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Author Topic: She want to change time-sharing  (Read 2877 times)

OneMan

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She want to change time-sharing
« on: Apr 09, 2013, 12:15:37 AM »
Our child is 12. Time-sharing agreement with ex says she's 16 nights of the month with Dad and 12 nights with Mom. Ex wants us to change it now so that she is same number of nights with both of us, 14 and 14. I do not want to change it because it's been this way since she was 4. She is with Mom during the day many days when I'm working. That happens during summers too. Her schedule is more flexible because she can work from home. But that is about to end and she will start going in to work.

Now she's trying to blackmail me. Although we don't have a financial agreement, everything has always been 50-50, no problem. I make quite a bit more than she does, but she never argued about money. But for a long time she has not been happy with the time-sharing. Last month she told me that she'd cut back her contributions to education, dance lessons, school trips and all major non-household expenses if I refused to change the schedule so that the time is equal. She won't say how much but she probably would cut it back to 30 or 40%. She wants my answer in the next few weeks. I told her I am willing to think about this but not if she's blackmailing me. She thinks I'm yanking her chain and I have no intention of ever changing. We have lots of bills about to come due but I am not willing to make any changes with a hammer over my head. Should I just get a lawyer? I think a judge will tell her that she's always paid half so she has to continue. I also think that blackmail is illegal. I think the judge will also tell her that finances can't be used to force me to change time-sharing especially because this has to do with our child's very important needs. Has anyone been in this situation or know what judges say? We're not talking about a small amount of money. I told her if she doesn't like the time-sharing, why doesn't she just take me to court? I think she just doesn't want to pay a lawyer.


ocean

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Re: She want to change time-sharing
« Reply #1 on: Apr 09, 2013, 05:23:17 AM »
Family court judges see this blackmailing all the time. You have a visitation/parenting agreement but no child support ordered? Is that because it is almost 50/50 now and you waived it except for expenses?

Child is getting older and will soon have a SAY in court, not that it will count. Does child want to spend those extra nights with mom? Will mom's new work schedule allow her to be home on her nights?

Maybe negotiate and say you will agree to the 50/50 visitation split with you still named as primary (for schooling and if she brings you back to court in future) and that you both split 50/50 the activities.

Also, you can file in family court yourself the paperwork and not hire a lawyer, especially if you agree on new order. fill out modification of visitation plan and modification of child support. You are modifying your existing orders. Be careful though, most courts will just go by the numbers and order the amount if you do not agree. Look up your state child support calculator online. Plug in the numbers and see what the state will make you pay. You can also pay a lawyer $100 for a meeting to go over all of this to see what your options are before filing anything.

She may want the 50/50 time and then plans to take you to family court for child support if she makes less.

OneMan

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Re: She want to change time-sharing
« Reply #2 on: Apr 09, 2013, 09:04:11 PM »
Thanks, Ocean. No, we never had a child support order because money had never been used like this. We always figured 50/50 financial commitment was just the right thing to do because we loved our child. So this came as a real surprise. I also don't think I should have to bargain anything with a hammer over my head like this. I think she should give me time to process it and then I can let her know. But how can I even give it serious thought if I am being threatened? And let's suppose I did modify the night like she wants me to do? I don't think the deal would be valid because I was forced to make it under pressure. I'm pretty sure that's what the law says.

I think our child is fine either way. She's isn't pleading for more time with mom because she has been with her so much time during the day. By the way, that is time that daughter wasn't with me. So mom has had a leg up and now she just wants more. Don't judges dislike that kind of behavior?

Somehow I think that she will have more time off again during the day and it's guaranteed that if she does, she'll take the time with our child. Honestly, I'm not liking how her work schedule changes so much either. 

We don't have an issue with primary because it is technically shared custody even though she's more nights with me.

I know ex pretty well and I'm 99% sure that if she got the 50/50 nights that she would leave the money at 50/50 because she thinks that if I pay more, I'll try to exert more control over things. I know that her now saying she'll pay less doesn't really make sense with that, but I think she thinks I'll just roll over with this extortion. But you could be right. Maybe she is planning that.

I tend to think that the judge will not allow her to reduce some of these big education payments because she's been paying 50/50 all along and so there is a pattern. I'm also interested to know how she will say circumstances have changed enough to warrant modification. I have heard and read that courts require that or they won't even hear the case.

ocean

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Re: She want to change time-sharing
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2013, 04:51:45 AM »
Thankfully you have not had to go to family court and fight but the common theme everyone will tell you is that family court does not use common sense. Since you never had a child support order, you will be treated as someone new to that system. Some states even have child support judges only that do not even deal with visitation. You may be forced into a room like that where they will ask what the parenting plan is (but can not change it) and go by the numbers UNLESS you two agree to something else. What you have done in the past, can be brought up but like new cases, what you both have paid out for child was a "gift" and not child support. You can both waive child support since you nearly 50/50 and you have the upper hand with that since you have more nights (however her salary is lower).

Splitting costs- Courts will usually go by salary. If you are close in salary, you can keep the 50/50. Since she works from home and maybe paying herself she may not claim it all. If she stops paying the 50/50, you can file for child support and half costs with the reason "parents have split extra costs (name costs-activities, education, medical) for the last xx years, mother has recently refused to pay the out of court agreement of 50/50 costs".

You can do that now/first as she is already threatening it. Mom can always file her own modification for the extra nights but would need a reason and probably use "child is 12 and requesting more time with mom".

Overall, you have to ask yourself, do I want to spend a year in court every month trying to hash this out. For 4 nights a month is it worth it? Maybe give in to that, keep the 50/50 on paper (if you agree, see if she will sign a notarized letter stating these changes, at least you will have that if needed). You can agree to the switch and you get an extra week in the summer for vacation or straight time for the extra nights she is getting.

OneMan

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Re: She want to change time-sharing
« Reply #4 on: Apr 20, 2013, 07:18:36 PM »
Thank you. These are all good ideas. I think the main reason I have a hard time agreeing is that she has had so much more time with child over the years. Since we have right of first refusal, if she wasn't working she would spend the afternoon with her while I was at work. That amounted to a lot more time. Just because she has this new job outside her home, she thinks I should give up nights so we can maintain equality. Maybe you're right and I should go along with a new night schedule. I don't want to deal with court.

On the money we have only paid 50/50 for two years on the really large expenses, so there isn't this long history or paper trail to go on. Now she's saying that if she has to hire a lawyer, she absolutely won't go 50/50 because the legal fees will drain her. It seems to me that using these tactics to get me to modify is going about it all the wrong way.


 

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