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Father of child of previous posting mother writes to me with questions too. What fun!

Your Question:
My ex girlfriend/mother of our child, has recommended me to your site. I have some questions and she seems to think that you have a good way in making things understandable.

i work 3rd shift and I doubt it's possible that I could get full custody, correct?

I'd like to have joint custody but I'm only going to have the child, every other weekend-two days out of the week, that I don't have the child on weekends.

She wants primary caretaker but would this still allow me to make medical choices. I'm not fully understanding all of the different terms. So, if she has primary caretaker, does she get to call all the shots?

The mother wants me to pay her $350 in child support a month, I have a problem with that. I know she will have the child most nights but that's because I work 3rd shift. I make $18/hr, how much would I be paying a month in child support, in the state of PA?

She also does not want the child staying the night with me until he is six months of age, it's seems unfair to me.

I'd like if you could tell me what my chances are going to court, if I'd get more then her. Plus, she don't have a job, so when she does get employeed, does my child support lower? I want everything equal, what is the term for that?

Custody and visitation problems? We can help. can help you win custody, change custody, or reduce child support. Recommended by mediators and therapists and used every day by thousands of parents and families worldwide.

My Answer:

Thanks for writing. For the sake of full disclosure, you wrote to me from the same computer as the mother of your child. So this is either a wonderful and unique situation with both parents trying hard, or it's a slightly weird mother who's trying to play both angles.

Also, so you two are both sharing the same information, I'm going to give links to the whole situation (for you to read, and for other readers to see):

Okay, I'm going to tell you that your perspective is all about YOU, and you don't make a single statement about your child's welfare. I lamb-blasted your ex in private email, and I'll do the same to you. Dude, GROW UP. YOU'RE A FATHER. MAKE IT ABOUT THE KID. It doesn't mean that you abandon your own interests, but sheesh, at least pretend that the child's best interest is most important.

In the first post to her, you see my clear recommendations for how the two of you handle this.

As to your question about child support, if you net $2000 a month (ballpark) and the mother nets $1000 a month, you'd pay perhaps $400 to $450 in child support in Pennsylvania, on the assumption that you have the child 20% of the time.

As to your question about the parenting schedule, the plan that you two came up with is quite different from what I recommended to the mother. You two are the parents, though, not me. If you think it's okay for an infant to go more than 1 or 2 days without seeing both parents, that's your decision... YOU ARE THE PARENTS. Child development experts recommend differently, and that's why I suggested the plan that I did.

If I had control over your decision (i.e., the two of you), there's no way I'd allow 9 days to pass right before an infant spends overnights with a parent. Infants (and older babies) need as consistent a routine as possible, and that is a major shock to their routine-- repeated every two weeks. More frequent periods (in a plan leading to overnights) is what I recommended. While not ideal, adults and much older children are able to maintain a bond with weekly contact. Bonds between parents/infants are built with very frequent contact. Chew on that.

If integrated into a step-up parenting plan, as I originally outlined to the mother, it's not a bad thing to wait until 6 months for overnights. But if it's not part of an overall plan to allow you to build your bond via frequent and increasing time in your care, then screw it, and just start overnights now.

So long as you work third shift, you have some big challenges in securing majority custodial time. Change your job, and then you can at least discuss it (regardless of your chances).

Regarding what to call this, neither of you have provided reason to have it anything other than joint physical custody and joint legal custody.

Many parents seem to like the ego-stroking title of "primary caretaker". I find it stupid and based in insecurity when there are two capable parents (and I'd write the same thing to you, if you were saying it).

Rather than terms and titles that glorify one parent and demean the other parent, in your parenting plan lay out the authorities and responsibilities in plain English:

  • "Parties are to advise each other with reasonable notice of doctor appointments, dental appointments, and other appointments with professionals related to the minor child's health. Both parties are allowed to attend such appointments. Each party has the authority to seek emergency medical treatment for the child during each party's custodial time."

  • "Parties shall discuss and jointly make a decision regarding the child's preschool and school. If parties cannot make a decision together on preschool, the mother shall make the decision on preschool; and the father shall thereafter make the decision on school." Or switch it around, if you want, but provide some mechanism for how disagreements will be resolved.

  • "Parties are to advise each other with reasonable notice of preschool and school appointments. Both parties are allowed to attend such appointments."

  • "Mother is to provide health insurance and dental insurance for the child. Parties will split the cost of unreimbursed medical expenses."

  • "The receiving parent is to provide transportation for the child at the times of exchanges."

  • "There will be no extra holiday time in 2006 for either parent, unless by subsequent written agreement. Beginning in 2007, the following holidays shall alternate as to which parent may spend it with the child. In odd years with father, child shall spend from July 4 at 12pm until July 5 at 9am, and from 10am on the day before Thanksgiving until 6pm on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In odd years with mother, child shall spend from Oct 31 at 12pm until Nov 1 at 9am, and from 10am on Dec 23 until 6pm on Dec 27. In even years, the holiday schedule outlined above shall switch between parents."

  • Beginning in 2008, each parent shall be entitled to a one-week period of summer vacation with the child. In even years, the mother shall pick her summer vacation week first and will notify father by April 15. In even years, the father will notify mother of his summer vacation week by May 15. In odd years, the selection choice switches."

And so on. Build out your parenting plan with as many clear rules as possible (and think a few years out). This will avoid years of conflict between you two, and it makes it clear that you are JOINTLY raising this child.

As many of us have, you two have already failed this child by not providing an intact home. However, if you can raise him without fighting about control/restrictions/rights, that will be a blessing to him.

This parenting plan is your key to doing that. Seek out a mediator to help, and try to put the child's needs first and foremost before thereafter stating what's important to you.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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