for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Your divorce and child custody agreements are final, get practical tips for moving on with your life after divorce.

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:50 pm

OK; fair enough. Also, I really appreciate you all looking at this through a critical outsider lens. This is really helping me decide what is important and what is not. It seems like the most critical things are:

1. 50/50 state presumption (law is about 2 or 3 years old now)
2. violent temper of ex-wife; I have photos to prove this. I have plenty of texts showing an utter inability to work with me with anything, but the bulk of this is probably not very important. I agree that less is more.
3. there is no reason I should only be with him for two weeks in the summer; basic assumption that day care charged weekly whether child is present or not is not applicable here
4. there is little practical reason why I can't have him during the school year in terms of logistics. My parents can help with transport when needed. His activities are both where I am and where his mother is. The venue of the activities change from season to season or year to year. Son spends more time on the bus going to school than if I would directly take him to school. It is no longer an hour drive to get son to school in mornings.
5. it is nice that when she is in an OK mood, I can see him at her discretion during the week or I visit him during his sports practices. But, this is not real parenting time, or is it something which is sustainable.
6. people will testify to that I am super-dad based on their personal experiences with me.
7. emails/communication with teachers and others showing my engagement.


What other things have you all produced?

It seems that less/non-importnat things are

1. mother has no respect for me
2. mother said she will be better off and son will be better off if they simply moved very far away from me
3. general assertions that I simply do not get along with her
4. I am capable at working with my son with middle-school level school work; son does homework-schoolwork with me
clevelandbrownz
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 8:12 am

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:55 pm

Sam,

Your list is getting more concise.

1. Perfect
2. How many times have you called the police or Child Protective Sevices due to this violence? Do you have copies of the reports to provide the court?
3. Agreed. Focus on how your son can benefit from your increased presence in his life.
4. I have offered my Ex the ability to drop our D off at my house every morning I'm home and to pick her up at my house to save her money on childcare. I don't require childcare so this is a win for her and a win for me. How can you phrase your situation to be a win/win for mom and you? She sounds like she can be reasonable at times.
5. It's not her choice whether you can watch your child at sports practices. That is indeed real parenting time. You son will remember this. Remember, not all "real parenting time" is on a court order. Having lunch with your child at school even if it's the other parent's "day" is legal, allowed, and real parenting time.
6. People have a tendency to flake out when they realize they have to spend their day at court. It can cost them money from missing work or put them in the middle of "drama". Do you think they will still think you're a "super dad" if you subpoena them?
7. Good stuff.


Let's get keep sharpening that focus so you have a cogent argument for the judge.


Subparagraph 1,2,3,4...... :|
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
Campfire
2.5K+ Posts
 
Posts: 3084
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:12 pm
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:59 pm

MEL is an acronym. If your DGAF meter is broken, it would be placed on MEL.

Yours is broken but repairable. You only have a few weeks. Let's fix it quick.
Last edited by Campfire on Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
Campfire
2.5K+ Posts
 
Posts: 3084
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:12 pm
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:40 pm

Neither here nor there, but I am unable to figure out online what the heck "MEL" means. Oh well. The DGAF meter has been totally and utterly messed up the past 10 years. I am not sure why, but I got into a tizzy about way too much. It is still too high, but much better than before. Really, in an odd way the initial filing of the modification was a huge help for me. I was scared to death of the blowback. It was bad, actually what I expected, but I feel much better about myself for doing that. It is a bit weird...at work, I get along with everyone and can be assertive. With everyone else, I am not a pushover. But, I am with her. It was really a painful thing to experience and was one of the main reasons why I agreed to the original custody order. But, enough psychoanalyzing myself.

The paradox, and the really sad paradox is that the "good" ex-wife is actually a good human being, as long as she is not acting irrationally. She cares greatly about our child. If I knew I was going to die tomorrow and if I had to give say $50,000 for someone to spend for my son's future college, downpayment for his house or whatever, and if my parents were not around to be the pass through, I would not worry about giving the money to her and her using the money on him. We also share the same long-term goal for our kid. We both want him to be happy and successful.

