Re: Hi Zacksmom
Mediation gives you an opportunity to shine as a parent--to demonstrate to the mediator that you care about the best interests of your child--including your child's right to develop a relationship with his dad.
In my jurisdiction, it is typical for a noncustodial parent to be awarded visitation every other weekend, alternating holidays, and 2-4 weeks during the summer. (The amount of summer visitation is generally longer if the noncustodial parent lives a great distance away and cannot take advantage of more frequent weekend visitation.)
In my jurisdiction, a custodial parent does not need permission to move from one residence to another or even from one town to another within the state unless the custodial parent desires to move OUT OF STATE. If that is the case, the custodial parent must obtain the noncustodial parent's written permission or the court's permission. I am uncertain about New York laws--I can't find any specific statutory provision.
If you intend to move only 50 miles away (within the same state) and your intention for doing so is NOT MOTIVATED by a desire to interfere with the child's rights to visit his father, then I see no problem with your proposed move so long as you offer to share transportation costs in order to facilitate visitation.
In my jurisdiction, (unless one parent is in a far superior financial position than the other parent), it is typical for parents to share transportation costs equally. Usually, the noncustodial parent must travel to get the child to commence the visitation period and the custodial parent must travel to retrieve the child to end the visitation period.
I'm just a little disappointed that you saw a lawyer and your lawyer did not give you more guidance on these matters. Ask the mediator what the mediator thinks is the most typical visitation schedule in your jurisdiction deemed to be in the best interests of the child--and suggest every other weekend, alternating holidays, and a couple weeks during the summer so the child and the dad are able to vacation together.
Inform the mediator of your impending move 50 miles away from dad's house and suggest that the father be responsible for getting the child and offer to pick up the child after each visitation. This demonstrates how wonderful and flexible YOU are and how YOU are willing to do everything in your power to be fair and to facilitate a relationship between Zach and his father.
Split custody, where the child lives one week with dad and one week with mom on an alternating basis is almost never in the best interests of the child because it deprives the child of continuity and stability. Nobody should want to place the child in a situation where he has to live out of a suitcase because he has to move between mom and dad every week of his life.
If the child's father suggests split custody to the mediator, simply explain to the mediator that you believe Zach requires continuity and stability and split custody will not meet that need--the mediator will most likely agree with you and help the father to see the resulting harm to the child.
Mediation is an opportunity for you to shine, shine, shine. There is an excellent possibility that Zach's father will agree that you should have custody and that he should have a defined visitation schedule. There is an excellent possibility that the mediator can put your agreement into writing and present it to the court to be formalized into a final custody, visitation order (judgment). This would be a most pleasant means to resolve the issues you have faced recently without having to resort to a full-blown adversarial court hearing (trial) where the outcome might not be so certain.
If your custody and visitation issues are not resolved through mediation, I want you to have an attorney when you go back to court in September!
Take care and keep us informed.
Yes I am definitely hoping that the mediation works for us. I don't want to have to go back to court, unless there is no way Joe and I can agree on anything. It isn't that I don't want him to see him, I want it to be for the right reasons, and not for him to just be messing with me, by hurting our son. I am hoping he will work with me, if I work with him. He wants every other week, so I was thinking if I give him every other week in the summers, then maybe he will let me have him during school, and let him go to the school I choose, and just have him every other weekend. Then he can have the alternate holidays, school vacations he can have time with him. I am hoping also he will meet me halfway for the transportation part.. He does have things at both of our houses, so the suitcase thing doesn't apply. I get what you are saying, and I don't like the idea, but I know also I have to give a little to get a little. I want so much to just be able to get on with my life, and not have to worry about what he's going to do next to turn it upside down.
And yes, if we agree to something in mediation, they will submit it to the judge, and if he agrees, will sign it and then it will be good, and we won't have to go back to court.
No debra, I am not doing the move in order to interfere with him seeing Joe. I want to get on with my life, and it just happens that the person I want to do it with lives an hour away. lol he owns his house, and not that he wouldn't move for me, but I don't want it to have to come to that. I am willing to meet Joe halfway on the thruway to drop off and pick up, or if he wants to come all the way to pick him up, we will go the way to get him back. I will definitely keep you all updated, and let you know how things go tomorrow, and hopefully they will be resolved,and I won't have to worry about getting another lawyer, or going to court in sept.
Thank you again Debra, you have given me some wonderufl advice, and everyone else for that matter. Thank you.