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#1 of 26 Old 04-27-2009, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so SO and I are currently in court with his ex for any access. Long story short; So and his Ex have an insane history but recently we had all been putting our own problems aside for the kids (as it should be) and having visits atleat once a week sometimes the Ex would even come and we'd all do stuff. While now SO and his Ex arn't getting along and SO wasn't able to see his son for 3mnths (he has reasonable access so she decided nothing was reasonable). Finally he's going to get actual set visits and were fighting for every weekend. We don't feel everyother is enough for SC to bond with his siblings or his father esp when you factor in busy holiday weekends, mothersday, spliting easter thanksgiving etc. He lives an hour away so week night visits don't work. And we want SC to be able to have routine and predict when he'll see his dad next and 12 days just seems like a long time for a toddler to look forward to something, yk. SO I guess I'm mostly looking for something that shows how long is too long? But anything you've read or know that mioght be helpfull would also be appreciated.

TIA
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#2 of 26 Old 04-27-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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SO I guess I'm mostly looking for something that shows how long is too long? But anything you've read or know that mioght be helpfull would also be appreciated.
When we were working on a custody schedule for my husband's daughter when she was 1, the mediator said that 2-3 days without seeing the other parent was really as long as a child should go. We were able to do 2 days w/us, 2 days w/mom, then alternate weekends (fri-sun) with a 4 hour visit in the middle of the long weekend for the other parent. (You might have to calendar that out for it to make sense.)

We spent a month working from the schedule mom created by moving 16 horus away, to the 50/50 schedule we arrived at.

We were able to do that because SD's mom worked P/T, my husband stayed home, and we were able to work around mom's work schedule. For some people that doesn't work.

For people who can't do that much back and forth b/c of work and school schedules, I think every weekend and one evening a week would fulfill the same frequency need. With an hour of travel, that would probably be a visit in mom's area in the middle of the week, rather than an overnight.

Some possibilities in my mind would be to ask for every weekend and Wednesday evening (or whatever time of day) visit even if dad isn't sure he can do every Wednesday... that way it is available. We have way more custody time allowed than we are always able to use, but it is important to us that it is there if my husband wants to take it (b/c he has been denied access in the past).

Also, if mom is having a problem with the every weekend, you could offer a certain number of weekends per calendar year for her to request with notice. For example, you have every weekend (minus any changes b/c of holidays), and mom can request 6 weekends per year with 45 days notice.

Most of our information we got from a mediator... there's not a lot of info out there about custody and very young children (in fact, I've thought about going into the field b/c there is a HUGE gap in knowledge surrounding divorce/custody and very young children), so it would be good to get a professional on board. You migth be able to ask for a custody evaluation if you think that would be helpful, but honestly that is sort of an expensive crap shoot...

Hope that was somewhat helpful...I'm happy to provide more/be more specific if it didn't make sense or you'd like more info...

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#3 of 26 Old 04-27-2009, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thats some awesome info. We are have someone from the childrens lawyers come top both of our houses and evaulate so maybe they will be the person we need as an expert ?? For week nights we offered either picking him up from daycare on a night and having him over night and returning him to daycare in the morning or pick up from daycare at 5 till 7ish. While shes decided that she dosn't want SO to be able to pick up from daycare so we wouldn't be able to get him till 6 and then he really needs to start his bedtime routine by 6:30 so basically she don't want it.

How do you have access open but not take it ?? Do they have to be on nice terms?
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#4 of 26 Old 04-27-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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Stepher, are you suggesting mom and toddler have no real down time? I am assuming mom works (hence the daycare) so the weekend would be her only time to enjoy her child. You said that he gets ready for bed around 6:30.

