[This message edited by Whalers11 at 6:42 PM, December 22nd (Thursday)]
Christmas joy was maliciously stolen from me last year in a single email. So this year, I plan on screening calls, avoiding emails, and generally pretending that the world is right for a few days even if it takes a few glasses of wine to do it.
I'm in the same boat, except we found out paternity when my daughter wasn't even 2 weeks old yet. But it ruined the holidays last year, the year before (when my fwh told me the cOW was pg), and so far has leeched into this holiday season also (the $ part).
My New Year's resolution to myself is to put myself first. To be HAPPY. I cannot change the past, I cannot change the fact that the cOW is the type of person she is, I cannot change the fact that the OC is on this earth, I cannot change what my fwh did to our family. But I can change my perception of life, I can vow to no longer be depressed and ashamed over this situation, and I can focus on truly R'ing instead of letting anger and bitterness consume me to the point of affecting my health, my relationships with friends, and my homelife.
A HUGE hug to us all, and I hope that everyone has a wonderful, safe, and PEACEFUL holiday!
I never wanted to be the kind of person that obsesses about money, but we are just making it now, and I don't know how we are going to make ends meet once a significant portion of his earnings are diverted.
I hate this.
Good luck! Hopefully you are in a more "friendly" state and the CS won't be too hard on your family. REMIND the judge that there is more than 1 child affected by this, and that they shouldn't be left out. I think that's how my fwh didn't get 110% screwed (he still got screwed, just not as bad as it could have been). And that's how the cOW isn't able to get more $, because he made a plea for our COM.
Is there a way to establish paternity before the baby is born? Has anyone had this done?
What do you think a rough estimate on lawyer fees for
establishing paternity and getting child support squared away.
Has anyone tried to get primary custody of the OC?
I may not know the answers to all your questions, but I will try my best for what I know. Just know that child support/custody/etc. varies GREATLY from state to state.
Is there a way to establish paternity before the baby is born? Has anyone had this done?
There is a way via CVS (chorionic villus sampling) or via amniocentesis, but those carry risks (amino more so than CVS) so I highly doubt a judge would allow that, unless testing is done for something else. My advice? Don't worry until the child is born. Some states will require the father to pay for the birth while some don't (luckily we didn't have to pay for that mess, the state covered it). I would think if paternity is known BEFORE, that opens up the door for more costs that your H would be required to cover.
What do you think a rough estimate on lawyer fees for
establishing paternity and getting child support squared away.
It varies greatly state by state. I'm in a medium to high cost of living area, and all attorneys we talked to required a $2000-$3000 retainer. So far in the last YEAR we have spent close to $10,000 on lawyers. AND we are NC (no contact)!!!
Has anyone tried to get primary custody of the OC?
In this state custody is automatically awarded to the mother (if it's an out of wedlock case)--and that's sole legal and physical. We didn't realize in the beginning we should've fought for joint legal and now we have to go back to court (and are looking at about $3000-$5000 to fight it). This state is incredibly pro-mother and anti-father, so the chances of him getting custody (if he wanted it) are pretty much 0%, unless the cOW disappears off of the planet. From what I have seen/heard, 50/50 is the going "rate" unless you can prove the OW to be unfit. In some states that's easy to do, in some states (like mine) it's almost like they don't care if they are unfit, crack head whores .
Your H can always get a free consultation with a lawyer to find out his rights and to get prepared. DO NOT HAVE HIM SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT A PATERNITY TEST!!! If there is a delay from the date of birth to the results of the test, put a little money aside because arrears will build up (that's what happened to us). Every state has a calculator you can usually "play" with to determine what support might be. Also, find out if your COM get first crack at his income--some states it's whoever files first gets the largest share. Our state (luckily) counted our COM FIRST, then gave the cOW what was left. But that's VERY important, even if you have to "separate" and then you file for CS for your COM. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS put your COM first! TRUST me, the OW will NOT PUT YOUR COM FIRST. IN fact, they will almost always wnat your children to count last or not at all. Half the time the state won't even put your COM first, so make sure they are protected at all costs.
Thanks to Scooter 3377!
Below are some helpful starters for "newbies":
OC HANDBOOK (courtesy Me&My3)
1. Dna results must be established and your H should hire an atty immediately if he hasn't already done so. DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON YOUR OWN ONLY THROUGH AN ATTORNEY SKILLED IN FAMILY LAW.
