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My wife accused me last night of trying to take our daughter away from her when I suggest joint custody, close to 50/50 time with each parent.

Of course, she doesn't seem to see how I would consider her taking her in a traditional sole custody arrangement as her trying to take our daughter away from me, but maybe we are just not understanding each other, emotions still running high, etc.

So objectively, what are the pros and cons to a joint custody arrangement. I hear so many here complaining that their exH's don't spend enough time with their children, yet I'm saying I'll take my daughter 50-100% of the time, and to hear my wife talk about this, you would think I was an axe murderer.

So what resources, opinions, rules of thumb, best guesses do the gathered braintrust of MB have on this topic?

Tony

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Oh, expert opinions are also welcome 8^)

Tony

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It is possible to have joint legal custody but sole physical custody with visitation.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by elspeth:
<strong> It is possible to have joint legal custody but sole physical custody with visitation. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Can you explain. I'm a computer guy, so these terms are not often in my vocabulary.

Bottom line is I'd like to spend as much time with my daughter as I can, and not just the every other weekend dad thing.

Whatever you call that, it doesn't matter. What matters is being able to see my daughter as much as possible.

Tony

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Let your attorney work this out. You and your wife cannot negotiate this sensitive issue - she couldn't commit to saving the marriage so the child didn't have to be split. IMHO, your wife will not work anything that deprives her of control, power, child support, etc. So don't try to negotiate it with her. Let the laywer talk for you. File for FULL custody if you can.

You may want to study up on what happened to GSN because he didn't play hardball with his wife. His wife deserved hardball in the extreme. Geoerge misread his marital situation, thinking that he could still win his wife back to the marriage, when all along, his wife had sown the seeds of marital destruction long before things blew up. She got everything. He gets very little and the girls are psychologically manipulated by their mother to demonstrate little or no loyalty to their father.

If you know your marriage is over, then don't let this happen to you. Plan B your wife. Let her talk to your hard-ball laywer.

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JSC,
In my state, if you've filed, the courts actually schedule a parenting information class to discuss these issues.
The Sandcastles book gives various parenting time options.
Each state is different, but very few use the term visitation now, it's called "parenting time". There are two types of custody generally:
1. Joint Legal custody - required in my state, means that both parents can make important decisions.
2. Residential Custody - means which address the child uses for school and etc. The parent that gets this is usually presumed to have more parenting time, and ends up with the right to really decide on which schools the children attend.

Now, my state is moving toward a 50/50 arrangement for fairness, if both parents had an established relationship with the child/ren.
So, go for the 50/50, or go for more and settle on 50/50 if it really is about the child. But, be prepared to coparent with your X, for the best interest of the child/n.

There are also many ways to do 50/50, depending on age. Every other night is not good per the courts. Examples. Actual depends on work schedules. (I always assume both work 9-5)
1. every other week, pickup friday after school, and keep child for a week.
2. 3-3-1. MTW (H - transfer day) FSS
Friends use Monday as the transfer day. This means that the child doesn't go as long seeing the other parent.
3. Set days per week - helps with scheduling activities Mom: Every M & T Dad W & Th, alternate weekends.

E-mail me directly for more info. Don't give in. GSN got screwed.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by newly:
<strong> JSC,
In my state, if you've filed, the courts actually schedule a parenting information class to discuss these issues.
The Sandcastles book gives various parenting time options.
Each state is different, but very few use the term visitation now, it's called "parenting time". There are two types of custody generally:
1. Joint Legal custody - required in my state, means that both parents can make important decisions.
2. Residential Custody - means which address the child uses for school and etc. The parent that gets this is usually presumed to have more parenting time, and ends up with the right to really decide on which schools the children attend.

Now, my state is moving toward a 50/50 arrangement for fairness, if both parents had an established relationship with the child/ren.
So, go for the 50/50, or go for more and settle on 50/50 if it really is about the child. But, be prepared to coparent with your X, for the best interest of the child/n.

