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Old 01-27-2011, 06:40 PM
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Default Newbie to the Forum. Basically, I’m scr#@d.

This is going to be a long post – so please bare with me… it gets pretty juicy.
My SoonToBeExWife (stbx) and I are both 43 y.o. She was diagnosed with a severe mental illness called BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder about a year into our marriage (nuptials in 2004). Although she has suffered with this illness since early adulthood, the diagnosis came after we were married. Her illness has had some effect on her employability. She is, however, considered ‘high functioning’ and has university degree. She has pretty impressive work experience/resume and is capable of earning a good income. Her illness has only periodically limited her ability to work. She is currently in continuous treatment that involves pharma and a specialized type of (privately funded) talk therapy. Wiki-search her illness you will see how destructive her behavior is on a relationship. I won’t go into detail about that; just know that I am leaving what I will call an ‘abusive’ relationship. I don’t have any evidence that our S3 has suffered any abuse to-date.

Point form story as follows (again, sorry for the long post… any help will be appreciated)
  • Married 2004. Both earning incomes (Me: $65K; Gov’t benefits/pension, etc. Her: $50K in private sector HR occupation) Renting a small apartment Expenses are split/shared based on income
  • 2005 stbx suffers episode of depression – claims Short-term Disability insurance. Returns to work in 3 months
  • Spring 2006 stbx is laid off from her job due to corporate merger/downsizing. Takes four months ‘off’ in summer 2006. No job search. Suffers depressive episode again. Diagnosis of BPD made.
  • Stbx gets pregnant in August 2006
  • Fall 2006 - stbx needs to build up hours of employment to qualify for EI – so takes a job in retail (chooses underemployment rather than look for ‘career’ job). Quits retail job to go on medical EI early due to pregnancy condition/discomfort)
  • January 2007. Purchase first home (at the market peak!) in the suburbs, both parties signatory on mortgage. Agrees to return to career full time when Mat EI is exhausted. 10% DP is a ‘loan’/contract with family member; essentially amounts to a stake in the (rapidly increasing value) property.
  • Son born May 2007
  • Maternity EI claim filed – not eligible due to lack of insurable hours. Appeal made and is now qualify for only $200 per month (!!)
  • Aug 2007 Co-apply for unsecured Line of Credit to ‘get us through’ mat leave. $18,000 racked up by stbx in less than 8 months. Compulsivity and over spending are a trait of her illness, btw…
  • Struggle financially until stbx returns to work full-time in October 2008 in career occupation ($60K).
  • Spring 2009 – stbx is fired with cause from her $60K career job (unapproved absences). EI claim established. I request she looks for another job. She refuses, and chooses to exhaust her claim while caring for our son at home. I remind her frequently that her claim will run out and she needs to return to work. She refuses and resents the 'pressure' I am putting on her.
  • January 2010 I move out of our bedroom to unfinished basement/ spare bed. Financially not able to move out.
  • I do/have always done my own laundry, meal preparation, and we both share duties with domestic chores. (She does keep the house tidy while home with S3).
  • My Extended medical benefits covers her $180/hr therapy sessions @ 80% and $1000 coverage limits.4 hours of therapy per month since 2009.
  • Stbx authorizes $2000 overdraft on shared checking account and Limit reached in a few short weeks. Debt also incurred with Therapist.
  • Spring 2010 and her EI benefits are exhausted. Stbx refuses to look for work; rather wants to be stay-at-home mom. (Feels it is her ‘right’).
  • Summer 2010 Stbx has a locked-in pension from former employer - is unlocked due to hardship ($11,000). Overdraft debt is paid down ($2K); past-due bills paid up ($1K), debt with Therapist ($1K); Supplemental Visa Card (in her name/my credit $1K); rest of pension is spent by stbx on her personal items (clothing, etc.). No significant payment to LOC made.
  • Fall 2010 stbx chooses evening low-pay ‘part-time’ work as a receptionist at health facility <15 hours per week.
  • I have care of our son during evenings/ Sat. am. I work 8 hrs a day and commute 1-1.5 hrs each way Mon-Fri.
  • We continue to (dysfunctionally) live separate under the same roof.
  • Present: waiting for free mediation services through courthouse. Unsure what to do with property/debts division. Mortgage is upside-down – bought for $250,000 with 10% DP (owed to a family member) Current value estimated at $230,000.
  • We have not discussed SS. She learned about ‘under-employing’ ones-self and now she admits to doing that.
So that leaves me with these questions:
  • Should I ask for 50/50 shared? Or leave as-is with her as primary? (I do believe she is a good mother to our S3 up till now)
  • What might be a starting off point for a SS agreement? Any suggestions about the property division? Debts?
  • Anything else?
And remember we have no money for lawyers…L
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:26 PM
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My number one question to ask yourself is this:

If she cannot/will not look after herself, how can you possibly think she can do it for kids???????
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:17 PM
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She has been acting as the primary caregiver practically since birth... so that is against your favor a little.
You mentioned doing your own laundry and such, but do you take part in caring for the child?
If you don't get at least 40% physical custody, you will be responsible to pay full guideline child support.

