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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Parents, Custody Hearing, and Subpoenas -- LONG vent
ChelseaB 02:55 PM 03-02-2016
I am pretty aggravated at the moment.

I've had one 2 yo DCG for over a year now. The parents have had an on-again, off-again relationship during that time, although for the last 3 months or so, they've been separated. I have soooo much drama with this family. When they first started, DCM made an effort to be friendly with me. Long story short, I didn't trust her, and she began to try to use me for breaks and free care due to money issues and because we were "friends". I refused, and I held her accountable until she caught up payments by refusing her care. She and dad essentially maintain separate payments for their days, each paying half. During the time I became the bad guy in doing so, she became BFF's with my hubby's ex and baby mama with whom I do NOT get along. So that's a sensitive area in and of itself -- but I maintained from that point forward because she had been dishonest with me and knew my feelings, I would be strictly business professional with her going forward. I've kept my word with that, and very surprisingly, she's stayed with my daycare too. But I'm not thrilled that BM uses her as a means of catching glimpses into my life. Anyway.

DCD has essentially utilized me as a listening ear the last couple of months, after I had to request his help with DCM's payment issues. He paid me her balance, which in return, when DCM actually did pay her past due balances, I gave him his money back and explained her probation with my services so he'd understand my position regarding their care for their daughter. He then understood that we weren't friends as he perhaps formerly believed. It started out simply enough -- he would ask about his daughter's attendance and such, which I provided him. I saw no reason why he shouldn't know. Then he began sharing all of the dirt he has been accumulating on DCM the past months because of his intentions on pursuing custody of their daughter. I explained it wasn't my business, but I am a well known good listener, I guess. Lol I'm too soft hearted!!!

Since their paperwork has been filed, I've been caught in so much back and forth, it's ridiculous! I've maintained that I'm neutral, I only provide care. I will not provide negative opinions on anyone, I only state the facts on matters pertaining directly to me. But, for whatever reason, DCD has informed me today that I should expect a subpoena for their court date. I have to miss work because of this?? Are you kidding? I reiterated that I don't have evidence of nor will I provide any negative opinions of either of them. The only thing I can offer is the facts. I have nothing beneficial to offer to their hearing, why am I being dragged into it??

Oh yes, and because DCD picked up today, apparently DCM is stalking my house with her BFF/ DH's BM, as she asked me what all he said to me. Really?!?

I really can't afford to term because they're one of my full time families. I've been advertising like crazy, but there seems to be a dry spell in my area. We absolutely need the income, so I can't do squat. Although DCM may term herself if she decides I've said anything at this hearing I'm supposedly going to have to attend. Lol.

Never again. This is NOT in my job description!!!
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Blackcat31 03:12 PM 03-02-2016
Originally Posted by ChelseaB:
I am pretty aggravated at the moment.

I've had one 2 yo DCG for over a year now. The parents have had an on-again, off-again relationship during that time, although for the last 3 months or so, they've been separated. I have soooo much drama with this family. When they first started, DCM made an effort to be friendly with me. Long story short, I didn't trust her, and she began to try to use me for breaks and free care due to money issues and because we were "friends". I refused, and I held her accountable until she caught up payments by refusing her care. She and dad essentially maintain separate payments for their days, each paying half. During the time I became the bad guy in doing so, she became BFF's with my hubby's ex and baby mama with whom I do NOT get along. So that's a sensitive area in and of itself -- but I maintained from that point forward because she had been dishonest with me and knew my feelings, I would be strictly business professional with her going forward. I've kept my word with that, and very surprisingly, she's stayed with my daycare too. But I'm not thrilled that BM uses her as a means of catching glimpses into my life. Anyway.

DCD has essentially utilized me as a listening ear the last couple of months, after I had to request his help with DCM's payment issues. He paid me her balance, which in return, when DCM actually did pay her past due balances, I gave him his money back and explained her probation with my services so he'd understand my position regarding their care for their daughter. He then understood that we weren't friends as he perhaps formerly believed. It started out simply enough -- he would ask about his daughter's attendance and such, which I provided him. I saw no reason why he shouldn't know. Then he began sharing all of the dirt he has been accumulating on DCM the past months because of his intentions on pursuing custody of their daughter. I explained it wasn't my business, but I am a well known good listener, I guess. Lol I'm too soft hearted!!!

Since their paperwork has been filed, I've been caught in so much back and forth, it's ridiculous! I've maintained that I'm neutral, I only provide care. I will not provide negative opinions on anyone, I only state the facts on matters pertaining directly to me. But, for whatever reason, DCD has informed me today that I should expect a subpoena for their court date. I have to miss work because of this?? Are you kidding? I reiterated that I don't have evidence of nor will I provide any negative opinions of either of them. The only thing I can offer is the facts. I have nothing beneficial to offer to their hearing, why am I being dragged into it??

