Sole Custody to Joint Legal Custody

This is going to depend more on what your final agreement states and if custody is going by the initial separation agreement then you obviosly have the option of giving him joint legal custody but that’s no the same as having joint physical custody. If your husband has limited decision making abilities and has conceeded that point to you, then legal custody is probably not a good idea. You still keep him informed and that is a good idea even though it’s not a must if you have primary legal custody. There’s doesn’t seem to be enough that has changed for custody to be modified in court. The courts will want to know why he wants it changed and the filing a child on your taxes is not enough of a reason, in my opinion.
As far as the multple girlfriends go…sadly, some adults do not see this as being a problem. They either can’t or won’t see that their children are suffering by getting attached. My stepsons got very attached to his mother’s numerous boyfriends before she settled down with the one she’s with now. My husband discussed with her how upsetting this was for them but she didn’t seem to care either. The boys felt that if they didn’t like who their mother was with that she would not want them around just like she did their dad. Things are smoother now, but it’s important to keep in mind that though you may have primary custody, you can not make decisions about their father’s life. You need to make sure that the children know they can talk with you, or vent to you if they need to.

I realize I can’t make decisions for his life and I honestly have no interest in his life. I really only have an issue when it affects the children and I don’t like the serial relationships but I do realize I have no control over them. The latest one has me worried for their safety, I have talked to each one of them individually and did explain to them that they need to respect her, do what and do what they are told because she is the other adult in the house. If ever they feel unsafe, they need to tell mom immediately. This person lived with us several times when we were together because she needed a place to stay and each time he couldn’t wait to get rid of her. I know how this thing will work out, the people haven’t changed only have convinced themselves that the other is completely different. I just worry about the kids and I will monitor the situation from their standpoint. I am not out to get in the way of the kids relationship with their dad, I only want to protect them as much as possible and as long as they are ok, then I am ok. I guess it will just have to be monitored. As for custody, shared custody or physical custody for him is not an option. We haven’t had any major changes in circumstances for him to change anything and I really don’t think he’ll be successful but I do have to prepare myself for that chance it goes to court.
Thanks for your help!

Dear worriedmom:

Greetings. I am sure what the exact question is. Joint custody is about joint decision making and possibly him asking for more time with the children.

If you have a separation agreement and not a child custody order, he can go to court to ask for joint custody without showing a substantial change of circumstances. Good luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

I have SOle Custody of my four children. The reason for this is because my ex-husband is bi-polar and although I give him credit for mostly maintaining his illness, he isn’t the best at making decisions for the sake of the children. In our separation agreement I agreed to the POSSIBLITITY of joint legal custody before our divorce (we are already divorced) if he could prove that his illness was stable, about 9 conditions to this are in there. He met a few of the basic ones but the big ones he has not. His illness does make it changing for him to make the right decisions, especially when it comes to the children. ex:
Over the course of our separation he has had MULTIPLE girlfriends and introduced them all to the kids only for them to not work out, now he’s going to move some woman in that he is having a very long distance relationship with. She used to be a friend so I know her quite well and her parenting style. He has agreed several times that it is not in the best interest for him to keep bringing women around the children if he is not in a serious relationship with them, yet he does it anyway. My youngest daughter gets very attached very quickly. Obviously this isn’t in the best interest of our kids.
My daughter has learning disabilities and my ex has never been involved in one single meeting for her IEP or to get her the initial testing.
I have made the majority of decisions for the children since they were born and through our separation. I include him on them, but he really doesn’t seem to care either way. Isn’t joint legal custody for helping to make those decisions? I just don’t see the point in changing it.
Yes this is part of the previous blackmail post. He wants it because he wants it now to cuz trouble because I won’t let him claim the children on his taxes. I want him to be involved in the kids lives to the best of his ability. I give him a lot of visitation, I change things to accomodate schedules. I NEVER deny him access to his children. I just was wondering opinions on this and from a legal standpoint. Nothing has changed to merit a change from what I see.