My 14 year old does not want to choose his living arrangement

Autum - posted on 12/21/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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His father thinks 50/50 is seeing the kids every other day equally, although it's not actually even because he works and I don't. The court order mentioned every other weekend, but the father thinks its every other day. He threatened to report me if I don't agree with him. It has been like this since my son and his sister were toddlers, so I'm used to the schedule and have bonded with them that the idea of going by the court order would only make me worry about my kids, more for my 14 year old because he lives with his father for the most part. The kids go to different schools. I have asked my son which place he wants to live, but he never say so. He's used to the back and forth routine. I'm glad in that respect, but it would be easier if he chooses a place. Because I see him more I feel I should be the custodial parent, but my son isn't agreeing to the idea of living with me. His father denied that I spend more time with the kids and refuse to sign a tax document that would entitle me tax benefit for supporting my son more than 50%.

I would like my son to live here so he can get a better education and closely monitor his daily homework, where as if on the day I don't see him, I have no way of knowing. I have voiced my concern to the father but he only gets defensive. Not having custody is not giving me the right to allow my son to seek treatment for his ADHD, that his father denied he has. He's failing two classes and I cannot do anything about it. After a consultant with an attorney they only say I'm complaining about the father. I know I have more time because I'm home, but I should not be the only parent to instill responsibilities in our kids. No I do not get child support because of the 50/50. Other problems are medical/dental insurance. The father's wife who is living elsewhere because of their marital trouble, has insurance coverage for the kids, but she does not provide me contact or rights so I can discuss the kids insurance status, etc. Since I'm the one taking them to appointment because the father does not have time, the bill comes to me requesting payment. I understand step parent isn't require to cover step kids, but the father does not have insurance. He's also trying to avoid paying bills if he does not take his child to an appointment. Sorry for the lengthy description. Thanks

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Christine - posted on 12/21/2013

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My husband and I have both been divorced and I'm actually writing a book on placement/custody differences so I have been spending the last 18 months studying different people's agreements down at the courthouse; however- I'm not an attorney or a legal professional (just my disclaimer!)

I have a 10 year old with ADHD and OCD and would go nuts if I had significantly more time to spend helping him with his homework and his bio-dad did not, but yet I was not allowed the extra time with him.

A couple of things from my perspective- I was told over and over by numerous attorney, judges, and GALs that custody 50/50 did not mean placement 50/50. Custody is decision making authority. I have 100% placement of my children right now because my ex was in jail for awhile; yet we still have 50/50 custody. If one of my kids needs major medical elective surgery,now that he is out of jail,I have to run it by him. (Obviously, it was temporarily waived when he was incarcerated!) I can't move more than 100 miles from their dad without going to court, etc.

Right now we are in a court case because their dad wants more time, eventually he will get supervised every other weekends, I am guessing (we will go slow and probably work up to that)- but he will always have 50/50 custody (and yes, I did try to fight that for a long time, but despite my expensive attempts, I could not win).

Now- the child support issue. Even though you are 50/50- you should still get child support if he makes more than you. Unless his placement of your kids is significantly more than yours and he can prove he has way more expenses.
I have 100% placement and I work and my ex still had to pay child support. (And it accrued while he was incarcerated).

My current husband has three kids and has 50/50 custody and 50/50 placement (more like we have them 70/30 in practice because his ex is crazy, but whatever)- and he worked out a deal where he pays a little less in support each month but he covers 100% of the medical instead of 50/50 like most divorces. He also agreed to providing 100% of the clothing for both homes (which is annoying every season to buy 5 pairs of jeans for both homes, but again- it probably works out money wise at the end of the year). His thought process was that if they split the medical, his ex would never pay her half and he would get socked with it anyways or it would end up on his credit when she didn't pay.

If your divorce agreement says that your ex carried the health insurance on your children and he chose to do this through his wife's employer. Then even if they are living apart- (but not divorced yet) she can't take them off. (Until divorce is finalized). He needs to get his head out of his a$$ and talk to her. You have a right to copies of the insurance cards. But that should be in your divorce statement- I think that is standardized, who carries the health insurance. I carried my stepchildren through my employer for a while. Since they are dependents, you should be able to call the insurance company yourself and request replacement cards too if you can get the carrier name and phone number and even if your ex has the policy number (or if you can find it somewhere on an EOB). It's not a matter of "rights"- they are your children and the insurance company can't withhold information from a parent of a minor.

Anyways. I hope everything works out for you… Good luck!

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Autum - posted on 12/21/2013

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I do appreciate your input on this. I'm remarried and my husband makes enough so I can stay at home and watch my youngest. As far as expenses between me and their father, I'm not sure which they are. The typical household expenses if I'm to compare them, would be more on my side. Our court order was not detailed to say must provide insurance info, or if time spent with a kid is more than established to have the other claim the child on his or her taxes. Our divorce was pro se so there's no fine print. I have contacted the step mom's dental insurance, but the insurance refuse to disclose any information. I've contacted civil rights and was not able to get answers there either. Contacted my husband's insurance to see if they could tell me what I can do about the HIPAA they claim to know, well they haven't the clue. I cannot afford filing and opening cases as I don't work or can't find work, and of course my husband's income is too much for assistance but too little to afford a lawyer. This is insane I can't do anything and it's painful to see your child suffer. All I can do is tell him he can tell me if he wants to live here and if he can't say to write it down and sign his name.

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