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Introductions If you're new to the forums, drop by and introduce yourself.

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:40 AM
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Default New here - Introduction

Hello all! I wish I had found this site as I was going through my separation...it got pretty nasty and involved costly lawyers, case conferences, independent child assessor, offers to settle and it finally ended just before the pre-trial. From "start" to "finish" it was about 14 months. Although not as long as many cases I've read and heard about, it felt like about 10 years of my life!

A little background here
- Married just under 10 years before separating.
- I am a full time working dad with sole custody of my now 10 year daughter
- I bought her out of her share of the matrimonial home.
- the access agreement high level is she is with her mother every other weekend and two evenings during the week while school is session. In the summer holidays those two evenings are bridged overnight.
- we each get up to 3 weeks summer vacation with my daughter
- during the separation, we continued to live "separate and apart", but under one roof. I took up residence in the basement of the house. (talk about STRESSFUL)
- The custody battle was hard fought, but I did what I knew what was right in my heart. I was told up front by my lawyer that sole will be an uphill battle (seeing as I worked full time and my ex was a stay at home mom), but as I informed him of what was happening he said we had a chance.
- It was the child assessor who swung the case as he highly recommended sole custody to me
- I receive a small amount of child support and I pay spousal support.
- About a year after the final court ordered separation agreement, I have filed for divorce and it will be final next month.

If anyone wants more details about my experience, please send me a PM. In general, I think I can help others as they manouvre through the family law legal jungle.

What I have learned is this...some lessons I never thought I'd ever have to learn...

1) No one "wins" in separation, especially when young children are involved. Yes, things can be "better", but there are no outright winners.

2) Don't sweat the small things. Fighting for an extra few thousand dollars when it'll cost you more than that in legal fees doesn't make sense, but it's easy to fall into that trap.

3) If you are going for custody and have to defend yourself, take detailed notes (I had a daily journal, complete with pictures and receipts)

4) Do not be baited into arguements. It's so hard not to just "react" to tense situations, but remaining calm is so very important.

5) In custody situations, what's best for the child is not only the guiding principle in law...but should be the guiding principle for the parents as well. Rise above petty arguements.

6) Pick your battles. There will be many...and you cannot win them all.

It's terrible that we all find ourselves here in this forum...no one plans to separate and divorce when you get married...but I'm glad I found this place. Like I said before, I wish I knew about it a few years ago!
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:05 AM
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hi Singledad:

Welcome to the forum.

Quote:
It was the child assessor who swung the case as he highly recommended sole custody to me
On what grounds did your assessor recommend custody?
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:12 AM
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4 main reasons

- mental instability
- unaware (or didn't care) of consequences of her actions on those around her.
- inability to keep adult issues away from our daughter
- my step daughter (her daughter from first marriage) corroborating key incidents that occured inside the house.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:22 AM
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Interesting singledad. I'm in the middle of a custody evaluation myself....so please forgive my curiousity.

How did you prove mental instability...and consequences of her actions? What kind of adult issues was she discussing with your daughter?

Funny enough, in my particular case...my adult daughter was never interviewed by our custody evaluator.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:42 AM
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I sent you a PM with more details.

Interesting your adult daughter was never interviewed. Everyone in the household was interviewed in my case.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:00 PM
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Thank you for sharing your experience and what you have learned, SingleDad12.
Agree with what you have shared.

Welcome to the forum.

Last edited by Nadia; 08-08-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:11 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

Yes no one plans for separation; it is a terrible thing.

Your story is very similar to my story which is the story of everyone in this forum regardless of their genders.

I hope things will work out for your daughter. After all, it is the children who suffer the most from a divorce.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:19 PM
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Hi SingleDad, new to this and saw your post. Very closer resembles my situation so thought I would provide some details and give some input..

My STBX and I separated in Jan and have been living in the same matrimonial home since (yes in the basement too!). We have two daughters who are 5 - 7. We have exchanged many lawyer letters and they have essentially ignored, lied and / or cheated throughout. She continues to not disclosure many assets that I am aware of, refuses to address custody and has stolen all the jewelry from the home and our safety deposit box. Which she now claims as gifts.

Essentially she has forced me to file last week. It's terrible living condition - her family is large and supporting her in many ways and brother is a lawyer writing all her materials behind the scenes. They have tried to guilt me to leave the home, made false accusations, tried to burden me with many additional responsibilities (cleaning schedules, laundry schedules, etc.). But I have overcome these and continue to remain in the home with my girls.

We have informally agreed to a 2 - 2 - 5 schedule with the kids but since we live in the same home she interfers at every opportunity on my nights. Everyone has told me not to leave without a court order or signed agreement - but life is so miserable there that after 8 months I don't know how much more I can endure. I hear many say that fathers have more rights now and joint custody tends to be the norm. I am an active father and her proposal of the EOW / primary caregiver argument to me is nothing more then child abuse. Why would you take a parent they see every day and deprive them of that relationship. Unfortunately she is so angry that she cannot see what is best for the children.

We have a case conference in December. I would like to sell the house, continue the current shared parenting / joint custody situation post residing in separate homes, a fair equal division of NMP, and most importantly to move on with our lives for the sake of the children.

So what i would like some input on is:
1. Is sole custody very likely? Especially since I have built up 8 months of status quo i.e. 2 - 2 - 5 arrangement.
2. If at case conference I show evidence of her financial non-disclosures will this look unfavourably on her?
3. If she does not consent to sell the house, I suspect I need to file a motion. Can she fight the motion and sale of the house?
4. She has already indicated that I would get all the crappy old basement furniture and she wants all the good new furniture. Is this worth fighting about?

Any general assistance and guidance would also be appreciated. In a very low place and have already wasted 8 months of my life just to be at the start of the court process. Thank you.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:37 PM
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Dee 1973....Check your private messages.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Everyone has told me not to leave without a court order or signed agreement
I have heard this as well, but as I read it I wonder if I messed up. I was in the house, stbx wasn't aloud in the house (conditions from assault charge). Her charges were being withdrawn, family lawyers negotiated an agreement. My lawyer said find a place to live by such and such a date. (in the agreement, stbx got possession of house because I couldn't afford support and house, but that is another story) I found a place, signed lease, rented truck and agreement was never signed.

Did I lose any right to the house?
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