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numbandnauseous posted 2/23/2014 22:10 PM

Background: I filed in June, offered WH EOW with the kids. I am a SAHM, he works 12 hour days and basically sees the kids for a few minutes in the morning and evening during the week and all day on the weekends. He also travels (I need to calculate this more precisely) about 2-3 days per month.

His counter-offer was 50/50 custody. He says that he feels he can do this; he plans to work longer hours on the days he doesn't have the kids and he plans to spend the day with the kids when he has them (i.e., not hire anyone to watch them). They are early elementary school-aged. He says it will help me out too so that I won't have to pay a nanny when I go back to work. He also felt that it would be fewer transitions for the kids. He would have the kids Mon, Tues, drop them off at school Wed morning; I would pick them up on Wednesday afternoon and have them Thurs and Fri and then we would alternate weekends.

This all seems reasonable to me at first glance, but something doesn't feel right in my gut. I am concerned with giving him what he wants straight away bc I feel like it will be difficult to change once we start. In addition, my WH has the best of intentions, but often doesn't live up to his promises, so I feel that work trips will come up, etc. and he won't really watch the kids 50% of the time.

So, my question is: what is a reasonable counter-offer? What has worked for others in terms of what is best for the kids in terms of transitions, length of time with each parent, etc.?

Thanks for your sage advice, SIers!!!!

Nature_Girl posted 2/23/2014 22:25 PM

He's nearly 50-years old, already works 12-hour days, and thinks he can work even LONGER hours? Oh man, this guy is delusional? He thinks staying home with two young children is nothing but R&R time so he'll be ready to get back in the game for what, 14-hour days? 16-hour days?

Does he normally go around with a God complex?

numbandnauseous posted 2/23/2014 22:34 PM

You know him too well, NG!!!

Soooooo - any advice for the PP?

P.S. - NG - I just posted on your thread; some of the comments were a bit harsh - I'm sorry.

Dreamboat posted 2/23/2014 22:36 PM

His plan, if I am reading this correctly, is to transition from a 5x12 hour work week to a 3x20 hour work week.

That is NOT reasonable. And that is not realistic. First, it is almost physically impossible to work a 20 hour day. Second, to do that 3 days in a row is unrealistic. And third, I do not know a single company that would accommodate this.

Or perhaps his plan is to work from home for 12 hours Mon and Tues, except he will also be responsible for caring for 2 small children. Yeah, that will not work either.

I bet he is asking for 50/50 for the sole purpose of getting reduced CS.

I would counter with EOW, starting on Friday, plus every Thursday overnight. So he gets every Thursday night with the kids and every other week he get Thurs-Sunday. With his type of work schedule, THIS is something he could do (if he coordinates with the office and his boss).

And no reduction is CS.

If he insists on the 50/50, tell him that you do not think that is reasonable, but if he wants to give it a try then you will be agreeable, but ONLY if he pays full CS for a year. And if after a year he is able to show that is works and he does not dump he kids on you 80% of the time, then you will negotiate a lower CS.

Play hardball with him.

GotPlayed posted 2/23/2014 23:15 PM

Hi. Devil's advocate here.

I am a BH, and I work hard but from 5 minutes from home (and worked from home for the last 4 years and was constantly available for kid dropoffs, events, etc). WW was a SAHM. Try to parse his ability and willingness to work with the kids from the waywardness - give him a chance. I know it's hard. I'm having enough trouble parsing the same with STBXWW as it is, and she's a SAHM (when she's not going off and sleeping with OM).

Reason being, think of my case. She cheated, while I took care of the kids because I worked from home. Yet she is alleging the exact same thing you are (he worked too hard, never helped with the kids). Judge must have heard that a million times. So you want to give the judge something different. Some data he can sink his teeth into.

So what you want to do is to be the reasonable parent - give him a chance, and have proof of his ability or lack thereof. If things don't work out, you need to have been shown that you did everything possible on your end to do this. If they worked out, your kids have two involved parents. So either way it's a win for you and your kids.

So for this to be given a chance to succeed, it's all about a) tracking, b) communicating, and c) making everything "big and visible". You both have to:

- Make sure you track any time the kids are under your care, by the hour (so dropoffs/pickups late count to change support percentage).
- Record kid related expenses, who made them, etc.

