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Main Forums => Custody Issues => Topic started by: King David on Jun 08, 2011, 08:23:50 PM

Title: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: King David on Jun 08, 2011, 08:23:50 PM
Hey, I'm new here. 

After reading a lot about mediation and shared custody agreements, I'm developing my plan for going into mediation.  The child is a little over 6 months old and I live out of state (~250 miles away) with my wife.  The mother has previously stated that she doesn't want me involved at all in "her" daughter's life (besides pay checks of course), and has been extremely unreasonable in the last six months.  She's very unrealistic and is typically only concerned with getting what she wants, not what's best for the child. 

I'd like to ask for 50/50 physical and am preparing a list of concessions to try and smooth that request over.  I'd like to rebut her possessiveness by addressing her concerns and giving her more freedom than the court would.  I've read that I need to come prepared to be calm, reasonable, flexible, and of course have the best interests of the child in mind; all things I doubt she will do.  So far, I've got a few things I'm planning to concede to her in order to try to get 50/50 physical custody:

1. I'll drive the full distance to pick up and drop off child (obviously)
2. I'd prefer a two week - two week custody schedule, but may be willing to do one week - one week (meaning lots of driving).
3. Give all holidays to the mother (as long as it's still 50/50 over the year)
4. Allowing for a 6 month phase in process where I only have physical custody for short but increasing periods at a time, eventually building to 50/50
5. I'll attend parenting classes at my expense
6. I'll allow her visitation at my house (out of state) during the first 4 months of 50/50 physical custody.
7. Allow her to call during my physical custody at any reasonable time
8. Reiterate my promise not to say anything negative about her in front of the child, ever.

Any other suggestions?!!?!  I'd especially like to hear from mothers regarding their typical concerns against shared physical custody.  I'm dealing with a very possessive, borderline personality disorder mother who thinks I'm the devil on earth.  I'd like to prove her wrong!!
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 08, 2011, 09:06:12 PM
Approach this as you would a business negotiation.  Ask for MORE than what you will settle for, that way you don't give up too much.
To be honest with you, you should ask for almost the same as what the BM is asking for, but within reason.  In a negotiation, both parties start far apart, but meet somewhere in the middle.  There is that possibility that the BM could be totally unreasonable and refuse to compromise.  That could be good or bad.  Bad if the judge is biased and sides with her.  Good if it shows her unwillingness to co-parent and PO's the judge.  Just make sure that, regardless of what you ask for, your proposal shows you are willing to co-parent with her.
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: tigger on Jun 08, 2011, 10:31:57 PM
280 miles apart . . . 50/50?  Sound unrealistic to me.  Not because I'm possessive (though with an infant and hormones, I might have been had we divorced then) but because two weeks is an eternity to an infant.  Even a week is nearly eternity.  I don't have experience with custody of a child that young (mine were 7 and 2) but I can't see a judge agreeing to 50/50 of a child that young, with parents that far apart AND across state lines.
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: ocean on Jun 09, 2011, 04:27:38 AM
I agree with Tigger. 50/50 for an infant that young is very very rare and happens when the parents get along. What state is mom in? Look that state up and see what their guidelines for infants are.

Think hard about what you put in this order. It is VERY hard to change things once a signed order is put into place. Think about when child is school age with school holidays? Usually judges give every other year. Things get ugly when it is a holiday week but your week/time.

You may want to consider a step up plan. For 4 months you will come to her state for long weekends, then move to bringing child to your state for the longer weekends (maybe 4 days?). Do that for a  while. Then that summer add a 2 week vacation. Then try for the 50/50 week on and off. Following summer two , 2 weeks vacation to you but not together. Then when child is in Kindergarten ... Either Thanksgiving/Christmas break (define with days/times), winter break if they have it, spring break, most of summer (6 weeks?), father's day weekend?

I know child is young but if you do not get things in writing now, then you will be back in court trying to fix things later and you do not get additional time too easily.

If she fights this in court, the judge will usually give you the long distance plan that the state usually gives out. As a mom, you living that far away, where she can not make a quick trip and see child for mid-week dinner visit it tough.

If you moved, the you do most of transportation but still can have a meeting place even if it is closer to her house. If she moved, then she should do it or meet half way.
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 09, 2011, 08:04:27 AM
Boy...I don't know how I missed that one (child is an infant), but I agree with tigger and ocean.  And, as ocean said, you have to plan for EIGHTEEN years when you decide what you want to ask for, so consider the school calendar in the district the child would be attending.
The thing is, regardless of what the result is of the perm. order, it will be DAMN difficult to change it down the road.  Which is why you have to account for ALL 18 years in your parenting plan.  To change a perm. CO, you have to file for a modification.  In most jurisdictions, the bar to determine whether it's warranted is high.  Most require a 'significant change of circumstance'...that means there has to be something going on that is having a detrimental effect in the child's life and only a modification of the original order can rectify it.
There are sample parenting plans on this site, including ones for LD can tailor them to your specific needs.  But the better prepared you are as you go through this process, the better off you will be.  Especially if the BM doesn't suggest a reasonable plan and wants everything to go her way.
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: Giggles on Jun 09, 2011, 08:17:07 AM
I have to agree with both Tigger and ocean....a 50/50 placement order is typically reserved for parents that reside in the same area (25 miles apart...not 250) and can effectively co-parent.

When my X took off with my then 10 month old son I was able to get an emergency temp order and got my son back within a week.  After that we did the whole custody battle and since we were now long distance...the judge did a gradual phase in.  X had to fly to my area to visit with DS (who was then 18 months), X then was allowed to take DS for longer periods so he would fly down, pick up DS and fly back.  Then reverse that on the return.  After DS was 5 he was able to fly unaccompanied and since school started he would basically go up there for the summers.
Now DS is 14, still flies up for the summer and last year he even went for Winter break (first time (
Thing is...I put the needs of my son FIRST and foremost!!  I know my son needs his father and since we are long distance, DS doesn't get to see him much so I let his Dad have him whenever school is out eventhough it's not in our custody agreement.  I give him the whole summer and if his Dad wants...he could have him for the winter and spring far he's only had him for one winter break.

It's unfortunate for your DD that your BM doesn't want you involved...children absolutely need BOTH their parents!!
Title: Re: Going into Mediation - trying to come up with a list of reasonable concessions
Post by: MixedBag on Jun 09, 2011, 08:54:00 AM
ALL the holidays to mom?  Not sure I'd like that either.
do a search here on the site for "Parenting Plans" and read through the long distance ones.
Think long term too -- like how is 50/50 gonna work when school starts?