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Common As Dirt - Another Case Record

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  • Common As Dirt - Another Case Record

    Iím new on the forum, and going through a separation / custody dispute in Southern Ontario like many others on here. Iím starting this thread as a bit of a log of my experiences, as well as a place to ask questions / get clarification when needed. My situation in a nutshell:

    Mother requests:

    - Sole custody with supervised visitation.

    - Child support payment based on Ontario Guidelines.


    Father requests (thatís me):

    - Joint custody and unsupervised visitation every other weekend with my oldest child (2.5 years old), and the same with my youngest once he is old enough for it to be reasonable.

    - Visitation of both children on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between the hours of 6 and 9pm.

    - Ability to take the oldest child (and eventually the youngest) to the United States during my visitation periods so they can see their grandparents and cousins, among the rest of the family.

    - Limitation on moving distance (~60km) from Somewhere, ON


    Key Points:

    - I have been a significant part of my childrenís lives since they were born. I have a close bond and relationship with my oldest child. I would like the opportunity to have the same caring and loving relationship with my youngest child.

    - Child support per provincial guidelines has been paid consistently.

    - There is no history or record of abuse of any kind. Neither parent has a criminal record.

    - I drafted a separation agreement requesting the items mentioned above, and the mother refused to negotiate and filed a court application.

    - The mother has turned down several written requests for mediation to reach a mutual agreement on custody and access.

    - I have kept a log and records of all written communications since we separated, which details the motherís unreasonable behavior and lack of effort at a resolution.


    After retaining a lawyer briefly to draft my separation agreement, I am now self representing (although I am retaining a lawyer as an advisor in a couple of weeks). Iíve filed all required documents (Answer, Financial Statement, etc..) in response to her court application.

    The first case conference is being held within two weeks. My Answer form states what Iím asking for, so I donít see any reason to file any motions at this time. I just have a couple questions regarding the initial case conference and what I should expect:

    1. Is there anything I really need to do before the first case conference? I have all my records and documentation organized and ready for action. Iíve also got a really snazzy suit to wear, so I wonít look like a bum in front of the judge .

    2. What should I expect at the case conference? I have done a fair share of reading through forum threads so far, and I get the impression that the case conferences are mostly to create a dialog between parties and push towards a settlement / agreement. Is this correct?

  • #2
    I had a case conference but there were no CS or children involved as they were considered adults.
    I do have a few questions about your post that I think you should consider.
    1. If there was no criminal behaviour why would the mother want supervised access or what would give her any indication that it is necessary?
    2. A child of 2.5 years should be sleeping at 7 p.m. why would you want access so late in the day?

    Just a few words of caution---think about what is best for the child.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by momforever1956 View Post
      I had a case conference but there were no CS or children involved as they were considered adults.
      I do have a few questions about your post that I think you should consider.
      1. If there was no criminal behaviour why would the mother want supervised access or what would give her any indication that it is necessary?
      2. A child of 2.5 years should be sleeping at 7 p.m. why would you want access so late in the day?

      Just a few words of caution---think about what is best for the child.
      To answer your questions:

      1. Initially she wanted sole custody and unsupervised access every other weekend from Saturday until Sunday (per her separation agreement draft). After I disagreed and sent my separation agreement to her she changed her tune and asked for supervised visitation. It's mostly based on control and resentment. Her way or the highway.

      2. The 2.5 year old goes to bed between 8:30 and 9pm each night. My request is flexible based on what's best for the kids schedule. I figure it's best to ask for more rather than less starting out. Ultimately I just want to see the kids as much as possible in addition to having them every other weekend.