Oh yes, and because DCD picked up today, apparently DCM is stalking my house with her BFF/ DH's BM, as she asked me what all he said to me. Really?!?

I really can't afford to term because they're one of my full time families. I've been advertising like crazy, but there seems to be a dry spell in my area. We absolutely need the income, so I can't do squat. Although DCM may term herself if she decides I've said anything at this hearing I'm supposedly going to have to attend. Lol.

Never again. This is NOT in my job description!!!
I dont mean this rudely but honestly, you put yourself in the middle by doing the above.

Therapists are good listeners too...so are divorce attorney's. Child care providers that want to remain neutral should do so. You became HIS ally the minute you allowed him to share with you ANYTHING that did not related directly to the CARE of his child.

Sharing ANYTHING to do with mom was a breach of confidentiality in my opinion.

I empathize with you as this is not a fun or enjoyable place to be but DCD more than likely WILL subpoena you and unfortunately you'll have to go. Again, I am sorry you are in this position but I honestly don't see that DCD really did anything wrong as he saw your willingness to listen as choosing sides.
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ChelseaB 03:45 PM 03-02-2016
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I dont mean this rudely but honestly, you put yourself in the middle by doing the above.

Therapists are good listeners too...so are divorce attorney's. Child care providers that want to remain neutral should do so. You became HIS ally the minute you allowed him to share with you ANYTHING that did not related directly to the CARE of his child.

Sharing ANYTHING to do with mom was a breach of confidentiality in my opinion.

I empathize with you as this is not a fun or enjoyable place to be but DCD more than likely WILL subpoena you and unfortunately you'll have to go. Again, I am sorry you are in this position but I honestly don't see that DCD really did anything wrong as he saw your willingness to listen as choosing sides.
I should clarify that the issue of late payment from DCM arose because their contract began together and DCM was always the one to drop off payment (although they both signed their agreement and thus were both responsible). After their separation is when the chaos ensued, and DCD told me to let him know if there were issues of payment with their account so that he could make sure I didn't lose money. This all happened because mom wanted to pay for her days of drop off, dad his days, blah blah blah. This was before we were able to get things sorted, so he was still on that contract so to speak, and it wasn't a breach of confidentiality. More so that she just didn't want him to know, but I was owed payment from someone. So when she decided to pay and continue care on separate contracts for each of them, they have since remained separate with no knowledge of either's payment status or arrangements.

Anyway, I must respectfully disagree -- I have also clearly explained to them and repeated that none of this is my business. Other than sharing matters specifically regarding their daughter, I have nothing in it. I have DCG ready for pick up, and other than giving him her things, I do not carry on the conversation. He speaks, I continue with what in doing...short of picking him up and throwing him out, I can't stop him lol. I'm just a quiet laid back person, so people always confide in me whether I want them to or not.

I know there's nothing I can do if they subpoena me, but it is frustrating when I've told them both time and time again that I'm neutral in this, I don't know anything about her, nor do I share any info about him with DCM. I guess they'll realize I was a waste of time to have speak if they do.
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Thriftylady 04:14 PM 03-02-2016
I would demand a new contract right now. It would be signed with one parent. The other parent can pay half or whatever if they want, but the need to pay the parent that is paying you. You need to get it as much as possible where you are not in the middle. If one of them wants to discuss the other with you have a blanket statement such as "I only provide care for your child, I cannot listen to or talk to you about the other parent". If I was issued a subpoena, I would first call the lawyer who sent it and tell them that I had nothing to say. When I went to court, I would simply say that both parents have tried to put me in the middle, and I felt like they were using the child and I both as pawns. Other than that I guess I wouldn't have much to offer!
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Leigh 04:56 PM 03-02-2016
I'd warn him that if he subpoenas you that he'll be paying your day's lost wages (and I'd make sure that they were HIGH) or he'll be looking for a new childcare.
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Thriftylady 05:03 PM 03-02-2016
Originally Posted by Leigh:
I'd warn him that if he subpoenas you that he'll be paying your day's lost wages (and I'd make sure that they were HIGH) or he'll be looking for a new childcare.
I like that idea!
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Unregistered 08:35 PM 03-02-2016
Originally Posted by Leigh:
I'd warn him that if he subpoenas you that he'll be paying your day's lost wages (and I'd make sure that they were HIGH) or he'll be looking for a new childcare.
Yes, he probably should pay your lost wages.

You have put yourself in the middle though. Intentional or not.

So they share custody right now, each drops off and picks up? They each need their own contract then. You treat them as any other client. You do not discuss them with each other. If they want to know what happened during the other parent's week they need to go to the other parent.

