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Shrink Rap / Time Tracker Question
« on: Jul 21, 2004, 08:25:53 PM »
Would like to email calendar (only one month, not entire time tracker) to ex.   Can't seem to save that "picture" of calendar month as file for email, forced to save the entire time tracker.  Any help would be most appreciated.  Thx

Dear Socrateaser / Sleeping arrangements
« on: Dec 08, 2006, 08:03:26 PM »
Hello Soc,

San Diego County.  50/50 Shared parenting and Custody, well above average on the successful co-parenting scale (conflict non-existent, parenting styles consistent)

We have two boys, ages 6 and 8.  To this day they sleep in Mom's bed every night they are with her and have done so since they were born.  I have asked Mom to finally "cut the cord" and have them sleep in their own beds at her house but to no avail.  She does not see it as a big deal.  Perhaps it isn't but my instinct tells me this isn't healthy for them.

Question:  Is this an example of an area judges typically WON'T get involved and refuse to intercede based on your experience?  Obviously without a court's help I can't change this arrangement in Mom's house.

Thanks for your insight.

Dear Socrateaser / Court Transcripts
« on: Jun 06, 2006, 10:06:13 PM »
Orange County, CA

What is the process for requesting court transcripts from a hearing two years ago?  Do I have to go thru my atty or can I request directly from the court?


Dear Socrateaser / Child Support Mod
« on: Jun 06, 2006, 08:35:41 PM »
Hello Socrates,

Orange County, CA

If either party request a modification of child support (on basis that relative incomes have significantly changed since court order of 3 yrs ago), how far back does the court look to determine income basis?  i.e., just last year's W'2's or average of past 3 years or ?

thank you.

Dear Socrateaser / Sharing the cost of daycare
« on: May 10, 2006, 10:54:47 PM »
Dear Soc:

Mom and I were ordered to utilize same babysitter for after school care at our respective homes, we both work full time, share 50/50 custody and  have a very good co-parenting relationship.  In fact, this is the only issue we have had any disagreement in the past 3 yrs.

Mom has given the babysitter a "guaranteed 25 hours" regardless of actual hours worked (typical week is about 18 hours).  

Exact text of court order follows:

"That the cost of the childcare service utilized by Petitioner (Mom) during her share time shall be borne equally between Respondent and Petitioner.
That the cost of the childcare service utilized by Respondent (Dad) during his share time shall be borne equally between Respondent and Petitioner.
That the balance of the cost of the childcare service shall be borne by Petitioner (Mom)."

Question:  How would you interpet this?  For example, if babysitter works 6 hours/wk for Dad, 10 hours/wk for Mom, what is our respective financial responsibilities....given actual hours worked and the 25 hour guarantee?  The first two sentences of the court order seem fairly self-explanatory but the last sentence along with our "guarantee" have both of us scratching our heads...

Thank you.

Dear Socrateaser / Opposing Counsel request
« on: Aug 09, 2004, 05:16:41 PM »
Hello Soc,

I was recently given 50/50 physical custody (up from 30/70) at a hearing this week.  Attorneys agreed before going before the judge to accept California FCS mediator's recommendation for 50/50 (and guideline support) and communicated such to the judge during the hearing.  No open issues at conclusion of the hearing.

Two days before the hearing,  opposing counsel sent request for  "Production of Documents" which is the usual bank statements, credit card statements, etc., all financials for past 2 yrs.    Responses due back Aug. 23


(1) Given all was agreed to at the hearing with judge, do I still need to spend a w/e making requested copies of all this material for opposing counsel?  

(2) One would have thought opposing counsel would have requested this in sufficient time BEFORE the hearing to present their best case to the judge?

(3) I was the one that initiated the court action for 50/50 but how does one know when it's "over" if hearing doesn't end it?


Dear Socrateaser / Child Support Calcs
« on: Aug 07, 2004, 12:03:32 PM »
Hello Soc,

My ex-wife's 2003 W-2 identified 90k in (salary+ bonus) and another 80k gain/profit realized in sale of company (she works for) stock/stock options.  Judge said in California only the salary + bonus is used for CS purposes, stock sales are irrelevant.   Has this been your experience as well?


Dear Socrateaser / Guideline Child Support-Socrates/All
« on: Jun 09, 2004, 09:46:18 AM »
Hi Soc,

What is used for compensation reference in setting guideline support, specifically with sales professionals.  My offer letter of current employer details salary of X and that would be doubled if commissions are earned at target goal.  Given the tech meltdown, no commissions to be had and most recent year W-2 ....as well as year to date (thru June!) shows zero commissions.  What will judge most likely use for child support?  Thx-

Dear Socrateaser / Chances for 50/50 Parenting Plan
« on: May 21, 2004, 03:59:57 PM »
I have requested the court to modify existing parenting plan to 50/50 with kids to have equal time with both parents.  San Diego court will be hearing our case June 15.

1.  Ex wife and I live in San Diego, homes are 5 blocks apart, about a 5 min. walk or 2 minute drive.  We are both 5 minutes from pre-school, kindergarten, doctors, everything else in our sons' "world".

