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Night before pretrial, BM responds to the settlement agreement

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Last night, almost around 7 pm, my bf checks his email and finds his lawyer emailed him, with BM's response to the settlement agreement sent last week. I will say BM disagreed with or changed less than I thought she would honestly so in a way i guess that is good. I will list BM's changes/additions, then I will list bf's response/thoughts. So BM said no to 50/50 custody, she offered instead of Friday - Sunday every other weekend, Thursday - Monday, and on the week it is not my bf's weekend, to have his daughter on Tuesdays from 4 - 6 pm. Agreed to 50/50 legal custody, except discussing extracurricular activities with the agreement they do not schedule extracurricular on each other’s time. Fine with communication being only on the co-parenting app, added unless an emergency and to have responsible communication while child is with other parent. When he moves, she is fine with every spring break, will not give whole summer and offered 6 weeks. Christmas break she will not give every year, but will give every other year, starting 12/27 - 1/2. She added that after bf makes the move, that she is free to relocate out of VA. BM also added that because bf is moving out of state for him to cover 100% of transportation costs to and from. Then she put on there that my bf's truck was purchased during the marriage and has her name on it, so she is owed equitable distribution of it. In regards to older child, it states that as she is not biologically my bf's that she cannot legally be in the agreement and a circuit court judge cannot rule anything on older child as her father is not a party in the agreement. She had no objections to or changes to: alternating claiming child on taxes, no child support, no spousal support, alternating holidays until we move out of state, and his daughter remaining on bf's medical insurance/splitting medical costs 50/50.

Where to begin with our response back... I will first say what we did not have any objections to: legal custody not including extracurricular, communication, her relocation, and taking older child completely out of agreement. So obviously we said no to not giving 50/50, stated that for the time while bf is living in VA that it is reasonable for bf to have 50/50 as BM expects and bf has offered for BM to have child during school year except for summer break and Christmas break. Since BM wants bf to cover complete transportation costs we asked for 7 weeks of summer instead of 6 weeks, letting BM have spring break instead, and agreeing to alternate Christmas break but for it to start the day after Christmas break begins until 1/2, so we agreed to transportation costs with the agreement of the proposed schedule. My bf's truck does not have BM's name ANYWHERE. We sent the lawyer last night a copy of the bill of sale which shows only my bf's name,the retail installment sales contract with only my bf's name, and the electronic contracting and signature acknowledgement with only my bf's name. On all documents, the co-buyer section is blank or says n/a. We also sent to the lawyer how the truck was purchased during the marriage, but with funds gifted from grandfather's stock to my bf. 

So let me just say I am HAPPY that the older child is completely taken out of the agreement, so after all the worry, BM was like I don't want that or at least her lawyer was like yeah no you can't do that, which is what I thought the whole time anyway. It also kind of sounds like based on the verbiage used that BM knows who the father is? Or was I the only one to get that vibe? A lot of you are probably like why won't bf just agree to that offer, he could get worse in court. Well a big part of my bf's pay is his BAH which is for his living costs as the military pay is not good and unless you have a minimum of 50% custody, majority of the time, you cannot get BAH. We really do not want to agree to cover transportation costs, however if we don't we don't think BM would agree so at least going down to at least once a year and then every other year twice a year, we think is doable. Then there is the whole truck thing, that really pissed my bf off because it wasn't her money at all, she wasn't there for the buying or even looking for the truck, etc. but she has the audacity to say she has a claim to half of it? BM's attorney also added if there was a date that bf was moving BM might be more inclined to agree as she is worried she agrees, then he does not move, she gets stuck not being able to leave either, so we told him my bf's contract ending date (forget what that date is really called) which is May 2021, probably will leave before then like a month or so, but that just gives BM more time with child which is what she wants anyway. We are not surprised she did not ask for child support, because we think right after they agree, she will file for child support the next day. 

