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Advice re amicable child custody DAD ?

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  • Advice re amicable child custody DAD ?

    My soon to be ex and I are in the process of drafting the separation agreement. Given the circumstances (she requested divorce - no big drama as to why; she just wasn't happy in marriage anymore) things are almost surprisingly amicable.

    We both agree in theory to shared (50%) custody of 2 young children (both under 10). However, given their ages and my demanding work schedule, we both agree its best for them AT THIS POINT for the Mom to be primary caregiver and I'll do the traditional every other weekend and one weekday thing. Lawyer has suggested acknowledging proposed visitation (with holiday guidelines added) BUT either party at end of each school year can request a review.

    My thinking is that as they get older (ie. I don't have to be there after school for them but be there for dinner, etc.) that I have the opportunity to have them for up to 50%.

    Again, things are amicable now but of course things "can" get ugly down the road.

    Any general comments, especially from those that started out similar to me but a few years have gone by ? By the way, in our case whether I have 10% or 50% child custody the child support payments won't really change much since there is too big a gap between my income and hers. So, there is no "financial" motivation here, merely want to "preserve" my right to see the kids more when it makes sense. My ex and I agree at this point that the MOm is main caregiver (in the children's best interest) but I expect this to lessen somewhat as they get older.

    Any comments are welcome !


  • #2
    Well if things stay amicable, you can count yourself in a VERY small minority.

    Only comment here is take steps to protect your access in the future. Get a holiday access schedule agreed to ASAP. Things like mother's day/father's day, birthdays, March Break, Easter, Xmas, Canada Day, and Summer Vacation should all be addressed.

    What you want to have is JOINT LEGAL custody with her designated primary residence and the access schedule you have outlined. At a minimum of what you have indicated (EOW +1) and a holiday schedule that supersedes the normal access rotation.

    Throw in some clause about "additional access shall be granted upon request with at least X (48, 72, etc) hours notice and shall not be unreasonably withheld"

    The above is total unenforceable FLUFF, but it gives you something to work with if the proverbial excrement hits the fan.

    DO NOT sign off on SOLE. Joint Legal will at least give you a leg up if things go south. It will enable the schools, medical professionals/etc to speak with you more freely and enable you to gather documentation if the future requires it.

    You can write in all the provisions you want to "review it", but here's the kicker...if you give it away NOW, it will take you literally YEARS and 10's of thousands of dollars to undo if things turn ugly. It's called status quo, and judges are loath to break it.

    Your only recourse other than her agreement, is to have the kids hit 12-14-ish and express that they wish to live with you. So at an absolute bare minimum you are handing her a great deal of power for the next several years.

    Personally I think you are taking a HUGE risk, but it's your life and your call. *I* wouldn't go that route. I would recommend you figure out a way to make 50-50 work NOW, rather than later. It's exponentially easier than attempting to get it back in 6 months, or a year, or 3 years.


    • #3
      I agree with NBDad, status quo is difficult to change, unless there is a good reason (i.e. best interest of the child).

      The best thing I did, when drafting our separation agreement, was to have the children free to choose their primary residence from the age of 12 (and once a year after that). All of my children, who were living with their mom, decided to move to my home as soon as they reached that age.

      If they don't, the wording could be used as basis to let them choose their access schedule.

      Good luck,

      Rayon de soleil


      • #4
        Thanks for the advice folks. So maybe I should consider changing my thoughts on this......

        When 40%, 50% time with a parent is used, HOW do they DEFINE it (ie. does one "overnight" count as one day (ie. 1 divided by 30 days in month = 3.3%. If the child is dropped off after dinner, then did that "day" not count percentage wise since there was no overnight stay ?

        Also, let's say I ask for 40% custody, what are some "sample" visitation schedules based on that ?

        Thanks again !


        • #5
          Every other weekend (FR pick up from school to SU evening) plus 2 midweek overnights.
          -- or --
          Every other weekend (FR pick up from school to MO drop off at school) plus 1 midweek overnight.

          Puts you at 43% (actually a bit higher if you count summer vacation weeks and xmas vacation weeks)


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