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Old 06-25-2010, 10:06 PM
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Default A caring father fighting in a mother's system...

I'm going to make a T-shirt that says:

"I went to Family Court, and all I got was this stupid ulcer"

I guess this is my introduction/request for advice. So I'll begin with the basics.

My name is Steve and I'm a single working father who currently has a near 50% interim/temporarily ordered access time with my daughter. We have been through the paces of the Case Conference and Case Settlement (which was today) and things have been moved to the Trial Management step. My ex and I are entrenched on the issues of support, custody and access as follows:

I have asked for

  1. Joint custody
  2. The time I currently have with my little girl that has been status quo since March of 2009 be protected, that being every week from Tues @ 5pm to Thurs @ 8am and every other weekend from Friday @ 5pm to Monday @ 8am (pick ups and drop offs occur at her school or daycare)
  3. Support to me ex in the amount of $325/mo which was laid out in an Interim Order at the last Conference be maintained and not increased
My ex wants to dial back my time to one day during the week and claims that the current arrangement will affect her schooling, homework, extra curricular activities as well as impact the time she spends with her biological sister (my ex's child from a previous relationship). She is also asking for sole custody and requesting more support than was previously agreed upon in the Interim Order.

Cole's Notes version of my situation:

  • Common-law with my ex, I have never been married previously
  • Cohabitated for two years, together for a little over four
  • Her daughter she has with a previous relationship was 8mos old at the time we started dating
  • Adia was conceived during a time we were set to separate
  • Attempted to remain together for the sake of the girls (I helped to raise her daughter before the birth of my daughter) with little success
  • Separated officially in October 2006
  • Have been involved in BOTH girls' lives (my daughter's since birth, her daughter's since 8 months old) on a large and libera basis
  • Countless times I have had both girls for family events, special occasions and just to spend time with them for no particular reason
  • Time spent with Adia was two evenings during the week and every other weekend
  • Status quo as of March was as stated above in the Interim Order
  • My daughter is now 4.5 yrs old and when my ex and I got into an argument she tried to withold my weekday time, calling the police and claiming my mother and I "kidnapped" her daughter
I won't bore you with more detals. All I can say is I could line up a parade of family, friends and casual acquaintances who can attest that the allegations and claims being made in my ex's papers are either complete lies, or at one time were partial truths that have been taken so far out of context that they are now lies. My family has loved both my daughter and my ex's daughter (who is now 8 years old) and to this day my ex's daughter STILL asks to come stay with me and her sister (my daughter).

I am honestly frustrated as hell because I feel like I am losing ground in all of this and I just want to have the time my daughter currently spends with me protected and not get raked over the coals with support.

My biggest beef is the fact that in Aug/Sept of 2009 I finally had enough and served my ex with papers after she attempted to take time with my daughter away from me like she tried other times whenever we argued. Not even twelve hours later she had filed her response which was basically nothing but slander of me and painted me in a negative light like I was a lacklustre father at best who hardly helped out. She also asked for FULL SUPPORT TABLE AMOUNT from day one.

Keep in mind prior to me serving her with papers, she filed NOTHING with the courts whatsoever. All of the allegations and claims came out of the woodwork right after I served her.

Believe me, if I had the time and patience to type out my entire story I'd love to do so and I know that people would probably hate her just on principle alone. But that would do no good for myself or my daughter other than be a passive outlet for my frustrations.

I'm just tired of all this court bullshit and I want to put it behind me and get on with my life with my daughter. How do you get a court to see through the smoke and mirrors of an angry spiteful ex who has an axe to grind that you are a genuine and honest father who just want to be an equal part of his daughter's life? Because I'm running out of patience and both mental and emotinal strength trying to stay positive through all this.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:58 AM
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:39 AM
MsD MsD is offline
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I don't know why your ex has become so unreasonable - what is her justification for wanting sole custody? How will this in any way benefit your daughter?

