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Old 04-03-2012, 11:41 PM
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Question Separation issues

Hi, I found this forum while searching for some info to help me navigate a complex and difficult situation. I have been in a long term relationship for 18 years, we bought a house together, had 3 children together (now ages 10, 12, and 16 years), although we never married. This relationship has not gone well for quite a while, for years I held firm to the belief that given enough time and patience, and being blessed with a beautiful family, he would mature and finally be OK with trying to be the supportive dad and partner I wished he would be, (instead of a ToysRus kid, as he liked to call himself) but instead our relationship deteriorated and he showed a pattern of increasingly controlling, threatening and at times abusive and destructive behavior (mostly towards me). Attempts at counseling have only resulted in carefully orchestrated performances, hopelessly convoluted blame games, or occasionally rages at the counselor if there was any hint that perhaps he might have some responsibility for the tension in our relationship.
The abuse and destructive and controlling behavior has escalated over time, and recently while yelling and intimidating me, then entering my daughters' room in order to "make sure they knew what was going on" he threw me across the room while my daughters watched. When the yelling and threatening gestures continued despite their obvious distress, I called 911. By this time all 3 kids were hiding inthe basement. While I waited by the door for the police to arrive, unbeknownst to me (till later) he went downstairs and spoke to the girls.
I was shocked to learn from the police that in their interviews with the girls they both claimed to have not seen anything ( one said her eyes were closed). Due to the conflicting reports, no charges were laid.
Again without my knowledge, the CAS visited the school and also interviewed the girls separately. The worker later told me that in these interviews the girls told the worker that they did see me pushed across the room and into their bunk bed ladder.
Well, that was when I decided we had all been walking on eggshells long enough...interestingly it was only a few weeks prior to this incident that he told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted out of the relationship, but had not and to my knowledge still has not taken any action on this, with the exception of letting me know that he would be taking the kids "50/50" and would therefore not be responsible for any child support payments. (!) He indicated that if I intended to "make this difficult" it would be very costly for me, and did I want to throw away all that money. What money... I should note that although I now earn a decent income, for several years while the children were young I worked part-time, but I was always expected to be responsible for all our utilities, car and house insurance, food, clothing, child care expenses, extracurriculars, vacations, pet care, tutoring and educational evaluations for the children, who as it turns out all have diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety disorders, while he (also earning a decent income) covered the mortgage, car payments and home maintenance and repairs. This division (as I tried many times to get him to see) meant that I was barely making it from paycheck to paycheck, sometimes with the help of credit cards, while he always had a comfortable "cushion" and plenty of spending money. I should also note that he owns 3 vehicles, I drive the oldest one (12 years old and not in great shape), another worry as I require a vehicle for my job.
End result: despite my income, my financial situation is not great, while he is pretty much all set financially. Without access to costly legal services, what are the chances of my concerns regarding custody being heard and being able to ensure my kids' safety and well being?
He has not been involved in their day to day care, arranged or taken them to medical appointments, counseling, tutoring, extracurriculars, school interviews or events, planned or participated in day trips or vacations, paid for clothes or gifts, or assisted with expenses associated with the kids' pets (which greatly help them with their anxiety). Since they were young he has had inappropriate expectations for their independence and at times when I was out did not supervise them, also is not accepting of the fact that due to their diagnoses they continue to require supervision and help with their fears and anxieties.
In general, he continues to show little awareness, acceptance or concern for their medical and educational special needs. Additionally, as the previous incident indicates, he is quite willing to involve the children in our disputes, and use their distress as leverage against me. And even without this consideration, just the idea of being forced into ongoing contact with him, given his manipulative and abusive pattern towards me... Not a good scenario for me or the kids.
He has said he is not willing to make the necessary repairs to make the home sale able until I agree to his custody plan. (There is a giant hole in the concrete floor in the basement that he made for some purpose, I kid you not). This is a problem because I don't have the means to move out until this happens, not having any savings, especially since the utility bills are in my name.
Then there is the issue of dividing up the property assets (home), I'm not sure where I stand here either, the home was purchased jointly by us, although the down payment came from an RRSP I was able to cash in at the time...
Anyway, any Insights or suggestions are very much welcomed...
Thanks
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:58 AM
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I don't have much in the way of advice, but I do have to say, he is smart to not sell the home until there is a custody plan in place... if you search this forum you will find many people who either sold or moved out of the home and are now trying to fight for custody...

