May 9

Done fighting, sorta

FINISH HER!

I can’t win my case. The GAL carries too much weight. I have been threatened if I don’t agree to a standard schedule, which in my state is every other weekend and one night a week that the following may happen. His report will recommend that I have less than every other weekend., and that the judge may, and has decided that in similar cases to only allow supervised visitation. What have I done that is so horrible. Well, I have abandoned my oldest son. That’s awful, right. Well if you read my last and other posts, you know my oldest son has sexually molested a 7 now 8 year old boy in my house, and this is not the first time he has been sexually inappropriate. Lets get real here. He held a 7 year old autistic boy hostage in his room and forced him to give him oral sex and attempted(maybe succeeded) in having anal sex with this boy. He did this over a period of a couple of months, and he did so while threatening that I would go away if he told me or his mom the truth. To add to this. My son had done this before. Once where I knew and it was written off as something less serious. Another period happened, and I did not know about it. The GAL has stated because of the time over seven years before the most recent, I should have expected this. I am at part if not mostly at fault for a 13 now 14 year olds actions. Now I must say that if I expected this, I would never have allowed anyone to get to know me. I would have continued down a track of fucking women who drank hard liquor at the bar on my every other weekend.

Now when I say I am done fighting sorta, I mean that I have lost. I don’t know how far reaching his report is, but it kills me in my case. Sadly I have 3 children who are going to be devastated by the report. The did participate in the process and did not tell the truth out of fear of what their mother might do. I don’t blame them now, but I will have to tell them as they get older. I know how a BP can keep you in the FOG. I hope there is a way to gentle her spirit towards me and get more time, but I doubt it comes soon. I don’t know how this report will affect things like having another child or adopting another child. I have thought of it. My new SO is very different, and I like to believe that she would handle things different if we were to split. At the same time, I am afraid that she wouldn’t be. I within the next year I truly believe she is different, then I may get my vasectomy reversed for her, and then have another one. This sounds horrible, but I would truly love to raise a child from birth through high school, and I won’t get that anymore.

I also say sorta, because I plan on doing something to change this madness. I may write a book. I plan on finding media outlets to hear my story, and I plan on starting a charity to help men in need during custody disputes. This charity will help pay legal bills, have lawyers to refer, and have lots and lots of successful and not successful cases documented in a library. I may not be able to get this going for another decade, unless someone wants to step in and help me get it started, but I will do it. I am also going to aggressively pursue shared-parenting legislation with teeth. I am going to try and abolish the standard of “Best Interest of the Child”, title IV, and the Bradley amendment. All of these are killing men.

I further want to take things to the next level. I think fathers are important. I want to get to a point where fathers are guaranteed equal time, unless they are dangerous. In my case the only fault I have is with my oldest son. I don’t have contact with him. He is also not actually involved in the custody dispute. He is in state custody. The GAL believes he could be reformed and return. Then it would be unfair because he is not allowed back at my house. The truth is everyone expects that he will get in trouble and be moved to the detention center. The GAL has based his decision partly on the fact he might come “home”. He also has stated that he has seen far worse cases, and that I am unreasonable. I don’t know that I would react any different to the worst cases. My son crossed a line, and once crossed, I don’t feel safe with him. Sadly I had no control of my ex, so my kids are at risk with him through her, and since the GAL wants to limit access because of this, I have less time, thus leaving them at more risk. If I get less than the standard visitation, then I will likely move away. I am not a baby sitter for my kids. If i have no authority in their life, then I don’t want to be around for the problems that will come.

I am a firm believer that 50/50 is the best scenario for all parents. I believe that if you chose to have the child with someone, then they can’t be that bad to raise them together, even if you don’t like each other. Only if there is child abuse do I not support these ideas. The law should reflect that. Right now if the woman says they won’t work with the man, in most states, one way or another they will give her the dominant amount of time. This is not right, period.

The other piece of this is child support. To limit the incentive for custody battles. Child support should be eliminated. It should be replaced with a standard requirement for split expenses and rulings if one doesn’t pay. Any case that requires child support, should be a single judgement for half the amount of direct expenses ot raise a child in that community. This judgement should be outside title IV, and allow for it to be bankrupt-able, but also the first priority for payments in bankruptcy.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 8

Losing my kids

My life is losing its color :: mi vida pierde color

I don’t understand how we got here, but here we are. A GAL was appointed in my case. My oldest is in state department of corrections custody. I go to what is likely the final hearing in my custody aspect of my case next week. I have maintained equal parenting time with my kids for 3 years. It doesn’t matter. I am now going to be like every other father put through the grinder. I will be told that I am on standard schedule, and should feel lucky.

