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 mostlyharmlessgirl
Joined: 8/6/2007
Msg: 1
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
Is there something you wish you had asked for in your custody agreement that would make your life today alot easier? Or something you asked for that has made your life easier? I was granted severance of divorce from issues this week so at least I'll be divorced in the next 60 days however, we are still to agree on a custody order. He is not fighting me having full custody however I sense problems in future if I don't lock this down properly.
 princessantonia
Joined: 12/14/2007
Msg: 2
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 4:32:34 PM
I had similar problems with my ex. In the Uk, if one parent backs out of a custody agreement, tere isnt a huge amount the other can do about it except reapply. My ex behaves like a child most of the time but fortunately for me, has a great fear of the law and abides to his custody order. My advice to you would be to have every possible request and scenario stipulated in your agreement.
For example, what happens on holidays and birthdays, who picks p from school, what happens wen a new partner enters the equation. It may seem like a pain in the bum but it covers your back. Hope this helps.
 dixielady37
Joined: 3/31/2006
Msg: 3
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 4:56:20 PM
Princesstonia gives some very good advice...think of each and every possible scenario you can and iron it out. School holidays, regular holidays, birthdays, college (this is a biggie...in some states the noncustodial parent can still pay support while the child is a full time college student as long as it is stipulated in the parenting plan/child support order..wish I had though of that one!). The best thing I ever did was have all of that in the parenting plan PLUS there is a little paragraph in there that states if we can't work it out or there is still a disagreement then the custodial parent (which is me) has the final say in the matter. Luckily, my ex and I are still in agreement on how the kids are to be raised so that helps tremendously.
 angelah1975
Joined: 10/12/2006
Msg: 4
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 5:02:48 PM
Wanted to add: what religion the children will be raised (in case the two of you don't agree, and depending upon how important religion is to you), who claims the children for tax purposes, parenting pick up and drop off times (be specific!), if you want your kids in sports that need to be paid for, I would get it in writing that it will be a shared cost (mine always SAID he would pay half, gave me a twenty, and never anything more -- like $20 is half of a year's worth of dance lessons ).
 angelah1975
Joined: 10/12/2006
Msg: 5
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 5:49:46 PM

Anyway, the terms set out in the custody agreement are guidelines, they are not legally enforceable beyond being cited for contempt. So, if dad keeps the kids for a few extra days, you cannot call the police. You can have him taken before the judge for contempt of the order, and maybe the order will be changed, but that doesn't help you at the time of need.


I was told that if my ex kept my daughter more than 24 hours over what we agreed to, or if she missed school because of it, that they would most certainly send an officer out and arrest him.

"a few days" is long enough for a person to drive to the other side of the country.
 That Guy Him
Joined: 12/26/2007
Msg: 6
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 7:33:55 PM

Is there something you wish you had asked for in your custody agreement that would make your life today alot easier?

Asking and receiving are two different things.
 choirdiva
Joined: 6/5/2005
Msg: 7
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 7:39:59 PM
My ex and I can't communicate, so I also have decision making rights. That's the most contentious issue after the papers are signed - trying to make decisions with someone who doesn't have the kids best interests at heart. If your state automatically awards joint decision making - which is completely seperate from physical custody, then, I would talk to your attorney about ways around it. If he doesn't agree to you having decision making rights, then it causes a huge legal battle, though, so, try the amiable route first.
 eyes2asoul
Joined: 11/7/2007
Msg: 8
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 8:39:57 PM
When my ex and I were finalizing our divorce - I wanted to remain civil and wanted to make sure that our daughters were the focus. I am the custodial parent but left the final orders quite open about visits and communications. That and the verbal agreements we had made, had me believing that WE would be able to raise our girls great even though we were no longer together. Well my intentions proved foolish only 3 months after the divorce. I have now been in court petioning for change of orders and contempt against my ex since Aug. He doesn't see them, doesn't help support them, is verbally abusive - and the court process is a joke that leaves you drained financially and mentally - and can order things "in the best interests of your kids" that make you want to flee the country! So my advice would be to have the intial divorce orders prepared and certified as if you and your ex were never together, and that this was an agreement with a stranger. Because anything that you think they would never do- is exactly what they may do in just a short time. Protect the welfare and interests of your children. It's easier to have a detailed and structured order in place and then bend it yourselves as agreeing co-parents, than the opposite. Good luck - and keep friends close , even if it's just to vent to.
 choirdiva
Joined: 6/5/2005
Msg: 9
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/4/2008 9:07:17 PM
I agree eyes2. Trying to get anything changed after the fact, is a drain and a drag. I'm happy for people who get along great with their ex, and can be civil and mature. I'm sorry it didn't work out that way for you - it certainly didn't work out for me. Fortunately, he showed his true colors during the process and not after, as in your case. What a bummer. Of course, it cost me a forture to get the agreement I did in the first place, but, hopefully I won't have anymore legal battles.

