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H fighting for 50/50 custody, so stressed


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#1 ksr

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:42 PM

Hello All,

Well I have started the divorce proceedings and in the petition it states "severe mental cruelty" as the first count and irreconcilable differences as the 2nd count. He says he won't sign that with the mental cruelty statement in there as then the courts will look on him as he is going to abuse his kids. The other document was for temporary relief, temp child support, temp. ownership of marital home, pay legal fees & a few more things. He of course is flipping out as we have "no money". We make good money but there is no savings, a ton of debt and he's wanting me to fire my lawyer cause we should just go thru a mediator - it would be cheaper & more amicable and the money could be spent on the kids.

He wants every other week custody and the rest is typical, 2 weeks vacation, every other holiday, etc. His first request was to take custody of the older daughter & my younger daughter stay with me (just sad) and at first I agreed (I know stupid) and then realized that would be terrible to split up the girls and told him so, so they next request was 50/50 custody. I really don't understand why he is fighting it other than not having to pay child support (if that is indeed the case with 50/50) because we have done just fine during separation and I have been very liberal and agreeable to any requests to see the girls, I told him I would continue to be that way but if I insisted on going for physical custody (which is typical) he'd fight me in court for the oldest. I said that really doesn't set well with me, why would you fight for only the oldest, well you are closer to the youngest and I don't want to leave you by yourself. I think he just doesn't want to have to take care of her as she is 7 & the oldest is 13, if he has 50/50 then my 13 yr. old can help take care of her (bathe her, etc.) which he has never done.

I'm pretty sure I'm being manipulated and I have been crying a lot today. Why do I let him get to me!

ksr

#2 DawnC

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:02 PM

I don't think the courts will allow him to fight for custody of only one of the children...and is there something going on that he would basically reject the younger child? That's not okay. They are equal under the law, arent they? And he doesn't get to choose which papers to sign, does he? He doesn't get to choose the grounds, or he shouldn't be able to. And yeah, darn right mental cruelty could affect custody! He can't undo what he did to you...it is what it is. In my state I think you can divorce your spouse against their will, so I think you have solid legal ground to stand on. My advice? Talk through a mediator or your lawyer, not directly, about custody. He I going to fight you and try to bulky and manipulate you, so lean on your legal counsel. And record your conversations, if possible. Don't worry what you ssid you'd do. Nothing is binding until signed by the judge.

#3 Kokoca

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:39 PM

What Dawn said... Sounds like he's trying to push you around. Do this through a lawyer or mediator.

I'd be surprised if he could split the kids up and he's going to look pretty ridiculous trying to do so. Might raise some eyebrows with a judge. And who is he to tell you what you'd like or not like in terms of being left by yourself? That's not right.

Child support calculations probably vary a lot from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I know in mine 50/50 custody does reduce it because both parents pay each other based on salary levels. But it doesn't remove it particularly if there's a big salary difference. But it might be his angle for looking for 50/50.

He may also have been advised by a lawyer that having custody documented is important. I think that's just pretty standard. Lawyers don't like to leave things like this to chance. There's obviously discord between you so nobody can say for certain that you will continue to be cooperative. And, honestly, it is in your best interest to have it documented so you don't get pushed around into giving in more or into never-ending changes. Do you really want to be constantly in negotiation with him?

Big question about "mental cruetly": is he fit to care for the kids? Will they be safe? I think you ought to stand your ground on that one if you and your lawyer feel that you have enough evidence to go on. Now is not the time to worry about his problems. Make sure that you and your kids are safe.

The fact that he's never bathed the 7 year old speaks volumes. Speaking as a father who cared for the kids equally as much as their mom did... why the heck should he have equal custody time now? If he thinks that he's going to replace you with the thirteen year old in mother duties, there's some serious trouble on the horizon.


If you are feeling manipulated, you probably are being manipulated. The mental cruelty hasn't stopped. I hit this point at one time myself and had to make it clear that I was only working through the lawyer.

#4 myohmy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:00 PM

From my own experience.....has he ever abused the children? if so is there proof? What type of state do you live in, there are many states that are forwardly "father friendly" and do what it is they can do to assist in 50/50 parenting. I think we have discussed this before, if your stbx is not harming your children, he has as much right to 50/50 as any other parent. I dont make that to sound harsh, but that is a reality. What goes on in a marriage has no baring on custody outcomes, just the fitness of both parents and there abilites to provide proper care. What is your disagreement with him getting 50/50? what is your fear, not what you think he is trying to pull, just tell us what you think is the problem with him having his fair share of the kids. Im just writing this assuming he isnt abusing them.

#5 tuttifrutti

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:36 PM

I think we have discussed this before, if your stbx is not harming your children, he has as much right to 50/50 as any other parent.