The GAL only wanted to talk about my son who is not living at either of our homes. He is only concerned with my lack of contact with him. My son has showed no remorse for his actions. I held hostage and sexually assaulted my soon to be stepson who is autistic and half his age. He didn’t do this once, but multiple times over the course of a few months. I have made sure that he has received treatment and care, and followed the criminal trial closely from both the victims side and the perpetrators side. The GAL spent less than 4 hours interviewing myself, my four kids, and their mom. In a status conference he proclaimed that I had committed a “cardinal sin”, that what I have done is “unfathomable”, and perhaps “unforgivable”. What might be so bad, you might ask. What did this man do, you say. I refuse to kick out the victim and his mother. I cannot have my son in my life on a regular basis if they are here. My son cannot have contact with them for as long as they are minors. My son threatened this little boy, 7 years old at the time, with the idea that if he told us what he was doing, then I would leave them. This little boy with autism was first diagnosed when he had a full breakdown after his father returned after not seeing him for a year, and then left again two weeks later. To lose a father figure in his life, and yes he calls me dad now, is the worst thing that could happen to him. I will not abandon the victim in favor of the aggressor. I do not believe my son should be allowed around his siblings. He has physically or sexually attacked each and every one of them. So this is my sin.

He has sprinkled in that my other son is afraid I might abandon him, and that they all feel some jealousy of the two kids who live here all the time. So of course the correct course of action is to further limit their time with me. That will make them feel more secure in their attachment to me. They have also said that they feel like slaves in my house. I honestly think that one came from my oldest who isn’t even here, but does it matter. There are 5 kids in my house. One helps prepare dinner, one cleans up the kitchen after dinner, one clears and wipes the table after dinner, and then there is taking out the trash and cleaning their rooms. None of which am I very particular about, which you could tell by the condition these things are in when they finish. I usually have to come in after them to finish.

I predict that if I can’t figure out with the increased child support, how to keep my house and have to move, then she will file motions saying my home is inadequate to house all the kids, and that I should be denied overnights. She will limit their time with me more and more over time, and step up her alienation efforts over time. I also predict her contact with my oldest will either diminish quickly after the ruling, or she will hit one of his triggers and get him to react and be thrown into the juvenile detention center. All of this will be my fault. She will ensure that with a distortion campaign.

I don’t know when this nightmare ends. The results of my case can cause my fiance'(new wife) to lose her kids to her ex who lives out of state. He is suddenly interested in taking them for the first time in 4 years. This all defies logic. I have never done anything but try to protect my kids and love them. At the end of the day the court is finding a way to put me in my place as the father. Fathers only role in the family is to give mom a break and pay the bills. I will be paying nearly $27,000 a year in child support. This amounts to having to earn $35,0000 just to pay my child support. I will have just over $2,000 a month to pay for my life. To live near my kids schools and activities, rent is nearly that everywhere I look. I am now being sentenced to poverty by indeturehood to my ex through my children. Until the last is 18, I won’t have money to save. I will be 50 y/o in massive debt and no savings. This process has made the mere idea of retirement probably impossible. Someone please tell me how men are the economic winners When it is all said and done, my ex will receive nearly $35,0000 dollars annually in tax free money for the kids. I will be living off of $24,0000 and be required to pay the larger portion of the medical expenses and if she can figure it out, also pay half of all activities. I have lost all ability to dream. I see no good futures right now. I will live on destitute and only a footnote of my kids teen years.

My only hope is she absolutely self destructs, and soon.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 25

Settling

156/365. Settling A Dispute - The SPARTA Way

Last week we had a settlement conference. Her attorney is about as done with this as I am. Before the lawyers were involved, I had made an offer to her for us to start working out the details, and then we could have had a lawyer draw it up for us to sign. This is when she ran out and hired a lawyer. It has cost me close to $10K, and I suspect that it is costing her close to the same amount. I have described the process of our separation almost three years ago. Yes, this has been going on that long. We each moved out of the marital home, and we each filled up our respective places with stuff from the marital home. We spent a day at the home and moved most of the remaining things into a neighbors house, so the bank wouldn’t auction it off wit the house. There wasn’t really any fighting. There were some things that she was not happy about, and she let me know. I didn’t offer much to her in response, but I felt the same. I figured that this was normal.

