Going to the Mediator (Update) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-08-2011, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All right mamas (and dadas if there are any on the board) we're finally going to meet with the mediator at the end of the month!!  joy.gif  So, from those who have been there, what is your opinion that I ask?  What should I be looking for/watch out for, etc.?  He filed bankruptcy but we have a common law state so half the debt solely in my name should still be his because it was acquired during the course of our marriage correct?  What about property?  When he left he took $600 cash from my wallet, the brand new car, the 42" flat panel 1080p tv, DVD/VCR, and a brand new computer.  I got about $400 worth of furniture/tv/kitchen stuff.  Aren't I entitled to half the value of those things (again, were acquired during our marriage) less the worth of what I left with?  What about CS?  Currently he's paying about 25% of his monthly income and believes he should be paying less than 10%.  He's been ordered to pay medical support for the past 13 months and has yet to do it - can I ask for the cost of the medical premiums x 13 since his support amount was set based on the fact he would be paying an additional $300 a month in medical insurance.  Had he not been ordered to provide it, his support amount would've been considerably higher.  I filed for support when she was 3 days old (because she was born on Friday) and the order didn't go into affect until 7 months because of the speed of government.  Isn't he responsible for support those first 7 months based on the amount set by the court in month 7?  He lived two blocks away and was absent for the first 16 months until my lawyer forced the visitation issue and his lawyer advised him to take it.  Currently, he sees her about 32 hours a month.  He complains he wants more but when I offer it, he won't take it.  He works 40 hours a week and is a full time student  if that makes a difference.  One would think this makes his time for visitation limited.  We currently don't allow overnights since she barely knows him and he doesn't have a safe place for her to sleep.  Total, the CS and medical support he's been ordered totals to about 33% of his monthly income.  Additionally, he gets HUGE student loan kickbacks in February and September + a HUGE tax return.  (He just got about $6,000 back from his loans and did get almost $5,500 back from tax return.)  We've been separated since October 27, 2008 and he filed for divorce (since he was the one with the money to do it) on April 23, 2010 (our wedding anniversary - how sweet huh?).  He's also currently engaged to the woman he cheated on me with during our marriage.  My SO has been with me since December 9, 2008 but we've discussed it and he will not propose until the divorce is final out of respect for marriage.  For all intents and purposes, he's DD's father from a non-legal standpoint.  I think that covers the important points.  So, what do you ladies think?  Of course I've been talking to my lawyer but I would like some advice from people who have actually been there on both sides of the equation.

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#2 of 18 Old 02-18-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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Whew! Ok, take a deep breath because you covered a lot of topics in your post. ;)

 

Be very thankful you are going to mediation! It can really be to your benefit (over going to court) because you have control as to what you request as well as what you agree to. Your questions really seem to be, what is fair and for what should you ask? I'm in the US and I'm just a mom who has been there and done that (and a lot more, haha), so I'll share what I've learned from my experiences.

 

With your property settlement, think about what's most important to you. It most likely won't be an even split. My ex (after 21 years of marriage) asked for all of his retirement (to which I would have been entitled to 50% based on the length of our marriage) and in exchange, I asked for residence in and the equity in our home along with all of our furniture and "stuff" because it was most important to me to maintain the home in which our four kids lived. In the end, I also had to agree to take on all the marital debt (we lived in a community property state), but it was the only way he would let me have the house. The equity in the house equaled the debt, so it was a wash, but the important thing for me was that the kids got to stay in their home after their dad left. So, what's really important to you? Your situation is unique to you, and this is a good time to pick your battles.

 

If you live in the US, your state has set child support guidelines that will tell, based on income and custody, what one parent should pay to the other. Most states even have an online calculator on their child support enforcement website that will allow you to plug in numbers and calculate the amount of support. In most states, I think, it's a no-brainer, because even if you go to court over it (which I've had to do, twice), the judge also uses the calculator, plugs in the numbers, and tells you what it is. And it is what it is. So the official state calculator is the best place to start. You may certainly agree to more or less support at mediation, but it's a good baseline. You can ask for more and be willing to be negotiated down to what you know for a fact a judge would order. Just don't go below that.  =)

 

In some states, child support, once ordered, will be retroactive back to the date you filed. If it wasn't, you can try to get it at mediation.

 

Oh, and the student loan and tax return money? I really don't know about the loans (how does one get cash from student loans? I have 3 kids in college and that's never happened!) If the tax refund was from a joint return, I would think you'd be entitled to part of it. If it was just his return, you've already been awarded child support based on his income, and a tax refund is not additional income, so I don't think you would be able to get anything.

 

Is the order to provide medical support a court order? If so, and he has not followed the order, he is in violation and can be held in contempt of court. You can contact or visit in person the local child support office where the order was issued and report to them the violation. In the two states where I've lived, the CS office will schedule a hearing on your behalf and a judge will (or should) enforce a court order.

 

A few more things....visitation is often discussed at mediation. What is in the best interest of your child? Even if you hate your soon-to-be-ex, he's your child's dad and entitled to visitation, whether you like it or not. Sorry, that's the truth. So think now about what you'd be willing to give. Your attorney will be able to give you the standard visitation guidelines for your state, and a good mediator will suggest going with that because, later on, a judge will not be easily convinced that things have been unfair. Be fair, and above all, think about your daughter and not how ticked off you are at her father. (Really, I know this from experience.)

