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Old 09-26-2011, 11:20 AM
Ames Ames is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 60
Ames is on a distinguished road

Sorry this thread is ridiculously long. Really, I am sorry. Here is the email that I just sent to my ex - am I mistaken about any of it, or being unrealistic?:

Just off the top of my head, I think that we should make the bit about visitation more detailed, because I feel like that is a really important area.

Rather than:

The non primary residence shall have but not limited to, every other weekend.

What about something like:

We agree that during the school year, which shall run from September to June, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every other March Break Holiday and for one week during Christmas Holidays. Additionally, EX NAME will have visitation with the children every other weekend, with flexibility allowed for special circumstances and mutually agreed to by both parents. Additional weekend visitations will be allowed with communication and consent from both parents. We further agree that the week of Christmas Holidays shall alternate each year.

We agree that during the summer holidays, which shall run from July through August, SON 1 and SON 2 will visit their father every for one month and that on even-numbered years their mother will have custody during July and their father will have custody during August, and that on odd-numbered years their father will have custody during July and their mother will have custody during August. We further agree that exceptions can be made jointly between both parents to the July-August rotation to accommodate special events and/or work schedules.

We agree to be flexible with our school year and summer visitation schedule and that changes/revisions to the schedule will be by mutual consent. Regardless of which parent our child(ren) are scheduled to visit during their vacations, we agree to adjust our respective plans to accommodate any activities our child(ren) are involved in. We agree to modify/rearrange our respective visitation schedules for visits by out-of-area relatives including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Obviously, you are welcome to amend that if you want to change something, and we can go from there - I am just thinking that having some more detail and especially with the wording of having flexibility and parents being able to make concessions for additional time or adjustments to time is important - noting that both parents have to agree (as in, I won't say, "Hey, you can't have them this weekend" or you won't say "Hey, I'm not taking them this weekend", but we could say, "Hey, can we trade weekends so SON can go to so-and-so's birthday party/because I have to work?" or "Hey, can I have them again this weekend cause their cousins are in town (or just because I want to)?" Hope that makes sense.

Sorry, I'm not trying to complicate it, I just want to make sure that we both have the same idea in our heads all the time so that we don't end up confused/disappointed - also I want to address everything that might come up.

As for birthdays, what if the birthday falls on the weekend?

The non primary residence shall have the weekend following the birthdays to allow for celebration of the children.

Do you not want to ever have them for their actual birthday? Should we alternate that?

Also, the part about extra costs being covered by the primary residence doesn't seem right to me. Section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines states:

Special or extraordinary expenses
7. (1) In a child support order the court may, on either spouse's request, provide for an amount to cover all or any portion of the following expenses, which expenses may be estimated, taking into account the necessity of the expense in relation to the child's best interests and the reasonableness of the expense in relation to the means of the spouses and those of the child and to the family's spending pattern prior to the separation:
(a) child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent's employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;
(b) that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
(c) health related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
(d) extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child's particular needs;
(e) expenses for post-secondary education; and
(f) extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
SOR/00-337, s. 1(1), (2), (3)
SOR/00-337, s. 1
Sharing of expense
(2) The guiding principle in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1) is that the expense is shared by the spouses in proportion to their respective incomes after deducting from the expense, the contribution, if any, from the child.

I am a little confused as to whether we calculate things based on our individual incomes, or our family incomes. If we are using individual incomes, mine will be comparable to yours, as I am not working right now either. If we are using our family incomes, that will probably make a pretty big difference, so we should get that figured out. Insofar as your income is considerably less than mine (or your family income is considerably less than ours), it makes sense that I would cover extra costs. But at such a point that you are making enough to contribute, than extra costs for medical expenses, extra curricular activities, education, day care, etc should be divided between us. Child Support in and of itself is meant to help cover just the day-to-day needs of the kids and not for the exceptional expenses in Section 7). I'm not comfortable leaving this as is:

1. The primary residence shall cover all extra costs of but not limited to; clothing, medical, education and extra curricular activities.

I would be more comfortable if we changed the wording so that we were both responsible for these costs in proportion to our respective incomes (at this time, that would likely mean you wouldn't be responsible for these costs right now, but once you are working you would be responsible for a portion of it, know what I mean?). I assume that you meant that line to refer to Section 7 costs, anyway - correct me if I am wrong. Also, we can add into the agreement that you wouldn't be responsible for extra curricular activities that you were not consulted on and agreed to (for example, I couldn't go and sign them up for karate, t-ball, art classes and soccer and then just show up expecting money from you for it without discussing it with you first - if you don't agree with the extra curricular and I still wanted to enrol them, I would be on the hook for the full cost. Does that make sense to you? It would go the other way too, if you signed them up for something in the summer without consulting me, I wouldn't be expected to pay for it as well.)

Anyway, I still need to look it over, and I also would like to give Sean a chance to look at it. Do you think it would be helpful to have the Family Law Office look it over to make sure that we didn't forget anything or that we are not mistaken about anything?