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XH wants 50-50 visitation now

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little turtle posted 5/25/2013 11:24 AM

I'm scared. Terrified of this change. I've always had my boys most of the time. XH wants to change the schedule to every other week the boys switch homes. I know many families have 50-50 schedules, but I don't know how they work. I don't know anyone personally. Are they week on week off or what? XH got laid off on Friday. Now he can get the kids to school and pick them up after school. He couldn't before because DS5 is in pre-school and latchkey isn't an option. Starting in the fall, it will be. He can drop them off and pick them up from the latchkey program.

There are many positives to going this route. The kids will be able to have more of an every day relationship with their dad. I potentially could schedule most of my work appointments during the 2 weeks they are gone (I'm contracted and paid per appointment). The kids seem excited. They both want to spend a week at each home.

It's going to be more work for XH and I to stay organized and in touch with everything that is going on. There are many details to work out. Right now, I handle it all. I tell him about different activities that occur during his weekends and parent/teacher conferences. With the boys at both homes, papers will be everywhere. How do you keep track of everything? Do the kids bring 2 copies of calendars/newsletters home?

XH said he will pay me CS for June as we start the new schedule. I'm going to make sure I can afford my expenses based on my income and savings. If I can afford things, XH will stop paying CS as we will be on a 50-50 schedule (as long as all goes well).

How do you adjust to this? Right now it appears that I'm the only one struggling with this idea.

ETA: When he goes back to work, if it's in the summer, he will send them to day camp or have his mom/someone watch the kids.

[This message edited by little turtle at 11:55 AM, May 25th (Saturday)]

Coraline posted 5/25/2013 11:35 AM

What happens when he starts a new job? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but your post makes it sound like he's able to make this change because he got laid off. I'm assuming he isn't planning on retiring now, so what happens when he goes back to work? Because if it's just a temporary thing until he finds another job, then I doubt it would be a good idea to change your kids' whole lives around, only to change back when he starts working again.

little turtle posted 5/25/2013 11:37 AM

When he goes back to work, if it's in the summer, he will send them to day camp or have his mom/someone watch the kids. If it's not till the school year, he will send them to latchkey before/after school.

pjkmkjm23 posted 5/25/2013 12:02 PM

Really, really think this over. I gave up 50% custody (that's the way I look at it now, at first I thought I was sharing!) and it's been so used against me since then. My STBXWW was gone for 4 months before I did agreed to this and I really truly thought I was doing what's best for the kids. My x has used this to try and claim she is primary parent now, to take any monies, credits etc. for having the kids....and worst of all she is using her time to try and alienate the kids from me.

If you have a much nicer, better WS than I do, who also isn't just trying to get out of paying CS, I'd still be very careful. I don't know that agreeing to 50% is the best choice because its hard - if not impossible - to take back afterwards.

Sorry if I scare you....I realize each situation is different...but I wish I had posted here about the decision I was facing and someone warned me like this then. Good luck!

Take2 posted 5/25/2013 12:39 PM

Is it okay with you?...
that when he goes back to work, he will send them to day camp or have his mom/someone watch the kids. What would their normal summer look like? Are they typically with you or at camp...? His mom/someone to watch them is awfully vague...how will that look? Will they get outside? Enjoy it? 50/50 is one thing but if it is really going to work out to 50/40 (daycare or withMIL/10...)? Food for thought - Think it through.

hexed posted 5/25/2013 14:09 PM

(((little turtle)))

what does your decree say?
what do your kids want (I know they're young but still worth considering)?
what do you really want?
what is best for the kids?
do you co-parent amicably?

There are lots of things to consider. He can't just go changing the rules b/c he got laid off.

scotslass posted 5/25/2013 14:58 PM

I would strongly advise against this. It was forced on me in January od 2013. It has turned out to be a disaster. My ex was furious that I was still awarded full child support - he has manipulated my children against me and have let them run wild.

I was just back at court this past week to start the steps to get them back to the old custody agreement.