 

Tax returns...determine who will be allowed to deduct your daughter on their taxes. For many years, I was allowed to deduct all of my kids because I had custody of them. They are all grown now, except for my youngest son. He lives with me, but because his dad pays his (expensive) private school tuition, I allow him to take the tax deduction. It was more important for me to get that tuition paid for my son, and it's always a give-and-take thing.

 

Finally, it really won't matter to the mediator who left who and who filed for divorce and why. Those are emotional issues that may get in the way of effectively negotiating material things, so leave your personal feelings at home...except for the momma bear instincts that help you request the important and reasonable things that are necessary for your daughter's well-being: support, medical coverage, visitation, college (yep, college...I wish I had asked for that back in the day!). Most of all, get it done. =)

 

Sue

mom of four (ages 24, 22, 20 and 15), stepmom of two (ages 25 and 14), and happily married for two years to the best husband in the world

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#3 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My responses bolded.

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Originally Posted by blueberrybuckle View Post

Whew! Ok, take a deep breath because you covered a lot of topics in your post. ;)

 

Lol, I know I did but it's a BIG topic.  Thanks for the reply!

 

Be very thankful you are going to mediation! It can really be to your benefit (over going to court) because you have control as to what you request as well as what you agree to. Your questions really seem to be, what is fair and for what should you ask? I'm in the US and I'm just a mom who has been there and done that (and a lot more, haha), so I'll share what I've learned from my experiences.

 

I appreciate it.  That's more what I was looking for rather than "lawyer speak".  The judge refused to hear us as he thought we could settle out of court.  So instead he ordered mediation.  I'm just trying to go in prepared from all view points and not ask for ridiculous things or NOT ask for important things.  :)

 

With your property settlement, think about what's most important to you. It most likely won't be an even split. My ex (after 21 years of marriage) asked for all of his retirement (to which I would have been entitled to 50% based on the length of our marriage) and in exchange, I asked for residence in and the equity in our home along with all of our furniture and "stuff" because it was most important to me to maintain the home in which our four kids lived. In the end, I also had to agree to take on all the marital debt (we lived in a community property state), but it was the only way he would let me have the house. The equity in the house equaled the debt, so it was a wash, but the important thing for me was that the kids got to stay in their home after their dad left. So, what's really important to you? Your situation is unique to you, and this is a good time to pick your battles.

 

Honestly, if we had something like that, I'd probably have gone with it.  It's not that I want the "stuff" but I really feel that the division was not even close to fair or agreed upon.  I feel since I worked just as hard if not harder to earn those things, I should at least have an option to a chunk of it.  The DVD/VCR was a Christmas present from my parents before we even got married - little, yes but important to me nonetheless.  We also live in a common property state so I think I'll agree to take the debt IF I he'll give me between $600-$1,000 for my "half" the property.  The debt is much greater but that is enough to jumpstart or pay for my bankruptcy so my SO and I can start fresh.

 

 

If you live in the US, your state has set child support guidelines that will tell, based on income and custody, what one parent should pay to the other. Most states even have an online calculator on their child support enforcement website that will allow you to plug in numbers and calculate the amount of support. In most states, I think, it's a no-brainer, because even if you go to court over it (which I've had to do, twice), the judge also uses the calculator, plugs in the numbers, and tells you what it is. And it is what it is. So the official state calculator is the best place to start. You may certainly agree to more or less support at mediation, but it's a good baseline. You can ask for more and be willing to be negotiated down to what you know for a fact a judge would order. Just don't go below that.  =)

 

I found an interactive Form 14 that allowed me to calculate the support amount.  It's about $100 less than he was originally court ordered to pay so perhaps that'll work.  I'm refusing to go below that amount ($452) with him paying for her insurance or $752 with him NOT providing her insurance.  So perhaps I'll start at our current support amount (since the current court orders are for medical support and child support at $558) and be negotiated down to the $452.

 

 

In some states, child support, once ordered, will be retroactive back to the date you filed. If it wasn't, you can try to get it at mediation.

 

I wasn't sure if there was any precedence for this so thank you!  If I just didn't take care of her for 7 months I'd be in jail so I really just couldn't fathom he'd get off scott free for it.  He's agreed to pay it before but we'll see if he still does.  Those 7 months at the $558 he was eventually ordered totals $3,906 and he did pay $1,500 towards it from his tax return.  So that leaves $2,406 that I'll ask for.  If I go down to $452 for support, I just might be willing to let him make monthly payment of $133 so he'll be current within 18 months and only paying $27 more than he's currently paying.

 

Oh, and the student loan and tax return money? I really don't know about the loans (how does one get cash from student loans? I have 3 kids in college and that's never happened!) If the tax refund was from a joint return, I would think you'd be entitled to part of it. If it was just his return, you've already been awarded child support based on his income, and a tax refund is not additional income, so I don't think you would be able to get anything.

