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Old 07-03-2011, 09:04 AM
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Default Question reg shared custody and children

Juat wanted some advice and info regarding shared custody and young children. Spouse decided to end our marriage. The spouse moved out of the matrimonial home (without any sort of agreement) when baby was 4 months old and older child was 3. The spouse does return to the matrimonial home to see the children. 4 months after separation, and after mediation, the spouse stays in the home for 1 night a week on the weekends. However, other parent is also present. This has type arrangement has been going on for 7 mths. The spouse who left the home wants shared custody, with a schedule that takes children back and forth from one home to the next. I feel that this is too much for such young children and not consistent. I understand since children are young that they need short and frequent visit with the other parent, but completely disagree with a shared type of schedule that include overnights that bring them back and forth. I think the spouse might not want a 50/50 shared custody off the bat, but something more like 40% (I'm sure to get out of paying child support). I believe this will go to litigation and was wondering what possible outcomes there may be. I want to make sure the children remain with me. I have always been the primary caregiver. Any advise or info would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to message me.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:15 AM
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Your ex doesn't get out of child support with a 60/40 schedule.

He would be supporting the children when they are with him, paying for food, clothing, transportation, toys, recreation, school expenses, daycare, housing, utilities, everything you would pay for if they were with you full time.

What changes is that he doesn't make cash payments to you and then you spend the money.

Your expenses would go down considerably. There would still be a child support payment from the higher earning parent, I presume him, it would be set-off in a 60/40 arrangement to cover the support when the children are with him.

This decision should not just be made for financial reasons. That goes for him and it goes for you too. If it comes across to the courts that you are resisting just because you want to receive full child support this looks bad. It is better if you both try to avoid this type of argument.

That being said, we all have financial issues. The best thing for the children is to have two parents equally involved with their lives who can co-operate and not fight about money or power. If a 60/40 situation can ease the hurt and the conflict and the resentment and allow you two to call each other up and discuss the kids needs and their lives and what they are doing and enjoy being parents together then it is worth anything.

The best thing for the children is if you two can agree on custody, agree on scheduling and get on with your lives and parent in a loving way that acknowledges that there are two equal parents. This isn't just words, I have lived this and there is plenty of research. The children thrive knowing that they are loved and cared for by both their parents in a situation that is low or especially non-conflict and non-confrontational.

The two of you should be able to act like co-workers in an office, not doing the same thing at the same time, but passing work back and forth and covering for each other on sick days and vacations. You don't have to like each other, you don't have to ever be in the same room, but you have to work in concert and communicate. This is what the children need regardless of what you and your ex feel about each other.

Anything less than this is bad for the children and it would be your responsibility as much as your ex's.

That doesn't mean it has to be 50/50, or 60/40 or any special percentage, it means you co-operate and discuss and don't fight over bullshit like a few hours a week.

I have friends with no separation agreement who have a roughly 50/50 schedule who work together and arrange the time according to their child's needs and who happens to be working on a given night. They have gotten along fine for 5 years now since splitting up. I often look at them as an example I want to follow.

That doesn't mean you have to be exactly like them, but in spirit every thing you do should be to put the children first.

Thinking that it's bad for the children to have a split schedule and it's bad for them to move back and forth is self-serving, to be frank. My children and many thousands and thousands of children thrive just fine going back and forth between parents. What children need is for their parents to stop fightings.

You may have been the primary caregiver up until now but now you are divorced and everyone's life is going to change. There is no reason you absolute must remain the primary caregiver. At one time you had never been a parent at all, then you became one and learned to be a caregiver. There is no reason your ex cannot change his life and become one too.

You will certainly appreciate the time to yourself, the chance to have an independent life and the chance to grow and make something for yourself. Use the time when the kids are away to have a life. I have my kids 50/50 and I have friends and activities and work and school going on.

Stop and make a list of actual factual reason why you should have full custody and then look them over and seriously question why you wrote them. Is it for you or is it for the kids? I seriously dislike and disrespect my ex, but my ex is a good parent and the best thing for the kids is to have us both in their lives equally. I have no doubt about that whatsoever.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
Your ex doesn't get out of child support with a 60/40 schedule.

He would be supporting the children when they are with him, paying for food, clothing, transportation, toys, recreation, school expenses, daycare, housing, utilities, everything you would pay for if they were with you full time.

What changes is that he doesn't make cash payments to you and then you spend the money.

Your expenses would go down considerably. There would still be a child support payment from the higher earning parent, I presume him, it would be set-off in a 60/40 arrangement to cover the support when the children are with him.

