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certified111
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Reged: 02/28/09
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Ex-Wife taking me back to court to change custody
      #508687 - 02/28/09 07:34 PM

I need some advice and input from someone to help me understand what may or may not happen in this situation.

When my ex-wife and I divorced, we made the choice to be as civil as possible for my daughter's sake. We sat down with all of the big decisions and hammered out what we felt was an equitable agreement for both sides. This included the agreement on child custody. Our agreement was that we would have 50/50 visitation and shared primary custodial role for my teenaged daughter. There would be no child support even though my salary is twice what my wife makes because I took approximately 95% of the marital debt in leiu of paying child support. At the time we were in agreement that this was fair and that it was best for my daughter.

Tonight my ex calls me and informs me that she is taking me back to court to "get what she deserves". In other words, she is going to petition the court for full custody and max child support. I was stunned. She has told me on numerous occasions that she knows that I am a great father and that my daughter loves me very much and needs me. I believe the same about her relationship with her mother. I am scared to death to lose this time with my daughter because she is really my life at this point.

Here are my questions for those willing to help...

1. What are her chances of success?
2. Will my daughter have to get on the stand and make a choice? (God forbid, I do not want her to have to go through that)
3. Do issues my ex believes took place between her (ex-wife) and me have any bearing on custody of my daughter?

Please help...


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gr8Dad
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You need to be careful... [Re: certified111]
      #508692 - 02/28/09 08:22 PM

...cause you screwed up. The final divorce decree, in which you took most of the debt, is a done deal. Child support is ALWAYS modifiable.

You answers:

"What are her chances of success?"

She will probably get child support, she MAY get her time increased, read carefully after these answers.

"Will my daughter have to get on the stand and make a choice? (God forbid, I do not want her to have to go through that)"

She will PROBABLY not get on the stand, but she will get the opportunity to speak to a judge privately.

"Do issues my ex believes took place between her (ex-wife) and me have any bearing on custody of my daughter?"

It would depend on the issue and WHEN it happened. If it happened BEFORE the custody finding, you should be fine, if it happened AFTER, it will then depend on what it is. Things such as arguements etc, are nothing, abuse, harrassment, assault, etdc are things the judge will look at, from BOTH sides.

Now, HERE is the important part. Your ex SCREWED you. She made a deal, then backed out once she could to get you for more money. All bets are off.

This WILL end up in a court, and you need a GOOD lawyer. First, you need to make it CLEAR to her that child support and parenting time (NOT visitation, it sounds bad) are two COMPLETELY different topics. As such, they will be handled separately.

On custody, you need to make it CLEAR to her that you will accept NOTHING LESS than what you have now. Stand your ground, make NO deals (she is a back stabber, you know this now). When in front of the judge, accept NOTHING less than what you have now.

On child support, you need to get the judge to HEAR that you took 95% of the marital debt in exchange for no child support. You need to say something like this to the judge:

"Your honor, when X and I divorced, I did what I felt was in the best interest of my child. I have remained in her life, I care for her equally with X {use her name, not "my ex"}, I provide for her needs while she is with me. There is no reason to change the custody arrangement, other than her desire to seek money from me. While I understand that child support is normally ordered, in this case I bargained in good faith with Ms. X, and she is attempting to use a loophole in the court system to defraud me financially. It is my sincerest hope that this court will not assist her in this wholely dispicable matter. While i do not agree with the idea of a "sole" custodial parent, if this court feels that one MUST be determined, I ask that it be me, on the grounds that if this woman is willing to attempt to harm the co parenting relationship for something as mundane as money, I can only imagine what she is teaching our child. Of course, while I will abide by any order of this court, know that if this court MUST find a primary custodian, and it deems me to be qualified, I will seek no support from Ms. X"

--------------------
Why give a "senior" discount, they have had plenty of time to raise the money...


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Maury
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Re: You need to be careful... [Re: gr8Dad]
      #508699 - 02/28/09 11:34 PM

Child support will likely be based on the State's child support guidelines. Child support may be modified at any time if there has been a change in circumstance since the last order. Your best defense would be to argue that no change in circumstance has occurred. In most states, however, the guidelines woulod be applied.

Changing custody is usually much more difficult than modifying support. Custody may be changed only if the proposed change will be in the best interests of teh child. You provide little information as to what basis may be used to modify custody. Ceratinly, depending on your child's age, she may be able to express an opinion. In most states that means talking to a custody evaluator, a Guardian Ad Litem or in an "In camera" interview by the Judge with counsel present.

