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Custody arrangements?

Old 10-03-2013, 10:30 AM
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Custody arrangements?

Does anyone want to share how their custody arrangements are set up with their A ex?

I'm not going to have sole physical custody of that I am sure and I am going to have to suck up the idea that for now the x A and "father" of our kids will have them at least one overnight a week.

So, I wondered what other situations were out there and any practical tips on managing to not worry sick over your kids?
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:38 AM
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Well, my ex-husband is not an A, but when we divorced originally we had a 50/50 arrangement that was very common in our state. Monday-Tuesday with one parent, who drives the kids to school on Wednesday morning. Wednesday-Thursday with the other parent, who drives the kids to school on Friday morning. Then alternate the Friday-Sunday weekend.

My brother and his ex-girlfriend started with every Wednesday, with an overnight on alternating Wednesdays for the first 90 days. Then after 90 days, my brother has his son for an overnight every Wednesday. He sees him more often when he can and when his ex-girlfriend is being rational.

And I know many, many divorced dads with the traditional "one night a week, every other weekend" arrangement.

The good news is that most jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility these days, and if you guys can reach an agreement on your own that works for you, the court will almost always OK it.

As for reducing worry, how old are your kids? As I said, my ex isn't an A, but he really REALLY hated me when we split up and for over a year would only communicate with me via certified mail. I finally just bought my older daughter, who was 9 at the time, her own very simple cell phone. That gave my daughters and me peace of mind, because we knew we could reach each other at any time.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:20 AM
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It is incredibly rare for one parent to have all the custody, so I think you are wise to accept that he will be sharing time with you.

My state has a standard visitation schedule where one parent has primary custody and the other has 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends with a possible overnight during the week, but at a minimum, a mid-week dinner date (Wednesday 6 to 8) or similar.

Holidays alternate by year and school breaks (like Christmas) are split between the parents.

You might do a google search on "standard child possession schedule" in your state. There is almost certainly a statutory custody arrangement and the courts often fall back on this when the parties don't agree.

(which with your narcissistic XH will likely be the scenario. I have one of those too.)
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:52 PM
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I'm still going through the separation process, but XAH signed off on his end of the paperwork two days ago. Half way there!

We agreed on joint custody, with them residing with me most of the time. For access, I didn't want the stress of supervised visits or breathalizers, so the access order simply says 'reasonable access, reasonable notice.' Visits are whatever we agree upon and I can cancel them if I want. I also like the flexibility this order provides. I have not agreed to overnights yet. I have a lot of contact with XAH, so this order works for us - but I can see why it may not for others.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:23 PM
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Google [state] custody guidelines for your state. The defaults are usually joint custody with one parent maintaining primary physical custody, with child support determined by a formula determined by who carries what insurance, who earns what, what services the kids require, and how many overnights the non-custodial parent get. I've seen non-custodial parents fight hard to maximize the "overnights" clause because it's a way to pay less child support, even if they don't observe the overnight visits.

When there are mitigating circumstances, it usually modifies this state standard. In my case, the usual is the one weeknight, every other weekend model. Since DS2 is under the age of 3, her visits are limited to one weeknight until bedtime, when she is brought home, and every other Saturday overnight. Because I had documented a long history of alcoholism, the judge agreed that these visits must be supervised. I have no way of knowing whether this will continue after the divorce process is complete.

With my NPDx, we followed the standard 1 weeknight, every other weekend, half summer model. It's seamless except for summer and he never cares about DS14's homework or household needs. This sucks for DS14, but it's neither legal abuse or legal neglect.

If it ever veers into abuse/neglect territory -- something more than having a tumultuous relationship -- I would call CPS and let the chips fall where they may. Same with DS2 and her dad.

Since you have a new lawyer, write up two documents for him/her about your husband's outbursts. One should be the long form version and the other should be a bullet-point list of the highlight reel. This should be an ongoing list. Whenever you have court, this thing goes with you.

The truth is that the kids will have a relationship with their dad whether or not you support it. Once these standards are in place, educating them about alcoholism, boundaries, their personal safety, and arming them with a cell phone plan, is paramount. But that's all you can do. Remember even this is temporary.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:26 PM
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I'm still in disbelief that after all the documented violence against you, that he would be considered a safe parent for the kids. Not aiming this at you, but at the state. Domestic violence against one person in the family rules out custody of children in my state.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:48 PM
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I insisted on what is best for the kids. I went to a therapist, was honest and open about the situation, asked their advice on what was best for the kids and went from there to the lawyer's office.

In my case, we are week on, week off. She has to - has to - continue with her therapy until the kids are 18. We covered birthdays, holidays, pick up and drop offs, who pays for what, we've agreements on some limited contact with her family members that are questionable. I included all known aspects of her history (mental health, substance abuse, suicide attempts, past parental rights issues with her first husband, etc.). I went hard and fast to enter her history into the record and used that as leverage to get what was best for the kids - namely, my ability to "pull the plug" on them having time with her, should she not remain stable.

In response to her "He is this way and that way, a bad father etc...." I put all three of my kids in therapy right from jump street. I didn't sit in on the sessions, but did inform the therapist that our family was splitting up. I even let my ex take them to the therapist on her weeks with the kids so there therapist could get to know her as well.

