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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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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2017, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Pepi View Post
I received a note from mediator that he wants to mediate without discussing with me.
Mediation is voluntary, and refusing to mediate will not be held against you.

I asked for time to even comprehend what is going on, but he keeps on forcing that an agreement needs to be signed right away so that he can leave the home.
If he leaves the home without an agreement, he will lose the kids and the house. He has clearly been given legal advice to that effect.

Are you in a rush? Doesn't sound like it... so take your time.

Instead I received a letter from his lawyer that as the issues are straightforward it would be more cost effective to proceed with separation agreement (small kids and property are involved).
With small kids, nothing is straightforward. Also, as Arabian said, don't take advice from your ex's lawyer.

There is a massive financial form attached to the letter that I don't understand and I have a week to respond otherwise they will proceed in court for full indemnity (whatever that means).
It is the first of many threats. Do not listen to threats from your ex's lawyer. You have time. Likely months.

Can I write back and ask form more time?
Offhand, I would not respond to the other lawyer yet. Spend some time on this site, get an understanding of how family law works. As I said, there is no rush.

Has your husband given you his financial disclosure? There is no need to be first. Get his disclosure, and that should help you fill out your form.

Is it me or is it normal that all of this is moving so fast? 2 months ago I believed I was happily married.
He is trying to move it fast. He has been planning this for months.

There is no rush.

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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 10:23 AM
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The advice you've received so far is largely good, I just want to add one addendum:

- Gather as many financial records as you can. Make copies of statements. Financial records have a way of 'disappearing' and depending on the issues in your case a single statement with a transfer record can be worth its weight in gold. It costs you nothing to have a full picture of your financial situation, do not trust you ex to provide you with all the information you will need.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 01:16 PM
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I can't add much to the good advice you've already received, except to underline the importance of not feeling rushed or panicked. He wants you to sign an agreement right away for his benefit, not yours. Do not sign anything that has not been explained to you by a lawyer whom you are paying. If he pushes, just keep telling him that you are in the process of retaining counsel and will let him know when you are ready to discuss it.

Your husband has not started litigation unless you have received a document from him that says "you are being served". Collaborative proceedings are one alternative to litigation but they can get deadlocked. Binding arbitration is another alternative (better in my view). In all likelihood, you will not end up in court - most people negotiate a settlement on their own, with the assistance of lawyers.

This could get pretty expensive - so now is the time to approach your bank about a line of credit in your name, check with family members to see if you could borrow money if you have to, etc.

This is an incredibly stressful time, and your husband and his lawyer have an interest in making it more stressful in the hope that you'll just agree with whatever they propose. Always remember that you have the right to take time to think about things.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 09:58 PM
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Thank you all again. I did as you said, gathered all financial docs that I could find, now sifting through them.
But also spoke to a lawyer, he also said that these are scare tactics. Of course nothing is resolved, but able to breathe.

One of many questions that I am struggling with - does he really want to share the kids because he really loves them or because of the financial implications otherwise? He is hardly around and even when around not really engaged with them.
From what I have heard unless he is certifiably abusive, it is basically impossible to get full custody/access. But is it really in the best interest of the kids to be shipped back and forth and spend time with a dad that is not engaged?

Or will he change and become a better dad when he has gotten rid of me? (I guess this is rhetorical)

Do you know whether people have been successful in securing full custody or full access if there is nothing certifiably wrong???
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:18 PM
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Looking at your very first post you gave me the impression that your husband's decision to end the marriage came to a surprise to you (correct me if I'm wrong please). With this in mind I have to say that if, up until your husband told you it was over, did you not consider him to be a good father for his children? Think about this very, very carefully.

Of course everything comes down to money. This doesn't mean your husband doesn't love his children. This means that his lawyer has pointed out (correctly) to him the "reality" of his situation financially in the future. It doesn't take a leap to imagine your husband is now in a new relationship and possibly looking at supporting a new family. This all costs money. He is trying to figure out how he is going to afford his new lifestyle.

You have to put the children's best interests first. If you don't the court will do it for you. It's that simple. The courts do not care the reason(s) for the breakdown of your marriage as we live in a no-fault divorce country.

Your husband may not have been involved much (from your perspective) with the children. He may think that he was very much involved with the children. If you can't come to a compromise at some point, you and your husband will spend much money with lawyers trying to prove who is the better parent.

I reiterate that, taken from the information of your first post, that you and your husband got along just fine prior to his telling you decision to end the relationship. I agree with previous poster that he was likely planning this for many months.

I am pleased that you have met with a lawyer. Now, do yourself a favor and retain the lawyer and work out a settlement agreement that is fair and where hopefully both parents raise the children... just live in separate residences.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2017, 01:41 PM
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If there is nothing really wrong with your ex and if he wants joint custody, it will be very difficult for you to obtain sole custody. In general, for a parent to lose custody against her or his will, something very bad has to be happening (child abuse, excessive drug use, complete incompetence, etc). Just being an unenthusiastic parent is not enough. You will probably have to adjust to a reality in which you have your children half the time and your ex has them half the time, as difficult as that may seem.

Many parents step up when they are responsible for kids half the time and change their parenting style and interactions. Also, once the divorce is done, parents who were disengaged or checked-out of family life sometimes get re-energized. It will be a big transition for everyone (you, ex and kids). Unless you are certain that your ex cannot parent the kids, I would not waste time and effort trying to get sole custody. Instead, focus on developing the best parenting plan possible so that the kids get the benefit of strong relationships with both parents. There are plenty of resources for parenting plans on this site.

You're right, it isn't fun for kids to travel back and forth between houses, but for many of them it also becomes the "new normal", and after a while it doesn't seem that strange. You and your ex will have to co-operate to make this work, however, and co-operating with him is probably the last thing you want to do right now.

Money is undoubtedly a factor in your ex's plans for parenting, but it's also possible that he can be a decent father, even if he's motivated primarily by the money.
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