You are here

Need some advice on custody arrangement...

smallfry83's picture

Hi everyone. This is my first post on this forum, so forgive me if I'm not posting in the correct place.
My future SS3's BM is a very strange vegetable to say the least. Typically, she's very difficult to get along with and doesn't want to compromise on anything. That is unless she wants something. That seems to be the only time she is open to talking/negotiating with future DH about custody arrangements or anything. To beat all, she's one of these people who believes that the world revolves around her and that she knows EVERYTHING about the law. Fortunately, she's been proven wrong and been put in her place on a lot of things.
Future DH drives 2hrs (one-way), twice a week, every other week to pick up SS3. She has refused to at least meet him halfway because she believes that because he is the one who had to move away to find a job, it's his fault, so he must make the sacrifice. Last weekend, she shocked us by agreeing to drive here to pick up SS3 because she wanted him back early on Halloween. She even said she didn't have a problem driving halfway to meet DH. We couldn't figure out what she wanted. Until she showed up with her boyfriend and dropped the bomb that they are getting married next year. She wants to be all nice to DH so he will agree to her crazy demands in order to get their divorce final so nothing will stand in the way of her plans.
I say, good for her. I'm glad she's found someone.
Here's DH's dilema... The new Custody Arrangement she had written out (obviously by her mother) is so vague that it will be easy for her to change it at her discretion. It says nothing about her sharing some of the driving responsibilities. Basically she wants to alternate holidays (including SS3s birthday). No problem, except that she includes his birthday, New Year's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Chistmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Halloween. By alternating she wants to have him on every other holiday, every other year. Like I said, it's not a problem except that his birthday is the day before Halloween, meaning if DH has him on Halloween, she gets him on his birthday. The way the document was prepared, she could easily say that DH has to drive the 2hrs to drop him off one day, pick him up the next day, then take him back when it's time to go back to his mother. (It's a wierd situation.)
DH wants to have the document revised in order to insure that she shares responsibility and to make things fair (especially on the holiday thing). But the way she is, she will go ballistic because he doesn't agree with somethings.
I know this has been a long post, but we could really use some advice on how to approach this and keep the peace. Please help.
Thanks in advance.

smallfry83's picture

I've seen it both ways (that person creating distance is responsible and that each parent is responsible for travel when they are to get child). But I can't find anything in the family law for NC about it. That's why I was asking. Do you know of anything in general statutes about it that I can use as an example?

Elizabeth's picture

I don't know about the law in North Carolina, but when our BM moved an hour away and we had to renegotiate, the judge said: Whoever is taking the child into their custody must do the transportation. So, when it was DH's weekend to have SD he had to go get her from BM's house and when it was time for BM to get her back, BM had to come get her. That equalizes things and puts the onus on the parent taking custody.

stepmasochist's picture

Don't know if this will help, but look for a standard visitation order.

That's what we have and ours does not divy up every single holiday - just Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break.

Birthdays, Halloween, everything else, go to the person who has visitation at that time.

DH has custody and BM gets skids 1st, 3rd, and 5th Fridays for the weekend.

Thanksgiving - BM gets odd numbered years, DH gets even. Christmas - BM gets even numbered years for the first week school is out and DH gets them the second week school is out and it reverses on odd numbered years. So that time accounts for New Years as well.

As far as pick ups and drop offs - when it's BM's time she is supposed to pick them up from our house. When it's time for them to return to our house, DH picks them up. So - whoever's time it is has to do the transport.

There's a lot more in regards to summer vacation and all that, but I think the standard order is a good way to go. If DH has a lawyer handling his divorce, the lawyer ought to be able to show you a copy of what one looks like. Be sure and get any CS ironed out in the order as well. You can probably come out ahead in divorce court as far as that goes, where as the attorney general's office will probably ream you.

smallfry83's picture

Thanks a lot. That really gives us a clearer idea of where we should go with all of this.

Orange County Ca's picture

I would list every holiday you have an interest in. Leaving a holiday unmentioned in the order leaves the kid with her unless she agrees to release him.

Now is the time for you to get each and every thing you want down in writing and ordered by the court. Lacking a order your husband is powerless.

Obviously the birthday/Halloween is to be handled as a single holiday but what if they're on a week-day and he has to be in school? Best bet then is to leave the kid with Mom and celebrate the previous or following weekend.

Don't give in to this woman just because she yells or screams. During the hearing she's forced to be quiet and the arguments or requests have to be orderly. Have your side of the disagreement ready and let the judge decide.

smallfry83's picture

Right now, SS3 is with BM 9days, then DH for 5days. So what we were thinking as far as Halloween/Birthday is that they should be considered 1 holiday and if one day was scheduled to be with one parent normally and the other with the other parent, the parent who would get him on the holiday would simply have him an extra day.
Because he isn't in school yet, this wouldn't be a problem. But obviously the agreement would need to be changed once he started school.
I can already tell this is going to have to be a very tediously detailed agreement because she is always trying to pull something on DH if it's not specifically spelled out in writing.

stepmasochist's picture

Are you planning on having that modified when he starts school? If not, you might want to consider a schedule that will work for when he starts school.

smallfry83's picture

Yes, it will need to be modified when he starts school, but that's a few years away.

