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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DonH Midwest Me 56 WAW-EXW 55 Met 11/95 / Married 5/00 Bomb 6/20/05 / She Filed on 6/2/06 / Divorced on 10/9/06 4 who'd qualify as GF since D & dated about 25 women since D