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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:24 PM
BeyondWitsEnd BeyondWitsEnd is offline
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Default Forcing the issue?

Here's the situation:
CL for 6yrs, we have two children (6, 5)
The last year has been hell, but pretty much insulated from the children, until just recently.
Now the hostility is becoming apparent to the children (and yes, I'm keeping a detailed log of her behaviours regarding the children, and as well towards me), and she has _finally_ stopped wearing the ring.
My feelings are that we need to address the situation, and spare the children from having to endure this any more.
She is in total avoidance, and refuses to discuss, or work towards a separation agreement. Any attempts from me to start this moving have been met by the response "I don't have to sign anything", and she has blown off any lawyer appts that she has made.
I meet with my lawyer next week, but would like to have some idea of what I can do if she refuses to respond to a proposed SA. What would be my steps to get this process moving so that everyone, esp the children can get to a steady-state in their lives.
Any guidance, or suggestions is very much appreciated.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:36 PM
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dadtotheend dadtotheend is offline
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Holy moly, I could write advice all night, but you are seeing a lawyer soon so that will cover a lot.

Keep the appointment with the lawyer. Sounds like you need to see him/her ASAP. That said, the lawyer is not going to hold your hand the whole way through. You have a responsiblity to yourself and your kids to inform yourself. Do it.

One of the first thing the lawyer's going to tell is not to move out until you fully understand the implications. Listen to that advice. Not that it has to be you who moves out BTW.

Don't knee jerk assume that Dads are screwed in family law. That was certainly the case many years ago, but it's not like that now. It would be foolish to say that there isn't gender bias in the system, but you can trump whatever gender bias you encounter by arming yourself with knowledge of the law and how the system works. I'm proof positive of that.

Remain focused on the children, be reasonable with your ex even if she isn't. Try as hard as you can not to let emotions carry the day.

Know what you want in terms of custody and access. READ, READ, READ, and when you're done READING, do some more READING. This forum, books, other internet sites. Get familiar with how custody is awarded. Inform yourself about child and spousal support and division of family property. It will take a huge amount of time and effort but the stakes (i.e. your children's futures) are more than worth it.

Understand that the process can take a LONG time to play out. You aren't going to have a separation agreement/court order next week, next month, maybe not even next year.

Above all, stay committed with your ex to making this transition as easy on your kids as possible. In the coming days and weeks, ALWAYS remember that children have the best chance of successfully transitioning into a non-nuclear family when conflict between the parents is kept to a minimum. You sound like you have done that well until recently. Sit down with your ex and implore her to make getting along with each other for the kids sake your number one priorities as you settle your differences. If she can't do it, then you should work twice as hard yourself at it.

Use resources like Family Services Association (google them) to assist you in explaining what's happening to your kids and helping you get through it personally. They have seminars on a wide variety of topics that are relevant to you now and in will be in the near and far future.

You've come to a friendly place where folks like you gather to share their experiences and knowledge. There are great people here who will help you. Get to know the names. If you put in the time here and elsewhere educating yourself about how family law works, you and your children will be hugely rewarded.

Last edited by dadtotheend; 01-07-2009 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:43 PM
BeyondWitsEnd BeyondWitsEnd is offline
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thx Dadtotheend, and I've gotten great advice from you in the past, and have been following that as best I can (I'm only human, although even her family thinks I'm superhuman )
I have never said a bad word about her in front of the children, but she is not necessarily playing that way. Last week-end, not only did she insist on arguing in front of the children (I asked them to leave the room, she told them not to), but she pulled them into the argument.
What options do I have around protecting the children from this?
She has been very immature through this whole process (9+ months already), and I'm not expecting her to improve much, especially when the BS that she'd getting from her friends starts to get proven wrong, and she finds out that she's not entitled to anywhere near what she's expecting.
For me, this is all about making this as quick, and painless(?) as possible for the children, but she's insisting on drawing this out for as long as possible.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:17 AM
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Reread my post above. I have a habit of editing the hell out of my posts after I put them up, and there is stuff in there that went in after you posted.

You can't control her behaviour, you can only control your own. Refuse to be engaged by behaviour that is argumentative in front of the kids.

You could benefit from guidance beyond this forum on that topic. Please, check out Family Services Association. They have great seminars/counselling for exactly what you're looking for. They will articulate stuff that you have been feeling but didn't know how to deal with.

I have learned a lot from the counselling world in the last three years. My perspective is changed for the better because of the resources I've used. I'll guarantee one thing - they are cheaper than the lawyers.
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:14 AM
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Dadtotheend has great advice, stay focused, if you do not provoke or perpetuate she cannot argue with herself.

When she draws the children in it's time to stop any words from exiting your mouth as any words at that point will be fuel for the fire, positive or not.
Move on to something else or to another room and start something fun with the kids to attempt to change the atmosphere or direction of the emotions in the home.
Doing this will probably frustrate her more because you will not argue with her, but I think she'll just give up and walk away.
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:38 AM
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she cannot force you to argue. Just walk away or grab a newspaper and head to a room with a lock on the door. She may bang the door trying to get a response from you but try to ignore. If it gets too bad then call her parents over to calm her down.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:41 PM
BeyondWitsEnd BeyondWitsEnd is offline
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Thanks to all of you for your words of wisdom, and encouragement.
Through this process, I've learned that I'm able to deal with far, far more than I ever thought I could.
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