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Do I have a shot at custody change?

MrsMiserable's picture

I have posted about my stepkids a few times but this post is about my bios. I am seriously considering going back to court to try to request that we change our custody agreement from 50/50 to my ex only has the kids every other weekend during the school year and then more time during holidays and over summer vacation. Here's the situation... I'll try to make this is short as possible... We have been divorced for almost 7 years and have had 50/50 custody from the beginning. He fought for that because he didn't want to pay child support. He's a "fun" dad and I know he loves our children but he spends very little time with them. I am the primary residence for their school zoning. ExH moved back in with his parents for close to four years after we first split up and his mom helped out with the kids a ton on his time. I assumed that would change when he grew up and put his big boy pants on and moved back out on his own. It hasn't changed. He actually bought the home directly across the stree from his parents just so they could continue helping out with the kids on his time. Basically my ex mother in law and I have 50/50 custody at this point and exH hangs out with them and does fun stuff on his weekends. He works 7am to 6pm every day Monday through Friday and has an hour commute to and from work. So he's gone from 6am until 7pm. His mom drops the kids off at school on his week and his dad picks them up in the afternoon or if he can't DH or I end up having to pick them up and deliver them to exH's house. As soon as grandma gets home from work they walk across the street and she helps them with their homework and cooks their dinner every single night. She also does ex's laundry, cleans his house for him, buys the kids schools clothes, etc. Grandma takes my BD to gymnastics on their Tuesday nights and takes BS to baseball practice on their nights. If she or her husband can't, again, it falls on me to pick them up from exH's house and take them if I don't want them to miss practice. 

I see no reason why he she continue to have 50% time share when he literally sees the kids for MAYBE an hour or two at night right before they go to bed but handles zero of the responsibility of having the kids. It would be much easier on me if I just had them all week every week during the school year and can make sure they get where they need to be. I should not be having to pick them up from school and deliver them to their dad's house. This sucks. 

Do you think I have a chance in hell at getting this changed? I don't even care about getting CS from him I just want the extra time with my kids if they are just being pawned off on their grandparents every other week!

tog redux's picture

I would suggest you consult an attorney - I believe Florida is a default 50/50 state and they might want more what you have to change it. But an attorney would know best! 

MrsMiserable's picture

Thank you. That is going to be my next step. I was just wondering if anyone on here had experience with a situation like this. I hate to spend money on an attorney and not actually have any shot at making this happen. 

ESMOD's picture

Both of my SD's lived with their grandparents at different times growing up (complicated situation with his work offshore and his ex being very HC)

I think you are downplaying the importance and value of the relationship your kids are getting the benefit of on a 50% basis.. not only with daily time with dad.. but also the quality time they are spending with their grandparents.

To this day, both of the girls go to "granny and pop" for support and value the time that they spent with them growing up.

It doesn't sound like your kids are suffering from their current situation.  If your point of attack was that the switching homes every other week was burdensome to them with school.. etc.. then perhaps there would be more traction.. but just because you don't think your DH is there as much as he should be.. when he has perfectly good surrogate care in place?   Lots of parents have to work and have kids in daycare etc...

He probably values the couple of hours a day or so that he does get to see his kids.. whether he is as involved in all their care or not.

Unless the kids are saying they are unhappy with the arrangement..or you feel they are harmed.. I don't know that there is a strong case for changing.

Ursula's picture

I highly disagree with anyone trying to use the other parents work hours as reason to reduce custody.  I see my daughter for less than an hour in the mornings before she is dropped at daycare and about 2 hours in the evenings after I pick her up. 

I also don't get the complaint that his mom does his laundry and cleans his house.  Why do you care and why is this your business? 

Aunt Agatha's picture

Is for you.  You state it would be easier on you.

Thats a terrible reason to want to change things.

Agree with everyone above.  Just because he works and uses a strong support system isn't a reason for change. Who cares who does his laundry or cleans?

 If it's too much for you to take them to practice, then don't.  Step back.  The kids lives won't collapse because they miss a few practices.  That happens in intact families as well.

Im on team step away and mind your own business on what goes on in your home. Unless the children are being abused, there's no reason for your trying to change the schedule.

MrsMiserable's picture

I don't care what goes on in his home or who does his laundry other than to make my point that he does absolutely nothing as far as "parenting" other than hanging out and doing fun stuff every other weekend. 

ESMOD's picture

But the kids are parented on his time.. by him.. by his parents.. he has a team.. his parents may do a lot.. but a lot of parents only have an hour or two with their kids on the evenings... he wouldn't be the first man to just do fun stuff with his kids while his wife handles the day to day care... even in a non-divorce family.

Now what you DO have a right to say is NO to the pickup responsibility on HIS time.  If he can't manage that.. and he can't get it covered.. then that is an issue that you DO have a bone to pick with him.