2. If you have children of your own with your h take steps to protect them and yourself by filing for a pseudo legal separation; because in the case of child support, he who files first gets the most (in most states). It doesn't matter one bit which child came first only who files for support first. So if she files first she gets an amount based on his entire income and if you then get separated/divorced your child support would be based on a percentage of his income less what he's already paying her. Makes sense to protect yourself by filing for a separation that way if you and your husband divorce you will benefit more and if you stay together it will keep more money in your household. Even if you're financially self-sufficient you should still consider setting up a child support order because in these uncertain times you never know what tomorrow will bring i.e. corporate downsizing, etc. It never hurts to have that order in place even if you don't need it now. Also consider having alimony set up in the separation papers as it can also reduce the ow's child support order.
3. Visitation with possible oc or sending money to the ow for the oc is a no-no until dna has been established and the courts are involved. Everything should be done legally as it's the only way to protect you and your family. Trust me on this one. There are couples out there who have been dealing with an oc for several years. Visitation, money, etc. only to discover that the child is NOT his. They are embroiled in a huge legal battle because the wayward husband "assumed" parental responsibility of the child.
4. Depending on which state you live in your h could be responsible for back child support, internment (costs of labor and delivery), the costs of the dna test if it's positive, current medical coverage and also a portion of child care costs. Any money that passes hands before a court order is made or before an attorney draws up a legal document signed by both parties may be considered a gift and may not be deducted from the back support amount owed. Some states base child support payments on both the husband and the wives income (another good reason to file for a legal separation). In other words the 'household income' is what they use to determine those payments not just the husbands income.
5. Any decisions to have contact with the oc if it is indeed your H's should be made by both of you. He should not be imposing his wants upon you if you want no contact. ANY decisions made regarding the possible oc should be made jointly. Your H should not be having any contact with ow unless you are both completely involved. That means no phone calls, no text messages, no emails, no meetings, nothing and NO SECRETS! PERIOD! But if you're smart--DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON YOUR OWN ONLY THROUGH AN ATTORNEY SKILLED IN FAMILY LAW.
6. Work on your marriage first and foremost before you even consider having contact. A weakened marriage will only be further weakened if you throw the tension of an oc into the mix. Get into marriage counseling and IC if possible. You can look around this board and see how difficult reconciliation is without an oc so take things slowly and think through them very carefully.
7. Contact with oc is a very personal choice. Many women are able to make the decision to go down that road while others are not. There is a lot of drama that goes along with contact, it's not an easy path to choose. Also consider that visitation can be started at any time down the road. If say in two years you are then open to the idea of contact the child won't have suffered if your husband wasn't involved for the first couple years. It won't even know the difference. ADDED: If you do decide to go for joint legal custody, do it in the beginning, it is harder and more expensive to get later on.
8. Remember that if the oc is indeed your husband's child the ow will no longer hold all the cards. If the two of you want contact she can't prevent it. She can't prevent you from being involved, etc. She can't call all the shots, only the courts can. Once she decides to attach paternity to your husband she is forfeiting a portion of her parental rights.
9. Make sure that you dot your i's and cross your t's in the form of legal documents. If you're adamant about no contact, have it in the papers. If you want to prevent her from making contact with your children or extended family put it in the paperwork. If your H is responsible for a portion of child care costs require ow to only use a licensed child care provider which will prevent her from having her momma watch and claim she's charging $250.00 a week when she's really charging nothing at all.
10. Protect your financial assets such as homes, etc. If you don't have a will get one now. If anything were to happen to your ws the ow would be able to fight you for a portion of everything if indeed the oc is his. Many people create a will that specifically excludes the oc or they leave the oc some small stipend such as a dollar so that the old "he forgot to include me" argument can't be used. If you intend to have a relationship with the oc should dna confirm that it's your H's then this is all a moot point.
11. If you and your spouse do decide to have contact document everything. Keep a notebook and list everything possible in it from the time the oc is picked up/ dropped off to whether or not they were dirty when you got them from the ow. This information has come in very handy for others in the same situation that ended up having to fight for custody, etc and it's one more way to protect yourself.
12. Consider removing your spouse from your joint bank accounts, stocks, bonds and removing them as a beneficiary of your life insurance policies, as OW/OC could try to attach an interest in any holding that has your spouse SS # on it.
13. If you are NC with OC but may consider a relationship later down the road or want to be prepared for when the OC gets older and may want to meet your family, some members have put together letters, cards, pictures for OC and held them until an appropiate time. Especially in situations where the OW has made it very difficult to have C.
