Child Custoday / Visitation


#1

My wife and I have been separated for over a year now. In the last year, I have had irregular visitation with my daughter, meaning we didn’t have an actual schedule put in place. I kept my daughter during the work week and weekends sporadically. Alot of factors played into my wife not wanting our daughter with me.

  1. I had a roommate at the time that the wife didn’t feel comfortable with
  2. Due to her walking out on me, I had to work overtime at my job to pay bills.
  3. She only allowed me to keep her certain days (she has having an affair with her boss that visited the area on those certain days)_

We have been through mediation and still she only wants me to have an every other weekend visitation schedule. She insist that I am a great father and will protect and care for our child. I’m trying to seek a visitation schedule of every Monday and Tuesday, with every other weekened, four weeks in the summer, and alternate holidays.

She states that me keeping our child during the workweek will disrupt the childs school schedule. Keep in mind that I live 2 miles from her and my child as well as the school that she attends. Also, I have kept her during workdays in the past. The wife also drops our daughter off with her sister during the work week and she lives 30 minutes away.

My question is does she have a leg to stand on? Am I asking for something unreasonable? I’m just a loving father trying to provide for my daughter. It seems that because of my wife’s bitterness towards me she doesn’t want to give me that chance.


#2

No, you are not being unreasonable wanting shared custody. A lot more courts are ruling in favor of joint custody with equal time. Your stbx has set up a standard that may be followed in that you do not have a schedule of visitations. What you are asking for is joint custody with equal time and the term joint physical custody must be defined in your separation agreement or custody papers. NC defaults to joint legal custody if there is nothing specified.

My suggestion is that you need to let your stbx know that she can not keep your child away from you, regardless of the reason, and that there needs to be a schedule set up and begin following it. Your ex does not have the right to dictate who you have your child around. Your ex does not have the right to dictate what you do with the time you have your child with you. You need to start doing what you can now to get this changed. Don’t let her NOT allow something. This is your daughter also and your stbx does not have all the rights.

Unless custody is decided by agreement or court order, each parent has equal right to physical custody. Keep records of everything. Consult an attorney. Get a recorder on your phone to record your conversations with her about this. And her reasons that she will not agree to this schedule.

If you had marital debt that you had to cover after she left, then you may be entitled to 1/2 that back from her. If you haven’t received an absolute divorce; you can still file for Equitable Distribution of marital assets & debts.

My husband and his ex have joint custody with equal time. The boys attend the same school that they did previously. They are at their mother’s every Wednesday and with us every Thursday. The rest of the time they are with one or the other. So we have Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun one week. The next week we have Thurs. and so on…
This way the boys have enough time with each parent to bond but do not have to go an entire week without seeing the other parent.


#3

I might get some hisses about this- BUT…

Not knowing your wife/ex and how child support is set up for you…the LESS overnights a child spends with you the more likely to wife will qualify for the Schedule A child support worksheet (which means more child support money goes to her). If you have more overnights then you qualify for another sheet that would pay her LESS.

I’m NOT insinuating that your wife/ex is leaning that way, but some women do. I don’t see the ‘disruption’ as a factor in that you’re 2 miles from her home. It is complicated to move back and forth, but it’s workable.

I say you stick to your guns and ask for as much time as possible with your child. The child is the most important factor.


#4

Thanks everyone for replying,

The reason why I brought his topic up was because I am currently in the process of coming up with a child support order. My wife and her lawyer have proposed to me a certain amount that is based on every other weekend. When I spoke with my lawyer I brought up the fact that “why are we trying to settle the child support before settling how much visitation I will have”. It’s my understanding that the amount of visitation does effect the amount of child support. In a way, I was thinking that if I agreed to the amount of child support then I’m essentially agreeing to the amout of visitation time. I explained to her about having joint custody and her reply was that “it’s a snowball chance in hell that you’ll get that”. Naturally this startled me. It’s almost like my lawyer wants me to concede to every other weekend or doesn’t think I have a chance at joint custody. I’m honestly thinking of firing her or going with someone else because after that conversation I’m not sure I have much confidence in my lawyer anymore. I then asked her why did she think I didn’t have a chance. She stated because of the irregular visits during the last year.

I find this startling being that I have been in my childs life everyday from birth until the day of the separation. I don’t abuse my child. I’m not some pedafile, etc. The wife has done everything to keep her away from me including not answering my calls, telling my daughter that she doesn’t have to answer my questions, etc.

To add to this, my wife walked out on me and left me with all the bills to pay. This included the mortgage, second mortgage, and two cars that where left in both names. When I asked what we were to do about it, she replied “you worry about it”. Now during the past year or so, I have NOT technically given her any child support due to the financial obligations that I mentioned prior. Believe me I would have had her helped out with the obligations that she left behind. If you total the bills that I pay out, half of it far exceeds that amount of child support that she has recommended.

Thanks all for listening…


#5

Ask for 50/50 and fight for 50/50. Let a JUDGE tell you no, not your attorney that’s supposed to be fighting for you.

As for the rest of it, you need to have all the debt split and the assets. You shouldn’t be paying for everything!

Without a child support order, you haven’t been obligated to pay her that because she hasn’t asked for it but I would get your p’s and q’s together. Get all your documentation together showing all the bills you’ve been paying and the cancelled checks.


#6

I agree. Unless you want your daughter growing up only knowing your stbx set of values and morals, fight for her.
If you do not like the way your attorney is relating to you, ask around and find another. Yes, you have set a precedent in the erratic schedule but that does not mean that it has to stay that way. Change it now. You do not need her permission to have your daughter. Send her a letter stating that you will be picking your daughter up specified days and keeping her until the next day when she goes to school. Let her know that this will be the only schedule that you will agree to and stick to it. She can not refuse to let you do this because there is no custody agreement or order. She can refuse to come out of the house, but show up anyway. Do not pull into the driveway, on the property, but be there. Call, do whatever necessary, within the law but fight for your right to be with your child.
Keep constant documentation. Consult another attorney if you are not happy. It’s not too late, and I advise not waiting until it is. The longer this schedule goes on the more difficult time you will have with changing it if this goes to court.


#7

Go for joint custody, you definitely have a chance more than “a snowball in hell”. You will have to go through mediation ( as my husband and his ex did) because that is mandatory in NC. Most counselors will recommend a week on/week off or partial week split between homes. As you live so close it is no big deal at all. Your child will have a room in both homes, right? You will have clothes for her at your home, a toothbrush, toys, etc. You can show how you have and will continue to pick her up and drop her off at school. Seems like a much better scenario than having to drive her 30 minutes away.
Unfortunately many moms, like ours, fight joint custody because it means less money. Perhaps you can work out a consent order for the custody amount separate from the visitation to an amount that you both can agree on.


#8

The most important thing in an attorney client relationship is that you trust them enough to rely on their advise. It sounds like that is not the case in this situation. It might be best for you to seek a second opinion with another attorney and ask for their advice on the situation.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com/live for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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#9

My wife and I have been separated for over a year now. In the last year, I have had irregular visitation with my daughter, meaning we didn’t have an actual schedule put in place. I kept my daughter during the work week and weekends sporadically. Alot of factors played into my wife not wanting our daughter with me.

  1. I had a roommate at the time that the wife didn’t feel comfortable with
  2. Due to her walking out on me, I had to work overtime at my job to pay bills.
  3. She only allowed me to keep her certain days (she has having an affair with her boss that visited the area on those certain days)_