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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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  #1  
Old 11-20-2021, 09:27 PM
helenj helenj is offline
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Default Sole vs. Joint Custody?

Hi all,

-False domestic violence criminal charges have been stayed (withdrawn) after 2 years due to a technicality. We did go to trial but due to an unforeseen circumstance (not due to her credibility), it was dropped. Unfortunately, this may mean in Family court that I have not been proven innocent.

-In the meantime, young kids (under 11) have had supervised access with me for 2 years for once a week as per court's order. I was heavily involved in their lives prior to the false charges.

-We have a 8 day trial coming up ranging from parenting, custody, equalization, etc.

Question:
Is JOINT custody with every other weekend a reasonable request for me to make?
She wants SOLE custody and has been making decisions for the children the past 2 years while I was busy dealing with the criminal courts.



Thank you in advance
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Old 11-21-2021, 10:29 AM
Stillbreathing Stillbreathing is online now
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Given your history and the established status quo you may have an uphill battle getting joint custody. Speak to a lawyer they can review your file and give you a realistic assessment of what is reasonable given your circumstances.
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Old 11-21-2021, 12:23 PM
arbortrail22 arbortrail22 is offline
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My 2 cents reading your posts.

Fight for time with your kids. You'll spend time/money seeking decision making when what you probably need right now is access/more days. I would build the relationship with your kids as the first step and maybe seek it later.
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Old 11-21-2021, 08:47 PM
helenj helenj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillbreathing View Post
Given your history and the established status quo you may have an uphill battle getting joint custody. Speak to a lawyer they can review your file and give you a realistic assessment of what is reasonable given your circumstances.
Thank you - just asked my lawyer for advice.

Historically, I was equally involved in my children's lives until my ex walked into the police station over 2 years ago.

It just seems crazy I can lose my joint custody abilities even though I am not found guilty of anything given this new status quo that she has built for her self.
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Old 11-21-2021, 08:58 PM
StillPaying StillPaying is offline
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Follow your lawyer's advice.

If it is as you say, then there's no reason why you wouldn't get shared custody at trial. Only way you'll get less is if you agree to it.

Doesn't seem like you want that though, so I would offer a gradual start leading to eow, trading final say for the most access you want.
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Old 11-22-2021, 09:54 AM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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If this is about who makes decisions then you need to decide if this is a hill to die on. She will have to ask you about activities that are a section 7 expense but do you really need to be consulted on minor medical decisions, education and religion? Or is this just a control thing? You could also word it as both parties will discuss but one party will have final say if there is an impasse.

If you know you arent going to get shared 50/50 right away, why not offer that the decision making moved to shared at steps.
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Old 11-22-2021, 11:31 AM
Brampton33 Brampton33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
If this is about who makes decisions then you need to decide if this is a hill to die on. She will have to ask you about activities that are a section 7 expense but do you really need to be consulted on minor medical decisions, education and religion? Or is this just a control thing? You could also word it as both parties will discuss but one party will have final say if there is an impasse.

If you know you aren�t going to get shared 50/50 right away, why not offer that the decision making moved to shared at steps.
Correct, most people don't understand what is actually meant by sole vs joint custody. Sometimes decisions are no-brainers, such as religion if you are both of the same religion. Or school if you live in a small town with limited schooling options. Most people aren't doctors so just agree to follow whatever the doctor recommends in terms of care. In fact, you can raise kids all the way up to 18 and barely have to make any major medical, education and religion decisions.

In my experience, my ex was bent out of shape in trying to get sole custody because she treated our kids as "her possessions". She viewed them as "hers" and not "ours" which became very apparent in court----and the judge ordered joint custody to ensure that kids see parents in equal light and that my relationship with our kids is preserved because it was apparent my ex wanted to cut me out.

What counts most is parenting time in terms of having good quality relationships and memories with your kids.

But careful when it comes to offering your ex decision-making. There are reasons why joint custody is important. If your ex has sole decision-making, they can come up with an excuse to put your kids in a new school that makes it unfeasible for you to exercise your parenting time properly. That is one example of how someone with sole custody can disrupt and potentially alter your parenting time.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:41 PM
Brampton33 Brampton33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenj View Post
It just seems crazy I can lose my joint custody abilities even though I am not found guilty of anything given this new status quo that she has built for her self.
Your ex "creating a situation" does not equate a status quo. The status quo is that the custody of your kids is in dispute, and while it has been in dispute, your ex has been undertaking unilateral decision-making and not consulting with you on anything as a parent to the kids involved.

Judges can smell an artificially created status quo from a mile away, and your lawyer should argue that there was never a status quo as its been in dispute and your ex has taken matters into her own hands and been unilaterally acting like custody and/or access has been decided.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:52 PM
NewDay NewDay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenj View Post
Thank you - just asked my lawyer for advice.

Historically, I was equally involved in my children's lives until my ex walked into the police station over 2 years ago.

It just seems crazy I can lose my joint custody abilities even though I am not found guilty of anything given this new status quo that she has built for her self.
At this point you have no other option than to go with what your lawyer advices.

I don't know how you got into this mess or why you lost decision making in the first place. In a few years the kids may be with you all the time.
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:02 PM
helenj helenj is offline
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Hi all and thanks for response. This was my lawyer's response:

Joint decision making I think will be difficult to obtain at trial, but not impossible. One of the requirements for true joint decision making (that is where you both make major education, medical, and religion decisions for the boys) is that you're able to communicate with one another about those decisions. That may be problematic. Another option is that, for example, you have education and she has medical but that is not a certainty either.

My understanding was that status quo is what it was BEFORE separation, and before separation is that we made decisions equally. So I'm surprised with this response.
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