Any issue that affects the best inbterests of the child, including abuse issues and anger management issues, can impact custody.


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Debi
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Re: Ex-Wife taking me back to court to change custody [Re: certified111]
      #508700 - 02/28/09 11:38 PM

Gr8dad touched on some points I wouldn't have thought of.

Rarely do courts like to make changes to custody unless there have been major changes in the life of one parent. Something that would definitely be taken into consideration would be one parent moving far enough away to make the current parenting schedule improbable. Something like one parent getting married would probably not be unless thier new spouse was abusing the child and there is proof.

She could get CS from you and the amount would depend on many things including what state you are in. I am in WI for instance and in a 50/50 arrangement a parent who makes more money could end up paying a small amount of support. In my own situation with 50/50 parenting and no designated CP my x pays 2.7% of his gross income. Due to job loses and changes and income downsizing it amounts to approximately 32.00 a month right now. The highest he ever paid was 79.00 a month and that was when he made more than twice what I did. In IL the amount of CS is (I believe) 17% for one child to the CP no matter what the parenting schedule is. You'll need to know what you're looking at.

I completely agree that you need to find the most agressive attorney you can. Ask around and do your own research. It's never a good idea to bargain with a non-modifiable chip when the other person has the modifiable one in their back pocket.

--------------------
When we were together, you said you'd die for me. Now, I think it's time you kept your promise.


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Yes_Dad
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Re: Ex-Wife taking me back to court to change custody [Re: certified111]
      #508704 - 03/01/09 05:54 AM

[quote]I need some advice and input from someone to help me understand what may or may not happen in this situation.

When my ex-wife and I divorced, we made the choice to be as civil as possible for my daughter's sake. We sat down with all of the big decisions and hammered out what we felt was an equitable agreement for both sides. This included the agreement on child custody. Our agreement was that we would have 50/50 visitation and shared primary custodial role for my teenaged daughter. There would be no child support even though my salary is twice what my wife makes because I took approximately 95% of the marital debt in leiu of paying child support. At the time we were in agreement that this was fair and that it was best for my daughter.

Tonight my ex calls me and informs me that she is taking me back to court to "get what she deserves". In other words, she is going to petition the court for full custody and max child support. I was stunned. She has told me on numerous occasions that she knows that I am a great father and that my daughter loves me very much and needs me. I believe the same about her relationship with her mother. I am scared to death to lose this time with my daughter because she is really my life at this point.

Here are my questions for those willing to help...

1. What are her chances of success?
2. Will my daughter have to get on the stand and make a choice? (God forbid, I do not want her to have to go through that)
3. Do issues my ex believes took place between her (ex-wife) and me have any bearing on custody of my daughter?

Please help... [/quote]

#1 forget her getting full custody. You are safe there

#2 Is the reason (you taking on the marital debt instead of CS) discussed in your agreement? If it is, you are safe there.


These people need to learn to stick to agreements


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certified111
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Reged: 02/28/09
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Re: Ex-Wife taking me back to court to change custody [Re: Yes_Dad]
      #508729 - 03/01/09 08:29 AM

Thanks for your responses.

In answer to the questions of the last poster...yes, the agreement about paying marital debt in lieu of CS in specifically worded in the agreement that was signed and filed with the court.


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gr8Dad
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If it is SPECIFICALLY in the decree... [Re: certified111]
      #508779 - 03/01/09 03:58 PM

...you should be okay. But you still need a lawyer. Don't SMEAR her, or act cocky, simply go in almost confused, like, "I don't understand this, we had a deal, she agreed to it, the judge signed it, why has she changed it and why should I now lose time with my child because she has had second thoughts?" MAKE her PROVE to the court why she wants this, because if all you are saying is true, her ONLY answer must be, "Money" and a lot of judge do NOT like someone looking to screw the other parent out of time for MONEY.

--------------------
Why give a "senior" discount, they have had plenty of time to raise the money...


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KiwiGirl
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It sounds like [Re: certified111]
      #508800 - 03/01/09 07:18 PM

She has a little bird twittering in her ear.

When my husband was getting divorced he said his now-ex would go along with things for a while and then wham! she would ask/insist/announce her plans for something waaaay out of the ballfield.

It sounded and still sounds that when things are amicable and everything is almost mundane, someone who throws a wrench in the works has someone feeding him/her some ideas.

I go along with what the other posters say. Find a great lawyer and act confused as to why she wants to change something that is working just fine. Beweildered is a good look. And make sure you do not discuss a word of this with your daughter.

--------------------
If I can't be part of the solution I insist on being most of the problem


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