There is no way you should be in this position. Each parent is entitled to information about THEIR days only, IMO.

Give them each a contract, note in there that you will not discuss the other parent with either of them. If either tries to push that, terminate.
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klh1088 09:53 PM 03-02-2016
I don't think it does anyone any good pushing blame. Especially when you're blaming based on who someone is as a person. What's done is done. dcm and dcd are going through emotional turmoil. Of course they're going to bring the provider into it! When you're in this field of work, the whole point is to give a more family like experience. It's only natural that both would try to get close to you. You're regularly in touch with both. Obviously, the DCM is insane, but when you're splitting from your spouse and dealing with the very real fear of splitting custody... Who wouldn't be?! They suck for trying to subpoena you. Why not just ask for a dang statement? Offer him one. Let him know that you honestly don't know how you could possibly afford to not work for a day. Be a person with him. The business cold shoulder is just a cold shoulder. Tell him that you're uncomfortable being in there middle. You love having their child and during this hard time you're glad the kid can be somewhere neutral. No fighting, no custody talk, no resentment... Different ppl handle things different ways. Just because we're more soft spoken and don't want to kick someone out doesn't mean we can't be equally as effective at putting a stop to the crazy. If it were me, I'd sit down with the mom and remind her that you're a person. Tell her uk how it sucks and you do care, but it's best for her baby if you're Switzerland. Open and honest communication is best here. It's already gotten weird. It's already anxiety provoking. Do yourself a favor and initiate a convo so you're in charge of it.
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Laurel 06:05 AM 03-03-2016
You can turn this around by saying something to dad. When he starts talking anything but about his child's day I'd say "I'm not trying to be mean dad but I am not feeling comfortable hearing anything personal that is happening with your marriage situation. I know I should have said this sooner but I'd really like to keep our conversations at pick up about your child's day, okay?" Then if he forgets and starts in either give him a look or say "I'm not comfortable with this talk, remember?" Rinse and repeat.
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ChelseaB 06:43 AM 03-03-2016
Thank you for the input everyone. I realize the truth behind everyone's words, it's just so dang frustrating. If I hear from any lawyer, I will certainly contact them and let them know the same thing that I've let the parents know -- I have nothing to offer, I'm neutral and wish to remain that way, and the most I can offer is DCG's schedule with me and a statement that DCD's payments have always been current. That's all I would say if I were forced to come to court, I should think a statement would suffice for that info.

I have also considered telling the dad that he would be responsible for my lost wages, but I just don't know. Grr.

I do have sympathy that they're going through this difficult time, but it stinks that I'm brought into everything based on my relationship as the childcare provider. :/ oh well, I feel calmer about it today after having time to sleep on it, it is what it is.
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Thriftylady 06:45 AM 03-03-2016
Originally Posted by ChelseaB:
Thank you for the input everyone. I realize the truth behind everyone's words, it's just so dang frustrating. If I hear from any lawyer, I will certainly contact them and let them know the same thing that I've let the parents know -- I have nothing to offer, I'm neutral and wish to remain that way, and the most I can offer is DCG's schedule with me and a statement that DCD's payments have always been current. That's all I would say if I were forced to come to court, I should think a statement would suffice for that info.

I have also considered telling the dad that he would be responsible for my lost wages, but I just don't know. Grr.

I do have sympathy that they're going through this difficult time, but it stinks that I'm brought into everything based on my relationship as the childcare provider. :/ oh well, I feel calmer about it today after having time to sleep on it, it is what it is.
I really think you should do this. There is no reason you should be punished by their issues. Loosing a day of pay WOULD punish you! And I would tell him you can write a statement for him instead of going to court, but tell him what you said above that it will say.
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ChelseaB 06:48 AM 03-03-2016
Oh, and I just wanted to add in regards to the contract issue, I have 2 separate contracts, 1 for each parent, because if DCM defaults on payments again, I felt it would be unfair for DCD to lose his spot for his days. While I think that parents should coparent and I wish I could do one contract and make them work it out, I could see that Dad truly did make more of an effort with payment whereas Mom is more flighty. I also didn't believe she would maintain her spot with me, and that DCG would go PT because Dad would still bring her his days. Much to my surprise, she caught up payment and wanted to continue bringing her, and it has just worked for everyone fairly well since then! Other than the drama, of course. Lol
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childcaremom 09:49 AM 03-03-2016
Originally Posted by Thriftylady:
I really think you should do this. There is no reason you should be punished by their issues. Loosing a day of pay WOULD punish you! And I would tell him you can write a statement for him instead of going to court, but tell him what you said above that it will say.
I like this idea, too. You should be compensated from having to take the day off.