My suggestion to you is to sit down and think about what is best for the children... just because you and him don't get along, does that mean he is a poor dad? Just because he didn't do the day to day things with the children while you were together, does that mean he can't now adapt to doing these things with his children? After a separation things change drastically for all involved... parents who were less inclined to do the day to day things because the other parent took on that responsibility, change and adapt to their new situation...

I assume while you were doing the day to day things with the children he was out working full time and earning a pay check? Think about what you would want if the shoe was on the other foot? If you worked and he stayed home/worked part time to look after the children, would you be seeking 50/50 or would you be okay with accepts less access because you didn't do the day to day things while you were together?

In the end, this is not about you, this is about the children, and while his actions towards you were inappropriate, especially in front of the children, I don't feel that is reason enough... there are people on this forum that are fighting for limited/supervised access for people who have actually threatened/abused the children in the past.

Custody has to be the first thing and if you two can come to a common agreement that works in the children's best interest, the better off you will be... be prepared that if you can't come to an agreement and this goes to court, you will have to prove why 50/50 will not work, as right now you DO what 50/50 joint custody of the children, and until the court decides otherwise this is how it should be treated...

Financial statements are easy to do, start now... sounds like you will be in a high conflict situation, so you may want to seek the advice of a lawyer, as it seems you allow your emotions to get in the way.

Best of luck!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:52 AM
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Having 50/50 access is also not a free ticket out of child support. The support will be reduced and people generally pay one another the difference between their child support amounts. If he makes a higher wage he'll still be paying, just less.

This is because both parents must now maintain a fully functioning home for the kids with additional bedrooms, clothing and toys which comprises the rest of their financial obligation.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:14 AM
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You need to speak with a lawyer. He sounds a lot like my ex. Do you have, or can you get a small recorder ($80-100) from ie: The Source, or Best Buy? See if you can get him to discuss some of what you describe above, namely the "custody plan" - his abusive behavior - and the assault which took place upon you. You won't be able to use them in Court but your lawyer or counselor if you are seeing one can, and that might help you.

I taped many conversations w/my diabolical ex - that was 5 yrs ago. I listened to them very recently and they are wrenching, and a true testament to his abuse towards me (mostly verbal) and his caustic disposition. I wish I had brought them to someone then, to hear. I got thrown into such a tailspin w/leaving him (charges were laid for one incident) that I guess I got side-tracked and wrongly believed these recordings were of little use. I listened to them just in the last few days actually, for the first time in years. I could not believe that I endured living with such a monster, and for so long. Mostly, I felt an incredible sense of relief that I had in many ways "saved myself and my son" from the day to day exposure of such an abusive, toxic, and frankly hopeless individual with definite mental health issues.

Let him be the one to go on his rants about leaving the relationship. Get a plan in place - can you make an appointment w/Family Services in your area to start speaking w/a counselor? Do not tell him that you are leaving him. He is obviously all about control. Let him think he's calling all the shots. He assaulted you. It is a shame that the police were unwilling to press charges. But back to what I was saying: do not tell an abusive, controlling person that you are leaving. You need a plan, and you need to speak with a lawyer. If you go and see Family Services and speak to someone that runs women's shelters, you can get a 2 hour, free legal aid certificate, and a list of lawyers with whom you can speak to. In my experience, and it is a documented fact, abusive partners become more incensed and more prone to violence when the other partner (you) says they are leaving. Be safe.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:29 AM
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Hard to know what to advise without hearing his side.

Your relationship is over that is clear, you both want that.

