Divorcebusting.com

Starting the process

Posted By: unchien

Starting the process - 10/21/19 03:15 PM

Hi All,

I've been on the Newcomers forum for about 5 months, looks like things are transitioning towards filing for D, so I wanted to start a thread over here. My latest thread on Newcomers is below:

Things are trending up...

I'm looking for a little advice in general here, so will give a short background.

We moved 2 years ago to a new area. I work FT, and my W has not worked since moving. She has a PhD, and prior to moving worked 2 days a week in a private practice. Her ambition was to do the same thing again.

Lately as we have discussed beginning this filing process, she has said she wants to work the absolute minimum she can and spend the absolute maximum time with the kids. She is okay with me asking for 50/50, but not okay with the kids being in day care or after school care on my days.

I should say we are going to try mediation first, and then run our agreement by our own individual lawyers. I imagine at some point things may break down, however, so I am proceeding cautiously.

Any advice on how to approach the custody situation? I think her issue with 50/50 is that, in her mind, if I am working and the kids are out of school, she would like to have them. It's not a financial/support issue. I have thought about saying "Let's put 50/50 in writing, and then we can talk about what the kids do after school and work it out on our own."
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 03:59 PM

"It's not a financial or support issue" - meaning that she has enough money to support herself without working without child support or alimony from you? What, is she independently wealthy? Or have you just agreed to completely support her so long as you get 50:50 custody? Is that going to go on until the kids are 18?

Now, all other things being equal, if she is available to care for them after school and wants to, why would you object? So long as you get your full 50:50 I don't see a problem.
Posted By: JujuB

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 04:37 PM

A lot of custody agreements have something in them called right of first refusal. Maybe you can just include that?
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 04:37 PM

Originally Posted by kml
"It's not a financial or support issue" - meaning that she has enough money to support herself without working without child support or alimony from you? What, is she independently wealthy? Or have you just agreed to completely support her so long as you get 50:50 custody? Is that going to go on until the kids are 18?

I mean that my W's objection to 50/50 is not due to financial concerns. She objects because she doesn't want me putting the kids in day care or after school care during my 50% of the time.

To your point, however, her goal of "working the minimum and spending maximum time with the kids" would affect my support payments. I am willing to negotiate with her, but I am not willing to support her lifestyle choices at my expense.

I am anticipating agreeing that alimony will run for 3-4 years, and child support continues until they are 18. I've heard of the concept of "imputed income" where the support payments are calculated based on the income she could make. Then it is up to her how much to work.

Anyways I think this is going to get thorny.

Originally Posted by kml
Now, all other things being equal, if she is available to care for them after school and wants to, why would you object? So long as you get your full 50:50 I don't see a problem.

Right I don't really object here. Some people I've talked to think I should object, that she is "infringing" on my time, but I don't see much reason to object.
Posted By: DonH

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 05:31 PM

I donít know much about the whole area of Maintenance or spouse support - other than it often appears to be very unfair but from what I can tell, I agree with your thinking. She clearly has the ability to support herself with a PhD and work history. If she chooses to do otherwise thatís HER choice and you should not have to fund her choices. Clearly this is an area for your attorney to advise you in. If itís important to you that your children not be in daycare and you want your ex w to watch them during the day then certainly you need to help fund that. However if you are fine with day care and she is not then itís up to her to decide if she wants to work or be a stay at home mom. But she lost the choice to have you fund that when she chose to D you. Iíd fight this strongly. She needs to work like many moms do - again unless YOU chose to support her being a stay at home mom. She should not get to call that shot. Of course what I think and what the courts do are often vastly different. I just think spouse support is for those who do not have the capacity to earn what is needed due to PRIOR family decisions. A mom that never worked and did not get an education in favor of taking care of the home and kids is one thing. A mom who has the education and has worked but now would rather not is another. Thatís what marriage is for (in part) and she gave that up.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 05:38 PM

Quote
I've heard of the concept of "imputed income" where the support payments are calculated based on the income she could make.


Yes - imputed income is often used but can be a bit challenging. Especially since it doesn't sound like your ex has worked full time for a long time? (If ever?)

In my case, I had been the part-time worker in my marriage and full-time mom. When we finally divorced I was working full time in my own practice but not making as much as my exH wanted to impute to me. (I had health issues and had an integrative medicine practice which was not as profitable as working for say Kaiser - which would not have allowed me to practice integrative medicine. We finally settled on an imputed income amount halfway between what I actually made and what I would have made at Kaiser, although I probably would have won that one if we'd gone to court, since I'd already been in my practice for a couple of years.)

You should speak with your own individual attorney about this before discussing it further with her.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 06:39 PM

Originally Posted by DonH
A mom that never worked and did not get an education in favor of taking care of the home and kids is one thing. A mom who has the education and has worked but now would rather not is another. Thatís what marriage is for (in part) and she gave that up.

She did work full-time for a few years, including after our first child was born.

Before we relocated 2 years ago she was working 2 days a week in private practice. Her intent after moving was to ramp up part-time in private practice by now. She hasn't gone back yet but does rent office space.

Originally Posted by kml

In my case, I had been the part-time worker in my marriage and full-time mom. When we finally divorced I was working full time in my own practice but not making as much as my exH wanted to impute to me. (I had health issues and had an integrative medicine practice which was not as profitable as working for say Kaiser - which would not have allowed me to practice integrative medicine. We finally settled on an imputed income amount halfway between what I actually made and what I would have made at Kaiser, although I probably would have won that one if we'd gone to court, since I'd already been in my practice for a couple of years.)

You should speak with your own individual attorney about this before discussing it further with her.

Interesting... I also know my W could go work for Kaiser or a hospital, but would like to support her desire to have a private practice. I understand this would also imply it may take her time to ramp up. HOWEVER, I think we should have a reasonable income estimate, or at least a plan for how we will handle the support payment calculations. I don't know where to start on that one. As you suggested a lawyer is probably the way to go here.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 07:01 PM

Definitely seem a lawyer, but would you rather pay aftercare to watch the kids, or their mother?
Posted By: JujuB

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 07:06 PM

How old are your children? Personally, I would stop looking at it as whatís fair and focus on whatís gonna be best for small kids. Would your children feel better to be with their mom then with child care?

When someone gives up their career to take care of the kids, they donít just give up salary - they give up experience and a 401k etc.

A way out of this for you, would be to offer her right of refusal. On your days, when you have to hire a babysitter - she can choose whether she wants to take them instead of having you hire a babysitter.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 07:22 PM

I am okay with their mother watching them. The only hesitation I have is emotional - is it really best for the kids, or is it best for her? It seems like a lot of swaps which may be more harmful than helpful.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 07:23 PM

Oh and Juju I agree that right of first refusal is the way to go if I am okay with this plan.

I thought, however, that people donít generally use right of first refusal for regular after school care situations.
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 07:34 PM

I believe any time the child spends with either parent is more beneficial, as long as they are good parents
Posted By: Ginger1

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 08:59 PM

And you do bring up a valid point. Iím definitely not invalidating that
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/21/19 09:05 PM

I agree with G - unless your W is a whack job or addict, it's better for kids to be with a loving parent after school. And it might actually facilitate things like schoolwork getting done etc. If she can make a living seeing clients from 9-2 and caring for the kids after school, that's great - JUST so long as she doesn't then try to drag out the process when you come to pick them up. If she picks them up at 2:30 and you pick them up at 6:00 and it's clear to everybody, that's great.

And I agree with the poster above - she's giving up retirement and other benefits and making a lesser income in order to accommodate being there for her kids - those of us on the mommy track give up a LOT financially.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 01:16 AM

Originally Posted by kml
And I agree with the poster above - she's giving up retirement and other benefits and making a lesser income in order to accommodate being there for her kids - those of us on the mommy track give up a LOT financially.

This one is tough for me. Things are not exactly amicable between us regarding parenting right now, and I'm allowing those other emotions to cloud how I view things. I don't think my W is a whack job, but I also don't think she respects me as a parent or views me as an equal, and that makes this process very very challenging.
Posted By: JujuB

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 12:20 PM

It does make the process challenging and it is not always fair. But you do have to put the interests of your child first. It doesnít matter if she respects you. You need to communicate with her in a way that how she feels about you doesnít even come up. Cold and purely logistical.
Posted By: fade

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 02:03 PM

You are right that this is going to be messy, and the longer you delay it the worse it will probably be for you because you are setting a bad status quo right now. The problem is deep down you still care about her, and deep down she wants you to drop dead, so she is going to keep steamrolling you. My advice is to consult with a couple of lawyers to find a fair, reasonable judgement in your area, propose something close to this but a little bit better for you, do this through mediation if that is normally done in your area, and don't give up anything in mediation past the fair "midpoint" (try to think of things to offer in negotiation that have value to her, but not to you. Like right of first refusal, expediency, more upfront cash vs long term support etc), and when that breaks down you get a lawyer to fight this out for you.

A fair proposal may be to start 50-50 immediately (delayed 50-50 = never 50-50!), max 2 years of spousal support (same amount of time she has been unemployed), she vacates the house in 3 months (it will never sell if she is in it, and this gives you a few months to get it ready for spring sales season), specify 50-50 for activity and college expenses (you will thank yourself in 15 years), and impute her income at the max of what she could make full time (Its no longer your job to support her dreams of part time work or a lower earning career path - she can figure that out on her own). Offer her right of first refusal in negotiation as a carrot because she can get this anyways. This means she has every right to watch them instead of daycare on your days if she wants to - but I suspect reality will set in and she will be too busy working so long as you don't fold on the financials. And stop thinking that them being with your WAW is better than daycare, and using this as an excuse not to fight on custody. First of all, this is just not a tenable option given that it requires you to burn through your savings. And, I promise that you will quickly change your mind when she starts attempting to alienate them from you and new guys are spending more time with them than you, and by then it will probably be impossible to change status quo to get more custody.

