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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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  #1  
Old 10-06-2008, 01:39 PM
chinyuk chinyuk is offline
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Default Need some advice on child schedule

My situation is as follow, ex-wife and I have separated for almost 2 years. She initially took the kids and restricted my access to the kids. However, we have been following a pretty regular schedule for about 1 and a half year where the kids spend Wednesday evening for dinner and Friday + Saturday with a Friday night stay-over. I am currently requesting through a separation agreement to move the Wed evening to Thurs and increase one extra night of stay-over to make the schedule a bit easier with less commute. However, she disagree and say if we can agreed, she will bring it to court to decide.

What I like to know is that given the current arrangement has been in place for well over 1.5 years, it would be hard for me to believe the court ruling would alter anything. I would imagine the ruling would be status quo despite I have a reasonable request to make a minor modification. However, she continue to tell me that the judge will normally just grant me access every other Saturday if this case was taken to court as this is the norm. Very hard for me to believe the court will change a pattern of child care as it has been the case for such a lengthy period of time.

As a side note, my propose schedule would still not exceed the 40% reside with me rule, therefore, I don't think the child support plays a key issue here.

To conclude I would like to know the following:

1) Is it even possible that the court will rule me every other Saturday. Just for extra information, there was never any case of violence that occur between the kids and I and no previous court order to rule me to not be able to see the kids ever.
2) What is the likelihood that my propose minor alteration to the schedule be granted if the case was to be taken tho court

Thanks in advance to those that can give me an honest answer.
  #2  
Old 10-06-2008, 03:17 PM
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Generally the status quo prevails, when this changes it is usually to add more time as the children get older, and only less time if it can be shown to be harmful to the children.

It is not unreasonable to ask for what you are asking for.
In fact it would not be unreasonable to ask for the Wednesday to continue with every other weekend inclusive, IE from Friday after school to Sunday at their bed time or before to allow for bedtime prep.

Plus half of all the school holidays IE spring break, summer, and Christmas. And alternating long weekend, plus father's day and your birthday.

Based on your request, I think a court would most certainly agree tot he minor change, but generally a request for a change must be because of a material change for the children, IE getting older.
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:27 PM
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FL has it right. There is no reason why you shouldn't ask for the MINIMUM access to your kids. And the minimum access is... one midweek weeknight visit and every-other-weekend Friday evening until Sunday evening. Plus, you should also have access to your children for 50% of holidays.

However, there are instances where that minimum is unreasonable, such as mine and my fiance's situation - where we live 100km from where my stepson resides with his mom - and so it is impossible to have midweek visits with him.*

I think you should definitely request a change in access. Simply say that you had a schedule change at work and are no longer able to accommodate Wednesday night visits. I think the court would be favourable to your request.

*Personally, I think midweek visits are a bit of a disruption to a child's schedule. As a teacher, I have had several kids tell me they weren't able to finish their homework because they had to go have dinner with Dad. Granted, the same could be said about extracurricular activities, but I just find - from experience - that the midweek visits were draining, both on the child and the parents. Just a thought. You may want to forgo them - as we did - and request some additional time elsewhere (e.g. an extra weekend during summer holidays). Just my 2 cents worth... ;-)
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinyuk View Post
We have been following a pretty regular schedule for about 1 and a half year where the kids spend Wednesday evening for dinner and Friday + Saturday with a Friday night stay-over. I am currently requesting through a separation agreement to move the Wed evening to Thurs and increase one extra night of stay-over to make the schedule a bit easier with less commute. However, she disagree and say if we can agreed, she will bring it to court to decide.
The way I'm reading your access, you are getting every Wednesday evening and every (as opposed to every other) weekend, but only Friday overnight i.e. Friday afterschool to Saturday before bed.

I think you want to change to Thursday evening and every Friday/Saturday overnight. Assuming that's right...

The only problem I see with your plan is that Mom will have virtually no leisure time with the kids on weekends. You might want to propose you get the first three weekends of the month and Mom gets the fourth weekend. You could also ask for or propose to split the four occasions of the year when there's a fifth weekend. That's how our schedule works.

I agree with FL above regarding holidays and long weekends i.e. split them. Again, that's how we do it.

Your request for more time appear highly reasonable. I completely disagree with your ex that a judge will give you less time. That's a scare tactic, sadly.

If you two have to go into court with a proposed change that considers Mom's leisure time and you make sure the judge knows that, I would be loving your chances.

If your proposed changes do not upset the 60/40 rule, then it would be very difficult to argue against you. If your changes do change the 60/40 split, and you agree to continue the CS as is, your case is even more compelling.

Last edited by dadtotheend; 10-06-2008 at 07:53 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:02 PM
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Oh, and one other thing to consider... NOT splitting or alternating long weekend holidays.

I know this may sound strange... I was opposed to it at first too... but when I plugged it all into a calendar for the next 5 years, it actually works out evenly!

For example, if you're doing every-other-weekend access... that schedule continues throughout the year, and includes the additionl 24 or 48 hours of a long weekend holidy (e.g., Thanksgiving, Easter). The only holiday that is then split 50/50 and alternates yearly is Christmas/New Year. It's a lot easier to sort out, there are no schedule changes or arguments over who gets the kid(s) for which part of the holiday, and in the end, it evens out. Sure, you may not see your child for Thanksgiving for three years in a row, but you'll have him/her for Easter for 2-3 years in a row, and then it'll flip, and you'll spend Thanksgiving with them every year for the next 3-4 years. Despite my initial opposition to this schedule, I find that it works great! (Plus, when we really want to celebrate a holiday with my stepson, we have our own little celebration the weekend before!)

Just some food for thought!
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:41 PM
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Are you now considering a variation in child support?

If you propose a schedule that upsets the 60/40 split and then ask for a variation in child support, your motives will be called into question by the other side and possibly the judge.

That is a material change and a bigger departure from the status quo, therefore more risky.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:04 AM
chinyuk chinyuk is offline
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Well to be exact, this is the current schedule on a weekly basis:

Wednesday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. to Saturday 9:00 p.m

I want to consider changing it to the following on a weekly basis:

Thurs 5:30 p.m. to Saturdary 9:00 p.m.

If you do the math, that's approx 30.6% of the time the kids spend with me, which is nowhere near the 40/60 split. The main motivation is just a unity in the schedule so it is a fix time every week. My daughter is now 4.5 yrs old while my son is a bit over 2.5 yrs old.
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