Respectfully I have to disagree with this. If a child is witnessing abuse, then they are being abused (at least that is how it is viewed in uk). There is more and more research coming out on the effects of adult-on-adult abuse on the children in that home.
I don't have lots of time to search through references, but if you google it, there's a ton of it.

http://www.childwelf...s/witnessdv.cfm
http://drirene.com/divorce.htm

I also think it is impossible to know whether your spouse would every directly abuse your children. I never in a million years thought my x could be abusive towards our child until seeing him be abusive to another. Nobody could have persuaded me he would be a danger but seeing that made me realise that she was not safe with him, and that is something I still find really, really hard.

#6 myohmy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:20 PM

If she is "allowing" visitation right now it's a difficult thing to get out from under. Unless there is supervised visits she has already set the precedent that he is caring for the children approriately and that there is no abuse to the children. However the flip side is if he has parenting time now and abusing tne children, essentially she is knowingly allowing her children be with a known abuser. It's not so cut and dried.

#7 Coconut_007

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:46 PM

ksr,

What you wrote here could have been written almost word for word by me (except I knew he would go ballistic about the mental cruelty so I didn't go there and the fact that my attorney said it is hard to prove mental cruelty).

Well I have started the divorce proceedings and in the petition it states "severe mental cruelty" as the first count and irreconcilable differences as the 2nd count. He says he won't sign that with the mental cruelty statement in there as then the courts will look on him as he is going to abuse his kids. The other document was for temporary relief, temp child support, temp. ownership of marital home, pay legal fees & a few more things. He of course is flipping out as we have "no money". We make good money but there is no savings, a ton of debt and he's wanting me to fire my lawyer cause we should just go thru a mediator - it would be cheaper & more amicable and the money could be spent on the kids.

My STBX said the same things. He also told me to get rid of my attorney and to just do a dissolution on our own. He even went to Staples and bought a "do it yourself dissolution packet". What a piece of work my STBX is. I am hoping that this Friday's hearing gets him out of the house.

Good luck to you.
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#8 hedoesntcare

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:40 AM

You can ask for a LGAL to interview both sides and the children along with other witnesses. They determine what is in the best interest of he children. I am getting nervous myself since our next court date is Monday. I can only hope that my LGAL heard enough to see that he is too dangerous and abusive to have physical custody of the children. Talk to your lawyer about this option, both parties have to split the fee ( mine was $350 each) it might be worth the money. I feel your pain, isn't it terrible how hard we have to fight for what is truly in the best interest of the children. (((ksr)))

#9 claudifred

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:42 AM

Crazy as it sounds, my ex was horrible to me but is in general, VERY good with our children. They are now 9 and 3 years old. We have 50/50 custody. You need to decide how dangerous he is to the children and their well-being, and then whether or not you have enough to make a case in court.

We had attorneys do everything regarding our divorce and then met with a mediator to finalize the divorce decree to avoid going in front of a judge. That was more because my ex was dragging his feet.
There definitely IS a great consistency for my children swapping houses together. The few times that we've separated them (due to one being ill, the odd school function, whatever) they haven't been very happy about it. I'd recommend finding a schedule favorable for the youngest child and having the older one follow along.

There are many creative ways to operate a 50/50 schedule. Don't assume you have to give up a full week at a time!
XH and I use a "Three-Four" schedule, that takes 2 weeks to complete a rotation.
Our children stay overnight as follows:
Week 1
Sun - Dad
Mon - Dad
Tue - Mom
Wed - Mom
Thu - Dad
Fri - Dad
Sat - Dad
Week 2
Sun - Mom
Mon - Mom
Tue - Dad
Wed - Dad
Thu - Mom
Fri - Mom
Sat - Mom
It looks like a lot of switching... the children are never away from either parent for more than 3 nights at a time. However, consider that the switch takes place at school (the little one is in preschool.) So, on the week 2 Tuesday, for example, I am dropping them off at school in the morning, and at the end of their day, Dad is picking up. My ex and I only exchange face to face on the Sunday swap, which we do at 6 pm on neutral ground.

Your children are a little older... I would consider a "Five-two" schedule. This would make for less swapping per week and provide consistent weekdays for each parent. (Helpful for school/activities!)

Week 1
Mon - Mom
Tue - Mom
Wed - Dad
Thu - Dad
Fri - Dad
Sat - Dad
Sun - Dad
Week 2
Mon - Mom
Tue - Mom
Wed - Dad
Thu - Dad
Fri - Mom
Sat - Mom
Sun - Mom

This keeps Mom's days as Mon & Tue every week, Dad's are Wed & Thu, and you alternate who gets Fri/Sat/Sun. It means you each get 5 days in a row with the kids, consistently.

I hope this helps.

#10 Tristis

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:39 AM

Maybe you should just go with the 50/50. There are three reasons i say this.

1 It's just easier (and cheaper) than fighting

2. Being the sort of man he is it is quite possible he will not hold up his end of the bargain. He will lose interest in the children. All he seems to be doing is trying to manipulate you through them.

3 At the end of the day he is the children's father. When the day comes when they make their own decision about him you don't want to be the bad guy that kept them away from him. They will then see you as the bad guy. If they see their father for what he is you will win.

I hope it works out for you. You have been through enough x




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