Crossing fingers that she will actually not be an entitled c you next Tuesday and we can wrap this up, especially since it seems like she actually is willing to agree by not putting ridiculous things in the agreement (except the truck). If not pretrial is today at 10 am I believe and we will see what the attorney's feedback and response is to last night's email and today's court day. We really would like to settle this and not go to court because then in a year and change we will have to go back to court because we are moving and take what the judge decides basically. So currently trying to weigh what is the best move given all the factors.


tog redux's picture

I would go for the agreement, except ask to have the child overnight every Tuesday instead of 4-6. Then you have 6 out of 14 days and that's pretty close to 50/50.  BM is going to take it to court rather than give 50/50.  I don't know what a BAH is, but he might have to give that up.

As for him paying for transportation costs, that's pretty standard - the person who doesn't move shouldn't have to foot the bill for travel.

Thank god the older child is out of that. I didn't think that was reasonable or even legal.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

doesn't agree to the 50/50 this time around, that we will suggest something like this. I think both sides are waiting to see how today goes and go from there. 

I think it is standard too, but we won't be able to afford 3 times a year transportation costs, especially when the child is so young so an adult has to fly with her too.

I am so glad too! I didn't think it was legal either, but hell I didn't think BM could even take away his rights so I wasn't 100% sure. Meanwhile we get his daughter tomorrow and I bet BM still tries to get bf to take older child any way.

STaround's picture

Even if money came as gift, unless your DH opened up a seperate bank account for it, it may be regarded as comingled (even if with only money he earned, if earned while married, that would be maritial property).   He will have to show the bank record of what account it came from.   You say there was an installment contract, so some of the cost was not gifted, right?

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

and well, he didn't buy it out right just paid the down payment with the money gifted to him. My bf paid off all BM's debt - student loans, credit card, etc. so I would think that with the combo of his name being the only one on it, he paid with gifted money, and all her debts he paid off that if it went to trial I don't think a judge would give her any bit of it.

We sent that as a question to his lawyer last night, but are waiting on a response.

STaround's picture

does not put it into a segregated bank account.   And making current payments out of marital funds will also make a marital asset.  He chose to pay off her loans.

I think he would lose if he went to court.  And likely end up racking up more attorney fees.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

it never was deposited into a bank account. He only made payments with maritial money for 3 months on the truck, since then they have been separated.

No he did not chose to pay off his loans, the IRS deducted the money she owed from his taxes several years in a row because she did not make the payments on her loans

STaround's picture

That the arrearage was hers.   3 months is still 3 months.  This is not clear.  Be prepared to pay attorney fees.  How much is equity in the truck?

tog redux's picture

This is different for every state. BM here kept a house that she and DH lived in together, because it was in her name. (She ended up walking away from it, but that's another story).

OP - ask the attorney, don't take what STaround says as truth. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

because it was his name and the money was gifted to him, etc. that she shouldn't get any part of it.

His first attorney, REALLY GOOD but TOO expensive she wanted like $10,000 to take it to trial etc. told him when BM brought it up in messages like a year ago that she has no claim to it because her name is not on it

tog redux's picture

Go with a HARD NO then to BM on the truck. People ask for idiotic things in divorce proceedings.  After BM dragged DH through the mud, prolonged the divorce and alienated SS, she had her attorney ask if he was still going to help her get a green card. WHAT? First off, it's not possible anymore and second, HELL NO, you loon. Not even if he could. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

my bf's response was "BM's name is not on the truck please see x,y,z that lists bf as only owner of truck"

BM didn't say anything about the money part, literally just says her name is on it and she is like obligated to part or something I don't remember the wording exactly, but we answered that showing she is not on it, then separately told the attorney the details of the purchase in case that comes up

Your BM is ridiculous for asking for that, just doesn't even make sense, do not know why her attorney would even ask that question

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

like $20,000 I think. I don't know how that all works, all I know is the IRS took money from his tax returns because her loans went to collections or whatever. 

twoviewpoints's picture

Here a gift or inheritance is not considered marriage property ...unless money is put in joint account.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

to my understanding of what I read is because the money was a gift to my bf and that was the only money used to put the down payment for the truck that would make the truck separate property plus with my bf's name being the only one on it as well

STaround's picture

If put in seperate account that marital property goes into (eg paycheck), it can lose seperate status.

twoviewpoints's picture

Actually IMO, she offered you a pretty decent offer. The judge has already tipped his/her hand that court intends to not separate the girls...meaning just about what BM offered is about all court also has in mind. Gives Dad more time than currently has without disturbing too much of home life with BM.