I offered her all the things in her possession, and all the things that were stored at the neighbors house, and I would get what was in my possession. I then offered her half the current value of half the shares of my retirement account less half the debt I paid off using the retirement account. We each had cars when it was all said and done as well. Pretty simple. No arguments. She was free to ask for anything specific that she was worried about. There were a couple of family items in her possession that I was worried about and making provisions for in my settlements as well. I was asking for a shared parenting plan with a shared expenses budget as well. I was willing to pay all the kids expenses. She would only be liable for maintaining her home. I had no problem with this, and was able to budget my way through it.

After a whole lot of expensive nothing, I am getting ripped off through child support in addition to kids expenses. She will get the same property settlement that I offered. The lawyers agreed that there was no way to divide property further at this point. Too much time had passed. She asked for one item, and it was already in her possessions by the agreement. She gets half the value of the retirement at the time we separated less the debt paid. This is half the amount I was going to give her in real dollars. She is insisting on a GAL, but I expect nothing to change in our parenting time. So we have very little change from what I would have offered. She gets less money in the end, and I would have agreed to the child support after negotiations because I would not have won that point in court. The court still defaults to CS whenever possible, because there are incentives for doing so.

I am finally a few weeks from having my divorce, and a few months from the battle over the kids coming to an end. I expect things to be better than most men get, because I was willing to be a little stubborn and I was patient. It wears on me. The time has taken its toll. I look older than I would otherwise, and my family is not the better for it. Pretty soon, I can pick up the pieces and help them move forward without the constant watchful eye of the courts in my life. At least until she decides to take me back, because so long as the kids aren’t the age of majority, the case is never truly closed. Its a small victory of sorts.Mostly I didn’t get my ass kicked.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 25

Being Non-Custodial

DV Benes

What does it mean to be non-custodial? It can mean a lot of things. The term is used to apply to anyone who pays child support. Lets look at my situation. Its a modern example of how the system is dysfunctional, and that the system isn’t at all about taking care of the children involved, but it is about taking care of the women. There has been a big shift in my state in the last few years. The legislature has recognized that the modern family has two involved parents and they are encouraging judgments that are in favor of shared parenting. This is a 50/50 timeshare of the kids or some approximating this. To get this, the parents need to be intentional when the process starts, because a judge isn’t going to change things much once a pattern has been established. If the mother is trying to hoard the kids time, then the father needs to take action right away to change things, or he will be stuck with what has been established. To go along with this new understanding of family, they have changed the child support calculators to include provisions for shared parenting. I give them credit for this move, but it is not nearly enough, but it does clearly demonstrate the overall problem with the child support calculators in most states. The truth is child support is too high in every case that I have seen. I know that is a small sampling, but I have played with the numbers from more than a few states to see how things could have been different, and they are high everywhere I have checked things out.

How does my state modify things for a parent in shared parenting? Sorry, I am not going to reveal which state I am in, but just understand that other states are doing similar things, and that the concepts are not unique. The new calculators for shared parenting kick in when you have near equal time share with the kids. It does not make it clear what is near enough, so the judge gets to decide. For some courts this is good, and others it is bad for the fathers seeking this arrangement. Its not really different than the old arrangement with liberal visitation. Its been common for a long time that men with liberal visitation has had near equal time with the kids, but the mother has had significant control over whether that is allowed or not. Now basically they apply a 20% discount for the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent is responsible for direct expenses. No where is direct expenses explained. If the parents agree to each supply clothing, then there is another discount of about 4% applied to the child support. Direct expenses do not include medical, dental, or other health care costs. They do not include extra-curricular activities outside of school, and maybe inside of school. These are listed strangely under special needs expenses which are also not considered direct expenses. Medical expenses are expected to be divided based at the same proportion as the gross income of the parents differ. The non-custodial parent is defined in my states law as the parent who earns more money. That is it. Nothing else is used to determine this.