You can read my posts to see what 50/50 did to my children. The legals part will costs me thousands but if I have to go bankrupt in order to get my kids back on the straight and narrow I will.

little turtle posted 5/25/2013 15:02 PM

Decree says joint legal custody and predominant physical custody awarded to me until kids are 18. Parenting time is by mutual agreement. CS is ordered and if XH has the kids for 6 or more consecutive days he gets 50% retroactive abatement of CS. I wonder if I should suggest that we cut CS in half rather than no CS. I don't want to have a battle, but I don't want to be a doormat either.

XH asked the kids this morning what they think about staying a week at XH's house and then a week at mom's and back and forth. DS6 said, "sure." I asked DS5 what he thinks, he said, "sounds good to me. 7 days with mom and then 7 days with dad." We won't know what they really think until it actually happens.

What do I really want? My kids to be happy and to have the best life they can. Even if that means I lose out on time with them. I can't imagine how it's going to be without them here most of the time. Except much quieter.

What is best for the kids? I wish I knew.

XH and I are amicable. Neither one of us asks for much from the other. He said he wants to keep the kids lives the same as they are now as much as he can. We agreed we will need a calendar/note system to keep things organized between the 2 homes. We didn't talk at all about going to court and legally making this change. I'm going to suggest that we try this out for a month or 2 and see how things go for the kids.

While this announcement kind of came out of nowhere, it's not the first time that XH's mentioned wanting more time with the kids. He just couldn't take them more before because he was working all of the time. I am worried about the transition when XH does go back to work. How he's going to work and take care of the kids at the same time... not just him, but how the kids will handle it.

Is there a standard 50/50 visitation schedule? What do people typically do?

hexed posted 5/25/2013 15:28 PM

CS is often based on income and time with the kids. Just b/c he has them 50-50 doesn't mean he doesn't have to pay support.

Maybe such trying it for a month or until school starts. Then re-evaluate. A hard question to answer is how long will he be off work?

I might get a lot of grief for this but perhaps reducing CS and allowing more time until he gets back to work could keep things amicable w/o having to go to court and losing your legal rights.

devistatedmom posted 5/25/2013 17:34 PM

My thoughts? I'd say no. Tell him it isn't a good idea to do it until he has a new job and knows what his schedule is going to be. If you do it, then he can't because of his new work hours, you have to turn their lives upside down again. Tell him you aren't against it...but he has to get his work life sorted out first. He's welcome to more time while he's out of work, but don't make it the new plan until he knows what is going on.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/25/2013 17:55 PM

my XWH gets the children 4 weeks out of the summer.

What is yours supposed to have? If he is supposed to have them 4 weeks anyway, then why reduce or stop child support now? You see he gets the same visitation he was supposed to get in the summer, but won't be paying u child support.

I would say, FOR THE SUMMER ONLY you could agree to the week here, week there, with NO reduction in CS ( aren't you having to provide a bigger home for them, clothes, toiletries, etc? What happens when you child wants to be in band, etc, and WH wants no part of it?

PLUS, what type of OW does he choose? My XWH is with a psycho. What type of family does the OW have? They will have a big influence on your children's lives.

I say, summer only, school starts it's back to reality and you can be making mental notes of what you REALLY want to do in Aug.

When school starts you can change ur mind, but for now keep it

tabitha95 posted 5/25/2013 19:58 PM

Google child support calculator for your state. In CA it doesn't matter if it's 50/50, if there is a gap between incomes, the higher earner still has to pay. If you XH finds out 50/50 doesn't necessarily mean not CS, maybe he'll back off.

little turtle posted 5/25/2013 20:04 PM

As far as work hours, XH's hours are always the same. Occasionally he works overtime jobs, but he can choose not to take them. He works in construction in a trade union.

We don't have a set visitation schedule. It would be more than 4 weeks in the summer though. XH wants to start this now, with my week being this coming week. Decree says whatever we agree on. OW has been out of the picture for years. My kids have no memory of her. XH would gladly support our child joining the school band or another activity. Those are to be agreed upon as well.

I'm going to talk with him about CS for sure. It's iffy cuz at divorce time I wasn't working at all and now I am. However, he makes way more now when he is working compared to before. Also need to make it clear that it will not stay this way if the boys have a difficult time. And lastly, I'm planning to move sometime in the next 2-3 years. I need to talk with XH about what will happen then. The purpose of moving is to be in a better neighborhood and school district for the kids. It's a matter of time since we foreclosed on our house and saving money to buy a house.