Tell him you aren't avaliable on his time any more for pickups.. let him figure it out.

MrsMiserable's picture

ESMOD I agree and me having to do pickups on HIS time is where most of this frustration comes from. If he wants to let his mom and dad or a new SO drive the kids around or take care of them that's on him. But I don't think it's fair that it usually falls back on me. His mom and I basically co-parent and he just gets the fun time when it's convenient for him. I have NEVER asked him to pick up the slack for me on my time. If my DH can't help and I can't find a sitter then I have to leave work early and handle it myself. 

MrsMiserable's picture

So any of you would be perfectly fine with a 50/50 custody arrangement where you still had to pick up the kids from school and deliver to your ex's house several times a week on HIS time? 

MrsMiserable's picture

I have. And he literally tells me "If my dad can't pick them up I have no way of getting the kids". Also, anytime the kids have a school performance, honor roll awards, etc. in the evening after school that is left on me to pick them up from school, take them back for the activity, then get them to him if it's his night with them. So yes, it may seem like I am being selfish but I am tired of his lack of responsibility!

ESMOD's picture

I'm going to play devil's advocate and if you had custody during school.. your need to be driving to pick them up etc.. would be MORE since his parents wouldn't be doing the amount they are now.. so it sounds like your are jealous he has been able to cherry pick the best part of being a parent.. while you feel you are doing the trench work.

but... his kids are enriched by their time with his parents and him.. you depriving them of that because you don't like that he doesn't have to do the messy part like cleaning the bathroom or laundry?  seems a thin argument.

MrsMiserable's picture

They ride the bus to my house in the afternoons. So on my time there is no picking up from school unless they have an after school activity or something. 

ESMOD's picture

In that case.. can the default be that if he can't pick the kids up.. they come home to you on the bus.. and then he can come get them later after work.. or at his or his parent's next convenience?

I know it means them being with you more.. and the 5050 isn't as 50/50 whenyou are kicking in some on his time.

I do see the value to them having time with his parents and himself.. I understand your frustration at having to pinch hit with little notice.

MrsMiserable's picture

I think that would be a good compromise. Then I don't have to leave work early to pick them up and delivery and he or his parents can pick them up from our house when they have the time. They would just need to let me know early enough for me to change their transportation with the school for that day... I'm definitely going to try that route first. Thanks!

I did suggest that at one time and he argued that he wouldn't be able to pick them up until late and it would cut into his time at home driving all the way to our house after work... You can see why I get aggravated. It's like dealing with a child sometimes. 

SteppedOut's picture




I guess I am the only one that agrees with you...

If he won't agree to let them go to your house (or provides too short of notice) when he or his parents can not pick them up then you should try to get more than 50% custody.

Why should YOU have to give up YOUR time to pick up/drop off on HIS time? 

He wants you to give up your time so he doesn't have to give his up? Umm ok. NOT. 

ndc's picture

I would bring it up with him again, and when he says he would have no way of getting the kids, I would suggest to him that maybe it's time to agree on a different custody schedule, because you are not going to be able to pick up his slack anymore.  Refuse to do it, and he'll have to figure it out.  And you'll have given him one suggestion - changing the custody schedule.  Now, if he figures out how to do pickups without you, I don't see why the 50/50 schedule should be changed.  Even if he only gets a couple hours with the kids after work on his days, and his parents are handling the rest, that's OK and I can't imagine a court changing it if he wants that schedule and the kids are doing fine.

Having said that, I will tell you that I'm pretty flexible with BM and the SDs on her days after school, because BM agreed to the kids going to the school we're zoned for.  That means the bus picks up and drops off right across the street from our house, and she has to drive them to and from the bus stop near our house on her days.  Because everything is super convenient for DH and me in terms of school transportation, I'm willing to look at the big picture and pick up some BM slack if she's running late or has a conflict.  If I need to keep the kids a couple hours or drive them to her house occasionally, that's OK because I don't want to give her any reason to try to change the school arrangement (nothing is court ordered as kids weren't in school at time of CO and neither BM nor DH lives where they lived at that time anyway).

notarelative's picture

You should not be leaving work early to pick them up on his time. That is his responsibility. 

If he decides to take you up on your offer for the kids to ride the bus to your house, it is his responsibility to call the school and change the transportation arrangements. He can delegate it to his parents, but not to you. 

If he has the kids ride the bus to your house, and they have to go to an evening activity that you end up bringing them to, he picks the kids up at the activity. If you have to pick them up they return to your house where he can pick them up before bedtime or not.

If his parents pick up the kids and they or he can't get them to the activity, they miss it. Missing things happens even in families that live within walking distance to school. 

Emergencies, that necessitate you picking them up on his time,  happen once in a great while, not regularily.

Goodluck's picture

I would argue this ma'am.

The kids are at school, usually end of august thru end of May correct?