After you send your fair proposal in writing or mediation she will immediately reject this offer and counter with a proposal for you to go die in a hole but keep giving her lots of money. At that point you need to retain your lawyer and hide behind them. Your job is to push or contain (if they start overspending) your lawyer from behind, your lawyer's job is to negotiate with your WAW or her lawyer. Whenever she attacks you, simply refuse to discuss legal matters with her.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 03:16 PM

fade - Your post hit me heavy (in a good way).

I think I need to give some brief background on my sitch. It may be that none of these details are relevant anyhow.

W and I moved away from her family 2 years ago. She also had to stop her budding private practice, which she was doing 1.5 days a week. At the time, this was a joint decision for financial and stability reasons, although she has morphed this into a decision purely for my job happiness. During and post-move, we both had difficulty adjusting. W seemed depressed. We had intimacy issues. We didn't communicate well. I felt super-stressed working, then coming home and trying to give her a break with the kids. The plan was that W would go back to work after about a year of restarting our lives up here.

We had some conversations about intimacy which turned into arguments. Nothing violent or physical. About a year ago, my son was hitting his sister in the back of the car repeatedly. I pulled over the car and grabbed his leg forcefully. It didn't leave a mark. I regret it, it was a poor parenting decision. My W calls this abuse. It was an isolated incident.

We did MC last fall. Rather than tell me she was upset about the move, my W told me she wanted more help around the house. I worked on doing more chores, more childcare. None of it seemed to help. She would periodically express frustration over several things all at once. I should have known then she was starting to resent me, but instead I was trying to listen empathetically and then address her concerns if possible. Things got worse and worse. Around March I discovered evidence she was considering D. I freaked out. She wouldn't talk to me about our MR. One night we were driving home from seeing friends, and I pulled the car over because I wanted to talk so badly. She was frightened by my heightened emotions and thought I was going to hurt her. I wrote some apology and love letters (yes, I know.....) and ultimately found my way to DB forums which sort of saved my life. We went a couple more months in limbo, then finally I insisted we go back to MC, where she asked me for a trial separation.

At MC, she hit hard with the abuse narrative. Pulling over the car was emotional abuse. Grabbing my son's leg was abuse. She didn't want me to have the kids stay at my house overnight. I was frightened and trying to pull it together with the hopes of saving our MR.

Things have calmed down quite a bit. We eventually settled on a 4-10 schedule (I get Friday pm-Tuesday am) every other week. It's not enough for me. Getting to that point, and getting settled in where there aren't accusations of abuse... it was not easy. It also isn't fair or right.

My W has yet to go back to work, although she does rent the office space she needs. She would like to keep our marital home, although the reality is we could barely afford it married when I lived there. She says she needs 6 months of demonstrated income (whether alimony or working) to rent somewhere. Sometimes I think this is a good reason to financially separate now, so we can start the support payments. I worry this is a reason she may delay things another 6 months. In our state, it is expected the D process will take at least a year.

I am torn emotionally when I look at this upcoming D. On the one hand, I agree with the cold calculating approach. 50/50 (or an agreement to ramp to it soon, and yes, I need to research this more). Imputed income after 2-4 years (I haven't decided what I think is fair). Financially separate sooner rather than later (I am effectively paying more than the support payments would be right now).

I admit I am terrified of my W's mindset. I'm not so concerned with her going to family court with abuse allegations. I am more worried if she doesn't go to court, but keeps waving this stick around, and then suggesting it's up to me to build trust with her etc. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of feeling like it's up to me to rebuild trust with her. But I do want to keep things civil and amicable for my kids' sake if possible. I'm just not sure that is going to be possible.

It does feel like this is starting to drag out, and it's only to her benefit. So I may start needing to press the schedule on getting mediation rolling. Otherwise, I'm just missing more and more time with the kids, and spending more and more money, while she does little (as far as I can see) to prepare for the next phase of her life (getting back to work, finding living accommodations, etc.)
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 03:27 PM

Quote
Lately as we have discussed beginning this filing process, she has said she wants to work the absolute minimum she can and spend the absolute maximum time with the kids. She is okay with me asking for 50/50, but not okay with the kids being in day care or after school care on my days.


Had a friend who tried this when she divorced her husband but he was smarter than she gave him credit for. Took a bit for reality to set in but she ended up working full time. As far as daycare goes I think its good for you to be thinking about this now but I have a feeling in the end it won't matter.

Quote
I should say we are going to try mediation first, and then run our agreement by our own individual lawyers. I imagine at some point things may break down, however, so I am proceeding cautiously.


I've seen this work out well for the spouse who doesn't want the D. Five of my friends wanted out so bad that ultimately they accepted whatever terms their LBS offered to their detriment. My WAH hasn't filed but I've already decided I'm not doing mediation. I don't want this, we don't agree, I'm too emotional, and the stakes are too high.


Quote
Any advice on how to approach the custody situation? I think her issue with 50/50 is that, in her mind, if I am working and the kids are out of school, she would like to have them. It's not a financial/support issue. I have thought about saying "Let's put 50/50 in writing, and then we can talk about what the kids do after school and work it out on our own."


I don't trust your wife so I'd want everything in writing.
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 03:29 PM

I like fade's answer better than mine.
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 03:35 PM

Quote
It does feel like this is starting to drag out, and it's only to her benefit. So I may start needing to press the schedule on getting mediation rolling. Otherwise, I'm just missing more and more time with the kids, and spending more and more money, while she does little (as far as I can see) to prepare for the next phase of her life (getting back to work, finding living accommodations, etc.)


You've moved out right? If so you're in a bad status quo. i get it though as LBS's we agree to things thinking it will change our WAS's mind. I almost moved out and I'm the mom (what the heck was I thinking?) I just hit send yesterday on an email to my attorney and I hate it. I hate that it's come to this. I'm not filing but I am pushing for a separation agreement STAT.
Posted By: doodler

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 04:38 PM

unchien,

Where is the OM in all of this mess? Oh yeah, there is no OM. Riiiiight...there is no OM. A true WAW is about as rare as a billionaire in a soup line.

Why is the OM important? Because if you're not in a no-fault state, then it gives you some leverage.

If you're paying all of the bills, like for cell phones and internet connections, you might might want to have a look-see at what you're paying for (you know, text messages, email and the like). If your paycheck is going into a joint bank account, then open your own account and have the paycheck deposited in your account. Continue paying the bills and supporting your family, but it's time to protect yourself.

Go interview several divorce attorneys and find one that you like. You don't necessarily have to retain one immediately, but go ahead and get things started. You can even drop some hints about what you're doing. The key is that you need to be in the driver's seat. She's not going to respect you of you continue the status quo. The probability is that you are going to be divorced, so you might as well get out ahead of this right now because the longer you wait the deeper the hole is going to get.

You don't have to be mean or nasty; you do need to be firm, direct and very clear in your communication that it's not acceptable to continue living the way things are.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 04:42 PM

Thanks kas for your feedback.

We are aiming to try mediation, with a separate mediator for custody, and one for financial items. I will retain a lawyer for advisory purposes. If things go south, then I will have to escalate from mediation.

Right now I'm in a highly emotional state. Four months into separation, doing 4-10 with the kids, and this is going to drag out. I am fearful, frustrated, scared. I feel like I am drifting apart from my kids, spending money unnecessarily, and my W is not showing much drive towards pulling her life together. I need to spend a couple days calming down before making decisions.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 04:57 PM

Originally Posted by doodler
unchien,

Where is the OM in all of this mess? Oh yeah, there is no OM. Riiiiight...there is no OM. A true WAW is about as rare as a billionaire in a soup line.

Why is the OM important? Because if you're not in a no-fault state, then it gives you some leverage.

If you're paying all of the bills, like for cell phones and internet connections, you might might want to have a look-see at what you're paying for (you know, text messages, email and the like). If your paycheck is going into a joint bank account, then open your own account and have the paycheck deposited in your account. Continue paying the bills and supporting your family, but it's time to protect yourself.

Go interview several divorce attorneys and find one that you like. You don't necessarily have to retain one immediately, but go ahead and get things started. You can even drop some hints about what you're doing. The key is that you need to be in the driver's seat. She's not going to respect you of you continue the status quo. The probability is that you are going to be divorced, so you might as well get out ahead of this right now because the longer you wait the deeper the hole is going to get.

You don't have to be mean or nasty; you do need to be firm, direct and very clear in your communication that it's not acceptable to continue living the way things are.


Hey doodler -

I am in a no-fault state.

I consulted a few attorneys several months ago. They all told me no point in retaining until things start moving along. I am definitely going to get divorced, there is no doubt at this point.

The OM issue is not a concern of mine. I don't think there is an OM. If there is, well, so be it. Maybe I'm gullible. She hurt me far worse accusing me of being a violent and abusive person, then essentially withholding the kids from me. Best of luck to the OM.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 05:17 PM

Yes - you need to be calm, cool and collected when it comes to the negotiations.

One goal is to make things seem like "win-win" - or at least, equal losing. If you "win" 50:50 but she "wins" first right of refusal for after-school care, that's a good start. The sooner the better in terms of getting that nailed down because once she realizes what she's giving up in terms of child support she may fight for more custody.

Also the sooner alimony or at least official support payments (based on what alimony will be) get started the closer she will be to being able to rent a place.

So, although it seems counter-intuitive, since you don't want the divorce, you are still better off if you move it along. The longer it drags on the less generous she will become - and the more precedent will be set.

