Custody Change - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
MamaNim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Has anyone initiated a custody change before? Going from the non-custodial parent to the custodial? How did you go about it?


My husband has started conversations with his ex about changing custody. Currently he only has his daughter every Friday from after school overnight to Saturday morning every other weekend, then every other weekend from Friday after school until Sunday evening.

He meets with his daughter's teacher every other week to get a progress report on how she is doing, which she isn't doing too well.

He is concerned about his daughter as it seems she does not get to spend much time at home or being with her parents. His daughter goes to school around 7:15 am and does not get picked up from after school care until almost 6:00 pm. His ex works late most nights, and nights that she is not, she brings work home. She lives with her Mom and has told us that her Mom handles a lot of the night time things and that their daughter usually gives her grandmother a big tantrum about being put to bed by her and not her Mom.

Her Mom working late just happened this year with a recent promotion.

My husband did not fight to be custodial when him and his ex first divorced because at the time he could not provide a better situation for his daughter. He did not have enough income leftover after child support to even have a place to live and crashed on his Mom's couch for almost a year.

His ex lives in, well, not one of the best neighborhoods, sharing an apartment with her Mom and sister. Her boyfriend stays there half the week as well.

When my husband and I got married and our incomes combined we are able to rent a house in a nicer area, and we live in a very good school district. Actually, I have checked the ratings recently and it's the highest ranked in the area.

I work an early shift so am home earlier in the afternoon, which would eliminate my step daughter's after school care that she needs now. We do not currently have my stepdaughter after school because of the distance between the towns where we live and it just doesn't work out time wise for her to come here for only about an hour's time before her Mom would pick her up. We did try this early on and it was very draining on my stepdaughter, so that is when we switched to the Friday overnights in addition to every other weekend.

Also, stepdaughter asked to spend more time with us. She misses her sister when she isn't at our house. My husband and I will likely be trying to conceive in another year, and I'm afraid that adding to our family here, my stepdaughter will start to feel even more left out.

Her Mother has told us that she has no plans of ever marrying again, or having more children. She has stuck to this in the past three years, even with a long time half live-in boyfriend.

My husband strongly feels that his daughter should have a chance at a full family life and getting to live with her siblings. As well as getting to spend more time being taken care of and looked after, not just be put into daycare programs and have other relatives watch her all the time.

He has been feeling his ex out and trying to show her that he feels strongly that this is in the best interest of their daughter, to have a more stable home life. He already knows it will likely end up being a fight and not something that she will agree to.

Any been there done that experience?

~* Mama Nim *~
MamaNim is offline  
#2 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 01:40 PM
 
Marsupialmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 9,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can tell you from the end of parents that did not fight for what is best.......the kids hurt in the end.

Our friend didn't want to make waves. It is haunting them now. If they would have faught to stop the crap in the beginning then it wouldn't come to a horrible point were his daughter is almost lost, and maybe ruinned.
Marsupialmom is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 03:04 PM
 
greenemami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,751
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
well, I don't have any direct experience with this, but from what I understand, it is VERY hard to change custody unless there is proven abuse/drug abuse, etc. unless the CP agrees to the change. I would start documenting everything you can and maybe ask a lawyer what they think. Also, you (the stepparent) being home in the afternoon will probably not be a valid argument in court-your dh (the bio-parent) would have to be the one who was doing most of the care. I do think that arguing for more time with siblings, better school, and more opportunities will hold sway though. Again, this is all just from reading I have done, no personal experience. Good luck, and sorry if this was discouraging! If you truly think it is in your dsd's best interest, I think it is worth giving a try. Also, you may want to document your dh communicating with his ex about his concerns (i.e. giving her a chance to fix the problem) before going the legal route, just so it doesn't seem like he was using this as an excuse, KWIM? (not that he is, it is just always good to have these things in writing!)

Single mama namaste.gif to dd dust.gifand ds fencing.gif, loving my dsd always reading.gif .
greenemami is online now  
#4 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 04:43 PM
 
Marsupialmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 9,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
well, I don't have any direct experience with this, but from what I understand, it is VERY hard to change custody unless there is proven abuse/drug abuse, etc. unless the CP agrees to the change. I would start documenting everything you can and maybe ask a lawyer what they think. Also, you (the stepparent) being home in the afternoon will probably not be a valid argument in court-your dh (the bio-parent) would have to be the one who was doing most of the care. I do think that arguing for more time with siblings, better school, and more opportunities will hold sway though. Again, this is all just from reading I have done, no personal experience. Good luck, and sorry if this was discouraging! If you truly think it is in your dsd's best interest, I think it is worth giving a try. Also, you may want to document your dh communicating with his ex about his concerns (i.e. giving her a chance to fix the problem) before going the legal route, just so it doesn't seem like he was using this as an excuse, KWIM? (not that he is, it is just always good to have these things in writing!)
"His ex lives in, well, not one of the best neighborhoods, sharing an apartment with her Mom and sister. Her boyfriend stays there half the week as well."

