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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-06-2015, 07:57 AM
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I have been married for almost 10 years..now wife wants a divorce as she realized she didn't love me and she is miserable. We have two young kids 4 year old and 6 year old.
Since the kids were born, she asked her mom to help her to the point that her mom was residing with us for the first year of each child life. I was providing care side by side with my mother is law and my wife, to the point that I was preparing bottles and feeding in the middle of the night with having work the next day. Changing, bathing the kids..etc. I consider myself and her mom where doing most of the care to the point that the wife would go out and leave the kids with me and her mom.
The wife always said that she can't drive the kids by herself as she is afraid to get into an accident, so I was driving the kids to daycare and back on adaiky basis. I am registered as an emergency contact for school and daycare, her mom is the secondary one and she is the last one.
I have been getting up the kids in the morning to get them ready for daycare and now they are in school her mom gets them ready.
I have been taking them to all the activities and my wife rarely shows up. I drive to doctors appointments for 60 percent of the time. For the rest wife has to take her mom with her as she can't drive.
As wife always claimed that she is miserable and she couldn't take care of the kids, she would either sleep off the whole weekend or she decides to go shopping by herself. Starting 3 years back for a short while, she would go with me and the kids shopping.
Multiple times I had to stay late at work and she screams on the phone she can't handle the kids and I need to come ASAP.
I bath the kids as she claims she has back problems.
During vacations, she sits and relaxes while I am running around taking care of the kids.
When it comes to cooking, her mom is cooking for them 75 percent of the time.
On the weekends I am the one who seeks their fun time and take them places. Her response, I can't handle theses places with kids.
She been diagnosed with clinical depression because of work. Her psycharist whinned her off the medication after just two month starting it.
Now she blames her not being able to take of the kids based on her miserable marriage.
She thinks after separation she will begin to be a mom.
What chances do I have in terms of keeping that kids residing eith me and for her to visit? Her mom will support me in that as well as there are witnesses that I was mostly with the kids when she was not there. Do I have a strong case. She wants the kids to reside with her.

Thanks
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:12 AM
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You offer 50/50 as the start.

The kids are way to young to make any sort of decision of where they will live.

The ex wants primary care of the children with you getting the every-other-weekend-screw job. Don't agree to it. Offer 50/50 and go from there. If you have to go to court, you offer:

1. 50/50 parenting time with joint custody; and failing that
2. primary care with joint custody; and failing that
3. primary care with sole custody.

You understand that you will have to parent with the ex for sometime going forward. Her disabilities may help and hinder her arguments for primary care.

Are you still living in the matrimonial home? If you are good. Stay there. If you aren't, and you only moved out recently, move back in. It is important to stay in the house. Set yourself up in a spare room if you have to. Put a lock on that door for some privacy (so long as the room isn't "common area" - ie. laundry area or living room). Don't talk to your STBX about much outside of the needs of the kids. If she gets hostile, you leave the area immediately. Your name says "abuseddad", if you are and the ex is unstable, I HIGHLY recommend getting a digital voice recorder and leaving it on while you are in the house. It isn't get evidence that the ex is a bad parent, it is to prevent you from being falsely accused of DV. Your ex is off her meds and wants the kids. If you are still in the house, this is the single fastest way to create a false status quo. Don't fall for it. Record everything and don't engage. If she wants to act all nutso, let her. You need to walk away quietly.

You also need to start documenting all your parenting chores/activities. Get a calendar book, mark down what you did for the kids EVERY DAY. If you drove them to school and helped with homework, mark it down. If you helped with bath and bed time, write it down. It is to be used as evidence of you involvement when she argues that she was the more involved parent.

But the chances of you winning sole custody outright, without your ex doing something stupid, aren't good. Set 50/50 as what you will accept. Let her argue why it isn't in the kids best interests to have both parents be with the kids regularly.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:42 AM
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HammerDad..thanks a lot. I am still at the house I have not left. Her parents have said that they are witnesses of who was parenting more.
I appreciate your suggestions of a recorder.
In the past, she was taking sleeping peels in the weekends to escape from her misery (as she said)..will that help my case?

