I was married in 06, separated in 2010, divorce was finalized beginning of 2012. We had a child in 2008. We have 50/50 custody. August of 2012 I was talking to my ex husband about where we are going to send our son for kindergarten. We both live 10 mins Away from each other so I asked him if we could please visit both townships and decide Which is best for our son. (My son is going into kinder sept 2013). I knew we should be getting a head start on it. He said oh that's not for another year we will talk about it then. I continued to argue with him telling him this is a very big deal. Well a week later he told me he was moving in w his new girlfriend an hour away. So that meant our son would be there half of the time. (He's in a pre k Around here he's been in for a while). Then a few weeks later I found out that he was engaged. (He didn't tell me but found out by Facebook). The new gf or fiancé has a 6 year old who pretty much from what I hear runs the show. So my ex called me a few weeks ago to see what I thought about him having him during the week everyday and me having him every single weekend. (That's the finances kids schedule ... W his mom during the week and dad every weekend). I of course said absolutely not. NO! Got a lawyer to modify our custody agreement saying he will go to school in my school district. I'm not the one who moved an hour away!!!! He would bring him to school on his days. I would never ask for him to not see his dad All week. We had a meeting with the mediator bc it's court ordered. We didn't figure anything out. He did say that he would continue to leave our son in the school he is in now for kinder and we will decide things in a year. I thought hmmmm... That's not exactly what would be best for the child bc I'd want him in k-12 w all of the same children. I told him I'd give him an answer tomorrow. There is soooooooo much more to this story. My ex is very controlling, and manipulative. My ex is brainwashing my child to love this new "brother" and isn't he just sooo much fun.. We are just such a big happy family. He gets the new "brother" to call while I have my son so my son will whine and cry and say I want to go to daddy's. it's just very sick thing. I don't know whether to let this ride out another year or to keep fighting. I'm so confused, upset and don't know what to do. My lawyer is no help but I don't have money for a better one. I have such a bad feeling that if I do say yes to him continuing the school he's in now got kinder that my ex and his lawyer have something planned out. My ex is a real sick guy... Great father ( well somewhat) but just sooo damn manipulative. Please if someone could give me advice on any of this id soo Appreciate it!!!!!
Put him in school like yesterday! Does the elementary have a preschool program that you could start now, to get him established? Honestly, though, I can't see your ex driving 4 hrs round trip 5 days a week to bring your ds back to your town for school on his days, so I doubt you have much to be worried about.
Almost certainly, your 50-50 arrangement will eventually be changed. Right now, your ex may be willing to commute to get your son to kindergarten, so he (your ex) can continue spending an equal # of weekdays with your son. But that's only because he (your ex) hopes that, by 1st grade, your son will live with him during the week. Neither of you will want to maintain a school-day commute, forever. And eventually your son will have homework and extracurriculars, so it won't make sense for him to have 2-hour weekday commutes in order to keep spending an equal # of weekdays with whichever parent lives in a different town from his school. Eventually, it will make sense for your son to spend only weekends at the out-of-town parent's house. Perhaps that parent could also drive over every Wed. and take your son out to dinner or do homework with him at the library.
The key issue is when that change will be made.
Naturally, your ex wants to wait on any legal action. He wants you to feel that if you go ahead and enroll your son in kindergarten near you, that clinches it and you're safe. Because in the year and a half between now and the end of kindergarten:
1) If he's smart, he will go out of his way to maintain his existing parenting time schedule, in spite of the distance. A) Your son will continue spending exactly equal amounts of time with each of you, making it very difficult for you to claim he's more bonded to you; or that spending the entire school week away from Mommy would be any more upsetting to him than spending it away from Daddy. B) Your ex can showcase what a remarkably devoted and responsible parent he is, keeping up with his parenting time and getting your son to school, in spite of his move. That doesn't necessarily make him look better than you. But it might offset your advantage, if your judge has a bias toward mothers.
2) He will marry his girlfriend. Right now, he has moved away from his kid to shack up with a new woman. "Fiancee" doesn't matter. Lots of people say they're going to get married, but wind up breaking up. However, by the end of kindergarten, he'll be able to say his "two-parent household" offers benefits to your son that your home doesn't. Ex.: if your son gets sick at school and needs to be picked up during the work day, he'll have twice as many adults to work out the logistics, as you will.
3) Her kid will become your son's step-brother and they'll have a year and a half to bond. Right now, in the eyes of the court, this is just a kid who belongs to Dad's shack-up girlfriend. (Sorry, "fiancee". Same thing.) By the end of kindergarten, the court will recognize some level of significance in your son's relationship with this kid. A judge might care that, if your son were only at his Dad's on weekends and his step-brother were only there during the week, they'd never see each other. Whereas, if your son spent every weekend with you and you drove over to visit him once or twice each week, he'd still see a lot of you, and his experience at his Dad's would feel more like family life and less fractured, with both kids in different places all the time.
Maybe your judge will think letting your son attend elementary school with the kids from his kindergarten class is more important than these other considerations. But it's just as likely that he won't. Your son's not in high school. LOTS of kids attend kindergarten at their church, or the Y, or the Montessori or co-op school where they went to preschool and start elementary school with a whole new group of kids. Lots of kids change schools in the middle of grade school, because their parents get relocated for work or there's a custody change. Sometimes these things happen in the middle of a school year. There is no guarantee that this will be the most important issue, to a judge.
Now - as quickly as possible after your ex's move - is YOUR best time to modify custody:
1) It's sensible. You're reacting to a change when it happened, not 2 years later.
2) If your judge - when forced to choose - is biased toward giving primary custody to mothers, then the younger your son is when you ask for primary custody, the greater your advantage in being the female parent.
3) If enrolling your son in 1st grade in your ex's new town meant changing primary custody from Mommy to Daddy, your ex would essentially have to prove you're unfit (very hard). But if you and your ex are still on completely equal footing at the start of 1st grade, then he only has to prove that for your son to go to the same school as his step-brother would be slightly nicer for him, than going to the same school as his kindergarten friends (not as hard).
If your mediation failed, you should be entitled to resolve the issues in court, not wait until your ex is willing to try mediation again.
Thanks. I have an honorary degree from New-Husband's-Nightmarish-Ex-Wife School of Law.
My husband has sole custody of his son, but his situation is extreme. I recognize (even my husband recognizes) that in most situations, if a child can't have both parents in the same house, it's preferable that he live with Mommy, especially if Mommy's capable of surmounting all the vitriol of the divorce and supporting the child's relationship with his Dad. It sounds like you are.
Don't you have to submit applications for kindergarten now? This can not be left too long or you will be limited in where your son can go. I wonder if your ex already has an application or two in for around his area just so he can say he's such a great organised dad?