This is one thing that will not help the mom especially if their is mulitple boy friends. Like g-ma's then aunt's. Also how many bed rooms are there? If it is a 3 bedroom house then the daughter is sharing the room with who? The courts would view a room of her own or one shared with a sibling better than one share with mom. If her grandma is doing most of the care it is not much different than stepmom.



Quote:
I work an early shift so am home earlier in the afternoon, which would eliminate my step daughter's after school care that she needs now. We do not currently have my stepdaughter after school because of the distance between the towns where we live and it just doesn't work out time wise for her to come here for only about an hour's time before her Mom would pick her up. We did try this early on and it was very draining on my stepdaughter, so that is when we switched to the Friday overnights in addition to every other weekend.
If child is in after school care until 6 why can't grandma or aunt pick up soon, makes the situation different than staying their until 6 for mom to pick up? This situation as good and as loving as family is might not be that stable.

If mom picks up child at school at 6pm and dad would have her about an hour that means dad is home by 5, and if he is closer most likely sooner. So he would be providing more care.

I would think copies of schedules and actual time work of all the care takers would be relavant.
Marsupialmom is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 05:49 PM
 
myra_mcgray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is not legal advice but I think you are going to have a huge fight and probably not much sucess suing for a change in custody although maybe you will get more time with DSD as a result. Thing like bad neighborhood, lots of time in daycare are not generally enough to make a change in custody but you could always get a judge that agrees with you. I think your best bet would be to get Mom to agree to the switch. Good Luck

Baby Mama, Law Student, Milk Maker:
Mom-type to DSS 10/12/03, Mom to DS 10/05/06 and DD 11/03/08.
myra_mcgray is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 05:52 PM
 
myra_mcgray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If both parties agree to it you will have to write up a new order and file it and you will most likely, especially if one or both parties don't have a lawyer, have to go to court but with an agreed entry it will probably entail the judge asking if you both agree to the changes and addressing any concerns he may have with the order. This website might have information if you decide to do this without a lawyer.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/child-custody/

Baby Mama, Law Student, Milk Maker:
Mom-type to DSS 10/12/03, Mom to DS 10/05/06 and DD 11/03/08.
myra_mcgray is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 01-19-2010, 07:06 PM
 
Smithie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,528
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
"This is not legal advice but I think you are going to have a huge fight and probably not much sucess suing for a change in custody although maybe you will get more time with DSD as a result."

Ditto. It may well be that your DSD would be better off living in your house during the week, but you haven't posted anything that would make me think your husband has a reasonable shot at taking her away from her mother via the courts. Nor have you posted anything that makes me think it would be definitively in her best interest to be taken away from her mother.
Smithie is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 02-01-2010, 05:11 AM
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Usually, a child can attend school in the NCP's neighborhood, if your husband's ex agrees it's a better school.

Your husband should have the right to care for his daughter when his ex is at work.

Neither of those requires a custody change.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
VocalMinority is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 02-05-2010, 09:01 AM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
Usually, a child can attend school in the NCP's neighborhood, if your husband's ex agrees it's a better school.

Your husband should have the right to care for his daughter when his ex is at work.

Neither of those requires a custody change.
Actually, a child cannot attend school in the NCP's neighborhood in some states. My DH and I have actually been looking into this, as we are in a similiar situation.

Him and his ex have been discussing other schooling options for DSD for next year and we had called our school and they told us straight out that they would need to see custody papers stating that DH had custody and that DSD could legally attend school in his neighborhood.

I find a bit ridiculous myself and am wondering what the schools do when there is a 50/50 custody and the parents live in different school districts... which can easily happen where I live and the parents still will only live 5 minutes from each other.

So I would check your states laws... Good Luck!

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 02-05-2010, 10:24 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Him and his ex have been discussing other schooling options for DSD for next year and we had called our school and they told us straight out that they would need to see custody papers stating that DH had custody and that DSD could legally attend school in his neighborhood.

I find a bit ridiculous myself and am wondering what the schools do when there is a 50/50 custody and the parents live in different school districts... which can easily happen where I live and the parents still will only live 5 minutes from each other.
I wonder if schools ask the mom for custody papers when she signs them up at school.

It must not matter that much in my state (maybe because we have open-enrollment laws?). DH signed DSD up for school in her mom's district, but he could have just as easily did it in ours (we have 50/50).

The school could not have cared less about the parenting agreement. It never came up. Come to think of it, they didn't even have one when she started kindy.

love.gif

pinksprklybarefoot is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 02-05-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I wonder if schools ask the mom for custody papers when she signs them up at school.

It must not matter that much in my state (maybe because we have open-enrollment laws?). DH signed DSD up for school in her mom's district, but he could have just as easily did it in ours (we have 50/50).

The school could not have cared less about the parenting agreement. It never came up. Come to think of it, they didn't even have one when she started kindy.

That is what I am trying to wrap my head around too Pink... as you recall DSD's Mom did sign up/enroll DSD without my DH's consent. *sighs*

The only thing I'm thinking off -hand is that DSD is currently at a private school and they do not have to adhere to the same guidelines as public schools, so may not have that rule/regulation about checking custody papers.

I was pretty shocked when the woman told me about it on the phone, actually... and am wondering how other people handle it.