Rags's picture


I recommend that your DH re-write the agreement in a way that minimizes manipulation by BM.

I have included excerpts below from the Custody/Visitation/Support order that we have used for the past 16+ years with our son (my SS-18).

For sure I would include clauses indicating something that addresses the following;

Transportation: Transportation for all visitation shall be handled by the parties as follows: Each party shall be responsible to provide transportation to bring the minor child from the child's location to the party's location. For example, (Mr. BioDad) chall arrange and be responsible for the child's transportation to (Mr. BioDad's) residence for visitations. (Ms. BioMom) shall arrange and be responsible to provide transportation of the minor child back to her residence. This may include any acceptable transportation including transportation by family members. Each party shall cooperate in making travel arrangements for the child's return, including driving the chid to the airport, if necessary.

This lends itself to cooperation in meeting at a midway point to pick up or drop off the kid. If BM will not agree to meet half way then your DH can drive all the way to BMs to pick the kid up and if BM wants the kid back she can drive all the way to DHs house. It also allows you and your DH to move out of state while keeping BM on the hook for half of travel costs.

Visitation and Holidays.

Winter: On even years (Mr. BioDad) will receive visitation from the day school is out until Dec 26th. On odd years (Mr. BioDad) will receive visitation from Dec 26th until the day before school starts.

This takes care of Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Spring: Every Sping vacation (Mr. BioDad) will have visitation with the minor child from the day school is out until the day before school starts.

Summer: Five weeks in the summer. (Mr.BioDad) will notify (Ms.BioMom) in writing 60 days prior to any summer visitation he intends to exercise. This notice will include the dates he intends to exercise visitation. Summer visitation can Include July 4th on Odd years.

Easter, July 4th, Thanks Giving, Birthday: On even years (Mr. BioDad) will have visitation with the Minor child for the Easter holiday and Thanksgiving holiday. On odd years (Mr. BioDad) will have visitation with the minor child on July 4th and on the child's birthday. Neither parent will have the child on the child's birthday for consecutive birthdays without the express consent of the other parent. For the purposes of this document Birthday will include the day prior to the child's birthday and the day following the child's birthday providing that the child does not miss school.

Weekends: In addition to the holiday schedule indicated above, at all times that the party’s live within 200 miles of each other (Mr. BioDad) will have the child for visitation every other weekend commencing when school gets out on Friday until 7:30 PM on Sunday.

These items set visitation in a way that minimizes potential manipulation by BM. It also sets visitation so that you and your DH can have a life, manage the calendar around visitation and ensure that your DH gets equitable access to his kid on important holidays.

Good luck.

Best regards,

Tx mommy of 3's picture

Why not just follow the state's standard order? Having one party write their own order is unfair. Anyway, as fat as birthdays here, the parent who doesn't have possession of the child gets visitation time on that day. So if the kid's bday fell on a week dh had him then bm would get visitation time (2 hrs here) only. Halloween isn't in our decree. Just whoever has ss gets him. The only holidays that are alternated in the TX order are Thanksgiving and Christmas and Spring Break. Whoever has the kid on the other holidays keep him those holidays. It makes it easier. Alternating every single holiday will be so confusing, especially with the long distance. I say get an attorney and do your state's standard decree.

bendetti21's picture

she sounds very stupid. re-write it in a way where it looks like she is getting what she wants but then write what you want so that when when she argues all you have to say is you signed and agreed to it. thats what we did with our idiot ex and now she just looks stupid everytime she argues about things. But just do what you wnat and if she doesn't want to agree then take as long as possible for the divorce and mess with her marriage plans. If she really wants to get married she will cave on anything to get what she wants, thats what ours did. She wanted to get married so she agreed to everything we wanted because we wouldn't budge an inch.

smallfry83's picture

We wrote out the custody/parenting agreement that we thought was fair. Basically keeping things the same, sharing driving (because she said she was okay with it), detailed EVERYTHING at the the advice of future DH's "attorney" (he hasn't hired him because he doesn't have the $$, but he is a family friend who is an attorney).
She refused to sign it, because "her attorney told her the custody agreement needs to be vague." (her words)
Oh well, she filed divorce papers without a custody agreement. We know she doesn't have an attorney because the papers DH was served with were prepared from the do-it-yourself divorce package you can get at the clerk of court's office..
So I guess it's off to mediation they go.