BUT the problem is that often the "bad" ex-wife comes out; we want the same thing, but we have different and conflicting ways to get there. It is impossible to communicate with the "bad" ex-wife. She has absolutely no empathy towards what I feel about things, does not explain why she feels a certain way, and conclusively tells me I am stupid/acting in bad faith/whatever. So, a regular give and take conversation with her is virtually impossible. The word "I am sorry" is not a known expression to her. Really, it is a miracle that our kid is turning out great. All the ingredients are there for him to be totally messed up, but he is good. She genuinely believes that the child is better off with her for primary custody. I do not think she believes this in bad faith or to get more CS from me; I simply think she has this feeling.


As for the comments...

2. unfortunately, zero since we got divorced. (there was a DV order against her more than 10 years ago, severals police calls then etc...) All I have are photos regarding in fits of rage, things being tossed and thrown all over the place. I don't think this will get me very far, but I think it is relevant. Certainly not the crux of the argument. She **is** unstable.

4. This will have to be done in court. She **hates** my parents, especially my mother. they didn't do anything bad to her.

5. She threatened to call the police if I went to his practices which were outside of my time. Generally, I see all his sports practices. In elem school, I had lunch with him. I agree that this is important time with the kids. However, it really does not count towards any overnight time vis-a-vis the judicial system. I can't get more overnights until the court hearing (she wont let me have more) but I certainly see my kid more than what is on paper. My son knows this.

6. I told everyone about the day in court thing. One is an attorney friend (I am an attorney too, but a non-litigator) He is totally fine with it. I really felt funny asking others, but they all seemed eager to help me out. I have a wide variety of people. I was hesitant to have one person come due to distance (and the fact that he works) but he is willing to testify. He has known me for 15 years. Really, I am pretty sure everyone will come through for me. I felt very weird asking people though. I thought it was critical to have a wide variety of people. How many did you all have to testify to character or your parental capabilities? Agreed that we will know for sure once the subpoenas are coming out. Attorney will be talking to them soon to get a feeling for what they will say/demeanor etc...

With all this said, I have a few other questions...

1. My kid is not eager to go in private with the judge. My attorney thinks he should. I think he should too, but I would rather lose the case on account of him not attending than willing with him attending and then hating me in his adult life for dragging him into it. He has told me repeatedly that being with his mother is very testing at times, there is yelling, blow ups etc... I am pretty strict with my kid too, so it is not like he gets free passes with me. Any suggestions with the talking to the judge? I am certainly not trying to have my son take sides, and I do not say bad things about his mom, although he does see a counselor to deal with stress from her, and I tell him that if he ever needs me to come over to try to diffuse a blow up, I can. (If you look back a few weeks, I had a posting about a FaceTime dispute with them two). ANY suggestions from you all about what to do with my kid going to court would be appreciated.

2. This is more of an attorney question, but did you find one particular witness for you or a bit of evidence you produced to be the most effective in your case?

3. How did you diffuse a potential argument by the judge or on cross exam that "this is to get out of child support"? I am sure my ex-wife will bring this up. The truth of the matter is that I pay way too much CS, but I pay for a whole bunch of other things above and beyond which I do not have to. I am not trying to get out of CS, although I am sure my ex-wife wants the money. (we are all humans after all...I certainly do not blame her). I really am not even going through hypothetical CS calculations...I simply want more time with my son and then the CS will be what it is. Frankly, the CS argument is a very good argument for moms I think...flip the entire thing around and make it so that the dad is only using this as a way out of his financial obligations. I know it is up to me to produce sufficient evidence to show that I am super-dad and that is not the case, but I firmly believe that the burden is on me to do this.

4. Ex-wife will be VERY sympathetic on the stand I think. She is a foreigner, petite, will come off as not a NJ. But only witness I think she has is the music instructor, who probably will not be damaging to me; there is nothing bad she can say about me other than it is obvious the parents do not see eye to eye with things. (I know it is odd that music lessons is such a big deal here/such a stressor....if you only knew) If you had any experiences with this, let me know please.

I know some of these questions are really questions for my attorney but I certainly will still like other voices as well.

