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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 04-02-2012, 12:13 PM
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Default Hi everyone -- My story (long)

Hi everyone,

I have been lurking on this forum for a bit, but only just started posting. So I thought I would introduce myself and give you my story and current situation.

I was with my ex for 11 years, but only married for the last 3. We have three children the eldest is hers from a previous relationship, but I am the only dad he has ever known and I officially adopted him after we were married.

We were (and still are) a single income family, my ex did some childcare and some other casual work, but nothing huge (has never made enough to pay taxes since before the kids were born). I was always asking her to look for jobs because I wasn't able to cover everything on my own, and we were running a deficit. I frequently had to tuck my tail between my legs and ask my parents for help when some of the bills got out of hand. He reasoning for not getting a job was because she was convinced that she couldn't get a job that would cover the child care costs and still be worth working. I disagreed, but there was never a true attempt to gain full time employment. She does have an BSc from university and I'm convinced she could get a decent job if she put some effort into her search.

Our relationship had been increasingly toxic for the past 4 years at least, I was dealing with major depression (was off work for 13 months) and despite marriage counselling we separated last May (I asked in one of our counselling sessions after a particularly bad sequence of events. Things were pretty good for the first few months. We originally separated with the intent of reconciling but after about a month and a half it was clear that we were not going to get back together. I was temporarily living at my parents, but maintained that I wanted to be in the matrimonial home with the kids and only agreed to not stay at the house because she "had nowhere else to go" and to keep our conflict away from the kids.

In July we had a document signed and witnessed stating that we would have "Shared legal and physical custody of the children" agreed to a temporary 50/50 access schedule and eased the children into the schedule over a month and a half so that by the time school started they were well adapted to the new schedule.

Even after we had done this she still was resisting going to mediation or formalizing any agreement. There was still conflict between us, but it was getting better, and though she never said it she was trying to get me back into the relationship and stressed to every one that she didn't know why this was happening.

In October she found out I had been seeing someone post separation.

Then everything changed. I used to have liberal access to the kids and the house (even when it was not my parenting time), that stopped. I used to be able to get things from the house without trouble, that stopped. She started to accuse me of having an affair, accused my parents of condoning my 'adultery'. She also tried to twist friends and family against me.

8 days later there was an incident, I won't go into details or claim to have been completely innocent in the matter, but it was a healthy back and forth between us and unfortunately some of it was in front of the kids. My ex took this incident to claim that I was threatening and abusive and took the kids out of the house and went to a women's shelter. When I found that she had left, I had no idea where she was I called the police but they wouldn't help, so I had my lawyer (who up until that point was just a resource for me. There had been no formal legal action) send her a letter via email asking for several things and stated that if we had not had a response in a few days we would be filing an emergency ex parte motion in court. On Thursday we received word from her lawyer and found that she had beat us to the punch and filed an application in family court. I felt like she baited me so she take this action.

I did not see my kids for month and had to open my life like a book to the CAS as they investigated my ex's claims. Two weeks after they fist spoke to me they said I didn't require supervised visits (as my ex had been requesting) and soon after my first weekend with the kids (still took two weeks for my ex to 'allow' even a weekend of access) the CAS closed the file. I thought "great, now we can get back to the 50/50 parenting arrangement", but no such luck. I have been stuck in EOW situation since then and my ex refuses to discuss increasing my parenting. I have had to fight for extra time over holidays, to help my son with his school work (he asked to do his science project with me).

The time she is allowing is very inconvenient for me as I do a lot of singing (hence the name) on the weekends, but I make the most of it. This is not a recreational thing for me, but a secondary income as most of the gigs I do are paid. She knew the problems this was going to cause when proposed the time of the access. I didn't want to refuse anything as I had been away for the kids for so long, and thought this was just a first step.

I paid CS voluntarily for November and December, and was ordered to pay CS in a temporary order stemming from our case conference in December. Unfortunately we only had about 15 min with the master (was end of the day) so not a lot was accomplished. We both wanted the involvement of the OCL, but for different reasons. She was asserting that I was unable to sufficiently provide for the children and was potentially dangerous (even though it was refuted by the CAS). While I felt the wishes of the children were not being respected. I was frustrated because the document we signed in July was not even considered.

She moved into a new place just before the case conference, but still refuses to let me know where she is living, stating safety concerns. This despite her having letters from three different doctors that say that I am not a risk to her or the kids and the CAS closing the file.

