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Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › Anyone been through the family court custody/physical placement study program?

Anyone been through the family court custody/physical placement study program?

user 36092052
Madison, WI
Post #: 9
I will be starting this tomorrow with the parent education program. I was just wondering if anyone else has been through this process, how long it typically takes, how it went, and any advice. My ex is trying to get more placement so he can avoid paying child support.

I am very tired and stressed, this divorce is dragging on, and has been very messy.
A former member
Post #: 38
I have never heard of the program. Who runs it and what's the purpose behind it?

Remember that placement and support is a two-way street in that you have a say on it and if he doesn't like it, he is more than welcomed to spend HIS own money to hire a lawyer. My STB-ex swore up and down that she would NEVER, EVER consider hiring a lawyer and you can guess how long that lasted.

I hear you about the divorce dragging on and it being messy.. I liken it to transversing one of those huge sewage pipes while it rolls down a hill. You can see the light at the end of the pipe but it's a royal pain to get "smeared" on every time the pipe hits a bump. Just keep an eye on the light and know that at the end of it all, things will be better.
user 36092052
Madison, WI
Post #: 10
The program is run through the court and the purpose behind it is basically when the two parties cannot come to an agreement on custody/placement. In my case we already had an agreement set in place but now he wants to change it so that he can have more placement time.
If you cannot come to an agreement the court will step in put you through this study, where you will have to go to a parent education meeting, have interviews with the family court counselors, they will interview the children involved, maybe talk with the schools they are attending, doctors, etc. Come out to the homes. Then they will make their decision based on the best interests of the children. A lot of times they go to mediation before the study to see if it can be resolved that way. In my case mediation was waived, so it went straight to the study.

As for costs, I really didn't have too much say in it when the court decided to appoint a GAL, and even in spite of the enormous difference in both our incomes I am still required to pay for half of the costs. He has already paid his, while I am struggling and will be paying off these fees over the course of a year or so. I am waiting to see how much I will be required to pay for this study, which I found out today could take up to 135 days.

It is hard for me to grasp how someone could put this much extra stress and strain on their children, for their own gain. We have a very good placement schedule right now, that the kids have adjusted to very well. I don't believe that he is going to even be able to get what he wants out of this, which is a lot more placement to avoid child support payments. I have one more day a week than he does right now. Before the divorce I was the primary caregiver, staying home with the kids. In my mind all of this is totally un necessary and a huge waste of time.
A former member
Post #: 154
A GAL was a complete waste of time and money. From what I could figure out, if the other parent isn't beating the crap out of them, then 50/50 is the standard. I was home for the last 11 years with ours too and he would have got his 50/50 if he didn't see the light and give up the fight. Even now though, he mentioned wanting 50/50 when summer came. So I think I might be facing a fight every 2 years when the courts will review it. I am just hoping I can get done with school and get a job where his money is not necessary. If I let him out of some support, he will leave me alone and let the kids be stable. . .
Laura K
user 13667951
Madison, WI
Post #: 18
Hi Yasmine -

Yes, I went through the whole Family Court process. Without completely knowing your situation, it's hard to say if the process is going to get you what you want. In my case there was a legitimate concern for the safety and well-being of our son. I will say after her thorough investigation into our case, I feel like our court counselor completely "got it" and nailed it on the head when it came to my ex. It wasn't an easy process though - those were for sure some of my darkest days, until she published her recommendations.

And, the process kept getting stalled while the courts kept giving my ex time to clean up his act. Very, very frustrating. My divorce as a whole took more than 2 years to be completed. We were actually officially divorced before the final placement plan was ordered.

As for the $ - the court will work out a payment plan with you for the GAL. We didn't get assigned a GAL until after the court study. I'm paying $30 a month over the next year or so to cover the cost. I didn't have to pay anything for the family court study. Your lawyer should be vying to have your ex pay more, if he's able. If he is the reason you have to do the study, then there is a good possibility the court will ask him to foot the bill for it. (Of course, so much depends on who your judge is too).

I would say make sure you have the best lawyer possible. It does make a difference. Mine was good in the beginning and then fell short in the end. Though things are worked out now, I still regret not having a better lawyer.

