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  #1  
Old 06-24-2020, 08:09 PM
Exasperated mommy Exasperated mommy is offline
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Question What earns dad 50/50?

Hi guys,

I am so happy to have found this website - great advice on here!

I'm trying to determine how strong (if any) of an argument I have against a 50/50 ruling; no court proceedings have begin yet; here are the details:

* Ex and I had managed to coparent semi-reasonably for the past 2+ years; no court orders in place, no set parenting schedule, just agreeing on parenting dates a few days at a time

* I haven't ever asked him for child support because I knew he would do his best to make my life hell, so I just left it be

* I've always given him 50% of the CTB

* I've been off from work with our son (3.5 yrs) since his daycare closed at the end of March; he advised me that he simply could not take any time off of work - he's by no means a front-line worker; but it's been nice to be off with my son, so his loss nonetheless

* Despite that he usually ended up agreeing to see our son about 30-40% of the time, it's always felt like I'm pressuring him to have him; I'd given up on that about 5 months ago; my fear has always been how much it will hurt my son when he becomes old enough to see that he's not a priority for his father, and I'd thought that if he sees our son enough, that that would change

* I took a leave from work to care for our son while his daycare was closed due to COVID (which the father said I should have asked him for his ok to do...)

* Prior to me taking time off to care for our son, to cover in the absence of daycare, I was taking some unpaid time off, alternated by some days of his father having him at his house while he worked from home; his father was insistent that he simply could not get any time off, that he was needed at work

* At the very start of my leave, I asked him what he would like the parenting schedule to be, given the circumstances; he said 2 weekdays plus one weekend day (for a 24 hour period); I let him know that it would need to be the evenings only of the weekdays, given that my ex would be working during the daytime; he was fine with that

* We did that for 2 weeks; my son was an emotional disaster when I would get him home - not due to his father, I'm sure, but more due to him having trouble adjusting between the two households - he was usually fairly ok doing so prior to this, but it was suddenly not working very well for him, and I still don't know what changed; nonetheless, it was definitely not going well for him

* As a result, I suggested that we scale it back to 1 weeknight (3hrs) and then the 24hr period on the weekend; he didn't say no, he wrote back to confirm that he understood what I was suggesting (which he did), and so on we went with that schedule

* My son has been doing incredibly well with this schedule - he's now potty trained, he doesn't have meltdowns, and he seems to be developing quite well (I wish I could give more measurable results as proof)

* Enter the day that the Child Tax Benefit (CTB) comes out (7 weeks into the 1 weeknight, 1 24hr period on the weekend schedule); he asks if I'm going to send his half of the money; in response, I asked him if he thought that that made sense, given how little he'd had our son; he took this as me saying no, and things exploded; that day, he said he wanted our son 5 days a week and 1 additional night per week, adding that then I would have to pay him his half of April's CTB

* We always fought about finances (he would tell me that he didn't have money to pay for clothes for our son, but then he'd go out with friends to a bar or restaurant, etc - not big ticket items, granted, but when you're saying you can't provide $50-$75 for new clothing for your kid with the changing of the seasons, but you can afford to go out, it tells me your priorities aren't your child)

* He makes nearly $50k, so him telling me he has no money for clothes or a $15 haircut doesn't land with a lot of sympathy from me when I know he has it to spend on himself - I managed to capture a screenshot from Facebook where he had purchased a guitar (appx $1000) shortly after telling me that he had no money for clothes

* Bottom line here, and I sincerely hope that it's obvious to others on the outside, and from all of the messages I have from him, he only cares about the money, not about actually seeing his son - he was fine with the arrangement we'd had until he didn't get his 50%; beginning that day, he began stating that he never agreed to the agreement we'd had for the previous 7 weeks, and that I'm keeping our son from him

* I'm so sick of dealing with him and money that I called the CRA and updated my info to show split custody, rather than have any further discussions about that money with him, so that now, despite that I have our son much more than half the time, he will continue to receive his 50% and I had hoped that that would deter him (bear with me, you'll understand more in a moment)

* No such luck

* We went to mediation; I offered for him to not pay any child support, and a very small fraction of daycare costs (once reopened) as a financial incentive to let things lie as they had been for the previous (by that time) 10ish weeks, because my son was doing so well; given that he's so money-driven, I was shocked when he didn't accept it; he wants 50/50 custody

* After him giving me a hard time with returning our son at the normal time (ie, the same time that it's been since the end of March), and having made absolutely zero progress during mediation, I let him know that mediation was no longer an option, and that I would be moving forward with my lawyer