 

You get cash from student loans and grants by taking more than you need.  The college then sends you the overage.  Essentially he's taking it in as additional income like a regular loan but getting it at a super cheap interest rate and far off payment date and then getting it back AGAIN from his tax return as a credit.  It was not a joint return I just didn't know how that large of a sum would impact his support if at all.

 

Is the order to provide medical support a court order? If so, and he has not followed the order, he is in violation and can be held in contempt of court. You can contact or visit in person the local child support office where the order was issued and report to them the violation. In the two states where I've lived, the CS office will schedule a hearing on your behalf and a judge will (or should) enforce a court order.

 

It was court ordered the same day as child support.  The only reason the child support is being paid is because it's autodrafted from his check by the state and his employer.  I've tried contacting the local CS office but they are unwilling to help me in the matter because we've filed for divorce.  I think I'm going to request the $6,000 he SHOULD have paid in insurance premiums over the course of her life and WOULD have paid as part of his support amount had the medical not been ordered.  That gives me a huge bargaining chip because it's something I can be negotiated down quite a bit (like probably to zero).  He'll think he's getting a deal by getting me to give it up and I'll not have to sacrifice anything that's important to us - essentially it'll be a false front.

 

A few more things....visitation is often discussed at mediation. What is in the best interest of your child? Even if you hate your soon-to-be-ex, he's your child's dad and entitled to visitation, whether you like it or not. Sorry, that's the truth. So think now about what you'd be willing to give. Your attorney will be able to give you the standard visitation guidelines for your state, and a good mediator will suggest going with that because, later on, a judge will not be easily convinced that things have been unfair. Be fair, and above all, think about your daughter and not how ticked off you are at her father. (Really, I know this from experience.)

 

This is what I'm trying to do - what's in the best interest of our daughter.  He's trying to use visitation as a tool against me or something - whatever his reasons, it's very obvious it's NOT with our dd's best interests at heart.  She's 19 months now so I think we'll offer 10:00 a.m. on Saturday to noon on Sundays every other weekend with the stipulation that he do his best to maintain DD's routine (she's high needs and is messed up for days if her schedule is changed to much) and cosleeps as we do.  (The two overnights he's had that is what he's done and has verbally agreed to safely cosleep in order to have any more.)  We'll also offer 3:30-9:30 every other Thursday (the week between overnights).  That's a little more than he's getting now but arranged to be better for DD and not so much more that she'll be disturbed by it.  That's all I'm willing to agree to by court order but generally have been very willing to let him have extra when requested.

 

Tax returns...determine who will be allowed to deduct your daughter on their taxes. For many years, I was allowed to deduct all of my kids because I had custody of them. They are all grown now, except for my youngest son. He lives with me, but because his dad pays his (expensive) private school tuition, I allow him to take the tax deduction. It was more important for me to get that tuition paid for my son, and it's always a give-and-take thing.

 

He's insisting that we alternate years and I think that's ridiculous since I am the one that is taking care of her and paying for her all year.  Legally, he has no right to claim her unless I sign a form from the IRS allowing it since she resides with me.  I allowed him to claim her this year under the stipulation that he make a large payment to his back support.  We've reached an agreement previously that I would allow the alternating IF he paid a minimum of $1,000 to her savings account on his years.  I think I'll stick with that.  I do plan to send her to a private Waldorf school so I suppose I need to get a clause in the agreement that his is responsible for TIMELY payments for 1/2 the tuition to her school when it begins and 1/2 her college when we get there.  I'm asking for sole legal custody and am pretty much refusing to move from that for DD's safety.  I know my ex all to well and he'll disagree with me on things just to disagree because he can.  My lawyer said there is a way to have joint legal custody with the decision making power left with me should there be an impasse between us.  I suppose I'd be willing to back up to that.  He's also trying to change DD's last name (my maiden name) to his last name which I'm also refusing to do and I plan to return to my maiden name as part of the divorce.  I really don't feel it's fair to cause DD all kinds of future problems and heartache because after 16 months he decided to show up and be dad and now wants her to have his name.  It's ludicrous to change a 19 month old's name to make a grown man feel better about his misdeeds.

 

Finally, it really won't matter to the mediator who left who and who filed for divorce and why. Those are emotional issues that may get in the way of effectively negotiating material things, so leave your personal feelings at home...except for the momma bear instincts that help you request the important and reasonable things that are necessary for your daughter's well-being: support, medical coverage, visitation, college (yep, college...I wish I had asked for that back in the day!). Most of all, get it done. =)

 

Thank you for all your help!  I've gotten pretty good at detaching myself when talking to people like mediator/lawyer/judge/etc.  I just wanted to be prepared if it would matter to the mediator because I KNOW ex will bring it up as a reason why he should get everything he wants and I should get nothing I want.  eyesroll.gif  I plan on typing it all out and printing it up to take with me to the mediator so I don't forget anything and know exactly what I want and why when it's time.  I can't wait to get it done - then SO will "officially" propose, we can get married, and start trying for #2!  (In our state you cannot divorce while pregnant PERIOD - it doesn't matter who the father is biologically.  In fact, if SO and I were to have a baby before the divorce went through it would be paused until the child was born and ex would be legally responsible for child support and for the cost of the tests if he chose to fight it and prove the child wasn't his - and he'd still be responsible for support up until that point whatever the result.)  We'd really like to start moving forward with our family and this has been really holding us back.

