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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2012, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris2008 View Post
So you guys think I should go against the advice of my lawyer? My fear is that if I go back and she tries calling the police again, she will "hurt" herself and when we go to court for a parenting order, I now have an "assault charge" and anythign I've done as a good dad would be put into question now.
Being that I work at a law firm, I resist the urge to say "go against the advice" of your lawyer. IMO, call your lawyer and discuss moving back in. State that you wear a voice recorder and will ensure that you won't engage your ex in any way. See what they say. He will for sure say there is risk that she will hurt herself and try to pin it on you. But that is where your voice recorder comes in, where you can say it was on all night and at no point did you even so much as engage the ex in an argument let alone assault her.

Also, have people over AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Invite your parents/siblings over dinner regularly. Have a buddy or 2 over. Involve them with the child a bit, excuse yourself to get the child ready for bed etc., and then hang with them and watch the hockey game or whatever. Just be sure that they know your focus will be your child, and that should your ex confront them at any point, for them to come to you so you can calmly advise her to stop harrassing your guests.

It is about maximizing your involvement with your child. Being away from the house limits that involvement. Your ex is establishing "status quo" with each day that goes by. Meaning, she is the primary parent and you are just someone who pops by once and a while. Plus, you are at her mercy for when she "allows" you time with your kid.

Moving back in does have the risk she may call the cops again. You just do your best to protect yourself. If you let her know that you are recording 100% of the time in the house, she will probably argue that it is against the law, against her expectation of privacy etc and unethical.....you simply reply in a calm business like manner that due to her previous actions you need to take all reasonable precautions to protect your interests.

Chances are if you move back in, she moves out within 3-4 weeks. Just be sure that should do that, the child stays put. She will probably threaten it over and over. Just calmly state that she is free to move and that you will facilitate her moving in way she should require. However, you do not agree or consent to removing the child from the matrimonial home. Don't tip your hand too much and definitely don't make it sound like a threat. Just be calm and say she can leave all she wants, the child has to stay put though.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:18 PM
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I have to say, you guys are awesome. I can't believe how helpful everyone is on here. I think you are right, I am currently living with my brother in law, my sister left for vacation with the kids so it's actually just me and him. So basically, what I should be doing then is having him come live with me for the next week or so. So she won't try anything fishy as the saying goes as well have my voice recorder on at all times.

Then in the interim, have my lawyer file for an exclusive possession to have her removed. I'm in Alberta and we are common law.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:28 PM
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Having someone else there is good safety ... but it can also create a lot of instability and hostility. This is bad for everyone, including your son. She is going to feel outnumbered and crowded. So, tread carefully here. Another tactic is just to minimize the amount of time you spend in yoor house ... take your son out for walks, to the Y, to friends' places, to the grocery store, on errands, to the library. This also makes you more visible as parent in the community ... some of these people may be willing to write affidavits on what a wonderful father you are.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:41 PM
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The reason people are telling to go get back into the house is all about status quo.

Right now, you have automatic shared parenting with your son. You have been there, living with him, and done approximately half the parenting. Good job!

Now, you are out of the house, and only doing what parenting she 'permits' due to the threat of her making false allegations of domestic abuse. No, it's not right that she's doing it, but it's awfully hard to stop. Until you and she come up with a separation agreement that gets her out of your house and sets up shared parenting, you're going to be a minor player in your son's life.

Say you keep trying to do the right thing, do mediation, get lawyers, whatever, and after a year of more of this, you get fed up and end up in court despite your best efforts. Then the court process takes another year. By this time, your son is three and barely knows you as he's only seen you on whatever occasion your ex 'permittted,' and your ex has been living rent free in your house the whole time. The judge won't look at you and see that you were a good father for the first year, and that she took that access away and so she's evil. A judge will look after the best interests of the child, and that is to have stability, so while the judge will finally get your ex out of your house, he isn't going to order that a child spend half his time living with a near-stranger. He's going to go with the status quo that has been established, no matter how it developed.

So as has been said, here are the steps you need to take. And during all this, you can't assume she'll be reasonable. She's already proved she's not. But YOU have to keep being reasonable.

Give her reasonable notice that you will be moving back into the house and she should make plans to move out. Unlike in a marriage, she does not have any entitlement to the home's value, or to continue to live in it. Be clear that when she moves out, you will be keeping your son half the time.