* My concerns with increasing his visitation are these: he can't be bothered to bathe our son (he has told me on numerous occasions that he requires 24hrs advance notice if he has to give him a bath), he doesn't want to contribute to him financially (haircuts, clothing), I'm not sure that he brushes his teeth, and he's only now motivated to see our son (more times in a week than he's ever done since our son was born), out of nowhere (magically starting the day I denied him funds...); from outside appearances, it appears to my boyfriend and I that he's motivated by 2 things - money, and wanting to impress his girlfriend

* He does not make our son a priority, and he has demonstrated that he does not have our son's best interest at heart - he made a suggestion of 1 week on, 1 week off visitation schedule; he couldn't care less that that is not age-appropriate - which he was told a previous time in mediation, by the mediator (much as I wish I didn't have to deal with him, my son would be devastated if he no longer saw him, so I'm looking for full custody, but with access).

The heart of my post is that I'm just trying to determine whether these things might be enough to have a judge consider not granting him 50% custody (in the absence of something as serious as abuse or drug use, for example).

I have all of our conversations in writing (I refuse to speak to him on the phone to ensure that I have everything in writing). I have in writing him complaining about having to dedicate 2 weeks of his yearly vacation time (he gets 4 weeks) to taking care of our son over the Christmas holidays while daycare is closed (vacation is seniority-based at my work and it is always fully booked before it's my turn to select my vacation time).

I've been told by 2 lawyers that, since there is now a status quo in place, I am within legal grounds to maintain it, despite daily harassment, from the ex, and I fully intend to do so

Daycare is about to reopen; he's now saying that he doesn't want our son to go to daycare due to COVID 19; based on several things he has said, I'm convinced that's only to save him daycare costs, but I don't know where I am legally in terms of whether I can send my son back to daycare despite my ex's 'concerns'

Looking forward to your thoughts!
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2020, 10:31 PM
Kinso Kinso is offline
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Trust the lawyers youve spoken to.
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2020, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
* Bottom line here, and I sincerely hope that it's obvious to others on the outside, and from all of the messages I have from him, he only cares about the money
Quote:
* We went to mediation; I offered for him to not pay any child support, and a very small fraction of daycare costs (once reopened) as a financial incentive to let things lie as they had been for the previous (by that time) 10ish weeks, because my son was doing so well; given that he's so money-driven, I was shocked when he didn't accept it; he wants 50/50 custody
You claim he only cares about the money.

You offered the money, and he refused.

Maybe he doesn't care as much about the money as you might think...
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kinso View Post
Trust the lawyers youve spoken to.
The lawyers are telling her to play a gatekeeping game with the kid. If the goal is to fund their new yacht, then that is excellent advice. It is possible that EM doesn't want to burn all of her family's money.

If the father actually wants 50%, he might decide to fight. That could be financially devastating.

Devastating for EM at least, the lawyers will have their yacht.
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2020, 11:19 PM
Exasperated mommy Exasperated mommy is offline
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Thank you for your advice.

Would issues such as the bathing issue and his contradictory messages (complaining about having our son on his holidays, but now saying he wants him 50%, as examples) hold any weight?
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Old 06-25-2020, 11:50 PM
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Bathing: Honestly, could go either way. He is a moron for refusing to give the bath. You are a not much better for harping on it so much. Make an appointment in your phone calendar for three years from now that says "Father would not give my child a bath, worst child ever". See how you feel about that appointment in three years time. It won't age well.

Complaining about having son on holidays:Yeah, that could hurt him.

Your ex needs a lawyer, he's really saying some stupid things in writing to you.


That said, think long and hard about this. Do you oppose 50/50 because you hate the father, or because you love your children?
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2020, 12:11 AM
Exasperated mommy Exasperated mommy is offline
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I imagine if I hated my ex, I'd be laser focused on trying to send him to the cleaners financially, plus wanting the sole custody; I offered the $525 reduction in expenses on his half (childcare + CS). If my ex demonstrated that our son were a priority to him, then I would want 50/50. My ex was and is not a priority to his own parents, and I see what that did to him; unfortunately, rather than learning from that, he's perpetuating it. I guess I'm also trying to avoid the day when my son realizes this. Sadly, I suppose I can't.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:04 PM
LovingDad1234 LovingDad1234 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I'm trying to determine how strong (if any) of an argument I have against a 50/50 ruling
You are suggesting that a son of 2 parents not spend equal time with the father compared to the mother. There are many posters on here who would strongly disagree with this, including myself, unless there was (a) a physical barrier such as distance or (b) a legitimate threat of harm to the child