In the meantime, I am going to print out this thread and write out some of these points and will fine tune them. I pretty much want to be set with this gameplan and then I can help tune it up with my attorney and get professional input about how to approach it. I am approaching this entire thing that I have the burden of proof for everything and the default is that mom wins...I want to do everything I can to put forth the best case.

thanks again. I would rather be told I am being unreasonable here than having the court tell me that!
clevelandbrownz
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 8:12 am

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:29 pm

2. How bad could the violence have been if you didn't involve the authorities (rhetorical). You don't have to defend yourself. I protected my then STBX after she lashed out at me with a knife. Whoops.
4. How can YOU provide the care for your child? This is a custody issue between you and mom. Not you, mom, and your extended family. Show the judge why you solely can provide 50/50. Your parents are a safety net, not the primary rope.
5. "Call the cops on you"...? This was a gift she offered you. Police reports are powerful in court. You would have had a police report stating you were attending your son's practice and creating no disturbance.


I'm concerned that you are having to subpoena witnesses. Sounds like you aren't 100% confident they will show up. Why does your kid know about having to speak with the judge? How do you see this conversation going with the judge? What do you think will be asked and how do you think the questions will be asked? If this isn't about money, why are you even bringing up CS? Focus.


As to your other general questions, I don't have good answers. I didn't go to trial and my D resides with me the majority of the time. My advice is coming from a father who won against a SAHM. We coparent successfully. Your description of your Ex sounds like a parent who potentially could be onboard with coparenting. I think there are communication issues. I see fault on your side of the ledger as well, though.

Let's focus on this hearing and worry about that stuff later. She isn't going to be your friend with you dragging her back into court. This is a long term issue that can't be worked on right now.


What are you going to do in the 10 minutes before the hearing when a deal is presented to you? What are your bare minimums? You already know how little time you have to make a decision in court. Your posts are very long and I don't think the membership is reading all of it. Skip the verbal diarrhea and get to the meat of the issues.
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
Campfire
2.5K+ Posts
 
Posts: 3084
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:12 pm
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:57 pm

Sorry about the verboseness. I think all witnesses generally get subpoenaed.

I do have a minimum threshold of what I will agree to. I am OK with something even slightly less than 50/50 for me, but certainly something more than the 30/70ish we have now. I am not as hung up over the numbers, as I am with a general ability to be with my son more. There is absolutely no reason why I am only with him for 2 wks in the summer and not even a single overnight Mon-Th during the school year.
clevelandbrownz
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 8:12 am

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby RoadRunnerCA » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:12 am

is MEL "maximum exposure & liability"?

this is an interesting and informative thread.
RoadRunnerCA
10+ Posts
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:37 am

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby massdad1234 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:51 am

So OP - do you have an elevator pitch ready for the judge? Could you sum up your motion to the courts in about 3-5 sentences and takes about 15 seconds?

For example - while the parenting plan agreed to states x ,we have been practicing y for the past z years.

Do you have a list of all the activities you participate with on non-parenting days? Meaning if given an opportunity, you would spend more quality time with child?

What is the current parenting plan overnight breakdown, and what argument do you have (not involving the mother) that should force a judge to reconsider 7 years of status quo?

Not only that, but what information could you submit to the courts that could corroborate as much?
massdad1234
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:34 pm

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:13 am

I am working on shortening my elevator pitch to a few sentences. I have a list of all extra times I spend with my son. Overnight plan doesn't have me any during weeknights (except for Sundays). There is absolutely no reason I can't have him at least for 1 or 2 school nights each week. I am working on elevator pitch for this as well.

I am really trying to focus on what is important and what is not. I know the courts do not care about collateral stuff. I want to make sure my attorney is on the same page with me regarding what evidence and arguments are the most important.
clevelandbrownz
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 8:12 am

Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby massdad1234 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:33 am

before you filed, were you able to secure more parenting time with child and documented said parenting time?
how many non-overnight days a week are you currently spending with child?

Meaning, now is not the time to talk about all the time you might spend with the child given more time, now is the time to talk about all the time you already spent with child in addition to parenting plan.

You know this, but your argument needs to be more than "I see no reason" as the judge can turn this around on you with the same thoughts. Unless you have real documented danger - abuse, grades dropping 2 levels, etc, what is going to compel the judge to overrule 7 years of status quo.

Hopefully that was considered in your game plan as I doubt your ex is going to give you any more time now?
massdad1234
1K+ Posts
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:34 pm

PreviousNext

Return to After The Divorce is Final – Moving On

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], grandet2 and 8 guests