There are also many ways to do 50/50, depending on age. Every other night is not good per the courts. Examples. Actual depends on work schedules. (I always assume both work 9-5)
1. every other week, pickup friday after school, and keep child for a week.
2. 3-3-1. MTW (H - transfer day) FSS
Friends use Monday as the transfer day. This means that the child doesn't go as long seeing the other parent.
3. Set days per week - helps with scheduling activities Mom: Every M & T Dad W & Th, alternate weekends.

E-mail me directly for more info. Don't give in. GSN got screwed. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I don't have your email so you can e-mail me at
EDIT
You know how to adjust this to actually work, I hope.

Tony

<small>[ January 21, 2004, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: javaSansContour ]</small>

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I think the custody/time needs to depend on the needs of the child. Very small children need Mommy more. I don’t know why. But in general it is so. Of course, certain women are unfit and shouldn’t have custody of their children no matter what age.

I personally like something close to 50/50. After all, I am dissolving the family living arrangements. I wouldn’t want to rob H. of the children nor the children of their father.

But I disagree with KA. My lawyer himself said to try and work out visitation stuff on our own because the courts were all over the place, it costs a lot of time and money, and in the end, it’s plain better if we can agree without courts, lawyers and judges getting involved.

But, don’t back down either. Maybe you should reopen negotiations with a 60/40 arrangement. You get your daughter 60% of the time. You can justify this because your work is more flexible, right?

Then, you have room to back down to 50/50. And long gone are the days when women automatically got the kids except for one night a week and every other weekend.

And you should talk to your lawyer as well to find out what it’s like in your state.

Good luck.

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Java,

I would say you're in a good position to file for full custody, if that is what you desire. You're in MO right? In that case you're lucky. In MO, marital fault is considered when determining custody of children, as are the children's wishes. Since you have evidence of not only an extra-marital affair, but also your wife's precedent in leaving the family home, I think you're in pretty good shape.

But don't take my word for it.. speak to an attorney ASAP and protect your rights.

Good luck,

Mike

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Work in MO, live in IL

Tony

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Ouch ok.. sorry then, you're in the same sinking ship as me :-(.

Mike

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by javaSansContour:
<strong> Work in MO, live in IL

Tony </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">

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So are you saying you are also in IL?

Upstate or downstate?

Tony

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No.. but our states have very similar divorce laws.

Mike

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by javaSansContour:
<strong> So are you saying you are also in IL?

Upstate or downstate?

Tony </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">

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Tony,
Put down what you want 50/50 and don't back down from that. You can bargain with money/possesions, but not your time with the kids.

My x didn't want the kids during her A and not until her marriage with om breakdown did she start taking the kids 50% of the time. She was doing the once per week and every other weekend. But like I said its pretty much 50/50. My kids just got back last nite from a week with her.

I think the courts usually try to default(computer term!) to the once per week, every other weekend, but go for more.

My kids, especially my d does like going for only 1 nite so recently she has been staying with me instead of going to her mother's.

My x works 12 hrs shifts 3-4 times per week, and some times has a day off between each work day. I haven't figured out why she doesn't group them together and then could have more free time. I guess she would want the kids more then.

But stick to your guns. She may be counting on the child support. Give her more of you pension or take less of hers, but go for the kids.

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We have joint legal custody but I have primary care.

With joint legal custody, either parent can authorize medical care. Without it, the noncustodial parent can not authorize care even in emergencies in many cases.

Because I knew the kind of hostile person with whom I was dealing, my decree gives me the power to make, single handedly, all decisions for the children - I just have to keep x informed about the decisions. Not get his approval, just keep him informed.

However, I have learned that involving him more gives him more understanding of what is going on. His cooperation is a good thing.

We had our visitation structured very strangely - and visitation is all he is allowed in the decree. The children live with me. Period. Up to this point. We split every weekend.