      Comment


      • #4
        If she has no basis for supervised access and is playing ohhh so naughty immature selfish, self serving games you be prepared to fight it. As a responsible parent you ask for the maximum and hopefully she will be dealt with in a manner she deserves. Keep focused and do what is best for your child!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I appreciate the kind words, and am confident that we'll reach an agreement that benefits the kids eventually (hopefully within this decade). She's not a bad mother per se, but is behaving very irrationally at the moment. I'm hoping that once the judge gets involved it will open her eyes a bit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Why are you not asking for 50-50 joint custody? Why do you only want every other weekend?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Berner_Faith View Post
              Why are you not asking for 50-50 joint custody? Why do you only want every other weekend?
              I'm asking for around 40%. Every other weekend and visits during the week. In the beginning I had asked for 50%, but after seeking legal advice I was told that it's not a reasonable or realistic request based mostly on the fact that the children are so young. Also the judge presiding over the case is supposedly not receptive to a shared custody arrangement.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ninehundredt View Post
                I'm asking for around 40%. Every other weekend and visits during the week. In the beginning I had asked for 50%, but after seeking legal advice I was told that it's not a reasonable or realistic request based mostly on the fact that the children are so young. Also the judge presiding over the case is supposedly not receptive to a shared custody arrangement.
                Unless you are getting over nights during the week, you are not getting 40%. I would suggest you search this forum. There is tons of advice on shared custody for young child and about steps to achieve shared custody. If you want what's best for the kids and you are a dedicated father, 50-50 is what you need to be shooting for. Look up case law regarding shared and equal parenting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I appreciate the suggestion and will take it into advisement.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    2.5 yrs is not too young for a child to have a complete relationship with both parents. See cavannah vs johne and many other decisions.

                    I agree with Berner Faith. 50/50 or the child is being denied a full relationship with one of its parents. Assuming there are no concerns which are real, the request for supervised access is likely just an attempt to try to make you look like a very bad man and/or to make the child's access to you inconvenient and unpleaseant for you, thus increasing the chance of you giving up. If that's what it is, in the end it will look like the mother is using it as an impediment to settlement and to the child's relationship with you. Don't worry about it and don't say yes to it.

                    Be careful that you don't experience being shoved toward "settlement" with settlement as the goal rather than the child's interests as the goal. If you're self repping you are keeping your costs down so one way of getting you to cave (driving your costs up) is dealt with.

                    Just my thoughts, for what they're worth.

                    Good luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Berner_Faith View Post
                      Why are you not asking for 50-50 joint custody? Why do you only want every other weekend?
                      Agreed. You should be going onto this requesting the judge to do what is in the best interest of the children which is shared custody.

                      It sounds like you are getting into the trap by lawyers and judges that are old and custom to the past of sole custody to mom and every other weekend screw job to dad.

                      You should be building a case for shared custody. There is no reason both kids cannot sleep at your house over night 2 days a week and Fri, Sat, Sun on weekends. Many of us here have done it, most with younger kids (1 years old or so). If they can sleep at her house they can sleep at your house.

                      Also, setting the school district is very important. This must be identified in your agreement what school they attend. That way a year from now when she remarries and decides to move 3 hours away with her new rich hubby she can't take the kids away from you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am going through the same thing right now. Our daughter was about to start preschool and we'd always discussed ex working for dual income. Came home from work one day to no kidling and no ex. Only difference is "I" filed an application. Also, she went and filed a police report that I was abusive, alcoholic, drugs .. you name it. Was never charged or anything. Police didn't even come to my house. That was strictly to make her abduction legal. The police were expecting my call and told me to get a lawyer. Only supervised access she's offered is impossible (elderly grandparents who live in another city and don't drive distances). Now lawyers saying he asked me to join "waiting list" for supervised access program. Haven't seen kidling (3 yrs old) in 3 months. Its a nightmare. I have a clean record check as well as a clean drug test to present. Kidling saw me every day, was left alone with me daily and shares an incredibly close bond with me. Im going for an emergency motion (self-repping) this week and am asking that our child be returned to the matrimonial home and 50/50 week-about access, spending every Wednesday night at other parents house. I sent an offer to settle today outlining my concerns and offering to abandon Emergency motion with assurances that I get immediate interim 50/50 access, she doesn't flee and that we enter mediation come the case conference later in the month. I don't expect the other party to budge but Ill never stop fighting for 50/50 access. The letter shows the judge that Im willing to negotiate, etc

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are seeking to keep you both living in the same district (aka 60km radius) going for shared custody would be a good idea. Keep in mind if you and the ex cannot cooperate rather than joint custody, you should seek parallel parenting where each parent has control over certain decisions. For example, one person deals with the school, another may deal with the doctor, the sports teams, religious issues, etc.