I'm not in your shoes, so forgive the Pollyanna answer, but I believe that if you focus on what's best for your daughter and consistently demonstrate that it's your daughter's well-being that you are most committed to - in other words, take the high road and don't engage in a battle of wills with your ex - Why would the court decide otherwise? The children come first.

Fight the right fight. Stay strong.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:20 PM
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It sounds like you are doing everything right, and she is proving very clearly that she is not willing to abide by access schedule agreements already made. Which is a big blow to her on getting sole custody. It's hard to take the shitty accusations, but they probably won't add up to much in court. Make sure all of your responses are forward-looking, showing that you are planning for how you will both cooperatively care for your daughter.

Just curious, is she getting support from her first daughter's bio-dad? If not, she might have a claim to get child support from YOU,). As well, well you may have a claim for access with to her first daughter, as you were basically acting as her parent.

You now have about 42% access (probably a bit more more, if you figure in vacation/holiday time). I'd guess that she is attempting to get you below 40%, so that you would be paying full table amount of support.

It might be good to alter your CS request, so that it is automatically adjusted, using the tables, each year according to both your incomes. Making it a fixed amount is asking for trouble down the road.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:05 PM
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Good Luck. Sounds like you are doing all the right things though. Stay positive and keep the focus on your daughter.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:17 PM
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She can't withhold your access time, if she tries, get yourself to a lawyer and file an emergency motion for an interim order.

The question of child support should be auto adjusted, as has already been mentioned to you. Use the offset method, and adjust it automatically.

Also, get yourself the CCTB/UCCB application forms and file for it asap. (Gives you the CCTB 6 months a year). If she is not getting support from Biodad for your stepchild, she COULD make a play to try to get you to pay support.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsD View Post
I don't know why your ex has become so unreasonable - what is her justification for wanting sole custody? How will this in any way benefit your daughter?

I'm not in your shoes, so forgive the Pollyanna answer, but I believe that if you focus on what's best for your daughter and consistently demonstrate that it's your daughter's well-being that you are most committed to - in other words, take the high road and don't engage in a battle of wills with your ex - Why would the court decide otherwise? The children come first.

Fight the right fight. Stay strong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dinkyface View Post
It sounds like you are doing everything right, and she is proving very clearly that she is not willing to abide by access schedule agreements already made. Which is a big blow to her on getting sole custody. It's hard to take the shitty accusations, but they probably won't add up to much in court. Make sure all of your responses are forward-looking, showing that you are planning for how you will both cooperatively care for your daughter.

Just curious, is she getting support from her first daughter's bio-dad? If not, she might have a claim to get child support from YOU,). As well, well you may have a claim for access with to her first daughter, as you were basically acting as her parent.

You now have about 42% access (probably a bit more more, if you figure in vacation/holiday time). I'd guess that she is attempting to get you below 40%, so that you would be paying full table amount of support.

It might be good to alter your CS request, so that it is automatically adjusted, using the tables, each year according to both your incomes. Making it a fixed amount is asking for trouble down the road.
My family, close friends and I all agree she is likely being that way for a few reasons:
  1. She is trying to tip the scales in her favour with custody and access so that she can continue to received the Child Tax Benefit, government subsidy for childcare as well as dependent write-off ability for our child (I currently receive nothing at all),
  2. By trying to dial back my time each and every week from two evenings to one, we definitely feel as well that she is trying to put me at less than 40% and put her in a position to request table amount for support,
  3. She is still spiteful over the breakdown of the relationship and this is her way of maintaining some kind of control.
I definitely am focusing on what's best for my daughter but it is hard to keep focus ahead when I know that what she is claiming and trying to do is not right and in my opinion has absolutely NOTHING to do with her concern for our daughter's rights. We feel that she simply wants to take as much as she can for free.