Also - since you bought the house so recently, will you be upside down in the house? Would moving into it yourself and getting a roommate to help pay the bills be a feasible alternative?
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 05:38 PM

Originally Posted by kml

Also the sooner alimony or at least official support payments (based on what alimony will be) get started the closer she will be to being able to rent a place.

I should already know the answer to this, but:

Is it normal to separate financially at the beginning of the divorce process, under some temporary arrangement, with the understanding it would be negotiated/finalized during the process?

Originally Posted by kml
So, although it seems counter-intuitive, since you don't want the divorce, you are still better off if you move it along. The longer it drags on the less generous she will become - and the more precedent will be set.

"Precedent" is a fear word for me. But yes I agree dragging this out is getting me nowhere at best.

Originally Posted by kml
Also - since you bought the house so recently, will you be upside down in the house? Would moving into it yourself and getting a roommate to help pay the bills be a feasible alternative?

We put >20% down on the house, and it has appreciated slightly.

My support payments if my W makes zero income would not even cover MIPI on the home. In other words, she's not even close to having a viable financial option to staying there. And that assumes she buys me out on half my equity (or trades me something else).

The home has a separate guest area which could be rented out. My W wants to explore that option. I don't think it will be enough for her to stay, not even close. I wish she could understand this, but I also feel it is not my place in any way to inform her of her financial situation. She needs to do that on her own.

I definitely won't move back, not an option for me (even if it was the guest area).
Posted By: doodler

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 05:57 PM


This stuff makes my blood boil...

Move back into your house - now. There's no need for you to pay for two places to live. Be there for your kids.

Move back into the master bedroom. Yes, she'll resist, but too bad. She's the one that wants the divorce, she can sleep somewhere else or move out. Take control of the finances. She's dependent on you. Take a stand. She's playing a game and you're playing it with her. Stop it. You can stand up to the nonsense she's handing you. You will survive and you'll be fine. When you really decide to get in the driver's seat things will get better. If you don't take the bull by the horns you'll just meander along and slide into a deep depression.

Tap into your inner tough guy and make things happen. Suffering has a good side; it allows you to grow. Take this opportunity to grow.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 05:57 PM

Quote
Is it normal to separate financially at the beginning of the divorce process, under some temporary arrangement, with the understanding it would be negotiated/finalized during the process?


In my state there was something called an Order for Temporary Support. It might be more than what alimony and/or child support would dictate. But at least it would be official and hopefully count toward her being able to show consistent income (they are generally interested in whether you are a deadbeat or if you pay consistently on time, as that would affect her ability to pay rent.)

AS for the house, I didn't mean you move back in with her; I meant you taking over the house after she moves out. IF you could afford to buy her out of her half of the down payment and increased value, would you be able to rent out the guest quarters and afford the house yourself? Would you want to?

How much are the mortgage payments and how much would the guest quarters rent for? Depending on rents where you live, she might not be wrong about trying to stay - the biggest problem being she wouldn't have the money to buy you out and wouldn't have the work history to refinance.

And I agree with Doodler's comment - although on RARE occasions WAWs sometimes don't have an OM, most still do (and virtually ALL WAHs have an OW). Phone records will usually reveal a suspicious pattern of numerous texts and phone calls. In fact, if she DOES have an OM, that might be why she wants to hold onto the house - she might be thinking he could move in and help with that. I don't know about your state, but in mine, I had a common clause in my divorce that I couldn't have a man living with me while I was receiving alimony. Ask your lawyer about it.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 05:59 PM

Also -be VERY CAREFUL about anything you say in writing (text or email). Don't say ANYTHING that could be interpreted as angry or she may try to pin this whole abuse thing on you. (From what you described I don't hear any abuse - but were you generally a crabby angry sort of guy? Or is she just trying to set you up? Does she have any history of being abused in her past?)
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 06:04 PM

Quote
I consulted a few attorneys several months ago. They all told me no point in retaining until things start moving along.


I retained an attorney 3 weeks after WAH moved out. I've paid the retainer, filled out paperwork, gathered all the financial records, and had her on speed dial for when/if he filed (he hasn't - 7 months now). We don't have young kids so I was okay waiting until I got my own place now I want/need a temporary support agreement.

Please protect yourself.
Posted By: fade

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 10:05 PM

Her abuse narrative is par for the course. This comes up in one way or another in the vast, vast majority of WW-initiated separations. You are the one who is feeding this garbage by constantly bringing it up here, in counseling, in your head or wherever else. And talking about this in any way in front of a counselor is a monumentally stupid thing for you to do. You really need to never, ever entertain or discuss this topic again. Ever.

I can tell you something - she doesn't even believe this or else she would actually take action against you, but instead all she does is use this to beat you into a corner. I have seen WW do this same thing with wild accusations against their nice guy husbands when the WW is literally dating sex offenders. And I don't mean I saw this once, this happens so much its clichť! This abuse narrative is her best, most effective weapon against you. That is all it is, and you are the one who keeps sticking your nose on the barrel. If OM wanted to take her to Hawaii for 3 weeks she would happily drop the kids off at your place on the way to the airport.

I understand you have a lot of anxiety and fear. You can either tackle this fear head on, or hide. I don't think you are ready to face it, so I suggest you hide. I will tell you how, its really easy! Get a note card and write this down:

Message received:
1-logistic information
2-delete

Message sent:
A- "kid pickup will be at X:XX o clock at XXXXX location"
B- "noted"
C- "I will refer that to my lawyer"



Then, from now on you should not say a word to her, all communication in writing. When she sends you something, decide whether it is type 1 or type 2. If its type 1, then you can respond with either A, B or C.

I'm not even joking about this. I'm completely serious.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 10:33 PM

Yes, many women will use the "abuse" cry to their advantage where there was no abuse. Like I said, nothing you described sounds remotely like abuse. I was just trying to see if SHE had some underlying reason (like being abused in childhood) that would make her more sensitive to normal conflict, or if you can be a grumpy guy (again, not abuse, but someone very sensitive might react to a critical grumpy person ). My boyfriend for example has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and when he's in a snit about something that's not right in the order of his universe he can be grouchy and irritable. Doesn't phase me but someone with a history of abuse might be triggered by it.

And I agree that you should NOT do anything that looks like an admission of guilt. Heck, I would have pulled over and grabbed my kid's leg too and said stop kicking your sister.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/22/19 11:12 PM

kml - W has mentioned she had previously abusive BFs. I don't know what happened, although I know it wasn't physical abuse. I think she is sensitive to normal conflict, yes. And for many years in our marriage, I cratered and did not stand up for myself whenever a situation involving conflict arose.

I am not typically grumpy. I did get emotional at times when I felt she was not communicating with me, or she was shutting me out. By emotional I did sometimes cry, or express frustration. I spent a lot of time validating. I think she started mind-reading me and assuming the worst many times. When I pulled over the car in March, I was admittedly histrionic (crying), and desperate to talk with her. She says she was afraid for her life. I made mistakes, and I wish I handled this differently, but I do not regret making attempts to reach out and communicate and work on our marriage.

The whole "Is it abuse, or not?" question drives me nuts. I do think she believes it was, and I believe it wasn't. I'm not denying that I grabbed my son's leg, and that it was inappropriate. I don't think she is using it as a tactic, but at this point, we are getting down to brass tacks, and I need to stand up for myself. If she wanted to work on the MR, I would talk about what she considers abuse. As it stands, we are clearly done.

fade - I agree that talking about this ever again is a mistake. I am concerned she will start to raise it when we begin custody mediation.

Does anyone here have experience with facing abuse allegations in mediation? I don't know if I should shut down mediation immediately, or handle it differently? Does it matter if we are using a separate mediator for custody-only (in which case that person will be well-versed in what's best for children)?
Posted By: fade

Re: Starting the process - 10/23/19 08:03 PM

What you need to understand is that what she feels or she believes is no longer your concern unless she has some proof or evidence that you are an abuser. If you are being honest here, then you are not and she will have no such evidence.

And you should by now have plenty of evidence of you being a stable, good parent as you are already at 4/10 spending plenty of alone time with your kids, and hopefully you are meticulously documenting daily interactions and activities in a parenting journal.

And say you were really abusive - does it really make sense that she decides to wait a year to bring it up to the police when mediation isn't going her way? After you have been spending days at a time watching them in the mutually agreed separation? Do you think the cops are going to trip over themselves to come arrest you on your way out of the mediators office? Again, this is nothing but bully tactics and you simply need to stop feeding this narrative. I have seen situations with genuinely abusive POS guys and I can tell you they arent spending any time worrying about whether women think they are abusive, and these women -who are actual victims- certainly aren't spending their time henpecking these guys in a counselors office.

She might as well be saying you cant have an increase in custody because the sky is green. Are you going to spin around in circles because maybe one time a year ago the sky could have been interpreted as green? Do you think you need to convince her that the sky is not green so that you can have fair time with your kids? No, you would dismiss it and get back to business. "The sky is not green, I repeat my proposal for Friday afternoon dropoffs". Or, you can say "I have never abused my children, I repeat my proposal for Friday afternoon drop-offs".

So let her raise this all she wants in mediation, and in court if it comes to that. If there is zero evidence of abuse, and plenty of evidence (especially in your journal) that you are and have been an awesome dad through a difficult time, who has already demonstrated a track record of keeping great care of his kids so far during the separation, then these allegations will only hurt herself.