I've dealt with dcps in the midst of a separation and it was nothing but awkward and uncomfortable. Esp. because they didn't tell me that they had separated, I just was able to piece it together from what the dcks were telling me. A w k w a r d. Had I not termed them (which was a loooong shot) I would have gone to 2 separate contracts, as well.

Moving forward, I would adapt klhs advice and send them a note that daycare is neutral territory for their child and that you do not wish to be involved in any discussions about the opposite parent, yada yada.

Then carry on.
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My3cents 10:32 AM 03-03-2016
BlackCat you had a paper that would probably work perfect for this situation......it goes on about how hard it is when parents divorce/seperate and how we as providers do not want to be put in the middle as we are the safe place for the child.

I think it was BlackCat or Nan that had this. I looked for mine and I know I have it but can't put my fingers on it......of course because I want it. ha ha......always the way.

I highlighted key points for my parens when I used this...

Anyone have this handy?
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Blackcat31 10:35 AM 03-03-2016
Originally Posted by My3cents:
BlackCat you had a paper that would probably work perfect for this situation......it goes on about how hard it is when parents divorce/seperate and how we as providers do not want to be put in the middle as we are the safe place for the child.

I think it was BlackCat or Nan that had this. I looked for mine and I know I have it but can't put my fingers on it......of course because I want it. ha ha......always the way.

I highlighted key points for my parens when I used this...

Anyone have this handy?
You are correct, I do have a letter that addresses divorced parents but I don't think it fits in this situation as the OP and I do not view this in the same perspective.
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Unregistered 11:19 AM 03-03-2016
I've been subpoenaed before to testify that I termed a child for behaviour reasons. She thought she could show the behavior started after dcd had visitation. I went and sat there for 4 hours, never testifying. I did talk to her attorney about what I would say. Maybe call the attorney and explain, he may not need you if you tell him you won't be of help.
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Thriftylady 11:30 AM 03-03-2016
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
I've been subpoenaed before to testify that I termed a child for behaviour reasons. She thought she could show the behavior started after dcd had visitation. I went and sat there for 4 hours, never testifying. I did talk to her attorney about what I would say. Maybe call the attorney and explain, he may not need you if you tell him you won't be of help.
Yeah that could be also. If the lawyer knows you won't be of any help, they may not need you.
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MarinaVanessa 11:40 AM 03-03-2016
I use a customized variation of the letter that BC uses but in this situation it too late to use it in my opinion and i think that although OP claims to want to stay neutral she has allowed DCM and DCD's dealings to involve her. I don't think she knows that she's doino it but I do think it's being allowed.

At any time that either DCM or DCD begin to ask about or vent about the other parent the immediate response should have been "let me stop you right there. I will not discuss the other parent with you." rinse and repeat. End of story. The end. Walk away.

If DCM and DCD already have an agreement as to which days DCG spends with each parent then they each need their own contract and they each need to pay for their own child care days. It's not business wise to keep then on the same contract or to have them both share the responsibility of paying the fees together. What happens when one parent doesn't want to pay and the other parent gets tired of footing the bill? Are you prepared to stop childcare services for both of them?
If they each have their own contract and they each foot their own bills then you'll have less drama because if one parent doesn't pay for their days then that parent can be denied services without penalizing or interrupting services for the other parent. This stops the need to have to talk to either parent about the other parents financial problems and prevent adding fuel to the fire.

Also I would talk to an attorney or someone that knows family law that can tell you if you can charge the family for being subpoenaed. The issue I see with this that neither parent signed or agreed to pay these fees in their agreement with you and I don't see how you would be able to collect these fees if they refuse. If you're subpoenaed then you have to appear by law or you can be held in contempt. Of course you can always show up and not be cooperative just know that you might be then treated as a "hostile witness". You can withhold information if you wish just know that you will probably be asked specific questions so really think about whether you're really willing to stay quiet when they ask you the questions. This alone will probably frustrate whichever parent the questions benefit and they might just term anyway.

I would think that a better solution would he to clearly tell both parents that you will be honest about both parents and that includes giving information that is both good and bad about each of them. For example you can tell them that you will be obligated to mention to the court of any bad mouthing they have been doing to each other and point out that this will paint them each in a bad light. Make them feel like your cooperation would damage more than help both of their cases and that because of that you feel like you should not appear. Ask them instead to have their attorneys send you a list of questions to answer that you would be more than happy to write out and return to the attorney, then you can be vague in these questions and don't have to worry about closing the daycare. Also you can point out that youve only ever seen the parents be good parents to DCG and anything bad had always just been hearsay since you've never seen either parent do anything that would make you question their parenting abilities (if this is true).

I know it's different in each state so I would check on how your family court system works and I just mention what I did because I was put in a similar situation and this is what I did to avoid having to be called into the courthouse.
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Tags:custody battle, subpoena, tired of it
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