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S.O.S. : custody mediation tomorrow

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LimboStill posted 10/14/2013 11:22 AM

A few months ago, I reached the point that I accepted I just couldn't live like this anymore. All of the ruminating and analyzing didn't matter. I was fairly convinced I would continue to shorten my life if I stayed in the marriage, so I asked to separate. For a brief period, there was relief. Now, though, facing shared custody of my children (ages 8 and 11) the pain is worse than ever.

Tomorrow, we're meeting with a custody counselor (child psychologist). I'm supposed to bring in a completed 10 page form listing the details of custody that I would like. The details are down to where the kids will spend EVERY holiday - President's Day, etc.

My questions are
1) What 50/50 custody arrangement has worked for you and your children? I am nauseous even contemplating being away from them.
2) Is it necessary to decide every minute detail now, such as where every irrelevant holiday will be spent?
Any guidance will be appreciated.

devistatedmom posted 10/14/2013 11:28 AM

First off...breathe. Go make a cup of tea. And breathe. You can do this.

50/50? Some people make it work. It wouldn't work for us, so I can't help you there.

holidays: YES. You must have EVERYTHING in the custody agreement. If you don't, you could end up not seeing them on their birthdays, christmas, thanksgiving, and/or any other holidays that are important to you all in the same year, if they fall on "his" time. DO not trust that he will play nice when it comes to holidays. It is a hell of a lot easier to play nice down the road, when you have the papers to fall back on if you can't agree.

Nature_Girl posted 10/14/2013 11:33 AM

Be thankful that you GET to negotiate holidays & birthdays. I do not. I tried. I tried & tried & tried. No Deal.

neverdidithink posted 10/14/2013 12:31 PM

List ALL the holidays in your world, then think about which specific holidays are important to you. We had an every-other agreement and XH would argue that just because I chose not to have the kids on groundhog day, it was my day so I forfeit a holiday and he gets the next one. You should also define what a day is. Sounds obvious, right? If you celebrate Christmas is Christmas Eve a separate holiday? What time constitutes Christmas Eve? Home by midnight? Christmas day? Does that mean the kids wake up there?

Sorry I don't have advice on the 50/50 details - I ended up with sole custody after all the dust settled.

MovingUpward posted 10/14/2013 12:43 PM

Something else to think of who would take care of the kids when the parent in charge can't. I have a "Right of first refusal" clause that for any time period over x hours that the parent with visitation cannot supervise the kids then the other parent gets the chance to have the kids during that time before anyone else does.

At first not having my kids all the time really got me down. Unfortunately there wasn't an alternative. I have since found activities to occupy my time and I've come to grow to love this "double life" I lead of being a dad and just being an adult.

I would agree with others that you want to nail it down in detail.

Switch times. Length of visitations. How to handle each and every holiday (can rotate year to year as an option). etc.

I went with my state's standard guidelines because I didn't want to spend time bickering about details and knew if I pushed it to the court that the court would chose this plan anyway. So my state makes exceptions for Mother's day (w/mom 9am sun to 9am mon), Fathers day (w/dad 9am sun to 9am mon).

Parent A on even years gets the kids for spring break and then from school's out until 5pm on Christmas. Parent B gets Thanksgiving break and from Christmas at 5pm until school starts.

In the odd years they switch.

There are provisions for an extended summer vacation with notification having to be given prior to May 1.

So just some ideas to think about.

SerJR posted 10/14/2013 12:53 PM

I have a 50/50 agreement with my exwife. It was very difficult at first, but through the help of an incredible parental coordinator we have come to a generally effective coparenting arrangement.

Our schedule is one week with dad, one week with mom - Friday afternoon to Friday afternoon. Falls in nicely on the calendar to make planning easy. One day a week he spends with the "off custody" parent to break things up a bit. (ie - tuesday evening he stays overnight with the other parent). We also have a right of first refusal clause in there, and have learned to "give and take" when one parent is out of town for work or something similar.

For holidays, I think the agreement has us alternating each year and splitting (ie Christmas Eve to morning with one, the rest of Christmas day with the other) type of thing. We have it spelled out exactly... but I can't remember exact details as the past few years we've been more or less agreeing to negotiate based on what's going on. I would recommend having everything spelled out though in case one parent decides to be difficult. The only holidays we looked at were Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays (child and parent's), and Mother/Father's day.

whyohwhyohwhy posted 10/14/2013 18:01 PM

I offered my x literally whatever he wanted, but I knew he wouldn't take much, and he didn't.

We had to meet with a custody coordinator before we went to court. She sat down with a list of holidays and asked us who wanted what. Literally every possible holiday was on the list, from President's day, to Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Xmas, etc.

I said I wanted Thanksgiving and Xmas. He instantly said he did too. So, I got Thanksgiving day, and Xmas till noon, and he picks them up at noon and brings them back by noon on the 26th. The other stuff I was ok with, so he gets July 4th and Labor Day, I get Easter etc....

You should think about whether he will actually take them/pick them up on those holidays and how/if he will celebrate them if they're important to you and the kids.

I didn't want my kids sitting around with a can of Chef Boyardee on Thanksgiving while he sat on the internet.

I basically let him have the holidays I knew he likes and would do something with the kids on, and kept the more traditional stuff like Easter etc.

dazdandconfuzed posted 10/14/2013 19:09 PM

Something else to think about (as if you didn't already have enough) is long weekends, for example Columbus day. I don't believe most states recognize the day - but we are in New England and some states here do. My brother is mid-D. His STBXWW lives in one New England state - he lives in another New England state 2 hours away. They didn't specify holidays in their agreement other than the standard every other year thing.

Well, my brother had to work today as the holiday isn't recognized in his state. She had the day off as it is recognized in hers and she's a teacher. It was brother's weekend and she REFUSED to spend the day with their son. Said it was HIS weekend and HIS problem that he has to work. So my poor little nephew spent the day at a babysitter because his egg donor didn't want him.

I think how specific you need to be really depends on the person you are D'ing.

LisaP posted 10/15/2013 01:02 AM

I have custody, therefore can not help with 50/50.

But I did want to add to the conversation something my attorney specifically stated in our parenting plan:

*Vacation schedule over-rides parenting time, and

*Holiday schedule over-rides parenting time and vacation time.

The reason for this was to prevent XH from playing games such as scheduling vacation around Christmas and leaving me without my kids on Christmas or stealing my holiday with his vacation time.

At the time I didn't think much about it, but now I am so grateful to have everything spelled out so clearly. Dealing with and angry NPD means games, games, games and anything to hurt me.

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