2.  We have two sons, ages 4 and 6 yrs., joint custody with Mom at 70% and I am at 30%.  

3.  Both of us are very loving, caring, responsible parents with a good co-parenting relationship.  There are no real "negatives" that could be attached to our parenting capabilities or character.

4.  I have made significant sacrifices, personally and financially so that I could maximize my time with our sons.  I have rejected career opportunities that would double my income because it would require extensive business travel or relocation.

5.  I have detailed visitation logs to support my heavy involvement with my sons, including doctor appointments, volunteering at school, taking to/from school, speech therapy, attending t-ball games, swim lessons, etc.  Logs demonstrate I have upheld my 30% visitation.

6.  Both sons are very well adjusted, happy, healthy with close bonds to both parents.

7.  Mother and I both travel on business but have always had the flexibility to work it around when we don't have the boys.  1-2 days/week on average is our business travel (each).

8.  My atty advised me to request a parenting plan that has Mother with the boys Monday/Tuesday, I would have them Wed/Thursday and we would alternate every w/e (Fri-Sunday) for a 50/50 split.  Atty mentioned that this schedule is what the court has been  recommending when granting 50/50 custody

9.  My work could accomodate the above plan but also can accomodate a "week on/week off" if that is what the court prefers.  I have read that in the case of small children courts typically do not like the kids going an entire week without seeing the other parent.

10.  San Diego Courts assign a mediator that interviews both parents for about 20 minutes each, then prepares a recommendation for the judge.  The judge almost always rubber stamps the recommendation.

11. These are the pertinent facts, I would be interested in hearing your take on what my chances are for getting the 50/50....and if not 50/50 what the outcome is most likely to be.  Also anything specific I should provide the mediator (in addition to the detailed logs) that would help.

Well, here's my story with an incredible happy ending.  Yesterday in court was arguably the happiest day of my life (exception of when my now 4 and 6 yr. olds sons were born)- I was requesting 50/50 equal custody of my sons (from current 30/70).  I have never read about a Daddy getting 50/50 when there is in fact  (1) a very capable Mother involved who has no parental "skeletons (2) a Mother who did not agree to 50/50 and was going to aggressively fight it in court and (3) cases involving very young children.

There was ONE very crucial lesson learned...if you as a Father love your kids and are VOLUNTARILY willing to make extreme personal and financial sacrifices, in the end you WILL prevail in family court.  Those sacrifices have 10x the impact of getting equal custody than which atty you hire, which judge you face and anything your ex-wife can do.  While you and I may debate about the "fairness" of Mothers perhaps not having to make the same kind of sacrifices I can only tell you these were the easiest sacrifices I have ever made in my life.

The key to victory here was an "glowing" report from the court appointed mediator "two loving, capable parents....ideal case for equal physical custody".  Judge heard the evidence and supported it 100%.  How to get that mediator (and judge) to so strongly recommend 50/50?  That is where it gets more interesting and I will say I am not suggesting the following sacrifices are for everybody-I have always had great difficulty putting a "price" on more time with my sons and therefore have been willing to "pay the price" myself.

Immediately after divorce, Mother took the then 6 mo and 2 yr. old boys 1200 miles away to be near her parents.  I quit my job and was in the car 2 days later following my boys, landing myself a 3 min. walk away from Mom's house.  In the process I was unemployed for 1 yr but still payed the significant child support and 1/2 daycare (total of over $2,500/month) using my VISA.  Could have had it reduced but judge off the record told me if all I really cared about was one day getting equal time with my boys, this was the "smart move" to make.  In the interim, turned down jobs that were paying 2x my previous salary as they would have required either relocation or heavy travel.  I simply was not going to take a job that took me away for significant time from my sons.  Downsized significantly, took a 2 BR apartment, fixed up the boys room with bunk beds and all.  Kept very detailed SPARC parenting logs for 4 years that reflected I have never missed a doc appt, t-ball game, parent-teacher conference, etc, volunteered at Kindergarten on regular basis.   Meantime, thousands every month getting put on several VISA cards.  Eventually landed a job that worked great for the kids, I was able to work out of the house, light travel, lot of flexiblity around kids schedule.  Still running a monthly cash flow deficit of $1k/month and my CPA advising to file for personal bankruptcy given astronomical debt.

The judge-and mediator in this case recognized the kind of Father I have been-and the personal sacrifices made to put my sons always #1.  It is so enlightening for courts to recognize really GOOD Dads and the effect they can have on children's lives.  I watched a case just before mine where same judge REVERSED primary custody from Mommy to DAddy based on (1) Mom moved away with kids and "kids have never been same, constant problems, school, etc. and (2) remarkably improved behavior since Dad's visitation was increased.  Outcome:  Kids will now reside with DAD every day of every week with Mother getting a few w/e a month.  And even if Mother moves back to San Diego judge said that makes NO difference at this point-primary custody will still be with DAD.  

Times they are a changin'...especially if you are willing to make the sacrifices....

Many many many thanks to those of you for your insight and most of all just "being there".  TM,, LAH, MJ, Wendl, Children First, Jan, StepMom, and so many more.....................

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