Oh, and another thing. I would suggest you go to mediation with the mindset that you will not reach an agreement. The only way you are going to get an agreement is if she gets a lawyer who scares her straight, or you fold. Your only goal in mediation is not to fold - to not go past the midpoint of what your lawyer says is the customary, fair outcome in your area. For you, walking out of mediation empty handed is a win. You only lose if you walk out with empty pockets and child seats.
Posted By: Wanted1

Re: Starting the process - 10/24/19 04:39 PM

U,

I'm in a no-fault state too, and in my state, even though it's no-fault, an A basically removes the responsibility of alimony. That's the one place where an A can make a difference. Find out if that's true in your state. If it is, I'd start digging to find some evidence. Why pay more than you legally have to....
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/27/19 05:28 AM

Fade - I just want to say up front your post really resonated with me. Thank you for spending the time and energy to offer advice and support. I always read the responses quickly, but my work and kid schedules have become very busy and I often take a few days to respond.

Originally Posted by fade
What you need to understand is that what she feels or she believes is no longer your concern unless she has some proof or evidence that you are an abuser. If you are being honest here, then you are not and she will have no such evidence.

I wrote 3 apology letters back in April trying to win her back. Youíve seen the same script here on the forums before... I was overly apologetic and admitted that the one time I grabbed my sonís leg and didnít hurt him or leave a mark that it was ďabusive.Ē It is what it is. I will gladly face it in court if I have to.

Originally Posted by fade
And you should by now have plenty of evidence of you being a stable, good parent as you are already at 4/10 spending plenty of alone time with your kids, and hopefully you are meticulously documenting daily interactions and activities in a parenting journal.

I have journaled on and off. Thank you for reminded me to be more diligent. I take tons of pictures with the kids when I am with them as well.

I agree with your point that my solid time (even in a reduced 4/10 schedule) proves my worth as parent.

Originally Posted by fade
And say you were really abusive - does it really make sense that she decides to wait a year to bring it up to the police when mediation isn't going her way? After you have been spending days at a time watching them in the mutually agreed separation? Do you think the cops are going to trip over themselves to come arrest you on your way out of the mediators office? Again, this is nothing but bully tactics and you simply need to stop feeding this narrative. I have seen situations with genuinely abusive POS guys and I can tell you they arent spending any time worrying about whether women think they are abusive, and these women -who are actual victims- certainly aren't spending their time henpecking these guys in a counselors office.

Agreed - it took me a long time to feel confident in believing what you just wrote, but it is absolutely true.

Originally Posted by fade
She might as well be saying you cant have an increase in custody because the sky is green. Are you going to spin around in circles because maybe one time a year ago the sky could have been interpreted as green? Do you think you need to convince her that the sky is not green so that you can have fair time with your kids? No, you would dismiss it and get back to business. "The sky is not green, I repeat my proposal for Friday afternoon dropoffs". Or, you can say "I have never abused my children, I repeat my proposal for Friday afternoon drop-offs".

This is where I need to stick to my points. She will ask for reasons, argue that it doesnít work logistically, blah blah blah.

Originally Posted by fade
So let her raise this all she wants in mediation, and in court if it comes to that. If there is zero evidence of abuse, and plenty of evidence (especially in your journal) that you are and have been an awesome dad through a difficult time, who has already demonstrated a track record of keeping great care of his kids so far during the separation, then these allegations will only hurt herself.

I know itís going to be rough. And my instincts are to make things pleasant by caving in. I canít allow that to happen.

Originally Posted by fade
Oh, and another thing. I would suggest you go to mediation with the mindset that you will not reach an agreement. The only way you are going to get an agreement is if she gets a lawyer who scares her straight, or you fold. Your only goal in mediation is not to fold - to not go past the midpoint of what your lawyer says is the customary, fair outcome in your area. For you, walking out of mediation empty handed is a win. You only lose if you walk out with empty pockets and child seats.

I like this. My W told me recently she would only accept 50/50 long-term if I allowed her to pick up the kids after school on my days if I was still at work. I havenít decided what I would say in this case, but for awhile my mindset was ďWOW! I can get 50/50 if I just give her that!Ē In this instance, she has been very intrusive during my parenting time and my kids sometimes say things that concern me, so Iím not sure I would agree to this in writing. If Iím not sure, then I shouldnít offer it up front.

I know whatís fair and customary. 50/50. 3 years spousal, imputed income. I will gladly help her get on her feet in her private practice if thatís what she wants to do. She did stop working 2 years ago when we moved here, so I am flexible on some of the financial matters.

As far as what she will ask... Iím expecting anything. Sometimes she says things like ďthe kids are used to going to visit my friends K, L and M in cities X, Y, and Z every 2 yearsĒ and I think, ďYes that was a nice perk of married life.Ē
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 10/27/19 05:33 AM

Originally Posted by Wanted1
U,

I'm in a no-fault state too, and in my state, even though it's no-fault, an A basically removes the responsibility of alimony. That's the one place where an A can make a difference. Find out if that's true in your state. If it is, I'd start digging to find some evidence. Why pay more than you legally have to....


Hey Wanted - my state is no-fault and A doesnít play into anything including alimony.

I should say for the record that I am one of those LBHís who does still believe there is no OM in the picture. We moved 2 years ago away from my Wís family. Ever since she has seemed depressed and angry. I wonít move off this position without evidence, and I also donít particularly care so I wonít go searching for evidence.

HOWEVER.. somebody (perhaps you) made a point on my thread to include a clause in the divorce settlement that spousal support is to stop if my W has a live-in partner. I donít know if that is legally possible TBH but I will consider it. Long-term who knows where this will lead..
Posted By: JujuB

Re: Starting the process - 10/27/19 01:19 PM

What about child support? How will that work? Sometimes you can negotiate spousal - since
Person receiving would have to pay taxes on it and child support you donít. I was dissuaded from seeking spousal because I too have an advanced degree and my attorneys said the judge would look at that and my potential and I figured it wouldnít be worth the court costs to fight about it for only a few years.
Posted By: rooskers

Re: Starting the process - 10/28/19 04:34 AM

Quote
Sometimes you can negotiate spousal - since Person receiving would have to pay taxes on it


The tax laws have changed in 2019. Please consult with a tax accountant on this because I believe it is now the person responsible for paying the spousal support who is on the hook for paying the taxes.
Posted By: Wanted1

Re: Starting the process - 10/28/19 03:04 PM

Originally Posted by rooskers
Quote
Sometimes you can negotiate spousal - since Person receiving would have to pay taxes on it


The tax laws have changed in 2019. Please consult with a tax accountant on this because I believe it is now the person responsible for paying the spousal support who is on the hook for paying the taxes.


I'm not an accountant and don't remember all of the particulars, BUT I do remember in my research that the new tax laws did remove the ability for the party paying alimony to use it as a deduction.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 12/07/19 06:28 PM

Hey everyone ~

I've been posting in Newcomers a lot but think I should post some here.

To recap, we have been physically separated 6 months, I have the kids 4 nights every 2 weeks, and no financial separation. I earn all the income and pay for the mortgage and my rent.

- W and I have agreed to find a mediator. It's been really slow to get started, and I've told her we need to get moving.

- We have been sporadically seeing a "MC" the last 6 months. There has never been work on the MR, only co-parenting (and frequent accusations from my W). This C also works in collaborative divorce - he hasn't been pushing us to D, but he has been somewhat helpful about teaching us how to communicate.

- Last week I negotiated an additional 2 nights every 2 weeks with the kids. So we are edging towards 50/50 before mediation. I am happy about this. When we separated, my W was accusing me of abuse and being unsafe around the kids.

I expect I'll have a lot more questions coming up as we start. Monday we are going to meet to discuss my W's options for keeping the house. I'm a little concerned here because I don't think she has any options unless I completely cave and gift her a huge sum of money beyond what is legally reasonable. My concern is she will react and things may take a turn for the worse.

Our communication is poor. I have gone very low contact unless we need to talk logistics (which is often). We rarely talk on the phone. Just last week there was a text exchange where I suggested we talk about parenting schedule changes in mediation and she flew off. When we do talk on the phone I keep it all business. I sense she thinks this is really weird, and I guess if I was a better DB'er I could walk that fine line a little more and open up slightly. Not sure that it matters. She has chosen by her actions and lack of interest that she doesn't want to work on the MR now. I am going to move forward to protect myself financially and as a parent in the meantime.

I have a L at the ready to consult when mediation starts.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 01/17/20 03:56 PM

Short recap: I moved out about half a year ago for a trial separation. We are moving full steam ahead to D. 3 small kids.

Although I have a home that works for me and the kids, I've been living in a sort of limbo. I thought things were great (as far as having a home set up), but now that reality has set in I realize that I was treating it as a temporary situation and perhaps not accepting the finality of it all. I look around my house and think "I can and want to do better, but I don't know where to start."

Now that I know we are transitioning to a permanent situation, I feel completely overwhelmed. 3 kids. Full time job. I've never been much of a homemaker. Clothes. And just taking care of myself. On top of that, the anxiety and stress involved with going through this D process. It feels like I need to step up and really get on top of this new life. But sometimes it feels like I'm drowning. I don't know where to begin.

Just curious if anyone has specific advice on getting my feet set. I've been trying to meditate and focus on what's in front of me each day, rather than worry too much about the next week, month, year, etc.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 01/17/20 05:27 PM

U,

The only thing I can tell you is that itís not anywhere near as bad as you think itís going to be. My ex worked PT and handled most of hw. I originally hired a cleaning lady but after a year let her go. Itís all about getting a system in plan and having the right supplies needed. Youíll be fine.

Itís interesting the board likes to use the term ďtrialĒ separation.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 01/17/20 05:35 PM

Originally Posted by LH19
Itís interesting the board likes to use the term ďtrialĒ separation.