The kids validated where the issues were in the family and they got some help with their issues..... best thing I could have done. At that point, I could have gone to court and proved what issues the kids have and with whom.

The main purpose of the custody agreement is to define the boundaries that are needed to keep me and my kids safe -- that is the position I took.

Best luck.....
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:09 AM
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My exh is not an addict of any kind that I know of, but he was abusive, mostly mentally, occasionally physically. (My qualifier is my new H). Everything was documented, the kids had a guardian, and my ex still got 50/50 because nothing was ever directed AT the kids.

The bright side is, 18 mo after the divorce he decided he didn't want the hassle of being a dad anymore (he never did really). He moved to Mexico, I went back to court and got sole legal and physical. Sometimes it just works out after a while. Most of the time they are just angry over the divorce and want to get back at you.

My AH also has a daughter from his first marriage, he and her mother divorced when she was seven, he got every other weekend, but he didn't always stick to it because of his drinking. She is 23 now and has very little contact with him, even though she has his first grandchild now.

They make their bed and many times, IMHO the kids themselves make them lay in them.True for my AH and my exh.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
I'm still in disbelief that after all the documented violence against you, that he would be considered a safe parent for the kids. Not aiming this at you, but at the state. Domestic violence against one person in the family rules out custody of children in my state.
You and me both.

But he has maintained a job, coaches soccer and is LOVED by the community who see the Dr Jekyl/Hyde thing...

So, the abuse is all a figment of my imagination and my ability to manipulate the police on occasion I guess. That's how he and his lawyer are playing it off at least...
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:46 PM
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All I can say is that I feel you. About to submit my proposed parenting plan on Monday. Wanted to do it this past Monday, but took too long to get it all together. My ex wants 50/50 after only seeing our son when I need child care for the last two months (about 24 hours/week). He is so pissed because I want supervised visits. He is going to hate me if I serve him before he serves me. He thinks I'm trying to make him look evil. I'm just trying to protect my son (17 months) and be honest about his addiction and its risks. The worst part is that I still wish I could have a loving relationship with my X. We used to be so happy, but it was always codependent.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:21 PM
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I was told be everyone, councelors, attorneys, friends to give him some rope and he would hang himself. Totally scary! To let him have the kids and everyone would finally see what he was like.

It was very rough. We started with true 50/50, half a week each. He true colors came out though. And pretty quickly. He was not able to keep up the facade and the court finally saw him at face value. Not the image he wanted to protray. (Worlds Best Dad, Police Officer of the Year) It was rough on the boys, not having me there to act as a buffer. But now, he is only allowed two hours a week supervised.

The courts now understand how the situation can get and will be much more cautious granting him alone time with the boys. I hope. We go back to have the situation reevaluated in November.

Something that really helped my situation was that I got the boys their own councelor. If you can find someone they feel comfortable speaking with, it could be someone to help you with your case. If they are telling someone else what goes on in the home, it is not just you, "the bitter STBXW" making things up about him. (I got called much worse!) My kids words have held the most weight in our situation. The judge has already called in my oldest son (10) to discuss in private with him, his view on the situation.

Sending you Mom hugs.... There is nothing harder as a Mom, than letting your little ones be parented by someone who you know is not the best choice nor necessarily safe for them.

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Old 10-04-2013, 02:22 PM
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1. At a minimum, get an injunction against the A drinking prior to or during possession.
2. You can see if he'll agree to Soberlink or ETG testing or if a court would order it. XAs, especially NPDs, will resist testing and find ways to evade it.
3. Knowing I cannot protect my child is my biggest struggle. I pray for God's mercy and protection of my child. I try to replace worry about the future with thankfulness for my present blessings. But it is really, really hard.
4. If your laws don't protect kids' best interests - for example giving 50/50 time automatically - call legislators to ask for a change in the law to not automatically presume extended visitation if a parent has a history of substance abuse.
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
My state has a standard visitation schedule where one parent has primary custody and the other has 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends with a possible overnight during the week, but at a minimum, a mid-week dinner date (Wednesday 6 to 8) or similar.

Holidays alternate by year and school breaks (like Christmas) are split between the parents.
This is what we had as well. He never managed that. I did more than my share to make the visitation that did happen possible and in hindsight I regret it. It was not own of my finest decisions. W/in a year moved far away so it went to zero.

I made sure they had a phone to call me and any time the ex called to get the kids - I went running. He may have been just trying to make my life miserable but I was going to get my kids no matter what so I don't regret that part.
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:28 PM
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If he has ANY DUIs I'd ask the judge to put a breathalyzer in his vehicle until the kids are 18. ANY DUIs or impared.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:06 PM
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The judge awarded me full custody and my XABF has supervised visitation the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of the month. We are going to court again next month to reassess the situation.

However, my ex has recently admitted to me that he is still actively drinking (plus he posts FB pics of him and his wife, the supervisor, drinking together). I am going to ask the court to remove his wife as the supervisor and I will also ask for alcohol testing for my ex. I just don't want to take any risks with my son, since my ex is still actively drinking.

We're all in this together, we are strong and we can make it through.

Love and light to all!
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