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  1. #1
    APP
    APP is offline Junior Member
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    50% Physical Custody for Dad

    What is the name of your state? California

    Mom and I are not married and I am going through the process to confirm or establish Paternity (that was covered in another post). Currently the kids live with mom. I am about a 45 minute drive to them.

    My question today is what are my chances of getting 50% physical custody of our two children? Do I need to move to the same neighborhood?

    Currently I am very involved with all activities with the kids. I am with them every weekend and watch them a few night a week while mom is at school. Another night a week I take them to music lessons and participate with them (mom comes too). I also, take my kids to all doctor appointments (twice a week for my son's allergy shots) and attend all school meetings (our son has learning issues).Mom does not go to any of these. I have to sign the kids out at their after school program. Should I be getting copies of these sheets each month to show my involvement? I am the only parent involved with our son as it relates to his health and learning and our son does have a learning disability.

    Mom is involved with morning activities such as feeding and getting them to school. I feel I am very involved but still have concerns of only seeing them once a week or every other week if mom gets her way.

    My father, who divorced when I was 5, gave me the advice that a judge will award the kids to mom except every other weekend. This comes out to 14% of the time. This is how it was when he got divorced in the early 70's and he tells me it's still the same, mom gets preference.

    I want to continue my involvement as much as possible with the kids and I don't trust mom will give them the same level of attention I have when it comes to medical and educational issues. Historically she has not done this.

    My last question is about my chances of getting more than 50% physical custody. What do I have to show the court. My guess is she will fight even 50% physical custody so more than that will be a major battle.
  2. #2
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Move to the neighborhood. Being within the same school district will make time share much more practical.
  3. #3
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife View Post
    Move to the neighborhood. Being within the same school district will make time share much more practical.
    I agree, it takes away what her strongest argument against it will be
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife View Post
    Move to the neighborhood. Being within the same school district will make time share much more practical.
    I agree 100% on this...its simply too difficult in the long term to make a 50/50 schedule work if there is a 45 minute/mile distance between the two parents. People have done it, and made it work, but its hard on everyone. The biggest problem is when the kids get to be old enough that their friends start becoming really important to them...adolescence...sigh.

    The most ideal situation for 50/50 is if the parents live in the same neighborhood, and the kids can still interact with the same friends, catch the bus back and forth to school from both parent's houses, etc. That eliminates 90% of the problems.
  5. #5
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    And eliminates most of the reasons to object.

    I had a friend who literally lived on the next block behind his ex's block, several doors down. Their driveways were on different streets. Their kids could get from one to the other house without ever crossing the street, yet neither could actually SEE the other's comings and goings. They DID have 50/50 custody. If one forgot a homework assignment, jacket, sports equipment or school project at the other's house, it was not a big deal to fetch it.
  6. #6
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    I agree 100% on this...its simply too difficult in the long term to make a 50/50 schedule work if there is a 45 minute/mile distance between the two parents. People have done it, and made it work, but its hard on everyone. The biggest problem is when the kids get to be old enough that their friends start becoming really important to them...adolescence...sigh.

    The most ideal situation for 50/50 is if the parents live in the same neighborhood, and the kids can still interact with the same friends, catch the bus back and forth to school from both parent's houses, etc. That eliminates 90% of the problems.
    As one who has a close to 50/50 schedule and who DID live about 40 minutes from the kids' schools... I have to agree with LdiJ. My relocation didn't change custody, but it wasn't fun after 2 years to be driving the kids to school 3 days/week before I could even begin my commute to work, and it wasn't fun trying to get to school concerts and stuff either.

    About 8 months ago, I moved back to where I was within 8 miles of their school and their dad's house and it's MUCH nicer. Trust me, it might seem 'no big deal' NOW... but it becomes an enormous PITA in very short order.

    Also, I'd like to recommend NOT doing the every other week split. My split w/the ex is mid-week... I have Sunday @ 8pm through Wednesday at 8am. He has Wed @ 8am through Friday @ 8am. We alternate the Friday @ 8am through Sunday @ 8pm. It's a 60/40 split, and it allows the kids to spend time with both of us every week, spend time with their siblings at each house every week, participate in 'my' activities like Brownies and 4-H and 'his' activities like church youth groups.
  7. #7
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife View Post
    And eliminates most of the reasons to object.

    I had a friend who literally lived on the next block behind his ex's block, several doors down. Their driveways were on different streets. Their kids could get from one to the other house without ever crossing the street, yet neither could actually SEE the other's comings and goings. They DID have 50/50 custody. If one forgot a homework assignment, jacket, sports equipment or school project at the other's house, it was not a big deal to fetch it.
    I also have a friend who lives in my subdivision and so does her ex. They are one of the few families I know who made 50/50 truly work for the long term. They always allowed the kids to freely roam between both homes, and their custody situation was based simply on where the kids slept.

    In fact...and this is a bit odd...but the oldest is now 19, turning 20 and in college, and his dad bought yet ANOTHER house in the subdivision which the oldest son shares with several college roommates.

    Honestly...50/50 truly is much more successful if the parents live in at least the same school district. It can be successful otherwise, but its harder on everyone....and the older the kids get, the harder it is.
  8. #8
    APP
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    Thanks for all the great advice!

    Assuming I will move close to kids school and continue to be involved in their activities, how likely is it for me to go to court and get 50/50 physical custody. She wants them 80%. How likely is she to get her wish being that she is mom?
  9. #9
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by APP View Post
    Thanks for all the great advice!

    Assuming I will move close to kids school and continue to be involved in their activities, how likely is it for me to go to court and get 50/50 physical custody. She wants them 80%. How likely is she to get her wish being that she is mom?
    Honestly, CA guidelines look favorably on parent's wanting joint physical and most judges I've worked for are all for it, as long as it's not too much of an inconvenience for the kids. For instance, that 45 minute drive was alarming to me when I read it because is that 45 minutes weekday or weekend? We Californians that live in certain areas know there is a drastic difference. Where I can get to in 45 minutes on Saturday can take me an hour and a half to 2 hours Monday - Friday.

    If you are going to move within the same school district, and in the same school boundary lines - AND you already have a good established relationship with the kids... I'd say your chances are great.

    More now than ever, women in California aren't getting too many perks because they have ovaries. I was telling some women in my get together that more, now than ever, I've started noticing that men were petitioning the courts for custody of their children more often than I've seen before... and winning. Sometimes they are getting the 50/50 split, but I was alarmed to see the number of orders signed by my judge where men are now getting sole physical and mom is getting the visitation... it was alarming. Especially to the women who would walk in to court and think they have it in the bag because they have breasts. Men are stepping up these days... and judges are taking notice.

    In CA, you'll have to mediate anyway before going to court. Make sure you make your expectations (or requests) known to the mediator.

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