Q. My wife and I are trying to negotiate our own divorce agreement. So far, after some tough conversations we agreed on an asset division. I have been very anxious over the parenting piece because I really want to have our 9 year old twin sons half the time but she is a control freak.
I asked her to make a schedule. She proposed our boys live with her during the week and with me on weekends (Friday afternoon to Sunday evening), during school vacations and all but two weeks of the summer with equal sharing of major holidays. She wants me to be solely responsible for hockey – the cost and getting them to practices / games. Some of their hockey is during the week so I will seem them during the week too just not have them overnights.
This seems unusually generous which leaves me wondering what I am missing here – do you see anything I am missing?
A.This is an unusual plan and, frankly, one a judge would never order short of an agreement. Your wife is essentially taking all of the “work” and giving you the “fun” time. However, if control is her thing, it may be more of an issue than you realize. She may not do well in unstructured fun time especially with active athletic boys. She has taken on very structured time with them where she can dictate what time they get up for school and after school she can set the routine of homework, chores, activities and bedtime. The routine and schedule may be more necessary for her than it is for the boys.
The only potential pit fall I see is the child support component. Ridiculous as it sounds, count the number of nights the boys will spend in each household in a given year under her plan. In all likelihood it is close to equal. But, if she has significantly more overnights you may find that child support is only calculated as flowing from you to her (i.e. hitting you harder in the wallet). If you have the same amount of time with the kids or close to it, child support is calculated as if it were flowing in both directions and the difference in the two numbers is what is actually paid.
Also, hockey is incredibly expensive and time consuming so look at the costs you would be taking on, especially if your boys play club hockey and compare that to any “extras” she is proposing she take on. It may be she has proposed this because she sees a financial advantage in doing so and it complements her control issue.
Bottom line, assuming you can afford it, sign the deal and skate your victory lap.