Friends and family are a godsend.

 princessantonia
Joined: 12/14/2007
Msg: 10
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 1:23:36 AM
Believe me, my ex is still a number 1 a$$hole, he is just more afraid of the law than he is of any recriminations from me!
Religion is actually a very good point and one I forgot to mention! My husband is a Muslim and I am a practising Christian. I asked for it to be specified in the order that I have our kids on Christmas and Easter, but he forgot to ask about his New Year, etc, and has regreted it, as I will not deviate from the terms of the contract.
*****************************************************
Just a word to the wise, if your ex is manipulative, heed what I say!
I am a kind-hearted person and when my ex's mother came to stay (she lives in Iran), he asked me if I'd let our son go round on days that weren't agreed on the order. A chance became available for my ex to spend more time with our son - he was picking our son up from daycare, as I commute to university and dont get home till late. The MINUTE his mother got on that aeroplane, he turned round and said he wanted to drop all extra contact with our son and that I should be grateful as he was doing me a FAVOUR!!! As if the opportunity to see his son more was doing me a favour!
So, the lesson I have learnt. Play just as dirty as they do and dont give them an inch because its true, they DO take a mile.
 simplelady66
Joined: 10/26/2007
Msg: 11
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 5:25:23 AM
Well I am in the states, and my custody issues were taken care of over 1oyrs ago, but here is what i asked for..not for me but for my kids:
-child support obviously (and it is a reasonable amount, I didn't take him to the cleaners)
-he carries medical insurance on all three kids...it is required by our state laws
-he pays for half of anything above the normal everyday stuff...for example: all three kids need new bikes in the spring. We will go halves on them. Or when it comes to school clothes, we go halves.
-he pays half of all medical costs not covered by insurance. I had this done because at the time we got divorced, I was paying off the hospital bill from our last child, and thought it only fair. He agrees 100%, especially since his insurance has changed several times over the years and they do not cover as much as they used to, especially when it comes to the dentist.

Basically, we have a really good arrangement. I am on good terms with him again, and know that if the kids ever needed anything, he would be there in a heart beat. I do not ask for unreasonable things like $500 video games or such...but if they need new sneakers and I don't have the money, he is there with new sneakers.
 angelah1975
Joined: 10/12/2006
Msg: 12
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 7:32:45 AM
Oh, one more thing (haven't read all the response, my apologies if this was already mentioned): If your ex is irresponsible with clothing, be sure to include that he provide clothes for the children (to be kept at his home) for visits. That way, you don't have to replace missing clothes after each visit.

(The above was a big problem with my daughter's father. He either didn't return her clothes at all or returned them to me when she had outgrown them. I was out an outfit or two each time she went to visit, which sucks because kids clothes, even second hand, aren't cheap.)
 brandiw
Joined: 4/6/2006
Msg: 13
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 7:41:00 AM
If you're worried that he might take off with the children like I was (not saying that's the case but maybe) then make sure that the order says that it's police enforceable. My ex "kept" the kids for a "few extra days" over Christmas a couple of years ago. I called the police to have them contact him or (worst case scenario) go over there to get them and they told me that they would not get involved in Family Court matters unless it's specifically stated.

I know now that it was a pile of crap so that they wouldn't have to do the paperwork.. but get it in there just in case. You don't know how fast some "responsible" people can turn ugly when they don't get what they want.
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 7:56:14 AM
The BEST line that I have in an order with the ex is that we have shared legal custody but in the event of a disagreement, I make the final decision. Talk about a life saver!! Doubt most judges would agree to it but we put it in there in the mediation phase and it stuck. This has been the only thing that has allowed me to get my son the counselling that he needed and eventually a real diagnosis (otherwise I would have needed his father's aproval which just wasn't/isn't happening although we generally have pretty good co-parenting relationship).

