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#1 of 10 Old 10-08-2013, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My stbx and I wrote our own visitation plan but the pro-se lawyer said that the judge will probably not sign it because the "standard" visitation order is deemed "best for the child". If I want him to sign it I have to explain why our plan is better for our kids than the "standard" and honestly I don't want to because I don't want stbx to get in trouble. The reason I'm getting what I want (sole custody, namely) is because he and I are playing nice. If he gets in trouble I think he would take it out on us and start fighting me for custody. The reason I want the plan we agreed on is because he has anger management issues, he has pushed and hit our oldest, he screams all day and honestly the kids are scared of him. Our arrangement is that he will have open visitation as long as we both agree and no overnights until he has proven he will be active in their lives by keeping twice monthly visitation and weekly phone calls (he won't). 

So what can I say and how can I word it so the judge will sign?

 

Here's the one we wrote up:

 

Exhibit: Possession (Visitation) and Access Order

The Court ORDERS that each conservator shall comply with all terms and conditions of this standard possession (visitation) order.

The Court ORDERS that this standard possession (visitation) order is effective immediately and applies to all periods of possession occurring on and after the date the Court signs the order to which this exhibit is attached.

Designation of Conservators

The Court ORDERS that the conservators are designated in this exhibit as Home Parent and Co-parent.

The conservator known as the ‘Home Parent’ is: M

The conservator known as the ‘Co-Parent’ is: B

Mutual Agreement

The Court ORDERS that Home Parent and Co-Parent shall have possession of the child/ren at any and all times mutually agreed to in advance by Home Parent and Co-Parent.

In the absence of mutual agreement, the Court ORDERS that Home Parent and Co-Parent shall have possession of the child/ren as ordered below.

Undesignated Times

The Home Parent shall have the right to possession of the child/ren at all times not specifically ordered for Co-Parent.

Definitions

A “weekend” begins every other Friday at 6pm, and ends on the following Sunday at 6 pm, except when:

·         The words “After school**” are present, which means that during the regular school year, the weekend begins at the time the child/ren’s school is dismissed.

·         The words,  “Next school day***” are present ,which means that, during the regular school year, the weekend ends at the time the child/ren’s school starts on the next school day.

·         If weekend or midweek visit conflicts with holiday or summer schedule, you must follow the holiday or summer schedule.

 

Schedules

 

Access to be as agreed by both parties. In the absence of agreement, the following shall apply:

Home Parent and Co-Parent agree that Co-Parent will have open visitation with 3 days notice at the children’s home or 7 days notice at his, if at all and will be limited to a maximum of every other weekend and 2 weeks in the summer.

Home Parent and Co-Parent agree that overnight visits will begin if/when all of the following conditions are met: The Co-Parent keeps twice monthly visits and weekly phone calls for 6 months consecutively and the youngest child is 3 years of age and ready for such separation.

Home Parent and Co-Parent agree that the children will not travel to visit until such a time that the youngest child is 5 years of age. We agree that the children will not be allowed to visit inside a home where smoking takes place. We agree that drop off will be prompt by 7 pm, if not an overnight visit.

Both parties agree that at the age of 12 years, the children’s desires regarding visitation will be taken into account and they will not be forced to travel for visitation overnights if they decide not to. Visitation at the children’s place of residence will remain open.

 

Child’s Birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Home Parent and Co-Parent shall also have the right to possession of the child/ren as follows, notwithstanding the periods of possession ordered for Co-parent and regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child:

Child’s Birthdays

The Parent who does not already have a scheduled visit on the child’s birthday shall have the right to possession of the child on the child’s birthday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., provided he or she picks up the child from the residence of the parent entitled to possession, and returns the child to the same place.

This visit shall include the child’s minor siblings.

Father’s Day

The Co-Parent shall have possession of the child/ren on Father’s Day weekend, provided he picks up the child/ren from the residence of the parent entitled to possession, and returns the child/ren to the same place.

The weekend starts Saturday before Father’s Day at 6 p.m. and ends at: 6:00 PM Sunday.

