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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 12-05-2017, 06:15 PM
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Default Ex does not want to change parenting schedule

3 years ago my ex threatened to take me to court to get full custody of my two children when we were separating (I received a nasty letter from her lawyer). I did not want to take the risk, so I agreed to a (crazy) parenting schedule in mediation (kids were ages 2 and 3 at the time).

I have my kids:

WEEK 1
Monday 3pm-6pm
Wednesday 3pm-Thursday school drop off
Friday 3pm to Sunday at 6pm

WEEK 2
Monday 3pm-6pm
Wednesday 3pm-Thursday school drop off
Friday 3pm-Saturday 9am
Sunday 6pm-Monday school drop off

It is nearly 50/50 which I'm thankful for (which is crazy to say because I should have every right to have half the time with my kids).

But the schedule is pretty much every other day which is hard on all of us. I think it would be better for the kids to be able to settle into each of our places for longer.

The schedule is slanted in my ex's favour a few ways: I cut into my work day 3 days per week to pick them up for school and her only 2. I have them every Friday night (and then the Sunday night), where I would like more weekend time to work on projects, travel, date, socialize, etc.

There are other things I agreed to, like the kids wake up every Christmas morning at her house. I'd love to have the kids at my house Christmas morning at least every other year.

I would like to change to week on / week off, or 2-2-3, or almost anything besides back and forth every day.

Longer stretches with the kids and without the kids will also allow me to travel more for work which I should be doing.

She will not agree to any changes.

(I absolutely won't agree to less parenting time though, I know I'm requesting more time stretches with (and without) the kids, but this can be achievable with 50/50).

Looking forward to hearing some ideas about this! Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:10 PM
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If she won't agree, you would have to take it to court. For a judge to decide on a different schedule, you have to demonstrate the benefit of that proposed schedule. A judge's only consideration would be the best interests of the child.

So, you need to demonstrate how the current schedule is not working as well for the children as the schedule you propose would.

Are the transitions hard or confusing for the children? Is it hard to get them to settle down? Are they exposed to conflict when you have to see the ex at exchanges? Are the reasons for the original schedule no longer valid (the kids are in school now, bedtimes are later, etc)? Do you live fairly far apart and it's a restless drive every time? Are there activities they want to try that you have been unable to register them for due to the weird schedule?

What would be better for the kids about your proposed schedule? You've touched on a few ways it would benefit YOU, but you need to be focused on the kids to impress a judge. For example, an increased ability to travel with them out of town for her as well as you. More ability to each take them to weekly evening activities. Fewer awkward transitions and less time wasted in travel.

I'd suggest a 2-2-5 schedule, because it would be the smoothest transition from what you have already. Your ex could have full Mondays (she already has bedtime) and Tuesdays (she already has), you could have them Wednesdays (you already have) and Thursdays, and then you alternate weekends. All exchanges would be done through the school, so you'd only have to interact with your ex on unusual occasions.

Then you add in fairer alternating of holidays, including Christmas, almost as an afterthought.

What reasons were there for the original schedule in the first place? Why is your ex so unwilling to change it? Understanding that will help you figure out how to negotiate with her, or how to counter her arguments against a change in court.

Does going from 6/8 overnights to 7/14 overnights change your CS? Are you doing offset already?
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:50 PM
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Thank you Rioe.

I agree the focus is on the kids, thank you for reinforcing that. Although I think adjusting for both parents work / lifestyle should count too. (but I know what I think sometimes doesn't matter with family law)

She says she doesn't want to go longer than one day without seeing the kids.

We currently live close so that does make this crazy schedule easier, thankfully.

There would be no change in child support, I'm currently paying offset.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:27 PM
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The schedule you now have would definitely keep you from having a love life. You have to know that if you have moved on with your life, and she hasn't, that this is likely the reason for her resistance to change.

With this ^ in mind, I think Rioe has excellent advice. You have to present a child-focused argument for your position. Any hint that it is self-serving will likely kibosh things for you. Often men in your situation get the schedule changed somewhat and/or then hire a nanny... ex goes totally ape-shit nuts and off to court we go. Good thing to look ahead to what you truly hope to accomplish.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:32 PM
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Thank you arabian.

Actually, my ex is still seeing the guy she left me for 3 years ago, so she has moved on!

Yes, my ex would freak if I got a nanny. Besides there is the right of first refusal clause in our agreement so I couldn't do that. I need to ask her to watch the kids before anyone else.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:10 PM
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I've read on here time and time again that the 'right of first refusal' is pretty much an unenforceable clause. Do some reading on here about that. Right of first refusal is pretty controlling. I believe (I'm no expert on child custody matters but rather just a regular reader here) when child is in your care it's up to you.

Your ex may have moved on but she obviously enjoys controlling you. Most people don't want to part with their children for a night but hell, that's the nature of divorce. Kids aren't toddlers.

One would think that a week on/week off schedule would mean less transition for children. Week you have your kids you get a nanny to assist during your working hours. What's wrong with that? Kids are school aged.

Other, much wiser people will chime in here.

Good luck
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:23 PM
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Im a newbie, so not much wiser, but if he got a Nanny wouldn't that be a Section 7 expense, that both parents have to contribute too?

My lawyer did tell me she doesn't include "right of refusal" in high conflict cases, because it causes more drama.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Does going from 6/8 overnights to 7/14 overnights change your CS? Are you doing offset already?
Not sure what my brain was doing when I wrote that feeble attempt at math. I meant 6:8 overnights becoming 7:7. Or 6/14 becoming 7/14. Not that mishmash of both.

Looks like you understood what I meant though, phew.

Quote:
Originally Posted by climber9 View Post
She says she doesn't want to go longer than one day without seeing the kids.
But she expects you to do so? And doesn't she go nearly a whole weekend without them every other week when you have them Friday through Sunday? Anyways, she's had several years now to get used to the idea of sharing the kids. It's time to reduce the transitions to make it easier on the kids (and the adults).

Quote:
Originally Posted by climber9 View Post
Yes, my ex would freak if I got a nanny. Besides there is the right of first refusal clause in our agreement so I couldn't do that. I need to ask her to watch the kids before anyone else.
I'm not sure why everybody has jumped on this statement and the issues with RoFR. You weren't the one who brought up needing a nanny. From the sounds of it, your work is quite flexible and lets you reduce your hours on days you get the kids after school.

Anyways, it sounds like your schedule is very much arranged to suit your ex and her needs, not those of the children. Her arguments for not changing the schedule probably won't come across as very child-centred.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:33 AM
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In this forum, we all mostly agree that overnights are the appropriate way to determine if the shared custody threshold has been reached.

Judges though, often go by hours, and often allocate school hours to the "primary" parent.

My brief calculation shows that the current schedule gives Dad about 41% of the time with the kids. (I estimate about 138 hours out of 336 hours every two weeks, depending on when school starts) That is perilously close to the 40% threshold. What is the current child support arrangement? Unless you already pay some form of offset, expect some serious resistance to change, from both mom and the courts.

Don't let court scare you. Your schedule is crazy. As others have said, explain to a judge why it is bad for the kids and you should be successful.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:07 PM
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Thanks again everyone.

What is the 'primary' parent. I've never heard that one before. We have joint decision making (on everything) and very nearly 50/50 time, so I've assumed the law says we are equal parents. Is there additional criteria to be the 'primary' parent?

To answer Janus's question, I'm paying offset child support (based on the tables).
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