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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 05-03-2017, 03:19 PM
stripes stripes is offline
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Default compensatory time?

I've been away for a little while but now back with a question. Here's the background:

Over the past year, ex has had escalating issues with addiction and mental illness. He's been in and out of psych hospitals and treatment programs. He also went through a lot of domestic conflict with spouse #2, and they are now in the midst of a very angry divorce.

Our divorce order specifies shared parenting. However, because of ex's issues, Kid has been living with me for the last 14 months (and before anybody jumps on me, this arrangement was agreed-on by me and ex, as he recognized he couldn't parent Kid when he was on a locked psych ward or couch-surfing after his marriage blew up, and I facilitated many visits between him and Kid when he was in facilities or between homes. Before anyone else jumps, I continued paying ex offset child support the entire time).

Now ex is trying to put things back together. He has an apartment, he's on long-term disability leave from work, and he wants to see Kid more. I am fine with this, because Kid wants to see him more too. I am fine with getting back to a 50/50 schedule.

However ex is now making noises that he wants to have Kid full-time, as "compensatory time" for when he was in the psych ward/rehab/unstable living conditions. He says that I "owe" him this time and that it is in Kid's best interests.

I am not fine with the idea of "compensatory time". Ex is still drinking (he denies this, but his spouse is still getting credit card bills with liquor charges) and his mental health issues are not under control (e.g. has been sending bizarre emails to friends and acquaintances about everything from residential schools to his spouse's plans to kill him by sabotaging his car). He has been generally responsible around Kid, except for a few occasions when he didn't show up as he had said he would. He's in deep financial trouble and is facing bankruptcy. His manner towards me is alternately pragmatic and hostile with some delusional content.

I believe he can hold things together for a few days at a time when Kid is staying with him, and she enjoys being around him. Therefore I'm okay with gradually increasing her time with him. However, he's unstable, still drinking, and has a history of being a complete jackass.

So my question: I'm inclined to think this idea that I "owe" him "compensatory time" thing is nonsense. I didn't get extra time this year with Kid because we went on some fun vacation, I ended up with extra time because her father fell apart and I picked up the pieces. I am also of course suspicious that this is money-motivated, because table child support from me would be a large chunk of change.

So my line is: let's move back to 50/50 parenting time, but no compensatory time and no full-time residence with him. If he wants to do something special with Kid and wants to swap weeks or pick up an extra week or so, that's fine.

Does ex have any grounds for expecting that he will get Kid full-time as compensation?
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:35 PM
Pursuinghappiness Pursuinghappiness is offline
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Quote:
Does ex have any grounds for expecting that he will get Kid full-time as compensation?
Hell no. Its nonsense and he should be extremely thankful that you're child focused and reasonable.

You filled in while he was out of commission...which was kind of you...but your child needs stability and right now, there's no guarantee that he's totally stable. So gradually increasing access back to fair access to both of you is the right thing to do. Your kid needs both parents but if he checks out and isn't able to parent, then that's on him...you certainly didn't do anything to warrant having your parenting time removed from you and your child.

You are the stabilizing presence in your kid's life right now. And you need to tread lightly until he's ready...because he could have some back sliding before he's fully ready to get back to the regular schedule.

You should be commended for giving him a chance to have a tough time and work on getting back on his feet. The last thing he should be doing is dictating to you what he wants. Its not about him...its about doing the right thing for the child and you're doing the right thing.

No court would side with him on this, in my opinion.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:12 PM
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LovingFather32 LovingFather32 is offline
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Naa .. no compensatory time. Sounds like he's struggling with a lot of issues. I don't say this often (you know me)...but I don't even feel like this is a case for 50/50. Especially your words "delusional", "hostile", "still drinking", etc. I would think that he has an addictive personality and this drinking should certainly not be occurring when the kid is around...or probably at all given his history.

He's lucky you're being reasonable with his demanding attitude. But no...he doesn't get make-up time.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:34 PM
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Rioe Rioe is offline
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Compensatory time is to make up for occasions when YOU initiated time with the child away from him, and he agreed to it. For example, you take a trip overseas for a month and he loses a couple of weeks. In exchange for agreeing to this, he gets a couple of extra weeks some time later.

Him voluntarily giving up custody of the child for a while due to his own issues is not the same thing at all. That was more like him offering an extremely lengthy right of first refusal time period to you because he was unable to parent.

I do think you were wrong to keep paying offset though instead of expecting table CS from him during that time, since he wasn't providing a home to the child and you were basically paying him SS to support his couch surfing and divorce expenses. But that's testament to your humanity and kindness, and was probably a huge help to him to get him stabilized, which is good for the child.

I too would argue that he may not be ready or ever able, to move back to 50-50. I can't recall how old your child is. Would she have the wherewithal to deal with him if something happens while she's at his home?

Since he's not working though, he may have a good argument for taking her when you are, and avoiding a need for any child care.
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:56 PM
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Janus Janus is offline
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I have never seen a single case offer compensatory time in this type of situation. It also completely defies common sense.

If he goes for compensatory time, you could always go for 14 month of retroactive child support. I imagine that would put a dent into his "hire a lawyer to screw stripes over" fund.
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:32 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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And really, you weren't denying him access. He was not able to house his child. Its only compensatory if you refused him access!
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:00 PM
stripes stripes is offline
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Thanks everyone. If you've read my earlier threads, you'll know that ex comes up with some ... creative ... reasoning. Given what the past year has been like (cops! shrinks! emergency services! detox! relapses! homelessness! more cops!), I have no doubt that I could get the divorce order changed to give me primary residence if I sought it, but I don't think that doing so would be in Kid's best interests.

I think right now what I should be doing is supporting Kid's relationship with her father and facilitating her spending more time with him, up to the 50% mark. So far he's kept the crazy under control while she's with him (I think he's probably at his best when she's around); if that ever changes then maybe I do seek to limit his time with her.
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