He is right though, you need to agree to a parenting plan (hopefully 50/50) before anyone moves out etc. The kids come first. It sounds like your assets/debts are separate (with the exception of the home), so perhaps you don't have much to do there.

After you agree on how to raise the kids together, and after you decide what to do with the house and where each will live, then you can finalize your separation agreement and move on with your life.

You both have a lot to learn about how things work for a separation. For example 50/50 still means offset support is paid by the higher income earner.

I don't know if he can realize the best path for all concerned given what you said, hopefully things will go smoothly once you both educate yourselves about separation.

Again, not hearing his side, I am a little concerned with your 100% blaming him for your decisions during the relationship including staying with him and how the finances where handled - you need to take ownership for your actions and decisions and not play victim so much. "Abusers" are powerless against people who don't allow themselves to be abused - it takes two and you can only control yourself.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truly View Post
Hi, I found this forum while searching for some info to help me navigate a complex and difficult situation. I have been in a long term relationship for 18 years, we bought a house together, had 3 children together (now ages 10, 12, and 16 years), although we never married. This relationship has not gone well for quite a while, for years I held firm to the belief that given enough time and patience, and being blessed with a beautiful family, he would mature and finally be OK with trying to be the supportive dad and partner I wished he would be, (instead of a ToysRus kid, as he liked to call himself) but instead our relationship deteriorated and he showed a pattern of increasingly controlling, threatening and at times abusive and destructive behavior (mostly towards me). Attempts at counseling have only resulted in carefully orchestrated performances, hopelessly convoluted blame games, or occasionally rages at the counselor if there was any hint that perhaps he might have some responsibility for the tension in our relationship.
The abuse and destructive and controlling behavior has escalated over time, and recently while yelling and intimidating me, then entering my daughters' room in order to "make sure they knew what was going on" he threw me across the room while my daughters watched. When the yelling and threatening gestures continued despite their obvious distress, I called 911. By this time all 3 kids were hiding inthe basement. While I waited by the door for the police to arrive, unbeknownst to me (till later) he went downstairs and spoke to the girls.
I was shocked to learn from the police that in their interviews with the girls they both claimed to have not seen anything ( one said her eyes were closed). Due to the conflicting reports, no charges were laid.
Again without my knowledge, the CAS visited the school and also interviewed the girls separately. The worker later told me that in these interviews the girls told the worker that they did see me pushed across the room and into their bunk bed ladder.
Well, that was when I decided we had all been walking on eggshells long enough...interestingly it was only a few weeks prior to this incident that he told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted out of the relationship, but had not and to my knowledge still has not taken any action on this, with the exception of letting me know that he would be taking the kids "50/50" and would therefore not be responsible for any child support payments. (!) He indicated that if I intended to "make this difficult" it would be very costly for me, and did I want to throw away all that money. What money... I should note that although I now earn a decent income, for several years while the children were young I worked part-time, but I was always expected to be responsible for all our utilities, car and house insurance, food, clothing, child care expenses, extracurriculars, vacations, pet care, tutoring and educational evaluations for the children, who as it turns out all have diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety disorders, while he (also earning a decent income) covered the mortgage, car payments and home maintenance and repairs. This division (as I tried many times to get him to see) meant that I was barely making it from paycheck to paycheck, sometimes with the help of credit cards, while he always had a comfortable "cushion" and plenty of spending money. I should also note that he owns 3 vehicles, I drive the oldest one (12 years old and not in great shape), another worry as I require a vehicle for my job.
End result: despite my income, my financial situation is not great, while he is pretty much all set financially. Without access to costly legal services, what are the chances of my concerns regarding custody being heard and being able to ensure my kids' safety and well being?
He has not been involved in their day to day care, arranged or taken them to medical appointments, counseling, tutoring, extracurriculars, school interviews or events, planned or participated in day trips or vacations, paid for clothes or gifts, or assisted with expenses associated with the kids' pets (which greatly help them with their anxiety). Since they were young he has had inappropriate expectations for their independence and at times when I was out did not supervise them, also is not accepting of the fact that due to their diagnoses they continue to require supervision and help with their fears and anxieties.
In general, he continues to show little awareness, acceptance or concern for their medical and educational special needs. Additionally, as the previous incident indicates, he is quite willing to involve the children in our disputes, and use their distress as leverage against me. And even without this consideration, just the idea of being forced into ongoing contact with him, given his manipulative and abusive pattern towards me... Not a good scenario for me or the kids.
He has said he is not willing to make the necessary repairs to make the home sale able until I agree to his custody plan. (There is a giant hole in the concrete floor in the basement that he made for some purpose, I kid you not). This is a problem because I don't have the means to move out until this happens, not having any savings, especially since the utility bills are in my name.
Then there is the issue of dividing up the property assets (home), I'm not sure where I stand here either, the home was purchased jointly by us, although the down payment came from an RRSP I was able to cash in at the time...
Anyway, any Insights or suggestions are very much welcomed...
Thanks
Excellent article from the High Conflict Instatute that may be of benefit for you:

