Custody Settlement Agreement

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My son is now 4 months old. The father and I did not get along near the end of the pregnancy but I was verbally and mentally abused. He is an extreme narcissist. I filed a domestic violence case against him but was 11 days post partum and also couldn't afford a lawyer and decided to not go to court as I would have lost some time with my son (they gave him two visitations in interim and he misfed him formula he was very allergic to causing severe vomiting, crying, rash, fever, etc). Since, I have visited my family in PA then stayed with a friend for 2 weeks as he kicked us out and had an eviction on us from our home with all our items still inside and changed the locks. He has previously said he prayed our son wasn't his (he is going through a divorce that's not finalized and it was NOT because I was pregnant it was pre meeting me) and one night he couldn't stop his crying and said "I cant get the little son of a b*tch to shut up". He spit in my face and said he'd kill my dog and beat me. He's left visitations early that I've allowed him to have...ONLY with me there every time. I have begged him to see my son is too young to leave me as we've bonded and my son cries when he holds him and he doesn't understand how to console him. He also has an at home business and works 24/7 out of state or in state and CONSTANTLY on the phone and puts my son second. My son will cry for a bottle and he'll make a plate of food before feeding him ugh.

Anyways, I didn't want to spend a ton on a lawyer and ended up getting one because he wouldn't back down. I have all of the texts and emails with him saying he'd pay 50% medical, and all of the negative things he said and did I stated above. I feel id have a good case (I too got angry because of his lack of parenting in texts and emails though). I have offered a settlement but wonder if I'm doing wrong? Fathers these days are getting more custody though and this seems to be a middle ground for us.

I guess the second part is...anything I don't want to forget to put into the agreement that anyone has encountered? Thank you so much for your advice.

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Raye - posted on 02/24/2015

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Additionally, to your comment "working together is more efficient and will last longer and not require court later on"... you should try to work together, even after the agreement or court ruling has been put in place. But it should not be you always giving in and him always doing whatever. Parents make sacrifices for their kids, and he will have to adjust his work schedule to accommodate if he wants to be part of the child's life. You will need to communicate effectively to make exchanges go smoothly.

Raye - posted on 02/24/2015

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His time having the child in his care should not be left up to whenever is convenient for your ex. Children need structure and routine. If he's going to take the child, regardless of if it's for an hour, 3 hours, or overnight, should happen on the same day(s) every week. If he wants to come over to your place and spend time (assuming you agree to that) then that could be a looser schedule, because the child is still at your house.

Do not feel guilty for asking for child support. Do not feel guilty for claiming your child only on your taxes as primary caregiver. These are measures that the court would put in place that allow the child the best advantage. It's not about you and your ex. It's about that child.

Let me tell you, your comment "working together is more efficient and will last longer and not require court later on" is not a true statement. Whatever agreement you come up with that is not instituted by the court will leave the door open for him to continue doing whatever he wants and disrupt you and your son's lives. You will have no legal recourse to hold him accountable. Either way, you could end up in court later on, and if you have court orders to start with that is your only protection.

Raye - posted on 02/23/2015

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I don't think anyone said that this man is a good person. Just that he should have access to his child. If he chooses not to utilize that time or care for his child, that's unfortunate. You have the best chance of a favorable outcome if you get the court involved to either set or finalize the agreement. Then, if you have to go back to court, it's not your word against his. Even a mediated agreement doesn't not always stand up in court.

Raye - posted on 02/23/2015

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You don't go into detail of what you have offered in the settlement or that you're trying to get him to agree to. Ask for custody and child support to be awarded to you. Ask for supervised visitation for the father for a set period of time, and detail what conditions need to be met to have unsupervised visitation. If you went through the court, they would have guidelines for that. Make sure anything that is actually agreed to by both parties is submitted to the courts as your custody agreement (if so allowed where you live), so if someone fails to live up to their part, you have recourse to go back to the courts for help. If you have just a mediation agreement, this may not hold up in court later, so you need to have something actually filed by the courts.

Your child may be too young for overnight visitation, but he would be fine for a few hours with the father. Many moms in similar situations feel they alone can handle the newborn safely, and that's not true. the father should not be denied visitation. If he doesn't show up or leaves early then that's his choice. but you should be the bigger person and hold up your end of the bargain.

