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Main Forums => General Issues => Topic started by: baltimore_father on Feb 02, 2013, 10:53:25 AM

Title: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Feb 02, 2013, 10:53:25 AM
Mentally preparing myself for my first divorce. We have a 23 month old and I'm thinking about fighting for custody. We currently reside in Baltimore, MD. Does anyone know how easy, or hard it is for a hard working father to win full custody. To be fair, my wife is a good mother. Her problems are mainly financial (bad credit in 2 countries) and psychological (adult ADD). Any advice?
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Feb 02, 2013, 12:49:56 PM
Still very hard in most states for father to gain full custody unless there is a flight risk of your ex to take child to another country or abuse.
You should get joint legal custody with not too much problem. That is for doctors and picking schools that you both have a say on anything legal.
You can fight hard for joint physical too. If you will be living close by to her, have room/bed/crib for baby. There are many ways this can be done 3/4/3/4, one week one parent other week other parent. Longer weekends. If you both work, you can use the same babysitter/daycare. If she is not working, it will be harder as you would need daycare and if she can watch baby, baby should be with one parent over daycare.

Most fathers get every other weekend and a day or two during the week. You can push for longer weekends on your times. Since this is a baby, you can ask for a few days a week, few hours at a time after work, then every other weekend and have a gradual increase in writing. When child is 3 visitation will be changed to xyz. Look up parenting plans and find one that give you the most time with your child when you are not at work.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: MixedBag on Feb 03, 2013, 08:15:12 AM
And since you mention bad credit in other "countries" -- think passport.....either don't sign for one or if the child has one, see if you can be the one to control or HAVE it in your possession.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: this2shallpass on Apr 26, 2013, 05:26:48 PM
Be sure to discuss the adult ADD and being an expert. My biggest regret is that I didn't make my ex's ADD an iss sue because it is the main cause of all of the coparenting issues in the years since. It was hard to see how it would be a problem when our kids were babies/toddlers, but they are now in elementary school. My ex can not handle the complex schedules of three kids (3 sets of homework, 3 different PE schedules, 3 different instruments, and 3 different after school activities), but he either insists on doing it (and leaving me to clean up the mess) or insists the kids screwed up somehow.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Aug 05, 2013, 08:07:08 AM
Quick question..... If I were to win joint leagal and/or joint custody custody, does that absolve me from having to pay child support?
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: tigger on Aug 05, 2013, 12:35:05 PM
CS depends on how your state calculates it.  In NC it is based on the combined incomes of the parents and amount of time spend in each household.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: EdgeOfReason on Aug 07, 2013, 01:22:55 PM
Some states use time in their formula's for CS, some don't.  If you make 100k a year and your ex makes 50k a year and you split the time equally, you probably would still end up paying something because of income disparity. 

My dh has legal and physical custody of his kid.  I will tell you it was and continues to be a hard, expensive battle.  He's been in and out of court pretty much every year since he left her.  Our state says that all a parent needs to file a custody modification is the feeling that it in the kids best interest.  That.  Is.  It.

I digress ...

I will also tell you that unless she is beating the kid, has a couple duis under her belt, or some other blatant form of abuse (not mental/emotional, that doesn't count), you're flushing your money down the drain.

Shoot for joint physical and joint legal from the start.  I'd also suggest visitibg some father's rights sites to ensure your behavior supports your goal of joint L/P custody.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Oct 31, 2013, 04:16:17 AM
Can anyone help me with these questions?:

1.  Can we (wife and I) be legally seperated in Maryland, while living in the same home?

2. Does having bad credit negatively effect one's attempt to gain full custody of children?

3. Can one still pay child support is the court grants shared custody?

Thanks in advance
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Oct 31, 2013, 05:05:40 AM
Custody does not go by good/bad credit although either spouse can bring it up at trial. Most cases settle and do not get to trial. As long as the kid(s) have a roof, clothes, own bed, and food-this is what judges care about.

Yes, even if shared custody situations, if one parent makes a lot more than the other parent, they can be ordered to pay child support so the kids have the same quality of life as before the divorce. You can agree to whatever you want instead (one parent pays medical, other pays dance lessons...whatever).

Look up MD legal separation. Different states have different laws on that and even on divorce. In my state you could live together as long as you sign legal separation papers and then a divorce a year after that. Bills in your name, pay. Any joint accounts, get name off or close account. Any accounts with money in it, split or fight it in the divorce. Your separation papers can include what you are splitting.

You can go to family court and fill our temporary custody papers. Ask for temp custody and for child to stay in house with you until trial. This is faster/cheaper (no filing fees or small fee) and you can win custody in family court and just include those papers in the separation/divorce papers. Call a lawyer for a free or nominal fee for one hour of consultation. Pick a lawyer that is in your area that knows what the current judges will most likely order.