I had a good snort-chuckle at this! Thanks for the advice above.
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 01/19/20 06:24 AM

Iím about where you are. I donít give a crap about my homemaker skills or ďnew lifeĒ right now. What matters most are my kids, my job and preparing for D. I focus on the biggies, laundry, food, bills, the rest is irrelevant. Any spare moment I have is spent with my kids (complete focus) or reading. Always reading. Iím preparing for an ugly D, strategizing, saving money, etc. Iím saving my strength.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/12/20 03:13 PM

I posted this in Newcomers, but thought people here might be helpful too:

~~~

I am feeling at wit's end.

Mediation session #2 is upcoming.

W has asked to put one of the kids in an expensive activity next school year. I feel like she uses the kids' activity schedules as an excuse to withhold parenting time. She has not demonstrated any plan to return to work more than one day per week which is unrealistic. She asked for extra money for spring break travel with the kids. We are overspending by a ton, and I feel like I deserve more time with the kids. Everything is so frustrating... I don't express this to her in any way. I get that she doesn't have work, doesn't know where she is going to live if the house has to sell, but I also need to live my life. I am compassionate, but I need to be self-compassionate also.

That, and when I do stand up and request increased parenting time, she alludes to things she is not comfortable texting about, or that we need to discuss with legal advisors. I think this is a huge red flag. Plus, I don't think it creates a fair negotiation atmosphere.

I don't know... I wonder if anyone has successfully mediated in a situation like mine...

The options are not great.

1) Continue with mediation and accept that incremental progress is going to take a long time, and will assuredly end with less than 50-50 parenting long-term. My W will be more "amicable". Mediation is not cheap, and will take a long time.

2) File. Have someone else help me deal with some of this stress so I can focus on self-care, work, and the kids. My W will likely have a very strong reaction, accuse me of giving up on mediation, not being amicable, etc. It might be a very difficult few months or year. Face whatever she wants to accuse me of -- the worst case outcome is probably the same as #1, and best case is much better.

Filing doesn't mean (to me) going to court. The L's can still hash it out, or we can do shuttle mediation with the L's. I just don't think my W and I 1:1 are going to mediate an outcome that I am willing to accept.

3) ??
Posted By: doodler

Re: Starting the process - 02/12/20 03:33 PM

unchien,

My experience with lawyers is that they do advocate for you, but they also have they're own agenda. First on their agenda is billing (aka making money), second on the agenda is not p*ssing off any judges (if they have to go to court), third on their agenda is not p*ssing off fellow lawyers that they have to work with all of the time, and fourth on the agenda is their client. In other words, if something is unacceptable to you, then you have to make a stand with your own lawyer and the opposing lawyer. You have to be ready to walk (i.e. go to court).

I was very lucky in my mediation, but I held-out for what I wanted. I was perfectly fine with going to court and the mediator and my lawyer knew that. My lawyer did help a little, but I was clearly the one who was negotiating in my best interest. That's just how it is, you've got to draw the line that won't be crossed and hang with it because no one else really cares as long as they get paid.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/12/20 03:45 PM

Thanks doodler.

My W implies that she wants to see her ďsafety concernsĒ addressed. I think this is a leverage tactic. I also donít see how that mindset will allow us to mediate effectively.
Posted By: DonH

Re: Starting the process - 02/12/20 05:19 PM

Wow that is some great advice their from Doodler. There really is an educated, well reasoned dude beyond all of the crazy stuff that gets posted. smile

The comments about having to advocate for yourself are spot on. Iíve seen the same with lawyers in all that Doodler said and Iíd add covering their own butts to that list. But yep saving face with judges and other lawyers always trump the client. You will be long done and gone but they still have to play in the sandbox with the other players for many more years. They are often their buddies - which sometimes also helps you, but only if it helps them as well.

Itís a broken system but all weíve got. Itís also why itís nearly always best for both H and W to do it themselves rather than hire others or involve the court. I guess thatís one thing I have to be thankful for in my ex and I did the D ourselves without ANY attorneys.
Posted By: pinn

Re: Starting the process - 02/12/20 05:40 PM

Originally Posted by DonH
Wow that is some great advice their from Doodler. There really is an educated, well reasoned dude beyond all of the crazy stuff that gets posted. smile



Serious doodle is more gooder ;-)
Posted By: bttrfly

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 02:07 AM

Originally Posted by unchien
Thanks doodler.

My W implies that she wants to see her ďsafety concernsĒ addressed. I think this is a leverage tactic. I also donít see how that mindset will allow us to mediate effectively.

My response would be, "great, wife. you and I are on the same page. I am more than willing to address your concerns as I am sure you are more than willing to address mine as well. My suggestion is that we each go to our next mediation session with a list of our concerns and we take turns addressing them, always with what is best for the children in mind."

Get a lawyer. Realize Doodler is right, but you need both a mediator and a lawyer imho. Make sure your wife knows you are willing and able to go the court route although that's not your first choice. Delicate balance between truly negotiating and being willing to stop any and all BS.

Exh's lawyer tried her d@mnedest to drag things out and in fact was so egregious that exh ended up firing her, as she caused us to fight about things we'd never, ever fought about before or since. She made $7k off an uncontested, mediated divorce in seven months of representation.

Finally, know for certain what it is you want and negotiate from that point. Good luck! xo
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 02:26 AM

Thanks everyone, all this advice is really helpful.

When she says "safety concerns", what she means is she wants me to go to counseling, attend classes, and write out safety plans and updated journals and hand them to her. And then she might give me one more night every 2 weeks. It is over the top. I am prepared to defend myself in court if needed. I would rather do that than accept her proposal of "every other weekend" dad and live with the regret that I didn't try harder.

I just can't tell if mediation is doomed to fail given this atmosphere. She only stands to gain by dragging this out... staying in the marital home which I pay for, not going back to work, maximizing her time with the kids. Whenever I get mildly assertive, sure enough she raises "safety concerns" again...

Ugh...

My L, who support mediation and is generally non-litigious, suggests I file the petition and file for temporary support orders. I'm a newbie, apologies if I screwed up the terminology.
Posted By: DejaVu6

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 03:04 AM

She MIGHT GIVE YOU one more night? WTH?? Why is it up to her? Youíre their dad. You have rights. What are these safety concerns? Are there police reports? Documented injuries? Does she have witnesses? Is she talking to the kids about his stuff? You canít just make things up!! Donít let her push you around Unchien. The only person who can demand anything from you such as counselling (the journal thing is ridiculous) is a judge. Sounds like maybe she should go to counselling.
Posted By: bttrfly

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 12:39 PM

wow, didn't know all that. file. immediately. this is BS.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 01:50 PM

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
What are these safety concerns?

Two years ago I was driving with my older 2 kids. My son was punching his younger sister. I pulled over the car, turned around and grabbed his leg firmly and said stop hitting your sister. No marks or anything. He was scared and it was a bad parenting moment by me. Then we drove home. He ran to his mom and said what happened. She called it abuse.

When our marriage was in deterioration, she said I had no remorse and never fully apologized. I wrote her a couple apology letters, and at the time, admitted to this being what she thought it was. I went over the top. She hadn't talked to me for months, I had found a D book in the house, and I just wanted to fix things. So I used her words to describe things and apologized for them. I feel differently today (obviously) but she has it in her mind that I would potentially hurt our kids.

She points to 2 other incidents. One was the kids getting ready for bed, she was there, I said I'm going for a quick walk to take a break, she didn't hear me, she thought I disappeared, and then she worried once I moved out that I was just going to walk out of the house while I watched the kids alone (they are young).

Another I was shooting an air-powered pellet gun with my son in the woods. She knew we owned it. I held it the whole time. She never talked to me about it. She just freaked out and thought I was doing scary and violent things. This was right before separation.

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
Are there police reports?
No

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
Documented injuries?
No

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
Does she have witnesses?
No

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
Is she talking to the kids about his stuff?
Unclear. Probably no. But she does subtle stuff which may be just as harmful. When I moved out she asked me to regularly update her on what we do via text, send pictures, and bought my son a smartwatch with a GPS tracker (which I insisted he also wear with her, so he did not get the wrong impression).

Originally Posted by DejaVu6
You canít just make things up!! Donít let her push you around Unchien. The only person who can demand anything from you such as counselling (the journal thing is ridiculous) is a judge. Sounds like maybe she should go to counselling.
Right. So I can continue trying to mediate to get an extra day, while she keeps alluding to "scary things that happened" without out and talking about them. Or I can protect myself and call it a lost cause. I actually don't know what to do, but the above outlines pretty much what has her thinking I am scary and violent.

The "MC" we did during our separation was essentially her constantly alluding to the above, but refusing to talk about it. At first I was trying to listen/validate and just get her to talk about it. The counselor thought I was AGREEING with her. I had a separate phone call with him to clear that out. Over the months she never changed her stance, and even thought my son's behavioral issues at school were my fault. She wanted me to write safety plans when I had the kids at my house. She wanted my counselor to write an "update" for how I was doing with regards to "child safety."

I am a passive person. I like to be amicable. I would like to be able to look my kids in the eye and say I tried to do it in a fair and respectful way with your mother.

But it does feel a lot like I need to go into a more protective mode than trying to mediate with her.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 01:54 PM

I was just going to add... she never has even mentioned the apology letters. She never directly says, "UC you did XYZ". She just alludes periodically to "things that happened that were scary" and "we need to talk about other things before you can have the kids more, things I'm not comfortable texting about."

It feels controlling and manipulative to me. It also happens anytime I ask for time with the kids.

In the first mediation session, it felt like the mediator (retired judge) was starting with "what we do now" as the starting point. I don't like it.

So yes I am frustrated with mediation. I can go one more time and just say, "this is what I want, these safety concerns are bogus" and see how that goes......