I aplogize to ask but what is a false status quo?
Thanks
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abuseddad View Post
What chances do I have in terms of keeping that kids residing eith me and for her to visit? Her mom will support me in that as well as there are witnesses that I was mostly with the kids when she was not there. Do I have a strong case. She wants the kids to reside with her.

Thanks
The question is whether she has a strong case for having the kids reside primarily with her. It sounds like she does not. However, you also don't have a strong case for keeping the kids with you full-time and having her as a "visiting" parent. It's not a matter of who changed more diapers or who took the kids to birthday parties. Unless one of you is incapable of caring for children, you should both be working towards a solution where the kids reside equally with both parents. Your wife may have challenges, but she also has a support system (her mom). And she may be right that when she is out of a bad marriage, her general health will improve.

HammerDad is right about not moving out of the house, not doing anything that might be taken as a sign that you agree with your ex having primary residence.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abuseddad View Post
HammerDad..thanks a lot. I am still at the house I have not left. Her parents have said that they are witnesses of who was parenting more.
As much as you want to believe the in-laws, remember blood is thicker than water. At the end of the day, that is their daughter and 99% of people with stick with their family.

Quote:
In the past, she was taking sleeping peels in the weekends to escape from her misery (as she said)..will that help my case?
Unless you have her saying that in an email somewhere, it is hearsay and a judge will give it that much weight. You are better to focus on your parenting and involvement than the ex's lack of involvement. If you can show through your journal that you do most the child related activities/work, it will only stand to reason that the ex does not do these things as much. Don't try to prove your ex is a bad parent. The courts see this everyday and don't like it. That is also the mother of the kids, and you don't want any negativity to rub off on them. Focus on why you are a good parent.

Quote:
I aplogize to ask but what is a false status quo?
Thanks
Status quo is what happens when you allow time to take hold. Example, you and your ex get in an argument, you raise your voice and then ex goes "oh, you are abusing me, I am calling the police". The ex then says you were aggressive and threatening and that she has suffered years of abuse. The in turn cops then kick you out of the house. The ex runs down to the court with the incident report and files an emergency ex-parte motion giving them exclusive possession of the house and custody of the kids. You are then stuck fighting an up-hill battle to get back in the house and/or see your kids. And these things take time. So over the course of 4-6 months you are fighting this, the ex has custody and creates "status quo". The status quo may have been created by false accusations, but it is status quo none the less. Judges don't like making significant changes to the kids routines unless they have to. Thus, you are stuck trying to argue that the current situation was created on false pretenses, ie. a false status quo.

These are not easy issues to fight against. You need money, time and patience. You would also need to be either a great self-represented litigant or have a good lawyer. Protect yourself by getting the voice recorder and also NEVER, I mean really really EVER, engaging your ex in an argument. Should she get aggressive or belligerent, simply state that you are no longer willing to discuss the matter as it has obviously become an emotional issue. That should the ex want to discuss the matter further, that they please email you. Then you leave and you go to your room and watch a movie......all the time leaving the recorder running.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:09 PM
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A "false status quo" is when a situation that is meant to be temporary goes on and on, so that when a judge (or someone else) looks at the situation, he or she says "well, that's the way things have been for a long time so that's the way they are going to stay", even if it was never your intention for the "temporary" situation to become "permanent". The classic example is when one parent moves out of the house because things are just too awkward around the other parent. The parent who moved out intends to get an apartment and start having the kids over, but the parent who remains in the house sees this "temporary" situation as the long-term solution. When the matter comes to court (if it comes to court), the judge says "well, this is what the kids are accustomed to, with the kids residing primarily in the house, so this will become the permanent arrangement".

edited: HammerDad just explained it better than me.

(For what's worth: I was the one who moved out of the house; in order to avoid this "status quo" issue, I didn't move out until I had the ex's signature on a notarized agreement stating that we were both committed to 50/50 parenting and we both understood that my moving out did not indicate that I would accept less parenting time with Kid. We were still working on other aspects of the separation agreement involving property, schedules etc., but getting this document signed gave me some peace of mind).

Last edited by stripes; 03-06-2015 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:42 PM
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Absent serious issues, such as child abuse, job with loads of travel, etc, that would prevent one parent from being able to take good care of the children on a daily basis, it's in the children's best interests to spend as much time as possible with each parent. This means 50-50 access in some form.