Get proof of you wife medical ADD diagnosis now if possible. If she takes her meds that should not become a major issue. If she does have issues you have to document it somehow. If it is verbal, tape it/record it.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Nov 04, 2013, 03:41:45 AM
Thanks Ocean. Your advice has been valuabe. I have another question is that is slightly related to this topic. My wife is asking to pay our joint bills (mortgage, car, power, electric etc...) to be paid based on a percentage (since I make slightly more than she). She is asking to see my pay stubs, since she evidentially does not believe what I'm telling her I make. I'm hesitant to show her my paystub for fear she will use the information for something else (i.e. calculating child support). She states she will not "pay a dime" unless I prove to her my salary. Unfortunately, I am unable to pay the bills without her help. What do you think I should do? Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: MixedBag on Nov 04, 2013, 05:50:53 AM
If child support is your're gonna have to provide them at some point IF your state uses both parent's income to caculate that item.

So I'm not so sure I could support "fear" of sharing that information.  many courts order that W-2's or taxes or paystubs be produced.

Be careful to pick and choose your battles...

Where finance go, I'd look for the ultimate goal of not only getting to 50/50 (second choice would be according to income ratio IF the other side makes more) and to legall and totally separate accounts.  Like if something is JOINT today, get it ordered that you both fully cooperate with each other to remove the respective person's name OFF the account.  (Thinking credit cards in particular) and in the end, that's up to the bank.  BUT if you have it clearly spelled out in an order that She takes A, B, C, and you take X, Y, Z, and that each party is to fully cooperate in making this happen, that will be your first line of defense against the bank and in court.

NOW mind you, the bank might still come after you and REFUSE to take you off an just leave her.....and then you have to go after HER for what happened.

At the time of my split with EX#2, our income ratio too was 60/40 -- but I let it go at 50/50....and focused on getting my name OFF our joint accounts, and his off mine.  At first, the bank would not let me assume the loan and take his name off (lower interest rate) -- so I had to refinance the loan (higher interest rate).  AND I almost got disapproved for that because the joint credit cards were still JOINT debt.   

Then for YEARS I monitored my credit report because the JOINT cards were still showing up on my credit report even though the banks assured me that my name was OFF the account when I would call them.  It was a scary few years until one day they disappeared like they were supposed to -- and in the meantime, his balances were growing and he was falling behind.

So....with #3....nothing went joint.  And I mean NOTHING.....and split was easier and during our marriage, I was calmer about money.  We split stuff 50/50....and when he goofed up life, there were no financial headaches.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Nov 04, 2013, 06:55:13 PM
I am guessing you are in the family home? You both own it?

Like MB said, get names off and restart new accounts with the utilities if you have to. Are you planning on staying there after if you can not afford it now without her help? Will you sell it?

For right now, it depends on what bills you each have. If she has car in her name, she pays it. You make sure anything that has your name gets paid and get name off everything else or close the accounts. If she is still in the house, the maybe ask her to pay "rent" and not split each bill, just come up with a set amount she pays each month and you have to cover it? Until you get into court, she leaves, or you are stuck dealing with her on getting these paid.

Also agree, you will have to produce paystubs eventually. If you work extra or have extra money in a check some weeks...then maybe get a letter from work on what your salary is instead. Watch overtime now until court, it will be used against you.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Nov 07, 2013, 06:58:02 PM
Thanks for all the replies! Appreciate it.

Yes, I am still in the house. Both of us are on the deed, also. Truth is, neither one of us can afford it on our own, so it is inevitable that it will be sold.

Since my wife has refused to pay on the shared bills (house and car), I am in quite a conundrum. Her visa is about to expire and she needs me to sign for an extension. I asked her to help pay on the shared bills which of course, she refused. I, in turn, refused to sign the visa extension. Truth is, it is asine and spiteful for me not to sign since she will probably lose her job. Agree or not?

Lastly, I don't know if I should expend energy trying to get her to help pay the shared bills or let her "dig her own grave," if a judge sees it that way. Any advice?
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Nov 07, 2013, 07:25:45 PM
Put the house up for sale...
If the bill does not get paid, both of your credits would be ruined. Does she care about that?

I would not sign her paperwork until she pays this months bills. She is playing hard ball, play it back. If you care about your credit, pay the bills for as long as you can. Start the divorce paperwork to make sure they house gets sold (going to take months in court so start it now).

You probably wont get any credit for paying the bills in full now as you are both in the house.

As for the car, trade it in or refi under your name only if you want the car.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Nov 12, 2013, 05:19:22 PM
Thanks all! Moving right along.... I got a free initial consultation from local lawyer and was told my child support payments (assuming the judge decides joint custody, as he thinks he/she will) will be $500. He said that payment will be decreased by whatever I pay in child care ($300), therefore my payments (if I choose to pay child care myself) will be $200.00. My question is... what happens after my child no longer attends child care? Do I still have to pay $500.00?
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Nov 12, 2013, 05:45:33 PM
Usually child care is split between both parents and most stated add that too the child support little confused on what lawyer is telling you.

