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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2014, 03:47 PM
Straittohell Straittohell is offline
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Default After-school care in a 50-50 situation

My ex and I share our kids, 50-50, week on, week off, with transfers on Fridays at 5:00pm (or after school that day)

During my weeks, the kids get off the bus at my house, and are watched by my partner, who gets off work a half hour before they are done school.

My ex is not as fortunate, as she works part-time hours that include 2-3 evenings per week, and has a partner that works odd hours. They also live outside of the school area (by choice), so they do not get bus service. On her weeks with the kids, they basically drive the kids to school, and then one of them picks up the kids after school. They only have one vehicle.

My ex tried to find after-school care for the kids so that they would have to do less juggling. She was unable to find a provider, so for the last two years, she has let the kids catch their bus to my house on her weeks as well, where they are watched by my very understanding partner, and they are then picked up by my ex or her partner whenever either of them get off work. Sometimes it is 4:00p, other times, later in the evening. My partner hasn't minded, and I have enjoyed getting to see my kids a few hours extra here and there, since I am done work every day at 5:00pm, and they are not always picked up right away. (it depends on when my ex is done work)

The challenge was that my ex and her partner started changing plans at the last minute, became tardy on numerous occasions, and generally started taking things for granted, so they have been figuring out things on their own for after school, for the last three months. My ex messaged me three weeks ago saying that she "just couldn't take it anymore", and that she needed to put them in after school care.

The problem is that the providers she found insisted on her using them for both her weeks and my weeks. I informed her that I did not support that decision, as the kids had care available for them on my weeks, and I was not interested in paying for a service that I didn't need. I told her that we were willing to resume watching the kids for her after school, as long as her and her partner started giving us better notice about pickup times, and stopped being late for those times (my partner has a son and we have activities planned for him most nights, so late pickups really throw off our schedule)

My ex basically ignored my response for three weeks, and then reluctantly came forward and accepted my proposal, starting this week.

Thanks for reading this far - these things are rarely simple and quick to outline! My questions are:

1) We have 50-50, share custody, and our agreement says that we must mutually agree on all matters of religion, schooling, daycare, medical, etc., and use mediation to resolve the matter. Could she have simply enlisted the kids in the after school program, and then made me pay the costs regardless, or am I protected from this by our agreement?

2) She claimed that putting them in after school care for both of our weeks would put the kids first, I claimed that allowing them to catch the bus to my house consistently, at no cost to either of us, was best for them. My ex and partner get along fine, and my partner has also been the one to make sure that the kids do their homework right after school, every day. (yes, I know that I'm a lucky guy, and my kids are lucky too) So, being conscious that everyone has an opinion on this stuff, what do you guys think?

(and don't worry, I'm well aware that my ex loathes the fact that this results in the kids spending more time at my house, but I'm going to stubbornly say that it's still in their best interest to go to either parent's house consistently every day after school, rather than to an after-school daycare)
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:12 PM
stripes stripes is offline
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Wow, tough one. Here are my random thoughts, for what it's worth:

1. I believe that your ex might be able to make the case that enrolling kids in the after-school program was necessary for her employment (on the argument that she had no other options - it sounds like you had refused to continue watching the kids on her week because of her unpredictability, which is reasonable on your part). In order to secure care for her weeks, she may have to register the kids full time, even though they aren't using the care in the weeks they're with you. I understand that you stopped letting her pick up the kids at your house, because she is unpredictable, but nevertheless your actions have put her in a situation where she has to seek care elsewhere. My understanding is that S7 payments for child care which is necessary for employment is not subject to both parents' approval, unlike other S7s. However I am not a lawyer etc.

Fortunately, it sounds like you won't need to deal with this possibility as your ex has accepted your conditions for the kids being cared for at your house.

2. "Putting the kids first" is a red herring. Being in a good after-school programme is good for the kids; catching the bus to Dad's house every day is also good for kids. The question is not child care with a provider vs child care with Dad's partner - either way, the kids won't suffer. The question is what arrangements will work best with the parents' lives. It sounds like the "putting kids first" phrase is getting trotted out to justify parents' wishes.

It sounds like the best such arrangement in your case would be for the kids to come to your place after school and be collected at a consistent time by Mom/partner. However, this depends on

a) Mom committing to a reliable pickup time (just like she would have to do with a child care provider).
b) Dad's partner being okay with looking after kids indefinitely into the future.

I can also see Mom making an argument that her time with the kids is hers, and that you can't require her to bring the kids to your house during her week because you won't contribute to after-school care. I don't know how plausible this argument is, however.

I think the best thing to do is to get a written undertaking from Mom/partner that they will pick up kids at a specified time (just like a professional provider would do), and hope that this continues to work out.
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:12 PM
Canadaguy Canadaguy is offline
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Are the kids in Jr kindergarten or older? If so, it is required by the school board to provide childcare to all children before and after school. (one of the school boards mandates).

Thus, every school has a B&A program. Maybe the trick is laying the screws to them saying you have a consistent schedule, EOW for child services and that is all you need. Some kids only go part time B&A, say 3 days a week and as long as it is the same 3 they only pay 3 days each week.

If the school board won't play ball, maybe change the child schedule to every mon/tue with dad, Wed/thur with mom and EOA 50/50 split.