I know how scary and frustrating the process is - if you want to talk more specifically about it (best to not air all your dirty laundry publicly, especially while going thru the process), want some coaching on how to handle the interviews or just need a shoulder, feel free to facebook message me. I'll give you my phone number and we can chat (or even grab coffee or lunch).

Good luck to you - the process sucks, but all will turn out okay in the end.

Adam L.
user 13628645
Edgerton, WI
Post #: 15
I am all too familiar w/ this process. It can be brutal, but it can also be helpful as others indicated. If you haven't been documenting already start doing that now. A police officer (yes I said police b/c that is how ugly ours got and still is to be honest) said to get a ring bound note book. He said to never never never take any piece of paper out of it. Not even a corner. If it says 150pgs then it has 150pgs. But to start writing everything- Everything YOU do w/ the kids, everything you have concerns w/ from your ex, Everything. He said that this can be admitted as evidence to the court if necessary.

As far as the GAL my to be ex was the one who pushed in this direction only to loose. She had requested more than a 50/50 which I fought right out of the gate. Initially I agreed to less time through a temporary agreement just to keep the process moving but said I would contest. Which I did and we got the GAL. They had us both there for at her office for a mtg, she met and "interviewed" the kids, called the school, kids dr- etc. But she didn't come to our houses.

Just paint as true and accurate picture as you can. If you would like more info let me know and I can shoot you my c# to talk further. It really isn't that bad. It is invasive, uncomfortable and bloody expensive but apparently necessary. The idea is a good one in that they are trying to represent the kids and the kids best interest. In ours the FCCS was also heavily involved w/ the process.

Good luck. If you want further info send me a msg and I can shoot you my c# so we can talk more.
eric b.
Madison, WI
Post #: 1
I guess I should feel lucky,we never fought about anything,not the kids,not the child support/maintenance she is paying me.She tried to sneak a few things by me,but my lawyer caught them,I guess that's the only positive thing about my divorce
Amy P.
user 36759682
Middleton, WI
Post #: 1
I agree with Sarah-I felt like it was assumed that the placement would be 50/50 by the courts from day one even though my ex hadn't a clue about raising kids and had left most of that to me. In the end,my ex pulled himself together enough to let them think that he was "trying really hard to be the best parent ever" so we ended up with 50/50. His act fell apart about three months after everything was final.

One thing I took away from the parenting classes was that it was important to try to get along in front of the kids so I made an extra effort to sit with my ex at the kid's activities even though he did not like it at first. As time went on it got better and now we can sit together and chat about the kids politely. The fact that I did this meant a lot to my son because he liked that his "family" could be together to watch him. In the end, it doesn't matter what the ex thinks but the kids will remember how you behaved and that you were the bigger person.

A former member
Post #: 161
Amy, that was my big fear. So when his act fell apart, what does that look like? He stopped taking them and you just get left with less support, or he is not good while they are there. Mine still gets stressed if he has to have them more than 3 days in a row (although he doesn't recognize it). I still struggle with how 50/50 is in the child's best interest if one of the parents was a stay at home parent. Seems like the status quo would be in the child's best interest. The good news is that children will adjust to almost anything. Yes, it is likely to change who they are, but some thrive on adversity and some do not. No telling how you messed them up until they are adults!
Amy P.
user 36759682
Middleton, WI
Post #: 2
Sara-my ex was an alcoholic (although he says I am the one who drove him to drink-a story for another time) so I was more worried about his drinking and the kids as well as just maintaining things day to day. My kids both have anxiety and attention issues so he needed to be on top of the medications and school. As I said, he worked at for about 6 months or so-meaning he emailed weekly, called me with concerns, etc then it all dropped off and I am always the one making the effort with communication, sharing parenting concerns, etc.

Part of our settlement was that there was a "no drinking with kids order" in place for 2 years. This order will end this November so I am interested in seeing what is going to happen. I am anticipating a crash and burn scenario where I am going to pick up the kids from their dad's house cuz he is drinking but he now has a gf so she may pick up a lot of the slack-I have learned that I just need to take it one day at a time and not worry about the future-life is too short !
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