EOWeekend is usually not only the fairest for the kids (since they get to spend some down time with each parent) but also for the parents. It doesn't sound like mom gets a lot of time with him, either.
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#5 of 26 Old 04-28-2009, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mom dosn't spend the majority of weekend with him anyways. She often is out and leaves him with his aunt or grandmother. And well I do think those are important relationships too I don't feel they're more important then the childs bond with his father and siblings.
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#6 of 26 Old 04-28-2009, 01:56 PM
 
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EOWeekend is usually not only the fairest for the kids (since they get to spend some down time with each parent) but also for the parents. It doesn't sound like mom gets a lot of time with him, either.
While I agree that EOW might be "fair" to kids because they get to spend downtime with each parent, for a toddler it is not nearly enough time unless there is significant contact during every week.

If you are headed to court, I would stop worrying about what mom thinks is okay (ie "shes decided that she dosn't want SO to be able to pick up from daycare so we wouldn't be able to get him till 6") and talk abot what is the best schedule for the child. If every weekend and Wednesdays overnight is what you want, and what you feel is in the best interest of your step child, I would say to ask the court for that.

I would also include the time he is in childcare as your husband's time (so, if you were asking for Wed overnight, ask for something like Wed after school to Thursday afterschool, or Wed at noon until Thursday at noon)-- that way if there is a holiday or an inservice day or whatever, or you or your husband has the day off, you can have that time.

Finally, I would decide what to do about long weekends and include that in your plan. You could alternate holiday weekends, (so you get every weekend, but holiday weekends you alternate) or you could say if Monday or Friday is a holiday it is part of the weekend.

Basically what I am saying is decide what you want and what you think is best for the child, and ask for that. Better yet, ask for even more than that so you have room to negotiate down without ending up with less time than you want. (Just know that there is a chance you will end up with what you want, so be sure it is something you can do.)

Also, if you have access to childcare nearby or in your home, or if you stay home, there is no reason you have to take him to childcare that is an hour away... you could ask for two weekdays in your care and make your own childcare arrangements.

I'll just end with the disclaimer that I don't know you or the child or mom, or what would be best for anyone... I'm just speaking from the perspective of experience-- my husband's ex took his child and left with no plan and no forwarding address, and we spent a lot of time with mediators, custody evaluators, lawyers, and judges fighting for something fair against a mom who wanted my husband to have access on her whim only. So, that's my advice from the been-there-done-that perspective, but not taking into consideration any of the actual human people involved... okay, disclaimer over.

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#7 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 03:38 AM
 
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Mom dosn't spend the majority of weekend with him anyways. She often is out and leaves him with his aunt or grandmother. And well I do think those are important relationships too I don't feel they're more important then the childs bond with his father and siblings.
Maybe my DH and his Ex's solution can help?

When one of them needs a baby-sitter, they call eachother first to see if they'd like some extra time with the kids.

Blarg, blarg-blargity- BLARG!!!

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#8 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 07:10 AM
 
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"While shes decided that she dosn't want SO to be able to pick up from daycare so we wouldn't be able to get him till 6..."

This is not a person who you can make a reasonable deal with. Heading to court is the right decision! As aricha said, get ALL the details (long week ends, holidays) hammered out and legally enforceable. Once you've put together a situation where what "mom wants" is not relevant to what actually happens WRT visitation, you will have a happier and calmer life.

Not that there aren't parents who fight tooth and nail to avoid complying with court-ordered visitation, but at least you will have some recourse if that worst-case scenario should occur.
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#9 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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good morning...

here is another road you might want to consider till the child goes to school if their is an adult to provide care for the child.

Have the child every Sat, Sun & Mon and bring back the child on Tue, either dropped off at moms or day care.

I think the most important issue is when the child is with either parent is the child being enjoyed not left in-front of the TV all day or as you said dropped off to be watched.

When my son was young he would go to his fathers for the whole week and my son would come home crying saying "daddy doesn't spend anytime with me," his fathe was always dropping him off at the sitters or day care.