..... but really, I feel like I may be completely wasting my time. Of course, filing and all that isn't going to solve things overnight either. But at least I can establish that the 4-10 parenting schedule (4 on, 10 off, with a dinner during the 10 off) is way off what I want.
Posted By: doodler

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 03:11 PM

Originally Posted by unchien
I am okay with their mother watching them. The only hesitation I have is emotional - is it really best for the kids, or is it best for her? It seems like a lot of swaps which may be more harmful than helpful.

unchien,

I had some very legitimate concerns about my XW's capacity as a mom. Ultimately, the court system isn't setup to handle those kinds of cases unless there's a long history or serious mental issues and/or criminal behavior. Do the best you can for your children, and then go from there. If issues arise later you can always renegotiate.

My sons have been coming home (my house) everyday after school for several years. On my wife's week, they go to her house at suppertime and stay overnight, but they'r prefer to be home. The point is, things change; you may get what you want by simply being patient.
Posted By: Twofeet

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 04:02 PM

You might consider reading the book Divorce Poison which is about parental alienation, just to be aware of what it is and if it is potential happening in your situation.
Posted By: DonH

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 09:05 PM

Originally Posted by unchien

Two years ago I was driving with my older 2 kids. My son was punching his younger sister. I pulled over the car, turned around and grabbed his leg firmly and said stop hitting your sister. No marks or anything. He was scared and it was a bad parenting moment by me. Then we drove home. He ran to his mom and said what happened. She called it abuse.

What? Huh? Are you kidding me? How is THIS a bad parenting moment? There is no way even in the crazy world weíve gotten to where nearly everything is abuse would this be abuse. Why, because you firmly touched your child? Because he was scared? Is there any wonder why weíve gotten the snowflake generation that we have? You tell them they did not meet expectations on their work and they are reduced to tears and call HR saying their boss hates them - because of mommies like this.

This is not bad parenting and do not let your wife or anyone else brow beat you into thinking it is. He was HITTING his sister. You firmly put a stop to it and scared him from doing it again. Your W is an idiot. Donít buy I go her nonsense. Fight back.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/13/20 09:34 PM

I appreciate the comments and support about how what I did is not abusive. it took me a long time to have confidence that I was not the monster she portrayed me to be.

She has never made overt abuse allegations. But she did talk about them in MC. (Counselors are mandatory reporters if they think the allegations hold water). She alludes to her "safety concerns." She has called me "angry" and "violent" and "delusional" if I assert myself calmly. In other words, she isn't running off to the police or filing ROs, but she still has a dangerous mindset.

My main question is whether I should stick it out in mediation.

Reasons to Try:
- Stand up for myself, refute her safety concerns, and let her reaction guide my decision (rather than assume she is going to accuse me of abuse and take me to court if I don't agree with what she wants)
- I may feel "better" about trying to handle it this way (i.e., no conflict avoidance)
- It may result in less drama surrounding the kids

Reasons to File for support orders:
- W's attitude is not conducive to mediating and compromising
- "Reset" expectations - get away from the "this is what we are doing now, we should start with that and make incremental changes" idea
- The longer I stay in separation limbo, the more our current precedent is established
- Filing does not prevent us from continuing mediation - it just applies some pressure to get things moving
Posted By: bttrfly

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 01:28 PM

IMHO #1 under reasons to file says it all.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 02:54 PM

Originally Posted by bttrfly
IMHO #1 under reasons to file says it all.

Right, I agree.

And then the doubt creeps into my brain.

"Doesn't everyone have difficulty adopting an attitude of compromise in mediation?"

"Doesn't everyone feel like they are giving a mile to gain an inch?"

"Am I just too passive a person to effectively negotiate in mediation?"
Posted By: bttrfly

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 02:58 PM

only you can answer these questions.

I know that's not particularly helpful but it is true..

no what you want. you cannot negotiate anything unless you know what you want.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 03:11 PM

Iím going to tell you a true story.

My ex had filed but we never discussed negotiations for about 4 months. I came home from my cottage one weekend and on the way home I decided I wanted to know the breakdown. I got home and she was in the bedroom in bed. I went to the filing cabinet and got each of our paystubs. I walked in and said this is what I want:

50/50 custody
Marital home Iíd buy her out
Added up two take home pays divided by two and told her I would give her the difference
Gave her the choice of the cars one had payment one didnít
Told her to take anything from house but my two TVs and I didnít want the kids rooms touched. Also I didnít want martial bed.
She said ok. I went downstairs. Divorce negotiated.

You have to start somewhere. Maybe youíll be surprised
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 03:38 PM

LH ~ That is a great story.

I have the list of what I want, simple, just like you had it. I do have information about where my W stands as well based on her comments.

Here's where we stand:

Kids:
I want a path to 50/50. She wants to maybe give me a path to 30/70 (1 more night). Any more than that and she wants the right to pick them up after school on my days if I can't. She also has "safety concerns" to discuss, which means she probably wants some proof that I am going to classes or counseling or something. Some assurances. She hasn't said that yet, I am speculating here, but I think that is what she means. She has asked for things like that in the past.

House:
I want my part of the equity. Sell the house and split the proceeds.

But she wants to keep the house. She has no income right now. She can't take over the loan without me agreeing to keep my name on it for some period of time. I think she will sink under the weight of the mortgage and I worry about my credit. I see no benefit other than some stability for the kids not having to move. I think it's on her to prove that this can work.

Work:
I have to work FT by the nature of what I do. But I have flexibility to leave early on days I need to get the kids, and stay late to make up the time other nights. She wants to work 1 day per week, and spend max time with the kids. She speculates she can support herself off that. But she doesn't even work yet. I think this is unrealistic both for custody and financial reasons.

Other Assets:
Split them. We probably agree on this (except I had some pre-marital stuff to discuss as some of it is SP).
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 03:48 PM

This seems simple to me also:

30/70 unacceptable to me. Hereís what is acceptable to me

You want the house? Great! Cut me a check for my share of the equity.

When I have the kids Iíll worry about getting them to x. If you can help great. If not, Iíll make it work.

W you are going to have to get a job in work x amount of days.

Anything less Iíll see you in court.
Posted By: TBSakaJ9

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 03:49 PM

Mine was done in at the kitchen table in about an hour.

I would not settle for anything less than 50/50. Anything less the more CS you will pay and my assumption is that's what she wants. Don't do it, that is the one thing I would have drained every account I have in fighting.

I kept our home and bought her out of her portion.

All other assets split 50/50.

I gave her our youngest child to claim on income taxes so she has that deduction longer. I also gave her the car with the cheapest car payment and only had about 3 years left on the note.

I pay her $850/mth in support. I give her the difference of what she would pay me if I had full custody and what I would pay her if she had full custody. If I had less than 50/50 or the standard state non-custodial visitation plan I would be paying close to 2k/mth.

That CS and visitation stuff is no joke. I would not waiver on that.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 04:11 PM

First of all, unless thereís something youíre not telling us, your wife has a screw loose. Grabbing a kid by the leg and yelling at him to stop hitting his sister is normal parenting. Maybe not our finest moments but I defy you to find a parent of bickering kids who hasnít done something similar. She is either using this deliberately to hurt you in the divorce or has some kind of serious issues from her own childhood that she is unjustly projecting onto you.

Second - sheís going to work one day a week and support herself? What planet does she live on? Iím a doctor and I couldnít support myself working one day a week.

It sounds like she thinks youíre just going to continue to support her and leave her in the house and pay for everything while she gets to continue to be a stay at home mom. Divorce doesnít work like that!

Iím not sure mediation can work with someone like this. And stick to your guns about the house - she buys you out or you sell. Donít leave your name on that mortgage.
Posted By: AndrewP

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 04:30 PM

One of the best pieces of advice that I was given going in to my divorce was to look at it as a business deal and take the emotion out of it.

One of my goals was to have things as simple and final as possible. We went through what's called a Collaborative Divorce. For the lawyers as I think someone else suggested on this thread - it's another day at the office. Fill in the forms with the standard clauses, get the signatures and move on. To change that, you have to have a clear idea of what you want and what you are willing to let go.

Also - don't expect your STBX to be prepared to have anything put together or to actually assist in the process. Some are very prepared, but the sort we see here aren't and generally have a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to do any actual work on a settlement any more than they were willing to work on the marriage.

For background, when my ex left the house, she gutted it pulling out much of the furniture, all of the more valuable antiques, artwork and collectibles. "Stuff".

I knew that while she may have loved this house, that she had plans to move in with OM (didn't happen for years) and couldn't maintain it.

There were lots of forms to fill out for financial disclosure etc and little to my surprise she didn't but showed up with random scraps of paper with numbers on them.

Prior to the negotiations I met with my bank and got pre-authorized for the largest amount that they would grant me against the household equity.

When the lawyers got to the point where they were filling out the forms and asking for signatures on values to be transferred, I stopped the process to make my pitch.

So - I made three proposals:
1 - Cash settlement based on the equity in the house
2 - Cash settlement including household equity plus a large amount of my pensions transferred to her
3 - Split between cash and spousal support for a fixed amount of time

Part of the deal was a blanket statement that the value of what she removed from the marital home (and bank accounts) was roughly equal to what she left behind. The phrase I used that my lawyer liked was that I didn't want to waste time or money looking for nickels in the couch cushions.

One condition was that any deal was to be considered final and would not be re-opened for any reason. My assumption was that her greed and expectation that she could have OM's money and mine along with a very real fear of her affair being the topic of a court battle would make her not want to fight.

She took a modified version of proposal #3. My lawyer I think hurt herself kicking me under the table whispering "take it take it take it".

