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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-28-2010, 12:40 PM
skins56 skins56 is offline
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Default Is it possible to "upgrade" to shared custody?

This is a great forum and I thank all of you for your advice and opinions based on facts and personal situations. Keep up the good work.

I'll try and be quick and to the point.

I have joint custody, pay CS, never wouldn't. I want to know what my chances would be to "upgrade" the final agreement to "shared custody".

Over the past weekend, my situation just got worse.

Our agreement, which is about 16 months old for our soon to be 3 year old girl is as follows.

Besides birthdays, holidays vacation time etc. I typically would get to see my daughter twice a week for a couple of hours and every second week from Wednesday 4pm to Saturday 1pm. This schedule was pretty much only based on my ex's work schedule because she used to work night shift for those three days.

At the time of agreement my daughter was18 months old. I had no money for a lawyer. I had no money to live. I was stuck in a vehicle that I pay $540 a month plus insurance, plus gas plus wear and tear. I am still paying for this van that I got to accommodate my ex and her two teenage children that I moved in with. I was $10K in dept before meeting my ex and her two kids. During the common-law divorce I got stuck with the debt incurred about $7K more for all the brand new stuff to have a nice live rented house. They had nothing but old stained gross furniture. They live with everything new. I got nothing but the stuff I brought into the relationship, which was not much left because we sold it to upgrade to new things. I got stuck with all credit card debts because it was under my name. They never had a car or anything. Thus I traded in my 2 seat short box sporty truck to get a minivan for our "family" (even before my daughter was born)

Needless to say I couldnt afford to live, so I had to go to a 10 x 17 room in my mothers place. Not fun for mid 30 year old. Well I am still there because my car payments are too high, and my debt is too high etc.

Over the time we had open and liberal discussions about visitation rights. We never had a problem with it. I could get and see her any time I wanted. I took her every wednesday and friday night, the open and liberal verbal agreements were great. Even when our daughter started daycare, i took her to daycare in the am and picked her up in the pm EVERYDAY for a year. It's not in the agreement, i chose to do it. Remember my ex doesnt have a car, so it also benefitted her. It brought a smile to my face every day that I can get a kiss good by when dropping her off at daycare, get a kiss hello when I get back there after work. Then would drive her back to her mom's house.

Well she has "moved on" and now has a new live in boy friend, with our 3 year old daughter and 2 teenage kids. The arguments are starting because she has it all once again. (They are all users). Anyway, my "services" are not needed anymore, so now I cant even take my precious little girl to daycare, because "he" can. And now we're back to my measly agreement and cant see her everyday like I used to.

Instead of rambling on.......

I still live in my mom's basement. Not fun. I still have no money. And now I dont see my girl much. Would there be a possibilty down the road when I do move out, to go apply for shared custody for 50% of the time with my daughter, when my living arrangements better for me?
  #2  
Old 09-28-2010, 01:20 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is online now
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First and foremost, if you haven't been (and you should have been) you need to document, document and document. Every time you got your child, you should journal the date and the duration.

As for your ex, you need to first make a request to revisit the access provisions in your agreement to better meet your childs age. At this age I could see you having her every other weekend and a night or two each week (maybe not overnight). That would be a minimum.

If she refuses to discuss this outside of court, you then request that you both attend mediation to help faciliate a new agreement. Most larger cities have a Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) who can refer you to a mediator at a subsidized rate based on income.

Failing that you have to go to court.

Your chances of shared custody are not that great, as you have a number of years of status quo working against you. And if you have not documented all your previous involvements you will have a hard time proving your previous contributions. That said, if you are able to get the daycare centre to state that you were the person who previously did the driving, you have something to work from.

What you are asking for is a big jump, and more then you previously had. You would have to make an incredible argument and have a great lawyer to get there.

Instead of focusing on the custody issue now, I would focus more on increasing access to an age appropriate level and also discuss that it is better for a parent to be with the child instead of a third party (attempt to get new b/f out of the driving picture).
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by skins56 View Post
(They are all users).
What do you mean?
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:11 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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If you are willing to continue driving your daughter to daycare, and the mother is not available, then there is no reason you shouldn't. If you are able to get along (or at least act respectfully) then you should be able to continue the driving.

How long ago did the arrangement stop? What exactly are her reasons for changing the driving schedule? Do you still pick up your daughter from daycare on your time? Have you requested (in writing) to continue to drive her?

I agree with Hammerdad. Your best move is to request additional time with her and ask if you can start driving her again. I think it's a reasonable request, and there is no reason why a boyfriend should do the driving when the father is willing and able. If she refuses then you will need to take it to court. Just make sure your request is in writing and you can provide proof of your request should you end up going to court (send via email or registered letter)
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:27 PM
skins56 skins56 is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

The daycare arrangements, which were verbal, requested by me, have been in place since day 1 about 13 months ago. I offered to pick up and drop off our daughter everyday. This was easy for her to say yes to because it helps her out for work purposes because she does not drive or have a car. I know it was a "favor", but it gave me a chance to see my daughter everyday. I could also see what kind of stuff was going on in the house because I don't trust her disrespectful partying teenagers.

