Find out his “real” working schedule before agreeing to joint custody or visitation plan
If you’re the custodial parent, you should invoke your rights to “pre-trial discovery” to find out your ex’s actual working schedule. Likewise, if you’re the non-custodial parent, you should use “discovery” techniques to find out about your ex’s true working patterns before you agree to custody, joint custody or visitation arrangements.
Pre-trial discovery refers to the various techniques that lawyers use to obtain (or to “discover”) evidence while the case is still pending. For example, in most states, you can issue “interrogatories” which are a series of questions that must be answered by the other parent under oath within a fixed period of time. You can also issue a “Notice to Produce,” sometimes also called a “Request for Production of Documents.” This device requires the other parent to produce certain important documents for your review within a fixed deadline — before you go to trial over the custody issue.
By using these discovery techniques, you can dig deeper into the actual work history of the other parent. For example, an interrogatory might ask this question: “State how many days in the last year you worked overtime?” Or, “When you worked overtime, which days of the week did you work, and what hours did you spend outside of your home on those days?” A request for documents could then ask the other parent to produce copies of his attendance log or time cards at work, his overtime payroll information, or a list of the clients he’s had in his part-time photography business.
By gathering this kind of information first, you can draw certain valuable inferences about the other parent’s ability to primary custody or joint custody. Such information may also help you fine-tune your visitation and time-sharing arrangements.
My advice: Do you homework first. Gather the necessary information through pre-trial discovery, and then enter into settlement negotiations.