I am a single mother with a 2 year and 5 month old daughter. When daughter was 8 1/2 months old never lived with father, court ordered 1 overnight (24 hour period) every other week, plus 3 daytime visits of 4 hours per week. When my daughter was 14 months old, the court gave him 6 to 7 overnights with additional weekly 4 hour visits. These overnights are a 24 hour period.
Then when she turned 26 months, he has almost 50% time. It is stressful to see her trying to cope. I am in the state of California, they are pro father, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are dreaming. If the father wants, he will get the time. How do attorneys argue on behalf of the mother for a very young child? I can't seem to find any attorneys that will help moms in that area. I have read all the developmental pro father stuff. Where are the pro-moms that believe a child shouldn't be torn away from its mother just because the father has rights? What about how the child is feeling and distress the child may be subjected to?
Any thoughts? Please don't tell me that the father has a right....I agree, the child should see the father but on such an aggressive schedule when the child is so young???
Having had reason, in the past, to pore over California case law, I find it to be inconsistent. Some cases do seem very egalitarian. (I think this is a better term for 50-50 custody than "pro-father", i.e. "anti-mom". However, I agree with you that what's fair to the father may not be what's fair to a very young child and the child's needs ought to come first.) But other cases seem horribly biased toward mothers. All that means is that there might be a chance of a different arrangement, from a different judge.
Read the laws for yourself. What do you have to do, to request a change of judge, or change of court?
Research case law for yourself. What cases set a precedent that supports a child as young as yours spending more time with Mommy and only transitioning to 50-50 custody when they're older? What cases would your ex use against you, to defend your current arrangement? You have to know those, too, to be prepared to argue against them.
Have you had a custody evaluation? Before proposing a custody evaluator, search for various evaluators' names in California case law, to see which evaluators tend to advise 50-50 arrangements most of the time. You'd want to steer clear of those and toward evaluators who tend to make varied recommendations, truly custom-tailored to each individual child/family.
What would you have to do, to request a guardian ad litem? He/she could observe how your child adjusts to transitions - and how your child is coping, in general - and make recommendations to the court on your child's behalf.
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate: or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son: (a sophomore) ... our little man: (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all: our.
I just wanted to offer some support, FWIW. I agree with you that this shouldn't be happening. I was able to avoid this type of arrangement myself. My son saw his father almost every day until his third birthday (ex came and hung out after work until ds went to bed). By three, ds was more than ready to spend a night with his dad. I have posted more than once here on MDC about how in some places, judges are forcing this horrible injustice on babies, and each time, I get brushed off and someone tells the OP that it just doesn't happen. It does. And it's not fair to the children. Best wishes to you, OP, and your kiddos.
Ditto to what VocalMinority wrote. I'm in CA, and yes, overall they advocate 50/50 unless there is a compelling reason for there NOT to be. Of course, as the pp states, there are cases where that doesn't happen, I've seen it the numerous times I've been to family court :) Do you think there is a way to still give him the same time but in a way that is easier for your dd? For example, two nights with you, two nights with him as opposed to 6 nights in a row with him? My ex and I do 50/50, alternating weeks and on our "non-custodial" weeks we each have an evening/dinner visit so that ds doesn't actually go an entire week without seeing either of us.
Are you in a county that mandates mediation and where the mediators have the power to make recommendations? If so, I personally have had a positive experience with mediation and they addressed all of our concerns and made fair recommendations. I realize that this will vary by county and by mediator, but it is one way to go, and it is free. If not, I would go the custody evaluation route. Good luck, I'm living it on both ends (me and my ex, dp and his ex) so definitely understand.
"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston
We did Monday Tuesday < me> Wed & Thurs <XH> and alternated weekends. basically 5-2 /2-5 that way neither of us when without the boys more than 5 days. I did much more work than my X and there are many negatives but they were used to the schedule and it mostly worked.
I am a little confused about the specifics here - your older child has a father you are no longer with, but your younger child does not? Your older has a shared parenting plan, but your younger is with you 100% of the time? Sorry if I've got that wrong.
Providing that you live reasonably close (i.e., within driving range of the same set of schools), and your ex is not a crackhead, 50/50 physical custody is a good thing for your elder daughter. She has two parents who both love her. She will have two homes as she grows up. You will help her best by emphasizing the positives of the situation, and being genuinely glad for her that her father wants to parent her and didn't just walk away.
We are also under CA jurisdiction. My step-daughter has grown up with 50/50 custody and we worked very hard to make the transitions between homes as easy as possible for her. I think it has been a lot harder for the adults than it has been for her, as it takes a very different type of co-parenting to make 50/50 custody work well for kids, and a different mindset to allow a child to experience both houses as home and to experience both mom and dad as equal parents.
Someone else recommended mediation, and my husband and his ex had a lot of success in mediation working through their issues regarding 50/50 custody.
I will chime in on the recomendation of mediation. Personally, I would try to stay away from a court-appointed guardian ad litum or other types of court-ordered assessments - these folks, as wonderful as many of them are, are really only looking for traditional issues - drug abuse, physical abuse, etc - and their job is to enforce the state mandated visitation laws unless there is something horrible going wrong. The last thing you need if you are trying to create a better situation is a court-ordered document that says everything has been investigated & the visitation should continue as normal.
I totally agree that 50/50 is hard for little ones - my DSS didn't switch to 50/50 until he was about 5. And honestly, as much as I love my BF's kids, it makes me cringe that we have been taking the baby for weekends since he was 6 weeks old - he does really well, but I know for me, there is no freaking way I would be leaving my child for a whole weekend at 6 weeks of age!
Jen - Partner to Joe, Craig, & Jordan , mama to DS1 (7/13/99), DS2 (10/27/01), and DS3 (6/13/06), and DS4 born 12/13/12! Attachment Parent, co-sleeper, baby-wearer, Sudbury School founder & educator, PhD Candidate doing birth research, cloth diaper lover, GF (again), etc!