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Divorce coming - Probabilities to reach 50/50 child custody
#1
Hi,
This might be a long post but just found this place and need to tell my story in the hope of some helpful advice from anyone who might have gone through something similar.

Situation: maried for nearly 7 years with a 3 years old daughter, we're both from another EU country but leave in the UK for nearly 6 years now.

I have a very close relationship with my daughter, I schedule all my life based on her.
Since she was born, even though my wife took 1 year maternity leave, I always did most of everything with/for her: just to give an example in 3 years my wife must have cooked no more than 10 times for her (and even those times only very basic meals).
I attend swimming classes with her, I attend ballet classes with her, etc...


My wife just doesn't have the patience, of course she loves her for a cuddle and 5min playing session but can't be bothered to entertain her for 1 all day for example, so I ended up having to do most of it but I don't mind because I just love to do it and enjoy any single moment.

I work full time and so does my wife, even though she's now on long sick leave and intending to resign.

We've been amicably talking about divorce and my opinion is that the best for my daughter, I always think about her 1st, would be a 50/50 shared custody like 1 week with each of us.
Even though my wife quite regularly says "She loves you more!" I believe children need dad and mum.

My wife is quite unstable for quite some time now: one day she says "I would never take her away from you, she needs you and I also need you nearby to help", but the day after she just brings up the idea of going back to our country taking my daughter with her, and I know she already mentioned that to her family.
She only has her parents there but no job, no own house, etc... So when I ask her about how she would survive and if this move would be the best for our daughter she just doesn't have any concrete answer.

My wife just wants to extend her sick leave at the moment and tells things like "I don't know if I will ever work again".
My daughter attends full time nursery, which is quite expensive over here in London, so my wife just wants to remove her from nursery and keep her at home to save money until she goes to pre-school in September.
I don't agree at all because staying at home for my daughter just means my wife laying on the sofa on her phone most of the day and my daughter playing on her own.

So I've been thinking of suggesting to her going ahead with the divorce and the 50/50 custody, I don't want to fight, I'm not worried about the money I'm just worried about my daughter.
But what about if she says NO?
I spoke to a specialized solicitor and she advised me to go to court in that case and ask for sole custody (I have some good points against my wife: she's been suffering from depression and can lose control and get verbally aggressive very easily, even a bit phisically aggressive, she's under threatment for her mental issues but doing so in our country hiding it from her GP over here, I can easily prove this but wouldn't like to go this way...).

Basically putting my daughter's interest 1st I intend to suggest the 50/50 but if she says NO then I will to fight for sole custody, am I right?

What do you guys recommend?
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#2
I recommend you do what is best for you daughter which is talk to your wife and work things out.

If you can't and will head for divorce, you should both attend mediation first ( its a requirement - your solicitor should have suggested this BEFORE directing you to court) and then, if you can't agree on child care agreements, head to court (as a last resort)... for court order.

Your wife will say 'NO' to sole custody just as you would say 'NO' if she suggested she took sole custody... but seems hopeful you can agree on shared custody?

Her 'mental illness', emotional outbursts, love of Facebook, lack of answers to your questions, looking after kid at home, lashing out... all are minor points unless your child is in danger or being neglected...

In UK there is (almost) no thing called shared custody or "nesting custody" (1 week on, 1 week off)... although it can work like that but one parent must be resident (50.1% of child's time spent with them) as they will get the child benefit allowance - maybe you go for that.

If you go to court and drag her through the mud... it will be expensive and timely, your solicitor will love you and advise you to pay her for that. But what do you want here? A judge to say your wife is a little irrational? It will do neither of you any good. Your aim here is to agree things amicably and quickly

At the moment you are in the beginnings of a break-up and of course you want to show you're a great parent and she's not ... but really, your daughter needs both of you to work together but let's be honest ... they ONLY give sole custody to parents who's ex is a drug dealer or pedophile (i.e. child is in danger from 1 or both parent)... you wont get it.
Equally - she won't get sole custody either. Aim for shared.

Only additional point is that if your wife plans to leave the country with the child without your permission i.e. to move away permanently thus restrict your access to the child , you may need to get legal help... someone will add to the thread with more information
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#3
LTCDAD 1st of all many thanks for taking the time to reply.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not native in English so sometimes might not choose the best words: I want to put my daughter's interest 1st, like I always did and will always do, and that's the main reason why I believe a 50/50 solution would be the same.

I never said I'm a better parent, my wife herself says she couldn't cope on her own so what I'm saying is that both are needed and that according to me we would agree a 50/50 and that's it end of the story problem sorted.

I've been informed about the mediation but I believe that if we can amicably find an agreement then we should be able to do it on our own without mediation, am I wrong?

But my main point at the moment is what about if she says "no I want to go back and take her with me", what shall I do?
What are her probabilities of getting away with that?
As I said I don't want to fight, that wouldn't benefit any of us, I just want to be prepared for what can come my way.

I don't believe she would take her without my permission but I already know what to do in case I get more worried about that.
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#4
(02-15-2017, 01:32 PM)LTCDAD Wrote: I recommend you do what is best for you daughter which is talk to your wife and work things out.

If you can't and will head for divorce, you should both attend mediation first ( its a requirement - your solicitor should have suggested this BEFORE directing you to court) and then, if you can't agree on child care agreements, head to court (as a last resort)... for court order.

Your wife will say 'NO' to sole custody just as you would say 'NO' if she suggested she took sole custody... but seems hopeful you can agree on shared custody?

Her 'mental illness', emotional outbursts, love of Facebook, lack of answers to your questions, looking after kid at home, lashing out... all are minor points unless your child is in danger or being neglected...