I have often heard that it is very helpful to have phone time spelled out, although most standard orders around here say that reasonable hours and that calls are to be returned as soon as possible. It is a hard one to enforce but best to have things in writing when in doubt.

Another line that some really like is that no overnight guests are permitted in the presence of the child...no co-habitating outside of marriage... or something like that.

Another hard one to enforce but best to have in writing is that each parent is responsible for not allowing anyone to alienate the other family/parent. It should be right in the order... That means if grandma or grandpa can't keep their mouths shut about what a jerk the ex is, they need to be avoided with the child though. It is simply a good co-parenting practice that should be obvious but sadly isn't.

Someone else mentioned paying for activities, but what about the activities themselves? I can take my child to baseball practice 3 days a week but if they miss their game every other weekend, they aren't being a good team member and will most likely not get the oppertunity to play...

And finally, there should be something in writing about parties not being allowed to utilize coperal punishment if that is something that is important. It shouldn't be a question...

The order needs to be all enclusive. Don't think about the person that your partner was but think about what he/she could be either for better or worse...and then plan for those situations. Also, think about who your child will become. Stipulations when dealing with a 2 year old are very different then those dealing with a 12 year old (the plan can be changed but think about the future now and save the headache if possible). Parents who are great at co-parenting a year or 2 after the divorce can decide to throw it out the window as soon as they get a new partner, or have another child... or the child gets older and more difficult to deal with. Both sides need to protect themselves, their rights, and the rights and safety of their child!

Good luck!
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 8:08:50 AM
Oh, one more thing, reminded by another post here...I have seen stipulated that only the natural parents will be allowed to be called mom or dad. If this is something that is important to you, speak up in the beginning! It is too late when they have already convinced the child to call the person by another name... or that it is ok if they do...
 Kynnie
Joined: 4/8/2007
Msg: 16
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 8:24:31 AM

Or something you asked for that has made your life easier?

My situation is obviously different as Im not local to the OP... however... when it came to my custody papers... I included 2 specific clauses...
...(layman's terms)...
* that the child/ren have the right to refuse visitation at any time and that both parents will respect the child's wishes.
* I retain the right to deny access should I have fair ground to be concerned as to the children's health, welfare or safety.
^^^ The object of said points being, that if children are in a situation they are uncomfortable with in any way, shape or form...they have the option to say No and so do I.
In many cases...for example...if a child is being sexually abused by a parent, friend of parent etc...the child is still required by Law to go with that parent until custodial parent can intervene legally.

In essence...I retain full control of everything & unless I did have grave concerns would never exercise my power in the situation because my ex is a good man and a wonderful father.
However...I played hardball to negotiate what I wanted for the benefit of the children & this isnt typical for most people re. residence & contact issues.
Its still food for thought for anyone who's able to manage it though.
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 8:33:48 AM
OOOH Kynnie... I can really see people abusing those if they get them. That is really sad though because I can only imagine that they are excellent clauses if needed...
 Kynnie
Joined: 4/8/2007
Msg: 18
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 8:37:00 AM

OOOH Kynnie... I can really see people abusing those if they get them. That is really sad though because I can only imagine that they are excellent clauses if needed...

Thats precisely why I didnt post how I did it
 Kynnie
Joined: 4/8/2007
Msg: 19
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/5/2008 5:19:49 PM
Never would happen in a Canadian order barring some very concrete proof and a danger to a child

^^^ Thats kinda the point ie. using my clause
* I retain the right to deny access should I have fair ground to be concerned as to the children's health, welfare or safety

A particular instance became relevant when my children were travelling overseas and there were speculations (and previously had been) of heightened travel restrictions to the country in question.

I told my ex straight out in regard to pre-purchase tickets & accomodation..that should the restrictions advise against travel at any time...I would pull the plug.
I had papers drawn up to void myself of any monetary obligations should I have had to enforce the withdrawal and made him sign them.
 westcobb2l
Joined: 12/12/2007
Msg: 20
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/6/2008 5:39:16 PM
At the time of my divorce, I was blessed to be a stay at home Mom and had 3 small children (2, 5, & 7 ... well, actually 3, 6 and 8 by the tme it was final) so I was with my kids 24-7. Because my ex-husband was a workaholic, and to that point had not been a very involved father, there was a very real fear that he would not exercise regular visitation. My attorney foresaw how much I would need a break, and included a provision that, in the event he chose not to exercise his weekend visitation, he would pay for any babysitting that was required during "his weekends". Fortunately, I didn't have to use that option often, but it was helpful just knowing the option was there. (Also fortunately although my kids' Dad now lives in another state, he still exercises fairly regular visitiation. )

