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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:17 PM
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Default 4 way conference - need advice / thoughts

So since STBX and had our first civil conversation in months, I decided to offer having a 4 way conference well in advance of our case conference. Usual deal, she wants sole custody, the house, under-stating value of her financials, etc.

I expressed that it would only be worthwhile if both parties understand that the kids love both of us and in their best interests to have as much contact with both of us. Else, feel abandonment, their fault, etc.

1. Her premise is the kids need a stable home and 2 - 2- 5 they won't know where their home is and that I would get every other weekend but liberal access on weeknights. This isn't very realistic to think that I can work and run my own household but come every night to have in-house visits with my kids until they go to bed.

I can't seem to get it thru to her that 2 - 2 - 5 is more normal and kids tend to adapt quickly.

So question - if in negotiation I lower then 50% someone on the forum had mentioned that no less then 40% is the important mark? Can someone elaborate or confirm. Also as long as your at least 40% then I believe it's still considered shared custody and CS is more nominal income offset - is this the case?

2. How do I get anything agreed upon at 4 way conference legally formalized? Just want to make sure that they don't back down afterwards - we're probably a ways away from a formal separation agreement. So can we form and sign agreements just on the things we agree to?

3. Any general thoughts on how to handle the 4 way conference - just send a simple letter invitation to meet or include agenda items in order of importance i.e. CS and access, sale of home / content division, NMP, etc.

4. She is very angry, hostile - any thoughts on how to deal with someone like this in negotiation?

Thank you all in advance.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:37 PM
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All of the 4 way conferences I've heard of have been nothing but a huge waste of money and a great way for both lawyers to bill tons of time. Very little is ever settled for the cost and effort involved. A mediator would be 1/4 the cost and have more interest in helping parties reach resolutions than your lawyers will.

1. Yes, according to section 9, 40% is the "magic number" which is 3 overnights per week. It's still a bit better to aim for 50% but for shared custody 40% is acceptable.

2. You can request that interim agreements be drafted by one of the lawyers before the parties leave for the day. They are legally binding until otherwise changed by court order.

3. Have an agenda and send it to both parties in advance. Try to deal with the less contentious issues first before getting into the stuff that may drive the other party into walking away. At least you'll have some progress then.

I strongly suggest the meeting be recorded. Otherwise each lawyer will have their own minutes which likely won't agree.

4. If it becomes hostile, take a break. In my case, the lawyers ended up seating us in different meeting rooms and the lawyers walked back and forth to present proposals to each of us after we started out in the same room and my ex lost it on my lawyer.

Good luck, but I would still advise mediation over a 4 way meeting.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:57 PM
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Very good advice ^ from previous poster. I found 4 way meeting to be a total waste of time and money. After the fact my lawyer agreed with me and we didn't waste time on any more. Problem with any of these sorts of meetings is that anyone can simply change their mind about what they agreed to. Nothing seems to be binding.

I particularly liked the advice about having the meeting recorded. Maybe this will make both parties accountable?
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:06 AM
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A few comments for what it's worth...

As noted above, 40% is the "magic" number with respect to CS offset. Under 40% the other parent could make $10 million dollars and you work at minimum wage BUT you still have to pay FULL CS based on your income. The law assumes that under 40% access you have ZERO cost when kids are with you. In other words, if you see your kids 39% or NEVER, the financial implications of CS are the SAME. It's crazy but nothing you can do about it.

Also, while the "norm" for "counting" access is generally overnights, my understanding is that there is no LEGAL definition of "access" (ie. hours, does school count, etc.). I have read of cases where someone is "just" around 40% but the judge uses their "discretion" with respect to calculating access percentage to screw that parent (you can guess which parent usually gets shafted). SO, 50% is best to minimize chance of court saying "close but no cigar".

Money aside, they are YOUR kids too and its important you have a relationship. Plus, do you REALLY think the weeknight "visits" will go smoothly at her place ?

If you want it, hold firm for 50%. Make sure you retain status quo at 50% while this is pending. Some lawyers "wimp out" and tell guys to just take the 39% (ie. every other wknd and Wed nite). Get one with some balls who is willing to support you on it.

Not sure if/how to "lock in" one aspect at a time - ask your lawyer about that....

With respect to 4 way call, I tend to agree with above poster... Will likely get real expensive real quick... Try mediation and maybe just present a reasonable position and hold firm. Maybe she'll calm down over time but of course no guarantee. However, until she's at least willing to consider compromise dubious if anything will help.

Keep in mind this deal will be with you perhaps for the rest of your life, hold firm and get it right !!! Do your research including this forum. No one will care about this as much as you ! Do NOT leave it in your lawyer's hands; you're simply one client and even good ones won't spend the time/thought on it you will/should.

