children being occasionally late for school, (regardless of whether that is a legitimate concern or not) and would benefit not only the parties and the children but also the court by not proceeding with what is costly, time consuming and expensive litigation that is in itself one of the most disruptive things that can happen to a family. Mother may also continue family counseling on Tuesday nights with FAMILY COUNSELOR, with or without the involvement of WESTLEY at his option.
3. Plaintiff argues that the very experience of undergoing a custody battle is much more destabilizing and unhealthy for children than the issues raised by Defendant in his petition for modification of custody (regardless of either the merit, or lack thereof of the allegations.)
4 . As both parents agree on raising the Children as Catholic and both actively participate in Religious Celebration and activity with the children on Sundays at ___________ Catholic Church, and both participate in weekend sporting events with the children, this shift in days with each parent will not affect the either the children’s or the parent’s involvement in those activities which are a focal point of weekend family life. Mother has been happy to continue to bring children to Church regularly and on any occasions Father also happens to have present at the same Mass, Mother has allowed the Children who have desired to do so, to go sit with Father. Mother would be happy to make a commitment to regularly do so for Father’s benefit each Sunday at the __________ pm Mass at )__________ so Father can sit with children then, even when the children are in the custodial care of Mother, to facilitate a reasonable compromise and avoid further unnecessary litigation.
5. Should the court not be open to this suggested modification solely of the dates of the transition of children, Plaintiff suggests that Mediation would be a more appropriate venue to further discuss this possibility of an alternative arrangement of the shared joint physical custody of the children of the parties prior to litigation of a matter which has already been extensively litigated.
8. 3. Agree there has been a material change of circumstances since the entry of that custody order as Plaintiff, Mother has been providing health insurance for the family as she has been working full time since March 3, 2008. However, the only modification which Plaintiff agrees would be appropriate at this time is a Modification of Child Support based on income and readjustment of the support calculation as the deduction of the Cobra payment paid by Father in the support calculation is no longer appropriate.
9. 3.A. Acknowledged that Mother did seek treatment for behavioral and emotional as well as physical illness of Katie at Loudoun Pediatric Associates on October 6, 2009. Father was consulted and involved in the process as evidenced by the fact that FATHER arranged for the release of Katie from Dominion Virginia Hospital on Thursday night October 8th , despite the fact this time was during the custodial time of Mother. “ Past indicators of behavior are often the best evidence of future behavior”. As this evidences involvement of Father in legal decisions made when the children are in care of Mother, this evidences that there is no need to review the feasibility of joint legal custody working in the current arrangement.
10. 3 B. Plaintiff , Father, further violated the Custody Order by not handing Katie over to her Mother on Friday October 16th. On Monday October 19th Father picked Katie up from school. On Tuesday October 20th, Mother notified the school that they needed to honor the Custodial Agreement, and did not wish Katie to go to her Father’s, and relied on assistance from the Loudoun Sherriff’s department to enforce the Custodial Agreement. DISAGREE that Katie was carried to her mother’s car, as after the Loudoun Sheriff talked to both Father (Defendant), the school personnel and Katie, Katie then walked to Mother’s car to go home.
11. C, D, E, J, K, L, M, Q,R,S and T are all unsubstantiated allegations based on speculation and possibly heresy of events alleged to have occurred in Plaintiff’s home which the Defendant can have neither experience nor knowledge of. As such these are absolutely irrelevant and not worthy of consideration in assessing whether there is a valid change of circumstances warranting a modification of custody.
