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Old 08-26-2009, 03:00 AM   #1
mountainhensley
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Default seeking advice and consult

Hi all just found this site. And thought it may be a great place to find some advice and guidance in these dark times.
Me and my girlfriend of 3 years just split in the last month leaving my 2 year old son in the wake. My ex seems to be angry and acting in a manner that tends to make me nervous for my sons greater well being. I'm searching for an amicable resolution to child custody and visitation without involving the court at this time. To that end I have drafted some custody and parenting papers to solidify both. What I wold like from you all is to look over them and firstly inform me that if after notarized they will hold up in court should the situation degrade to that point. Secondly give me advise from your standpoint as to how I can fortify them in an effort to better look after my sons best interest. I would love to hear from both mothers and fathers. As while I feel these are fair..this is my first experience with trying to forge a custody agreement. A bit of info to help you understand why I choose the visitation choices i did: when the relationship dissolved I choose to move across the country. Firstly because i have a huge network of friends and family here and jersey..secondly cause job prospects are far greater here.So at any rate here are the documents..PLEASE HELP

first is a general custody agreement

CUSTODY AGREEMENT


______________________ and _____________________, do hereby agree that
their children shall be in the joint legal and physical custody of their natural Parents, and
it is further

AGREED that the parties of this agreement shall alternate custody of the
child on each August of alternating years (1 year) and it is
further

AGREED that the non-residential parent shall have the right to complete
information from any physician, dentist, consultant or specialist attending
to the children's physical or mental needs for any reason whatsoever, and
to copies of any reports given to the other parent by such persons; and it
is further

AGREED that the non-residential parent shall have the right to converse at
least three (7) times a week on the telephone with the children without
interference from the residential parent, and it is further

AGREED that the non-residential parent shall have the right of peaceful
visitations with said minor children at all herein above times, and the
right to have said children visit and converse on the telephone with the
non-residential parent at all reasonable times and places; and it is
further

AGREED that neither party shall obstruct the development and maintenance of
love and affection between the children and the other party. Neither will
interfere with reasonable and proper companionship with the other party,
including reasonable communication by telephone or writing. Neither will do
or say anything that may estrange the children from the other parent.


__________________________ _________________________

NAME NAME

Subscribed and sworn before me this ____ day of ______________, 20__.



_________________________
Notary Public

My commission expires:



second is the parenting plan
P A R E N T I N G A G R E E M E N T


We, _________________, (mother), and __________________, (father), as fit
and loving parents have reached agreement on a parenting plan for our
daughter/son/child(ren), born ______________________.




Custody

We agree to joint physical custody of ____________________. We agree to
joint legal custody of_______________. All major decisions affecting
her/his/their growth,health, education, welfare, and development shall
be made jointly by us.
If emergency medical treatment shall be required, the parent having care of
the child(ren) at the time may arrange for treatment but shall notify the
other parent as soon as possible.

We agree to consult with one another on all important school issues and
events such as parent-teacher conferences and to jointly decide on changes
of school curriculum, enrollment in extracurricular activities and her
attendance or participation in special school events.


Visitation

We agree that___________________ will visit
his father every 12 months for a period of 12 months. spanning
from first week of August to first week of August


Special Days- Are at the discretion of non custodial parent. They will inccur
all travel and care exspences for special holiday visits.
Mother's Day-child(ren) with mother
Father's Day-child(ren) with father

Mother's Birthday-child(ren) with mother

Father's Birthday-child(ren) with father



We agree to be flexible with our visitation schedule
and that changes/ revisions to the schedule will be by mutual consent and
with a minimum of thirty (30) days advance notice. Regardless of which
parent our child(ren) are scheduled to visit during her/his/their
vacations, we agree to adjust our respective plans to accommodate any
activities our child(ren) are involved in.

We agree to modify/rearrange our respective visitation schedules for visits
by out-of-area relatives including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and
cousins.


Parenting Decisions

Responsibility for day-to-day parenting decisions will rest with the parent
with whom the child is then residing, including vacation and holiday
parenting. Examples of parental day-to-day decisions include treatment of
minor health problems and injuries, diet, television, house rules and
discipline, bedtime, etc. Mother and Father will ensure that
_____________________ school books, book bag, lunch and sports equipment
will be given to her/him/them when she/he/they visit the other parent.

On all other significant matters involving the child(ren), we agree to
consult with each other always taking account of the child(ren)'s best
interests.

We agree that if one of us is unable to take care of our child(ren), we
shall notify the other parent so that parent has the option of providing
for the personal care of our child(ren) rather than a third party.


We agree to notify each other of any out-area trips with the child(ren)
including destination and duration of the visit.



Family Communications

Our child(ren) will be reminded by the parent s/he/they is/are with to
telephone the absent parent to that continuous parent-child contact can be
maintained throughout the week.

We agree to provide each other with residential and office phone numbers
and to notify one another immediately if these numbers are changes.

We agree that both parents shall have the right to complete information
from any physician, dentist, consultant or specialist attending to the
child(ren)'s physical or mental needs for any reaons whatsoever, and to
copies of any reports given to the other parent by such persons.