Now to argue semantics with today's language lesson... A Narcissist has a strong need for admiration, they are overly concerned with their accomplishments being recognized, and they lack ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. An Egoist has an unremitting pursuit of one's own self-interest. Typically they display egocentric behaviors of needing to be the center of attention, having everything revolve around them or be done for them, and is generally only concerned with the final outcome of an event (that they get their way) rather than another’s intentions. Your ex is probably an egoist.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/23/2015

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2015

"Fathers these days are getting more custody"...Perhaps that is because courts are finally figuring out that Mothers and Fathers have equal rights to be parents to their children!

First, I'm not saying you may not have a case about abusiveness towards you, personally, but you seem to be expecting this guy to be superdad in that department, that he should automatically know every thing about parenting, soothing, etc. So, let me ask you: Did YOU KNOW exactly how to do every last little thing with your child, or are you still learning? Answer: You're still learning. WE ALL are.\

So, ask your attorney for a basic custody/visitation petition. Remember: Custody/visitation and support are SEPARATE issues, and will be treated as such. You do NOT have final say as to whether or not your ex may have access to the child that the two of you created. If you feel that the man will be a threat, and you have hard proof that this is so, you may give that to your attorney as grounds for supervised visits.

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Heather - posted on 02/24/2015

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Thank you guys. I agree and appreciate insight from others, as this is a tough situation to figure out in doing what is best for my little guy.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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Evelyn I apologize if I came off as though I was being snide. Maybe that is something he also feels. I agree this is something the court will have to mandate to be followed. My assumption is that when our attorneys draft something or we just go through the whole process that they will decide this. I think this was just my last ditch effort to avoid a lengthy exhausting painful court hash. I think I've offered so much for many reasons. It's part of my nature to give but I also need to keep my son in mind, it's costly but I'd rather be homeless that risk danger to my son and need to remember that (which is why I've done monitored visitation...especially if it goes to court so I can show I don't believe he safely monitors my son...he went underwater during bath yesterday for split second bc he takes his eyes off him to mess with things), and because I want to be civil and not have my son look at me when older and think I tried to unjustly keep him from his father as the father stated he would tell my son. My son is sick tonight and I actually mustered up the nerve to request he pick up medication. As he did but he dropped it off and ran out the door. This all after he missed calls when I said son was sick again and I was calling the doctor. Last time he left us at the ER alone after making us wait until he returned back to the state and I did the ultra sound and X-rays alone with him while he went to write emails. I appreciate everyone's advice and listening to this mini vent session. It's allowed me to see what I'm typing and actually absorb it.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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Evelyn, how is me offering him ANY time he has free making a demand? I literally get shot down on him doing visitations or me requesting assistance on days for my work? I sat with him and ASKED him WHAT days worked and times. I have been the ONLY one flexing? I get it needs to be both just feel like you're deeming me to be an impossible person to work with when in fact its quite the opposite. He doesn't want a set schedule. He wants it when its convenient. Not sure how I am being the demanding one by wanting my son to get into a routine and schedule? What do you suggest I offer? Anytime he wants with no notice? I simply asked that if he wants to see him to shoot me a text or email with advanced notice to ensure I don't have plans already. I've had to move to a third floor apartment up 4 flights of stairs...alone...he didn't help or watch my son. Not around all week because he's out of town for events. Not home last weekend because he was in North Carolina for 4 days. Doesn't ask about his son but I send him pictures or updates of health (he has FPIES), doctor appointments that I am only one that takes time to set up, insurance coverage that I am provider for, daycare which I set up a week prior to returning to MD because he forgot to do it, let him come over on a snow day where we were off due to daycare being closed and openly invited? How am I being demanding by being open? Maybe I should actually put my foot down and stand for something that benefits ME but in the end the only one that matters is my son. I have literally bent backwards to work around what his father can do. It only leaves me with getting him at 630 in mornings to do all the travel and getting him ready and disrupting my work schedule (again I would if need be), split up weekends where my son can never go visit his grand parents, great grandparents, nieces, aunts, uncles, etc because he'd have EVERY weekend (the only thing I requested that he flex on), etc. I have reduced my schedule to work 8-5 and NOTHING else so that I can care for my son as he takes trips to John's Hopkins and I use my lunch hours as time to do whatever I need to for my son (get formula which can only be found certain places by traveling, reach daycare and insurance company, correspondence with lawyer, etc). You make it seem like I should sacrifice everything and he should just do it when convenient just so I don't stir a pot. I don't want to cause chaos but I also think that working together is more efficient and will last longer and not require court later on. I hate walking on eggshells to not make him mad. I've offered that even as primary caregiver we alternate taxes each year, we split costs 50/50 not child support out the wazoo for him. Its his way or no way.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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Heres a good example. Again, he's trying to do better but the (what I believe to be) narcissist and neglectful individual kicks in whether he realizes it or not. He handed my son off during his visitation yesterday to mark up his schedule for the week and post it on facebook (took about 30 minutes). He then text for 30 minutes broken up, then took 2-3 calls and looked at me if I needed to keep my son quiet elsewhere because he has to pretend to be a high executive to others when they call. If my son spits up he holds him far away and rushes to clean off his Gucci shoes before my son. Just makes me angry I guess. Makes my baby sit in the cart in his carseat in the cold yesterday while he loaded his groceries...I've told him over and over about it...in a nice way believe it or not. I hate that my son might not feel loved or appreciated.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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Oh no I offer it openly. I literally write him and say if he ever wants more than he can have it. He's not available on weeknights because of work, not available on weekends except sundays. I'm not sure what other time to offer him? I actually don't offer more on weekends, I offer more on weekdays. Unfortunately, he never has time. Its hard to explain his work schedule in short. Evenings are his work time for meetings, daytime is to catch up on computer items, emails, phone calls, etc. Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are for his big events. Hence why in MY offer to him I requested he have him Monday nights, Friday DAYS, and Saturday NIGHTS. All worked around his schedule. He hasn't flexed on any of my requests except it not being beneficial to drop my son off at 630am as he'll have to wake him really early to feed him one day a week and throw off a whole schedule. If someone works 24/7 I'm not sure how else to bend and flex for them. I've attempted to sit and make lists of days that work but he's wanting to cut 3 days in 3 different ways (drop off, pick up, drop back off). Is that REALLY in the best interest of the child or can we agree that me flexing is better than that. What would likely happen in court is one day and every other weekend...which I KNOW would hurt him in business because he'd have to miss his Saturday meetings twice a month OR give me first right of refusal that I would not decline. I'm not trying to argue, I'm literally trying to see if it makes sense since its semi difficult to explain via short snippets :)