My son was so young when his dad moved out that every other weekend was tool long to go between longer visits with his dad. And a whole weekend was too long to be away from me. I left son with his dad for a weekend when I went to see a friend right before he moved out. It took the child nearly 2 weeks to recover. So, alternating between houses would not give that child enough routine.

For my son, a 50/50 deal would not be good.

So, I give the dad almost all the time he asks for. He sees them every evening but they are home for dinner every school night but one. (x does the afterschool pickups and saves me the after school care money).

I do all I can to make life good for everyone. It's all about the children.

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As Kayla Said I got shafted...... In talking with several PC/Ps the recommendation varies but there has been little or no negative about 50/50 as long as the parents are in agreement.

I would suggest you search the Web for sites that are for Fathers being involved in Parenting and look at the situations and the solutions.... several also offer Boilerplate Parenting Plans...

Be careful with Lawyers.... Typically to get 50/50 they want you to go for full custody which will piss your wife off even more...... They figure if you go for Full it gives you more negotiating room....especially since you are a man and the courts will 99% favor the woman.

AS with you I just wanted equal time with my girls. They are my girls as well as hers..... Unless she was fooling around when we got married and afterwards (hmmmm maybe should have DNA testing done) and I should be able to have equal time..... In VA you are screwed..... even with affairs, etc. unless the mother is in jail or a hardened drug addict or abuser, you have not got a snowballs chance in he!!.

The other thing..... you can ask the court to recommend that you seek family counseling and a PC/P to discuss what is best for the girls.... but beware...... we did that..... When our appointed PC/P/Counselor asked the girls what their preference was.... The words out of their mouth were programmed and were words of their mother.... This was done SANS us in the room... When I later talked with the Counselor and she told me the girls chose to live with their mother I asked her if she asked them why? She was quick to respond "NO" I said "WTF?" and asked her... if your kids told you they wanted to live with you H versus you, you dont think you would ask them why?

I currently have a suit against her for malpractice..... at least trying to have her license yanked and to have another PC/P Counselor to reopen the case.....

BE CAREFUL......

Oh Yes, I got the same story also from EX.... She could not believe that I would be heartless enough to take her children away from her.... even at 50/50..... and she did everything in her power to keep it from happening...including painting me as uncaring, dishonest, etc.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by javaSansContour:
<strong> My wife accused me last night of trying to take our daughter away from her when I suggest joint custody, close to 50/50 time with each parent.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Heehee. I love it when they pull this one. Let's see. YOU are choosing to break up our marriage and YOU are choosing to destroy our family for your happiness and YOU are choosing to split everything we've worked for jointly as a couple and individually and YOU are choosing to harm our children and shatter their foundation in life, but somehow *I* am taking them away from you because I am expecting to spend the amount of time with them that is my right and privilege?? OH NO!! We could have shared that time together (wherein WE would have been with the children as a couple) but YOU made the choice to lose half your time with the kids, NOT ME!!

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"><strong>Of course, she doesn't seem to see how I would consider her taking her in a traditional sole custody arrangement as her trying to take our daughter away from me, but maybe we are just not understanding each other, emotions still running high, etc.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Well, Tony, in all fairness emotions are still running high, and that is an excellent observation on your part. My guess is that your wife was the one who moreso provided care for the kids (maybe stay-at-home or more often taking them to the doctor, school things, or day care), BUT the part that I'm positive she did not consider is that by choosing to divorce and divide the family, she IS going to be losing substantial time with her children...this is just a fact. When two people are a married couple, they have time with the children together at the same time in the same home. When one partner basically forces the other to divorce, that means that each parent spends THEIR OWN parenting time with their own children. Here's a fact: as much time as is healthy for the children and you want them, she is going to be without her kids. She is SACRIFICING her kids for her own selfish "happiness" (shaking head in shame)-- what a pity.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"><strong> So objectively, what are the pros and cons to a joint custody arrangement. I hear so many here complaining that their exH's don't spend enough time with their children, yet I'm saying I'll take my daughter 50-100% of the time, and to hear my wife talk about this, you would think I was an axe murderer. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Here's my own personal opinion. As you go through a divorce there are going to be days when you just want to hurt her as bad as she has hurt you. Don't make decisions on those days. Other days, you are going to want to just give up and get it f*cking over with. Don't make decisions on those days either. On all the other days, when you are somewhat rational and in your right mind, I suggest you figure out what you believe you are rightfully entitled to and document facts that support your side...I suggest you figure out what is worth giving up in order to speed the process and gain peace in your life rather than continue the war of divorce...and I suggest that you decide the hill you are going to die on.

