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Custody Issues / 50/50 Visitation/Custody??
« on: May 18, 2004, 01:53:58 PM »
I have turned my world upside down to be there for my two sons who are 6 and 4.  My ex-wife works and has periodic biz travel, we are currently at 70 (her)/30 visitation/joint custody after I went back to court to get increased from 15/85 which was initially given at time of divorce (boys were only 6  mon. and 2 yrs. at that time)

Now going back with detailed visitation logs again requesting 50/50 and first right of refusal (she employs a 40 hr/wk babysitter instead of sending the 4 yr. old full time to pre-school).  My request is that the judge require the 4 yr. old son to be in pre-school 4-5 days/week as a preference to a 21 yr. old babysitter hanging with him 8 hours/day while "Mommy works upstairs".  She wont' do it since she would lose her "housekeeper/staff/babysitter".

Given my track record of upholding the 30% (and then some) visitation along with detailed logs of never missing a doctor's appt in 4 yrs., volunteering at my son's school, taking a 50% reduction in income to avoid biz travel, etc,. etc.  what do you think my chances are of getting equal time with my sons?  California law requires max time with both parents...if both are truly loving, responsible parents (we both are)...but I've heard this is very difficult to achieve without both parents' agreement.  Thanks in advance of your thoughts from those that have had similar experiences......

Father's Issues / RE: Looking for a better way.....help
« on: Aug 09, 2004, 05:58:02 PM »
Hello Aaron,

I recently won in court to get 50/50.  It was not as difficult as I would have envisioned.as many courts in California are much more progressive...they examine who IS the capable and responsible parent..regardless of gender..Very expensive (pretty much bankrupt me)  but how do you put a price on time with my kids?  One of the best elements of 50/50 (at least here in So. Cal) is NOBODY was labeled a CP or Primary Custodial Parent or NCP or anything else. the court order simply states "EQUAL SHARED PARENTING" This take ALL control away from "controllers" and levels the playing field.

What is your current parenting schedule and visitation %?  How close do you live to the irresponsible ex?

Loving Dad,

All of the above posts are correct-most importantly you must realize this is going to be a WAR- your ex is only out to take care of one person-and it's not you or your son.  You need to get fight fire with fire-not sugar.  Not matter what your feelings for this woman have been understand she is now your enemy of the worst kind.  Do NOT ever assume you will be honest, willing to negotiate or cares the least about you.  Now with that out of the way, let me share with you some positives about how to win the WAR.

I was in your position 4 years ago except my son(s) at he time were 6 mo. and 2 yrs.  Much more important than getting a good atty is what YOU do- this will have much more influence on the court than anything an atty can do).  The question is what are YOU willing to do  (i.e. sacrifice) to insure max time with your son?

Here is what I did after doing a ton of research and observing how a friend of mine got signficantly more time with his 3 mo. son than the "average" custody ruling-  I ended up with 30% which with an important right of first refusal that gets it close to 35+ and sets the stage for increased timeshare in next round of court.  Keep in mind these are critical factors that tend to "skew" the court towards TRYING to max time with Daddy..."  Even if you can't implement all of these now, START with the goal of checking off as many off the ASAP.

1.  Make sure you live within a 5 min. walk of your ex.  Best case is on the same street.

2.  Get a job that has you working out of your house and give you flexibility to work around having your son during the day.  In my case this required a 50% pay cut and trading home ownership for apartment living.  It also has required to do a lot of work betw 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. to enjoy the evenings/afternoons with the boys.  Again, I ask you, what are YOU willing to do to ensure your future with your son?  Attorneys judges, and ex-wives have nothing to do with these kinds of sacrifices, only you have the control.  This sets you up for a first right of refusal option which says if Mommy is working, you get little boy first ahead of EVERYBODY including her family and any daycare.  This time is significant for you to bond with little boy but just as importantly "rack up the hours" to set the stage for increase visitation as little boy gets older.

3.  After the divorce, avoid confrontation with your ex at almost any cost.  The single most important factor in getting significant physical custody is ability of parents to get along.  That means biting your tongue a lot but it gets easier as you realize your incredible reward reward will be more time with little boy.

4.  Develop a strong support network-not so much for your own morale but to demonstrate your "connections" with other parents of young children, your involvement in school (volunteer, attend every parent/ teacher mtg.)  On afternoons, make plans to get little boy around other little boys with their parents (doesn't have to be other Daddys, Mommys LOVE to see really active Dads that are taking "off" during the day to be with their kids). These connections (read references) will be huge in your ongoing WAR.

5.  NEVER miss a doctor appt.  Don't rely on your sweet ex to communicate schedules on these appts., pre-school or anything else.  YOU make the effort to find out directly EVERYTHING going on in your little boys' life

6.  Start the time-tracker now.  Log it religiously.  Expand on the terrific things you are doing with your son is all aspects of his life.  Note when Mommy misses out on important events such as doc appts., whatever but YOU were there.

7.  Get referals from people in your area on attys but only on those that have been thru SIMILAR circustances.  A supposedly GREAT atty that helped your buddy get more time with his 9 yr. old son is not relevant to your case.

8.  Unless you can prove MOmmy has serious problems (abuse, neglect, etc.)...which doesn't sound like the case, do NOT ask for full custody.  Judges will see right thru it, realize you are trying the win the "nego game" and it will backfire on you big time.  Nothing pisses off a court more than somebody more interesting in "winning" than doing what's best for the children.  If there are two capable, devoted parents, courts want to hear parents' wishes to be max time for BOTH parents.

9.  Regarless of the outcome of "round 1", remember it is only round one and you have (as I have had) the ADVANTAGE of very young kids.  This opens up future opportunities for increased timeshare as they get older.

There's my two cents, I wish you the best, there is nothing quite like a father and a son.......................

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