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  1. #1
    Dad in CA Guest

    How to respond: joint custody modification

    California

    My ex and I have an existing 50/50 custody order.
    She is taking me to court to modify it.
    I've had my son one week on. one week off for a year, and he and I are very happy.
    He's 4 years old

    She has an old child support case against me with zero balance, it's active because she still receives medi-cal benefits.

    On the modification request, she wants full custody with every other weekend visitations for me.

    On the child support option, she has checked "other" and written in "$400 child care"
    Will that be interpreted as daycare expenses "in addition" to the $400 a month existing child support order, or does that mean the actual childsupport should she win and be able to take my my joint custody away (god forbid)?

    How should I respond on my forms?

    Do I need to bring an attorney?
    I can't afford one, if you think I need one, can I ask the judge for some time to get one?
    She is pro per and not bringing an attorney.

    Thanks!
  2. #2
    oneandonly Guest

    Do you know what her reasons are for asking for..

    full custody? My advice would be to start calling lawyers. You can look in the phone book and at least contact the ones that offer free first consultations or consultations be phone.
    I'm guessing here but possibly, she might want to change or modifiy the order to reflect the child going to school soon? If that's the case, then maybe you could add a little more info like, how far a part do you live from each other? Would it be possible to maintain the current schedule with the child attending school? Does the child attend any daycare now?
    These custody situations can get nasty, to say the least-contact a lawyer.
    JMO
  3. #3
    Dad in CA Guest
    We live about 15 minutes away fom each other.
    Our son goes to daycare and we each pay half.
  4. #4
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Does your support order include daycare? If not - that's likely what she's looking to add to make sure you pay part of it. That would be on top of your support obligation.

    As for custody... Is your son starting Kindergarten in September? Have the two of your discussed how that will work with a week on/week off custody arrangement. I'm betting that is what's behind the custody mod.

    Personally? I think going to court on a custody issue without a lawyer is foolish.
  5. #5
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Stealth, he stated he pays half. I agree that maybe she wants that spelled out in an order.

    I agree with the others. Get an attorney! You are physically close enough that maintaining the current schedule, even with a school schedule, should still be practical. Fight for your equal time with your child.
    Last edited by nextwife; 05-26-2004 at 08:26 AM.
  6. #6
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    I have to chime in also, see and get a lawyer, it WILL give you the upper hand and pay you back in ways worth much more than the money ever could....
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  7. #7
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife
    Stealth, he stated he pays half. I agree that maybe she wants that spelled out in an order.
    Yep, I realize that. But if it's not in the order, he can quit paying it any time he pleases - I can see how somoene who has that obligation would want it specified.
  8. #8
    Dad in CA Guest
    I pay half but it's not in the original order, I just figured it was my responsibility.

    I was just confused on the notice of motion.
    She did not check the "child support" box but checked the subitem "other", beneath it and wrote in "$400 child care"
    I think she is trying to trick me or the judge, because there is an existing child support order that is in effect, but I do not have to pay because I have 50/50 custody.
    I think she is hoping that judge gives her custody and the $400 child care, but doesn't notice the old order, then she can go to the shild support office and show that I no longer have 50/50 and start enforcing it again.

    She's pretty sharp when it comes to that kind of stuff.
    You're right, I need an attorney
  9. #9
    krispenstpeter Guest
    Just curious. How long has the current order been in effect?
  10. #10
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad in CA
    I pay half but it's not in the original order, I just figured it was my responsibility.

    I was just confused on the notice of motion.
    She did not check the "child support" box but checked the subitem "other", beneath it and wrote in "$400 child care"
    I think she is trying to trick me or the judge, because there is an existing child support order that is in effect, but I do not have to pay because I have 50/50 custody.
    I think she is hoping that judge gives her custody and the $400 child care, but doesn't notice the old order, then she can go to the shild support office and show that I no longer have 50/50 and start enforcing it again.

    She's pretty sharp when it comes to that kind of stuff.
    You're right, I need an attorney
    Not necessarily. It's a modification to add an order that you pay part of the childcare. Doesn't mean there's a nefarious plot.
  11. #11
    Dad in CA Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by krispenstpeter
    Just curious. How long has the current order been in effect?
    The original order has been in effect almost 3 years

    Quote Originally Posted by stealth2
    Not necessarily. It's a modification to add an order that you pay part of the childcare. Doesn't mean there's a nefarious plot.
    You're right, I am getting delerious, this thing has me wigged, I haven't slept in a week.

    But the daycare is only 320 a month total, and she is asking 400 for "child care".
    The original child support order, which was started by welfare (not the courts) was 400, the same amount she is asking for "child care".
    She is pro per so maybe that is what she meant child support, when she said child care.
    In addition the motion says she wants full custody, me to pay attorney fees and costs, me to supply all transportation to and from visitations, and I can't take him out of California

    It's like she checked every box except alimony
    Last edited by Dad in CA; 05-26-2004 at 10:12 PM.
  12. #12
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Dang it. Get an attorney! She's throwing everything out there to see "what sticks". You should be able to take your child out of state on vacation if you want. You shouldn't have to pay her more in child care than what she is actually paying. She should be equally responsible for transportation, and so on.

    Hey, how about, in your response, you agree to not removing the child from CA IF she agrees to the same thing on her end!!!!!!
    Last edited by nextwife; 05-27-2004 at 09:47 AM.
  13. #13
    Dad in CA Guest
    Can I ask for additional things in my response, or can I only defend myself against what she is asking for?

    For instance... Assuming I am successful at retaining 50/50 custody of my son, I would like to claim him as a dependent on my income tax every other year.
    I mistakingly gave her that right under the advice of the family court facilitator in our town. She said the judge likes it when people make concessins.
    I didn't realize how much it would cost me in the end.
    Because of it, I lost 6000 dollars in financial aid last year alone, plus the taxes.
  14. #14
    Dad in CA Guest
    I have a consultation with an attorney tomorow, he charges $40 for an initial consultation.
    His secretary explains they do not do free consultations because this is a small town and people run around to all the family lawyers, making consultations, therby eliminating their spouse from using them?

    Anyway, I hope he takes payments
  15. #15
    Dad in CA Guest
    ok, I went to the consultation with the attorney.

    He said her motion is not complete, missing a supporting documentation form or something, and he can beat it no problem.
    He sent me to the court clerk to get the entire case documents because it;s missing all kinds of stuff.
    He also said my initial order was never completed? It was a temporary something.
    He said that he is going to defeat her modification motion and make the original one (joint physical and legal custody) permanent.

    He says it's going to cost $1500 to do that.
    But it will cost more if we go to trial.
    He says he's almost positive, it will end there, and no trial will ever come of it.
    He says go home and relax.
    $1500 is a small price to pay to be able to sleep again, if he's correct.

    Sound right?
    I don't know squat about this stuff

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