Close down any joint accounts - get rid of any access she has to your money or credit.

Make the house less hospitable to her - get rid of cable, internet, phone, no more groceries she likes, etc. You can't turn off the essentials like the heat, but other than that, be thorough.

Communicate only in writing. Email is best. Be polite and respectful, but firm. Don't engage on any irrelevant issues, or get involved in arguments. This gives you a record that you may need in court.

Make your selfish version of a separation agreement. There are lots of templates around you can use; on this forum, elsewhere on the internet, an appendix in the book Surviving your Divorce, CD-ROM kits from Staples, etc. Do a lot of research to find out what is reasonable for your situation; don't offer her too much at the start! This is where you put in your desire for 50-50 shared parenting and suggest a schedule. Put in minimal spousal support, if you feel it's warranted, to begin when she moves out, with a firm end date proportional to the length of your relationship. Put in table child support, to begin when she moves out (or right away, in part, if it's a lot more than half the house expenses). Present it to her as a starting point for negotiation.

If she offers you time with your son, TAKE IT. Never turn it down, even if it inconveniences you. He's your priority! Bring a neutral third party with you for the exchange and have your recorder running so she behaves herself and can't accuse you of anything later. Once she's gone, you can do whatever you like with your son. You don't have to stay in the house or anything. Also, make suggestions and requests for more time, such as you resuming looking after him while she is working. Be insistent.

As for the breastfeeding, she can pump milk for you to give him, or you can give him formula, or even whole milk soon at his age. What she does with her breasts while you have him is up to her. What you feed your son when she's not around is not up to her, except if she does pump milk for you, you should probably use it as it's best for the child. Breastfeeding is not the valid argument it would have been when he was a newborn.

But not living in the same home as your son sets her up for having full custody when it comes time for court. That's the main reason to move back ASAP. Your lawyer probably subscribes to the old theory that men don't need to be full-time dads and doesn't care about you ending up with 50-50. He cares more about keeping you out of jail from false domestic abuse allegations, which your digital recorder and everyone's suggestions can do.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:16 PM
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Once again, thank you for all the advice you guys have given me. I now have a clearer head on what to do on my side. I did have the idea of how damaging "status quo" can naively I thought k I'll just move out for a week to let things cool down and we can have her evicted out within a week.

Well reality is that no she's not really going to go, she's been wanting to "leave" for the past 4 months and I've told her it's over however, she's all over the place and action speaks louder than words. At any rate, I'll take everyone's advice and protect myself with a PVR and at the same time be there for my son.

Yeah, I have told her our relationship is over and she needs to move out. To which she says she needs to move out but then doesn't really actually try to but complains on how I don't love her anymore blah blah. Throughout the course of one day she will switch position twice or more based upon how she feels. In the morning she would say, cause I don't like your family they will never see him ever. Then later throughout the day say when is your mom coming over to babysit my son cause I have to work. WTF. I have all these saved as text. Would I judge even look at that as flaky behaviour? I'm not going to use it or anything unless I have to defend myself from any accusations she makes. I just want to make my case that I am his father and have equal time to him and not on her terms. He is not property to hustle around.

So basically, a modification to my lawyer's advice is move back in but still go forward with getting her evicted correct?
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:45 PM
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Her texts and stuff about "when is your mom coming over to babysit" will be irrelevent for anything other then establishing her schedule. All it will show is that she works at X time, and you are available to care for the child.

People are flaky. The fact that she is, given the status of your relationship etc, isn't a news flash to anyone. Judges don't care about flaky. They care about the best interests of the child. And because she isn't a danger to the child and otherwise a good parent, going down that road will probably just cost you more money in than you need to spend.

But using it as "she is at work, I am home and can care the child" is a substantially more effective argument. Just know that Rights of First Refusal generally do not cover employment.

Or, should she ever state that she fears your family or makes false accusations against your mom, you can use the texts to discredit her.

