Am I misunderstanding or are you splitting several different days every week?
It is walking a fine line.
I wouldn't be a hard nose about it UNTIL I had a signed (by a judge) agreement that was enforceable. Then I would be a batch about it.
Be the parent that puts the kids first and can prove it to the court.
Any correspondence with XH I write with the thought that a judge will be reading this-how do I want up come across ? It is the only thing that kept me same in my emails to him.
Text (paraphrased): "I have been called away on business. Can I drop off the kids in the morning? And you have them until Friday? Otherwise I can have them sleep at their friends."
(She will have had them for a whopping twelve hours after not seeing them for almost five days.)
This after all the bullshit today. With no "thank you," no apology, no text responses to me.
So, once again, SI: do I refuse to take the kids, hold firm on the schedule and even potentially get her fired?
Or take the kids (as of course I always want to do), document, and use it for the "endgame?"
PS: the kids will be very upset to be torn from her once again after so brief a time with her.
Kajem: I hadn't read your post before posting this. So clearly you'd advise I take the kids.
[This message edited by Abbondad at 11:36 PM, August 24th (Saturday)]
Otherwise, she will have them stay with a friend and not tell you. Thus showing she can care for them on her 50 percent of the time. Be smart about this!
The idea is to show the court that She can't sustain 50/50 custody. The only way to do that is to take the kids when she offers. If you start taking digs at her in your responses, it might give the court the impression that you resent having to take the kids. You don't want to give that impression .
It's a fine line to walk. Each time she offers to GIFT you her time with the kids, take them with a smile . She could have them stay with friends, and you would miss out on spending time with your kids. UNTIL you have something in writing signed by a judge, sending the kids to stay with friends IS an option for her. She is choosing you knowing you are a better choice than friends.
Even if you are the easiest solution for her child are dilemma, she is giving you the gift of her time with your kids.
As for your responses to her, keep them business like. Yes or no and logistics only. No emotions, no i am the better parent, nothing more noting less. Then document.
The reality is UNTIL you have an agreement with a right of first refusal clause ( that is enforceable) she can choose to have the kids go somewhere else. Make it easy for her to choose you.
When it comes to x's time with my kids, Being a doormat works in the kids favor. I'd rather see them with a parent rather than parceled out to friends and feeling like their parents didn't want them around .
Get ready. Your upcoming divorce will liberate her. You will be faced with this a lot.
Embrace your children. Let go of her. Focus on what's best for your children. Doing that will help you answer these types of questions for yourself.
Talk to your attorney again abut custody. 60 / 40 is not reality. She should get every other weekend.
I texted her back last night a simple "I will take them."
And of course it's what I want, as after five days with them I miss them--and they are so happy to be in their home.
But I hate these "plays" and it just makes me sad still that a mother is not simply torn apart by not seeing her children more than twelve hours in ten days. This is not who I thought I had married. If I were her I would quit this job and find ANYthing--menial labor, whatever--that would enable me to be in my very young children's lives every single day.
Career career career. And "fun.". Always has been, I guess always will be. Just so sad. I don't even care so much anymore about the affair. Maybe it's because she came from a very broken home--"fathers" coming and going, her mom pawning her and her sister off on her grandma while she worked and traveled with her boyfriend. (Sound familiar? Trauma reenactment?).
Whereas I had a very close, solid, happy family life: parents married over fifty years, always there, both mom and dad, both making career sacrifices for their children.
Family is everything to me. Just everything. The greatest gift in life. This is why I fought so long and hard to keep ours together. I don't know if I will ever really get over this.
Sorry for these final musings.
Generally it's been: me during most of the week, then her on the weekends going into Monday.
But I say "generally" very loosely. It is constantly changing because of her job, which demands that she be "on call" to go out of town at the drop of a hat. So a consistent half-and-half has thus far not happened.
This is the problem.
No put downs. No "I'm the better parent". No jabs at her self-esteem.
You're no longer responsible to help her be a better parent. So don't step into that "parental" role with her.
Find a way to be cheerful and encouraging that she's doing her job. Work with your attorney on this strategy so that she will eventually willingly surrender the idea of 50/50.
Even if you don't think she'd ever do that. She'll have less fight in her, if there are no emotional jabs at her.
But be careful. I was a SAHM, took care of the kids most of the time. Even when he left, he only had them every other weekend. He cried, CRIED on the stand he want...needed them more to be a good dad and guess what, he got 60/40 (he was going for just over the limit to make it joint vs sole physical custody thus reducing his payments). And like you said, no doubt he loves his kids, but he loves his OW now wifetress more as does himself. The kids are priority #3.
