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Old 12-03-2017, 12:45 PM
DGES DGES is offline
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Default When does a schedule become "status quo"?

Hello,

I used to live approx. 45mins away from my children due to school/work for 3 years where the access was based on best opportunity and my Ex "agreeing". In June of 2016 I finished probation and had a set schedule (our separation agreement stated that a more regular access schedule would be established once I was able to do so....we separated when I was in school). At this point I requested and worked out a regular 5 days per month with the kids. I was able to accommodate with the now regular schedule 12 days but given I was living slightly out of town 5 is what was agreed.

In October of 2016 I moved back to within walking distance of my children and within 3 days of taking possession of the home I requested that we increase the now regular 5 days to include an additional 7. I have a shift work type of job where there are 5 and 7 day blocks each month off each month on a 28 day rotation. My schedule doesn't change and every Oct/Nov the next years calendar is printed and supplied to my Ex.

In any case, my Ex denied my request officially sighting it was too much of a drastic change for the children (then G10/B6). Unofficially (over the phone and not in writing she kept quoting that the 12 days would equal 40% so I would no longer have to pay her full support....and she "wanted that money").
Fast forward to finally getting the Ex to agree to mediation at the end of January 2017 where it was established we would go to 5 and 5 days out of my schedule (2 days left where I'm available but not seeing the kids) from Feb to May 1st then returned to second mediation meeting on the 1st where the final 2 days would be added....my Ex agreed to 1. There by keeping it just under the 40%...this wasn't my focus but it was mentioned that at some point I would like to use the money I was sending the Ex on the kids when they were with me.

When asked by the mediator if I was interested in her pension or the value of the family home etc. (which I was entitled to as I had supported her when she went back to school but when it was my turn things ended) I said no it wasn't about the money in fact I'll pay full table support for 6 months after 40+% was established. So my Ex jumped at that so starting in May 2017 I was getting the kids for a minimum of 12 days (I can guarantee 12 days per month with some months adding more not less but 12 is something I can finally commit to with the new permanent work schedule). In fact June and July saw 18 days with me.
Everything was fine as long as those full support payments were coming in. My Ex however stated she would not return to mediation (where everything discussed and agreed to would be finalized and made official) siting we worked everything out and there was no need to spend money to return to mediation.
My lawyer said to just keep playing nice and build up time. Which has been going on without any real issues until November 1st when the first "adjusted" support payment was made.
Yesterday my Ex stated that since the mediator only provided a schedule up to the end of the year we would now need to go renegotiate custody / access. My understanding was the "guide" the mediator provided was just an example to help get things transitioned to the new routine.
The only reason sited so far has been that "what we agreed to when the kids are with me hasn't been adhered to." I'm a bit confused as to what that is referring to other then possibly her belief I didn't prepare my 7 yr old son for a spelling test last week...I did practice with him but she thinks I didn't.

So, my question after all that back ground is "when does a schedule become status quo or entrenched?" Both me and the kids have been thoroughly enjoying the 5/7 day monthly schedule (colour coordinated calendars can be found at both homes) for over 7 months now with December going to be 8 months. Why should it change now and can one parent unilaterally opt to just insist we "renegotiate access"?

Everything we "agreed" to outside of mediation was looking forward to future where we even established how we would alternate between each child's back to school and birthday expenses etc. We have been jointly communicating and attending parent teacher meetings at the children's school. I even gave up my Christmas day (have them half the Eve and back again on boxing day) with the kids this year and next in order for her to agree to me having the kids on the odd numbered years moving forward. All of this was discussed with the intention we were discussing the future....not the remainder of 2017.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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