divorced dad & daughter parenting time

Child Custody Modification Dilemma: More Time Or Less Support?

divorce with child

A child custody schedule that makes sense for a toddler may no longer work for a teenager. But modifying parenting time can be difficult when co-parents disagree on what’s appropriate or worse, question each other’s motives for requesting the modification. Read on to find out how businessman Kevin used mediation to negotiate more time with his son.

The Traditional “Dad” Plan

As the founder of a tech start-up company, Kevin was working 16-hour days when he split up with Lydia, a freelance marketing executive who worked from home.Their 5-year-old son Alexander had just started kindergarten and was experiencing separation anxiety being away from Lydia for extended periods of time.

Kevin wanted 50-50 shared child custody. Lydia argued that Kevin had abdicated most of the child-rearing tasks to her during the marriage and that Alexander wasn’t comfortable being alone with his father for more than a few hours. Kevin accused Lydia of trying to keep Alexander from him and initiated a custody evaluation.

After extensive psychological interviews with each adult, as well as observing Alexander engage with both parents, the child custody evaluator determined that it was in the child’s best interests to have briefer visits with Kevin until he could learn to tolerate longer stretches of time apart from Lydia.

Kevin was frustrated with the decision but realized that, in truth, he wasn’t able todevote much uninterrupted time to Alexander due to his work schedule. The couple agreed to the “traditional dad schedule;” Alexander would have Wednesday and weekend overnights with Kevin and be with Lydia the majority of the time. They also agreed to revisit the timeshare issue when Alexander turned 13.

Alexander’s Needs Change

Several years later, Kevin sold his start-up and was able to significantly decrease his work hours in order to spend more time with Alexander. He began coaching the 12-year-old’s soccer team and volunteering at his school. Now on the brink of adolescence, Alexander identified more with his father and told Kevin he wanted to split his time equally between both houses.

When Kevin broached the subject of a child custody modification with Lydia, she bristled. She still saw Kevin as the distant workaholic he was when they split up seven years earlier. She believed that the real reason he wanted to modify custody was to pay less child support–not to spend more time with Alexander. She told Kevin that it was in Alexander’s best interest to maintain the status quo.

Angry with his mother for not allowing him to spend more days with his father, Alexander started to refuse visitation with Lydia. Lydia then accused Kevin of not supporting her relationship with Alexander. Kevin reminded Lydia that in less than a year, when Alexander turned 13, it would be time to revisit custody anyway.

Kevin And Lydia Mediate Child Custody

Kevin and Lydia entered mediation as opponents. Kevin accused Lydia of not allowing him equal access to Alexander, while Lydia accused Kevin of simply wanting to save money by reducing child support.

After listening to both sides, the mediator was able to shift the co-parents’ focus to their child’s best interests. As it was age-appropriate for Alexander to spend more time with his mother when he was young, the mediator explained, it was now appropriate for him to spend more time with his same-sex parent. The mediator urged them to adopt an alternating week custody schedule: this would support Alexander’s burgeoning independence while allowing him to maintain close contact with both parents.

Both Kevin and Lydia liked the alternating week schedule. It would allow each to have a longer stretch of time with Alexander while reducing the hassle of transitions between households. Once he was able to see his father more frequently, Alexander stopped putting up a fight when it came to visiting his mother.

The moral of the visitation story? Child custody should always be about the best interests of the children — and these best interests can change over time.

Have questions about custody and parenting time? Learn how to protect your rights and safeguard your precious time with your children. Schedule a free consultation. Your secure future starts with a call: (888) 888-0919, or click the button below. 

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We’re advocates of all victims of domestic violence. But today, in honor of International Women’s Day 2018, we’re putting the needs of women in the spotlight. For you — or for a woman in your life who you fear is trapped in an abusive relationship — here are some important reminders that you deserve safety and protection. You deserve to break free. Read more

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premarital and prenuptial agreements

Asking your fiancé to sign a prenuptial agreement isn’t exactly a romantic conversation-starter, but it doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. In fact, a prenup can set the stage for a stable marriage by preventing disagreements and misunderstandings down the line.

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college kids child support

4 Tax Breaks For Divorced Parents With Kids In College  

college kids child support

As part of the divorce process, parents must decide who will claim their child as a dependent on their income taxes. One parent may claim the child every year, or parents may agree to an alternating year schedule.

When children are very young, divorcing parents are mainly concerned with who gets to claim the dependent child tax credit. However, when children enter college, other tax credits and deductions become available that parents may not have been aware of during their divorce.

Have a child in college — and is it your turn to claim them as a dependent? Check out these four extra tax breaks that you could help you reduce how much you owe the IRS.  Read more

anxious child

Co-Parenting Dilemma: When Your Child Complains About Your Ex

anxious child

Is your child complaining about your ex? Does he or she get anxious before visitation? Before you jump to conclusions and accuse your former spouse of shoddy parenting, try to figure out why your child is voicing concerns with his other parent. Read more

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Most people go through a grief process after divorce, but if you’re stuck in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” phase, it’s a sign that you haven’t accepted the fact that your marriage is over.

Wondering if you might have saved your relationship if you’d done things differently won’t change what happened. It will, however, keep you from moving forward. Read on to learn how Kyle, a history professor, finally made peace with his past — and how you can, too! Read more

Woman thinking about whether or not to keep the house

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Woman thinking about whether or not to keep the house

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Win a FREE Prenuptial Agreement

prenuptial agreement giveaway contest

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dealing with an angry ex

High-Conflict Divorce: What To Do When Your Ex Won’t Get Over Being Angry

dealing with an angry ex

Chronically angry exes have trouble seeing their part in the demise of the marriage. They blame the other person as a way to avoid looking at their own problems and role in the divorce. High-conflict people usually don’t “get over it” and will seek targets of blame (i.e., you) instead of seeking help.

One way of understanding this is to think of your high conflict ex as an addict: he or she is addicted to anger. They need to stay mad at you in order to keep grief and shame at bay.

So how do you keep from losing your marbles when you have to interact with a perpetually angry ex? Read more

Talking to a child about divorce.

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Talking to a child about divorce.

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