Also I highly doubt he'll of had full transportation cost even without him doing the extra week. My experience with children this young and summer visitation, judge refused any more than four weeks (and clearly told Dad this) but Dad thinks actual trial will some how win him eight...fool). And Mom has to pay 1/2 transport no matter how much she whines (judge has had his fill of both of them....they have been making a monthly courtroom appearance for eight months. 

But anyway, isn't your BF being pretty loose with cash by paying all transportation 2-3 times a year? That kid can't fly alone.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

the offer is more than the judge would grant yes. Home life with BM is just been a past 5 month thing, from March 2018 - July 2019, bf had his daughter for about 70% of the time. 

I doubt a judge would say he has to do full cost too. 

That is why we put in there to only have every summer and every other christmas break so it is 1-2 times a year instead because of that if he is to cover full cost. We won't be able to afford 2-3 times every year that is for sure.

BethAnne's picture

Sounds like a great start. My only concern would be transportation costs once BM moves, that should not necessarily be all on your boyfriend. What if she moves to to Hawaii or New Zealand? Are there any restrictions on where she moves? 

My sd flies for the holidays to see the non custodial parent. We do summer and winter breaks with the option of her spending some time with my husbands family during spring break. She has been flying solo since she was 6(?) on direct flights. She is just fine doing it, she is dropped off and picked up right at the gate and the air stewards keep an eye on her during the flight. I would try to ensure that something is in the agreement about parents expected to travel reasonable distance to the nearest large airport to enable the girl to travel solo on direct flights when she is old enough by the airline guidelines. Buying tickets for someone to fly with her gets crazy expensive. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

she plans to move back to her home state of residence which would be closer to where we are moving but still far away that it would have to be by plane or would be a several day drive. That would make sense to put in there to list those two states and not give her full range to move wherever. Also good to put to take to the nearest large airport too!

Good to know about the age that she can fly be herself! So that would be two years almost of her flying with someone. Thanks for the suggestions!

BethAnne's picture

If it is only two years until she is 6 then I would scrape every penny together for two years to be able to afford the extra visits and push for at least 2 visits a year with the option of a long weekend visit in BM’s state a at a third time during the year as agreed at the time between the parents. 

If Christmas Day is the sticking point with winter break then give it up every other year, and have as many days afterwards as possible ensuring that sd has at least one full day at bm’s house before school restarts. This year for example that would be 9 or 10 days for us...still plenty of time for a nice visit.  

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

with moving to a new state, starting new jobs, etc. it isn't super feasible to afford that. Not trying to say a pick me or our relationship over his daughter, but we plan on getting engaged, married, and having a child in the next couple years, to scrape every penny together to spend just on travel, doesn't seem exactly fair.

We are giving up Christmas Day every other year, so we will alternate Christmas break which is fine, but we want 7 weeks of summer then. 

BethAnne's picture

How muxh extra is it all really going to cost for 3 extra round tickets for the one Christmas break  in the next 2 years and then 1 extra round ticket every other year? $2000 for the first year then $600 every other year????

If he sells his truck and buys a used one in cash for $1000 less than the sale price and saves what he was paying in monthly loan payments on it I bet he would easily be able to afford it and still have a pretty nice truck. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

a child, is losing majority custody of the other, has paid all BM's debts, etc. I would never ask him to lose the only thing he really has left to himself that is 100% his to afford more flights, etc. especially when it is more than flights, that would be taking more time off of work to accomodate because his job will not be giving him the school calendar breaks. Plus then buying a used one runs the risk of the truck having issues so now we are risking spending more money because he sold a new one to buy one that could have mechanical issues, etc.