So here I sit in the midst of an OCL investigation waiting to see what the result is, hoping for a favourable outcome.

I am already preparing material for a motion, that will be comming after the OCL has submitted the report.

Believe it or not that is the Cole's Notes version of my story.

SD
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:17 PM
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dude. that sucks. I feel for you. I can't give you any advice because basically the same thing happened to me... Just don't stop fighting! Your kids need you and her EQUALLY.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:17 PM
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welcome to the club.

the club being 'divorced' or 'seperated' or 'whatever' with child(s) and a seemingly high-conflict ex.

I would ask your lawyer (assuming you want it) how you can re-establish 50/50 post-haste.

I would think a motion would be advisable now that case-conference has occured. If that's what you're 'waiting' on the OCL report for - I would say do it before you 'wait' until status-quo is established.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:25 PM
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We should have the report within the month. I asked my lawyer about the motion and brining it early, but he said because of the ocl the court wild be reluctant to change anything because of the weight given to those reports. I'm in a bit of a holding pattern right now, and yes it does suck.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:32 PM
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So then if the report finds against 50/50 (which is likely if there is significant conflict) will you then be in a better position to motion for 50/50?

I think not.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:03 PM
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Hey SinginDad: I wish I was able to give as good advice as you gave me about my problem, but it seems to me like you've done everything possible to get what you're seeking. At least your reason for wanting the OCL was child focused. How long in total did it take for the OCL to complete its investigation?
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:31 PM
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It was ordered at the Case Conference back at the start of December but the OCL did not assign the investigator until the end of January. IIRC they have 90 days to submit the report (in which case it would have to be submitted before the end of this month, but I know for a fact that they have not contacted all the people I gave them names for, and the investigator still has to meet with me at least one more time), I know of several cases where the OCL has requested more time for the investigation and gotten an extension.

I'm confident in the information that will be given to the OCL from the sources I provided, the only thing I don't know about is the sources that come from my ex (the shelter and a family services center are the two big ones that I know of).

I have a long list of email documentation showing things that ARE working and the parenting decisions we ARE making together as well as the Jekyl and Hyde routine that frequently happens (I have a string of emails where in 6 min she goes from polite to abrasive and combative), I also have emails from her right before she found out I was seeing someone that show she was still trying to reconcile. I have her stopping discussing parenting issues, or responding with blanket statements that don't solve anything, I have reams of emails from me to her that are always polite, focused on the child, non-accusatory, and even-tempered. I do go through several edits before I send an email and always make sure I answer her emails even when she is sending me inflammatory stuff.

I can prove via phone records that we have held several long discussions about things and that despite her saying that she doesn't want to be near me that we have done a couple dozen exchanges in person (neutral locations) without incident.

My last offer had pick ups and drop offs happening after school/daycare so we could avoid individual contact if needed. I've been reading up on Parallel Parenting and it seems to me that it's the best solution right now, and work on a more amicable relationship later.

My kids are happy when they are me and tell me they want to spend more time with me. If that is what they are telling the investigator I'm half way there.

SD
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:33 PM
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IF the OCL report comes back with a negative result I have a few ready made disputes to the process that was undertaken, and will have more grounds to argue when I go for my motion.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:40 PM
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Have your parenting plan in place and ready to rock. High conflict means parallel parenting is best, as long as both parents are capable of caring for the children. (and as CAS found no grounds, you should be clear on that front).

Look and see if there are any courses about "parenting post separation" that you could take...there is one here in NB called "For the Sake of the Children", not sure if there is an equivalent in your area or not, but it might bear investigating.

Keep pushing forward, it sounds like you have a decent handle on things, despite being forced to play an uphill battle. If the OCl report comes back badly, there are individuals on this forum (workingDad) who have successfully tossed an OCL report pro se. Depending on the findings and how it was done, you might be able to leverage similar if push comes to shove.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingingDad View Post
I know of several cases where the OCL has requested more time for the investigation and gotten an extension.
Mine was delayed 4 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SingingDad View Post
IF the OCL report comes back with a negative result I have a few ready made disputes to the process that was undertaken, and will have more grounds to argue when I go for my motion.
Assuming you can proffer an 'experts' opinion to counter a negative finding - you may be able to.

In my past experience, however, the Judge that heard her motion for full custody (after the negative findings against my desired 50/50 by the OCL) stated that 'the child will have the benefit of both parents on a week-about basis until such time as a final order is made'.

I don't know if all Judges will think that way - nor would I want to find out differently if it were me.
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