Obviously, take the kids. You have damage control to perform. I'm glad you recognize this. Document and smile. Cry over what they are going through in private, use the time with them to create a stronger, better bond between you and them. Of course they are going to question whether their mom loves them or not. Be prepared with age appropriate responses.
Your lawyer will probably be ecstatic over this. You should have a pretty good case for primary or even full custody. I can't believe that her lawyer would even have the audacity to try to go for 50/50. Sigh, yea, I can.
Anyway, take the kids, start damage control enjoy the day. Lawyer update Monday.
Busy here myself!
I should have suggested this before, during my divorce I used a strategy of finding other things to fight about. I have seen this done in litigation over and over. I chose mostly money and where I would live, I moved away and refused to come back (even though I was planning on coming back). This way, he was less interested in controlling me by the children and more interested in controlling me by giving me less money and making me move back. I told my attorney after I lost over moving back, she said she was glad I didn't mention it but it was a smart strategy with such a difficult ex. It ended that he asked for less time with the children than standard because he didn't think it mattered to me. I never fought about the kids or brought them up. Your WW knows that the kids are the biggest point with you. Is there anything else you could start focusing on with her to draw her attention away from the kids? Unless you have D with a really narcissistic person, it is hard for people to understand what it is like. Meaning it isn't a game, but you have to implement a strategy.
Just my experience, so take it or leave it. Every one of us have had different ideas and you just take what works best for you in your sitch.
And that is the main goal of your life right now. In my opinion every day SHE is actually proving that for your side.
Step 2. Continue documenting IF she calls them each evening. When she gets back into town how soon before she is there to get them?
Hopefully your constant care of their best interests will also get you final say in all the matters concerning them. (biggie).
[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 11:43 AM, August 25th (Sunday)]
Maybe this quote wii help you as much as it did me.
The only control I have over his parenting is - damage control!
I won't say I don't care about what happens on his time, because I care about my kids. I just realize that I am ineffective at any thing and everything when it comes to what goes on at his house, or what he teaches my kids about parenting.
I know I need to be the parent they emulate when they do have children. I don't want my grandkids becoming another generation of children being raised by self absorbed parents.
Then she tried tears, and then quickly segued into threats:
"If you think you are going to paint me into a corner like you are doing, you don't know what you are getting yourself into. This is your last chance."
"If I have to quit me job to have the kids 50%, I will."
(And she probably will.)
Very stressful. And I'm sure this is not "my last chance."
This will continue, as will the threats and her attempts to lie about my actions and character.
Do you know for a FACT that these last minute out of town trips are really that or are they an excuse for free time with her OP ?
Thank you. It was something i considered awhile ago but yes it's true (for once). I see the plane reservations to their headquarters, car rentals, reimbursement invoices from the company, etc.
Document that threat to quit her job. She just shot herself in the foot with that remark.
Think about the end game... raising those kids to be happy healthy kids. How is this best accomplished? By you having greater than 50% custody.
How to get there?
- allow her to hang herself. how?
- don't be a hard a$$ about custody. She can't take them? Great. You will. Don't paint her into a corner where she starts them to have sleepovers rather than contacting you to take them if she can't. Be as sweet as pie about extra time if she needs it.
DOCUMENT the hell out of it... AND DON'T TELL HER!
You will never convince her that it is in the kids best interest if you have more custody... and quite honestly, you don't need to. Who you need to convince is the Judge. By documenting the times that she gives them back... the hours called to travel... the sleepovers when she has them... that PROVES that she can't take 50% custody.
Keep it under your hat. At this point, the war is over... you are post-war negotiating war reparations.
I like missymom's red herring above and something for you to think about. Instead of going hard on 50% custody... try to convince her that you are going after a greater percentage of house proceeds... or alimony... let her get her knickers in a twist over those things. Then, when it comes time to go to court, be ready with the 70% parenting time whammy.
You should going after the extra time with the kids because it is in their best interest, not because you will get more money. The money will follow if you can prove you are the parent the kids rely upon.
As part of that, be ready to graciously offer "if you have a night off during the week, I will allow you access for dinner (4-7pm)" and follow through. But it isn't a commitment... and that way, you are offering the parenting time (which she claims is the important thing) ... but yet aren't reducing the formal visitation (which determines child support).
You will never beat the sense into her head, so don't try... and give away your strategy at the same time.