FAQs wrt OW/OC:
Q: What if there is an OC? Submitted by PHOEBE
A: This complicates so many things in a marriage I cannot answer it all but will hit on the highlights. There are many questions that need to be answered when it comes to dealing with an other child. First you must find out if the child is the H with a DNA test? Seek out a family attorney to consult with. This is a must because a family must know their rights. Too many get empty threats from the OP involved and they do not know any better so tend to believe many things untrue. Try to protect yourself and your children of the marriage legally.
Does the married couple want contact or no contact? NC or C are not easy, keep in mind wait to make an informed decision. I want to make it clear it is usually easier to heal a marriage without contact with the OP/OC initially. Contact can always be established later on after the marriage is repaired or far along as it can be in the healing process to consider contact with the OC.
It is a personal decision to include OC in your household or not. Neither choice is good or bad. Consider that it may be great to have the OC involved in 2 separate families that are amicable or it may be detrimental to the OC to have to deal with 2 hostile environments. Many times the OC was not planned and the adults involved cannot get along, take a step back and think long and hard about the child's best interest.
The OC is no more important than the COM or the BS. You do not have to change your lives around to accept anyone. I know you may want to fix everything for your Spouse but you must let him take responsibility for his own actions. DS this is some of what I have to say about this if someone has already answered it you can add it. This is a complicated situation with too many variables
Q: How do I deal with continued contact with OW because of OC? Submitted by Bee-Trayed
A: The decision on how to handle an OW/OC situation is a deeply personal one. Some BS find that they have it in their hearts to make the OC a part of their lives; others do not. There is no right or wrong answer to this situation. However, when it is the WS's choice to have contact with the OC then certain "battle" lines must be drawn with the OW, to facilitate the re-establishment of trust in the marriage.
This is best accomplished by establishing a clear understanding between the BS and WS of what will and will not be acceptable or allowable boundaries. Here are some hypothetical:
NC whatsoever with OW/OC
Contact with OC possible but with BS present
Neutral zone for visitation; no visits at OW's home, etc.
Legally drawn up contract stating acceptable parameters for OW to contact WS.
These are just a few sample suggestions. Remember, once there is an OC involved, and paternity has been established, BOTH parents have rights. Make them work for you. It is unbalancing and counter-productive to find yourself on the defensive with the OW.
Establish, with the assistance of your spouse, what your "comfort zone" and rights are with the OW, then send a clear and UNIFIED message to the OW of what you will and will not tolerate. This helps the BS to re-establish some control over a situation that is tragic for all concerned, but in which they, along with the OC, are also a victim.
Q: What do we tell our kids about OC? Submitted by Bee-Trayed
A: Many BSs express concern over telling their children about the existence of the OW/OC. Fear of emotional trauma to the COM, damage to the parental relationship between the WS and COM, or other negative consequences relating to the A abound. How, or if, a BS decides to divulge this information is also highly individual and neither right nor wrong. Family dynamics, the ages of the COM, and other factors unique to the BS's family environment influence the decision.
Relying on one's instinct is probably a good place to start. If there is any uncertainty as to the affect disclosure may cause, then it is probably better to wait until a more opportune time arises. Children are resilient, but that does not mean they should be unnecessarily wounded or burdened with this knowledge.
Examining one's motives for exposing the OW/OC's existence may be one aspect to consider. Preparing them for a possibly unpleasant encounter with OW/OC at a future date might be another. Knowledge is power, but not if it creates a destabilizing environment for the COM. Consider all options and then take your time making the decision. Choosing the right time or place, and striving to neutralize the emotionally charged nature of the subject, can make the difference between a "successful" disclosure and a devastating one.
Hope this helps.
I'm determined to focus on ME this year! I am going to make me happy, I'm going to enjoy my life. I have "dedicated" the last 2 years of my life dealing head-on with this 'ish. Well, I'm over it. Now I'm focusing on my countdown...I'm reminded that as each year passes, it's 1 year closer to being rid of cOW forever...gives me something to look forward to! But not letting this take up anymore space other than a countdown!
I know I shouldn't rock the boat, but it's been over 4 weeks and it's been bliss...total and complete bliss...
Anyways, I hope for a peaceful, healing, and prosperous (but only prosperous in the BS's name, not the one paying the CS!!!) new year! I hope 2012 is a good year for us all!
Evidently, she put far more effort into suing her father for the continued child support than she did actually attending community college (she was pursuing a 1 year certificate in Early Childhood Education, and I was trying to talk her into going for an associate's or even a bachelor's, since I did some research and found the certificate really didn't advance her any in the career she wants, which is teaching). We are really, really disappointed. However, FWH's CS now drops significantly, as it is only going towards his back that he owes his exW from when they were separated long ago (which he plans to fight once we can afford a lawyer, as he made the mistake of giving her cash for years, and her going after him for back support during the D- BIG MISTAKE).
