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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 04-26-2014, 05:20 PM
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Default Common As Dirt - Another Case Record

Iím new on the forum, and going through a separation / custody dispute in Southern Ontario like many others on here. Iím starting this thread as a bit of a log of my experiences, as well as a place to ask questions / get clarification when needed. My situation in a nutshell:

Mother requests:

- Sole custody with supervised visitation.

- Child support payment based on Ontario Guidelines.


Father requests (thatís me):

- Joint custody and unsupervised visitation every other weekend with my oldest child (2.5 years old), and the same with my youngest once he is old enough for it to be reasonable.

- Visitation of both children on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between the hours of 6 and 9pm.

- Ability to take the oldest child (and eventually the youngest) to the United States during my visitation periods so they can see their grandparents and cousins, among the rest of the family.

- Limitation on moving distance (~60km) from Somewhere, ON


Key Points:

- I have been a significant part of my childrenís lives since they were born. I have a close bond and relationship with my oldest child. I would like the opportunity to have the same caring and loving relationship with my youngest child.

- Child support per provincial guidelines has been paid consistently.

- There is no history or record of abuse of any kind. Neither parent has a criminal record.

- I drafted a separation agreement requesting the items mentioned above, and the mother refused to negotiate and filed a court application.

- The mother has turned down several written requests for mediation to reach a mutual agreement on custody and access.

- I have kept a log and records of all written communications since we separated, which details the motherís unreasonable behavior and lack of effort at a resolution.


After retaining a lawyer briefly to draft my separation agreement, I am now self representing (although I am retaining a lawyer as an advisor in a couple of weeks). Iíve filed all required documents (Answer, Financial Statement, etc..) in response to her court application.

The first case conference is being held within two weeks. My Answer form states what Iím asking for, so I donít see any reason to file any motions at this time. I just have a couple questions regarding the initial case conference and what I should expect:

1. Is there anything I really need to do before the first case conference? I have all my records and documentation organized and ready for action. Iíve also got a really snazzy suit to wear, so I wonít look like a bum in front of the judge .

2. What should I expect at the case conference? I have done a fair share of reading through forum threads so far, and I get the impression that the case conferences are mostly to create a dialog between parties and push towards a settlement / agreement. Is this correct?
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:35 PM
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I had a case conference but there were no CS or children involved as they were considered adults.
I do have a few questions about your post that I think you should consider.
1. If there was no criminal behaviour why would the mother want supervised access or what would give her any indication that it is necessary?
2. A child of 2.5 years should be sleeping at 7 p.m. why would you want access so late in the day?

Just a few words of caution---think about what is best for the child.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momforever1956 View Post
I had a case conference but there were no CS or children involved as they were considered adults.
I do have a few questions about your post that I think you should consider.
1. If there was no criminal behaviour why would the mother want supervised access or what would give her any indication that it is necessary?
2. A child of 2.5 years should be sleeping at 7 p.m. why would you want access so late in the day?

Just a few words of caution---think about what is best for the child.
To answer your questions:

1. Initially she wanted sole custody and unsupervised access every other weekend from Saturday until Sunday (per her separation agreement draft). After I disagreed and sent my separation agreement to her she changed her tune and asked for supervised visitation. It's mostly based on control and resentment. Her way or the highway.

2. The 2.5 year old goes to bed between 8:30 and 9pm each night. My request is flexible based on what's best for the kids schedule. I figure it's best to ask for more rather than less starting out. Ultimately I just want to see the kids as much as possible in addition to having them every other weekend.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:07 PM
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If she has no basis for supervised access and is playing ohhh so naughty immature selfish, self serving games you be prepared to fight it. As a responsible parent you ask for the maximum and hopefully she will be dealt with in a manner she deserves. Keep focused and do what is best for your child!!!
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:13 PM
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I appreciate the kind words, and am confident that we'll reach an agreement that benefits the kids eventually (hopefully within this decade). She's not a bad mother per se, but is behaving very irrationally at the moment. I'm hoping that once the judge gets involved it will open her eyes a bit.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:30 PM
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Why are you not asking for 50-50 joint custody? Why do you only want every other weekend?
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berner_Faith View Post
Why are you not asking for 50-50 joint custody? Why do you only want every other weekend?
I'm asking for around 40%. Every other weekend and visits during the week. In the beginning I had asked for 50%, but after seeking legal advice I was told that it's not a reasonable or realistic request based mostly on the fact that the children are so young. Also the judge presiding over the case is supposedly not receptive to a shared custody arrangement.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninehundredt View Post
I'm asking for around 40%. Every other weekend and visits during the week. In the beginning I had asked for 50%, but after seeking legal advice I was told that it's not a reasonable or realistic request based mostly on the fact that the children are so young. Also the judge presiding over the case is supposedly not receptive to a shared custody arrangement.
Unless you are getting over nights during the week, you are not getting 40%. I would suggest you search this forum. There is tons of advice on shared custody for young child and about steps to achieve shared custody. If you want what's best for the kids and you are a dedicated father, 50-50 is what you need to be shooting for. Look up case law regarding shared and equal parenting.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:41 PM
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I appreciate the suggestion and will take it into advisement.
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:09 AM
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2.5 yrs is not too young for a child to have a complete relationship with both parents. See cavannah vs johne and many other decisions.

I agree with Berner Faith. 50/50 or the child is being denied a full relationship with one of its parents. Assuming there are no concerns which are real, the request for supervised access is likely just an attempt to try to make you look like a very bad man and/or to make the child's access to you inconvenient and unpleaseant for you, thus increasing the chance of you giving up. If that's what it is, in the end it will look like the mother is using it as an impediment to settlement and to the child's relationship with you. Don't worry about it and don't say yes to it.

Be careful that you don't experience being shoved toward "settlement" with settlement as the goal rather than the child's interests as the goal. If you're self repping you are keeping your costs down so one way of getting you to cave (driving your costs up) is dealt with.

Just my thoughts, for what they're worth.

Good luck.
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