Raye - posted on 02/23/2015

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Also sounds like, out of the kindness of your heart, you're providing all this extra time to him, but it just so happens to mostly be on the weekends when he said his work is most important. That is not his fault for not taking you up on your offer. That is your fault for making the extra visitation times when you know he is unavailable.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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I guess I should mention I work a full time job as an engineer. I am the president and leader of many extra curricular clubs and such. However, due to his fathers work schedule that I have to work around, I am unable to work OT or go to these events. I don't mind because its more time with my son, but note that it is ME who is giving this up while he's still pursuing being leader in everything and gaining stature. I wish him all the best in this, but just wish he would look at see at the accomplishments he misses.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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I absolutely can see how that comes off that way and appreciate that viewpoint. I am open to him for visitations upon request. Unfortunately, he does not ask for additional time. I do allow him to spend alone time with him on days of doctors appointments, picking up from daycare, etc. The problem is, if I don't put times in stone, he will not request a time. He LITERALLY works all day EVERYDAY. His business requires nightly meetings at 4, 630, and 830pm in many different states. He also hosts events Tuesdays at 730pm, Friday 7-9pm and Saturday 10am until 2pm and several after that. each monday and Friday he has noon meetings for 2 hours and daily quotas. I have flexed to assist in working AROUND his schedule as I know if I do not, he will not budge. He wanted us to swap one weekend Friday until Saturday 8am then he gets him back Sunday after 1pm until 6pm (4 swaps for a baby at 4 months old). Then the opposite weekend get him Friday 3-6pm then Saturday 5pm until sunday 1pm. Again 4 swaps a weekend. I just cant justify this being beneficial and honestly good for such a young child. Maybe it is the motherly instinct in me. I guess I'm just fearful he will continue to neglect him. Heres an example...I was visiting my family over Christmas break before I went back to work after maternity leave ended. I offered him to come to PA to visit and spend the holiday with his son. Mind you it is a 5 hour drive. However, the weekend prior and after he drove 6 hours one way up and another 6 back in one day for a 2 hour event (he doesn't get paid hourly its MLM). His only response was "you know I throw a Christmas Eve party every year". So he declined. He calls me crazy to my son to his face, spit in my face, shoves my face and I understand that my son is young and cant comprehend but I don't want it to continue to the point that if nothing is set in stone that can be accountable in court, that this will continue and my son will be effected. No matter what, our attorney's will be drafting the agreement.