You have no equity in your matrimonial home, and a bunch of debt.

Your assets should be sold, and the money applied to the debt. Any debt left over will be split 50/50 between both of you.

If she claims that she is disabled due to her well proven and documented mental illness, than you could be responsible for SS... otherwise, your incomes are somewhat similar, so if there is an order for SS, it would be insignificant.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by representingself View Post
You mentioned doing your own laundry and such, but do you take part in caring for the child?.
Yes, I have played a large role in the care of our son since he was born, and I don't want to lose the bond the we have together as a result. We spend a lot of time together when I am home from work. (My favorite is the bedtime routine: snack, bath, jammies, teeth brushing, reading stories... priceless!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by representingself View Post
If she claims that she is disabled due to her well proven and documented mental illness, than you could be responsible for SS... otherwise, your incomes are somewhat similar, so if there is an order for SS, it would be insignificant.
She could claim disability; although she has not indicated anything to this point... But if she were to claim that she is unable to earn (significant) income due to disability would that mean I would be ordered to hand over a good chunk of my paycheck? For life? What about her (expensive) therapy sessions - she would not enjoy my employer health benefits any longer, so would I be on the hook for those too? Sorry, I'm just not too sure how the whole SS thing works.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterprovincialParents View Post
My number one question to ask yourself is this:

If she cannot/will not look after herself, how can you possibly think she can do it for kids???????
Very good point... I consider this a valid question to her if she were to claim she couldn't work due to disability. In that case I would raise the question and suggest I have primary custody as a result. I guarantee she'll back down from the 'I'm too sick to work' stance...

Thanks IPP
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NonBPD_Dad View Post
She could claim disability; although she has not indicated anything to this point... But if she were to claim that she is unable to earn (significant) income due to disability would that mean I would be ordered to hand over a good chunk of my paycheck? For life? What about her (expensive) therapy sessions - she would not enjoy my employer health benefits any longer, so would I be on the hook for those too? Sorry, I'm just not too sure how the whole SS thing works.
It is quite possible that you would be looking at significant SS... As always it depends on the Judge presiding over your case. But I highly doubt you would be paying for her "for life".

Its not like she is "faking" it, (as some do).... She is clearly suffering from a mental disorder, and she is seeking therapy and taking her perscribed medications.

If she wasn't, then you could claim her to be unstable and such... but that is not the case here.

If you push the issue in the wrong direction, the Judge could sympathize with her... Many people sucessfully raise children while battling a variety if physical and mental disorders/diseases.

If she is following doctors orders... then she could be looked upon as being responsible and doing the "best she can".

A diagnosis of BPD does not inherently make her an unfit parent.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NonBPD_Dad View Post
Very good point... I consider this a valid question to her if she were to claim she couldn't work due to disability. In that case I would raise the question and suggest I have primary custody as a result. I guarantee she'll back down from the 'I'm too sick to work' stance...

Thanks IPP
Be careful...

Maintaining employment and parenting are two very different things, and just because she is unable to do one, does not mean that she is unable to do the other.

Unless you can prove that she poses a significant danger to the well being of the child... then you haven't got much to go on.

Like I said before, just because she has been diagnosed with BPD... does noT mean that she is an unfit parent... or that you should by default be given primary custody.

She is and has been acting as the primary caregiver since birth... and you said yourself, she is not doing a bad job!
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:02 PM
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This is one where I have had experience. Do not focus on the work side, focus on the emotional and health side...it does not matter that she can or cannot work due to disability (which can be claimed successfully with BPD), it matters that there are times of inconsistency in medicating and treatment, and that the courts WILL consider when it comes to custody and such. I did not mean to imply that she was an unfit parent, but I am also aware of the struggles that are faced by the family of someone with BPD who does not regulate and medicate properly. The effect of that decision, to take or not take the meds, needs to be considered as a parental factor when it comes to the kids.

My ex-father-in-law is BPD, and it was a huge challenge for his children to live through the ups and downs of him not taking the correct medication to control "normal" levels of hormones. Parents who make the decision not to take the medication are not acting in their child's best interest, and it is that, not the BPD, that makes an unfit parent!
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