We agree that neither party shall obstruct the development and maintenance
of love and affection between the child(ren) and the other party. Neither
will interfere with reasonable and proper companionship with the other
party, including reasonable communication by telephone or writing. Neither
will do or say anything that may estrange the child(ren) from the other
parent.

This parenting plan was developed by us in furtherance of our child(ren)'s
best interests.


Major Dispute/Changes in Circumstances

In the event of a major dispute or change in circumstances regarding the
terms of this parenting plan, we agree to return to mediation in an attempt
to modify the plan either through a court appointed mediator or a private
mediator of our own choosing before bringing any action before the court.


_________________________ _________________________
NAME NAME


Subscribed before me this ___ day of _________, 20___


___________________________
NOTARY PUBLIC

My commission Expires on


any and all help insight or comments are greatly appreciated..sorry for the long winded nature of this post ><
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Wow not good at legal docs but it sounds like you hit all the needed areas. Hopefully someone will be able to give you the advice you are asking for. Good luck
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

I am very confused, are you alternating who the child lives with on a yearly basis? Is that an actually physical thing or a legal thing for tax purposes?
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:01 AM   #4
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Yea...I've never heard of a child actually living a year with one parent and then switching a year later and living with the other parent. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but I would think that would be VERY hard on a child.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalilamakarma View Post
I am very confused, are you alternating who the child lives with on a yearly basis? Is that an actually physical thing or a legal thing for tax purposes?
My question too. And the parenting plan needs some major revisions. Way too vague. You need to spell everything out, not leave details up in the air.

Will it hold up in court? What do you mean by that? The court will not agree to enforce a notorized agreement. You need to file with the court for the order to be enforceable. If you ex takes off with your child, a notarized agreement will not get you anything back.

What do you mean about worrying about your child's greater well being? Is the ex a threat? I ask this because if she is, then you need to sink the joint custody thought.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Quote:
Originally Posted by Law Student Lisa View Post
Will it hold up in court? What do you mean by that? The court will not agree to enforce a notorized agreement. You need to file with the court for the order to be enforceable. If you ex takes off with your child, a notarized agreement will not get you anything back.
I was also told anything notarized between my ex boyfriend and I would not hold up in court. AT ALL. We once did have a little letter that he typed up and gave me all custody and rights to her and just basically said I have all say in school, religion, medical care, etc. and he had it notarized. I was able to get a passport for her with it, but other than that it would mean nothing in court OR if he took her. Another thing that was a factor in pushing me into finally taking him to court.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

First, WELCOME!!!
I am impressed with your efforts...I don't think it will work, but I give you major kudos for the thoughts and skills you did display.
Unless you both homeschool, I don't see 12 months on/off as an fair option to the child. It might work for the next few years, but long term? That would be hard on the kid, imo, switching between school systems every year.
Also, I think a year is too long to be away from either parent for a whole host of reasons.
Now, I am being a little hypocritical here. My son does not see his Dad for up to 6 months at a time, and our circumstances were much like yours. We were unable to stay in the same state. Also, there are serious issues regarding my X's conduct. I wouldn't have allowed him much more time with the kid even if we lived next door to each other, if I could help it. I would have fought it.
Is there any chance your X-gf would move close to you?
Ideally, the child should spend equal time with both of you while keeping as many other things constant as possible. School, friends, extra activities....
This is just my opinion, my 2 cents worth.
Whatever you decide, I hope it goes smoothly and that ya'll can find a way to both be the best parents that you can be. Good luck!
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

thanks for the input. yes the general idea was to alternate yearly, but apparently thats not ideal. As we live on opposite sides of the country can you all give me some ideas on how to split time with both parents without disturbing my son's stability?

---------- Post added at 01:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:18 PM ----------

I guess I should explain why I bothered to draft these.. while doing research I came across this Usually it is best if parents can agree on decisions about raising children after a legal separation or divorce. The court usually accepts the parents' mutual decision, but the court's decision about custody must be made in the best interests of the child. After review of the agreement's terms, the duty imposed on the court by law may require that the court not accept the parents' agreement" which lead me to believe I needed to have some sort of document showing that we ( ex and I ) had come to an agreement concerning these matters. If this is not the proper avenue can someone point me in the proper direction please.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
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Not equally, no. Usually it goes something like 5 weeks in the summer and a week or so at spring break with alternating holidays and birthdays for the non-custodial parent, who pays child support, btw. Often the right to claim the child on taxes is split bi-yearly.
I wish I had better things to tell you, but that's what usually happens if courts are involved (I think). My X doesn't even get that (bet you think I am a ______).
Bottom line is, if you want equal time with your child you need to be where your child is. I fully understand your delimma and I truely sympathize...but that doesn't make it different than it is. I so sorry.

Just saw your edit/addition. If you and your X can agree on something, then I think it will be accepted by the court. But I still don't see how you will divide this much dofferently than as described above without interfereing with the childs schooling. I don't know if a court would approve of a chils bouncing between two school a nation apart...or even a few miles apart.
Now, I could be wrong, there are many here more knowledgable than me. They will be along...
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:01 PM   #10
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I'm posting so I remember to come back and check this thread later tonight. I haven't read most of it.

