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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    3

    Default Mother Won't Consent to Sports Participation Without an Injury Waiver from the Father

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: MI

    My son's mother has engaged an attorney requesting that I sign a fairly broad waiver stating that I take ALL financial responsibility for current costs and future costs (including any injuries, disorders, etc...) in exchange for letting him participate in a sport she disagrees with. I am reluctant to sign because: 1. Her objections to the sport really make no sense given other sports she has agreed to, 2. What if something horrible really happened? this waiver would completely eliminate any financial impact to her. 3. Notwithstanding her unreasonable objections (most of which I can show to be not valid), this is really just about control, exerting some sort of control over something that she objects to.

    My son is 16, not in trouble, very respectful. He is struggling somewhat in school, (Bs and Cs), and regularly misses assignments. I have already agreed to make this a condition of participation, and have already held him out of practices for this and other sports when he misses more than an occasional homework assignment.

    She has let him participate for the last 2 weeks, but now has sent me a formal document from her lawyer, and is threatening legal action if I don't sign it.

    What will the court do for this older child situation? He really wants to participate, his reasoning is sound, the risks are no greater than other sports that she supports. I can only find examples of younger children where the courts will not force a parent to engage in activities during their parenting time if they do not agree or approve. We live in the same town, we share custody 1/2 time, legal and physical, and our agreement is silent on this issue, only saying we must communicate and inform.

    Thoughts?

    1. Will the court force her to let an older child participate during her parenting time? (every other week) I don't really think so based on what I read.
    2. Will the court force me to sign a document like this (I have already agreed to cover participation costs and take him to meets, even during her time).

    In the end, what is the grounds for legal action? Won't it just come down to her having to make a choice over whether she allows him to participate during her weeks, and then living with the ramifications of not letting an almost-17 year old choose his own activities?

    Would the court order (or should I suggest to her attorney) mediation? Should it be binding?

    My son just wants to participate in an activity he finds interesting, have another group of friends, and build strength and stamina for his core sport next season.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,391

    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    What sport are we talking about? I would say that if mom has gotten her attorney involved in the situation that mom's objections must be pretty strong, even if you do not think they are valid.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    3

    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    yes, her objections ARE strong, but just not reasonable. I would not like this thread to devolve into the merits of one particular sport, but I have researched each objection, and found the specific risks to be no higher than sports that she lets this child and our other sons engage in. Even if some of her concerns do have merit, her application of them is not consistent given her support of the other sports.

    What do the courts say when presented with this question. Would they even hear an argument? Or just tell us to go figure it out. Given that our agreement does not specify that we need permission from the other party (again, we have been divorced for 7 years with no court intervention), what would the complaint be?

    Although we have disagreed on issues after our divorce, we have always been able to agree on a (mostly) amicable approach. Honestly, most of the time, that involves me letting her get her way, but usually on items (like an extra day or change of schedule here and there) that are normal give and take. She is not always so "giving", but where I have legal right, I have always held my ground and she accepts that. We are able to talk about things and discuss most matters without emotion. We work together when the boys have any problems, such as the schooling performance issue with this child. This subject is the exception, and we have had much discussion, and "agree to disagree". Neither of us ran right to an attorney without attempting to resolve the matter. I DID carefully consider her objections, and did my own research. Also, I have already agreed to cover immediate costs for this sport.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    You automatically need the agreement of the other party to allow the child to participate in activities that infringe on their parenting time. In this case we have a scenario where the child is slipping in school, one parent wants to allow them to take on an extra activity, and the other parent very strongly objects to that activity. I think that the fact that the child is slipping in school, on top of mom's strong objections, would put the odds in favor of mom if it went in front of a judge.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    3

