Once the divorce is final you can not go back and get equitable distribution. I don’t think that it’s a good idea to agree to it. In my opinion only, it would set up the groundwork for “I’ve lived in this house for a year and have custody of our daughter” Things change over time and what you and the ex agree to now will not be as easy to agree on later when the bitter feelings start creeping in. Even if this is an amicable split, it could get ugly quick once one of you start seeing someone else. All bets are off down the road. I would suggest that you offer to have the separation agreement written up with joint legal and physical custody with equal time spent with each parent. The marital home…your decision. Whoever stays in the home will have to split whatever equity there is and get refinanced with the other’s name off the mortgage, deed. Protect yourself and your child’s future first. Children need both parents to be as involved in their lives as possible and the courts know this. If you give her custody for a year, you may never get it back. If neither is asking for child support, have that put into the papers also. IF the state gets a hold of it, either both or one of you will HAVE to pay.
My husband and his ex had joint legal and physical custody with equal time with each parent. She flipped out when she found out we were seeing each other (even though she was on her 4th boyfriend by then) and tried to get the separation agreement negated. She asked him (through a lawyer)for child support and by this I mean that he pay her $800 for two children and still pay 1/2 of everything (clothes, sitter, school supplies and functions, medical and dental bills and carry insurance). She basically didn’t want any of her money to have to be spent on the children even though they were equally sharing custody and time. She also wanted all the rest of the items from the marital home, 1/2 his business, and a settlement amount. She was talking about moving to the coast and never letting him see the children, so he filed for temporary custody. We all went to court and the judge essentially left it how it was in the separation agreement. She was a little worried about her lifestyle, parenting skills and her track record with the children up til that point, so they ended up settling and the case was never fully put in front of the court. So basically, he spent $10,000 to have the same agreement he started with when she moved out. They share 50/50 custody and he still pays her child support, though we are looking at getting it lowered since she’s doubled her income since then.
I don’t mean to imply that all women are this devious but just keep in mind that once this year is over, she will no longer be your wife. There will be no partnership or relationship as you have had in the past. What either of you do, when the child is not with you, is none of the other’s business as long as it causes no long term effects on your welfare or your child. You won’t have allegiances to the other and there will be someone else in both your lives eventually. With children involved, it’s complicated and it will be a contest for a while, no matter how amicable it is now to see who is the “better parent”. Children need BOTH parents. Don’t give your daughter up without a fight, unless it’s what you truly want to do. This is something that will be dealt with until she’s 18 or out of school and it can change from week to week. Best to get things arranged and legalized now so you don’t have to worry (as much) about it down the road when mom gets a new husband with a job in California or your new wife doesn’t want to live so far away from her family in Ohio. Get an different attorney than the one you “both” use and protect yourself. Keep us posted and good luck!