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Step-Daughter Hiatus - Scheduling Pains

KBee's picture

So the fiance and I are on our downtime from SD3. I have gotta say, it's been a relaxing break in between holidays. While waiting for her return, I thought I would reach out on a subject I have had many comments on. Our schedule. 

After the divorce, BM moved to another state. This has put serious strain on the schedule with SD. We were on a week on/week off schedule with her, but 8 hours in the vehicle every single Sunday just seemed like torcher and she wasn't doing too well with it. We have since changed to a 2week on/off schedule. This has worked easier for all parents, but I have read many comments of how that's not a good idea.

It seems to work for us, but I don't want to put our needs in front of SDs. Is this okay? Why would this be bad for her? I know 2 weeks without either parent is a long time.. Is it better to have her travel that much weekly? 

Just hoping for thoughts/opinions on the matter. 

I will also say that court stated once she starts school, we will need to come to a new agreement. If we can't all agree on something then they will be the ones to determine who the "full-time" parent will be. Because of this, we are buying a house with outstanding school ratings whereas, she lives in her boyfriend's parent's house near Detroit with not very good schools in the area.

We are hoping this will help our chances in getting primary custody. Who knows... Hell, with holidays coming up and us being on a different schedule than last year, I don't even know if we will see her between now and New Years. 


justmakingthebest's picture

3 is young to go 2 weeks without seeing the other parent, however, if you guys did the more commong everyother weekend scheduling it would be almost 2 weeks anyway. I think that, while not the best, it isn't the worst idea either. Unless SD is really having adjustment issues going back and forth, I would leave the 2 weeks on and off. 

Right now, it does sound like you guys have a better shot at custody when school starts, unless BM really pulls her stuff together. Also, make sure you file 1st in your county. It seems like 9/10 that is the biggest deciding factor. No judge wants to hear that thier state/ county/ schools are crap compared to someone elses. 

tog redux's picture

This is not going to be popular, but - if you live 8 hours apart, and you can't afford or aren't able logistically for her to fly, then whoever is designated the NCP when she starts school needs to go to a long-distance parent schedule; ie, 2 months in the summer and all school vacations. I assume you aren't planning on making her travel 8 hours every other weekend for a 2 day visit, either way.

I highly doubt that the school district will be the deciding factor for who gets custody - I'd be shocked if they gave it to the father for that reason, over a mother. Family Court is still much too mother-biased for that to be the deciding factor.  Is BM a good parent? Or are there other reasons you want her full-time other than just because you want her full-time?

KBee's picture

Well, we want full custody, just because we do. Same as BM. We have things way more together than BM. She has a part-time job that makes a small fraction of what we make in our household. That and the schools and location, are all contributing factors. She also doesn't have any family nearby for support as we do. If she is occupied and something happens, she has no one within 4 hours to help. We have 6 other households of family in close proximity. While her family and friends are into drugs and bums, I don't know her to use and haven't known her to hurt SD so I would never call her a bad mother. 

I do, however, know that courts are extremely biased. I can't fully underdstand or agree with the opinion that children need their mothers over their fathers.. I can think what I want all day, but know the reality of these situations. 

KBee's picture

Any ideas on what else could help in a case to get full custody?

tog redux's picture

Yeah, honestly - SD is not a prize to be won or a wishbone to be torn in half.  The decision should not be made based on who "wants" her the most, or who has more money or more support around. 

I don't have advice other to really think hard about what's best for her - not what's best for you guys.

justmakingthebest's picture

Just wondering what you consider reasons for deciding primary custody for a case like this? I mean they are 50/50. The child is young and seems attached to both parents. BM moved away. BD and SM have their lives together, whereas BM doesn't really. 

If wanting her and being able to better provide for her as well as live in a safer better school division shouldn't count... what does? 

tog redux's picture

I don't know, it's a tough situation.  I really value fathers and their importance in a child's life, but let's be honest - the bond with a mother is primary. And in most situations, mothers still do most of the child care.  So if this is a decent mother, is it fair to try to take her away so a stepmother can do the primary parenting?  Can they honestly say that the father will be the primary parent for her, or will he turn it over to the woman in the home? 

I think it's easy to devalue the child's other parent in a divorce.  But taking a 5-year-old from her Mommy "because you want to" seems really hard for me to wrap my head around.

KBee's picture

But taking a 3 year old from her father that can provide a better life is okay? I don't believe a mother or father should be put over another. I believe it should be who is best fit and what would be best for the child in the long run. 

KBee's picture

I absolutely agree that money doesn't buy everything but the chick doesn't even have a vehicle and parts of the weekly driving after SHE moved away was she couldn't afford the gas. 

We are able to do so much more for SD. I can't undertsnad how courts don't view things like that. They just think the same thing. Kids have to go with their moms. Moms can screw up too. She should go where she wil have the best life. 

Aniki's picture

With 50/50, this can only continue for a short while. SD will not be able switch schools every 2 weeks.

I agree that the custody decision needs to be based on what is best for SD. In the meantime, I suggest SKYPE.

Iamwoman's picture

Ugh. These 50/50 schedules for babies and toddlers always make me so sad. Research has proven its very bad for the children. They need a primary home. Without one, the kids grow up with attachment issues.

It sounds like you are the better home, so I hope you do get primary custody when she is school aged. Poor little baby.

KBee's picture

I hate it as well. Her moving so far away has made this entire situation difficult. Unfortunately, we tried the week on/off and BM refused to drive that far weekly and we agreed that having a 3 yr old in a vehicle for that long so often would be awful for her too. 

blayze's picture

SD is 3. She’s cute. She’s a girl. Good probability you may not be able to stand her in a couple years. Smile Just hold your horses and figure out if this man is worth it.  He should be on these boards trying to figure out how to make his past palatable for you, not you thinking about about his custody situation. It’s your honeymoon period... enjoy this time!