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Originally Posted by unchien
Thanks doodler.

My W implies that she wants to see her safety concerns addressed. I think this is a leverage tactic. I also dont 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


M 20+ T25+
S ~15.5 (BD)
BD 4/6/15
D Final 12/23/16

If we don't look into the darkness we won't find the light.

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unchien Offline OP
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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.

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She MIGHT GIVE YOU one more night? WTH?? Why is it up to her? Youre 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 cant just make things up!! Dont 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.


Me 53
H 48
B/G Twins 13
SD 21
Legal SA - January 2019
Divorce filed - June 2019
Divorce final - November 2019

Together 14 years
Married 12 years
BD1 - May 2014
BD2 - September 14, 2018

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wow, didn't know all that. file. immediately. this is BS.


M 20+ T25+
S ~15.5 (BD)
BD 4/6/15
D Final 12/23/16

If we don't look into the darkness we won't find the light.

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unchien Offline OP
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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 cant just make things up!! Dont 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.

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unchien Offline OP
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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.

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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.

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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.


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T20, M13
BD 8/31/18
EA Discovered 9/13/18
Mediation 10/3/18
W files for D 10/12/18
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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 weve 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 weve 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. Dont buy I go her nonsense. Fight back.


DonH
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WAW-EXW 55
Met 11/95 / Married 5/00
Bomb 6/20/05 / She Filed on 6/2/06 / Divorced on 10/9/06
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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

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