Blended Families

How hard is it to change custody? Long story

My ex-dh and I have 50/50 joint and physical custody.  This worked out in the beginning but due to his crazy gf, things have been strained.  I am the one who makes the doctors appts, dentist appts, arranges daycare where there is none etc.

Tomorrow was my son was supposed to go to backup daycare. You have to make reservations for this a month in advance.  I told ex-DH two weeks ago about this and that my mom would be picking our son up (she took off work early to do so) and that he would be spending the night there since there is no daycare on Thursday either.  He never said anything about changing it when I told him.  I reminded him today via the phone that there was no daycare the rest of the week and that tomorrow is backup care, Thursday he is at my moms and Friday I took off to watch my son.  He said ok.  tonight at 7pm I get a phone call saying "LO isn't going to backup daycare, he is going to my gf's mom's house"  I said "I had everything arranged already and my mom took off work to get him early, take him to get his hair cut and pictures taken"  He was like "well I don't care, my gf's mom house is free and more convenient for me".  He then mocked me when I sighed into the phone because I am literally at a loss for words in this stuff he keeps trying to pull.  He then texts my mom and tells her he will bring LO later tomorrow evening.  My mom texts him back and said "I took work off early and LO has an appt for hair and pictures so can you please drop him off to me at 2:30".  Ex-DH calls her and says that he can.  This man can NEVER get off work early to help with anything so this really surprises me considering he has to drive a half hour to gf's moms house to get LO and then a half hour back into town.  Is he just trying to stick it to me to prove he can make decisions too? 

I am sick of his lack of priorities, pawning LO off to go drink with gf etc.  He wants to be a parent when its convenient for him.  As I said before, it wasn't always this way but it gets worse and worse over the last year.

I would like to pursue sole physical and sole legal custody so he can't call at 7pm at night and change plans that LO has known about as well as everyone else.  This stuff happens ALL. THE. TIME.  If you look at how our situation is, I am the "primary" parent for our LO but I want it in a CO that I am the sole legal etc. 

Is this hard to do?  Any insight anyone has would be great and appreciated.  This isn't about trying to punch my ex-dh, its about stability for my son.  I am sick of seeing him pawned off when we (his stepdad and I) don't have him.  There is also the issues such as ex-dh's gf not putting our son in a car seat but instead a booster seat (which I posted about earlier today) as well as him not making LO wear a lifejacket two weeks ago the entire time they were boating.  My son told me he didn't' have to wear his life jacket with daddy when the boat was going slow.  My son is almost four and offers these details almost in a bragging way like "I get away with stuff at dad's house". 

Re: How hard is it to change custody? Long story

  • Yes, it is very difficult to gain sole physical and legal custody. 

    I'm not trying to be dense, but I don't think I understand what's going on. You have 50/50 physical custody--who's day is it tomorrow? If it's yours, I don't see why your XH has a say in where the kiddo is. If it's his, then you shouldn't arrange anything. It's his deal--his problem to address.

    If he doesn't take his time, then document it all. Then go back to court and change the CO to reflect the reality of the situation. 
    my read shelf:
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  • It is his day but I am the one who arranges everything.  He wouldn't even know there wasn't daycare the rest of the week if I didn't tell him.  Until today, he didn't even have the daycare lady's phone number and LO has been going there a year. 

     

  • Stop arranging everything. You aren't his wife or his mother or his secretary. He's a grown up, and there's no reason he can't be responsible for dealing with this. 

    If you end up taking the child because he is incapable of caring for him, then you document it all. Take him to court when you have six months of solid documentation. You won't get sole physical/legal, but there's no reason for your XH to retain 50/50 when he's showing he can't care for your DS.
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    Lavender Pmccall0113twister22
  • I agree to keep things documented and make him figure things out on his time. Let him mess up and document it.

    I have been told it is hard to get sole legal custody. No judge likes to give that. I do have sole physical custody (that is what my papers say). I had it from the beginning though. I was prepared to fight ex for that. I know many of you have 50/50, but I just don't agree with it. I don't think it is healthy for the kids. BUT that my come from me having an autistic child and him switching weekly would mess him up. Especially if there was ever a change..... that and Ex does not have a place still so... And no, that was not meant as an attack on the 50/50 people. I am glad it works for you.
    DS1 - 6/07
    DS2 - 8/08
    DS3- 9/09
    DD1 - 11/11
    DD2 - 10/13
    DD3 - Csection Scheduled November 29th
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  • Things like daycare situation would never get you sole, the judge could easily think you are being controlling.  Like above said, stop doing everything for him and he will sink or swim.  As for boating that is a serious issue but hard to prove and if your ex says that he makes DS wear a lifejacket it will be your word against his because they will likely not listen to a 3yo.

    You never answered which state you are in regarding the car seat situation.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • Its very difficult to get sole legal and physcal custody. You need to prove your ex is unfit and there is a difference between unfit and a bad parent. What you have described is a bad parent but not really an unfit parent. What you could try to do is revise your parenting agreement.
    IAmPregnant Ticker}
  • So you enable him to be a weak parent, then get upset because he doesn't...what?
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    fellesferie
  • It is his day but I am the one who arranges everything.  He wouldn't even know there wasn't daycare the rest of the week if I didn't tell him.  Until today, he didn't even have the daycare lady's phone number and LO has been going there a year. 

     

    I know you believe you're in the right but you are absolutely wrong. A judge could actually come down hard on you for taking BD's court ordered time.

