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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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Old 12-10-2009, 01:59 PM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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Default Future custody battle.

I recently found out that my ex will fight for full custody in 3 years, when our daughter goes to kindergarten.

Her argument is that a child needs stability, and that would be best if she had full custody, and I would have her every other week-end.

I don't agree with this, and am ready to go week on/week off. I would love to have full custody, but I don't think that's fair.

Is there anything I can do in the next 3 years to strenghten my case?

We have shared custody, where we're both equals. We have 50/50 custody, with me having slightly more time.

I pay all the expenses and deduct it from the monthly child support payment. And, so far, I've been the one attending all her sporting events, and will probably continue to do so. I expect that I'll be volunteer/coach on her sport team.

My parents are our emergency babysittor. If there's anything, they're the first one we call (after each other). She'll call my parents before her parents to babysit for the night or the day.

I've been writing the visitation schedule so far, but plan to stop as soon as we finalize the separation agreement.

Other then just being there for our daughter and being amicable to my ex, is there anything else I could do?
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:06 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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It sounds like you are doing everything right already. If you know she is going to file for sole custody in a few years can you beat her to the punch in a year or so? Are you going to file the SA with the court?

Regardless of whether she files later or not you are always going to have the possibility of that hanging over your head. I don't know if you can ever get rid of that. I struggle with this fear every day too.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:28 PM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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I'm not sure if I'll file the SA with the court. Don't even know what the steps are after we agree on it.

I don't really want to beat her to the punch. We agreed on 50/50, and I'll add a line that the schedule can be changed with both consents.

I know that if she wants to change it, the onus is on her to prove that it's best for the child. And, I have some research stating that 50/50 isn't bad, and can actually be good for the child.

As it is now, there would be almost zero chance she'd win sole custody. I've gone through past cases and every factor that judges pull out would either be even or in my favour.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:45 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Then it is mostly just a worry at this point? I know how you feel. There is always this little fear in the back of my mind that I will have to fight for my girl. I don't want to, but if my hand is forced, I will.

Is that how you are feeling too??
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:16 PM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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Her reasoning is that split custody is fine now, since she's going to day care. However, my ex can not see how it would be healthy for our daughter to have two homes when she starts school. That's why I got a 3 years warning.

I'm just mad and/or disapointed. We went through a rough year because of lawyers and it got personal at times. She's insulted me and taken out her frustration on me. And, I don't want to go through this again.

Every case that I read indicates that I would have a 90% chance of winning for the status quo. And, if it were to decide me or her, for full custody, I should win that as well. So, yeah, this might just be worrying for the sake of worrying. Also, her finances will be tight in 3 years, and mine will be a lot better. So, I doubt she would have enough for a retainer.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:33 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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You've got tons on your side now, the only big thing you can do to put more on your side is to arrange to be in the same school district as your ex. This might be hard to do, but if it's clear that your daughter would be close to school, and particuarly her friends and any clubs or after school activities, regardless of which parent she was staying with, then there is even less reason to have full custody one way or the other.

Make sure you are involved somewhat with the daycare. There are usually parent councils of some kind with larger registered daycares. Make sure you are known to the staff, you take your turns picking her up regularly. Make sure when she is sick you take your share of work days off to care for her, and keep track of these dates.

Make sure she has contact with other children in your neighbourhood and makes friends, has playdates and they go to each other's birthdays. Mix with the other parents and be sure that they could, for example, write a letter you could show saying you were an involved parent, and your child and theirs have a close relationship in your neighbourhood and have regular playdates.

These are all just samples, but hopefully you get the idea. In three years you want to show that if she's pulled from your home she would be losing half of her life. You want to show that you were involved with the daycare and would be equally involved with school activities. Be able to show that if you were limited to EOW there would be a huge hole ripped into her life.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:56 PM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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If she files for full custody in the future, am I best to counter with status quo, which is 50/50. Or, should I counter with full custody with my as the CP?
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:22 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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Just my gut instinct, you have more credibility and come across as the more reasonable party if you ask for status quo.

Comparison, when my ex claimed she did "all the parenting" and I said we were variable between 60 and 40 throughout the years depending on her shift work, the judge completely sided with me. If I'd said I did it all, it would have been absurd. Making the judge choose between two extremes makes the whole thing a lot harder.

That said, get the advice of a lawyer with experience of numerous custody fights, I don't think this is something you want to muck up. Even if you get an hour consultation with a more experienced attorney, and then take what you learn and do it yourself, or with a cheaper junior attorney, that will make a huge difference.
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