You Don’t Need Permission






You don’t need permission.  Stop
asking for it. You don’t have to ask the courts or you ex for permission to
parent your child. Every Dissolution with Children in MN comes with Appendix A. Read it. Know it. No one can take away your
parental rights more than you can when you feel defeated. Appendix A gives you all
the rights you need. Whether you have custody or not! This is an excerpt from
Section VI. of Appendix A:


VI. PARENTAL RIGHTS FROM MINNESOTA
STATUTES, SECTION 518.17, SUBDIVISION 3.UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY THE COURT:


A. Each party has the right of access
to, and to receive copies of, school, medical, dental, religious training, and
other important records and information about the minor children. Each party
has the right of access to information regarding health or dental insurance
available to the minor children. Presentation of a copy of this order to the
custodian of a record or other information about the minor children constitutes
sufficient authorization for the release of the record or information to the
requesting party.


B. Each party shall keep the other
informed as to the name and address of the school of attendance of the minor children.
Each party has the right to be informed by school officials about the
children’s welfare, educational progress and status, and to attend school and
parent teacher conferences. The school is not required to hold a separate
conference for each party.


C. In case of an accident or serious
illness of a minor child, each party shall notify the other party of the
accident or illness, and the name of the health care provider and the place of
treatment.


D. Each party has the right of reasonable access and telephone
contact with the minor children.


So many people I know fight to get
some of the above info out of the other parent. Why do that? If you want
information about your children, go to the source. If all you get is a fight
out of the other parent, don’t spend your energy there. That is game playing.
Make several copies of your court orders that involve your children and your parenting time.
Keep copies in your car and at work. Have them available for anytime you need
to present them to school or medical authorities. If the other parent has been
meddling and has told these people that they cannot give you any information,
make sure to politely inform them that they can look this up under the law.
Give them a day or two to check with their legal people and then check back to repeat your request for the information that you want. If this makes the other parent
mad, so be it! They cannot stop you from accessing information.


Maybe the other
parent needs some time away from you. This is why you should not contact the
other parent for info. You don’t have to have anything to do with the other
parent even when the authorities deny your request. You should not threaten
your ex with taking them to court. You beef here is really with the authorities
who are denying your rights, not your ex. Don’t threaten the authorities
either. Threatening anyone is much more harmful to you in the long run than it
helps in the short term. You can contact me to help as your Parent Advocate or your attorney can make a call or
send a letter on your behalf. That should take care of it.


When it comes to what you do with
your children during your parenting time, you don’t have to ask the other
parent permission to do anything, unless you plan to go out of state. If you
will take the children out of town, you are required to inform the other parent
where you will be and leave a phone number where you or the children can be
reached. Other than that, it is your parenting time to do what you want when
you want. The other parent doesn’t have to like it, but keep that in mind when
it is the other parent’s parenting time. It works both ways.


If you are hoping
to make plans that are outside of your scheduled parenting time, try to
negotiate the change to the schedule respectfully. Use a soft start up, for
example, “I’d like to work out a temporary change to our parenting time
schedule, is this a good time to talk about it?” If they say,
“No”, don’t get angry. Allow the other parent time to process the request.
Tell them to let you know when would be a good time. Don’t say any more. This
will hopefully ease any knee jerk reaction. Wait a couple of days and if they
don’t get back to you, nicely ask again. If your agreement states that you put
the request in writing, do so, and within any required time frame that is in the court order.
Remember, though, that you are asking for their parenting time. Many parents
are very protective of that for any number of reasons. You may have to be
disappointed. If you have a significant amount of time before the necessary
schedule change, you can invite the other parent to mediation.
If you have a parenting time expediter, bring
them in to help. Avoid a hard start up, for example, “I will be taking the
children early so that we can catch a flight for our vacation.” This sets
a hostile tone that will probably bring a very negative response. It shows
complete disrespect for the other parent’s time with the children and is
demand
ing rather than an attempt at negotiation. Stick with a soft start up
always.


It can be difficult if the other
parent is hostile and distrusting. They may get angry no matter what approach you use. If the other parent will not agree to a change, you’ll have
to decide if it is worth going to battle and bringing in a court authority, or
going to court. If there isn’t time for any of that, again, you’ll just have to
be disappointed. You did agree to the schedule and should stick to it whenever
possible. Hopefully one day the animosity will decrease and you and the other
parent will become more flexible. This increase in flexibility can also happen as your children get
older and have more say in what they want to do or what activities they are
involved in, so have a little faith and patience.


Don’t allow the other parent to
meddle in your parenting time. Be assertive. Parent the way that works in your
house and for your children, but don’t try to dictate to the other parent what
life at their house should be like. In most cases the situation improves within
a few years after divorce. In many high conflict divorces, the situation either
doesn’t improve or actually worsens. If that happens to you, keep clear cut
boundaries with the other parent and the schedule. Work on your happiness and
the happiness of your children. Happiness is a choice. Remember that. If you
need help, find a therapist or meet with me. I
have been where you are and I can help you find ways to cope and make your life
workable in spite of the conflict. The answers usually lie in you. Hold onto
your power and don’t ask for permission for the things that you already have
the right to do!


*Photo: Parenting Permit by Susan
Carpenter



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About lifesdoorsmediation

I am a mediator, Life and Divorce Coach and an Instructor of a High Conflict Divorce Program.

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