Good luck ! Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss any other tips on your Sep AGmt. Lots of little things add up .....
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee1973 View Post
1. Her premise is the kids need a stable home and 2 - 2- 5 they won't know where their home is and that I would get every other weekend but liberal access on weeknights. This isn't very realistic to think that I can work and run my own household but come every night to have in-house visits with my kids until they go to bed.

I can't seem to get it thru to her that 2 - 2 - 5 is more normal and kids tend to adapt quickly.
Print this out and give it to her and her lawyer:

Things You Need To Know About Parenting Plans for Children Under 3 Years Old (Rethinking Access for Children Under 3 years old – an Update)

By Melanie Kraft
Volume 24, No. 2 - March 2012

http://www.oba.org/en/pdf/sec_news_f..._You_Kraft.pdf

You stick with 2-2-3 and provide the cogent and relevant evidence in case law that this is the solution that meets the children's "best interests".

Also, politely suggest that you are not going to debate irrelevant arguments before the courts regarding materials that her and her lawyer can find in any book at the library and/or book store and will seek costs for any irrelevant matter they waste court time with. Ask them politely to provide cogent and relevant "evidence based medicine" regarding their concerns and supporting evidence that your children would not benefit having equal access on a 2-2-3 based schedule. Generalized "assumptions" that are not true before the court and in the field of mental health are just a waste of the court's time.

Especially, if you are going before the Brampton Superior Court. Significant evidence of neglect/maltreatment/abuse needs to be raised to break the fundamentals of the CLRA which is clear that parents have equal custody and access.

Also, don't your children attend daycare? How can they make the argument of "sole custody" and "limited access" to you when the children are attending daycare? You can't have your cake and eat it too... The children are going to a different environment every day. It is just an illogical and irrational argument to make before the courts in 2012. Their argument had some weight in 1960-1985... But, as Bob Dylan has stated... "The times, they are a changing."

Good Luck!
Tayken

Last edited by Tayken; 09-04-2012 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:24 AM
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Thank you all for your comments, I do hear from most that these are a waste of time but I'll give it one chance.

Tayken the children are 5 and 7 so do you have something similar to the article you provided but supporting argument for older children? Would be really helpful to provide her as you suggested but just not relevant since geared towards children under 3 years of age.

God bless Dylan!
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee1973 View Post
...
So question - if in negotiation I lower then 50% someone on the forum had mentioned that no less then 40% is the important mark? ...

Under no circumstances should you accept or even mention anything other than equal parenting.

Don't you consider yourself to be an equal parent?

Don't you want as much time raising your kids as possible?

Even if you do 1 day less/week - she will consider herself to be the 'real' parent and you will be marginalized forever, and your kids will be effected.

Tell her you believe in 50/50 but if she feels that strongly about one main home, that you would consider having the kids and she can have liberal access, but you would prefer 50/50
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee1973 View Post
Thank you all for your comments, I do hear from most that these are a waste of time but I'll give it one chance.

Tayken the children are 5 and 7 so do you have something similar to the article you provided but supporting argument for older children? Would be really helpful to provide her as you suggested but just not relevant since geared towards children under 3 years of age.

God bless Dylan!
Generally, if that is the rule for children "under three" then the argument for children who are 5 and 7 the arguments being presented by the other parent go right out the window... With the bath water.

2-2-5-5 would be appropriate and a qualified custody and access of children who are 5 and 7 years of age. A SIGNIFICANT amount of cogent and relevant evidence (not just hearsay allegations) would have to be presented that you are an incompetent, dangerous, neglectful and "abusive" parent to circumvent 50-50 access full joint custody.

The argument of "the children won't know where they are going" is actually countered by proposing a 2-2-5-5... Any logical parent would put that rotation into a schedule and see that:

Every Monday and Tuesday night the child is with one parent.
Every Wednesday and Thursday the child is with the other parent.
Every Friday and weekend rotates equally to both parents without disrupting the week days.

If you need more details as to what the schedule looks like and typically recommended by Custody and Access evaluators / OCL....

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:57 AM
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Thank you Bill very sound advice!
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayken View Post
...The argument of "the children won't know where they are going" is actually countered by proposing a 2-2-5-5... Any logical parent would put that rotation into a schedule and see that:

Every Monday and Tuesday night the child is with one parent.
Every Wednesday and Thursday the child is with the other parent.
Every Friday and weekend rotates equally to both parents without disrupting the week days.

...
That is my schedule and it works great! I have 3 kids and the youngest was 4 when we split.
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