Really is not plausible and I would never ask for these things, just like he would never ask me to push off getting engaged and married because of all this. 

BethAnne's picture

He does not own the truck 100%, the loan company have a right to it too...if he bought a used truck in cash, he would own it 100%.

Whatever, the truck is not the issue. The issue is that there are ways that this could be affordable that are not unreasonable and I fear that he will regret not going for 2 visits a year once he does not see his kid between September and July. I know how 6 months without seeing each other between winter break and summer vacation feels to my husband, his daughter and myself. It is a really, really long time. 10 months would be even worse. 

I would do whatever possible to make sure I could see my kid at least twice a year. I would also put my adult desires (engagment/marriage/future children) at a lower priority than my partner seeing his living breathing child twice a year.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

you do not like my answer. My bf has given up EVERYTHING but the truck to BM and I don't think he should have to downgrade the one thing he has left from that disaster to be able to afford a spring break visit for one week since BM won't agree to every Christmas, to make it 2 times every year at least and then sometimes 3 times a year when it falls on our Christmas too. At this point, what does one more week every year make the difference? My bf is so beaten down and feels like BM won because she took one child away and basically lost the other child to her too because the judge won't agree with him being primary parent because he does not want to separate the children. I never said it wasn't going to suck, but we do have to look at it realistically and I/we are not going to put ourselves in a hole revolving our whole year every year's finances around to be able to afford another round of flight tickets.

I understand the child is living and breathing and he wishes he could have her all the time, but due to BM being high conflict and him being a man that is not possible. Sorry my bf is selfish in your eyes because a future with me is important to him and he won't give that up. 

BethAnne's picture

I hope that when you have time you are able to come back and reread what I wrote to better understand it as you seem to have missunderstood what I said.

I am deliberatley trying to not accuse anyone of anything, but simply trying to offer my opinion as someone who has close knowledge of a similar arrangement as the one that is being proposed. Things feel awful now and everyone is stressed and worn down by this process, I get that. But some calm and rational thinking could help you all to make decisions that are not later regretted.

No one is asking anyone to give up thier future. I am just suggesting reassessing priorities, timelines and budgets. 

twoviewpoints's picture

My niece and ex drive. It's 12-15 hours one way. Kiddo hates it. BM drives six, ex drives six (others when exchanging the kid do 7 1/2, doing longer 'breaks').  This way only cost to both parents is food and gas and any wear and tear to own vehicle . 

Current summer is two weeks twice a summer with at least two weeks inbetween the chosen two blocks of visit.

Total pain in *ss.

Dad currently has is seems to be continuing to have every other year on holidays. Easter, Thanksgiving , 1/2 Christmas (split Christmas/ New Year every year)



futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

and BM moving back to her home state, it says the drive is 33 hours and over 2,000 miles. That definitely seems like a pain in the ass! If driving was reasonable, I would say driving, but there's no way lol

ESMOD's picture

I would agree to transportation costs being on HIM if she remains within a 50 mile radius of her current residence.  

IF she moves further than that.. then they will have to share those costs.. perhaps weighted by distance each of them moved from the original residence area.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

she plans on moving to her home state which is an 11-12 hour drive of where she lives now.

I agree that might be a good thing to put in there, we just worry she won't agree at all if we put to split costs. I liked the above users suggestion of if she moves anywhere but the two states (side by side of each other) her attorney said she was planning on moving to after my bf moves

ESMOD's picture

It's only an issue if she moves.. and if she is moving to such distance... she SHOULD share in the cost of transportation.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

what we were trying to weigh is this:

agree to pay cost of transportation in full 1 or 2 times a year or don't agree to this, go to trial, and pay the court/attorney costs of going to trial, plus then in 1 year will have to go back to court because we are moving next year

So in the end what makes the most sense and can we live with, so that's why we are saying fine, but bf wants 50/50 until he moves and hope she goes for it

Iamwoman's picture

Other than the truck greed on BM's part, the order does not seem too unreasonable. After all, if BF is moving soon, it is actually unrealistic to expect 50/50 child custody through state lines.