I'd still like to hear from people who have 50/50 and how that is working out. Goods? Bads? What are potential concerns/problems? How can I make this transition smoother?

Griefstricken25 posted 5/25/2013 20:10 PM

Everyone else has said the things I was thinking and I was also thinking discipline. Do you and XH parent and discipline in the same manner? If he lets them do whatever they want OR is much stricter than you, that inconsistency is going to be magnified when they are switching every week. I would worry a lot about how this will affect the kids' behaviour, especially because your kids aren't that old.

little turtle posted 5/25/2013 22:03 PM

I sent XH an email expressing my concerns and ideas to make this successful. Told him I am willing to try it out for a month or 2 and see how things are. I mentioned CS and how 50/50 doesn't mean there is no CS. I asked what he thinks is a fair amount.

He called me after reading the email and we basically argued about the CS. He feels he shouldn't pay me anything if it is 50/50 time. I have a masters degree and I could be making way more than I am was his excuse. He is unemployed, why should he have to pay me? And he said he will have to pay for day care and latchkey once he is working. It will cost him more to have the kids than it did to not see them as much. He commented that he should quit his job so I can pay him child support.

Ugh. I didn't know what to say. I simply mentioned it in an email and he went off about it. I think it bothers him that SO lives with me and works only part time. XH feels that he is supporting SO since SO doesn't contribute much to the household. However, he watches the boys for me while I'm working.

I'm now frustrated and Idk what to think. XH told me if I take it to court, things will get serious and he will fight for his kids. Sigh. Why didn't he fight for them when we divorced 4 years ago??

stronggirl72 posted 5/25/2013 22:18 PM

(((littleturtle)))

Ugh.

I can totally see that something similar will happen to me and the kids in the future, so reading your post gave me such a pit in my stomach.

I cannot imagine that any court would favor an erratic, unpredictable schedule such as what he's asking for. Since he's not working, couldn't he just have an enhanced role, such as picking the kids up from school each day, helping them with homework, and just more quality time, vs. shuffling them to and fro, and here and there once he gets hired somewhere? These children are the most important thing in this and need someone to advocate for the most stable life possible...without egos getting in the way.

I am so sorry.

Griefstricken25 posted 5/26/2013 00:19 AM

If he's going to suddenly get pissy about it, then that would be a very strong confirmation (to me) that you should stick to the decree to the letter. Don't change anything. As you said, he didn't fight for this 4 years ago when the divorce was happening. Your children have had 4 stable years. Why mess with that?

DeadMumWalking posted 5/26/2013 02:33 AM

It seems pretty clear that this is all about him not paying CS. So I would say no.

Sad in AZ posted 5/26/2013 07:02 AM

Oh boy. He showed his true colors. He is not willing to negotiate on the CS, and this will probably spill over to other aspects if you change things.

Stick to the legal agreement that you currently have and put this in writing. If he wants to go back to court (which I doubt) you will have proof that you tried to work it out and he refused.

little turtle posted 5/26/2013 21:21 PM

XH called this morning. He thought about our conversation last night. He is worried about paying his bills. His gf moved out the week before he got laid off. He doesn't want to fight with me, but he wants to see his kids more.

He proposed a new agreement. There are some holes that need to be worked out though. New idea is that the boys will stay with him 2 nights during the week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and with me the other nights (Sunday, Monday, and Thursday). We will alternate weekends as we have been.

I am much more comfortable with this idea. However, there isn't a plan in place for the summer when he gets called back to work. It would be fine during the school year though. As long as we can stay on top of things and communicate with each other.

As far as CS, I agreed to a lesser amount (almost half) while he is laid off and he will pay me a little bit more than he previously was paying when he is working. I think that is a fair agreement. I think his stress about paying his bills is what caused the drama phone call last night. He has always made sure CS was paid first each month. It's a bit much for someone not working.

What do you guys think of this plan? Concerns? Suggestions? Tips for success?

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