In UK there is (almost) no thing called shared custody or "nesting custody" (1 week on, 1 week off)... although it can work like that but one parent must be resident (50.1% of child's time spent with them) as they will get the child benefit allowance - maybe you go for that.

If you go to court and drag her through the mud... it will be expensive and timely, your solicitor will love you and advise you to pay her for that. But what do you want here? A judge to say your wife is a little irrational? It will do neither of you any good. Your aim here is to agree things amicably and quickly

At the moment you are in the beginnings of a break-up and of course you want to show you're a great parent and she's not ... but really, your daughter needs both of you to work together but let's be honest ... they ONLY give sole custody to parents who's ex is a drug dealer or pedophile (i.e. child is in danger from 1 or both parent)... you wont get it.
Equally - she won't get sole custody either.  Aim for shared.

Only additional point is that if your wife plans to leave the country with the child without your permission i.e. to move away permanently thus restrict your access to the child , you may need to get legal help... someone will add to the thread with more information

Taking a Child out of the country does not always qualify for Legal Aid.  The fact is that some people do have the right to remain in the UK, with a Passport stamped "No access to Public Funds".  Legal aid is this.

As this is an international case you can sort it out in court, and you can stop the Child being moved out of the UK by asking for a Prohibited Steps Court Order.
You will get an interim order, and once Child Arrangements are sorted out, it would be extended if you get contact or residence in place.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#5
Just saw a different solicitor today, I always try to get a 2nd opinion.

The one I saw today has an approach much closer to what I've been thinking of: try to agree a 50/50 arrangement with my wife and then, if not possible and mediation also fails, go to court to get that 50/50 arrangement.
Based on my particular circunstances (I haven't mentioned all the details here) her opinion is that it is very likely a court would go for the 50/50 and would not give my wife the permission to move abroad with my daughter as this would not be in my daughter's best interest.
50/50 is all I want, she needs us both and I'm fully aware of that.

I have to confess that I feel quite releaved after today's meeting, the previous solicitor I saw was a bit "fighting style" but that's not the kind of approach I'm looking for, all 3 of us would end up loosing.
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#6
^^^ Its a valuable lesson, you need to ensure the solicitor is aligned with what you see as the ideal outcome - glad it went well
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#7
Hi all,

Here I am to update my ongoing situation.

So my wife is now unemployed and doesn't even intend to look for a new job, at least for now, she's just saying she will think about it later on.
Even though she's staying at home doing basically nothing all day long, my daughter is still going to nursery full time (my wife wanted to remove her from nursery until going to pre-school in September but I didn't agree on that).


I am obviously assuming all the responsibilities, and I'm not talking about money responsibilities only.

It looks like my wife just lives away from any kind of responsibilities and it's not even worrying her.

Basically what I would like to ask, based on other people experience, is what are the probabilities for a dad in my situation who wants to divorce to get my daughter to live with me?
I'm obviously happy for my wife to spend time with her and to be "there".
I don't believe she will amicably agree on that, essentially because she keeps on saying that if we split she wants to go back to our home country and take our daughter with her, but based on the opinions and professional advice I've got it looks like it is highly unlikely a court would allow that because of the fact that it would not be in our daughter's best interest.

What do you guys say about this?
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#8
Hi,

Is the child is currently living with mum? And she takes her to nursery each day, feeds her etc? Did you "leave" the martial home when you separated, that is in the eyes of a judge "effectively deserting" your child to be brought up with mum?

If so, then dont expect a judge to over turn the current (albeit difficult) situation your child is in. A judge would allow the child to remain with the mum.

IMHO the only way to affect this, in addition to the advices above (mum doing drugs, etc), is to seek, through mediation, consent from mum to either give you sole custody, or 50/50 split.

Since she is unemployed, she needs the benefits, child support more than you, but you may want to alleviate her pain - by allowing your child to spend more time with you whilst she gets back on her feet.

Where are her parents - are they in the UK, what is abroad for her? Raise these concerns at mediation first.
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#9
(03-15-2017, 08:26 AM)andrewinyork Wrote: Hi,

Is the child is currently living with mum? And she takes her to nursery each day, feeds her etc?  Did you "leave" the martial home when you separated, that is in the eyes of a judge "effectively deserting" your child to be brought up with mum?

If so, then dont expect a judge to over turn the current (albeit difficult) situation your child is in. A judge would allow the child to remain with the mum.

IMHO the only way to affect this, in addition to the advices above (mum doing drugs, etc), is to seek, through mediation, consent from mum to either give you sole custody, or 50/50 split.

Since she is unemployed, she needs the benefits, child support more than you, but you may want to alleviate her pain - by allowing your child to spend more time with you whilst she gets back on her feet.

Where are her parents - are they in the UK, what is abroad for her?  Raise these concerns at mediation first.

We still live together.
Every day my wife drops off my daughter at the nursery and I pick her up in the afternoon. (I used to do drop off and pick up when my wife was working).
I do the bathing, I feed her, I put her to bed, etc... every single day and it's always been like this.
I attend dance classes with my daughter every week, I attend swimming classes every week, etc... basically most of her routine is with me.

Her parents are in our home country, but the fact is that the city she wants to go back to is located 400Km away from the remote village her parents live in, so there would be no "extra support" really.
On top of that she has no job there and the professional opportunities are far worst compared to the UK.
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#10
Great.

Ok, then whatever you do, don't walk or be pushed out until you get your divorce/contact sorted out. Instigate the divorce proceedings yourself - that way you are in the driving seat.

Ask for 50/50, and try to agree with your ex. Try not to penalise, or punish your ex, sympathise with her, but get that paperwork submitted asap, and try to pocket your child's passport ;-) If she has not got one yet, then apply for one and then put it safe ;-)
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