You might want to address this issue in court. Yes.... time is an issue but it is also what is done with that time with the child, that's what they need most, spending quality time with each parent, not day care at this age full time.

lots of smiles, Linda
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#10 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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I think that every weekend is unreasonable. What is the reason that she was granted full custody and he was awarded "reasonable visitation?" If the mother works full-time, then not having her child for every weekend would be a huge burden. Isn't "reasonable visitation" given when someone just doesn't bother to show up to court or has other issues that are not in the best interest of the child?

Maybe you could do a 50/50, Sunday through Wednesday and then alternate holidays? Then, each of you gets one "down" day. I really don't see going from "reasonable visitation" to 50/50 though. I'm guessing that EOW will be the first step. At least it will be court ordered.

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#11 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Maybe my DH and his Ex's solution can help?

When one of them needs a baby-sitter, they call eachother first to see if they'd like some extra time with the kids.
Yes and it is called "right of first refusal" and the courts will take it seriously if the parent in question is finding care for the child all the time when it is not work related.
I agree it is important for the child to spend time with grandparents, but if the parent is finding constant care and not spending any time with the child the court will step in

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#12 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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Yes and it is called "right of first refusal" and the courts will take it seriously if the parent in question is finding care for the child all the time when it is not work related.
I agree it is important for the child to spend time with grandparents, but if the parent is finding constant care and not spending any time with the child the court will step in
Yeah, ROFR is good--just be sure to spell out the terms EXACTLY in your parenting plan. Otherwise, you'll open yourself up to a vindictive person dragging you to court for allowing the kids to go to a drop-off party at a friend's house or out to the movies with their cousins--"hey, that's child care, I should have been asked first." Or, you'll end up fighting over a 3 a.m. run to the drugstore--"you left the kids in their Stepparent's care while you went to get emergency diapers and Pedialyte, you should have called me"--even though nobody in their right mind would actually care or WANT to be consulted for a 3 a.m. run to the drugstore while there was another adult right there.

I've seen ROFR clauses indicating the other parent must be consulted when there is an expected need for child care of more than two hours (thus avoiding the drugstore run), and specifically excluding outings with family and friends, sports practices, parties, and other things that are not considered "child care" in normal situations.

I have also seen ROFR clauses specifically excluding live-in, married stepparents--so the parent can leave the child with the stepparent (and keep them in the house) without having to call the other parent first.

In situations where the parties get along reasonably and both are good parents, I have also seen specific language allowing either party to remove a young child from day care (for instance, if Dad gets an unexpected day off from work) even if it's not "their time," so long as the other parent's scheduled time is respected. (That means instead of going to daycare that day, Dad can spend the day with the kids, then drop them off with Mom at the time she'd usually be getting them from care.)

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#13 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that every weekend is unreasonable. What is the reason that she was granted full custody and he was awarded "reasonable visitation?" If the mother works full-time, then not having her child for every weekend would be a huge burden. Isn't "reasonable visitation" given when someone just doesn't bother to show up to court or has other issues that are not in the best interest of the child?

Maybe you could do a 50/50, Sunday through Wednesday and then alternate holidays? Then, each of you gets one "down" day. I really don't see going from "reasonable visitation" to 50/50 though. I'm guessing that EOW will be the first step. At least it will be court ordered.

It was reasonable access because he was only 3 weeks old at the time and EOW didn't allow for much needed mom baby bonding time. The child is now 3 and I like the idea of mom being alowed x # of weekend with x amount of notice. I also don't think it sfair for the child to be spending 12 days with one parent a 2 with another. As the mom wants to keep the child in daycare then every weekend is all we can really take without disrupting daycare. We would love to fight for custody but are afraid of what that much change will do to the little guy all at once so its oone step at a time.
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#14 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 04:56 PM
 
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So, dad is available during the daytime? I wonder how that would play out if he's able to care for his child during the day? Although, with him being an hour away, that might make things difficult.

What do you mean by "mom wants to keep the child in daycare?" What are the other options?

