50 50 custody sharing and the laws in Washington state - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 01-29-2012, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was a stay at home homeschooling mom for 9 years, until my ex left me and the kids almost a year ago.  For the first 6 months he came around a couple times a week and would take the kids overnight once or twice a month.  I was still homeschooling. but now with zero support.  I put the kids in school with no help or input from him.  I put them in therapy, I worked my butt off.  It was a rough summer.

 

In septmember we came up with a formal plan and agreed on all the money and he served me papers.  They did not at all resemble what we had agreed on and he asked for 50 50 shared visitation.  I feel strongly this is not in the best interest of the kids.  He is unmediacted bi-polar and he is crazy.  My 7 year old is terrified of him.  Ex claims that the state does not count the time you are at work thus he has been a 50 percent parent all these years.  He somehow thinks the fact that I spent all day long with the kids every day doesn't count.  Not to mention the fact that he often didn't even come home from work because he was out partying.

 

Fast forwrd to now.  I was just sent again, divorce paperwork after months of negotiations which again asked for 50 50 shared parenting.  Again we had agreed on two nights a week and he changed it and sent me something different because he was mad at me for not being nice to him.

 

He uses this threat constantly.  It's killing me.  I went from having my kids all the time, to having to put them in school, and not see them two overnights a week.  They sleep on the floor at his house or his girlfriend's house.  My kids are afraid of him, and ask to go home.  He doesn't participate at all in school stuff or regular life stuff.  He leaves all their dirty clothes at my front door.  He doesn't think about their well being at all.  I work a school schedule so I drive them and pick them up from school.  He doesn not help me.  Yet his lawyer encourages him to demand this.  He doesn't even live nearby.  He says he would take them and hire a nanny, instead of letting me have them. 

 

He states he wants the kids more so he doen't have to talk to me, so he doesn't have to parent with me, so he doesn't have to answer to me in any way.

 

Anyone have experience with WA state and stuff like this.  I will fight him to the death to keep my kids.  He left us, and he does not and has never been a dad who contributed 50 percent. He is crazy, absolutely nuts. 

 

He will go to court over this just to make a point and he seems to think he will automatically get 50 50 if we go before a judge.  Anyone know if this is true?

thanks!


, mama to DS(7/)22/02) DS (8/14/04) , and an angel (3/10/10)nursing a broken heart...loving my boys.
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#2 of 13 Old 01-29-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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You need an attorney, s/he will be able to tell you what to expect in court when it comes to custody.

 

As for your stbx's claim that he wants more custody so that he doesn't have to talk to you, that's bogus.  Present him with a plan that doesn't involve any contact with you at all.  Such as EOW with pick-up after school and curb side drop off (obviously, this one isn't for toddlers, but older kids).   With curb side drop off and pick up at school, he doesn't have to see you or talk to you at all. 

 

Oh, and the time in school counts towards the CP's time. 

 

You mentioned that he lives far away, just how far away is he?  If he's more than 10 miles away, I would not agree to any overnights during the school week.  At all. 

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#3 of 13 Old 01-29-2012, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!

yes he lives about ten miles away from me and more than that from boys school. In a one bedroom apartment.  The kids sleep on the living room floor.  Sometimes they sleep on his girlfriend's floor.  I just had to have my attorney demand of his that my ex provide me with addresses and phone numbers of where the kids are staying.  He refuses to tell me.  Our relationship is very strained.  He feels I forced him to leave by not being happy.  I just fear he would go to court just to punish me.  He doesn't really want the kids half time.  In fact he has a 50 hour a week job, whereas I have one that works around kids school schedule exactly.  But he says he'll just hire a nanny.

 


, mama to DS(7/)22/02) DS (8/14/04) , and an angel (3/10/10)nursing a broken heart...loving my boys.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-29-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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I do hope you aren't taking any of his threats seriously. With the right of first refusal, he can only use a babysitter or nanny if you refuse to take the kids when he can't care for them himself, so it's just ridiculous for him to even say that. Most courts will try to keep things as normal for the kids as possible, and you are the primary caregiver and he doesn't have any compelling reason why you should not be.

 

You really need a good meeting with your attorney to find out what is usual in your county given that your ex is being difficult.