Do you have a degree in education that NOW you have decided to homeschool the kids? The kids are not with dad OR you on average 8 hours a day. Because they are physically in school.

Most custodial moms only spend 3 hours a day in the same building/home/apartment with their kids unless, they are in activities. IF activities are a factor,,,welll they may see their kids faces in the re-view while they sit in McDonalds drive thru. While they are at activities---parents faces are stuck in their phones. After activities they zoom home, kids are in showers and sent to bed. Hit re-set button for next day. 

To use dads at work while the kids are at school is asinhine.

Your ex has a parenting plan in place that is more than reasonable. Most moms stick their kids in after care where they are watched by strangers...but hey they are hi-fived for that? IS it better if voucher or out of pocket day care workers were watching the kids?

A decent lawyer will blow this out of the water. Dad is doing the best he can. Would you want someone to say the same about you IF the shoe was on the other foot?

Sounds like you just want to change custody so you recieve cs.





Rags's picture

It is unlikely that you will get a significant change regarding custody and parenting time if Dad is engaged at all.

My DW moved out of the state of SpermLand for college when she was 18 and SS was 14mos old.  The SpermIdiot nor the spermclan made any effort to see SS though DW repeatedly made an effort to have them visit with SS.  THere was zero effort by the SpermClan until the small town SpermLand grape vine got to SPermGrandHag that DW was dating someone.  

Out of the blue DW was served with a custody case brought by "SpermIdiot".  Interestingly, he had no idea he had filed for custody as SpermGrandHag has forged her son;s signature.

9 mos of eternal postponement of court dates by the SpermClan while not yet DW spent piles of money traveling back and forth and in legal fees to defend her custody and the Judge finaly ruled no change in custody, DW retailed full physical and legal custody, and invoked a visitation schedule where there had not been one in the initial custody order.  Rather than custody, the SpermClan got 7wks of long distance visitation per year. (5wks summer, 1wk winter, 1wk spring).

Even in situations where there is danger to kids, Judges rarely will deny a BioParent a relationship with their kids or change established custody/visitation.

Good luck.

Get a killer no BS shark of a lawyer.

ChzyBob20's picture

Is grandma abusive or a drunk? No? Leave it alone! Your ex works long hours. Grandma helps him out. So what?

Kiwi_koala's picture

Shared custody makes me really angry. This honestly makes me seriously consider having children. I'm not sharing the raising of my kids with an ex's new spouse or ex in laws in the event of divorce. WTH. There's really something wrong with this country. If two parents live near one another and have similar work schedules that's one thing, but your ex isn't even home.

I think relationships with grandparents are great and important. I, myself lived next door to my paternal grandparents for 15 years and I think it enriched my life tremendously but, my parents are married and not divorced so I saw both of my parents every day. I do not think they should see their grandparents over their mother who could have them. That's ridiculous. They could go over the dad's one night a week and every other weekend. That would make a lot more sense. He could also take them out for dinner other nights too after work and then bring them back to their mom's. There are ways to involve both parents without causing dsyfunction and chaos. 

Why are his parents enabling him? This was the problem I had with my boyfriend. He thought the same that he should have his kids even though he was out of the house from 5:15 am until 6 pm or so with two little kids who went to bed at 7:30.. while I watched them the three days a week they were over all day long. It was complete and utter stupidity. Single parents need reasonable work hours if they want primary or half custody. Sorry. 

ChzyBob20's picture

Calm down. It's normal for grandparents to be involved. A long time ago many parents were widowed or widowers and if they could not remarry their parents helped raise their children.

In non-Western cultures the grandparents live with one of their adult offspring and help raise the grandchildren. I would move my mother in in a NY minute if I could. She is very responsible and my children adore her. 

Kiwi_koala's picture

Being involved isn't the same thing as raising and being a routine caretaker. I already said that my grandparents helped take care of me and that I think it can be beneficial. Also, it's different if you're divorced. Why would you take your kids away from an available parent to send them to a grandparents frequently? You can still be an active father without having half custody or you can work a job conducive to being a divorced/single father. I think it's selfish to put the stress of your children onto your elderly parents on a daily basis. Helping sometimes is great and kind but it shouldn't be taken advantage of in my opinion.

MrsMiserable's picture

I am so glad SOMEBODY agrees with me!! I lived right next door to my grandparents growing up and spent a lot of time with them so I know the importance of kids having a relationship with their grandparents. But I DON'T think my ex's parents should get preference over me. Especially when a lot of that time ends up being a burden on me having to leave work and disrupt my schedule when they can't be there!!!

Thisisnotus's picture

you would be in for a long expensive battle and probably lose.

What my attorney told me is that you can't change custody just b/c you are a better parent. Period.

Status Quo will win every single time unless someone is abusive or a drunk or something else awful....and then you will have to spend $$$$$$ trying to prove that.

Don't waste you money.