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#15 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dad works construction so rainy days too windy too snowy etc he cant and is available to spend time with him but she wants him to always be in daycare. We've tried to set up family day trip during the week so it isn't so bust and he isn't allowed to come. SO was understanding while daycare was subsidised bc he was only able to miss x amount of days but now thats not the case.
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#16 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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hi, i am not sure where you are but here in bc it is common for either the absent parent or their new partner to be considered for child care before any other type. i.e. when bm wants to keep the children in care but the father is available to take them for those hours then he has the rofr for that time. regardless of her daycare arrangements, time with the parent or sparent supercedes time with paid caregivers... same for gparents or any other extended family, parents come first.

it might be hard to get every weekend, but offering her one weekend per month might be an option. that way she still has the opportunity to spend down time with ds when she isnt working also.

hth~

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#17 of 26 Old 04-29-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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is available to spend time with him but she wants him to always be in daycare. We've tried to set up family day trip during the week so it isn't so bust and he isn't allowed to come.
Again, when you are at the point of going to court, you have to lose the perspective of "this is what mom is willing to give us" or "mom wants..." and think about what you want and what is best for the child. If dad can be available regularly on Wednesdays (as an example), picking your step-child up at childcare on Tuesday and return him to childcare Thursday morning. Even if dad ISN'T available on Wednesday, you can STILL ask for Tuesday after school to Thursday at the start of school and make arrangements for your own childcare (a sitter, a childcare local to you, grandma, whatever) on Wednesdays. "Mom wants him in the same daycare always" is not a reason to deny Dad reasonable time.

And if dad is sometimes available and is willing to make the drive to daycare, he should be allowed to do so, and the custody orders should say so. In fact, in most places the daycare can't deny him access to his son without a court order that says dad isn't allowed access. My step-daughter is in school, and my husband could eat lunch with her at school every single day if he so chose. He could spend the entire week volunteering in her classroom from 8am-2pm if he wanted to, even if it is "mom's week."

Shoot for the moon... think about what Dad would want if he could wave his magic want and make the very best decision for Dad and child. Then ask for that.

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#18 of 26 Old 04-30-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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I can only speak about my own experience with paying for daycare and my dd...

I pay for every day whether dd is there or not. If she's sick, I pay for the day. If I take more than 1 week vacation per year, I pay. The only days not paid (per contract) are major holidays when the daycare is closed and 1 week vacation.

If my ex wanted to take dd out on random days (like a rainy day for ex), I'd certainly require him to pay the center for that day if he weren't already paying his fair portion. I may have missed the post where your SO pays for his portion of DC.

I would also have to consider the impact on my dd regarding the disruption in her routine. She is SN and NEEDS routine. She needs to know that she goes to school on these days, sees daddy on those days, ect. At 3yo, she's a veritable calender, lol. She instinctively knows which day is Friday (the day she goes to B's house instead of school) and which day is Sat (the day she usually sees her dad). If she is at the "wrong" place on any given day, she's a mess. Truly.

All I'm saying is that coordinating thesee things are not always as easy as they seem to be on paper. They don't always play out in the best interest of the child or the parents.

ETA: I like to think my ex and I have a great working solution for now... DD sees her dad every weekend but spends the night only EOW. She'll go Sat am to Sun am one weekend (@ 24hrs) and Sat am- Sat pm (@ 8 hours) the next. It works well for her and for us parents. We tend to be flexable for holidays.
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#19 of 26 Old 04-30-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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If you had to pay for the day anyway, why would you expect your ex to pay for that day just because he wanted the extra time w/ his child? I am truly scratching my head here. If she was NOT special needs, and didn't need that stability and you had an unexpected day off, would you keep her at daycare just because you were paying for the day?