It's not just spending time with them, it's taking them to the appointments (doctor, dentist, etc), showing up at their activities, etc. So communicate:
- Share contact info for all the kids doctors, teachers, etc.
- Use email. It won't typically end up in a fight and you can recall it, forward it to L, etc.
- Let him do his own organization on his end however he wants it, and organize yourself with this same information (you probably already do) in the best way you can - if it can be all on your phone at all times, the better.. I started by sharing a Google Calendar with STBXWW. It's going very well.

Big and Visible:
I bought a dry-erase adjustable calendar (called "Ezdate" from "The Board Dudes" and put it on my living room. I color the upper corner and the lower corner (AM/PM) with the color of whoever has the kids (Mom/Dad). That way it's clear for everyone (family, babysitters, therapists, and the kids) who has the kids when. STBXWW heard about it from DD8 and has done the same (and incidentally started talking about "balancing" since she noticed I have the kids more than she does).

And slight plug, but I started using a web application called to facilitate the coparenting. It lets you keep the medical insurance, kid-related contacts, information and parental schedule. It's great because you can do it without talking to your spouse. :-) It has an iOS companion app (mostly read only), and an android app coming late March I hear.

The reason for keeping it in a web app is that you can give extra "non-family logins" to your facilitators, grandparents, sitters, lawyers, etc. Just knowing you're being observed will keep everybody honest. The kids can also log in directly and have a kid view of their schedule.

After you set the initial schedule, "changes" are a request/response, and they get recorded. So you can see who has been the "reasonable party" versus who has been the one taking and taking.

It doesn't matter if we BS's say bad things about our narcissistic spouses. We need to prove it.

My WW so far has only looked at it. I told her to dig in and start adding stuff if she wanted, that we should be trying it and testing it out, even if we agreed that it wouldn't be "official record" until X date (maybe after our initial agreement or something), but she only logged in and looked around - hasn't really touched it. She's afraid of being held accountable.

I also just bought a book, "Mom's house, Dad's house", which I just started but they say it's a good resource to co-parent and understand the issues from both sides.

[This message edited by GotPlayed at 11:17 PM, February 23rd, 2014 (Sunday)]

numbandnauseous posted 2/23/2014 23:20 PM

Dreamboat and GotPlayed, Thank You!!!!

Great advice that I will take to my L.

Thanks again; I love you SI and SIers!!!

GreatRoleModel posted 2/24/2014 06:03 AM

Once in writing it will be very difficult to change, if you can put in a trial period to revisit in 6 months or a year. They have the "best intentions" but follow thru is the reality and I think it is a play too for less CS. Also for my XWH who travels and works a lot we do EOW until monday mornings then dinner visits during the week (didn't do overnights as kids are in high school which makes overnights really hard with the school and activity work load). Good luck!

Mom4ever posted 2/24/2014 06:13 AM

He is offering 50/50 so that he doesn't have to pay as much CS. It's all about the $$$ to them. Why not stick to your offer of standard visitation (EOW) and if it's anything more than that it would be because the judge ordered it? When you get with you lawyer provide him a list of all of the reasons 50/50 wouldn't work.

7yrsflushed posted 2/24/2014 09:13 AM

I bet he is asking for 50/50 for the sole purpose of getting reduced CS.
^^^This. It makes a BIG difference in the child support calculations. Do not go for this if it is not reasonable. I don't know your situation but based on the schedules you listed the reality is likely to be he pays LESS child support and you end up keeping the kids way more than 50% of the time anyway.

Not saying that is the case with your WH but just be aware.

sparkysable posted 2/24/2014 13:37 PM

I bet he is asking for 50/50 for the sole purpose of getting reduced CS.
I completely agree.

devistatedmom posted 2/24/2014 14:48 PM

You say you filed in June. What has he been doing as far as looking after the kids since then? I mean, even if you are still in house sep (I don't know if you are or not) how much of the child care does he do? Have you been documenting?

Start now if you haven't been.

No way would I agree to 50/50 on paper until I see it in reality. KWIM?

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