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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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My ex and I divorced about a year ago and have joint custody

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My ex and I divorced about a year ago and have joint custody of my 5 year old. I filed a custody modification pro se and we are in negotiations trying to settle. I am trying to determine likely outcomes at trial before agreeing to anything.

1. My ex has not been taking advantage of only about 50% of his time for the last 5 months. He is supposed to watch my chilld while I am at work two days per week but claims he is now too busy.
2. My ex also stated in a text that he was never going to see my son again, then changed his mind later almost a week later.
3. My ex has not cared for my child during the work day for the last 2.5 years, despite him being unemployed.
4. I have an audio recording of him physically threatening me about a year ago. He also verbally abuses me during the same recording.
5. I have logs going back 4 years of angry destruction of property, angry outbursts, verbal abuse (c-word usually), subpar parenting, etc.
6. My ex has been diagnosed with depression but is unmedicated. I believe he may actually have a cluster b personality disorder, specifically NPD.
7. My child says he likes his dad but does not love him
8. My child says he does not like spending the night there, and often resists.
9. My ex is a daily pot smoker with a MM card he obtained under fraudulent claims.
10. I am employed, am an excellent mother (my ex even emailed me saying so post divorce), nursed my child until 23 months old, and loving and engaged with my son.
11. My ex has destroyed objects in anger when alone with my son and slammed the door in his face in anger within the last 6 months.

I am seeking sole custody and have always been and am still the primary parent. Our parenting plan gives my ex 2 overnights per week now with a third nonconsecutive night being added later this year if my son is ready. I don't believe he is. I am asking to reduce my ex's time to one overnight per week (or possibly every other weekend instead) and to eliminate the possibility of third overnight.

Especially given #1:
What are my chances of reducing his time to 1 night per week?
What about removal of the third night?
What is a likely outcome at trial in a case like this?
Dear JACUSTOMER - It is always impossible for any attorney to predict the exact outcome of any court case, especially in custody situations. Based on your facts, however, it is likely that the court would reduce the visitation to something very minimal assuming you can prove all of the things you have told me. The court cannot force the father to visit or exercise his rights but there is no point in having those rights if he isn't going to use them and then cause you a problem when he chooses to do so. To answer your question, it is my opinion that you have a very strong case to get limited visitation and possibly no overnights because of his drug activity and other abuses. All decisions made by the court are based on the best interests of the child and it would appear that it is in the best interests of your child to spend minimal time with the father under these circumstances.
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