 

Sue

mom of four (ages 24, 22, 20 and 15), stepmom of two (ages 25 and 14), and happily married for two years to the best husband in the world



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#4 of 18 Old 02-24-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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"We'd really like to start moving forward with our family and this has been really holding us back."

 

OK. I know I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but I have to ask - if moving on is what's important, is there NO WAY for you to work out an agreement where you marry your new SO, he does a stepparent adoption and Captain Loser signs a voluntary TPR and disappears? I know that some states make this very difficult. I understand if the logistics just aren't feasible. But how awesome would it be for your daughter if her real dad and her legal dad were the same guy? If she had the same Daddy as the rest of her siblings? If she wasn't being trucked off to visitation? 

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#5 of 18 Old 02-24-2011, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Believe me, this is my ideal but ex refuses to sign it and I've been offering it since day one. He knows that is what I want so he says no
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#6 of 18 Old 02-25-2011, 02:20 AM
 
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Even if you have the "right" to claim her - try to be the first to file every year because if he claims her and gets his refund based on that it can take FORever to get it straightened out with the IRS. 


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#7 of 18 Old 02-25-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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"Believe me, this is my ideal but ex refuses to sign it and I've been offering it since day one. He knows that is what I want so he says no."

 

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#8 of 18 Old 02-26-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, after the events of the last couple of days, this is what I'm asking for in the mediation.  Does this sound fair?  Ex really thinks that the only thing we have to decide is visitation for DD (which he doesn't want called visitation) and that everything else is done.  Um, WRONG.

 

 

Marital Property & Debt:

     There is no marital debt remaining as EX filed bankruptcy and it is my intent to file bankruptcy in the near future.  $4,200 to me from EX ($3,750 for 1/2 the value of the car + $300 for 1/2 the stolen cash + $350 for 1/2 the value of the tv + $200 for 1/2 the value of the computer - $400 for the property I took) for my 1/2 the marital property.  (I'm willing to back up to $1,000 to get other things more important to me.)  No alimony requested or received by either.

 

Child Support & Medical Support:

     Since I'm a SAHM and thus have no income, my state assumes my incoming at minimum wage working 40 hours a week less what I would pay for child care expenses.  According to our state form this brings the support amount to $682 a month plus $300 in her insurance premiums a month.  (I'm willing to back up to $450 a month to get other things more important to us.  He is currently ordered to pay $558 and for her insurance premiums but does not pay for her insurance as ordered.) 

 

Taxes:

     We will alternate years on which to claim DD as a dependent.  Ex will take even years and I will take odd.  (Ie, I have 2009, 2011, 2013, etc. and he has 2010, 2012, 2014, etc.)

 

Name:

     DD's name will remain the same and I will return to my maiden name.  (I will not budge on this.  If it was hyphenate or go to court, I would probably be okay with hyphenating it.)

 

School Tuition for preschool-through first four years of college:

    Each party will be responsible for half the cost of tuition for DD's private preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, and first four years of college.  (Again, something upon which I will not budge.)

     Preschool year 1-  $129.08 each a month from July 2012-June 2013

     Preschool year 2-  $193.67 each a month from July 2013-June 2014

     Kindergarten -  $284.96 each a month from July 2014-June 2015

     1-8: $422.92 each a month from July 2016-June 2024

 

Miscellaneous Issues:

   $2,406 still owed in back support from DD's first 7 months either in monthly installments of $100.25 for two years or a lump sum.  (I will not budge on this.)  $6,000 in medical premiums for her first 20 months at $300 a month (since he would have paid it in support if he didn't have a medical order) that I will allow for payments of $50 a month for 10 years.  (I'm willing to budge on this a little but not much.  This is really my only true negotiating area.)  By March 31st of every year (beginning in 2012) ex will deposit $500 into DD's savings account.  Ex and I must both rear face her in her car seat until their respective weight/height limits for DD's safety.

 

Visitation:

     Ex may have her overnight every other weekend (noon on Saturday - noon on Sunday) and every Tuesday from 4:30-9:30p.m.  (I'm willing to switch up days/times but I'm not willing to really add much extra time.  Possibly another evening session during the week but no additional overnights.)

New Year's Eve/New Year's Day: Alternating - I get 2011/2012,2013/2014, etc and he gets 2012/2013,2014/2015

Mother's Day: Is spent with me.

Memorial Day: Alternating - I get odd years (2011, 2013, 2015, etc.) and he gets even (2012, 2014, 2016, etc.) from 10:00-6:00.

Father's Day: He gets her from noon the preceding Saturday - noon that day.

Fourth of July: He gets her from 10:00-6:00p.m.

Halloween: He gets her from 10:00-6:00p.m.

Thanksgiving: He gets her from 8:00-noon.

Christmas Day: He gets her from 10:00-6:00

 

Custody:

     I will retain sole legal custody of DD.  (I willing to back up to joint legal custody in which I have the decision making power if we cannot agree.  I can't remember the legal term.)  Joint physical custody with address to mother and visitation to father.  (There really isn't anywhere else to go with this.)