I bought her out of the house, got a great deal on some new original art at a charity auction (I had - ahem - more than a bit of wine) and have moved on with my life.

Over-all I think it cost me about 8 grand in legal fees including the money to buy out the house, mostly because I believed that my lawyer cared and sent her emails asking for opinions.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 04:34 PM

Originally Posted by kml
First of all, unless thereís something youíre not telling us, your wife has a screw loose. Grabbing a kid by the leg and yelling at him to stop hitting his sister is normal parenting. Maybe not our finest moments but I defy you to find a parent of bickering kids who hasnít done something similar. She is either using this deliberately to hurt you in the divorce or has some kind of serious issues from her own childhood that she is unjustly projecting onto you.

There is nothing I am not telling you.

Originally Posted by kml
Second - sheís going to work one day a week and support herself? What planet does she live on? Iím a doctor and I couldnít support myself working one day a week.
You are preaching to the choir =)

Originally Posted by kml
It sounds like she thinks youíre just going to continue to support her and leave her in the house and pay for everything while she gets to continue to be a stay at home mom. Divorce doesnít work like that!

She keeps referring to "stability being key" whenever anything comes up. Stability for the kids is best, etc. Professionals say "stability is best for the kids."

It just so happens this means things like keeping the house, W keeping majority custody, etc.

Originally Posted by kml
Iím not sure mediation can work with someone like this. And stick to your guns about the house - she buys you out or you sell. Donít leave your name on that mortgage.
Yeah, I won't fold on this. I am easy-going, but not THAT easy-going.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 05:00 PM

U,

I stopped posting on your thread because your kind of stuck. Iím not sure why you are choosing limbo and conditions that are not in your favor? Your W is not changing her mind anytime soon. You are going to have to face this head on at some point. Why not now?
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 07:33 PM

yeah, just file (I don't actually understand how you do mediation without filing anyway, my ex filed and then we did mediation).

Put everything in writing. Ask for a little more than what you're willing to settle for (negotiations are business deals and you always want to leave some room for the other person to feel like they won something. In your case this might mean a short delay on selling the house instead of putting it up immediately, or 40/60 custody instead of 50:50, or something to do with debts or pensions).

Make it clear her "safety" concerns are unreasonable and you'd be happy to have BOTH of you evaluated by a psychiatrist (I'm guessing she'd be easy to detect as a looney tunes, and any psychiatrist would laugh her out of the office if her main complaint is you grabbed your kids leg once and yelled at him).

If she doesn't have an order for temporary support, you need to start paying her only what she would get in a divorce. Judges will listen to the idea of "imputed income" - what she could reasonably earn if she got a job. Right now she has no incentive to change anything. So - pay the mortgage - yourself, don't give that money to her - and then pay her what your state's alimony calculation would likely be between her imputed income and your actual income. You could subtract half the mortgage payment from that. Then add in any child support you might owe if you had 50:50 custody. I hope you've already taken half of any savings but if not, do that now.

You need an attorney separate from the mediation lawyer, if you don't already have one, get one now. Even if you continue mediation, they can be your sounding board and tell you if what you are agreeing to is reasonable and what a judge would give you in court. Get him or her to review your proposal before you make it. Remember too that the tax laws in the US have changed, alimony is no longer deductible to the person paying it. Work out an offer with your private attorney and then present it in mediation. If her response is totally unreasonable (which it sounds like it will be) then you may be better off filing and let the lawyers duke it out. Mediation only works when both people are at least somewhat grounded in reality.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 07:46 PM

U,

Listen to K she is a very wise woman
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 11:23 PM

LH, TB, Andrew, KML - Thank you for your feedback. It helps to hear your stories and advice.

Originally Posted by kml
yeah, just file (I don't actually understand how you do mediation without filing anyway, my ex filed and then we did mediation).

L thinks I should file and also immediately request orders for custody and a financial separation. Those latter items will be seen as an act of war, for sure, but I'm seeing no other way.

Rather than wait for next mediation (3 weeks from now), W and I have tried texting a little bit about things. I figured I may as well tell her what I want, and gauge how she is reacting. That way at least I won't feel like I gave up without putting it out there.

She shuts all talk of schedule changes down, and only her concerns -- the house, where the kids will live (i.e., where she will live), kids' activity schedule -- are important. And there is always the undertone of "safety talk" there.

When I ask for more time with the kids, she says "you need to talk to your boss about getting guaranteed flex time, right?" And I say, "I already did that, a year ago, and I repeatedly make sure that it she case." Then she will say, "I'm not comfortable talking about this over text"

I hate to give up. I know in the past I haven't asked for what I want. She is just not budging. She states her positions and says things like "Can't wait to work this out soon in mediation!" She thinks if we do our homework (assigned by the mediator) that "things will come together fast." She thinks the mediator decides or something... I don't get it.

Originally Posted by kml
Put everything in writing. Ask for a little more than what you're willing to settle for (negotiations are business deals and you always want to leave some room for the other person to feel like they won something. In your case this might mean a short delay on selling the house instead of putting it up immediately, or 40/60 custody instead of 50:50, or something to do with debts or pensions).
Agreed, any negotiation needs to start with stretch goals.

Originally Posted by kml
Make it clear her "safety" concerns are unreasonable and you'd be happy to have BOTH of you evaluated by a psychiatrist (I'm guessing she'd be easy to detect as a looney tunes, and any psychiatrist would laugh her out of the office if her main complaint is you grabbed your kids leg once and yelled at him).

I know there are forensic psychologists and custody evaluators that could get involved. I don't really trust anybody at this point, but I agree SHE doesn't get to decide who is a good parent and who is not.

Originally Posted by kml
If she doesn't have an order for temporary support, you need to start paying her only what she would get in a divorce. Judges will listen to the idea of "imputed income" - what she could reasonably earn if she got a job. Right now she has no incentive to change anything. So - pay the mortgage - yourself, don't give that money to her - and then pay her what your state's alimony calculation would likely be between her imputed income and your actual income. You could subtract half the mortgage payment from that. Then add in any child support you might owe if you had 50:50 custody. I hope you've already taken half of any savings but if not, do that now.

The mortgage payment alone is higher than maximum guideline support. She would never ask for temporary support because it would immediately put her in a worse off position. She would have to pay me back!

Originally Posted by kml
You need an attorney separate from the mediation lawyer, if you don't already have one, get one now. Even if you continue mediation, they can be your sounding board and tell you if what you are agreeing to is reasonable and what a judge would give you in court. Get him or her to review your proposal before you make it. Remember too that the tax laws in the US have changed, alimony is no longer deductible to the person paying it. Work out an offer with your private attorney and then present it in mediation. If her response is totally unreasonable (which it sounds like it will be) then you may be better off filing and let the lawyers duke it out. Mediation only works when both people are at least somewhat grounded in reality.
Your last sentence hit me hard.

My L thinks what most of you think. Lawyers are lawyers but they have seen these cases before. My L does not want to litigate, but also feels trying to mediate in this way is going to waste time, money, and set precedent the longer we go.

You do have an interesting idea of just coming to mediation with an offer written up. One last chance. My instinct is to say she would dismiss it out of hand, given how things have gone so far. But I do have a bad habit of dismissing ideas quickly, and will think about this more.

Also noted on the alimony deduction thing. I heard that recently and I know tax laws can make a big difference in what is best for me.
Posted By: TBSakaJ9

Re: Starting the process - 02/14/20 11:43 PM

Look man, I know itís hard. Do not accept less than 50/50. Get a L and fight if she is not budging.

Do not let her make you out to be the bad guy.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 02/15/20 12:57 AM

Run EVERYTHING by your lawyer and stop trying to negotiate with her outside of mediation.
Posted By: kml

Re: Starting the process - 02/15/20 12:58 AM

Run it by your lawyer first I mean
Posted By: HaWho

Re: Starting the process - 02/15/20 02:06 AM

The key things to mediation I was told is, it takes two reasonable people to come to the table (as KML said) and the mediatorís sole goal is to reach an agreement. They have no skin in the game but to reach a resolution so by nature if one of you is firmer/more resolute the mediator will whittle down the one who says uncle faster to meet the goal of resolution.

I did not bother with it because I knew my ex was not reasonable (he wanted to pick how much he paid in support rather than following state guidelines and he is definitely more resolute about not breaking down). Your wife is clearly manipulative and using scare tactics. Donít agree to less than 50/50 because you deserve that and you will pay more if she gets more custody!

If you go to try mediation, I would have a list of absolute non negotiables that you reference frequently and go into it ready to walk out. You can always try again! Have your L on standby.

You are here in this position to overcome her control of you, your fear and to take what you lawfully deserve. Go to the mats and take what is rightfully yours. Your kids needs 50% with you!

Last thing, as she wants to work one day/week and stay in the house, make sure you take the kids promptly every day you have them and document this. I speculate she is making a case that she deserves more than 50% due to your work schedule while she is still the primary care giver working minimally (and conveniently) living the same lifestyle!!!!
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 02/15/20 04:57 PM

Originally Posted by TBSakaJ9
Look man, I know itís hard. Do not accept less than 50/50. Get a L and fight if she is not budging.

Do not let her make you out to be the bad guy.
Thank you. I originally read your post before you added the "not" in the last sentence, and I actually kind of liked it! Not that I want to be the bad guy. Because... I have no control over how she will react, right?

Originally Posted by HaWho
The key things to mediation I was told is, it takes two reasonable people to come to the table (as KML said) and the mediatorís sole goal is to reach an agreement. They have no skin in the game but to reach a resolution so by nature if one of you is firmer/more resolute the mediator will whittle down the one who says uncle faster to meet the goal of resolution.
That is my worry about mediation.

I think the mediator was trying in a delicate way to point out how my W was not being realistic with her goals. She is spending her efforts trying to prove to the mediator that she should get what she wants... she hasn't grasped the idea that she has to prove it to ME.