I have since become an attorney practicing domestic law. I advise my clients in drafting a settlement agreement to consider, not how the relationship between the parties is at the moment, but how it could be at it's worst and then to write the agreement covering as many eventualities as possible, and then pray that none of them come to pass. A few other random things to consider (sorry if they've already been mentioned.... I read this quickly earlier and then left to take a child to an urgent care center):

Life Insurance: In my state, many judges will impose (if it is not already in the agreement) that the noncustodial parent maintain a life insurance policy in an amount equal to the total child support due until the children are emancipated.

Recitals, sports competition, etc. Your agreement should include a provision that each parent has to provide notice to the other of any performances, games etc. involving the child and that each parent is expressly allowed to attend. You might consider a similar provision regarding the chidlren's birthday parties.

Birthdays: You may want to reserve time for each parent on each child's birthday as well as time with the children on the parent's birthday. Mother's Day and Father's Day reservations for the appropriate parent are pretty standard as well.

Any other behaviors that you think may be at issue ... not smoking around an asthmatic child, not drinking alcohol in a child's presence, etc. Many of these, as well as some mentioned earlier, could not normally be imposed by a court, but the court will enforce whatever the parties have agreed to in the settlment agreement

Hope that helps.
 Next Time Round
Joined: 9/16/2007
Msg: 21
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/6/2008 6:22:32 PM
No. Not with my second son. His father left everything behind and came back for what he wanted later. I refused to get into much of why I was so raging mad when I talked with his family. I was just so grateful there was no big custody dispute the second time around.

They were always very supportive of me and I wanted him to know both his father and his family so there were no games. Saw him whenever he wanted and so did they.

At one point when I needed to apply for Social Assistance the government wanted me to take him to court for child support because he had a part-time job. I basically told them "good luck with that, eh, I just lent him twenty-five bucks" and they backed down.

We drew up a joint custody agreement a number of years later, went to a notary, and that was that. Neither of us ever wanted to get married so divorce was a non-issue too.
 champaine314
Joined: 1/2/2008
Msg: 22
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What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/7/2008 8:15:28 AM
Well, just to let you know, yes you can call the cops, and they WILL enforce the order set forth by the court, as long as you have a certified copy of the court order on you. So the best advice I could possibly give is to get every minute order and the final agreement set by the judge certified by the court, you can get that usually in the clerks office.
 mostlyharmlessgirl
Joined: 8/6/2007
Msg: 23
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/8/2008 5:48:56 AM
Thanks everyone for all your input. This has really helped me to decide on some finer points for my agreement :)
 brandiw
Joined: 4/6/2006
Msg: 24
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/8/2008 5:58:00 AM

Well, just to let you know, yes you can call the cops, and they WILL enforce the order set forth by the court, as long as you have a certified copy of the court order on you.


Nope, actually they don't have to in Canada. I called the local police force about my ex; he didn't bring home the kids when he was supposed to. It was during Christmas holidays and they refused to do anything. They asked me if I had the order (which I had) and if there was anything in there about being police enforceable. There wasn't and they told me to wait for family court over a week later. I believe them and left it alone until I found out through my lawyer that police aren't too keen on getting involved with family matters... but if I'd insisted or threatened to go higher they would have. He said they don't like the paperwork.

Now it's written in my order. They have no choice.
 Limestone_Lady
Joined: 6/20/2007
Msg: 25
What do you wish you asked for in your custody divorce agreement?
Posted: 1/8/2008 2:43:53 PM
The only thing I would have changed is making a mandatory minimum time my ex should spend each month with our son. I live two hours away from him, and do try to make time every other week to drive to him, but with his new family, our son has dropped by the wayside for him. In total for 2007, he might have spent 2 hours with his bonny little boy, and only because I nailed down time, at his work, with his boss for some paperwork. The twenty other times I offered him on days of his choice, simply because I have business I need to take care of near him twice per month, and not on a schedule, so he can bond with his son.

Sigh. I hope my little boy knows I wanted to help him forge a bond with his bio dad. He really is good about paying support, on time and in full... but I could care less about the money. Human relationships are far more important. Thank goodness for a great family, and even greater husband.
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