Custody Law Change

When I divorced my daughter’s dad, we wanted 50-50, but when it got to the end of the divorce, my lawyer helped me push for a more uneven split. Despite everything else I hated about that lawyer, I was really happy that I had that. In fact, I ended up over time having her more like 80-20 because any time her dad was traveling or wanting to spend time with a new girlfriend, I ALWAYS made room in my schedule for her to come over.

As a mom, I would have preferred for the custody to be actually split, and for her dad to be a true equal parent; but when it came down to reality, I was very glad to have the law on my side and know should it come to a legal showdown, I could put my daughter in a safer, more stable position.

These laws were put into place to protect women and children, and I am concerned about this change.


That’s a good point. It ought to be 50:50, but too often one parent (often the dad, but I know of at least two divorces where it was the mum) just isn’t as committed to parenting, no matter what they claim.

I briefly dated a guy who complained bitterly about only having his kids holidays and every other weekend – yet part of his job was going away for a couple weeks at a time, at least once a quarter.


These new laws are not rooted in reality… the reality is, when fathers ask for custody… they get it.

I’m sure my Mom would have loved 50/50 child custody and support, but she only managed to get him to take me for “summers” and even then only for a month. Bah! I have had too much wine at my office party for this today!


The example in the article is weird. The dad, Paasch, has a son who doesn’t live in the state. So how do you expect to have 50-50 shared time with a kid who doesn’t live in the same state? That’s kind of the issue that I see with the Father’s Rights people. They take a situation in which 50-50 shared custody isn’t reasonable and blow it up into some sort of anti-father thing.

If my husband and I were to separate, our custody would probably be messy. I’ve been the earner in the family, and his career has taken some hits due to that. He’s getting back into career mode, but the history and evidence that the courts would have would strongly indicate him as the dominant caretaker.


In september through november I had a custody fight to deal with.

The ex and I were divorced four years ago, and even then their attorney put forth a patently bogus scheme, which was that my ex get full legal and physical custody, but leave the kids with me anyway and travel abroad. Oh, and collect child support from me while I was the only real parent. I had to explain to them at length why that was not even remotely legal, and exposed all of us to liability. “But if it weren’t legit, why would a lawyer have suggested it?” Probably because I could not afford representation, and they guessed I would sign off on anything.

So we ended up agreeing to 50-50 joint physical and legal custody, although the court said that, despite me being unemployed I had to pay them child support “because reasons”. Within a month of our divorce, the ex had left the state, and within another month or two had remarried. Then, a few months later, they moved to the west coast. But my ex still calls nearly every day to nitpick about events and decisions they don’t really have the patience to discuss in detail. They had become overbearing over the years, harassing the kids’ school and me for hours a day, and insisting that they were going to take me to court for years of child support payments, despite the kids only being with them for a few weeks out of the year. I tried to explain why this move would backfire upon them, since they were negligent of practically everything in our divorce and parenting agreement, but they stirred the pot anyway.

So they flew out quite a few times to take me to court, and they made a rather bad impression. They tried to convince the court that teenagers had to move across the country because it was “in their best interests”, despite them refusing to move. Their whole schtick was basically that they had money because they remarried, so after four years, they deserved to take the kids with them, and the court was not impressed. They more or less gave up after getting into a heated argument with a court family services officer which made them look pretty unreasonable. Then they changed their tune to just begging me to not press them for child support - because that would be unfair to them, since they don’t get the “compensation” of seeing their kids on the west coast.



That sounds totally wretched.


That is what an attorney should have advised you. I worked in that area of the law for nearly 10 years (IANAL). Fathers nearly always asked for 50/50. In my career I can name a handful of fathers who were serious about time with the children, as opposed to the majority who were only trying to lower their child support, or leverage some other issue in the divorce.

Back in those days, we’d have to field this question from the fathers we represented to the point it would make us ill, “how do I insure the child support is spent on the children?”

The answer of couse is, “Jesus, asshole, you do understand that child support covers more than toys and new clothes? It covers an indeterminate portion of the house payment/rent, an indeterminate portion of the car payment, probably most of the other car related expenses like gasoline, an indeterminate portion of the utilities, in short a portion of all of the expenses involved in running a household fit for children. So shut the fuck up and pay what you owe, nobody cares what ‘she did to you’-- those are your fucking children for crying out loud.” Fortunately, the firms I worked for were always ethical enough to answer like that-- well, we were probably more polite.

If you read mens/fathers’ rights boards and sites (and I strongly suggest you don’t), the “misuse” of child support by ex-wives is big issue, and ex-wives are always being accused there of wanting unbalanced custody – for the child support. And if you know anything about raising children, that idea is just insane.


That’s horrible.


Custody is very rarely simple, in my experience.

When my parents divorced, my father was given a weekend a month (not by court AFAIK, just by agreement). He hated it, we hated it, but that’s “just the way it was”. I wonder now as an adult if my relationship with him would be different if I saw him more often.

He remarried to a wonderful woman with two daughters, who in many ways are more his children than myself and my sister were. Not because he (or we) wished it that way, but because they saw him daily, we saw him monthly.

My uncle had a terrible divorce where my aunt convinced my cousins to lie to get better custody, then poisoned their minds for decades later, leading to them having nearly no relationship to my uncle today. My uncle - a college professor and a deal lover of his children - had to work nights in another job in order to pay support for his kids, and had the judge tell him that he “could not believe” my aunt “would make so much up out of whole cloth”, and therefore considered her credible.

I think kids make people do weird things, and too often the desires of the parents end up taking precedence over the long-term relationships with both parents that, in cases without abuse or other mitigating factors, really should be more of a focus.


Makes sense, although I’m not sure it’s the kids making the parents do weird things.

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Divorce has an uncanny way of inviting people who woul, by all appearances, be adults to behave like terribly spoiled children on one hell of a temper tantrum.


Well, let me rephrase and say “the presence of children”, rather than any act by the children themselves :slight_smile:

Thank you!


Yes, welcome!


The biggest problem I have with child support payments is political - they constrain the parties to participating in the State’s pet economy. What if one a subsistence farmer? The village shaman? A goatherd? Then the notion of becoming part of the employment marketplace and using the dollar would completely undermine all of the other social structures of their life. As a poor person with kids, I am well aware that “support” has more immediate meanings than money, or dollars specifically. Why not compel the other parent to actually do something helpful?

The other related cultural issue is in how the US chooses to legally define “parental custody” to begin with, meaning “a 20th century colonial nuclear family”. How about custody by extended family? By tribe or village? Culture starts with the family, the home, the immediate community. So any claims of or efforts towards diversity, true multiculturalism, need to acknowledge these structural differences - rather than some superficial difference like getting to wear a special hat, or a different day off from work. The actual ways my family and I live have a far more immediate effect upon me as a single parent than whether we have 100 units or 1000 units of monopoly money.

If we had to put up with this state enforcing a dollar value upon how we live, I would have been in the difficult position of seeking political asylum elsewhere with my kids, during an inter-state custody fight. Which would have been interesting, but probably not much fun.

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It’s a good point. I know one family in particular where I was school mates with a woman whose sister died suddenly, leaving 3 young children in the custody of the father. The grandparents and my classmate were not given any access to the children after the sister died, and had no rights. It was a heart breaking situation, as those relationships could have been so valuable to the children, especially as it appears the dad was a total dickhead.