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#5 of 13 Old 01-29-2012, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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His lawyer advised him not to sign a right of first refusal.  He doesn't want to communicate at all with me.  He doesn't feel like he should have to tell me anything about what he does when he has the kids. He wants complete control and he does not put the kids first.  I had to have a huge arguement with him because he had the kids for the weekend and wanted to leave them with his brother overnight to go to a party.  I offered to take them and he really gave me a hard time about it.  He did not want me to have them.  I had to go pick them up.  He didn;t want to drive up to my house to return the kids.  Sigh.  He really is insane.


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#6 of 13 Old 01-30-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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To be honest, ROFR is something that I would go to court over.  It's reasonable and a judge is likely to grant it. 

 

Do you have an attorney?  If not, you NEED one. 

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#7 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the advice.  Actually the ROFR is what our negotiations fell apart over.  That and he somehow thinks he was a 50/50 parent for ten years even though I was a stay at home homeschooling mom and he worked 50 hours a week and partied with his friends at least two nights a week.  He seems to think his time at work counts as parenting.

 

My lawyer is suggesting we may need a court appointed parenting evaluator which I really do not want.  My ex will come after me like a demon if I get aggressive with any of this.  He doesn't care about money (he spent our entire savings in the last 10 months) he only cares about being in control.

 

I really can't imagine a judge would change anything.  He has done nothing to participate except pay the bills.  Yes this is a biggie, but he didn't help pick a school, he doesn't help with any day to day stuff.  He simply picks the kids up packed to go and returns them and their dirty laundry.  But whenever I don't do exactly what he says he threatens to take them 50/50

 

I don't understand why he refuses the ROFR.  It protects us both.  But I think in his mind he is entitled to parent completely separate from me with zero communitcation.  Sigh.


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#8 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 10:32 AM
 
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In our divorce none of that mattered.  It didn't matter that he didn't participate prior to the divorce.  It didn't even matter how he handled the temporary visitation.  It didn't matter that that he did not do homework, clean their clothes, feed them appropriately, clean them appropriately, or do any other day to day stuff.  He just picked them up, played with them, bought them toys, returned them (sometimes on time, some times not, sometimes with a scene, sometimes not), and did not take any measures to keep my youngest safe when she has life threatening food allergies (didn't even keep her epi pen present at all times either).  I could go on and on.  It didn't matter.  He got all the visitation that he demanded.  The children's law guardian sided with him on everything, repeatedly telling me "They will adjust."  And apparently the judge normal follows the law guardians advice with visitation and custody.  We are almost 50/50 and if his work schedule had allowed it, the law guardian said that is what she was aiming for.

 

We are in NY (Monroe County).

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#9 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapajama View Post

Thank you for the advice.  Actually the ROFR is what our negotiations fell apart over.  That and he somehow thinks he was a 50/50 parent for ten years even though I was a stay at home homeschooling mom and he worked 50 hours a week and partied with his friends at least two nights a week.  He seems to think his time at work counts as parenting.

 

My lawyer is suggesting we may need a court appointed parenting evaluator which I really do not want.  My ex will come after me like a demon if I get aggressive with any of this.  He doesn't care about money (he spent our entire savings in the last 10 months) he only cares about being in control.

 

I really can't imagine a judge would change anything.  He has done nothing to participate except pay the bills.  Yes this is a biggie, but he didn't help pick a school, he doesn't help with any day to day stuff.  He simply picks the kids up packed to go and returns them and their dirty laundry.  But whenever I don't do exactly what he says he threatens to take them 50/50

 

I don't understand why he refuses the ROFR.  It protects us both.  But I think in his mind he is entitled to parent completely separate from me with zero communitcation.  Sigh.


I think you made a mistake in letting that happen. I would not have fought that hard for ROFR - and didn't. However, after the custody battles, and after things have calmed down (it has taken some time), it is a default for both of us pretty much. Now my ds and I moved several states away (after a fight), but we still try to accommodate each other as best we can. Neither of us bends over backwards, but when I get my wisdom teeth out, I will arrange for my ex to have ds for a few extra days so I can recover, and if he has big plans or something happens he will rearrange things with me.

