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Old 09-08-2011, 02:13 PM
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Rioe Rioe is offline
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You have a few issues all wrapped up in one enormous paragraph. You need to break them apart into manageable chunks instead of getting overwhelmed by them en masse. It would also probably get you more replies and suggestions from people.

Your house, furniture and car and so on are part of equalization. Make sure proper financial disclosure of assets and debts is done, and it should come out evenly in the end.

Custody seems to be your primary problem. He is asking for sole when he probably doesn't want it, out of spite. From what you've described, that's pretty evident, but we don't know his side, obviously. Or, it could be a standard negotiating tactic from his lawyer, which is to ask for the sun and stars, but be willing to settle for the moon. So you need to balance that out by being a bit over the top yourself, but also being willing to settle. Offer back with joint custody but suggesting only every other weekend access for him, and then be willing to let yourself be talked into 50-50. He'll think he's won because you look like you backed down, or maybe he'll give in after all. The 'win' is probably all he wants.

As for the care issues, it sounds like his family may be doing a better job at raising the kids than he is, so the fact that he's foisting the kids off on his parents may be ultimately to their benefit. Annoying, but better in the long run than him caring for them. See if you can get a clause called Right of First Refusal in your agreement. A search on it here will turn up an explanation, but basically it means that if he can't care for them, he has to offer you the first chance to look after them before he goes to his family.

It's heartbreaking to see your children unhappy, but they will flourish under your care, and your ex will either see that he's alienating them all by himself, or lose out when they get old enough to decide where to be on their own. Try not to let him affect your time with them. Don't take them to the activities he arranged that fall on your time unless they really want to go. If they don't want to talk to him, don't answer the phone when he calls. Keep communication to a minimum and only about the children. As for the girlfriend and the pink hair, hair grows out, and girlfriends come and go.

You haven't said, or maybe I couldn't tell in your giant paragraphs, but is anybody paying anybody child support? Maybe his motives are financial. Is he angry about having to pay you more if he drops access down from 50-50, or unwilling to lose child support money you are paying him?

If he's motivated by pure spite and being controlling, just don't let on that it bothers you. Go along with him, be agreeable, don't show any emotion, just be businesslike and always delighted to see the kids. Once he thinks he's lost that ability to get under your skin, he may give up trying to use the kids to do so.