This month we plan on getting a consult with an adoption attorney over OC. Ow is still posting on the internet that her new H/OC daddy wants to adopt FWH's OC, so we are going to have the lawyer file paperwork. At worst, it will call OW's bluff (Which is that her new hubby wants to adopt OC, and FWH "won't consent") and she will have to shut her fat, sow mouth, and at best it will get the ball rolling, and hopefully get OC adopted.
I hope for all of us a year full of peace and healing in this mess. I don't post too often, since we are NC I don't have a lot to post about, but I read all of your posts.
We will be 5 years out this summer, and let me tell you, especially the new members- it gets easier. Looking at pics of OW and OC doesn't even get a physical response from me anymore- no adrenaline, no nausea, not even an increase in heart rate. I did find some pics of OW and her big fat redneck wedding this summer, and that gave me quite a laugh.
Hugs to all of you.
My fwh got after me this evening (jokingly) because I asked him if he had heard from her and he was like oh great I haven't but now I will because you jinxed it! LOL I hope he's wrong! Then he got a little sad and told me he would tell me if he had heard something, that he wouldn't hide it from me. I know he's torn between keeping me out of the loop for my sanity and keeping me in the loop for my sanity.
[This message edited by IslandWahine at 6:17 PM, January 2nd (Monday)]
Things are going pretty well for me, I've recovered (physically anyway) from my miscarriage and have decided to become super proactive about not getting preggers again until we and mostly I am really ready. What I've had a chance to remember up close and personal is that babies are WORK!!!! My child is almost 10 so I guess I had forgotten. Where'd the reminder come from you ask? OC
My bf (and I guess u could say) had her on our own for almost two weeks over the holiday, including Christmas and new year. She is a doll and becoming kind of attached to me, well as attached as a 4month old can be lol.†
I surprise myself everyday with the capacity for forgiveness and acceptance and love I give out to everyone involved. (ow notwithstanding, I don't speak to her at all, haven't since OC was 2days old-her antics are a whole other story). I struggle just a bit with patience for bf's family's excitement over OC. I try to remember this is their first grandchild/niece and what happened between bf and I shouldn't rain on their parade anymore than it should on OC's - none of us asked to be here. I think it helps that his family really does not like OW at all, but then at the same time it can get annoying when I'm getting three calls a day from bf's mom with questions about OC like I'm her mom.
I'm hoping we can really Focus more on the process of recovery from the affair in general now as we seem to be handling the OC part ok for now. I know we're going to need to be strong than ever once a court date comes and the custody battle begins.†
Anyway I could type more but I'm on my iPad and I hate typing on this thing! Lol happy new year everyone, keep your head up and I,ll be in touch.
[This message edited by tryingtosmile at 12:01 PM, January 4th (Wednesday)]
So with all that said I'll take your questions line by line that's easier than going off on a tangent myself because I'm a talker LOL. My bf wants full custody of OC he's been saying that from day one because of his thoughts on OW's parenting skills. (she already has a 3yr old she cant take care of) He's expressed this to her trying to set it up as the best thing for her and honestly it would be she really needs to pull her shyt together as a woman. In subsequent talks they've 'agreed' to joint custody. There's a whole other story behind that but that's for another post. I don't speak to the OW and I honestly don't want to, I don't have anything to say to her really you know? We did speak once while she was still preggers via fb, kind of an in case you didn't know I am the gf, I am here and I'm not going anywhere kind of conversation, and she was cordial BUT what I much later learned was that it wasn't her I was talking to. Again another story for another post. I spoke to/met her again two days after OC was born when bf took me up to the hospital to meet OC. All conversation about OC, logistics, visits, care, concern, drs appointments, etc has happened between OW and my bf. He went to OC's first dr's appointment, they drove separate cars and left separately. He also went to her christening (another post again). Again my/our situation has gone almost completely against the handbook. But I know myself and if I can't trust him to grow into a person that's learned from his mistakes, knows how to control himself/handle his business now then I can't be with him. Trusting him again has been an everyday and at times even an every hour thing. This is again one of those major difference between being in this situation as a married couple vs dating couple. I can't put out standards like I need you home by such and such a time every night or whatever because how the hell would I know anyway? Lol My philosophy on trust is now what it's always been, I trust people to be themselves. I don't trust you not to cheat or not to lie or not to eat the last cookie. I am now aware of weaknesses and fallacies in his personality I didn't know where there before and that is the space we work from. Understanding, strengthening, correcting those things and as long as I see the work being done on his end to do all of those things my trust grows in him more and more. The hardest thing for me in all of this has been realizing that I/we were living in a fantasy, more in love with the idea of our relationship than actually being in and nurturing and appreciating and growing a relationship. Now that we're doing that my trust is coming back.....slowly.