ETA: The smiley looks mad, and it's not supposed to. I have a SN kid myself, so I really do understand the need for structure and stability, but for a non-SN, I don't get it. When my kids have been in daycare, I loved it when I had the opportunity to pull them out for an unexpected day, because Grandma wanted to keep them for a special day, or whatever. It also gave the daycare provider a nice break, too.
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#20 of 26 Old 04-30-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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If you had to pay for the day anyway, why would you expect your ex to pay for that day just because he wanted the extra time w/ his child? I am truly scratching my head here. If she was NOT special needs, and didn't need that stability and you had an unexpected day off, would you keep her at daycare just because you were paying for the day?

ETA: The smiley looks mad, and it's not supposed to. I have a SN kid myself, so I really do understand the need for structure and stability, but for a non-SN, I don't get it. When my kids have been in daycare, I loved it when I had the opportunity to pull them out for an unexpected day, because Grandma wanted to keep them for a special day, or whatever. It also gave the daycare provider a nice break, too.
I was under the impression from one of the posts that dad did not pay for childcare (bolded in the quote). Subsidized care meeans it is for either 1) a "disabled" child or 2) for a family that meets very strict income criteria- usually 2x the poverty level or less). Those subsidies take into consideration the income of the child so if a parent paid CS or contributed to child care, that would almost always push the income of the child over the threshold criteria. It may be different in the OP's state/county.

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Dad works construction so rainy days too windy too snowy etc he cant and is available to spend time with him but she wants him to always be in daycare. We've tried to set up family day trip during the week so it isn't so bust and he isn't allowed to come. SO was understanding while daycare was subsidised bc he was only able to miss x amount of days but now thats not the case.
You may wonder why a subsidized child is only allowed to miss a certain # of days?? The state/county does not want to pay for a child to attend day care when the parents are not working or clearly can afford to miss work on a regular enough basis to not need a certain # of days in care. I feel the same way. I pay for child care so I can work. So I can work. Not so my child can be taken out on any given day b/c her dad decides (or his boss) it's too wet/cold/rainy out to go. If he wants to be able to take those days, he needs to contribute his share of the cost it takes to keep her in DC. I'm not speaking about the occassional "daddy & kid" day or "grandma and kid" day. Those typically would be very infrequent.

That's my reasoning. If I had a solution that would not include DC (dad has every Monday off) that was consistant so I would not have to take days from work when he flakes or something, I'd do it.

I've dealt with a dad that promised he'd watch his child every Tuesday so I could work a part-time job one summer. I grilled him about the fact that it needs to be every Tuesday since I was giving up a spot at my child's daycare and once gone, I wouldn't be able to get him back in until the fall. Two weeks into the arrangement he flaked b/c he decided to go to some truck driver training school. I was left in a terrible position.
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#21 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 04:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To clarify he pays more then half of daycare and makes less then a 3rd of what Bio mom makes. Its part of the original set up that needs to be addressed. mran says it best I think. If I was in the postion where my kids had to go to dc and I paid if they were there or not, whats wrong with them having xtra time with their dad. aricha I know your right about asking for what we want and not caring about what mom wants. I just think neither of us are prepared for the fight she wants to put up. Ex: we were in court friday and she has decided to try and prove that SO is unfit because of a picture of our 2yr old a SS holding hands crossing the parking lot, SO is in front and I'm maybe two steps behind capturing the cuteness. The judge actually laughed at her. I wish he could have said no but now we have to go back to fight that we arn't unfit based on whatever she makes up this month. Its exhausting.

Thanks again ladies. The way this is going I'm sure I'm going to have lots of questions/comments.
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#22 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 10:19 AM
 
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My suggestion is to write up a parenting plan with a custody schedule that you want. It's been my experience that if one person comes in with a reasonable plan and the other comes in with no plan, the judge will tend to adopt the plan of the parent who brought one, perhaps with some modifications based on the other parent's objections.