I know lots of people who do not have court ordered custody... it's ridiculously expensive to file here to get the papers, and well, some people actually are adults and come to agreement without courts, so why get the papers? I mean I know why on a security stand point of why some choose to go that route anyway...

But more realistically, if parents can make the agreement outside of court, and if they do not have the hundreds of dollars for the filing/court fees to get the papers... are school seriously just turning away kids with no support papers? Come on!

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 02-05-2010, 02:26 PM
 
Mountaingirl79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Asheville NC
Posts: 1,261
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You gotta do what yo gotta do, and it sounds like a change of plans could benefit everyone. It doesn't have to be forever this way. I was told that we could go back and re evaulate when or /if the situation changes.

In my situation, I am the custodial parent and my children are in a school in my ex's district. It just happened that when we took the boy's out of a private school, we really liked this particular magnet school. They have never asked us for a copy of our court order. It just goes by address. One of us has the "right" address and so it goes.

I live really close to the boy's school, even being in a different " district" or whatever. Weird to me. Oh, and if ex ever moves and we want to keep the boys in this school, we have to pay a fee. *groan* LOL

Mom to three boys 7/7/00 fencing.gif 11/20/02 and 10/29/2011 luxlove.gif

 

Writing at: http://paisleymama.blogspot.com/ and other places! 

 

 
 
 

Mountaingirl79 is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 02-05-2010, 02:34 PM
 
Mummoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,468
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I'm a mom who was asked to file custody papers with my kids' school. The school can't prevent a non-custodial parent from picking up the kids if they don't have the documentation. Though, in my area you can register your kids in any school, as a 'cross-catchment' You are on the bottom of the list, and only let in if there's room in the class the first year, with the first kid. Once you're in, they don't boot you out if more students come in.

To the OP: the best bet is talking to the mother... having her daughter on weekends, when she would get to spend more significant time with her daughter, might actually be more appealing to her.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

Mummoth is online now  
#14 of 15 Old 02-06-2010, 02:02 PM
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Actually, a child cannot attend school in the NCP's neighborhood in some states. My DH and I have actually been looking into this, as we are in a similiar situation.

Him and his ex have been discussing other schooling options for DSD for next year and we had called our school and they told us straight out that they would need to see custody papers stating that DH had custody and that DSD could legally attend school in his neighborhood.

I find a bit ridiculous myself and am wondering what the schools do when there is a 50/50 custody and the parents live in different school districts... which can easily happen where I live and the parents still will only live 5 minutes from each other.

So I would check your states laws... Good Luck!
Please, please read the laws for yourself.

Certainly, there may be places where a kid can only attend school in their custodial parent's neighborhood (although those areas are just begging for a good lawsuit to change that. It's not in the best interest of the child.) And of course a NCP can't enroll their child in school without the involvement/knowledge/consent of the CP.

But don't assume that a school secretary, principal or EVEN the school system's attorney knows the law. You would be surprised how often they quote what they ASSUME the law should be, without actually having read it. (And you know what they say about assuming...)

I recently corrected the secretary at my kid's school when I overheard her tell a very upset non-custodial parent that his child could not attend our school unless he got custody or the custodial parent also lived in our district. Apparently, our school regularly tells parents that, but it is not consistent with our law. The secretary - and the principal - were simply ignorant. My husband dealt with a school system attorney in CA who did not even attempt to follow state or federal law and steadfastly insisted, "We just do whatever the custodial parent tells us to do, regardless of court orders. If the custodial parent's wrong, take her back to court." Sometimes you have to fight for your rights, so make sure you find out for yourself what they are - from the original source.

Good luck!

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
VocalMinority is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 02-08-2010, 09:02 AM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
See, that is where it gets confusing and frustrating, Jeannine.

I read all the laws I could find online and unfortunately they sink up... but they read as if the custodial parent has full legal as well, like this one below:

Quote:
Only the biological parent, custodial parent, or court appointed legal guardian may enroll a child in school. A step parent, other relative, or non-relative shall not enroll a child. If you are the non-custodial parent, you must have a notarized statement from the custodial parent granting permission for the child to live with you, as well as, grant permission for you to enroll the child in school and make educational/medical decisions for the child.
My DH has 50/50 legal custody and is already authorized to make decisions regarding education and medial, as well as religion. It states it exactly so in the divorce decree. So why should he have to get another notorized paper stating he can make a decision that has already been granted to him?

I think the lawmakers in my area are getting legal and residental custody mixed up and creating ridiculous laws because of it.

I'm still rather curious what they do in a 50/50 arrangement as nothing states anything about that... not many people have that set up in this area, but I do know a couple, but they all live in the same district...


Ugh! Was looking more things up in regards to the mix-up that seems to be going on... I'm not liking how much power the schools here give to custodial parents. This one states that a non-custodial parent cannot even pick their own child up from school without written consent from the custodial parent!!! Um... my DH has full access to his child, no restrictions, why should he need written consent to pick his own kid up from school? I can understand in cases where the non-custodial is on restrictions and does not have any legal custody... but in a case of 50/50?

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off