However, I will say that the Court's won't enforce anything that hasn't been approved by the Court and entered into official record.

Further, many states require parents attend mediation and parenting classes before the Court will approve any kind of parenting plan or custody arrangement. I don't know the laws in New Jersey.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

I should mention that any court actions will be carried out in arizona. thats where my ex and son are currently. I however am in new jersey
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:26 PM   #12
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Here is a link to AR child support parenting plan info http://www.supreme.state.az.us/nav2/divorce.htm
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Quote:
Originally Posted by idig View Post
Here is a link to AR child support parenting plan info http://www.supreme.state.az.us/nav2/divorce.htm
That looks more like AZ info to me
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

thanks for the replies..I have been to those links previously. Seems like most info caters to families where both parents are local. Starting to sense that the court system may be my only reprieve
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexmichele07 View Post
That looks more like AZ info to me
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainhensley View Post
thanks for the input. yes the general idea was to alternate yearly, but apparently thats not ideal.
That is certainly not in the best interest of the children. It would be very unfair to do that to them, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainhensley View Post
As we live on opposite sides of the country can you all give me some ideas on how to split time with both parents without disturbing my son's stability?
If I were you, I'd be looking for a job in Arizona.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

I highly doubt that any court will agree to joint custody based on the facts you have given. Also, alternate years with each parent------not realistic or in the best interests of the child. Would it be a good idea to alternate schools each year? What about sports, friends, activities?

The best you could hope for is summers with your child. Usually 6 weeks is the norm in summer, with winter and spring breaks thrown in. This accomodates your child's school schedule and is more realistic. But I too think that if you want a meaningful, as well as lasting relationship--looking for jobs in Arizona is a good option.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:41 AM   #18
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Quote:
Originally Posted by Law Student Lisa View Post
I highly doubt that any court will agree to joint custody based on the facts you have given. Also, alternate years with each parent------not realistic or in the best interests of the child. Would it be a good idea to alternate schools each year? What about sports, friends, activities?

The best you could hope for is summers with your child. Usually 6 weeks is the norm in summer, with winter and spring breaks thrown in. This accomodates your child's school schedule and is more realistic. But I too think that if you want a meaningful, as well as lasting relationship--looking for jobs in Arizona is a good option.
what makes you think joint custody would not be granted?? I also find it interesting you assume the best place for him to attend school is in arizona. A drug ridden sub par school system.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:51 AM   #19
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Hey Mountain,

I think Lisa just means they won't give joint based on alternating yearly on different sides of the country.

I think we are just thinking you could check into moving to Arizona because we don't know if it is an option, if you could get your ex to come where you are.

We aren't against you, man. This was new to all of us at one time or another. If it is best for the child to be with you, I would strongly advise getting the best lawyer you can. They are familiar with the laws, the system, and usually have an idea of personalities of judges.

There are a couple of people I have seen on here who have been awarded custody without a lawyer. But man it is gonna be difficult big time to fight a custody battle (if it comes to that) in AZ from NJ.

Where does your ex stand with all this? Any chance of her agreeing to you having the child during the school year and her for the 6 weeks in the summer, etc?
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainhensley View Post
what makes you think joint custody would not be granted?? I also find it interesting you assume the best place for him to attend school is in arizona. A drug ridden sub par school system.
My X and I have joint custody, meaning he gets a say in thnigs like schooling, medical decisions, extreem sports (anything involving risk), even though we live far away from each other. That was approved by the courts in NY.
However "Joint' or 50/50 visitation is something else entirely.
I don't think that anyone is suggesting that AZ or any other place is the "best" place for your child to go to school...but merely that it's best for the child to go to school in one place consistantly. If the child is going to live primarily in AZ, then that would have to be the place.
You could try to get custodial rights, but it would be very hard, if not impossible, unless his Mom was doing really, really irresponsible things. I mean big time, especially since you chose to leave the state. Even if you could get custodial rights in AZ, I know in NY it is generally not allowed for one parent to take a child more than 50 miles away from the other (to live) unless both parents agree to it. My X agreed to it, or I would still be in NY...and he is a repeat felon, who got a DWI recently (and he has a shady history with minor females).
So, if you want to see your child equally, still allow your child as normal a life as possible, and have any realistic hope of getting a court to approve of your efforts, then either your X is gonna move to Jersey, or you will have to stay in AZ. I know it's frustrating, but one of you is gonna have to give up something you want, either the equal time or the seperate geography, for the sake of the child...or the child is gonna pay.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:06 AM   #21
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

Ok I see what you all are saying.. and appreciate the input. I don't feel it's outside the realm of possibility for my ex to agree to me as primary custodian. Thank you again for your input and support
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:38 AM   #22
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Default Re: seeking advice and consult

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Originally Posted by mountainhensley View Post
Ok I see what you all are saying.. and appreciate the input. I don't feel it's outside the realm of possibility for my ex to agree to me as primary custodian. Thank you again for your input and support
I wish you much luck and happiness. You should both move to Va! I'll drive your son to school when the time comes, .
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