12. F Agree that Defendant paid a psychologist as a private consultant in October o 2009 with the intent of preparing a report for the purpose of seeking a modification of custody, and that Dr. ______ accepted the offer of work and prepared the requested report for her client the Defendant. This interaction is distinct and clearly different than that of bringing a child to a Psychologist for actual diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of the Defendant bringing of Katie to the Psychologist in October 2009 is evidenced by the fact that Dr._____ made mention of custody of all the children at all , which would be incongruent had her purpose been solely to actually treat Katie, as it is not the normal course of business when one goes to a Psychologist in seeking treatment to make recommendations regarding custody when there is not even ripe litigation of such matter at the time (as there was no litigation regarding Custody in October of 2009.) Regardless, Agreed that Dr. _____ did have valuable insight into Katie’s needs, despite the fact that Westley once again choose to ignore the recommended follow up of a Psychological professional. In this case Dr. _______recommended that both parents together be involved in family therapy with Katie and Defendant refuses to participate. Plaintiff initiated such therapy sessions in response to the recommendation of Dr. _____ with FAMILY THERAPIST in Purcellville, and invited Defendant’s involvement and he has refused. Disagree with Dr. _______’s conclusion regarding what is in the best interest of the children and believe that was based on the premise Dr. _____ has of the accurate perception and attestations of Defendant which Plaintiff does not believe to be reliable.
14. I Disagree as to change of circumstance as Defendant (Father) has been working from home since prior to the existing custody order. Irrelevant that Father is home and works from home. This fact of Father working from home however is Agreed and should be considered as a shift in the custodial days such that if the children are with Mother more on weekends it shall not hinder Father’s ability to enjoy free time with children outside of school as they are dismissed at 2:30 pm daily and his work is so flexible that he has greater freedom to enjoy quality time in recreational activities with the children during the week, even on school days at this point in time, as he can manage his professional work responsibilities on the weekends. As Defendant’s work does not require travel at this time such a custody shift would be feasible.
15. N and P Disagree, as this is factually not accurate. This is in fact flat out fabrication based upon a small seed of truth, as much of the other allegations which Plaintiff did not address as they are not possible for Defendant to know when he was not there. Truth is that on Monday November 16, Father visited Alexy at school shortly before dismissal, and at dismissal Alexy did not initially want to go with her sitter but said “ Daddy told me to walk to his house.” Alexy was in the care and presence of sitter ___________ the whole time after dismissal while on school grounds.
16. O Agree in Part. Defendant, Father did fail to comply with the custody order by failure to willfully hand over daughters Katie and Alexy to Plaintiff, Mother on Friday November 20,2009. Police enforcement of the custody order was required. While this did not take “in excess of two hours” as that is a gross exaggeration, agree it did require the Police to ask the Father to tell daughters Katie and Raitlin that they need to go with their Mother rather than telling them NOT to go with their Mother and time for the girls to calm down as they had come to Mother in an upset state. (SEE EXHIBIT A Copy of E-Mail Dated Nov 20, 2009 from msafire to Dr.____________ addressing concerns of November 20,2009.)
17. S Mother clearly has been not only supportive of Father’s relationship with children but had made effort to honor his decisions regarding education and medical treatment and co-parenting to the best of ability attempting to maintain as much consistency as possibility between the two home environments with the same routine and structure of afternoon activities and bedtime in both locations to the best of her ability while supporting the children’s involvement in any and all activities that Mr. Blake has suggested or initiated for the children.
18. T. Agree that on occasion, after encouragement of their father that Katie has said she would prefer to live with her Father, as according to Katie, “ I want to live. If I am late for school, I won’t be able to get a good job, and then I will die, and I want to live.”
19. 4. DISAGREE as indicated in above responses. Sole physical custody will only allow Defendant to continue to influence Katie and further hinder a positive relationship with Mother, which Father has actively been negatively influencing as evidenced by the changed behavior upon return to Mother after in Father’s care. The children have a warm, loving relationship with Mother after the initial transition and after they express anger by stating the reasons that Father is actually angry at Mother which focus on allegations made by Katie after each transition that include “You took Daddy‘s things. You hate Daddy and are mean to him.” After the initial outburst of anger from Katie upon her return, which do upset Alexy and at times her the other children, all of the children calm and return to their normal behavior until it comes time to get ready to go back to Dad, or when they see Dad at school at which points all four of the children then act distant and are not willing to demonstrate any affection toward Mother.
20. 5. DISAGREE as indicated above. Sole legal custody with Father will not facilitate any benefit to the children and in fact may be extremely detrimental to their relationship with their Mother.
October 10, 2010
Submitted via e-mail to both the court and WESTLEY’s ATTORNEY due to the weather of today.
See Attachment A sent under separate cover: E-mail entitled EXHIBIT A: