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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 11-19-2008, 10:20 PM
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Default What are my rights with Primary Caregiver?

I have a question concerning Primary Caregiver with joint custody.

My ex common law partner and I had an aggreement drawn up by and lawyer and signed and delivered to court. Its states that I am the primary caregiver and we have joint custody to our 5 year old daughter.

I give every consideration to his schedule and he is very demanding and contolling in every way. He takes her all of his days off which are sporadic at best. 3 days one week then 2 days per week the next. which we agreed to in emails. This is hard to do since our daughters schedule involves two schools and lots of travel time. I do my best with arranging for him to see her when he can. He is always changing his schedule and then making it hard for me to arrange mine. He has been on workmans comp now for 2 months. My question is this, if he demands to see her 4 days for one week, and I don't agree to this what are my rights? Can he demand to see her. He is trying to take her as many days as he can to lower his CS. Its all about the money to him. He loves his daughter, but its clear cut that its all about the CS. If I don't agree to let him have her on the days that HE wants, how does that affect me as to what I can not agree to and what I can? It looks so one sided if I say no, but why should I let him make all of the schedule?

We are in a CS dispute at the moment. All this aside because it doesn't have anything to do with child custody, and I know I can't deny him seeing her. I am trying to work out some sort of schedule with him. The best interest of the child is everything and I agree it should be.

Please help
Thanks
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:03 AM
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A child requires stability and structure. Call it routine if you will. Courts don't like sporadic schedules for children. Primary Caregiver means that your child primarily lives with you.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:35 AM
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I agree LV, there really should be some kind of a schedule put in place so that the days can be anticipated not only by you but the child!
I realize she is young, but consistency is important in her young life.
With a schedule you can draw up a calendar and she can cross out the days with you to see how many "sleeps" before she goes to dads.
And that is how I would present it to the dad.

I would try to avoid any conflict with the CS amount, even though that's his focus, and hard when you are in the thick of it.
I would attempt to settle a schedule, and do so in writing, either email or a formal letter.
Ask him to compare it to his schedule, which at the moment should not matter since he is unemployed.
Is he a shift worker? That would explain the variation form week to week.

What I don't understand is why the child is in two schools?
Are we talking day care and JK/SK? Or does she physically attend a different school depending on which parent has her? This is FAR too confusion for her as well. Maybe not while in JK or SK, but definitely when she proceeds to the higher grades. Every school teaches the same substance, but not in the same order or depth.

I do not think you have the sole right to set the access schedule, however if you both cannot agree on a schedule I am afraid that the courts may impose one until you can. I would not deny him access, as you said, it will only look bad on you in court.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:37 AM
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Thanks for your help, and although I have tried to work out a schedule thats good for our daughter and for him, he still wants her more...I have always let him have his own way, detrement for all of us I'm afraid. Now, since our daughter is getting older its important for her to have a structured schedule. What he does is give me his schedule 3 to 4 days before and lets me work it out. Which I have done in the past. He is a loose cannon that is bullying me time and time again.

I have called FRO and they told me he hasn't taken any action with them, other than filling out the required paper except they didn't even know he was back to work. He has made two paymentsto me since July and November 28th is the date FRO is going to take court action. I am going to the courthouse tommorrow to find out more information about getting a schedule. This is more important to me than the money right now.

Our daughters birthday is in Jan so she is older than most in her class. She needed more stimulation so we send her to SK in the morning at a public school....walking distance for me, a 5 minute drive for him, and a Montessori(relative is paying for) school in the afternoon 2 minute drive for him and a 5 minute drive for me. Because he has her through the week, he claims he doesn't get enough time with her. When he has the occasional weekend off, I always let him have her. He is since back to work with gradual hours so I am trying to work out something. My thing is that I am afraid of him, I am afraid that he will just pick her up from school whenever he wants against my will. I was asking about my rights as the primary caregiver. I need to stand up and get a backbone and not let him walk all over me in terms of visitation. I am hoping that the courthouse will see that and get a schedule together for the both of us, as I am tired of him bullying me.

Thanks
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:02 AM
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In my case with respect to the "bullying", I had to deal with emotional and physical abuse, so we were never in the same room when it came time for negotiations/mediation. I made it quite clear that I could not negotiate at any level because of the intimidation he had over me. Therefore I was permitted to be in a separate room, the judge spoke to his lawyer and my lawyer who expressed my desires. That way my views were heard without me caving at his stare, which is all it took after years of abuse.

It may be an option for you too not have to be in the same room during mediation. If you demonstrate that he has been intimidating and has a bullying demeanour the courts may allow it for you as well. That way you can concentrate on what's in the daughter’s best interests without having to worry about how he's going to treat you or his intimidation techniques.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for your help Fl, tommorrow when I visit the courthouse I am going to make a request for the same thing and have us in seperate rooms. He charms everyone because he is a salesperson and has his way most of the time. I was also mentally abused, and he threw my son out by physical force from our house. I would hide in rooms for hours on end to escape from his words and accusations. He is highly emotional and unpredictable at best. He is doing so many things wrong in my eyes, and in so many others, but after years of bullying I am through and am trying to stick up and do my best. I will keep you posted.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:29 PM
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Your daughter needs a set schedule, which will be challenging because of your ex's shift work. Keep in mind that it is the child around whom the schedule should be built not the parents. We made that mistake when we separated and set the schedule around my ex's shift work. Not a good move.

Last edited by dadtotheend; 11-20-2008 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:01 PM
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my ex and i are in a very bitter custody battle at the moment. The very first thing we did when we separated a year ago was to establish an access schedule approved by the courts. My ex is very controlling and vendictive so i HAD to have something legal for him to realize he couldn't push me around with access times. I am the primary caregiver, however, he continues to think he is the better parent and tries everything under the sun to show that I am not caring for my son. ( 2 years old) Very frustrating. We still have to deal with custody and equalization, and because he is such a bitter person and refuses to communicate in a mature and rational manner, we have been forced to go to trial. This will be a long stressfull haul, dn very expensive. If only he could grow up.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:21 PM
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Survivor45-
Has he been paying you child support at all?
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:47 PM
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I agree that you need to make it clear that his was abusive and can intimidate you easily. If you don't speak up, the courts and lawyers will assume that you stand on equal ground. You need to insist on a schedule. You know it is best for your child, and by allowing him to arrange the schedule to his advantage, you reinforce his power over you.

I suggest you start keeping records of his requests, your responses etc. If you have tried to accomodate him as much as possible, that is great, but your child is first and foremost.

I am going through something similar. Though my childs dad has been co-operative, he has started changing his mind and trying to manipulate me. So I have filed for sole custody. I am willing to continue the 50/50 that we have, I just need final say on important issues so that he cannot change things that won't be good for our child. I will of course listen ti his opinion, and try to work things out fairly, but if need be I will hopefully get to make decisions that are best for our daughter.

Maybe you should consider something similar?
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