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  • Status Quo kicks in. trouble for Dad

    So after my second meeting with the lawyer, I was told that due to our six year self made agreement it will look bad in the courts that i would be asking for more time all of a sudden. Status Quo has kicked in. In our self made agreements, the ex and i always made the visitation agreement and CS on our own.

    Now the ex wants full CS payments, and no time increase in the visitation. (keeping me just under 40%) It seems like if i take it to court im in for a up hill battle. Almost to the point, where i should just take what i can get from my ex and save myself the 10 grand it will take to go through the courts.

    Im really confused. What do you think? Should i try my hand in court and see what decision i could get in the courts. The draw back, is lots of ill will with my daughters mom, and lots of money spent.

    or should i try to negotiate the best possible solution with my ex and keep working with a self made agreement? The draw back being, nothing is on paper and I am at the will of my ex's decisions.

    It seems like a lose lose to me. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • #2
    I don think changing from 40% to say.. 50% is such a HUGE shift in the Status-Quo.

    Would a judge begrudge you that you simply want to be more involoved and present in your children(s) life?

    I dont really think so.

    Comment


    • #3
      It shouldn't be just about money, but financial situations affect what kind of care and relationship each parent can have with the child.

      You should first of all state that you have been sitting at 40%, and have been paying reduced CS based on that fact. It doesn't matter whether this was actually part of your original discussions, this is the reality of your status quo and you have be operating under that.

      You should frame your argument to show that it is your ex who wants to change the status quo and take full custody and receive full child support. Let's face it, that is most likely her motive here.

      Take a good look at the time you have spent with your child over the past few years, and detail as much as you can over the past few months. Have you had extra time with her when your ex wanted a night out? Have you taken care of her when she was sick and off school? Have you had extra hours here and there? Even if it's irregular, does it happen every month? Total up as much as you can.

      Also point out as much as you can about your involvement with the child. Do you take her to doctor's appointments? Dentist? Do you go on school trips as a volunteer occasionally? Do you meet with the teacher? Spend any time with her at after school activities? Lessons?

      The point is also to show that it is not just hours, but that you are intimate with your child's day to day life, and qualitatively you are acting as a shared, joint parent, the situation is not at all as though you just having visits and your ex was taking care of 100% of her life's details. You have to show that if the ex suddenly gets full custody that this means an actual meaningful change in the child's circumstance.

      OK, so do all this, put it in logical point form on a pad of paper. Is there enough there? Do you have a case? You should critically judge yourself before you spend a dime on a lawyer, or a minute arguing with your ex.

      If you don't have a case, then your ex will be able to show legitimate cause to have full custody. If you have a lot of points there, she won't.

      Now you have to decide how you will go about this. If you write this out and present it to your ex, will she start trying to sabotage your involvement? Will she start insisting on making all the doctor visits? Will she start doing all the school involvement? Will she start limiting those extra hour you're willing to babysit? If this would happen, you are better off not showing your hand right away.

      Because your ex is starting this, if you want to protect your access you have to work. You have to solidfy your status as shared parents, and get it formalized on paper. Your ex probably won't want to do this voluntarily. You aren't going to have much choice.

      There are ways you can try to limit your legal costs. Do as much work as you can, prepare your case in a detailed fashion like I described, get a series of free half hour consultations with a number of lawyers and get a few answers you need at each one. You will probably need a lawyer, but do all the prep work first so the lawyer just has to step in and make the full arguments for you in court. That is an example, but do the best you can.

      I don't think "lot's of ill will" from the child's mum should affect your decision to move on this. You are looking at a significant change in status, in your relationship, in your finances, and this is a very aggressive move on the part of your ex. She isn't doing this casually. She is already acting from ill will, IMHO, and you are going to be on the receiving end one way or another.

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks mess.....i have re read your points and working on the details now...i was smart and have my day books going back six years....lots of dates and times..... I just need to figure out how to pull this off with the least amount of collateral" damage possible. I'm off to see another lawyer today for some more opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mess View Post
          .

          You should frame your argument to show that it is your ex who wants to change the status quo and take full custody and receive full child support. Let's face it, that is most likely her motive here.
          And how does one do this without coming across as bashing the other?
          Any thoughts on a clever way to word this concept favourably?

          Comment


          • #6
            Duty council told me to state facts, only facts, no emotions and fingerpointing.
            eg:
            • For the past 6 years we have been following our mutually agreed upon SA, signed (date)
            • We have exercised joint custody from this date for our daughter.
            • I have consistently had my daughter for just under 40% of the time.
            • On these occasions I have requested to spend more time with my daughter (state results;denial and reason).
            • I believe that ex is denying this extra time to keep me under the 40% threshold normally used to calculate CS.
            • I have been actively involved in all aspects of her life. (state here what activities you attended, how often. parent teacher interviews, doctor, dentist appointments).
            • I am equally capable of caring for my daughter and have shown this consistently. I would like the status quo to continue, with shared custody in a 60/40 split.

            Comment


            • #7
              thanks for the input, Im working through it and will post what happens.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well i dont have much good news to say. She has been served a court date, which occurs in 7 weeks from now. I have tried my best to keep the lines of communication open in the hopes that we could work even some of it out on our own. I have to go to one of those orientation meetings that let you know about how family law works?

                Then the case conference. I really hope some good things can come out of this. I hope the judge will give us some time, so some things can be hashed out. My lawyer told me that 95% of cases get settled during this process, yet all the judge reads is the brief and makes a decision? Yikes, im starting to get worried. It seems so little? Do you get to talk to the judge at all? Is there more than one case conference?

                If only five percent ever go to trial, then when do the two parties finally decide that enough is enough, and make some compromises?

                anyways, the waiting is killing me. Many sleepless nights. I need to find a way to calm down and think positively about this.

                HM

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Human Way View Post
                  Then the case conference. I really hope some good things can come out of this. I hope the judge will give us some time, so some things can be hashed out. My lawyer told me that 95% of cases get settled during this process, yet all the judge reads is the brief and makes a decision? Yikes, im starting to get worried. It seems so little? Do you get to talk to the judge at all? Is there more than one case conference?
                  That is true, a lot of cases are settled at the case conference. Ours was one of them. Basically, if you're seaking a first court order regarding custody and access, the judge will simply review each party's living situation, income, and make an order based on the "norms" of family law. Your court order will handle all the basics, and it will be pretty fair.

                  However, as the years go by, you may find - as was the case with us - that certain "norms" just don't apply to your situation and you may decide to return to court to get it reviewed and amended... if you and the other parent can't come to an agreement on the changes. This process, sadly, can drag on for what seems like forever. We've been going at it for 18 months now... and awaiting our second settlement conference to resolve the issues that, through the years, have become unagreeable.

                  I really hope for you that you get a fair final order at your case conference. That was the best thing that could happen. And hopefully, you'll have an order that will be good for more than a year. (I.E., the other party won't suddenly decide to make unilateral changes and expect you to follow... against the court order.)

                  Good luck to you!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by #1StepMom View Post
                    Basically, if you're seaking a first court order regarding custody and access, the judge will simply review each party's living situation, income, and make an order based on the "norms" of family law. Your court order will handle all the basics, and it will be pretty fair.
                    Thanks for the positive response. I need to inform myself on what the "norms" of family law really are so i can go in with realistic expectations. Every case is different and mine is no exception as i feel like im going against the norm. I want to spend time with my child. Period.

                    I have to admit, i didnt know too much about case conferences before i started this process. I still need to learn more before it happens.

                    Comment

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