Custody of children...Help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2014
Custody of children...Help!
6
Wed, 05-28-2014 - 3:06pm

Hi everybody out there,

I'm a 37 year old dad and just beginning the divorce process.  I was completely caught off guard by when my wife filed for divorce but I guess she'd been seeing someone for the last 6 months or so of our marriage.  I'm completely lost.  We have two young children.  I work a lot and for the majority of our 1o year marriage my wife was at home with the kids.  My main concern is custody over our children.  I'm hoping for 50/50 custody but I'm scared the courts will lean in her favour because she's their mom.  Does anyone know what the greatest deciding factors are for granting custody to one parent over the other?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 05-28-2014 - 4:53pm

The deciding factor is what's best for the kids.  I'm a divorce lawyer and  if a father came to me asking about custody I'd ask him things like--who takes the kids to the doctor?  who goes to parent teacher conferences?  who takes them to their dance lessons, sports, etc.?  I think it's hard for a dad to get custody when there has been a stay at home mom--not because the mom is a better parent, but basically that's been the arrangement that the 2 of you worked out so why change things now?  More states are moving toward shared parenting time but not necessarily 50-50.  By the way you spell "favour" I figure that you are in Canada or the UK so laws may be different there.  Now if you say that you work "a lot" but want 50-50 custody, how do you plan to do that?  Will you reduce your time working?  Will you have a babysitter?  If there's a choice between having kids with their mom and a babysitter, the parent will win out.  Do the 2 of you plan to live close by so that if you share custody it's easy for the kids to go between both houses?  I don't know if they are in school yet, but you have to take practical things into consideration.  If you want time with the kids, you need to figure out how to do that in a way that's good for the kids.

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Wed, 05-28-2014 - 8:56pm

While I went through the courts, I learned that custody means the decision making for education, religion, and health issues....at least in my state.  I was told that it is rare to get sole custody, but I was able to do so because my ex did not want his OCD, ADD, anger, and drinking issues being made public.  In my US state, custody is different from visitation which is the amount of time you get to spend with your children.  I think you should talk to an attorney in your area that knows the law.  Unless you have done something really bad, I can't imagine that you would not have shared custody.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2014
Thu, 05-29-2014 - 7:45am

thanks to everyone for their support (and yes, good eye, musiclover I am a Canadian).

I would absolutely be willing to shift my work schedule or cut back on hours to make more time for my kids. they are the light of my life and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Does the fact of her affair make my case more compelling to a judge?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 05-29-2014 - 10:51am

Not usually.  Judges have seen far worse things than people having affairs and probably a good percentage of people who are getting divorced are there because they already found someone else, so unless the new person is a bad person, it doesn't make much difference.  Having an affair made her a bad wife but it doesn't necessarily mean that she's a bad mother.

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Fri, 05-30-2014 - 7:46am

Legalities aside, I think someone that has an affair proves that they are not loyal, they lie, they have a narcissistic side...past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.  Regardless, what is best for  children is to have both of their parents in their lives, barring abusive behavior.  Unfortunately, abuse is prevalent in our society.  :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2014
Thu, 12-04-2014 - 7:51pm
Question, what state are you in?. It all depends where you both live. I been divorced for 2 yrs now and we have 2 kids between both of us. My ex- has been brainwashing my two sons against me, now they don't want to come to my house and they both afraid of their dad, they feel that if they talk or come to my house is letting him down. At the beginning we had 50/50, it worked out for a few weeks then, the kids were complaining that it was interfering in their school work. (my older son is 16yrs old and the little one is 11yrs old). So as you can see that the court can give you 50/50 but if either one of you start to included the kids in your problems and start talking to the kids bad against the other parents, this is what will happen. I know that later they will understand what their dad did and will resent him for the time lost between mother and sons.