My question involves a child custody case from the State of: NJ
I will be applying for mediation to modify custody of my soon-to-be 7 year old daughter. Current parenting plan was established in divorce settlement 2 years ago. Current parenting plan affords me one overnight weeknight (Wednesday) per week and Friday-Saturday-Sunday overnights on every other weekend. I would like to have my daughter stay with me on an additional overnight weeknight each week.
At time of settlement, my daughter was enrolled in a preschool/kindergarten, living primarily with her mother in the former marital home, and was being cared for by her grandmother when her mother was unavailable to drop-off/pick-up from preschool.
Over the course of the past several months, Child's mother is now engaged to remarry and has moved to a new residence with her fiance, which is approximately 15 miles (one-way) further from my home than prior residence, and adds approximately 20-30 minutes (one-way) of additional transit time when I am picking-up/dropping-off my daughter.
I think the additional transit time required (up to 1 hour additional time round trip per visit) detracts from my quality parenting time under the current schedule, and I would like additional time - Child's mother contends that I should not be allowed additional parenting time because child should not have to endure additional commuting time to my home over two weeknights as opposed to the current one.
My daughter will otherwise be in before and after school care for an additional 2 hours per day on her mother's parenting days vs. on my parenting days. In most cases, I would have my daughter home and enjoying quality parenting time with me at an earlier time than her mother would be picking her up and/or dropping her off for day care each day.
My desired modification of the parenting schedule would result in my daughter residing with me slightly less than 50% of the time. I currently pay child support, and undoubtedly a portion of my ex wife's refusal to discuss modification outside of formal mediation and/or Court motions is due to her desire to continue to receive support payment from me.
I am currently enduring some financial issues and do not have the means to hire an attorney to prepare my mediation, so I am attempting to research and handle this on my own. I'm looking for the best approach.