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
Ex and I had managed to coparent semi-reasonably for the past 2+ years; no court orders in place, no set parenting schedule
It often starts off as amicable when the child is in the baby stage, and then changes. You need a structured parenting schedule in place so you know specifically when is your time versus his time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I haven't ever asked him for child support because I knew he would do his best to make my life hell, so I just left it be
You should be asking for proper child support regardless of % of parenting time. That would be acting in the best interest of child to ensure that you have sufficient money to properly care for the child, house the child, and general provisions. See it as the money rightfully belongs to the child. Judges do not waive child support. Even when it is shared parenting, it is offset support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I've been off from work with our son (3.5 yrs) since his daycare closed at the end of March; he advised me that he simply could not take any time off of work - he's by no means a front-line worker; but it's been nice to be off with my son, so his loss nonetheless
What would the access be like if he WAS able to see his son regularly by means of having flexible work arrangements or being out of work? The reality is that he cannot take the time off from work and you can, and that should not be held against him as though he is willingly not seeing his child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
Despite that he usually ended up agreeing to see our son about 30-40% of the time, it's always felt like I'm pressuring him to have him; my fear has always been how much it will hurt my son when he becomes old enough to see that he's not a priority for his father, and I'd thought that if he sees our son enough, that that would change
He didn't capitalize on time in the past, however, now he HAS asked for 50/50 parenting so clearly he is telling you he wishes to make his son a priority. People can change and it sounds like he does want to be in his son's life equally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I took a leave from work to care for our son while his daycare was closed due to COVID (which the father said I should have asked him for his ok to do...)
Perhaps he wanted to have a discussion with you first on what the options were, prior to you deciding yourself on how parenting during daycare closure would take place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
his father was insistent that he simply could not get any time off, that he was needed at work
But now the father is saying he can handle equal parenting and wants to make a go of it. Are you questioning his ability to do so? What if he can juggle parenting and work? All parents must do precisely that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
We did that for 2 weeks; my son was an emotional disaster when I would get him home - not due to his father, I'm sure, but more due to him having trouble adjusting between the two households - he was usually fairly ok doing so prior to this, but it was suddenly not working very well for him, and I still don't know what changed; nonetheless, it was definitely not going well for him
You would be surprised on how risilient kids can be. In most scenarios 50/50 is done gradually. Start with 1 overnight per week, and build more time in graduated increments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
My son has been doing incredibly well with this schedule - he's now potty trained, he doesn't have meltdowns, and he seems to be developing quite well (I wish I could give more measurable results as proof)
It was inevitable that your son would be potty-trained. And since you are not necessarily providing your ex with the opportunity to have significant time with his son, it is no surprise that it is you claiming responsibility for the achievements. Conversely, if the situation were that he were at home all day with his son and you working, he would be the one claiming responsibility for potty training and development. It is all irrelevent as in court he will state he was denied the opportunity to teach his son these things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
(he would tell me that he didn't have money to pay for clothes for our son, but then he'd go out with friends to a bar or restaurant, etc - not big ticket items, granted, but when you're saying you can't provide $50-$75 for new clothing for your kid with the changing of the seasons, but you can afford to go out, it tells me your priorities aren't your child)
Child support should pay for clothing. After paying support, what your ex does on his own time (when not in care of his son) and how he spends his money is his business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
He makes nearly $50k, so him telling me he has no money for clothes or a $15 haircut doesn't land with a lot of sympathy from me when I know he has it to spend on himself - I managed to capture a screenshot from Facebook where he had purchased a guitar (appx $1000) shortly after telling me that he had no money for clothes
If he makes $50,000 per year he should be paying you $460 per month in child support, unless it is offset. So your child's haircut is paid by the child support. Telling the judge "Look at this facebook post, he bought a guitar" would get laughs in court. You are not collecting child support and upset because he bought a guitar? Quite simply, you need a basic agreement dealing with custody, access and support. Yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
he only cares about the money
You are making presumptions regarding his intentions. So he bought a guitar....so what? He is indicating to you that he would like to have his son 50% of the time. You need to start looking at this through your son's eyes, who has every right to an equal relationship with Dad as he does Mom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I offered for him to not pay any child support, and a very small fraction of daycare costs (once reopened) as a financial incentive to let things lie... I was shocked when he didn't accept it; he wants 50/50 custody
You are trying to pay off the dad to not be in his son's life??? Yikes!! Good luck with that.... He is seeking 50/50 parenting time, not to be mixed up with custody. Custody relates to decision making on religion, schooling, and medical. He is seeking 50/50 parenting time and I don't blame him. No offence, but it sounds to me like there are some gatekeeping and control issues where you are treating your son like he belongs to you only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
After him giving me a hard time with returning our son at the normal time
Did I say you need an agreement in place which spells out the parenting time of each parent? Have you offered him a proposed agreement for his review?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
My concerns with increasing his visitation are these: he can't be bothered to bathe our son I'm not sure that he brushes his teeth, and he's only now motivated to see our son (more times in a week than he's ever done since our son was born), from outside appearances, it appears to my boyfriend and I that he's motivated by 2 things - money, and wanting to impress his girlfriend
All laughable. Imagine yourself in court... "Your honour, I am not sure he bathes our son or brushes his teeth...and I think he is trying to impress his new girlfriend". The judge will simply look at your ex and ask that if he has his son half the time, would he ensure to do so. Your ex would say "yes" and the issue would be dealt with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
he made a suggestion of 1 week on, 1 week off visitation schedule; he couldn't care less that that is not age-appropriate
What if your ex proposed a graduated plan? Would you then be ok with it? And what if he present you with a different plan than week on, week off? Google 50/50 parenting plans and there are tons of varieties which I am sure you can find one that suits your son.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
The heart of my post is that I'm just trying to determine whether these things might be enough to have a judge consider not granting him 50% custody (in the absence of something as serious as abuse or drug use, for example).
My opinion is "no" in that what you have suggested is not sufficient. A judge may ream you out for such nonsense. Lots of your arguments are based on what you "think" your ex's motivations are, and things your ex can easily change or do, such as give a kid a bath. Unless there is a physical distance thing, or a substance abuse issue, you are better off saving your money than entering a legal fight that would see money that could be used for your son go to lawyers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exasperated mommy View Post
I've been told by 2 lawyers that, since there is now a status quo in place, I am within legal grounds to maintain it, despite daily harassment, from the ex, and I fully intend to do so
Artificially created status quo in the absence of a proper agreement on how you both wish to see your son parented. Your ex is now telling you what he wishes in terms of a parenting plan. You 2 need to hash it out, either amicably, or through court, which won't be cheap.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:12 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Easy there LD. If you read her post in an unbiased way you see that she has had to force dad to take his son. Not every parent is like your ex.
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Old 06-27-2020, 08:11 AM
Selfrepmom Selfrepmom is offline
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Im getting a couple of vibes from this post....