Only agree to an order that separates it. Child support will be xx and child care xx paid directly to the provider. That way when child stops going, you stop paying.   If you have it combined than you will have to go to court to try and get it lowered later on, and while you are fighting it out in court, it is still taken out of your check. You will not get that money back.

Also, pay the daycare right now directly, with receipts. Just go , and pay your share. All "child support payments" for now should be put into a account. Most states will say whatever you pay her now will be considered a gift and not be credited. (You will be forced to pay again).

Did either of you start a court case? Usually child support starts on the date of filing...(so it will be backdated once the case is settled).
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Nov 14, 2013, 06:41:12 PM
I don't understand. If a judge decrees that I pay $500.00 a month in child support and I have a $300.00 a month child care payment, my lawyer (ok, I haven't yet retained his services) told me I could pay the child support payment and pay my wife the difference ($200.00) or I can pay her the full $500.00 and let her pay the child care. I'm assuming I have to continue to pay the full amount after my son leaves child care?

Another question I have for any ex or current military. Is my soon to ex automatically entitled to half my TSP? Like I alluded to earlier, I have not yet retained a lawyer and still need some insight to questions I have. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Nov 15, 2013, 06:01:57 AM
Daycare is usually add to the child support not subtracted. Why is your ex not paying some of the child care bill? She should have a percentage to pay as I am assuming she is working.

If you can, ask the order read XX for child support and XX for daycare directly paid to the facility and dad will get the credit on his taxes. Mom is not getting the money now so she should not be getting the money later.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: MixedBag on Nov 15, 2013, 07:29:09 AM
Agree with Ocean.

As for the military side of it.....geez, it's been a while for me, retired military here.

My retirement was considered like PROPERTY.

and during mediation training, we were taught/warned that it was tricky to write a "Qualified Domestic Relations Order" so that DFAS would truly understand what is yours and what belongs to the spouse. 

Like I said, it's been a while.

Start looking for places that give you information on your military retirement/thrift savings plan and how divorce affects the spouse's entitlements etc.

Here in Alabama, again when I went through mediation training in 2006, I learned that in order for any 401K or retirement plan to be divided by the courts, the marriage had to last for 10 years.  That has nothing to do with the military (Federal level), BUT since (with EX#3) we were married for less than 10 years, and that meant that legally, the court would not award me any of his retirement savings even though WE were married for his entire (policeman) career up to that point.  So "HE" had like $15K saved up that came out of his paycheck -- which went to our marital pot of money that I couldn't touch.  (Felt like THAT wasn't fair to me since I sacraficed day to day in order to save too).

Start digging for how your state handles a retirement plan savings account like a 401K. 

then dig for what the spouse might be entitled to directly from the military -- like IF I remember correctly, if it ws a 20 year marriage, 20 years of service -- then DFAS might pay her directly?   Your retirement is property -- not income.

Even now, my retirement income is reported on a 1099R and is not considered "income" -- that only comes from a W-2, or self-employment, or as a contractor.  It's considered a RETIREMENT.

Hope that makes sense.

And I totally agree with Ocean ...  child support is one thing, day care is added on TOP.    And be careful, because the NCP does not get to take any day care expenses off on their taxes if they don't claim the dependent child as well.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: DadsCrushed on Jan 10, 2014, 07:29:50 AM
Your spouse is entitled to a percentage of your TSP from the time you were married to the divorce order. Prior to marriage is not a marital asset
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: MixedBag on Jan 10, 2014, 07:51:50 AM
Agreed -- I said here specifically in AL, you have to be married 10 years before that's true.  SO each state might have something different.
And yes, the first 18 years I was active duty I was not married to EX#3....and he not to me.  So he was not entitled to any of my retirement, and I not his either.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Jan 10, 2014, 03:37:33 PM
My state too, 10 years...
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: baltimore_father on Mar 12, 2014, 05:38:23 PM
just found out wife is attempting to get lump sum back pay from reduced salary, but only after divorce settlement. Is it feasible for me to get a portion of lump sum after divorce? Her thinking is the salary reduction helped expeditite the divorce, and she would sue for not only salary owed, but damages and since she's no longer married (do you see where I'm going?), she wouldn't have to share money won in her lawsuit. My question is, am I entitled to any money won after the divorce?
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: janM on Mar 16, 2014, 06:12:49 AM
Don't record anything she says without her consent.
Title: Re: Man gaining full custody...
Post by: ocean on Mar 16, 2014, 07:34:05 AM
Depends on the state, mine, you just have to notify that they are being taped. We told ex in writing that any time she calls or at exchanges she may be taped. It comes in handy with law guardians/counselors when they are hearing both sides , with a tape they can hear it themselves.

To your question, my guess is that you would have to prove she hid this during divorce and now you are owed the part of the money. Usually anything after divorce you can not touch.