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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 08-25-2013, 05:22 PM
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Question War vs Battle

Like many, I have struggles with the day to day anger and frustration, and weighing the long term analysis of what's best for my son.

Background: Separated for 3 years, de facto joint custody/access during these 3 years, working on finalizing by the end of the year.

We are at the stage where communication is only through lawyers, my ex-wife isn't allowing me to call my son while she has him for a vacation period (within jurisdiction), she has repeatedly interfered with my scheduled days, and she is telling my son that I won't allow this and that (she has requested some international travel, which I have declined until we have a final agreement in place).

I keep being told to focus on getting the agreement signed, sealed and delivered, which I'm doing, but I have to wonder, what's to prevent her from continuing this behaviour? Police enforcement of a custody agreement/order is notoriously difficult to obtain, I have no CLEAR parental alienation evidence (although she is forming a pattern), and I can't afford to challenge her in court for everything she may try in the future.

Is this really going to be a life of me getting my lawyer to send a letter each time, but the behaviour returning after a while? If an agreement isn't really enforceable except for the extreme cases (abuse, etc), what the hell is the point?

I'm feeling so deflated lately that the system is really not out to protect the kids, and enforce court orders. I have a meeting with OCL coming up, but to be honest, they have more extreme and pressing cases to deal with.

I'm managing the day to day stress by trying to think long term. My son will one day know who is the stable parent, and who is the manipulator. Is that really all I can hang on to?

No hugs needed, but I'm wondering if anyone is managing the same stresses and having some success?
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post

Is this really going to be a life of me getting my lawyer to send a letter each time, but the behaviour returning after a while? If an agreement isn't really enforceable except for the extreme cases (abuse, etc), what the hell is the point?

Unfortunately after 18 months of unproductive litigation, I feel the same way. I can no longer afford the costs of getting my lawyer to take care of the several issues involved with my case. I'm one of the lucky ones, as our son is an adult, so no custody problems to deal with.

I'm starting to to disengage with the entire process. So far my lawyer has managed to get me a decent SA agreement, though getting it enforced is quite another matter. The Canadian law machine is decrepit and breaking down just as fast as the medical system ... overloaded and badly run.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:57 PM
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How old is your son?

Nothing will prevent her from continuing her behavior if she chooses, but that doesn't mean that your relationship with your son will be destroyed by it. He will figure things out - manipulative parents don't deceive children forever. Your son may go along with his mother to keep the peace, but if she's jerking him around and you're not, he will see that. My daughter is 8, and she already has her father figured out (*without* prompting from me). He's not the biggest jerk in the world, but he has a habit of not following through with promises to her and of telling her things which aren't true.

You may find that you have to help your son manage his anger and disappointment with his mother when he does figure things out. As long as he has one consistent and loving parent to help him with this, he has a good chance of being okay.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:06 AM
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How old is your son?

You may find that you have to help your son manage his anger and disappointment with his mother when he does figure things out. As long as he has one consistent and loving parent to help him with this, he has a good chance of being okay.
He's 6.
Thank you. My heart is aching, but I continue to just be as stable, consistent and there for him as I can. That's all I can do for the moment. I am trying to not let her actions get under my skin... and not doing very well yet. It WILL get better!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:15 AM
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I totally agree with your frustrations. I got so tired of everything: asking repeatedly for things that really should be "simple" like disclosure; paying absurd amounts of money on a lawyer who would send letters that were ignored. Then grew even more frustrated listening to my lawyer tell me there was "no enforceability clause" every time I asked him what was the point of trying to negotiate an agreement with someone who was not even participating in the process never mind respecting it. Simply ridiculous.

Unfortunately I essentially got to the point where I too decided to disengage and walk away from the things I could not change. I could not justify the expense so i took my case off the trial list and settled.

I too have always tried to maintain the high road and the hope that one day my children would grow and develop to form their own independent opinions regarding their parents. I can see my eldest is struggling with this now.

I am pleased to have a finalized divorce but in all honesty it has not really changed anything. Despite having what I consider a rather vague agreement, most of it has not been honoured by my ex (RRSP transfer, NOA exchange, change in life insurance beneficiary designation, etc). The only way things have gotten "better" between the ex and I is when I have chosen to walk away. Wrong, yes, as that does not resolve anything, but that seems to be my reality. I wish you a better outcome.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:18 AM
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My daughter was 6 when we separated. I agree about the heartache Tonight, D8 had (another) Sunday night meltdown - she doesn't want to go to her father's house tomorrow (Monday is our weekly changeover day) because of rivalry issues with her stepmom and stepsister, and she was angry at me for not letting her stay at my place for more nights. In her view, I'm being mean and insensitive to her unhappiness. All I can do is try to be firm and model the behavior I would like to see from the ex - I love her and care about how she feels, but her father loves her too and they need time with each other. I don't always succeed in keeping my feelings about the ex separate from my interactions with her, but I'm working on it.