 

Mother’s Day

The Home Parent shall have possession of the child/ren on Mother’s Day weekend, provided she picks up the child/ren from the residence of the parent entitled to possession, and returns the child/ren to the same place.

The weekend starts Saturday before Mother’s Day at 6 p.m. and ends at: 8:00 AM on the Monday after Mother's Day.

 

All other Holidays

 

Both the Home Parent and the Co-Parent agree to decide together how to share time with our children on holidays and other special days, always taking into account our children’s best interests. We understand that this lack of a formal schedule could cause some problems in the future, but we believe that this will work out best for us, and we both agree to make every effort to make sure that it does.

 

 

4.   General terms and Conditions

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Possession Order, the following terms and conditions apply regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child:

Exchange of Children at Start of Co-parent’s Possession

The Court ORDERS the Home Parent to surrender the child/ren to the Co-Parent at the beginning of Co-parent’s possession at:

Home-Parent's Residence

If a period of possession begins at the time the child/ren’s school is regularly dismissed, the Court ORDERS the Home parent to surrender the child to Co-parent at the beginning of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled.

If the child is not in school, Co-parent shall pick up the child at the location designated above and the Court ORDERS the Home parent to surrender the child to Co-parent at the location designated above at 6 pm.

If the children will not be in school, the Home-Parent shall immediately notify the Co-Parent.

Exchange of Children at End of Co-Parent’s possession

The Court ORDERS the Co-Parent to surrender the child/ren to the Home Parent at the end of Co-Parent’s possession at:

Home-Parent's Residence

If a period of possession ends at the time the child/ren’s school resumes, the Court ORDERS the Co-Parent to surrender the child/ren to Home Parent at the end of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not in school, at the residence of Home Parent at 7 a.m.

If the child/ren will not be delivered to school on that day, Co-Parent shall immediately notify the school and Home Parent that the child/ren will not or has not been returned to school.

Discipline

The Court ORDERS that each conservator will refrain from using corporal punishment, as the children’s primary care provider recommends.

Safety

 

We agree that each party will ensure the child is wearing a seat belt or age appropriate child restraint is properly installed and buckled whenever she is riding in an automobile or other vehicle.

Child/ren’s Personal Effects

The Court ORDERS each conservator to return with the child/ren the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.

Designation of Competent Adult

Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child/ren, as applicable. The Court ORDERS that a conservator or designated competent adult be present when the child/ren is/are picked up or returned.

Notice if Unable to Exercise Possession

The Court ORDERS each conservator to give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the conservator will be unable to exercise that conservator’s right of possession for any specified period.

Written Notice

Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due. 

 

Other Orders

In regards to finances we agree that M will be able to claim head of household for tax purposes. We agree that M will claim all children as her dependents for tax purposes.

We agree not to give our children any messages, either spoken or in writing, to deliver to the other parent, ask our children to keep secrets from the other parent, question our children about the other parent’s household or friends, encourage our children to challenge the authority of the other parent, to request a change of custody, or to resist spending scheduled time with the other parent, say anything, by word or gesture, that might reduce our child(ren)’s love, respect or affection for the other parent, nor will we allow friends or relatives to do so.

We agree not to introduce significant others to the children until the relationship has lasted at least 6 months and both parties have met significant others prior to introducing the children.

We agree to not allow children to use the terms: mom, dad, mama, daddy, mother, father for anyone other than their biological parents.

If we ever have to go back to court because of disagreement, B agrees to pay all legal fees for both parties. We also agree that both parties must attend private mediation first before any legal action can be taken. The party seeking a change will pay all mediation fees incurred. In the event one clear party is not seeking a change, both parties will split mediation cost.


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#2 of 10 Old 10-08-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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I have no advice, but I would REALLY rethink posting both your real names and all this info. Code-names ("M" and "B", for example) and a summary is safer, if someone with experience wants the exact wording- you can go through PM.

 

I think it's awful that judges will decide they know better than BOTH parents who are agreeing! Good luck.