 

 

Did I cover everything?  Does it sound far and well set up?  My other offer is we will drop all monetary requests if he'll sign a TPR.  I couldn't think of anything I missed.  Depending on where I budge and where I don't he'll end up paying $300 in premiums + $600-$800 a month in support to cover all his back debt plus a $4,200-$1,000 lump sum.  In my state we're entitled to up to 50% of his income which even if he pays $300 in insurance and $800 in support is about 48%.

 

 

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#9 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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Your numbers sound well thought out, but I really think he's going to ask for more physical custody. If I were his lawyer, I'd be telling him to ask for joint legal and physical in the hopes of scaring you into reducing your support request. (I would never, ever, be his lawyer, I'm just sayin'.) Do you have a strategy for dealing with that? 

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#10 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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1 thing I see you are not willing to budge on getting the $2406, that is based on him giving you the full $558/month.  However you are willing to budge on it being $558 & are willing to take $450/month.  If you are willing to go $450 now then you should be willing to take $450/month for the back support making the min back support acceptable only $1650.

 

The things you are not willing to budge on - her name, school half paid for, back support & the amount of time he has.

 

IMO I would not be budging on him paying the medical insurance.  

 

Schooling, did you take the total tuition & divide it by 12 months to make it easier to pay for, or is your child going to school 12 months a year?  What if he disagrees with private school & is unwilling to budge on paying for it?

 

I don't see anything in there about coming back & making adjustments as your child gets older.  I would put something in to re-evaluate this when she's 5, 10, 15, or similar ages.  $450 may be okay now, but it may not be enough when she's 16 & driving.  4:30-9:30 once a week may be fine now but when she's in school & needs to go to bed at an earlier hour it may not work.

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Your numbers sound well thought out, but I really think he's going to ask for more physical custody. If I were his lawyer, I'd be telling him to ask for joint legal and physical in the hopes of scaring you into reducing your support request. (I would never, ever, be his lawyer, I'm just sayin'.) Do you have a strategy for dealing with that? 


Honestly, what's most important to me is the custody, visitation schedule I can live with in DD's best interest, and a decent support amount w/medical.  So my strategy is scaring him with all the legitimate monetary requests.  Our lawyers are not present at the mediation - it's just us and the mediator.  Also, neither of us sees the other's proposal until the mediation so we don't really have a chance to discuss it with them.  I'm NOT willing to give joint legal and will do everything I can to fight it.  I'm willing to back up to the joint legal (sorry, I can't remember the legal terminology) that basically gives me sole legal custody in the event we can't agree or there is an emergency which I honestly think will be enough for him.  He won't realize just how far reaching that actually is.  I'm am NOT willing to give any more overnights on a regular basis that I'm committed too.  The proposed schedule is actually more than he has now and I could probably be persuaded to go up to 4:30-9:30 on Tuesdays, 4:30-9:30 on Thursdays, and the alternating weekends with the included holiday schedule if that was important enough to him to give something important to us, kwim?  He thinks he should only be paying $150 in support a month, provide her medical, and that whatever we left with is what we get kind of thing (ie, I have no rights to ask for money from the car, etc.) and has told me so on numerous occasions.  Obviously, that is RIDICULOUS and $150 doesn't even cover what I have to spend in her milk (due to allergies) let alone anything else.  I figure if I come in really high with a lot of monetary requests, it gives me a lot of negotiating room and if I happen to get something that high, well whohoo for DD!  :)  I've printed it out and that's what I'm sending to the mediator as my requests (minus the comments about what I'm willing to back up to.).  Our appointment was pushed back to March 29th and we only get three hours to get this done before we have to pay more.  We are both keenly aware of this (we were talking about it last night) so I'm hoping that will lend itself to quick negotiations.  Here's to hoping we can get that done, I get something along these lines, and that we can be DONE with this before the end of April!!!!! 

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#12 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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1 thing I see you are not willing to budge on getting the $2406, that is based on him giving you the full $558/month.  However you are willing to budge on it being $558 & are willing to take $450/month.  If you are willing to go $450 now then you should be willing to take $450/month for the back support making the min back support acceptable only $1650.

 

The things you are not willing to budge on - her name, school half paid for, back support & the amount of time he has.

 

IMO I would not be budging on him paying the medical insurance.  

 

Schooling, did you take the total tuition & divide it by 12 months to make it easier to pay for, or is your child going to school 12 months a year?  What if he disagrees with private school & is unwilling to budge on paying for it?

 

I don't see anything in there about coming back & making adjustments as your child gets older.  I would put something in to re-evaluate this when she's 5, 10, 15, or similar ages.  $450 may be okay now, but it may not be enough when she's 16 & driving.  4:30-9:30 once a week may be fine now but when she's in school & needs to go to bed at an earlier hour it may not work.

