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Author Topic: Advice for Father trying to get custody  (Read 4760 times)

goodstepmom 365

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Advice for Father trying to get custody
« on: Oct 06, 2009, 08:07:12 AM »
My husband and I desperately need advice.  We are currently in a shared parenting situation (as far as the divorce papers from 5 years ago are concerned) of my husbands daughter age 11 and son age 9.  The custody was originally every Monday & Wednesday evening until 8, overnight every Friday, and every other weekend.  As of the beginning of the year we have taken on increasingly more custody.  This is where it gets tricky.  I am going to try and make this as short as possible.
 
At the beginning of the year, the mom broke up with her boyfriend.  She was a stay at home mom at the time.  At that point we took over custody every weekend so that she could try and find a place to live and get a job.  This visitation continued until early June when school got out, at which point the children basically came to live with us full time so that we could arrange daycare since she was working.  She had them maybe 2 - 2 1/2 days a week but childcare for all 5 days a week was arranged and paid for by my husband and I.  About 2 weeks before school started we enrolled the kids into school in our town.  Mom agreed to this completely.  Since then, we have had predominent custody of the children with the mom spending a few hours with the kids during the week and occasionally on the weekend.   All along we have never made any modification to the child support order.  She has gotten child support while we took care of ALL the kids needs.   Mom does wants her kids and the time apart is killing her, it isn't an abondonment issue.  We all have gotten along really well up unitl this point.
 
So that is the detail up to the present.  Now that my husband and I have gotten the kids the structure, and dicipline they so much needed, and they know what the expectations are, mom wants to take them overnight Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights.  They would still get on and off the bus at our house, she would just bring them to our home and pick them up at our home.  We would continue to pay for or pack thier lunches and provide them with breakfast before school and a snack afterschool.  We would rotate every other weekend.  The reason is because mom's house, which was being forclosed on, burnt down last week.  She has now moved into her mother's house, which is 15 minutes from our house.  Mom, her 3 year old son from a previous relationship, and the two kids will/would be all living in a one room unfinished basement.
 
No I know that this seems fair based on time spent with each parent.  But how is this situation a good environment for kids?  It isn't stable, it is chaos.  My husband and I do not agree that this is the best schedule.  We believe that the kids are better off with us for primary custody and mom for visitation.  Mom has no home, no vehicle because it is broken down, and other than our child support not much of a financial means.
 
Just as a side note, up until this summer the kids have never been to a dentist.  I took them.  When I went to enroll them in school, mom didn't know which pediatrician I should call for their shot recrords.  I had to call 5 different dr's to find 2 shot records.  Last spring when things started to fall apart for mom I was in constant contact with the school and teachers regarding the fact that the 5th grader was about to be held back.  I set up conferences and got her into tutoring.  I have already begun the same for this year.  Had conferences last week, she showed up late and didn't say a word.  I am getting ready to take them to get flu shots.  I TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THEIR DAY IN AND DAY OUT NEEDS!
 
The advice I am looking for is, the way I see it we have a few options
1. Fight her in court with a judge - which would be very hard on the kids, plus the judge could rule that it is best for the kids to see as much of her as possible and not see it as a detriment that they would be bounced around all week.
2. Give in and allow her to have the schedule she requested above -  and basically take advantage of us financially, while the kids get no benefit
3. Go back to the original visitation schedule set up in the divorce - would require the kids change schools, in which case we would be cleaning up mom's messes for the rest of the kids lives.
 
None of these options are going to be easy on the kids in the immediate.  The kids are not mature enough to make a realistic decision.  I am so torn because all I want is for the kids to have the absolute best in life that they possible can.  Up until this week we have all had an excellent relationship and worked very, very well together.  But I have drawn the line and the fight has come out in me in order to protect the kids.
 