As far BAH, I'm not exactly sure what that is, but assuming it's extra military pay for a having a child? If so, then shouldn't BAH be considered depsite custody arrangements because of child support? I mean BF will pay for the child one way or another. If the child lives with him he pays cost of living. If not, he pays child support. Continuing to receive BAH, but only having 50% custody and zero child support obligations is akin to being paid twice for the same child.

Also, if BF is military and travels or is deployed frequently, it may be less traumatic for the child to spend majority custody with BM anyway, as it would be the more stable household.

I have not read the entire backstory but do understand that BM is pushing a child on DH that is not his! While BM May think this is in that child's best interests, and some may argue alongside her, BM is neglecting to remember that she certainly was not thinking of that child's best interests when she allowed a stranger to sire her offspring... It's best that DH cut ties with that child ASAP and leave BM to clean up the emotional mess she has made of that poor child's life. Kudos on standing your ground on that one.

As for the custody split with BAH being the only reason to go for 50/50... well, it's MHO that money considerations should not trump the well being of a child. BM's proposed custody split seems best - I hate to not be on your side with this...

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

which is non-deployable. He COULD get deployed if we go to war in the next year that calls for the non-deployable units to be deployed, but they would be last picked to do so. He does not travel at all for the military because of all of this. Last time he left was to go to school in January 2018 for a month, but has not since.

I am sorry but the whole reason for 50/50 is not because of getting BAH. Bf wants 50/50 because it is fair, he should get that. If bf could get it, he wants sole custody and if it goes to trial instead of an agreement he is pushing for sole and doing an at fault divorce. I don't see how asking for 50/50 is not in the best interest of the child while we are in the same state especially when from March 2018 - July 2019, bf had at least 70% custody every month during that time frame. All I was saying is BAH is part of his primary income which is what has him be able to afford living off base, having a bedroom for his daughter, etc. without that, he would probably have to move to the barracks because military pay is not enough to cover the cost of living. Which in turn we would have to figure out how he could have overnight visitation because children are not allowed in the barracks and I live in a studio apartment. 

As for the other child, we have not seen her or had anything to do with her since the hearing in october that took away his rights and the genetic results were revealed. Yes, BM has not cared at all for the child's best interest. Her taking his rights, etc. has not stopped her from bringing her up or trying to get bf to take her. Now that she is totally out of the agreement in any mention, it was put in there that visitiation for her is as the two parties agree, so now it is totally gone, if she keeps pushing it we can do a cease and desist which is good. I give kudos to bf for standing his ground on this too because I know it isn't easy, but what needs to be done.

Disneyfan's picture

I think MOST of what each parent wants sounds pretty reasonable. What seems ridiculous is that one parent should have EVERY Christmas, Spring Break and all or most of the summer.

Kids are out of school for 2 months in the summer. One parent could have the month of July and the other could have August.  Spring break and Christmas break should be every other year.


futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

I do not think it is unreasonable at all. The other parent has the whole school year, all the other holidays in the year. We asked for every christmas, spring break and summer to see where BM fell on finding things reasonable. So we are willing to do every other Christmas break, no spring break, and 7 weeks of summer which I think is totally reasonable especially if we are to cover the transportation costs for every visit too.

Disneyfan's picture

Parenting during the school year is nothing like parenting during the summer.

I absolutely loved my carefree summer days, evenings and long vacations when my son was growing up.  

BM may agree to dad havi g the bulk of summer now, but she will be back in court seeking a modification once she realizes how unfair it is.


futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

a big chunk of that time in the summer so our vacation time during the summer will indeed be carefree, but the rest of the time it will not be. 