I knew from jump his family would love OC, this is his first child, his mom's first grandchild and all that it was only a matter of time. Even when OW was preggers one of the first things bf's sister said to me was "I'd roll with you to drive be ole girls house but the baby...can't mess her up while she's got the baby". They put up protections around OC very quickly and yeah I felt some kind of way about it but I had to put my feelings where they belonged. At the end of the day bf and the OC is their family... I am not. (yet another difference between facing this as a married couple vs dating) If the tables were turned my family would gather around me and my child too no matter what. Now does that mean bf has gotten a pass? NO they were VERY hard on him extremely disappointed and have made that all very clear. But what did OC do but be born? I as a grown up with my own life have the ability to walk away from this situation and move on. But that child will always be his daughter and their family and they deserve to show her love and attention just as she deserves to receive it. I've read a lot of post about families turning on the BS and/or attaching themselves to the OW and I feared that HARD I was very paranoid about it. And his mom did after meeting OW once at the hospital ask him was he sure he couldn't be with her or didn't like her want to try to work things out or whatever...and that hurt my feelings beyond belief...but again I understood. Throughout this whole thing I've tried to put myself in everyone's shoes at one point or another (even when they refused to extend to me the same courtesy) and as a mom who grew up with an old fashioned mom I know there's a bit of embarrassment with bf's mom to say my son had this kid with some chick he barely knows and can't stand and oh yeah btw he cheated on this really nice girl in the process. Of course it'd be easier/nicer to just present her new grandchild with her son's new gf and act like it was that way from day one. Not to mention what is she supposed to think? He was dating me then she shows up preggers as far as she knows maybe we broke up, maybe we weren't that serious, maybe he doesn't really want to be with me...... without guidance and conversation from her son about the whole thing she's kind of entitled to think what she wanted. So I held him accountable to fixing that to owning up to his mistake in front of everyone, me, the OW, her family, his family, my family. And he has. Luckily as I stated before his family after getting to know about the situation and more about OW, they can't stand her. And they adore me. We had a lovely Christmas with OC, his immediate and extended family exchanged gifts and all. His mom and sister got me a spa day (keep in mind they bought my bf nothing lol)...I guess they knew with the year I'd had I needed it lol.
My emotions are very similar to a lot of the ones here but my story isn't. Yet another reason I don't post much, I donít want to offend anyone or seemingly attach anyone else's choice in the way I've decided to go about things if that makes sense? But then again maybe the differences are a reason to post more often I donít know. It's been a loooooooooooooooong almost 9months since I found out about my bf's cheating and the OC and A LOT has happened in those 9 months and some moments it feels like I just found out and others it's like this is how it's always been or should have been, or had to be. All I can say is that every day there is work to be done to repair and reconcile. More than anything though you have to really believe that this is where you want and should be. While the married ladies here are fighting to defend a choice a marriage a family and vows that were already in place and destroyed, and that's a monster I can't even imagine facing down, I feel like I have the hard battle of deciding if that's something I even want to do with this man that's already shown me this as a weakness you know? It's a horse of another color. But a horse nonetheless. You have to believe that what you have with your bf is or can become BIGGER than all of this. Because OC/OW, children of your own or not, when it's all said and done it's the relationship between the two of you that have to last to the end of time.
[This message edited by WasAlmostThere at 12:59 PM, January 4th (Wednesday)]
The OC handbook was developed more for the BS and their family's protection. It's a compilation of information that many of us have learned the hard way over the years. Take what you need from it and leave the rest. The nice thing about this thread is that one can see a variety of situations and hopefully use the info as they see fit.
We don't pass judgment here, no matter if you are C, NC, undecided, etc. Some OW are evil, awful people, some may be reasonable to deal with, some may be complete lunatics...again every situation is different. Please feel free to post; there are also those who lurk (I lurked for almost 4 months before I started posting) and perhaps your situation may be like what they are dealing with. I know it was so comforting for me personally to see that there were others who were NC because I felt a lot of guilt about that. Now I feel confident in our decision, especially thanks to the support here.
I hope everyone has a good week!
[This message edited by IslandWahine at 8:12 PM, January 4th (Wednesday)]