Any thoughts would be appreciated.


armycoppertop

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2009, 01:51:05 PM »
I have another option... tell BM that you are willing to allow her liberal visitation, however, you want her to agree to terminate DH's child support (she should not be getting CS if you and DH are providing for all the kids needs), and because of the fact that the kids are now in a stable home and under yours and DH's supervision were able to keep SS from being held back and are the ones who have gotten them dental care and all that jazz, you want primary custody of the children, and until she has proper housing for the children (a 2/3 bedroom apartment or the like), she only takes the kids for evenings and EOWE, once she has proper housing, you are willing to agree to EOWE and one or two overnights a week with her bringing the kids back to your house for school (if at any point she stops getting the kids to your house on time for school, her week night overnights will immeadiately stop and go to weekly dinners only). If she consistantly does so for the rest of the school year, then week on week off would be an agreeable arrangement when summer starts/ends, assuming she has a reasonable commute to get the kids back to your area for school. And you want it all in writing and signed off on by a judge.
 
If she is unwilling to do so, then tell her you are prepared to take it before a judge that two school aged children of opposite genders are going to be living in a one room unfinished basement with their mother, who failed to get them to the dentist, didn't know what doctor to contact for shot records, willingly handed the kids over to their father when she broke up with her boyfriend because she had no job or place to live while the father paid for ALL expenses and she has been CONTINUEING to receive child support for children she did not have in her custody. This will all look bad on her with any reasonable judge (especially if your state has issues with opposite genders sharing rooms) and might scare her into giving you what you want. Just make sure you are documenting that he is still paying child support while you are still paying for all the other expenses and receiving no help from BM and the kids are enrolled in YOUR school district.

gemini3

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2009, 03:45:45 PM »
OK, thoughts...

A couple of nights a week sharing a room with mom and siblings isn't going to hurt the kids.  Not having frequent contact with their mom WILL.

You should not have to carry all the burden of the kids expenses AND pay CS.  It's child support, not spousal support.

Sounds like you have given mom plenty of time to get on her feet, during which time she's ended up worse off.  I don't know how much of that is her fault or bad luck, but you can't go on like this forever.

I would suggest mediation.  It's not court, and you might be able to work out an arrangement with mom that would work for everyone.  If she's unwilling to work with you and you do end up going to court it will be in your favor that you tried mediation first.

Kitty C.

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2009, 03:57:54 PM »
A few suggestions, especially if you believe this will end up in court:
 
Document EVERYTHING you do for the kids and try to obtain as much previous documentation (school, medical, etc.) that you can get your hands on from the time that the kids started primarily living with you.
 
Judges and courts like to maintain 'status quo', in that the longer the children are in a stable environment (and progress is made, especially academically), the more likely they will want to maintain that.  You've given her a lot of time straighten out her act and she doesn't seem to be much better off than when this all started.  But the longer the current situation remains, the more likely a judge will want to keep it that way.
 
Gemini recommended mediation and that's always a good place to start.........BUT it only works if both parents are willing to work together to come to a compromise.  If she flat out refuses, then court may be your only recourse.  If that happens, you have every right to also request a 'reduction' in CS and show all the documentation to prove how Dad is supporting them financially. 
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

MomofTwo

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2009, 04:58:03 PM »
Considering Mom has custody of the kids on paper and that is what the courts care about, you really are not in a position to limit her time.  If she decides to come pick them up tonight and says you are sticking by the orders, guess what....you have to abide by the orders as written.  Until a court says otherwise, she has custody.  Not a good idea to limit her time.


oneaddress

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #5 on: Oct 06, 2009, 07:05:00 PM »
I am new to this site, and it has been very helpful. May I suggest that you explore this site thoroughly. Read the articles and the older posts.  Do searches for the answers to address and to help your children. Fathers deserve an even playing field too. There is good information here. Hang in there.

goodstepmom 365

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Re: Advice for Father trying to get custody
« Reply #6 on: Oct 07, 2009, 12:49:54 PM »
I just wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for replying.  You comments were very helpful.  I have been reading up on past posts and have found this to be a very helpful and informative site.
 
THANKS TO ALL!

 

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