This decision should not just be made for financial reasons. That goes for him and it goes for you too. If it comes across to the courts that you are resisting just because you want to receive full child support this looks bad. It is better if you both try to avoid this type of argument.

That being said, we all have financial issues. The best thing for the children is to have two parents equally involved with their lives who can co-operate and not fight about money or power. If a 60/40 situation can ease the hurt and the conflict and the resentment and allow you two to call each other up and discuss the kids needs and their lives and what they are doing and enjoy being parents together then it is worth anything.

The best thing for the children is if you two can agree on custody, agree on scheduling and get on with your lives and parent in a loving way that acknowledges that there are two equal parents. This isn't just words, I have lived this and there is plenty of research. The children thrive knowing that they are loved and cared for by both their parents in a situation that is low or especially non-conflict and non-confrontational.

The two of you should be able to act like co-workers in an office, not doing the same thing at the same time, but passing work back and forth and covering for each other on sick days and vacations. You don't have to like each other, you don't have to ever be in the same room, but you have to work in concert and communicate. This is what the children need regardless of what you and your ex feel about each other.

Anything less than this is bad for the children and it would be your responsibility as much as your ex's.

That doesn't mean it has to be 50/50, or 60/40 or any special percentage, it means you co-operate and discuss and don't fight over bullshit like a few hours a week.

I have friends with no separation agreement who have a roughly 50/50 schedule who work together and arrange the time according to their child's needs and who happens to be working on a given night. They have gotten along fine for 5 years now since splitting up. I often look at them as an example I want to follow.

That doesn't mean you have to be exactly like them, but in spirit every thing you do should be to put the children first.

Thinking that it's bad for the children to have a split schedule and it's bad for them to move back and forth is self-serving, to be frank. My children and many thousands and thousands of children thrive just fine going back and forth between parents. What children need is for their parents to stop fightings.

You may have been the primary caregiver up until now but now you are divorced and everyone's life is going to change. There is no reason you absolute must remain the primary caregiver. At one time you had never been a parent at all, then you became one and learned to be a caregiver. There is no reason your ex cannot change his life and become one too.

You will certainly appreciate the time to yourself, the chance to have an independent life and the chance to grow and make something for yourself. Use the time when the kids are away to have a life. I have my kids 50/50 and I have friends and activities and work and school going on.

Stop and make a list of actual factual reason why you should have full custody and then look them over and seriously question why you wrote them. Is it for you or is it for the kids? I seriously dislike and disrespect my ex, but my ex is a good parent and the best thing for the kids is to have us both in their lives equally. I have no doubt about that whatsoever.
I concur!

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Old 07-03-2011, 12:29 PM
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I don't disagree with you on some points you have made. However I have many concerns regarding shared custody, especially in cases of very young children. I should emphasize that this is NOT about child support and in fact would go without it. It's the simple fact that my infant child, has been with me and I understand the importance of short frequent access to the non-custodial parent. The arrangement I am proposing is not a one day a week and every other weekend but rather access every couple of days that include joint children activites, a one evening a week and 1 overnight on the weekend. I find that is very reasonable. Children, especially young infants, need to build attachments. And going back and forth not knowing exactly what is going on is very concerning. I am believer that children should have a home-base and not go back and forth. It's not about quantity of time but rather quality of time. I did not choose to end my marriage. I did not choose this for my children. I did not expect that I was going to be left with two children during a maternity leave. I completely understand and believe that children need both parent involvement However I do not agree that they need to go back and forth every few days from home to home. As an adult, I would not want that. I would not want to go back and forth and sleep in another bed every few days. How about routines and consistency. My ex and I have the same parenting styles and I do not worry about the care of the children when they are them, however there is a lot of research regarding having a stable home-base for young children. The pendulum has swung the other way, and more and more it seems it's 50/50, but why is that so? is it because parents end their marriages mutually? Or is because parents are being selfish? Is 50/50 really in the best interest of the children or does it benefit parents? I have made a list and there are way more pros then cons. Thank you for your insight.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:33 PM
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Just to add since it' s becoming more and more popular the 50/50 type of arrangement in the last few years, we do not the affects of this type of arrangement in the years to come. Perhaps in 10 or 15 yrs, we will realize that this type of arrangement is not beneficial. I do not want my children to be the guinea pigs for this type of research. Because the children have a home-base with one parent, does not mean the other parent cannot be involved in other ways. We should also have to realize that children differ from one another. We need to regard children's temperement etc. I know that my infant child struggles with routine and sleep, and my preschooler thrives on cinsistency and routine. I fear that a 50/50 type of arrangement would jeopardize that.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:51 PM
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I guarantee that you will *not* get an answer that you will like here, at least not from anyone who has a clue and puts any thought into answering you.

