Changing Visitation

Since you do have a court ordered visitation policy you could actually revert to that at any point but there may be issues with this with your child and the routine they are now used to and it would give your ex additional grounds to modify custody.
Playing devil’s advocate I would wonder why you are ok w/ him having your child 40% of the time but not 50%, since as you pointed out this is only one additional overnight? I would also wonder why you don’t object to 40% custody if you have concerns about his judgement.
It is within your ex’s rights to file for modification of custody and because he has had increased visitation it should qualify as a change in circumstances. If you cannot resolve this between yourselves you will end up in your lawyers offices…setting a court date and then most likely attending court ordered mediation before ever setting foot in court. In all likelihood the lawyers will hash this out at the courtroom and you will never go in front of the judge. The court/judge looks at what is in the “best interest” of the child.
It will end up costing each of you a couple of thousand dollars - at the least.
I would just ask myself how serious my concerns are and if you and your ex can somehow work this out on your own.

We’ve only been doing the new schedule since June 2007 and I told him at the time that I had reservations because lack of trust in his judgement and our daughter’s reaction to it all. At first, it was fine but it was summertime. Since school has been in, though, I don’t know if it’s been the best for her…she seems more stressed alternating between two households during the week (which we didn’t do with the old schedule)and that would increase even more with an additional overnight. She has always been with me more than him (even before we split) but since she was older I was willing to try something different…it just doesn’t seem to be working to her benefit which is more of a concern to me than if he has the 50/50 that he demands. I’m not saying I will never agree to another change but it may be something where we need to wait until she’s just a little older. Getting him to understand that is not easy, though.

ok, again playing devil’s advocate. She’s been in this new schedule since June so for the past 7 months and you are just now commenting on her stress level? I would think this would have been obvious in the first couple of months of school if there was a problem. Why is she stressed? Does he observe or agree that she is stressed out? Is there anyway you as parents can make it easier for her to be in 2 households? Plenty of kids do this.

My husband’s ex has moved 5 times in the last 3 years. Every time she moves my stepson’s get less space, stuff broken or lost and now they are sharing a room. Needless to say that if they really care about something they leave it at our house. We share 50/50 with equal time. They have a room and “home” at both houses.

Switching a child’s schedule around too much is going to cause problems as will moving too often. There’s an adjustment period when you move or change your schedule and it does take time to see what the affects of the change will be. Waiting until she’s older will only make the change harder to adjust to, IMHO.

The biggest problem I have noticed, other than the adjustment and having to have 2 of everything is that the parents have to be able to work together and be flexible. There are sometimes weekly schedule changes…the older your daughter gets the more time she will be spending with after school stuff, friends, boyfriends, eventually jobs…neither of you will get to spend time with her. If you’re going to allow her to spend more time with her father, then my suggestion is to do it now, while she still wants to.

We have toys, clothing and even game systems for him at both houses so basically he is picked up at school and comes here to his own room with his own things. We have seen so many positives when custody was increased and I think, no, I know, my stepson feels the same way. That being said, every situation is different. We definitely had issues w/ the ex about clothing, time etc which had to be worked out or worked through and I’m sure we’ll continue to have these issues for the next 7 years.

It will not reflect badly on you that you tried to work with him to determine the schedule that would work best for your daughter. However, if you are trying to decrease his visitation, the court will look at the schedule you have exercised for the past several years and determine how that has affected your daughter.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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My ex and I have a separation agreement that was incorporated into our divorce decree and it clearly states our vistation arrangement. Last summer, I agreed to give him more overnights with our daughter (7 yrs old) so that our schedule is a 60/40 split (I am the 60%). It was NOT legally changed. Due to concerns I have with him and his judgement when it comes to our daughter I do not want a 50/50 schedule. He is asking me to change the schedule to 50/50 and will do whatever “scare tactics” he has to make me change my mind. My question is: if I do not feel comfortable with changing the schedule AGAIN and he decides to take the matter to court (for basically one more overnight with her added to the schedule), will it reflect poorly on me?