 

  Thank you, I intended to include the reevaluation clause and forgot to type it in.  We've discussed it and we're sending her to private school and even if were to disagree, the way our current agreement is and the way it's listed in here is that I'd decide where she goes to school so he has no choice even if he doesn't agree and will HAVE to pay for it.  I divided it by 12 because that's how the school takes payments.  Those numbers are also based on if we don't get any tuition assistance.  I refuse to budge on the $2,406 because that's what his support amount would've been during those months.  I'm willing to back up to the $450 in "support" because he'd still be paying another $150 in back payments for back support and back medical making his total monthly payment a minimum of $600 which is MORE than he's currently paying.  I've got wiggle room there to make him more likely to agree to monthly payments for the rest.  :)  I'm not budging on the medical insurance.  He needs to provide it.  That's why I've asked you mamas - you find the things I missed!  :)
 

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#13 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TheSlingMama View Post

 

School Tuition for preschool-through first four years of college:

    Each party will be responsible for half the cost of tuition for DD's private preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, and first four years of college.  (Again, something upon which I will not budge.)

     Preschool year 1-  $129.08 each a month from July 2012-June 2013

     Preschool year 2-  $193.67 each a month from July 2013-June 2014

     Kindergarten -  $284.96 each a month from July 2014-June 2015

     1-8: $422.92 each a month from July 2016-June 2024

 

Miscellaneous Issues:

   $2,406 still owed in back support from DD's first 7 months either in monthly installments of $100.25 for two years or a lump sum.  (I will not budge on this.)  $6,000 in medical premiums for her first 20 months at $300 a month (since he would have paid it in support if he didn't have a medical order) that I will allow for payments of $50 a month for 10 years.  (I'm willing to budge on this a little but not much.  This is really my only true negotiating area.)  By March 31st of every year (beginning in 2012) ex will deposit $500 into DD's savings account.  Ex and I must both rear face her in her car seat until their respective weight/height limits for DD's safety.

 

Visitation:

     Ex may have her overnight every other weekend (noon on Saturday - noon on Sunday) and every Tuesday from 4:30-9:30p.m.  (I'm willing to switch up days/times but I'm not willing to really add much extra time.  Possibly another evening session during the week but no additional overnights.)

New Year's Eve/New Year's Day: Alternating - I get 2011/2012,2013/2014, etc and he gets 2012/2013,2014/2015

Mother's Day: Is spent with me.

Memorial Day: Alternating - I get odd years (2011, 2013, 2015, etc.) and he gets even (2012, 2014, 2016, etc.) from 10:00-6:00.

Father's Day: He gets her from noon the preceding Saturday - noon that day.

Fourth of July: He gets her from 10:00-6:00p.m.

Halloween: He gets her from 10:00-6:00p.m.

Thanksgiving: He gets her from 8:00-noon.

Christmas Day: He gets her from 10:00-6:00

 

Custody:

     I will retain sole legal custody of DD.  (I willing to back up to joint legal custody in which I have the decision making power if we cannot agree.  I can't remember the legal term.)  Joint physical custody with address to mother and visitation to father.  (There really isn't anywhere else to go with this.)

 

 

Did I cover everything?  Does it sound far and well set up?  My other offer is we will drop all monetary requests if he'll sign a TPR.  I couldn't think of anything I missed.  Depending on where I budge and where I don't he'll end up paying $300 in premiums + $600-$800 a month in support to cover all his back debt plus a $4,200-$1,000 lump sum.  In my state we're entitled to up to 50% of his income which even if he pays $300 in insurance and $800 in support is about 48%.

 

 


I looked at it from the point of view of what I would object to if I were him... not because I think what you are asking for is wrong, but because I always try to be prepared by knowing what arguments I am going to face before I face them:

 

Income: I don't know your state, but I know my husband's ex was surprised to find that her income would be imputed at minimum wage for 40 hours a week, but that there was no deduction for child care unless she actually paid childcare.

 

School Tuition: If he is going to be required to pay for it, he might want a say in where she was going to school. Also, if preschool isn't required for you to work (up to and including Kindergarten if K isn't compulsory in your state) he might have an argument against paying for childcare that isn't required, unless he agrees to send her anyway. Also, I would want it spelled out who is responsible for the costs of any extra-curricular activities, both school-related and non-school related.

 

Medical Insurance: If you weren't actually paying for medical insurance because she was on Medicaid, he might not feel you are entitled to half of what you would have paid, just half of what you actually paid. Also related to child support and insurance, (again I don't know your state) but he might argue against back payment for anything before the date you filed for support. Again, my husband's ex was surprised by that.

 

Parenting time (I also object to the term "visitation" when applied to a parent, even a crappy one): I'm sure he'll ask for more, and many states will frown upon a parent who tries to restrict another parent's parenting time when the other parent wants more. There is definitely no chance his relationship will improve with her if he has extremely limited time. I'm not surprised he has only had 8 days of visitation if he is only allowed to parent in 4 hour snippets of time... that's no way to build a relationship with a child. As for holidays, I would want an alternating schedule so one parent isn't always stuck with the less fun part of the day. If I were you I'd think seriously about whether or not you are willing to share. We were allowed every Christmas vacation in its entirety every year, but gave up half of it every other year because we knew it was important to my step-daughter to be allowed to experience the traditions of both sides of her family. I'd also expand Father's Day to include the entire day... I know your SO would like to see her on Father's Day, too (trust me, I feel his pain) but to me Mother's Day and Father's Day should be treated equally. Are you willing to send her to his house after noon on Mother's Day?

