Change in child support vs. change in custody

Per our separation agreement (decided out of court), my ex sees our 2 children every other weekend and 2 weeks in the summer, and our “agreed” upon child support amount he pays is significantly less than what the state would have awarded me had I gone to court in the first place. The reason I’ve never taken him to court is he threatens to fight for joint custody if I try to get an increase in my child support. It’s been 2 and-a-half years now that we’ve had this arrangement, and my situation has changed such that I can’t afford to cover the bulk of the children’s expenses on my own, and feel I have little choice but to try for an increase in child support. His solution is to have his new wife’s mother watch our children for less than I’m paying my current daycare. There are several reasons I’m strongly opposed to this, including the fact that the children are in a good daycare now that they like and that has a good program. I don’t want to have to move them to another environment when they’re doing well where they are. I’m also being dependent upon a woman I don’t know, and would be forced into the uncomfortable position of having daily exposure to my ex and the woman with whom he cheated on me during our marriage. My questions are, what are the chances he could get joint custody if the children are doing very well under my care, and could a judge force me to have his mother-in-law watch my children to save me money instead of making him pay more child support?

The court will presume that the agreement which is in place is the schedule that is in the children’s best interests. Additionally if he files for joint custody right around the time you initiate an action for support, the court may infer what is true motives are.

I do not believe the judge would force you to change the children’s day-care routine, and would order that he pay a proper amount of support.