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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 11-23-2012, 10:55 AM
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Default Have Sole Custody - Offer on the Table to Settle Fully but With Joint Custody

I need help please.

My ex and I have been separated for 4 years. I have had interim sole custody (courts) since then. OCL was involved, also recommended sole custody to me.

We just had our settlement conference a couple of months ago and the judge stated that if we come to trial fighting over custody most likely it would be decided joint. I really don't understand that but my real question is, I was presented an Offer to Settle by my ex as we are approaching our pre-trial conference. I am pretty agreeable to all of the terms (maybe even the joint custody ? it states joint custody with primary residence with me) in order to finally settle this and everyone can get on with our lives, (the children are all very young 7,6 and almost 5). What would the change really mean if I accepted on joint custody, I am having a very hard time wrapping my head around the true difference of sole vs. joint with primary residence with me.

Thank you,
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:01 AM
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Joint custody would mean that your ex will be involved in major decision making (education, religion, health). If you two already keep eachother apprised of those types of things, then there is really no impact at all on anyone. Unless he's a danger to the kids, acts without their best interests in mind (as it relates to health, education etc...) then there is no reason for sole custody.

Custody has nothing to do with the parenting schedule....it only pertains to decision making. I hope this helps.

Good luck!
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceberg View Post
If I am not mistaken, even with joint custody, if the parents cant agree then the primary caretaker has the final say?
No. If that was the case, would it really be joint?

Most joint custodial agreement have a mechanism in the event of a deadlock/disagreement. Be it mandatory mediation or arbitration etc. The courts should be the last resort.

Giving both parents input but one parent the real authority would allow the parent with the authority to undermine the other parent by refusing to agree and unilaterally making decisions.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
Giving both parents input but one parent the real authority would allow the parent with the authority to undermine the other parent by refusing to agree and unilaterally making decisions.
I frequently see court decisions where custody is joint, but one parent has final decision making authority. I agree, this is almost indistinguishable from sole custody, but the courts like to play pretend sometimes
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:57 PM
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And to the OP, why would you not want the father involved in the children's life? You still get to keep the children and keep the cash, he just gets to pretend to be a father for a bit, which probably is best for everyone.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceberg View Post
If I am not mistaken, even with joint custody, if the parents cant agree then the primary caretaker has the final say?
this is also my understanding.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janus View Post
And to the OP, why would you not want the father involved in the children's life? You still get to keep the children and keep the cash, he just gets to pretend to be a father for a bit, which probably is best for everyone.
Sad that this is the biggest issue for many, including my ex.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janus View Post
I frequently see court decisions where custody is joint, but one parent has final decision making authority. I agree, this is almost indistinguishable from sole custody, but the courts like to play pretend sometimes
Likely with certain categories for decision making.

My order is like this. We're supposed to jointly consult/decide on things, including schooling, but "mom's decision will prevail" on schooling/religion, in case of disagreement, because she was adamant about Catholic school system. It wasn't necessary in my opinion, because I didn't care which school system my daughter was in, but that is what the lawyers and her, wanted.

Of course, since then, it's just meant that Mom never consults about anything regarding schooling/religion now, because the answer is "I don't have to consult with you - I have final say!".

So my advice, is to not have any order with wording like this.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:14 AM
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I'm going thru this now actually, part of the most recent motion my ex wife filed indicates that apparently I am not following "joint custody" because I refuse to inform her of the children's dental/eye appts so she can attend. (I have step children, we book for multiple kids, and my ex has a history of causing scenes, so she gets told the results if there are results to report, and that's it. She only gets them 2 days in 14 anyway, so she would never have need to take them herself.)

My understanding of it is simply that in a joint situation, you have to seek input from the other party on any non routine medical, educational or religious decisions. It's nice to keep the other party up to date on the results, should there be results to report, but you aren't obligated.

Couple examples:

Kid is failing a grade....joint applies

Parent teacher interviews...joint applies only in that each parent is able to book their own.

Kid needs braces....joint applies

Kid goes for a checkup...joint does NOT apply (falls under "routine")
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:07 PM
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It seems to me that there is no perfect solution. It does not matter if you have joint, share of sole.

The ideal depend totally on the parent ability to respect each other and collaborate with each together.

I have received recently sole custody as part of my divorce order and by the way I never had this request on my application. I beleive that the judge saw how unreasonnable the father was. The judge strongly pushed it on both lawyers to include this as part of our agreement at our settlement conference.

This at least put a stop to the continious non sense from the father. I always provide him all info and he always and still have access to all information directly from third party but he the type of person that it does not matter that you do everything to ease thing or provide him everything he request, he is never sastified and the worst is he goes through lawyers for everything regardless how much insignificant and ridicule it can be.

Mind you, my children are not young and basically there is not major decision to make beside in medical emergency.

For me this eliminates at least accusation of putting my child at risk because I registered her in a driving ed course or even getting education tutor for my child. He disagreed with everything that I was proposing, it had to be from him or he requested unreasonnable time to research and analyse, I waited months and he kept saying that I was not giving enough notice or information. **More I was not even asking him to pay but just sharing info***

He could not accept to let go some control thus making our divorce process a nightmare.
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