 

Custody: Many states favor joint legal custody, specifying exactly what things require consent/agreement or notification. If you are going to have final say if you can't agree, I would want to know (if I were him) what exactly had to happen before you got to pull your trump card. Do you have to go to mediation first? For a certain length of time? Do you just have to make what you consider a "good faith effort" and if he doesn't like it he has to go to court to stop you?

 

One last thing: You might want to put in a vacation clause, giving you each the right to a certain amount of uninterrupted parenting time a certain number of times a year. If he has every Tuesday, that means you can never go out of town for more than six days at a time, and only on your weekends (even less ability to travel if he has Tues/Thurs).

 

You might also want to think about what will happen when holidays fall on or next to someone's already designated parenting time. 

 

Sorry, I know that was a lot. Again, I'm just trying to offer an alternative perspective to help you think about what he might be asking for.


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#14 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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doesn't tuition increase annually? 10 years from now, her tuition is going to be a lot more than the amount you are listing.

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I looked at it from the point of view of what I would object to if I were him... not because I think what you are asking for is wrong, but because I always try to be prepared by knowing what arguments I am going to face before I face them:

 

Thanks!  That's exactly what I'm looking for!!

 

Income: I don't know your state, but I know my husband's ex was surprised to find that her income would be imputed at minimum wage for 40 hours a week, but that there was no deduction for child care unless she actually paid childcare. 

 

Personally, I think that's ridiculous.  If they want to act like I work 40 hours a week, then they need to act like I work 40 hours a week, kwim?  I don't what our state regulation is either but it doesn't change the overall support amount by much.

 

School Tuition: If he is going to be required to pay for it, he might want a say in where she was going to school. Also, if preschool isn't required for you to work (up to and including Kindergarten if K isn't compulsory in your state) he might have an argument against paying for childcare that isn't required, unless he agrees to send her anyway. Also, I would want it spelled out who is responsible for the costs of any extra-curricular activities, both school-related and non-school related.

 

We've discussed it and we've agree on the school.  Honestly, he wants her in daycare now so I'm sure that he'll have no objection to preschool starting at 3.  That is a very good point.  I'll be sure to include something along the lines of 50/50 on extra curriculars or whatever works for us.  I'll have to think on that one.  Probably 50/50 on school related. 

 

Medical Insurance: If you weren't actually paying for medical insurance because she was on Medicaid, he might not feel you are entitled to half of what you would have paid, just half of what you actually paid. Also related to child support and insurance, (again I don't know your state) but he might argue against back payment for anything before the date you filed for support. Again, my husband's ex was surprised by that.

 

It's not half what I would have paid.  It's what he was SUPPOSED to be paying in medical support but didn't because he was too busy spending money on himself and the gf.  Had he NOT been ordered to pay medical support, the money that was supposed to be going towards the premium would've been included in his support amount.  Also, DD was born on Friday and I filed for support the following Monday so there is no leeway there for that argument.  Very good point though!

 

Parenting time (I also object to the term "visitation" when applied to a parent, even a crappy one): I'm sure he'll ask for more, and many states will frown upon a parent who tries to restrict another parent's parenting time when the other parent wants more. There is definitely no chance his relationship will improve with her if he has extremely limited time. I'm not surprised he has only had 8 days of visitation if he is only allowed to parent in 4 hour snippets of time... that's no way to build a relationship with a child. As for holidays, I would want an alternating schedule so one parent isn't always stuck with the less fun part of the day. If I were you I'd think seriously about whether or not you are willing to share. We were allowed every Christmas vacation in its entirety every year, but gave up half of it every other year because we knew it was important to my step-daughter to be allowed to experience the traditions of both sides of her family. I'd also expand Father's Day to include the entire day... I know your SO would like to see her on Father's Day, too (trust me, I feel his pain) but to me Mother's Day and Father's Day should be treated equally. Are you willing to send her to his house after noon on Mother's Day?

 

He currently sees her 4:30-8:00 every other Tuesday and 9:30-8:00 every other Saturday (opposite his Tuesday.).  That's what I'm committed too.  HE chooses to arrive hours late, bring her home hours early, or cancel all together which is why his parenting time is so little.  I grew up with cousins with alternating holidays and everyone (including the parents) hated it and I don't want to subject DD to that.  With our family's locations and a little effort there is no reason she can't see everyone every year.  There is no listed holiday where one of us gets her for the "less fun" part of the day.  Based on what times our families generally celebrate it works.  No, I'm not sending her over there on Mother's Day to spend time with that bimbo but that's a different matter.  If it's his weekend for visitation, she'd be there until noon anyway.  He's getting additional time by getting an extra weekend for father's day since she'd be there from noon on Saturday - noon on Father's Day.  It's not an equal situation so there can't be an equal solution.  She lives with me not him and he chooses on a consistent basis to put himself first and not spend time with her.  If I gave him a holiday like Thanksgiving every year he wouldn't do as you with Christmas.  I'm not attempting to restrict his parenting time but that's all the time he has for her other than an hour here on Mondays, 30 minutes in the morning on Weds then another 30 in the afternoon - stuff like that.  It's ludicrous to do it that way so based on the time he's made available for her, that's the most he can get.  I don't see the point of her going over there if he's working the whole time and she'll be parked in front of a tv (which goes against our beliefs) all day.  Visitation is supposed to be time HE spends with HER not time she spends at his house, kwim?

