My wife and I separated 5.5 months ago. The separation agreement she had drafted lists the reason for separation as, “because of unfortunate differences and incompatibilities which now exist between them”. I am in agreement with this reason, but we have not signed this agreement, and physical custody of our 8 and 4-year-olds is the hot topic.
She had her attorney draft it listing her with primary physical custody; only giving me overnights every other Friday and Saturday, 4p-7p two evenings per week, 1 full-week in the summer, and alternating holidays.
I have asked for her to modify that to a 50/50 physical custody plan, but she responded, “I am not willing to change to a 50/50 plan. You are spending more time with the kids with our current plan than you did before the separation. I have always spent nights with the children and have gotten them ready for school in the mornings. They need stability.”
We both worked full-time with the kids prior to separation, but, because she was able and willing to be home in the mornings and come right home after work, she spent more time with the kids than did I. There were plenty of mornings I was up and gone by 5am, and often didn’t get home until 6:30pm. There were also regular occurrences of me not getting home until after the kids were in bed. It was not an ideal weekday schedule, but it was unfortunately necessary more times than either of us wanted. Nonetheless, I was generally able to be home for dinners, baths, and bedtime. I did work a lot of weekends too, but I always made sure to get the kids where they needed to be, took them on many an outing, and maintain a great and loving relationship with them.
It took me a few months to find a housing arrangement I was comfortable with, so I agreed to temporarily go along with her idea of physical custody and even utilized the house we still jointly own for my overnights with the kids. I now have a nice home 10 minutes from my old home, where she and the kids live.
I feel I have laid enough foundation above to finally pose my question. Does my wife have the right to deny me 50/50 physical custody at this point, and aren’t I likely to be granted 50/50 physical custody if she feels she needs the courts to decide?
Everything I have read in the statutes, discussions, case-law, and so on indicates that she is in the wrong right now for denying me 50/50 joint physical custody.