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Well, four months know have passed, and my stbx and I are continuing the same 50/50 custody that we both agreed upon until something is finalized. She wants a 90/10 split < parenting time > her favor, and I want to continue the same50/50 split we have been doing. It will be five months by the time we go trial that this custody arrangement between us has been going on! We went through mediation last week and there was no agreeing on custody!
How should I prepare myself for a custody trial? How do they work? Should I go in there and discredit my stbx, as I know these will be her intentions! Or should I go in with the intentions to tell the judge that I am a good father, I can do this, I have been doing this?
blcprc wrote: How should I prepare myself for a custody trial? How do they work? Should I go in there and discredit my stbx, as I know these will be her intentions! Or should I go in with the intentions to tell the judge that I am a good father, I can do this, I have been doing this?
What does a judge want to hear?
Do not go in and go on about how bad the ex is. Judges don't want to hear this as it generally has no relevence to child custody.
Focus on the kids. Bring in your journal for parenting time. How many days did you have them? In general, what did you do? Get notes and letters from the kids service providers (school, doctor, dentist, coaches etc) that state you've been there for the kids and are a fixture in their lives.
The ex will give a huge long list of how bad you are. A blanket statement that you deny any allegations of incompotence and that without any specific evidence to prove otherwise, you wish such allegation struck. It buts the onus on her to prove her allegations, which she likely won't be able to.
But anyway, stay kid focused. Meet with teachers, and journal your time with the kids. It is a far more successful method.
You want to send the message that the status quo has been 50/50 physical custody for 5 months and the children are doing great with that parenting agreement, so why change it. Focusing your strategy on slinging mud is a losing strategy. Your 50/50 custody has been overnights right, not just 50/50 parenting hours?
Her strategy will be to show that the children have not been doing good with the 50/50 custody arrangement. Is there any evidence of that? Drop in grades, discipline issues etc?
Her theory is that our two sons (6&3), have not adjusted to the custody arrangement after four months and I am not a fifty fifty father. I completely disagree. My s6 has adjusted quite well to this arrangement! In fact, last night he thought mommy was picking him up today after school, but I had to remind him that she is out of town for work, and that I will be there for him! It seems as though he already knows the schedule. It seems as though my s3 has no concept yet of time he shares with mommy and daddy! He is the same old happy little turd he has always been, bless his heart!!
I have been a 50/50 father, if not more!! My intentions were to never sling mud at their mother, now, or in the court room. I just wanted equal < parenting time >!! She on the other hand, has done her share of mud slinging!!! My stbx was cheating on me! I caught her and have proof of it, not that it matters now in my custody case. But i have proof that she neglected me and my boys. She even got my s6 9 tardies at school due to her affair! Can that be used in my favor?
My main focus is to keep this custody the way it is now, and not my stbx's wrong doings that led to the downfall of our marriage! Should I be prepared to sling mud, as well as to prove that I am capable of caring for my sons as I have for the past four months, as well as the time when we were a married couple?
How can I prove that my kids have adjusted to this arrangement? They really haven't seemed to change?!? Report cards look great, in fact, it shows tremendous improvement!
How did you come about the 50/50 thing in the first place?
Generally, its a good idea to focus on you and the kids. Present evidence such as your journal that shows what you did in the time you spent with them. Park, homework, learning to ride a bike. All the things a good parent does.
We agreed on the < parenting time > schedule immediately after we separated. It was most beneficial for her due to her once or twice a month out of town work schedule.
It's funny, my lawyer told me that her lawyer gave my attorney a very good indication that custody would not be an issue. She(my attorney) said that agree on your assets and debts and everything will be final in a week! My stbx found out two days prior to the mediation what little cs I will owe her each month, and things changed! My attorney and I were not anticipating a trial! I tried to email her to give her an update on our progress regarding the mediation, and I have yet to hear from her. So I guess that's what I'm on here asking for advice yet again!
I'm just scared to let a judge decide the fate of my children. My children need their father as well as their mother involved in their lives. I can't imagine only having my kids six nights a month!
The mediator, another attorney, told me that if I wanted 50/50 custody, then I should present a parenting plan the same as my stbx. The 90/10 < parenting time > in my favor. He said no judge will grant 50/50 if that's all I'm asking.
But if I do this, it will squash all arguments about how it is working and the kids have adjusted to the current 50/50 schedule we have now. Then what is my current status quo of five months that we have been doing worth? If I go with the 90/10 parenting plan, that means I have to sling mud at the stbx, and I see her doing the same. If I go with the 50/50, that means I have to prove that its working and the kids have adjusted, but the stbx still slings mud at me because she is going for the 90/10 visitaion in her favor!
What should I do?...... What is the better option?
I just want to keep it the same as it is now......
I took grief and shots from some friends and family when I counter-filed with the same conditions, only reversed, that my NJ filed with.
I thought long and hard on whether I wanted to say 50/50 or not. Ultimately I decided that I wanted a position to move to, so it would not seem like I was stonewalling. So even though I knew 50/50 was best for the kids, I asked for more. Then it provided the space for momentum for both of us to 'move'.
I hate it, but that is the game that is there.
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