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#3 of 10 Old 10-08-2013, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I didn't even think about that.

 

I agree, I think it's ridiculous that a judge would think they know better for the kids than the parents themselves.


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#4 of 10 Old 10-10-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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As long as child support is at or above what the calculation for your state says it should be and you both sign it I don't think a judge will care.
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#5 of 10 Old 10-11-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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Do you have a lawyer? I am wondering what he or she would have to say about this? If you STBX has pushed or hit your child, and you don't mention it, you could be considered complicit in child abuse. Even if STBX is cooperating with this parenting plan now, in the future he might challenge it. If you don't mention the abuse now (and hitting and pushing is abuse, even if your child wasn't injured, even if it only happened occasionally), that could reflect badly on you. I appreciate not wanting your child's dad to get in trouble, and definitely not wanting him to challenge a sole custody plan. But I'm really concerned about the ramifications of not mentioning this.


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#6 of 10 Old 10-11-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I know what the ramification of mentioning it would be. It would infuriate stbx and he would probably go for sole custody himself, ending up with us having joint custody. The judge, the lawyer, whoever would see me as a woman trying to make stuff up to get my way and totally ignore it. For the record, no I don't have a lawyer, I'm doing a "pro se" divorce. Stbx signed a waiver of citation so I'm the only one involved in the process, all he has to do is sign the final decree. What good would it do to mention something that happened months ago anyway? I'd look just as bad. I am doing what I need to do to keep my kids safe and happy and healthy and that is more than a lot of women can say, even on mothering. 


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#7 of 10 Old 10-12-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
 

Well I know what the ramification of mentioning it would be. It would infuriate stbx and he would probably go for sole custody himself, ending up with us having joint custody. The judge, the lawyer, whoever would see me as a woman trying to make stuff up to get my way and totally ignore it. For the record, no I don't have a lawyer, I'm doing a "pro se" divorce. Stbx signed a waiver of citation so I'm the only one involved in the process, all he has to do is sign the final decree. What good would it do to mention something that happened months ago anyway? I'd look just as bad. I am doing what I need to do to keep my kids safe and happy and healthy and that is more than a lot of women can say, even on mothering. 

 

Mama, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cause offense or imply you weren't protecting your children 100%. I know you are. I'm actually in a very similar situation as you, with a STBX who has difficulty with anger and has taken it out on the kids inappropriately, except mine has not agreed to me having sole custody.

 

It's really difficult when you know the kids probably aren't going to be safe with one parent, but there isn't enough grounds for a court to order sole custody. But you can talk with someone about it; a lot of lawyers do free consultations and asking for advice can be done without your stbx or a judge knowing. There are also legal advice hotlines that can offer help. Since many laws and procedures regarding custody are state-specific, even county specific, a lawyer can give you insights into how judges tend to rule in your area. None of those conversations ever have to enter into court and you could get some good ideas about how to make sure your visitation plan is accepted. These kinds of situations happen a lot, so I don't see why a lawyer wouldn't believe you if you are simply asking for advice.


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#8 of 10 Old 10-12-2013, 12:15 PM
 
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Can you just say something to the judget that IS true that emphasizes why it's best for the kids, without pissing x off?  Maybe his work takes him out of town unpredictably?   etc.   It's strange a judge would just think a certain schedule is best for the children.  Are you sure the judge isn't more concerned with the amount of child support that would come with your schedule?   (And btw, I agree with previous poster to modify your signature and identifiers.  Be careful online!).  Sorry you are dealing with an abusive co-parent.   

 

I would seek more legal advice on how to handle it.  How to state your rationale...

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#9 of 10 Old 10-12-2013, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry for getting defensive, I feel like everyone assumes I'm trying to screw stbx or something and I'm really not..I need help writing a bullet proof parenting plan basically. Anyone know where there is a template for one that I can just fill out?


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#10 of 10 Old 10-12-2013, 03:16 PM
 
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How about your local DV shelter - maybe they have some resources or access to pro bono legal advice?
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