Maybe your ex is actually right in that a lot of her depression will ease when she's not living with you anymore and she will be able to be a better parent than you've seen so far. Or maybe she wants the kids all the time because she hates your guts and thinks it will punish you. Maybe she has a sexist attitude that the children automatically go with the mother in a separation. Maybe she just has $$ in her eyes and wants the CS that comes with having the children all the time without thinking of how much work it is. Or maybe she just intends to rely on her mom to care for the children the way she's been relying on you up to now. Probably it's a mashup of all these reasons, and she may not understand her motivation herself.

Anyways, separation/divorce really boils down to four elements to figure out.
  • Equalization (division of marital assets and debts) is determined by gathering up documentation, doing financial disclosure, deciding who gets what and doing some math to make it even.
  • Child custody (who makes major decisions about health, education and religion) is usually always joint, unless there is a huge issue about one parent being truly unreasonable or stupid.
  • Child access (the children's residential schedule) really should be 50-50 in some form, and there are a number of different systems people use, but may not be if one parent is provably sub-standard, or one parent sadly has no interest in the children. CS is then calculated based on incomes and the final arrangement of access time.
  • Spousal support (if one ex has no/reduced earning capacity due to the marriage) is becoming less and less relevant as traditional marriages fade away, but if your ex is provably disabled and unable to work due to depression, you may be stuck with supporting her for a while.
If it's at all possible, you should sit down with your wife and figure out what to do about all of these. If it's not possible, prepare as much as possible for your preferred scenario, present your plan to her, and ask for her counteroffer. From how you describe your ex, you will not likely get a reasonable counteroffer, and negotiations will grind to a halt, and you'll eventually end up in court. The big question is can you prove that your ex is such a sub-standard parent that it would harm the children to be in her care half the time? Proof for court would involved documentation, from neutral parties. Your mother-in-law is not a neutral party, but if she's willing to write an affidavit describing how awful a parent her own daughter is, that might be useful in court, I don't know.

I also think you might be well-advised to speak to your mother-in-law privately. As noted by other posters, she will very likely side with her daughter against you. Maybe out of loyalty, or maybe out of fear that she'll rarely see her grandchildren anymore if you get majority access, or something in between.

And I feel I should repeat that false status quo issue because of how serious it is. Get that VAR and have it recording any time you are around your wife or she could easily gain the upper hand with a false domestic abuse accusation.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:51 PM
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I want to emphasize that the best interests of the kids is the only relevant factor. You can meet all the cirteria and becuase of some ridiculous reason like "you have too many renovations" you can lose shared custody.
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:52 AM
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Your story mirrors mine. Looks like you are the maternal parent which makes it in the children's best interests to be with you.

But the Judges only care about covering their asses and money.
Her argument will be you have to work and the children will be in day care, you are a liar and have abused her for years her mother will most likely elect to be silent.
Do not leave the family home when a restraining order has come, do not agree to the charge, do not agree to anything a Judge or the Police asks you to do, as this is covering their asses.

You will be afraid and temporaraley destroyed. This is how status quoe is secured.

Please record everything,use an I pod, great to video.

You may not know this but a Judge can not make a decision for you with out your consent until you are in trial. First you will be in case conferences. agree if you fell should but do not sighn a damn thing as this is proving the status quoe. Do you get it.

Lastly the recordings are not your only hope but your best hope but you will discouraged and lied to by authorities that they mean nothing and they will refuse to acknowledge them because if they hear them they have to cover their asses and do some more work. Get it

No one gives enough thought to our children's best interest except the most loving parent . I was put through the ringer but am back now and thriving.

I won but we all lost , I'll never get over it but I am much happier now although I would go back to my not so wonderful life so as could hug my kids everyday like used to. I was the bread winner and had to leave and pay, as the Judge thought it best to keep kids out of day care. As soon as the courts were done with us my kids ended up in day care the next day. I hope my Judge is reading this, but most likely not.

So I sighned when I was satisfied with my effort . Self Repin gives you the time to fight. Lawyers will gladly help you force your hand and blame both parents for the depletion of your life savings. How convenient. Its all up to you. SAY NO.
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:26 AM
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Thanks Franklin...I am not sure if it is worth depleting the money to prove her being unfit parent.
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