1 - Perhaps OP did have to badger the dad to take the kid in the past sometimes. My first thought though is that someone (lawyer/family/girlfriend... or maybe just his own good sense) are pushing him to get custody and access sorted NOW before he digs himself into a deeper hole. He is also probably more agreeable to a 50/50 arrangement now that the son is getting to an older and more independent age. My ex did this after 2.5+ years of status quo when our daughter was almost 4 and I finally started demanding CS. But it was extremely short lived; he voluntarily gave me primary caregiver status in a final order at our first case conference. He also told our mediator beforehand though that if he had to pay CS he wanted to sign away his parental rights, and routinely has made the focus of every single court appearance on his inability and unwillingness to pay CS. Its hard to say what the case is with you and your ex, but if he is actually waiving your offer of no CS, maybe he is genuinely interested in shared access? My ex would have gobbled up that offer in a heartbeat.... actually he told me on numerous occasions if I would give up the CS claim he wouldnt go for 50/50 in court. Just a thought.

2 - He is wrong for not paying CS. You are wrong for trying to waive CS. But (correct me if Im wrong) it seems that while you say he doesnt have to pay, you also expect him to fork over random chunks of money to cover various costs that would normally be covered by CS. Sort of like a personal ATM. For people who like to budget and know exactly when their money is leaving their account this can be extremely annoying. Start demanding proper CS on the 1st of every month and stop the he wont pay for a haircut or clothes bullshit. Yes he should be voluntarily paying CS, but you are also telling him not to and then getting mad when he wont spit out $20 like an ATM. Its kind of contradictory.

To answer your main question: from my experience, none of what you mentioned is no where near what you need to argue against him getting 50/50. When my ex threatened court for 50/50 access I gladly said Lets go because 1- I knew he actually didnt want it, and more importantly 2- I had solid arguments why it was not in our daughters best interest. This included almost 3 years status quo of me as primary and him only taking her EOW if that, him living an hour away (he moved, not me) at the start of our court proceedings, and a suicide attempt a few months earlier when his gf at the time broke up with him, which left him hospitalized for some time.
Missing a bath and *maybe* not brushing your sons teeth wont be arguments you will want to make if he fights you on this.
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