It just ended on Saturday, after an "argument". To make a long story short, this past Saturday I usually have her until noon on saturdays. I get her from daycare on Fridays, keep her over night, then drop off on Saturdays. Lately my ex has been asking me to keep her on Saturdays. I know it's only to benefit her so she can do what she wants and not have to worry about a sitter. I would (and probably should have kept our daughter), but I did not want to help my ex out in any way, so she can live the happy life. So anyway, a week in advance I asked if I could keep our daughter until 7pm, as I was going to take her to a birthday party. Her first reply was "just keep her for the night". I said "i cant" (which was not true, but once again not going to give into her weekend needs). Eventually she just said 7:00 is fine. At 6:45 I realized what time it was, and had to call to say I was going to be late because the kids did not even have the cake yet and she was having a great time. She totally lost it and said she was supposed to be there at 7:00. Which I understand, but at that time it was in the best interest of our daughter to continue having fun and then cake. To no avail, I had her eat cake quickly and get her home. At that time, my ex and her 19 year olf son were there to "greet me at the door". He did all the "talking" and basically be-littled me by saying be a f'n better father and keep her overnight and just to go home to momm'y basement. etc etc

Having said all that, that is when she cut me off from "daycare duties". See, her new boy friend has a car and now can get our daughter to and from daycare.

FYI, I have been documenting for the most part.

Also dadtotheend. "They are all users" was just a crack at my ex, her 16 year old daughter and 19 year old son. They dont do anything but use people for money, cars and are lazy as can be. Her two teenage kids ruined what I was building. There was no love or respect, just lots of teenage issues and backstabbing etc.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:51 PM
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Just a thought.... for starters, you don't want to refuse time with the child if you are looking for an increase in access.

Keep that in mind in the future.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:01 PM
skins56 skins56 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by representingself View Post
Just a thought.... for starters, you don't want to refuse time with the child if you are looking for an increase in access.

Keep that in mind in the future.

I know. This was certainly a frustration move of me not wanting to give into her needs and wants. It had nothing to do with our daughter. She makes me feel like a free baby sitter at times.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:09 PM
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I think the first step would be to give it a bit. It has been 2 days, and while I can feel your pain about not seeing your daughter for that time, give it time for the new b/f to get tired of being mom's shuttle bus and she comes back to you.

Also, I would email the ex and apologize about the oversight regarding the time. State that you are sorry, and it wasn't your intention to be late and that you will do your best to ensure it doesn't happen again. This is pretty much just to help smooth things over, if possible.

Otherwise I do think you screwed up in not keeping your child for the extra time. Dude, I would kill for my ex to say have my DD for an extra night. You seemed to have lost focus on what the objective is. It isn't about getting back at your ex, it is about being a dad and spending quality time with your kid. You took the view that it benefits her, but IMO it benefitted you WAY more. You need to re-focus on the pro's and con's. Getting the child for more time a pro, pissing the ex off as a means of trying to teach her something for some unknown reason thus causing her to be pissed at me and start clawing back time she was previously allowing but wasn't on paper.........BIG BIG Con. Your actions in refusing to spend more time with your child cost you a lot more then you are now willing to deal with......

I would wear a recorder when returning your child from now on. Walk her to the door, when they open it, kiss her goodbye and leave. As for her son, ignore him. Should he talk to you, ignore him. If she says anything that isn't child related, ignore it. You do not need to discuss matters not related to the child and definitely not with anyone who isn't party to your agreement/order (read her son, b/f or daughter etc).

But for now, you need to work on damage control, because you screwed up by losing focus. From there, you work on getting your time back by being friendly and helpful, you document and then once you have all your ducks in a row, you go for mediation and if necessary, court.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:44 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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You picking up your daughter from daycare everyday is your status quo. Be nice, apologise for the misunderstanding on the weekend and ask that you pick her up.

Yeah, you messed up, but you might have a chance to fix this. Do what you can to smooth it over and get you daily time back with your daughter. You are going to be parenting with your ex for a LONG time. The sooner you can extablish a working relationship the better it will be for all.

But if it doesn't seem to be working then you need to act in order to keep that time. Mediation is a good first step.
  #10  
Old 09-28-2010, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skins56 View Post
I know. This was certainly a frustration move of me not wanting to give into her needs and wants. It had nothing to do with our daughter. She makes me feel like a free baby sitter at times.
free babysitter?? ....that IS part of a parent's job!!
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