Advice on going for 50/50 custody(7 Posts)
I don't know how usual it is for a father to post here, but I figured this might be a great place for advice never the less.
I'm a 29 year old father of the worlds most beautiful 11 month old boy. My ex girlfriend has allowed for me to visit our son twice a week, for 2-3 hours a time since he was born. At around 6 months, I approached my ex and asked her if she would consider allowing me to take our son home with me for my visits. She was not happy that I had asked and basically told me things will stay as she says they will until she decides it's time.
This has been the pattern of how things have gone since that point. I've made a point to ask each month if she has changed her mind and she still hasn't. She has also returned to work now and refused to let me care for our son during these times, stating that her mother will be the primary carer.
I should mention that I also arranged for us to attend mediation, met with a mediator and waited patiently to hear back from my ex's visit. I was informed that my ex had attended the preliminary appointment, but refused to go again as the mediator's attitude wasn't to her liking. She then refused when I asked her if she'd like for me to set up a new mediation appointment.
I won't hide the fact that we have had our ups and downs with each others. I've even tried to rekindle the relationship for our son's sake and failed.
So now, I'm left with applying to the courts to get a legal custody and visitation agreement put in place.
The whole thing has stressed me to no end, I feel drained with the constant uphill battle I'm having with her and the stress that It's causing my family. I feel as if I have and am still being disrespected as a parent and it feels as though my ex doesn't actually see me as equal parts parent. I have tried everything to be supportive, I have kept it very amicable and even bent myself over a barrel to make certain situations go smoother.
My question is (I finally got to the subject at hand) I want to apply for 50/50 custody of our child. I want to have the best chance I can possible have to be a good father and have a hand in the development of our son. Has any other fathers or mothers on here had any experience with this kind of situation? Any advice on what needs to be done or information I need to have would be hugely beneficial to me.
Thank you all.
A concerned parent.
It's very difficult. Is your son still breastfeeding?
I honestly think 50:50 right now is too much. I would look to apply to court, but ask for a staged schedule... So you get more contact during the week at first, especially when your ex is working... Moving to an overnight a week at 18 months, two overnights at 2 years, etc etc. Remember, as infuriating as it must feel to be kept away from your son, contact patterns are about what's best for him. I would aim for more time straight away, but not 50:50.
Forget about getting 50/50 by going to court.
Also forget about the schedule others have proposed. That's too pedestrian and lends itself to the bogus argument some mothers make when they say the child should nt be apart from the mother for more than 1-2 days...
If after your son is a year old and she is still not agreeing to over nights get yourself to court and propose a schedule building up to 2-3 overnights in the next 4-6 months
It's in your sons interest to build the parental attachments sooner with BOTH parents.
I also think that 50/50 at this age is too much. From research I've read it seems that a common consensus is no overnight away from the primary carer until 3 is best for the development of the child but obviously every child/situation is different. Definitely try for more contact though as there's no reason at all why you couldn't have him when the mother is working!
Go to court. They won't approve 50/50 straight away because it's not in the child's best interests but I'd imagine they will be open to building up to it by a specific point.
You've already tried mediation, and you're able and willing to have access to cover childcare that she is insisting goes to other people. This works in your favour. Your ex will not be happy straight away, it may be a control thing for her (I may be completely off the mark, but access issues quite commonly have an element of control), but having a good relationship with both parents is in the interest of the child, and whether or not she likes it, she will get used to it.
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