    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    Thank you, now want to make sure you have the clear picture:
    1. She still lets him participate in other sports and activities that she agrees with.
    2. I agree with making homework a requirement for participation, I have already made him miss practice because of missing assignments, and have promised her (and she does not doubt this) that I will continue to do so. his performance has been at this same level for at least 2 years, whether during a sports season or not.
    3. Is this statement from above "You automatically need the agreement of the other party to allow the child to participate in activities that infringe on their parenting time" really true when: 1. Our agreement does not state this 2. The child is almost 17 3. The child is not in trouble 4. There are no financial or scheduling conflicts (I am paying even though they are well off, they do not have to come to meets, I am taking him)
    4. I realize that a judge is probably not going to order her to let him participate on her "parenting" time (even though most recent cases have clearly spelled out that this is "childs" time, not parents' time, especially for older children with defined interests and activities), but is there any legal way I can be forced to sign a document even if he just participates during my weeks?

    sorry, I rambled. Just looking for what the actual complaint would be, and the likely judge's ruling, if any.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    16,391

    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    Quote Quoting Bill1397
    View Post
    Thank you, now want to make sure you have the clear picture:
    1. She still lets him participate in other sports and activities that she agrees with.
    2. I agree with making homework a requirement for participation, I have already made him miss practice because of missing assignments, and have promised her (and she does not doubt this) that I will continue to do so. his performance has been at this same level for at least 2 years, whether during a sports season or not.
    3. Is this statement from above "You automatically need the agreement of the other party to allow the child to participate in activities that infringe on their parenting time" really true when: 1. Our agreement does not state this 2. The child is almost 17 3. The child is not in trouble 4. There are no financial or scheduling conflicts (I am paying even though they are well off, they do not have to come to meets, I am taking him)
    4. I realize that a judge is probably not going to order her to let him participate on her "parenting" time (even though most recent cases have clearly spelled out that this is "childs" time, not parents' time, especially for older children with defined interests and activities), but is there any legal way I can be forced to sign a document even if he just participates during my weeks?

    sorry, I rambled. Just looking for what the actual complaint would be, and the likely judge's ruling, if any.
    When you have joint custody, its automatic that you have to agree on things that infringe on the other parent's time. It doesn't have to be written into the order, its automatic.

    I do not think that a judge is going to force mom to allow the participation, particularly on her time. (after all, as you admitted, its not his core sport) A judge also won't make you sign mom's waiver either.

    What may hurt you is the fact that you allowed the child to participate, in a new activity, over mom's objection. That is generally frowned upon. If the two parents cannot agree, then it generally needs to go before a judge for the judge to decide. You basically rejected mom's objections and enrolled the child anyway. That is pretty much a no-no.

    However, if a parent that I normally could work with pretty well, objected strongly enough to an activity that they got their attorney involved, I think that I would not be allowing the child to participate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Mother Refusing Older Child's Participation in a Sport Without a Financial Waiver

    I'm seeing something else too, Dad. You make a point of telling us that Mom's reasons are not actually reasonable. Why do you believe you get to make that determination?

    I am in agreement with LLW overall, albeit perhaps for different reasons.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Mother Won't Consent to Sports Participation Without an Injury Waiver from the Fa

    As to the legal part of this, your present court order is silent on participation in this sport. As a result, the order does not cover it and it comes down to what the two of you can agree upon. If you cannot agree, then neither of you can force the other to do something here unless you go to court to get the order modified to say what must be done. Absent a change to the current order:
    • you cannot force her to allow the kid to participate in this sport on her time;
    • she cannot force you to sign some document that says you agree to pay for all medical bills, etc, arising from the kid’s participation in this sport; and
    • she cannot stop you from letting the kid participate on your time.

    If the matter were to go to court, I cannot say what the likely outcome would be, especially since you have chosen not to share what the sport is and what the mother’s objections are. One possibility, though, is that the court would say the kid can participate but only if you pay all the bills related to it, including any out-of-pocket medical bills that might arise from his participation. After all, it’s one thing to say that the kid ought to be allowed to play a sport over her objection and quite another to say she has to help pay for something (other than basic support needs) that she does not agree with.

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