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Custody/divorce
Old 12-19-2017, 10:24 PM   #1
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Custody/divorce

Don't know if this is the right place for this. Don't have a clue about custody fights, but my 40 year old son is going through this. It's quit nasty. The court wants a custody evaluation, costs $5000, to be split by both parties. He is deep in debt and cannot afford this. But I don't see that there is anything he can do.
Anyone got ideas?
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Old 12-19-2017, 10:44 PM   #2
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In my experience (non-lawyer here).

Frankly he is screwed.
The courts favor women having custody of the children, and let the father visit (every second weekend and alternate Thursdays).
The importance of winning custody (for the wife) vs sharing custody, is that it means the husband pays child support (which can be spent on anything as it is not monitored or enforced, even beer will work).

The wifes lawyer probably knows he is in debt, the side that can pay longer or more, has an advantage, so forcing him to undergo assessment just puts more pressure on him.
The assessment will go through all the motions, but then assign custody to the wife in well over 90% of custody fought divorces. Unless the wife is a drug addict drunk, she will win.

Who has the house and the children right now ? (often it is the wife, and after a year or so, what judge is going to pull the children out of that house to change the custody, without vastly overwhelming reasons).
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Old 12-19-2017, 11:13 PM   #3
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You could suggest your son try to mediate custody (and the financial split) with his soon-to-be-ex.

Mediation is cheaper, faster, the parties have more control, and can probably come up with a better solution than a judge can. Not sure which, if any of those, will appeal to your DIL.

I like attorney mediators because they can also give each party an idea of what courts would find reasonable or unreasonable while remaining impartial. There are also mediators that are not attorneys and they can be good too.

He can probably ask the court to order mediation, which they should be happy to do. No judge relishes the idea of trying to construct a divorce decree and would rather have the couple figure it out.

There should be a list of court-approved mediators available.
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Old 12-19-2017, 11:19 PM   #4
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The courts favor women having custody of the children, and let the father visit (every second weekend and alternate Thursdays .
I dont know a single person or child who has this arrangement anymore. 50%/50% split, joint custody, no child support, seems to be the norm now.
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Old 12-19-2017, 11:39 PM   #5
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They tried mediation, with no results. She has become vindictive to the point she doesn't want him to have any custody. Crazy part is for the last ten years he was stay at home dad.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:05 AM   #6
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Crazy part is for the last ten years he was stay at home dad.
This should put him in a strong position to get shared custody. But it likely cannot happen if he fails or drops out of the custody evaluation. $5000 seems very steep. Is there a reason it is so high?

An acrimonious divorce can result in thousands of dollars of legal fees for even $10 of assets being disputed. If there's any way to reduce the rancor and seek cooperation, that would be highly desirable.
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Old 12-20-2017, 06:41 AM   #7
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A different thought, is $2500 too much to (almost) guarantee that you will be able to spend time with your grandkids?
If his ex is that way with him do you think she will allow you to continue to see your grandkids? Grandparents have almost no rights unfortunately.
My son went through this a couple years ago and we are just now being able to get our grandkids at times that aren't his weekends.
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Old 12-20-2017, 07:38 AM   #8
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Nobody wins in divorce court. Except the lawyers.

Remember it's about the kids. Not proving which parent is better. Not making the other parent look bad.

Remember in this land of freedom, we own nothing. The court can and will take whatever they want from your son.

Sorry, this is opening up some old wounds. My heart goes out to your son. All I can say is take the high road, do (and say) what he knows is right for the kids, don't focus on material things, don't get into petty arguments. Try to see things from the kids' point of view, which means they should never be in the middle of their parents' disagreements. It'll pay off in the end, in ways no-one can even imagine now.

Good luck!!
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
You could suggest your son try to mediate custody (and the financial split) with his soon-to-be-ex.

Mediation is cheaper, faster, the parties have more control, and can probably come up with a better solution than a judge can. Not sure which, if any of those, will appeal to your DIL.

I like attorney mediators because they can also give each party an idea of what courts would find reasonable or unreasonable while remaining impartial. There are also mediators that are not attorneys and they can be good too.

He can probably ask the court to order mediation, which they should be happy to do. No judge relishes the idea of trying to construct a divorce decree and would rather have the couple figure it out.

There should be a list of court-approved mediators available.
You cannot mediate or come to a nice equitable 50/50 split and joint custody if the other person wants it ALL.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:18 AM   #10
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Nobody wins in divorce court. Except the lawyers.

Remember it's about the kids. Not proving which parent is better. Not making the other parent look bad.

Remember in this land of freedom, we own nothing. The court can and will take whatever they want from your son.