I would also suggest outlining things like who will make decisions, how disputes would be settled, etc. You can find sample parenting plans online or in the bookstore, which you can use as a model. (I can probably find some links or some titles for you if that would be helpful). It has been my experience that the best way to prove you are a fit parent is to show the court that you have thought about the best interests of the child, that you have made a plan for custody, and that you are interested in working with the other parent, that you would prefer to settle disputes through mediation, and intend to support the child's continuing relationship with the other parent.

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#23 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My suggestion is to write up a parenting plan with a custody schedule that you want. It's been my experience that if one person comes in with a reasonable plan and the other comes in with no plan, the judge will tend to adopt the plan of the parent who brought one, perhaps with some modifications based on the other parent's objections.

I would also suggest outlining things like who will make decisions, how disputes would be settled, etc. You can find sample parenting plans online or in the bookstore, which you can use as a model. (I can probably find some links or some titles for you if that would be helpful). It has been my experience that the best way to prove you are a fit parent is to show the court that you have thought about the best interests of the child, that you have made a plan for custody, and that you are interested in working with the other parent, that you would prefer to settle disputes through mediation, and intend to support the child's continuing relationship with the other parent.

I would love some links! I love any kind of info thats out there that we can bring to the table to help us.
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#24 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post
While I agree that EOW might be "fair" to kids because they get to spend downtime with each parent, for a toddler it is not nearly enough time unless there is significant contact during every week.

If you are headed to court, I would stop worrying about what mom thinks is okay (ie "shes decided that she dosn't want SO to be able to pick up from daycare so we wouldn't be able to get him till 6") and talk abot what is the best schedule for the child. If every weekend and Wednesdays overnight is what you want, and what you feel is in the best interest of your step child, I would say to ask the court for that.

I would also include the time he is in childcare as your husband's time (so, if you were asking for Wed overnight, ask for something like Wed after school to Thursday afterschool, or Wed at noon until Thursday at noon)-- that way if there is a holiday or an inservice day or whatever, or you or your husband has the day off, you can have that time.

Finally, I would decide what to do about long weekends and include that in your plan. You could alternate holiday weekends, (so you get every weekend, but holiday weekends you alternate) or you could say if Monday or Friday is a holiday it is part of the weekend.

Basically what I am saying is decide what you want and what you think is best for the child, and ask for that. Better yet, ask for even more than that so you have room to negotiate down without ending up with less time than you want. (Just know that there is a chance you will end up with what you want, so be sure it is something you can do.)

Also, if you have access to childcare nearby or in your home, or if you stay home, there is no reason you have to take him to childcare that is an hour away... you could ask for two weekdays in your care and make your own childcare arrangements.

I'll just end with the disclaimer that I don't know you or the child or mom, or what would be best for anyone... I'm just speaking from the perspective of experience-- my husband's ex took his child and left with no plan and no forwarding address, and we spent a lot of time with mediators, custody evaluators, lawyers, and judges fighting for something fair against a mom who wanted my husband to have access on her whim only. So, that's my advice from the been-there-done-that perspective, but not taking into consideration any of the actual human people involved... okay, disclaimer over.
Agree with this. Also look into "right of first refusal" meaning if child needs babysitter on weekend, you are the first one called. You might consider a set number of weekends per year or 3 weekends a month so that mom has a weekend for fun, too. I think it would terrible to not have anyweekends with your child.I can't imagine what reason she would have for you not to pick up at daycare, and it probably doesn't matter anyway, either parent has the right to pick up a child from daycare (speaking from the daycare's perspective).
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#25 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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I'm not sure you'll have luck getting every weekend. Judges (at least in my state) like to give weekend time to the custodial parent, too.
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#26 of 26 Old 05-01-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Camp-a-roo View Post
I would love some links! I love any kind of info thats out there that we can bring to the table to help us.
If you type "sample parenting plan" and your state into a search engine, you should be able to find state-specific information. Also, you can find some father's rights focused ones, usually if you include the word "dad" in your search.

The bookstore also probably has some "do it yourself" divorce and/or custody guides that have sample parenting plans in them, as well as state-specific info.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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