It sounds like you're doing the right things. Of course your ex's actions will get under your skin at times; how could they not? She knows what buttons to push. The important thing is not how you feel as much as how you act around your child. That's what will make things better in the end.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:45 AM
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I don't always succeed in keeping my feelings about the ex separate from my interactions with her, but I'm working on it.
Excellent advice - this is something I still struggle with. Whatever opinion I may have about the ex, he's still my son's father and nothing will ever change that fact. At times it can be very challenging but it DOES get better.

With time, your son will realize where the negativity comes from and will appreciate that you're not creating more conflict. What's to stop him from getting his own cell phone and calling you when he chooses to? Your ex's attempts to push you out of his life may have the opposite effect down the road. For now he's still very young and doesn't have a say-so in any of this. That will change. Stay on the path your on, be consistent and available to him and things will gradually improve.

The tough part is finding the patience to deal with it.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
Like many, I have struggles with the day to day anger and frustration, and weighing the long term analysis of what's best for my son.
I would recommend you seek out a psychologist to assist you through this matter. They can provide you with tools to help you deal with the "day to day anger and frustration". I would recommend one that practices in CBT generally as it is in my humble opinion the best methodology that has the best evidence based medicine supporting it.

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Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
We are at the stage where communication is only through lawyers, my ex-wife isn't allowing me to call my son while she has him for a vacation period (within jurisdiction)
Duration is the key. The general guidelines that most Section 30 evaluators use is that access calls should only happen if the child away from a parent for more than 5 days. Otherwise no access call is necessary. And it is ONE access call in a 5 day period. Not a call every night BTW.

I am not a huge fan of access calls. Most of the time they create more unnecessary conflict than benefit for the child. The key should be reducing conflict and not creating it. As well, you mentioned the child is 6 years old. Section 30 evaluators generally option for the calls to be the duration of the child's age. So that is a six minute telephone call.

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Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
she has repeatedly interfered with my scheduled days, and she is telling my son that I won't allow this and that (she has requested some international travel, which I have declined until we have a final agreement in place).
You should be on a 2-2-5-5 based access schedule:

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f...plained-13702/

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Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
I keep being told to focus on getting the agreement signed, sealed and delivered, which I'm doing, but I have to wonder, what's to prevent her from continuing this behaviour?
The behaviour you have described is quite common and there isn't much you can do. I would recommend a very detailed access schedule (above) and specific about how custody (health, education) are going to be handled and by whom.

I am a strong supporter of "parallel parenting". There needs to be an "iron wall" (agreement) that provides for both parent to have autonomy from the other parent while the child/ren is residing with them. Less communication and interaction -- NOT MORE.

I am not a fan of "shared parenting". It is hard to achieve the perfection that it often strives for. Parallel parenting is much better in most situations. Parents often need an agreement to govern them and their conduct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
Police enforcement of a custody agreement/order is notoriously difficult to obtain, I have no CLEAR parental alienation evidence (although she is forming a pattern), and I can't afford to challenge her in court for everything she may try in the future.
Stay away from "police enforcement" clauses. See this:

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f...-clause-17252/

Also, there is no "parental alienation" probably on your file. Parental alienation is not something that is common. What you are experiencing is "bad parenting" and not "parental alienation" I suspect.

The key factor to establishing evidence to PA(S) is if the child "hates" a parent. This is the complete and utter absence of "love" without justification. It is VERY rare.

I would caution you to filter what you read on the internet. If you are a professional in a specific field apply the same filter you would on nonsense posted about your own profession on the internet to what you read about PA(S). There is a lot of bad advice on the interweb of nonsense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
Is this really going to be a life of me getting my lawyer to send a letter each time, but the behaviour returning after a while? If an agreement isn't really enforceable except for the extreme cases (abuse, etc), what the hell is the point?
So you have something you can enforce. Access schedules are VERY enforceable. Custody agreements are very enforceable. If they cut the nonsense and BS and are written correctly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
I'm feeling so deflated lately that the system is really not out to protect the kids, and enforce court orders. I have a meeting with OCL coming up, but to be honest, they have more extreme and pressing cases to deal with.
Too many cases go to the OCL these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YYZDaddy View Post
I'm managing the day to day stress by trying to think long term. My son will one day know who is the stable parent, and who is the manipulator. Is that really all I can hang on to?
"Relax"
"It's just a phase"
"You'll grow out of it"


\m/
Tayken
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:15 PM
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Tayken, what was your experience with 2-2-5-5?
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:26 AM
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pmed instead

Last edited by OntarioMomma; 07-31-2014 at 08:29 AM.
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