Sorry, this is opening up some old wounds. My heart goes out to your son. All I can say is take the high road, do (and say) what he knows is right for the kids, don't focus on material things, don't get into petty arguments. Try to see things from the kids' point of view, which means they should never be in the middle of their parents' disagreements. It'll pay off in the end, in ways no-one can even imagine now.

Good luck!!
+1

Very well said. Year's ago I watched a buddy and his wife rack up 75K in attorney bills fighting over a divorce(they didn't have children together).

In the end they reconciled their differences. Of course the attorneys still wanted got their money.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:21 AM   #11
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This should put him in a strong position to get shared custody. But it likely cannot happen if he fails or drops out of the custody evaluation. $5000 seems very steep. Is there a reason it is so high?

An acrimonious divorce can result in thousands of dollars of legal fees for even $10 of assets being disputed. If there's any way to reduce the rancor and seek cooperation, that would be highly desirable.
You would think being a Stay at Home Dad would help, but I was a stay at home dad for 5 years. The assessment went on for 40 pages detailing how I was a great, honest, caring person, and my ex was decitiful, lying, egotistical (she actually lied and was caught by the Pychiatrist lying), then on the last page, it said:
"As we all know women are the best care givers for children" so she gets custody.

The conclusion was based on societal conformity and sexism.

Why is the cost so high, because it is a professional that makes a portion of his money from divorces, when in divorce, you quickly learn everyone has their hand out for $$.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:37 AM   #12
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They tried mediation, with no results. She has become vindictive to the point she doesn't want him to have any custody. Crazy part is for the last ten years he was stay at home dad.
Expected, after all she has a clear path to winning it all, custody and $$$.
She can then bad-mouth the dad for years to destroy their relationship with their father to justify her bad behavior.

My Ex was like this and she was the unfaithful one in the relationship, but since divorce is no-fault, she freely admitted it as the cause of the divorce (you need a cause when filing for divorce).
The earliest justice in the entire painful thing, was that her boyfriend dumped her as soon as she started the divorce and went back to his wife !
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:17 AM   #13
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They tried mediation, with no results. She has become vindictive to the point she doesn't want him to have any custody. Crazy part is for the last ten years he was stay at home dad.
Sounds like she wants to "win" more than anything else. I wonder if her tune might change if he said, "Ok.... I give... you get custody.... have a nice life."
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:25 AM   #14
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They tried mediation, with no results. She has become vindictive to the point she doesn't want him to have any custody.
wow, this is exactly what my son is going through. He came home from work one day and she had packed up and left with child. He had no idea where she was for almost 2 weeks, only communicated by email. She has shown a personality that never was seen in the past. Lawyer fees are out of this world.

I feel for you, very difficult to watch our child go through this. And limited time with grandchild is the hardest, at least for us right now.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:38 AM   #15
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If the money can't be found for the evaluation, what would be his next move? We have been able to help only so much.
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Custody/divorce
Old 12-20-2017, 09:42 AM   #16
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Custody/divorce

Glinka, I can offer no advise other then to counsel to your son
avoid being sucked into any arguments. Let your lawyer do the talking.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:45 AM   #17
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See if both parties will stipulate to joint custody. I did that when my daughter was 8, when my daughter was 15 and I moved to Peru, my ex sued for full custody. I dragged it out in court and it cost me 15k, finally when my Daughter was 17 1/2, My EX won full custody for 6 mos. at a cost of 50k. Don't know if she thought it was worth it, but on my books it's recorded as a win!
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:05 AM   #18
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If the money can't be found for the evaluation, what would be his next move? We have been able to help only so much.
Did they own the matrimonial home ? If so his lawyer could motion to delay the assessment so the house can be sold (or refinanced) to take out $$$, so he can pay for the divorce.

Make sure you document any money you give him as a loan, as it will help him show the court he is poor. Problem with lending/giving him money, is of course that the court will see him as having unlimited resources, and spare no expense, as you are a proxy for payment.

If he truly has zero savings/assets and debts, then ask the court to order the other side to pay the full amount, as it will just be another number in the equalization equation.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:16 AM   #19
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Do not be surprised if your son has to pay his wife's lawyer fee too.

In the end, it would have been cheaper for your son to find a woman he hated, and then buy her a house.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:20 AM   #20
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These situations are sad. No one wins.

I know two instances of 50/50 joint custody that work very well. The parents live in separate houses in the same school district. The kids spend five days in one house, then to the other house for five days. It works well because the parents have put the kids welfare ahead of their intense dislike of each other. It helps that neither parent is the “weekend parent” that only does the fun stuff and doesn’t have to nag about homework, etc.
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