Again, I have flexed in so many areas to try to be "fair" but to also guard my very young son. We haven't been at each others throats recently so we're attempting to work on things to coordinate and collaborate what is best. I guess I'm just fearful with his drinking/drug abuse and emotionless attitude towards anything that doesn't benefit or suite him.

Fortunately, I do have evidence of the domestic violence, the wishing his son wasn't his, his work schedule, his mother saying he wouldn't even have time to raise a son, his mother saying she lives with an alcoholic, etc. I honestly want to be fair, mindful of my son, and I think all parents want more time but I'm attempting to meet their someday as I've requested for it to be tiered with age. Thank you all for your advice, input, and things to open my eyes to subjects I may have overlooked on my own behalf.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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I should also say that I currently offer Sundays all day after church (1pm-bedtime) at my house visitation, Wednesdays after bible study 6pm-bedtime, and Fridays 5pm-bedtime (which he declines every week but one). I also offer additional times for milestones, events, etc. I am doing it this way to monitor since he neglects and to assist in patterns ive learned from my son and his needs.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2015

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I should clarify that I do want my son's father in his life...if he makes him a priority. He travels weekly 1200-1800 miles and out of state at least 4 times a year. He also takes phone calls for his business while my son screams. I don't really care about support...do I need it yes, however, my son being cared for properly is my main concern (we currently are on highest formula due to a severe milk protein allergy). However, he rolls around in a Jag XKR worth $900 a month but he refused to buy an $8 outfit at walmart and claims he only makes $2100 (I lived with him...his rent will be $1350...doesn't add up). He simply wants time to save face and to lower cost so I attempted him to pay nothing but split daycare and health insurance that I have through my employer.

The father attempted to get Wednesdays so that his mother (whom lives with a SEVERE alcoholic and has held a gun to her). To me, this isn't HIM getting custody. Its him just saying he has it and pawning my son off when he LOVES his daycare providers. I asked for first right of refusal and he doesn't want to do it, knowing he'll need to pawn him off. As for learning new things all the time, the answer is yes. However, I helped raise twins and an older daughter with my ex for 4 years. When my son was sick at 9 days old I couldn't drive and needed to get to the pharmacy for his meds. His father made us stand by the door and said he refused to go in public without getting ready, brushing his teeth, looking good, etc. (narcissist).

Although I do not believe he should do overnights away this young as it breaks bonds that have been created and causes psychological issues as he ages, I have proposed the following...and he has semi agreed but I'm sure will come up with something:

Every Monday overnight.
Every other Friday from 8am-5pm (I'm at work and he is willing to not 'do work' since his weekends are the most important for his work)
Every other Saturday from 12pm until sunday 10am and Tuesday 8am-wednesday 8am.

He refuses to miss Saturdays for his events, he will be accepting a President position in a marketing tiny little town thing on Thursdays and wanted to drop him off at 630am to me (not very fair to my son).

His father has missed, walked out on, cancelled, been late, etc to almost all but 3 visitations in 4 months. He spent the night at his friends when he was 11 days old and out of town at 17 days old for a weekend.

I just want to be sure I'm avoiding going to court (which may be inevitable) in the future again. (i.e. - include tuition, sporting camps split, Fridays he has will need replaced with evening because our son will be at school, etc). Thank you.

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