Then she can flip and have fun summer days and we have the school year. We would actually prefer that because BM is not a responsible adult and she would do better with us for the school year, but BM wants the school year, so she is getting exactly what she wanted

tog redux's picture

It depends on your job - you are a teacher (maybe you weren't then, I don't know). For a lot of working parents, summer is a headache with the need for child care, etc. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Neither my bf and I get summers off we will be saving most of our vacation time for when his child visits. So yep lots of fun planning child care, camps, etc. for us

bananaseedo's picture

The custodial should be entitled to a week/two vacation w/the kid though too, not just the school/drudgery of year?  And why not split Christmas/Spring break EOY? Then he would still only have 2 flights a year regardless?

I'm glad the other kid was taken out...even HER attorney realized it was ridiculous.  Your guys attorney gave him horrid advice on that one honestly. 

Keep in mind, down the road...when you have your own child, you WILL want a week/two of the summer that it's just you guys w/out the skid...I PROMISE you that.  I'd agree to the 6 weeks. It's reasonable.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

8-9 weeks generally, so if we took 7 she still has time for vacation, has time for vacation with the child for every spring break and every other Christmas break too, so she is not being stripped of taking vacation with the child. I guess we could try for that, on odd years have spring break and even have christmas or whatever, we didn't think of that. 

Yeah I hear where you are coming from. The reason we did 7 is because we were exchanging the week from spring break to another week for Christmas. If we don't do alternating spring break than I think we will leave it as is, but if we do it, then go back to 6 weeks.



futurobrillante99's picture

Sounds promising!

On the matter of moving and who pays transportation costs, you could fix that by saying she CAN move, but must assume all transporation costs. Whomever moves first, assumes all costs for transportation, but go for the one visit a year like you want.

Eff her on the truck issue. Have her PROVE it has anything to do with her. She can't. Your SO should show up with a paper trail of how that money was NEVER hers and she's never had anything to do with the truck.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

that's the whole thing. If she was willing to split transportation costs, we would also keep the spring break every year too, but she is not going to agree to that, it says in her response how since my bf is the one moving he should cover the cost of transportation, then after he moves, he agrees she can move out of VA. She is purposefully planning this so that he will be the one to pay for the back and forth. Unfortunately playing the game of what can we live with and what would she agree to. So every summer and every other Christmas for now will be what it is, but at least then we don't have to go back to court in a year and both parties get semi what they want.

haha I like that answer! We already answered with a paper trail showing how her name is no where on any documents. But i agree if she fights it she should have to prove how she is invovled at all!

Does seem like an agreement will be likely and manageable at least at this point.

tog redux's picture

Can I ask, I keep forgetting: Why are you guys planning to move so far away? Staying closer would help all of these issues.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

has a job when he gets out of the military that will start him off at $25 an hour with benefits. He did not finish his college degree and honestly this is what he wants to do. Plus there is plenty of movement for him to make a lot more. His friend who works there is now at $38 an hour after a year and when you get more certifications you make more too. The business is also owned by a friend as well, so it is a guranteed job that is a great starting rate especially for his qualifications. 

Regardless, BM has always planned to move back to her home state, so one way or another someone was moving. Quite frankly, neither my bf or I want to live in the same state as BM either. The reason we are moving specifically there though is for his job.

nengooseus's picture

He would still get BAH (with dependents) even if his DD wasn't with him 50/50 unless he was in base housing, in which case he would get BAH-DIFF, as long as he's paying CS.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Bf is not paying child support though so that is why he would not get it

Thumper's picture

EVEN if he is not paying child support for his bio daughter he still receives BAH, just not the small additional amount for her as dependent.

Is she in deers?


TimeToGo's picture

Actually yes & no...

Yes, he still gets BAH. As of 2005, even if he doesn't have custody, if he is paying "adequate child support", he still gets BAH at the dependent rate. (See Adequate is whatever the UCMJ requires OR a court orders.

And I am not nor do I profess to be a lawyer but I am an expert in active-duty, retiree & VA benefits with 20 years of experience & grew up military, married military, etc.

As to the truck, etc... I did get married & divorced in Virginia. It isn't a typical state, it's a commonwealth. None of the "normal" rules apply...

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

and as of now he is not paying child support and there is no order in the near future for him to either so he would not get BAH.

This is true there is no normal here!