    Stop judging the girlfriend, stop trying to control everything and stop trying to be the moral police with regards to everything that happens at BD's. Is it possible that a 4 year old is trying to manipulate a situation and get you riled up- absolutely,

    You will need to prove an extreme change in circumstances to change your custody agreement. Someone moves 50 miles away, is an example. The ex gets a gf you don't like is not one
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    MommyEllenSuecole2144grumbledore
  • Thanks for your opinions ladies. I guess I will go with the sink or swim approach.  :|
  • It's frustrating to deal with an NCP who can't handle their crap and even more frustrating when a new SO is in the picture causing new difficulties; however, it's probably beneficial for your child to be able to see both of his parents equally.

    I hate the "popular opinion" that dads should have EOW because moms can handle it better. (I'm not saying that's your opinion or anyone on this boards opinion, so no flames!)
    MommyEllenSue
  • I agree you need to let him sink or swim.  Stop setting up daycare for his time.  Let him be an adult and figure it out.  I wouldn't stop making the doctor's appointments (because it's bad for the child), but make sure they are for your time and not during his.  If it's an emergency that happens during his time, he needs to handle it or that is an issue.
  • I would imagine it would be very difficult to get sole custody at this point.  The only way you are going to get sole custody is if you can make a VERY STRONG argument that he is an unfit parent.  Which to my understanding would need to be things like neglect, drug or alchol abuse (that can be proven).  I would just start to document everything.  For example the carsseat and the life jacket.  But even the life jacket thing and car seat thing is hard to prove.  Additionally, that wouldn't be enough for a custody change.

    Also, I would imagine a fight for sole custody would cost major funds.  I spent thousands in atty fee just to get basic child support and a timesharing/holiday schedule.  I didn't even dream of trying to get sole custody.  I could imagine spending 10K plus on that and it might not even be successful.

    "How often does the other woman get a happy ending?" Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl
  • It is his day but I am the one who arranges everything.  He wouldn't even know there wasn't daycare the rest of the week if I didn't tell him.  Until today, he didn't even have the daycare lady's phone number and LO has been going there a year. 

     

     That is not what 50/50 typically looks like.  If he has 50% timesharing he should be putting out the effort to make arrangements for DC on his days. 
    "How often does the other woman get a happy ending?" Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl
  • I swear I'm not trying to be snarky here, but if making Dr appts, dentist appts, arranging daycare, picking up from daycare, etc is grounds for full custody, then I should have sole legal and physical custody of K.  BM and DH don't even do 1/2 of those things, they leave it on me to handle it.

    I understand your frustration, I really do.  DC lives across the frigging Country and only sees my kids once a year and he still maintains joint legal custody.  But I can tell you that attempting to get sole legal custody is not going to end well for you and can quite possibly backfire.  You might come across as controlling/demanding and impeding on BD's time/relationship with DS.  If a Judge feels that way, he or she can very well order a change of custody.  As a paralegal, I have seen it happen several times.  So I really feel that you need to let BD figure this stuff out on his own from now on.  Don't figure out daycare for him, force him to figure it out on his own.  Eventually he'll learn.  And if he doesn't learn and it comes on you to take time off work to be with DS because of BD's poor planning, then document it and save it for later.  After a handful of times doing that, go make and modify the timeshare agreement.
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  • It is his day but I am the one who arranges everything.  He wouldn't even know there wasn't daycare the rest of the week if I didn't tell him.  Until today, he didn't even have the daycare lady's phone number and LO has been going there a year. 

     

    I know you believe you're in the right but you are absolutely wrong. A judge could actually come down hard on you for taking BD's court ordered time. Stop judging the girlfriend, stop trying to control everything and stop trying to be the moral police with regards to everything that happens at BD's. Is it possible that a 4 year old is trying to manipulate a situation and get you riled up- absolutely, You will need to prove an extreme change in circumstances to change your custody agreement. Someone moves 50 miles away, is an example. The ex gets a gf you don't like is not one
    DS(4.5) has been doing this for almost 2 years. He knows that BD's expectations are way more lax than mine, and he loves pointing it out - i.e. "BD let me have pop," or "BD let me watch t.v. all day." Now I smile and say "That's nice," and if DS pushes saying I don't let him do those things, I tell him that different houses have different rules.

    Going from joint legal to sole legal is extremely, extremely difficult. BD would have to be a severely unfit parent, which he isn't, he's just stupid. I have sole legal, but that's because it's always been that way, and we mediated our agreement and BD agreed to it. Going from joint physical to sole physical is also difficult, but significantly easier than legal. Document any time BD skips out on a visit, and after you have a good chunk of time of missed visits, you can file to modify the CO to reflect that.

    I will echo PPs and say to stop doing everything for BD. Let BD figure out arrangements for LO. You can notify BD of when your child care provider will be closed, but do nothing more. Let BD be the one not to write it down and show up at the sitter's only to find out he's SOL.
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  • Also, you need to learn to let go. DS's BD is a freaking moron, and I can't stand the choices he makes while he has DS. Unless it is directly affecting DS's safety (i.e. riding in the front seat of a car), I just keep my mouth shut. I have come to accept the fact that when DS is with BD he will be introduced to the girl of the week, he will eat nothing but junk, he will spend all day watching t.v., he will get anything he wants, and he will be a mess. Albeit, DS theoretically only sees BD EOWE, although it ends up being even less than that.

    Document everything, and keep special note of the questionable things.
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