 

Right now, ROFR seems like the end of the world, and like you absolutely MUST have it (and some people do b/c their ex's are really just that crazy - but in all honesty my ex is just that crazy too and was highly emotionally abusive towards me, and physically abusive in the end), but once everything calms down and this fight is behind you and you're all able to move on, it will probably be just fine.

 

And, to some extent he's right. He can parent his way without communicating that with you. He doesn't need to talk to you about bedtimes, diets, activities, etc - his parenting time is for HIM. He does have to communicate about school, medical issues, etc (although even that is up to some discretion if you have joint legal). My ex used to not even tell me when DS napped, or had his last bottle. No one cares about that - not judges, not law guardians, not anyone.

 

And really, if he has enough money to "just hire a nanny" for when he isn't around, he's going to end up paying $$ in child support. Even if you have 50/50.

 

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#10 of 13 Old 02-01-2012, 12:39 AM
 
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I highly suggest asking for a custody eval if your lawyer recommends it. I generally think they are bogus, but I decided not to do one when my lawyer wanted it, and ended up finding out the hard way that the person who asks for it pretty much always gets what they want. It may be different in your area, but find out from people who have gone through it before you totally dismiss it and he jumps on it. If he is going to come after you like a demon, he is going to eventually no matter what. I say beat him to it.


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#11 of 13 Old 02-09-2012, 04:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapajama View Post

 

I don't understand why he refuses the ROFR.  It protects us both.  But I think in his mind he is entitled to parent completely separate from me with zero communitcation.  Sigh.



There are probably several reasons.  One of them is that if ROFR consistently gives you the kids most of the time, then you could end up with a court order that gives him less then 50%.

The other is that he has no plans at all to ever comply with it.  Having it in a court order and consistently ignoring it can (and has been) be grounds for changing custody to where you have them most of the time as it clearly shows that he is not willing to co-parent.  This is something that you really should fight for.  His continued refusal will only show that he is not willing to take the kids' best interests into mind.

 

Another thing that you can use to fight 50/50 with is his work schedule.  Show how much more time the kids would get with a parent with your work schedule and briefly mention how much time they would get with his work schedule.  Make it about the kids and why they would be better off with you most of the time.

 

Even if a judge does rule 50/50, chances are good that the judge will order ROFR, which means that your stbx is going to have to actually co-parent with you to a degree. 

 

Oh, and keep a journal of how often you have attempted to communicate with him regarding the kids and how often he refuses to communicate with you about the kids. 

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#12 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 09:07 PM
 
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My ex has tried to get me to agree to split time, hoping to get out of paying child support. We live in Washington, and we did everything through mediation. Once we had an agreement hammered out, it was legally binding. But it sounds like you two are beyond that stage.

 

I've never worried about the judge actually giving him 50/50 custody. I also homeschooled my kids for ten years, and have been their primary caregiver their entire lives. I consulted with several volunteer lawyers, and was told every time that the judge would not want to change their schedule just at ex's request. The courts are focused primarily on the children, not the rights of the parents. We had a visitation schedule for a couple of years after we split, but before we got divorced, and it worked just fine for ex until he decided he didn't want to look for a job. The lawyers I talked to said that they wouldn't be willing to change a schedule that was working for the kids, just to suit one of the parents. I believed them and called his bluff, but he never tried to challenge me in court, so my story is not a lot to go on.

 

The "daytime doesn't count as parenting time" thing is ridiculous. If you don't already, keep a journal of communication, pick ups and drop offs, etc.


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#13 of 13 Old 02-13-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
I consulted with several volunteer lawyers, and was told every time that the judge would not want to change their schedule just at ex's request. The courts are focused primarily on the children, not the rights of the parents. .....

 

The lawyers I talked to said that they wouldn't be willing to change a schedule that was working for the kids, just to suit one of the parents.



I took just portions from the above, but in my experience that was 100% not true.  That is what I relied on and it wasn't true at all.  There was no focus on the kids or what was best or worked best for the kids.  It was all about how they could give my (previously uninvolved) ex as much time as possible without regard to any negative ramifications to the kids (and there were and still are ramifications).

 

You will have to fight for what you think is best and be prepared that no matter how much you fight, the end result may not be what is best for the kids.  The courts truly don't care.  It is all about how your attorney and your ex's attorney present you to the judge and how the judge views each of you, etc.

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