Where Are The Elders? The Need for Directive Counseling with High Conflict Separations and Divorces

I highly recommend you read any (if not all) the materials published by the High Conflict Institute and especially the following books:

Don't Alienate the Kids
It's All Your Fault!
High Conflict People in Legal Matters
Family Restructuring Therapy: Interventions for High Conflict Divorce (Stephen Carter, PhD Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

In fact all the books found at this link would be of great benefit to you:

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

I have had the opportunity to work with many of the professionals who have authored these books and I highly recommend them.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:28 PM
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BernerFaith: if we are to take the poster's version of the atmosphere at home at face value (and I am inclined to) it is HIGHLY unlikely that she can come to any agreement with this individual. And throwing someone (or pushing) someone across the room is Assault. 3 kids cowering in the bsmt. Too afraid to speak up. With good reason, no doubt.

Quote:"Just because you and him don't get along, does that mean he is a poor dad? Just because he didn't do the day to day things with the children while you were together, does that mean he can't now adapt to doing these things with his children? After a separation things change drastically for all involved... parents who were less inclined to do the day to day things because the other parent took on that responsibility, change and adapt to their new situation..."

Yes, I'm sure he's an awesome dad. Sounds like he's a definite candidate for turning into Mr. Wonderful/Involved. What's a little WWE action between partners going through a separation? Injecting fear, intimidation and causing havoc. None of which are the hallmarks of good parenting. Physically assaulting someone in, (or not in) the presence of children is against the law, and sickening behavior. And while you are not condoning any of that, the mere suggestion that none of that makes him a bad parent (??) quite frankly amazes me.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hadenough View Post
if we are to take the poster's version of the atmosphere at home at face value (and I am inclined to)
Fair enough.

I am inclined not to believe everything that is posted here. There is always 3 versions - his, hers, and the truth. How close one is to the truth is not something that can be determined by one post, or even many in some cases.

Last edited by billm; 04-04-2012 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:50 PM
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Agreed. And I don't think everything on this Forum is always the gospel truth. However, based on what Truly has said (and I lived w/someone who fits her description of him) it would appear that negotiating anything between themselves will not be an option.

Having said that: like in most situations, there are 2,3 or more "sides" to things. I have read/understood HER side and I also can relate to it from first-hand experience.

By way of a postscript: I am not inclined to think by one post that all the facts are presented. I don't get the sense that she fabricated or exaggerated any/all of her situation and unless/until such a time, that ie: a few posts later, there is something very contradictory or suspect that is jumping out, then yes - as I can and do relate to her circumstances, I (at this time) accept it at face value. As always, I do like hearing other people's interpretations of things. There's much to be learned.

Last edited by hadenough; 04-04-2012 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:10 PM
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Protecting the children from any of this violence is the priority. If you have to go to court to do it then do it. From my own experience, abusers just get worse and do not change. Get out, get out quickly. Anyone who physically abuses the mother and terrorizes the children is not a good father. No excuses.
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