If she is flaky, let her show the judge she is flaky. You need to put forward solid parenting plans and show how you are an involved parent and how you plan on facilitating your ex's relationship with the child and you will be miles ahead of her when it comes to how a judge perceives you. Make reasonable offers for parenting, but be firm on 50/50 as it is in the child's best interests to have solid relationships with both parents. You can offer Friday-Friday schedule, or 2-2-3 or 3-3-2 or whatever 50/50 parenting schedule you want...but show you are willing to negotiate... just not on the amount of parenting time...
  #27 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2012, 01:46 PM
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So basically, a modification to my lawyer's advice is move back in but still go forward with getting her evicted correct?
Gently evicting her yes. This is the mother of your child and you want what is best for your kid. Give her plenty of time to get a new place, but make sure she knows that the there is a deadline and after that, she is out....
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:24 PM
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Another thing: this is about sole vs joint custody i.e. who gets to make decisions regarding major health, education, religion, residence.

Judges are hesitant to order joint custody when there is a high level of conflict between spouses. So, your job will be to ensure that she has no ammunition in this regard. It is SOO EASY for one person to manufactur conflict, then claim it as a reason that they should get sole custody.

Do not get into any conflict/argument regarding care of the child unless you believe that
- you MUST act to prevent gross harm
or
- you believe you can manage the situation to your advantage i.e. it is something you can somehow turn into an example of how well you CAN cooperate

Keep your eyes open for examples where your ex is acting out of pure hate/anger/entitlement, and is not acting in best interest of child on some *significant* issue. But get independent advice before using this in court, since YOU are not the best judge of this at the moment.

Lay low, be easy. Kids are resilient in many things, acknowledge that her way and your way might be very different, but both are OK - but stand firm on the matter of your time with your son.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:35 PM
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So what would be your examples that I would keep track off. She tends to threaten MD aces eveeytime we argue or she sees fit. Also. As mentioned I have been there for him since day 1. Outside of my lawyer saying I have a good chance of shared parenting at 11trying months..you guys agree? I love this forum!!!

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Originally Posted by dinkyface View Post
Keep your eyes open for examples where your ex is acting out of pure hate/anger/entitlement, and is not acting in best interest of child on some *significant* issue. But get independent advice before using this in court, since YOU are not the best judge of this at the moment.

Lay low, be easy. Kids are resilient in many things, acknowledge that her way and your way might be very different, but both are OK - but stand firm on the matter of your time with your son.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:35 PM
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Have a scan through this forum for a sample of what arguments people get into.

At this stage, the biggies are the equalization of assets/debts, CS, and access schedule and daycare. But those should NOT be discussed face to face in the home. Do NOT get into any arguments on these ... use instead formal negotiating communications (emails/letters, with or without lawyers)

At 11mo, I can't see much to get riled about, unless some significant health problem arises.

Most commonly at this age, this is what I read about:
- leaving the child in someone else's care when you are available
- childcare while working (where? cost? what days?)
- childcare vs stay-home i.e. socialization vs parent-bonding time (FYI 'socialization' is a joke before age 2-3!)
- presence of new (unknown!) partners
- multiple / short-term partners
- smoking/drinking/drug use around the child
- vehicle safety (tires, carseats)
- strange dietary requirements
- failure to follow through on agreed access schedule, or last minute changes, expecting other parent to be last minute babysitter, or expecting parent to cover when access is inconvenient to you
- failure to handover for scheduled access when child is 'too sick', or weather is 'too bad'
- safe foods (choking hazards)
- failure to communicate clearly any health issues, doctor's reports (even minor illnesses, like 1 day of diarrhea or fever),
- failure to coordinate to ensure some consistency regarding schedule e.g. naps, feeding.
- who takes the child to doctor for regular checkups (a parent might insist on doing it, OR claim that it is too much hassle and keep delaying it)
- choice of doctor/pediatrician
- sleeping arrangements, co-sleeping

UNLESS YOU SEE A SERIOUS, PROVABLE RISK to your child ... relax. Or, at most, write a polite respectful email describing the problem you are seeing, how it affects your child, and your suggested solution - then leave it alone.

The idea is to paint a picture of you as a calm, respectful, informed, loving father to contrast with her behaviour (whatever crazies she might come up with).

This is going to be a challenge, because the court process is SOOO GLACIALLY SLOOOOW that you have a good chance of becoming consumed with frustration (which can easily lead to anger).

Last edited by dinkyface; 01-23-2012 at 08:39 PM.
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