Speaking for myself, my kids were the hill I died on. If you've read any of my past posts or even my signature line, you know that my exH is not a well man. During the course of our M, he was violently mentally, emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive, and during our M he spent most of his time, energy, and passion on OW and his business. Finally, in our equation, our children were in their early teens, so that in my mind, they were old enough to express their desires and thoughts about where to live, etc. I would have given up every single point in our divorce--happily let go every single thing to which I believed I was rightfully entitled and had facts to back me up--in order to protect my kids from the abuse, offer them a home that was in their best interest, and provide them a safe method by which they could spend time with their father.

I believe I was rightfully entitled to alimony. I was married for almost 15 years, put him through college, built his business, and raised our kids as a partial SAHM--whereas he had a double college degree, a successful business, and an advanced career and a much higher earning capacity. I gave up my "right" to alimony in exchange for a better percentage of the house. I believe I was rightfully entitled to higher CS. He lied on his financial affidavit and I could have proved it, but I gave up my "right" to higher CS in exchange for very acceptable CS that I knew he'd be able to pay and I'd actually probably get it without breaking him every month. Most important of all, I believe I was rightfully entitled to sole physical custody and sole parenting rights, but I chose to offer joint decision-making in exchange for physical custody and liberal visitation. In layman's terms, I could have SLAUGHTERED HIM when it comes to abuse, violence, addiction and mental illness--I had doctors and professionals who could have testified until they were blue in the face...BUT that would not have been in the kids' best interest. I'm not an idiot. I know that children love their parents, even if the parents hurt them. I know that kids NEED to be with both of their parents. In layman's terms, the kids live with me and have 90% of their overnights with me. My home is their "home base"--but dad drives them to school in the morning, picks them up every other afternoon, sees one on Tuesday and one on Saturdays, and sees them any other darn time that he or the kids want to (like "DAD, guess what? I got an A on my paper! Want to come over and see it?")

IMHO, you are your daughter's father. She NEEDS you, and she kind of needs you to fight to be with her every moment you possibly can. So, here's a lesson: it's not called just "custody" anymore usually. It's broken down into physical possession and legal custody or parenting decisions. Physical possession would be called something like physical custody, and it means "Where does the child live? When? What's the schedule? Who does she mostly live with and who does she visit?" Legal custody means "Who makes the decisions about this child like where does she go to school? What extra curricular activities is she in? Who's house can she go to overnight? Etc."

If you try for sole legal custody and sole physical custody (which is darn near impossible to get) that means YOU make ALL the decisions regarding your daughter and your W gets no input, AND your daughter lives with you most of the time and visits your W from time to time.

If you try to joint legal and joint physical (which is most typical and probably recommended) that means you and your stbxw make decisions about your daughter together, and she lives with you and much as she lives with her mom. There are thousands of arrangements to do joint physical, but some typical examples are: one week at mom's/ one week at dad's; MTW with mom, HFSa with dad, SuMTW with mom, HFSSu with dad; one month with mom, one month with dad. One that is a typical "default" arrangement is physical custody with mom, one weekday night with dad and weekends with dad (or every other weekend--something like that). Then there are the less traditional schedules like school year with mom, summers and all school breaks with dad.