Read what Mess wrote, and accept it as Gospel.

Alternatively, you can refuse to accept it and just rend your clothes and gnash your teeth and keep asking the same question until you find someone to agree with you.

The thing is, though, that none of this wil change what is going to happen, unless it is to reduce *your* access because you are being unrealistic and unreasonable.

My advice to everyone is this: Educate yourself and learn what is *going* to happen (the outcome, contrary to popular belief, is almost 100% predetermined) and then go forward with that expectation.

Joint parenting is the new reality, whether you think it's a good idea or not.

You have the answer you *need* despite the fact that it's not the one you *want.* What you do with that answer now is up to you.

Be smart: Cooperate.

Cheers!

Gary
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:40 PM
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Music99...I used this site as a resource for my own separation / divorce very successfully. I didn't post often because for the most part everything had already been asked an commented on.

Sometimes the advise you read on here may not be what you "think" is best. However, if you take the time to read, research and educate yourself you will find that you have already been given the best advise possible in answer to your question.

If you need more proof, then I suggest you is ask other parents you know in person who have been through it. Make sure you speak to parents who have children of all ages and all types of custody/access arrangements. In every instance the people I spoke to advised me that the children who had the least amount of issues while growing up were the ones who had shared 50/50 custody/access and who put the needs of their children first by keeping things simple and drama free for the children.

As to your response about not wanting your children to be guinea pigs for the sake of research. Ask yourself these questions if you decide now that you, and only you, are the best parent for your children and that custody and access should be less than 50/50:

1. Are you willing accept responsibility that you have made your children's relationship with their father such that he is a disney dad and gives them everything and anything they want because he wants what little time he has with them growing up to only be happy?

2. Are you willing to accept responsibility that when they are old enough to make up their own minds as to where they live that they just may choose to live with him because it has always been "fun" at his house? After all, he has rarely had them more than 3 days in a row over the years so he has no rules at his house and discipline for them is non-existent.

3. Are you willing to accept responsibility that in the future when your children ask you (and they will) why their father wasn't in their lives more you answer will be "I felt I was the better parent and didn't want to disrupt your lives so I decided your father shouldn't be a fully active parent in your lives."?

I know your children are young. However you and your ex are leaving each other...not your children. Your children deserve to spend just as much time with their father as you...regardless of what "you" feel right now.
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Old 07-03-2011, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiViLaLoco View Post

I know your children are young. However you and your ex are leaving each other...not your children. Your children deserve to spend just as much time with their father as you...regardless of what "you" feel right now.
What about the children's rights? I strongly believe that the children's rights need to be taken into account. Its not just a custody battle - there are two little human beings here who have very special needs that go way beyond us adults need for "equal 50/50". This website has been refered on here before, and I've read countless articles and research (for both sides) and strongly believe in this:

Your Social Worker - Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
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Old 07-03-2011, 07:17 PM
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Strongly believe in what? That webpage was rhetoric and opinion. All he said, the ONLY thing he said, was that parents should focus on having a meaningful relationship with their child.

Guess what? You can have 100% custody and be too busy to have a meaningful relationship. It should be about both, time and meaning, but when a parent is fighting for full custody and the other parent is scared of losing their existing meaningful relationship with a child, then yes it becomes about time share and a court battle.

The article seems to deride 50/50 by referring to parents seeking "rigid" 50/50 (without explaining what that is) and not saying anything positive about it.

He has absolutely nothing to say about parents who seek "rigid" full custody, of course.

He goes on and on about the need for a "meaningful" relationship without defining or explaining that or showing how it's done. He makes no point to explain how 50/50 can't be meaningful, but leaves behind an undertone that seeking 50/50 is somehow precluding it.

That article is empty of content or meaning. I'd like the author of that article to develop a meaningful relationship with logic, critical thinking and good writing.
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by music99 View Post
Children, especially young infants, need to build attachments. And going back and forth not knowing exactly what is going on is very concerning. I am believer that children should have a home-base and not go back and forth. It's not about quantity of time but rather quality of time.
For young infants - the most benefit for the child occurs when the frequency of visits is high, rather then the duration of the visits. consistancy of routine is huge too. In other words - more visits more often with less emphasis on whether they are overnight or whatever.

I think your quote can be read right back to you regarding your concern of "attachment". When should the child have opportunity to become 'attached' to your ex? When will the child be able to become 'attached' to his new home with your ex? Make no mistake about it. The child now has TWO homes.

Last edited by wretchedotis; 07-03-2011 at 08:06 PM.
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