At some point, she will need to have a reality check. I don't think it will happen naturally through mediation -- or perhaps it will after a few sessions. That may take a few months. I am not going to hold my breath waiting, but that also doesn't mean I have to give up on mediation. I have a pretty good plan hashed out for next steps.

Originally Posted by HaWho
If you go to try mediation, I would have a list of absolute non negotiables that you reference frequently and go into it ready to walk out. You can always try again! Have your L on standby.

After our first session, the mediator gave us some action items to follow up on. My W thinks if we do our "homework" we will conclude mediation quickly.

For example, she wants to keep the marital home. She had proposed deals where my name stays on the loan, etc. I'm not sure she gets that her "homework" is to come up with a plan to keep the house that I will accept (i.e., I am bought out). Not one that the mediator accepts.

She seems to be approaching mediation just like our last round of MC. It will help me to type this train of thought out:

Our round of MC post-S last year: I still held out hope we would work on the MR, and thus when we worked out parenting schedules, etc. I was trying to minimize impact to our kids and work on building trust. I conceded to a schedule that would make it easy for me to move back but also still have time with the kids. I made sure to fight for a couple school nights. I insisted on having a home with bedrooms for the kids (not a studio). I still had hopes of working it out. Looking back, I know my W had zero interest in working on the MR, so in a way she thought of these negotiations back then as part of us splitting up. I think it was incredibly disingenuous on her part. Here I was, negotiating a temporary separation, and she was treating it as a soft D. I'm sure this happens ALL the time to people, I'm not the only one.

At one point during our S, she said I didn't fight to win her back. I thought, "This isn't Hollywood!" What am I supposed to do, go to her bedroom window holding a boom box, send flowers, write MORE apology letters? I was in MC, saying I'm here, open and ready, any time, to talk about things that happened and understand her point of view. She would say the word abuse in MC and then clam up and refuse to talk. Even the C said it was really up to her to open up at this point. She never did. It was clearly the blocker to us working on things. I felt if we could talk about those things, we could start to rebuild something new. Within 3 months of separation, it was clear that there was no chance. I gave her time and space, I came into those sessions positively and open and ready to talk, but it takes two.

When that MC heard her use the word abuse the first few times, he really bought in and put the burden on me 100% to earn back her trust.

I say all this because I think she is treating mediation similarly. Just like the MC sessions, she still is working towards D. We have a 3rd party in the room. The difference on my side is that I went to MC with R hope. I am not going to mediation with the same mindset. I want what I want. The mediator technically has no power. He cannot force me to accept anything. I don't think gets the difference (yet).

Originally Posted by HaWho
Last thing, as she wants to work one day/week and stay in the house, make sure you take the kids promptly every day you have them and document this. I speculate she is making a case that she deserves more than 50% due to your work schedule while she is still the primary care giver working minimally (and conveniently) living the same lifestyle!!!!
I've been doing this regularly since the separation. And I completely agree that she will be making the case you outlined.
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 02/18/20 07:22 PM

I knew early on I wouldnít be able to mediate with H since heís under the delusion that since I have a job now he shouldnít have to support me at all. He gives me just enough to keep me off the street. Itís his money and it will take a judge to enforce anything else.

Look itís hard to ďdeclare warĒ (I understand this feeling) on someone you love. I feel like I just lit a match and torched any chance of ever reconciling. Heís going to absolutely hate me by the time this is over but Iíve got kids too who need me. They live with me full time (their choice) and he hopes to starve them out. He doesnít want them but doesnít want to pay for them either. Iím backed in a corner as you are.
Posted By: TBSakaJ9

Re: Starting the process - 02/18/20 07:39 PM

My XW and I did not go to mediation as both of us were agreeable on everything. My friend, that is a judge, told me there is no sense in mediating over what you already agree on.

You can't control how she perceives you just don't let the love you have for her cloud your judgement and cause you to accept something less than you want because she portrays you as a bad father. Don't let those words scare you into accepting something you don't want.

I would have drained every account I have if my XW tried to take full custody of my kids from me and was not agreeable to 50/50.

You don't have to be mean or declare war you just have to not budge off what you want. You can say "No, I don't agree to this" in a very respectful and polite tone.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 03/03/20 03:48 PM

We finally have a second mediation session later this week.

I'm curious if anybody here tried mediation for a bit, then found it didn't work and had to choose another path (shuttle mediation? lawyer-mediated agreement? court?). What were the signs that mediation wasn't going to work for you?

I did not assert myself enough during the first session. I was trying to be civil and respectful, but ended up allowing my W to control the topics the entire time.

I have a plan this time. I expect to get some traction on financial items. If not, I will now what I need to do. We are over-spending by such an obscene amount every month it is irresponsible.

For the kids, joint custody is a no-brainer regardless of the timeshare.

Timeshare is both the simplest and most complicated topic. In simple terms, I want 50/50. Taking into account the kids and the adjustments they will soon face, including a likely move out of the marital home, I am open to discussing how we get there. It doesn't have to be today, tomorrow, or even next month. But I want a plan to get there, and one that involves mutual respect for each other's time (no asymmetric agreements). Quite honestly, I do think we could do it now, but it might be hard on the kids. Summer schedule is going to be tricky.

I'm mostly pleased with my L representation. We have a strategy of doing this in the least costly and least litigious way - however, if needed, yada yada yada. This is the hardest part -- I still think in the abstract my W and I *could* be reasonable and work through things via mediation, I just don't know if it's possible without me giving more ground than I feel is right. Every negotiation involves giving ground, I get that.

I also want to avoid mediation focusing on the trees rather than the forest. My W tends to hand-pick special topics of her interest, rather than the big-ticket items. I suspect we may be talking about pre-school plans for D4, should it be her choice. This is like putting the cart before the horse... because I expect she may then use D4's pre-school as a reason to maintain some different schedule.

Anyways, lots of pent-up anxiety about the upcoming session. I hope I see some signs of hope. I can't hold out much longer while spending so much money each month and not seeing movement on time with the kids.
Posted By: kas99

Re: Starting the process - 03/03/20 08:04 PM

Quote
I can't hold out much longer while spending so much money each month and not seeing movement on time with the kids.


Obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about I'm just thinking she has absolutely no motivation to do anything. Status quo has been established. Fight, fight, fight.
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 03/03/20 09:08 PM

Originally Posted by kas99
Quote
I can't hold out much longer while spending so much money each month and not seeing movement on time with the kids.


Obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about I'm just thinking she has absolutely no motivation to do anything. Status quo has been established. Fight, fight, fight.

Yes in simple terms she has little reason to want the status quo to change.

I think she knows the house situation needs immediate resolution. We need to financially separate soon so I can protect myself and she can start taking steps to be responsible for her part. Coming to a reasonable compromise on the kids will be a major challenge I believe.

I know that going all-out legal doesn't necessarily make my life easier. It is one way to try to achieve a desirable outcome. It could make things worse. It's tempting to go that route, but also, it may trigger a chain reaction of legal filings that may be unnecessary.

Also, it's entirely reasonable that we resolve some things in mediation and others we cannot.

So... I'm approaching the next mediation session as if we need to make progress or I cannot continue with the process. It is much too slow and I am losing too much by treading water.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 03/03/20 11:06 PM


Originally Posted by unchien

I know that going all-out legal doesn't necessarily make my life easier. It is one way to try to achieve a desirable outcome. It could make things worse. It's tempting to go that route, but also, it may trigger a chain reaction of legal filings that may be unnecessary..


This is where it gets frustrating U. Your worried it wonít make your life easier and making things worse. It canít get any worse then it is now. You are living in limbo and paying for a house that you wife lives in while not working which may include entertaining another male. Trust me nothing is worse.

What are you afraid of if you push for D? Sheíll be mad? So what? Please explain!
Posted By: unchien

Re: Starting the process - 03/03/20 11:35 PM

Originally Posted by LH19
This is where it gets frustrating U. Your worried it wonít make your life easier and making things worse. It canít get any worse then it is now. You are living in limbo and paying for a house that you wife lives in while not working which may include entertaining another male. Trust me nothing is worse.

What are you afraid of if you push for D? Sheíll be mad? So what? Please explain!

LH ~

I should be clearer here. I am not in a "file or mediate" situation. I can file and mediate. I can just file the petition, and/or include a request fo custody orders, and/or take steps towards a financial separation, and/or take steps towards disentangling myself from the home.

So... what is my plan? I don't want to lay it all it in detail here for anonymity's sake. I am inclined to go to mediation this week and lay out some things, and based on my W's response, decide what to do. For instance, paying for all this stuff is completely irresponsible and unsustainable. We need to sell the house if she cannot buy me out. Maybe we agree to sell and that's fine. Or I say, I'm stopping payments after XYZ and then you pay for it.

I'd also like to move to a financial separation. Ignore the house. I think my paycheck should go to my account and then I pay her a temporary guideline support payment until we finalize the D. Simple.

If she doesn't agree on the above 2, it's pretty clear I need to do something else. We can negotiate the details but the general items themselves are non-negotiable.

Custody/timeshare is a separate topic. I foresee making little headway on that topic in mediation. I will try. But I already know, you know?

You mentioned another male. A friend of mine brought that up this past weekend. "You know she must be dating by now, right?" I'm sure it would sting, but like you point out, the fact it would be *in a home I pay for* would drive me bonkers. I'm sure I would feel more jealous than I think if I found out she was dating, but I don't want her back and she can make her own decisions on that front. But in a house I pay for... phew.
Posted By: LH19

Re: Starting the process - 03/04/20 10:09 AM

U,

You avoided the question. Your worried it won't make your life easier and may make it worse.

What do you mean in this statement?
© 2020 DivorceBusting.com