 

Custody: Many states favor joint legal custody, specifying exactly what things require consent/agreement or notification. If you are going to have final say if you can't agree, I would want to know (if I were him) what exactly had to happen before you got to pull your trump card. Do you have to go to mediation first? For a certain length of time? Do you just have to make what you consider a "good faith effort" and if he doesn't like it he has to go to court to stop you?

 

I need to know the answers to that too but I don't have them as yet.  That's something we have to find out from the mediator if it comes to that.  I believe it's we have to go to mediation first with the exception of emergencies.

 

One last thing: You might want to put in a vacation clause, giving you each the right to a certain amount of uninterrupted parenting time a certain number of times a year. If he has every Tuesday, that means you can never go out of town for more than six days at a time, and only on your weekends (even less ability to travel if he has Tues/Thurs).

 

You might also want to think about what will happen when holidays fall on or next to someone's already designated parenting time. 

 

     Honestly, I'd rather not have the clause and just be restricted for travel if he says no to rescheduling.  We've got a decent relationship in that respect that we allow rescheduling for other activities as long as they benefit DD.  For example, his parents wanted to take him, his gf, and his sister out to eat for their birthdays but it wasn't his weekend so we switched (I would've just let him have the extra weekend had he asked but he didn't.) and his most recent weekend she had a birthday party to go to - so I picked her up for the few hours of the party and then took her back.  It will backfire on me.  I don't want to be obligated to allow her to go on vacation with them wherever they go with as young as she is - I want the option to consider it and say now if I feel it's not appropriate for DD.  I have thought about the holiday time being near regular time.  Basically if it's the same day the holiday wins.  Like, with the father's day example - if it falls on what would normally not be his weekend, he'd get an extra weekend but if it was his weekend, it'd be the same. 

 

 

Sorry, I know that was a lot. Again, I'm just trying to offer an alternative perspective to help you think about what he might be asking for.

 

Thanks for taking the time to help me work through this!  I'm trying to be prepared from all angles for this so that way I'm knowledgeable on the topic, clearly know all the details and nuisances of what we're seeking, and can hopefully get it done quickly so we don't run over our allotted mediation time.


 

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#16 of 18 Old 02-27-2011, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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doesn't tuition increase annually? 10 years from now, her tuition is going to be a lot more than the amount you are listing.



It's a risk I'm willing to take since the only specified amounts are through 8th grade.  Also, we're going to add in a clause that the agreement be revisited every 5 years.

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#17 of 18 Old 02-28-2011, 04:45 AM
 
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Just know that there are going to be things you didn't think of, and that you might need to make some clarifications after the first year. We had no idea that "entire winter break" meant one thing to us and a different thing to his ex. We had no idea that "a week and a half," "long holiday weekend," or "two weeks per year" were not clear; or that school might let out for winter vacation in the middle of the week one year. So we put in what we thought was EXTREMELY specific language and there were still things we found we needed to clarify after we'd been through a year of arguing about things as they were written.

 

 

So, expect it. Think of it as the final legal word, but realize that when you have an argument about what is in it, it might not be a matter of one of you being right and one of you being wrong, but rather that the document needs to be clarified for the future. This piece of paper is going to dictate how your world works for a long time, so it is worth spending the first year getting it right and not worrying about who is in the right according to the way you wrote it.

 

And even though we were in agreement about how things would work (like that the holiday would trump the regular schedule), that doesn't mean that you both will say you agree to it down the line. If you both agree now, put it in writing. We even have things like that her mom gets to choose her two weeks of summer vacation but that she will make every effort to have it immediately after school gets out for the summer. It says "mother will be flexible" about advanced notification requirements... Neither is really enforceable by the court (who is to say whether or not she made every effort? or what "being flexible" looks like?), but with it in the legal agreement it shows that it is something she agreed to at the time. If you agree to something, but it was worth mentioning that you agree to it, write it down.  

 

 

I would also suggest reevaluating more frequently while she is younger. What worked well for my step-daughter at 18 months didn't work as well for her when she was 3 and then again when she started Kindergarten. There's a lot of change that can happen in the next 5 years, and you might want to look at it more frequently during the first few years. You don't necessarily have to go to mediation each time. You can try just reading it and making changes in writing between the two of you (and file the change with the court if you need/want to make it most easily enforcible) and resort to mediation if you can't come to an agreement.


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#18 of 18 Old 02-28-2011, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your help.  It depends on our judge (who has to approve the agreement we reach in mediation) exactly what can go in our agreement.  Some of the judges in our area are okay with reevaluating every so often and making adjustments as DD ages but the greater majority won't.  What you get is what you get for life.  :(  I really hope our judge is one that will allow for changes as she grows since what works for her now obviously isn't going to work 18 years form now.

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