                          You should seek a minimum of 3 overnights every week (this is 42%) and ask for offset child support.

                          The children are not too young and they won't stay young for long. In our case shared custody started at 14 months of age even with breastfeeding considerations.

                          Your post is very straightforward, well organized and to the point. I think you have the right mentality (after first impression).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LovingFather32 View Post
                            I am going through the same thing right now. Our daughter was about to start preschool and we'd always discussed ex working for dual income. Came home from work one day to no kidling and no ex. Only difference is "I" filed an application. Also, she went and filed a police report that I was abusive, alcoholic, drugs .. you name it. Was never charged or anything. Police didn't even come to my house. That was strictly to make her abduction legal. The police were expecting my call and told me to get a lawyer. Only supervised access she's offered is impossible (elderly grandparents who live in another city and don't drive distances). Now lawyers saying he asked me to join "waiting list" for supervised access program. Haven't seen kidling (3 yrs old) in 3 months. Its a nightmare. I have a clean record check as well as a clean drug test to present. Kidling saw me every day, was left alone with me daily and shares an incredibly close bond with me. Im going for an emergency motion (self-repping) this week and am asking that our child be returned to the matrimonial home and 50/50 week-about access, spending every Wednesday night at other parents house. I sent an offer to settle today outlining my concerns and offering to abandon Emergency motion with assurances that I get immediate interim 50/50 access, she doesn't flee and that we enter mediation come the case conference later in the month. I don't expect the other party to budge but Ill never stop fighting for 50/50 access. The letter shows the judge that Im willing to negotiate, etc
                            I've actually followed your thread quite closely, and I think we have a lot of common ground between us. It's sad that these situations arise and have to be dealt with in this way. This crazy notion of 'supervised access' is ridiculous and judges have heard it all before. I would not worry over accusations and her push for unreasonable custody arrangements. How soon is your case conference?


                            Originally posted by FightingForFamily View Post
                            If you are seeking to keep you both living in the same district (aka 60km radius) going for shared custody would be a good idea. Keep in mind if you and the ex cannot cooperate rather than joint custody, you should seek parallel parenting where each parent has control over certain decisions. For example, one person deals with the school, another may deal with the doctor, the sports teams, religious issues, etc.

                            You should seek a minimum of 3 overnights every week (this is 42%) and ask for offset child support.

                            The children are not too young and they won't stay young for long. In our case shared custody started at 14 months of age even with breastfeeding considerations.

                            Your post is very straightforward, well organized and to the point. I think you have the right mentality (after first impression).
                            Thanks for your suggestions. Although I'm sure I could push for a shared custody arrangement, due to certain factors it would not be ideal at this time.

                            My intention is to obtain the terms I stated in the beginning of the thread, and then (per a yearly stipulation of review) update the custody arrangement in a year to coincide more with the schedule you mentioned...since my oldest will be in pre-school, and overnights will be much easier to arrange during the week.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @LovingFather32: I've been following your thread closely. It's terrible that we have to go through these things, but with a little perseverance we'll prevail.

                              I appreciate everyone's suggestions, but for now joint custody is the most appropriate route due to the specific circumstances of the living situation and age of my youngest child. I intend to revise this at the yearly review to coincide more with a shared custody arrangement.

                              So my case conference is supposed to be adjourned as the other parties lawyer is unable to attend, but I still have to drive in and make a show in case it isn't actually postponed...since they waited until the last minute to make the request. Bah. Such is life.

                              Comment

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