The reason sole ANYTHING is difficult to get is that the courts generally think that short of being criminals, parents have the right to parent their child and have time in their lives. Shoot, sometimes even when they ARE criminals they still have that right!! Anyway, to gain sole physical or legal, you usually have to prove the stbx to be horrible, criminal, violent, etc. and usually stbx's are not monsters--just selfish. Thus, if you persist in "I want sole custody because my exW loves the OM and not me" it's not going to get real far with a judge. Technically, it is not "illegal" for an stbx to love someone else, you see--and whilst you and I may think it is reprehensible and worthy of moral retribution, it's not going to convince a judge that the kids are in danger being around this person.

So, I suggest standing absolutely firm on requiring your time with your daughter. Do not budge one inch on that AT ALL. However, I would also say, be ready for a reality check. You won't get full custody based on adultery.

That's my opinion, and it's way more than 2 cents!


CJ

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CJ,

And other, thanks for the thoughtful replies. My mind is so full right now I probably can't fully grasp or thank you all for the information so far.

I know that sole custody is probably out. Our daughter has a half sister my wife brought to our family. (For those asking this was the first marriage for both of us, and I still hold out hope that it will not end.)

So there is no way a court would grant me sole custody and keep her away from her mother and sister with whom she has bonded.

I do believe my WW gets emotional support from having the girls around. At New Years, SD was with her dad, and I had YD with me, and WW wanted YD returned on that Sunday night. I said I would take her to pre-school on Monday, I had clothes and the pre-school is closer to the house than her apartment. She had one of those you are keeping me from my daughter fits. (Not like her having her 11-12 of every 14 days is not her keeping her away from me. Of course after saying she would never keep YD away from me, the first time I asked her to let her spend the night with me, the answer was no. :roll eyes: )

So I really don't hold out much hope other than if she really wants to do this quickly and get her hands on half of my 401K (and she has saved nothing BTW) since she may be out of work in 9 days, she may have to agree.

Afterall, it does take a while for these things to work through the system...

Tony

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Java,
Downstate here. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Cool]" src="images/icons/cool.gif" />

You said, </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> So I really don't hold out much hope other than if she really wants to do this quickly and get her hands on half of my 401K ... </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">You probably already know this, but just in case you don't........

My brother has been involved with two lengthy divorces.
One involving child custody (lengthy and costly--won't go there unless you have any questions).
The other, a greedy woman (a gold digger, only interested in his big bucks) who wanted half of everything, including (of course) his 401K.
The good news is, the gold digger was entitled to half of his 401K, BUT only half of the contributions he made during the time they were married (2 years). You have been married, I believe you said, 7 years. Your W would only be entitled to half of 7 years worth.
It might be to your benefit, if you have the option at work, to cease adding anything your 401K during this separation. Your additional contributions each month make her half bigger and bigger.
Maybe you could think about investing the 401 monies in something else for a while...something that wouldn't have to be divided.... like precious jewels hidden in a safety deposit box in someone else's name. (j/k)
Or maybe a trust fund of some kind for your D, or a college savings plan for your D in only you and your D's name.
(My brother did do something that did NOT allow her to get half of the 401 during the lengthy amount of time [2 years] it took for their D to become final....not sure what it was...can ask him if you are interested)

Another thing you may already know....your social security....she is not entitled to any unless you have been married 10 years.

If you haven't already, in order to protect yourself, you should consult with an attorney, and a good one....while they are expensive, they can save you money in the long run.
There are so many little things one doesn't think about during the emotional stress of separation and possible divorce.

I truly hope that things will turn around for you and you W. You sound like a good guy. One that has 'got it'...or is getting it. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="images/icons/wink.gif" />
But if she is possibly losing her job in the next few weeks, MAJOR financial problems may just begin for you. You are still married...you are responsible for her bills and her debts. Now is the time to take care of you (and your D, of course), and protect yourself.

Wishing you the best!


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