From my understanding if she does register the kids at daycare on her weeks you will have to pay your proportional income portion of that even if it is only EOW. I believe that is the law regarding this matter. If she needs daycare during her work your agreement won't protect you, the law says you have to pay.

Just some ideas.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:48 AM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
My ex and I share our kids, 50-50, week on, week off, with transfers on Fridays at 5:00pm (or after school that day)
One thing to consider Straittohell is the concept of "neutrality". Many custody and access assessors (Section 30, OCL) like daycare as it is a neutral environment (like school). It is a place that often serves the interests of the child over those of the parent.

So, you often see justices ordering daycare when not needed by one party to maintain this neutral environment. Now, we have ample experience where home daycare providers are not neutral. But, if you are talking a licensed daycare (PLASP, etc...) you can get this neutral environment for the benefit of the children.

I know of no current case law (not saying it doesn't exist) where a judge ordered another parent's partner, spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, etc... to be the care provider to the children while the children are residing with the other parent. The situations where this happens is when people get along.

Courts are reluctant to order this because it could remove the neutrality that should be in place. Again, this doesn't mean that by ordering the child attend daycare that you have to take them to the daycare or that daycare has to take the child as a client.

While the children are residing with you no court will "contempt" you because you have alternative solutions to child care. (e.g. your partner is able to do it or you are) It is laughable when parents attempt to enforce orders to use a daycare - it really identifies to a judge who the "controlling" party is when they make motions to try and enforce daycare attendance.

Even if you are providing a neutral environment it really isn't neutral because it is in your home. It will give you an advantage. A little thing that the extremists who are against 50-50 residency don't want anyone to know is that the majority of the time a child will choose a particular parent to live with when they turn 14 and 9 times out of 10 it is a specific gender of parent.

(Fun to find this study so I am not going to link it here... Some homework for those interested.)

Ultimately, the parent who lives farther from the school, friends, and activities will end up being the majority residential parent. So, add to the fact that they reside with you half the time and you see them every day... The children are developing a neutral (or equal) opinion... They will eventually just want to stay cause they are with you all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
My ex is not as fortunate, as she works part-time hours that include 2-3 evenings per week, and has a partner that works odd hours. They also live outside of the school area (by choice), so they do not get bus service. On her weeks with the kids, they basically drive the kids to school, and then one of them picks up the kids after school. They only have one vehicle.
You have the advantage in stability and location. Children radiate to the parent who achieves this. Neutrality of the residences and location to school is not maintained. The probability of the children choosing to reside with you permanently at 14 is high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
My partner hasn't minded, and I have enjoyed getting to see my kids a few hours extra here and there, since I am done work every day at 5:00pm, and they are not always picked up right away. (it depends on when my ex is done work)
Also, this access to you will impact the children as they get older. Children generally want a stable living environment and parent. When they get older they will choose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
The challenge was that my ex and her partner started changing plans at the last minute, became tardy on numerous occasions, and generally started taking things for granted, so they have been figuring out things on their own for after school, for the last three months. My ex messaged me three weeks ago saying that she "just couldn't take it anymore", and that she needed to put them in after school care.
This is the problem with being the "responsible parent". We always talk about the "primary caregiver" and other titles on this forum. One I would like to promote is the "responsible parent". This doesn't mean you are the "custodial parent"... Just the responsible one. The one who provides stability (doesn't move around), lives in the place that is most accommodating to the childrne's needs and not their own personal wishes or dreams etc...

Don't say you are the "primary parent", "custodial parent", etc... Be the "RESPONSIBLE PARENT" and children will notice. I suspect you are doing this.

Also, being the "responsible parent" means you have to deal with the "irresponsible parent" and deal with nonsense like this. As the responsible parent you just have to suck it up and move on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
The problem is that the providers she found insisted on her using them for both her weeks and my weeks. I informed her that I did not support that decision, as the kids had care available for them on my weeks, and I was not interested in paying for a service that I didn't need.
A home daycare provider may be your only option. Many offer this level of flexibility. A court could order you to pay for the service but, not use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
I told her that we were willing to resume watching the kids for her after school, as long as her and her partner started giving us better notice about pickup times, and stopped being late for those times (my partner has a son and we have activities planned for him most nights, so late pickups really throw off our schedule)
My recommendation would be not to operate as a daycare but, the "responsible parent". Make the same offer but, redact the stuff about better notice. What happens in these situations is that parents get later and later and eventually one day call and say... just have the kids stay there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
My ex basically ignored my response for three weeks, and then reluctantly came forward and accepted my proposal, starting this week.
Good. I would recommend you operate more as the "responsible parent" (willing to deal with all the nonsense) than a daycare provider. Sure it will screw up your day etc... But, eventually it will work to the befit of your children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
1) We have 50-50, share custody, and our agreement says that we must mutually agree on all matters of religion, schooling, daycare, medical, etc., and use mediation to resolve the matter. Could she have simply enlisted the kids in the after school program, and then made me pay the costs regardless, or am I protected from this by our agreement?
No. If you do not agree the next option is mediation. Failing mediation the next option is court. She cannot engage in an activity without your consent (or a court order) that costs you money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straittohell View Post
2) She claimed that putting them in after school care for both of our weeks would put the kids first, I claimed that allowing them to catch the bus to my house consistently, at no cost to either of us, was best for them.
YOu both have a valid argument. Her argument before a court would be stronger. (see: "psychological neutrality")

Good Luck!
Tayken
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