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I am needing a Lawyer/legal opinion on a custody matter. My…

I am needing a Lawyer/legal...
I am needing a Lawyer/legal opinion on a custody matter. My sons father and I have had the same schedule for almost 5 years. It has worked well because I am a stay at home mother and our son did not attend any schooling. He will begin pre-kindergarten after spring break. How do I go about choosing a school if his father does not agree with the one I have chosen? My son is with me through all school hours and I pay all medical bills (of which was not forced upon me in court, but by his fathers negligence and disregard) and care for him in every way a child should be cared for. His father is good to him...I do not want to go back to court.. is there a way I can submit any changes to the pre-ordered arrangements on my own, without help from an attorney?
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
3/15/2018
Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 970
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

Can you let me know in what state you live and if there is a court order addressing custody of you son?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Great thank you. We live in Wichita, Kansas. We have a court order that was created through mediation with his father, myself and our lawyers. Please note that his father is terribly stubborn and for years and refused to agree with any offer I provide, even if it’s a good one. It’s simply a spiteful, hateful wall he’s built up to avoid any real communication with me. We do not see each other in person, and very rarely speak over the phone. 98% of arrangements for our son through the week/month are made via text message. Our son has not seen us together, closer than 5ft together, ever. That’s only note-worthy because I want to tell you just how difficult any changes to our pre-arranged documents will be. It will be like pulling his teeth....With a spoon. My goal is to always keep his father involved and allow him to see his dad weekly and on 2 weekends a month, just as we are doing now, but with me as the main provider... as I have been the entire time. Again, we pay for everything. His father has him Monday and Tuesday nights and every other weekend.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
for years HAS refused to agree*

Was there anything in the mediated agreement saying what you and he were to do if a decision came up and there was not an agreement?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
No, never. There hasn’t ever been anything said what to do so we just try our best to come to an agreement and usually it means a big sacrifice or a trade of some sort be it another evening with his dad or another weekend with his dad to get what we want.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I would also like to know how to go about adding my husbands last name to my sons last name. My son is desperate to be “one of us” but I want to do it in and still be fair to his real dad. Even though he calls my husband dad and calls his real dad by his first name, I know my son loves his real dad and enjoys being a part of him and his life. But he’s also a part of our life too.

Kansas is as state that hopes parents will get along and will work to make decisions in the best interest of their children. He sounds like he is one of those people who will only cooperate if he gets what he wants.

Now in orders if there is no guidance on how decisions are made, there is generally nothing that will happen to a parent that makes a decision, particularly if they have kept the other party informed; however, nothing would stop the other party from attempting to take the matter back to the Court and it is a reality that sometimes decisions come down to a judge making them. I believe judges get it right most of the time, but it always concerns me if a judge is second guessing.

Since it is a school decision, I would reach out and see if the Father will agree. If not I would not argue, but I would, in advance, take the necessary steps with the Court to change the legal designation to you so as to allow you to make the decisions. This can be done without an attorney and I have attached a link here to the form you would use to start the process. However, let me use this as a bridge to the request about the last name.

That too is possible, but would required the Father's agreement or the order of a Court. For something like that, I always suggest consulting with an attorney. If these are the two main issues, it would certainly be a good idea to sit down with an attorney if for nothing more than to understand the specific steps you need to take.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Please elaborate on “generally nothing that will happen to a parent that makes a decision”, just a little confused on that part. Yes he is absolutely someone that will only cooperate if it benefits him. I contacted his father yesterday to inform him of the school my son will attend, it is a school that is in between our two current addresses. I always try to make it beneficial and generally something a judge would choose or recommend, and also something that would be “applauded” in court. (I’m not looking for a gold star, but I want the courts to know what I am capable of as a parent and what I am willing to continue to offer if I were to be labeled as the main parent). My husband and I pay for all medical needs from general doctors to dentists. We have requested that his father help pay but both times he has not specifically stated he would or that he “will if......”[its beneficial to him]” I have heard Kansas is a mother state. Would there be a chance at all that I could become the sole provider despite already having a semi-functional agreement? I only ask for it because we have him full time and pay for everything he needs... his father is simply a visitor in his life, on a court regulated schedule... if that makes sense.. so it’s very annoying that we provide 90% of the necessities it takes to raise him but his father who does nothing to help financially or as a parent (he’s basically like his big brother) but I have to ask his permission on some things like the school issue. I will always be the one to take him pick him up etc, take him to the doctor etc but his dad is getting in the way of that. Doesn’t seem fair for him to have half of the say when he doesn’t provide half of anything else.

For instance, if a Court order says you can't do "X" and one party does that, then that can cause problems in Court. If there is not a restriction on a decision being made, the making of the decision in and of itself likely will not be grounds for court sanctions or the like because of that decision. However, that could cause the other party to petition the Court seeking to change the decision. Not that it would automatically change, but it could come to a judge making the decision. That is the reason it is always a good idea to keep the other party informed of this information.

Your approach in thinking about how a Court would look at it is the right thing to do.

As to changing from joint to "sole" custody can always be revisited as long as there is a change. Several changes you are experiencing are substantial - he won't cooperate and attempt to co parent and your son is about to enter school. Both are reasons to re-evaluate custody. It also doesn't help that he is not providing financially.

It brings me back around to the fact that he seems to be approaching this as not what is best for his child, but what will benefit him and inconvenience you.

Let me know if there are more questions and 5 star ratings are always appreciated.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Great thank you. One more question, is any of this something I can do without hiring a lawyer? Is there a way to fill out the proper paperwork and court petitions on my own? As if I were basically acting as my own attorney?

I always answer those questions like this. I always think it best to consult with an attorney just to make sure you have a good overview, but you can certainly do it on your own. Do keep in mind that Judges absolutely have no issues with and people can represent themselves, but they will expect the parties to know and abide by the same rules and procedures as attorneys.

That all having been said, I have attached here a link to forms with instructions on modifying custody.

Best of luck and I would certainly appreciate if you would consider rating me - 5 stars are always appreciated and you can ask questions after rating.

Thanks in advance.

Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 970
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified
Sean K and 87 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Great thank you for your time.
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