What I am asking for in court is what the Temporary/Interim Order lists right now so it's nothing different than what we have now. So for her to entrench herself against it is frustrating beyond belief. In her defense, she IS abiding by the items in the Interim Order (however I suspect this is because she knows I won't take any shit and I'd be more than happy to call the police with my Interim Order in hand if she so much as starts to withhold my daughter from me) but anyone I have talked to just shakes their head and can't believe she is stonewalling things this far.

I was the one who served her with papers because I was tired of all the bullshit and arguments, not to mention I didn't want to live in fear that if she decided to just up and move, I had nothing to protect my daughter's time with me nor was I even legally recognized in the eyes of the law as my daughter's biological father. I don't suspect she would even if she had the ability to do so, but then again I didn't think she would file the lies and bullshit that she did.

As for her sister, my ex already has a claim out against the father for support (he was a deadbeat when I lived with my ex and her daughter which is an even bigger kick in the face because I'm being treated like I am one as well) and the claim to access has been withdrawn in the Interim Order.

This honestly all started not twelve hours after I served her with papers. Suddenly she had filed claims and such basically making me out to be a deadbeat father which is the farthest from the truth. I won't get into my life story here but I will say that she is not making any friends being this way and she is fortunate I am unable to hire a lawyer, for I could line up a parade of witnesses who would discredit her claims and basically make her look like a liar who has her own selfish motives at heart and not the best interests of her children.

Thank you so much for your replies everyone. It is comforting to speak to people who know what I'm dealing with, even though I'm sure it is nowhere near what many of you have been through.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:04 AM
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What is stopping you from having those witnesses? I'm sure they will still testify if need be.

If you have a temp order that gives you the time you currently have then don't let her change a thing. Are you volunteering at school/daycare? Have you gone to meetings with teachers, coaches etc. Do EVERYTHING that you can to show you are an active involved parent and I think you should be ok. Don't let her scare you, that's the only thing she can hope for now.

Do you have joint custody? There is NOTHING that prevents you from equal time (50/50) even if she has sole custody. Don't let anyone convince you that sole custody = less than 40%.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
What is stopping you from having those witnesses? I'm sure they will still testify if need be.

If you have a temp order that gives you the time you currently have then don't let her change a thing. Are you volunteering at school/daycare? Have you gone to meetings with teachers, coaches etc. Do EVERYTHING that you can to show you are an active involved parent and I think you should be ok. Don't let her scare you, that's the only thing she can hope for now.

Do you have joint custody? There is NOTHING that prevents you from equal time (50/50) even if she has sole custody. Don't let anyone convince you that sole custody = less than 40%.
I can gather witnesses to back up the claims and statements I made in my Briefs for sure. I'm just going at this alone so I'm worried that a technicality or something done out of process will stand in my way. I'm very adept at researching and learning things through, but there's something extremely intimidating about the whole court process that no matter how much I prepare and practice on my own, I still get the clammy hands and nervousness when I'm sitting in front of the judge.

I currently do not have joint custody as per the Temporary Order but I am basically asking for the Temporary Order to be made into a Final Order. I'm not trying to take anything more from her and all I would like is joint custody, the current time I have now be protected and the current child support amount be maintained as per the Adjusted Table Amounts given the fact I have my daughter over 40% of the time.

I have attached a copy of the Temporary Order in my other thread if you would like to see what it details. Feel free to look over it and tell me your honest opinion of it: http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f...html#post42924
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:49 PM
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Almost forgot to mention that yes I was a member of the Parent Council at my daughter's school and I also volunteered for one of her school field trips. I have been to other events as part of the Parent Council as well but with my full-time work schedule it's hard to get the time off to volunteer for all the events.

I actually had the wonderful opportunity to meet Ontario Premiere Dalton McGuinty and be a part of the events when he announced the Full-Day Learning Program for Ontario. My daughter's school was one of the first ones chosen to implement the program and the announcement was made at her school and because my daughter would be going into the program and it would be implemented in her class, I was asked to come be the parent rep from Parent Council.

I have a picture even which I plan to bring to court showing the Premiere sitting with Adia and I while she coloured .
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