The end result is I get to pay for things twice. Pretty much everything. My child support didn’t go down, because under the old arrangement men would pay child support, and usually the court wouldn’t require any other payment from him unless there was an extraordinary expense involved. I pay $1000/month in child support for kids. I then pay 64% of health related costs and 50% of sports and extra-curricular costs. She pays the school expenses and the other portions of these costs. Before I was responsible for child support, I paid for all the kids expenses at 100%. Sometimes these reached the $1000 mark, but usually not. Typical expenses in a month are close though. So I pay her $1000 and then pay my proportions, which are about another $500-$600. If you do the rest of the math, this leaves her with about $500-$600 in her pocket even after paying for lunches for the kids, which she could decide to only do for the days they are with her. After paying taxes, child support, retirement loan for marital debt, and health insurance is I have about $3500 dollars a month to pay for my rent utilities and these kids expenses. To put in perspective to her income, she takes home about the same amount from her pay checks, and then gets another $2400 tax free between CS and other government checks.

As I have laid out above, there is an extreme imbalance in the reality of CS and the actual costs of raising the children. I might be able to accept this. We have certainly made some strides in the right direction for men protecting their rights with their children, but there is just one huge problem with this experience. I am under constant threat of court order to pay this amount. It doesn’t matter what my job situation is. I have lost my freedom to decide on these things. The activities that my kids are involved in are somewhat locked into place. I can’t decide that I can no longer afford them. I have can be sent to jail for having a budget change. I can lose my drivers license or have money removed directly from my checking and savings accounts. I am in fact indentured to my ex-wife through my children. I am her servant. I am required to work to ensure she is paid. I have less freedom than I had when married to her for the next decade, and she has greater freedom. She can continue to choose to work at a job that for all practical purposes is a part time job. There is no pressure on her to improve her financial condition. If I choose to improve mine, then I am then obligated to improve hes. This is a major disincentive to move up in my career. The only thing that is a driver to do better in my career right now, is that I need to make some moves or I will be the guy who gets overlooked forever.

As a father, I live with the constant threat of the court over my head. I live with the fear that she may win the battle for more time, and take even more of my paycheck. The slippery slope that will lead to me not being able to maintain a home large enough for them to visit me, and thus give her more ammunition to further reduce my time, and further tap my paycheck. I have to continue the fight for my kids. A fight that no father should have to fight. I have to pretend with my kids that everything is okay. That me and their mom don’t have problems. I can’t tell them how she has treated me, because that would be alienation of affection. I can’t do a lot of things. When people look at divorce and wonder why men are bitter, they need to understand that men are effectively slaves to their ex-wives for the time their children are growing up. This is why men are bitter. Ask a black man what the legacy of slavery has done to his life, and then understand that in the modern world, all men are subject to slavery through their children to the mothers of their children. This is why men are so bitter. This is why men can’t get over their divorce. It isn’t because women are emotionally stronger and more capable of dealing with the loss of divorce. Its because for the men it is never ending until their children are 18 years old.

Being non-custodial means being a second class citizen. Your children and their mother are superior to you under the law. People can argue this case otherwise, but the fact is proven in the number of men that are subject to this system. I will recommend to my sons that they don’t have children. That they don’t subject themselves to this burden of slavery that we call fatherhood. I love my children very much, and I would not like to imagine a life without them, but I would be free to make my own decisions if I had never had them. I would not turn back time, but I would protect those I love from this fate. I hope to change things before that time comes for them, but if things do not change, then I will recommend they choose freedom from slavery over this. I am not as good of a father as I might be without this burden.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

December 26

The Good Son

the good son

As this blog has covered in varying amounts of detail, my oldest son has been trouble waiting to happen. I can honestly say that I had always thought that one day he would be in serious trouble, but I had hoped that it would happen in a few years when he was an adult. I have struggled to parent him for many years. I have wavered from sympathy for him and his relationship problems with his mother and absolute frustration with his seeming inability to follow the simplest rules. I have been terrified of what call would come at a time when I wasn’t able to protect him from his own actions. Not in the sense of covering them up, but that I wouldn’t be there to stop him. I never imagined that this would be what it was though. My fears revolved around him getting in trouble because of his anger or stealing something. I never imagined that he would do these things.

I should offer a little background. For a few months we had a family live with us, who’s father moved out and abandoned them. The mom and her 3 kids lived in my walkout basement for most of the fall semester of school. She moved out during winter break before Christmas. This was when my oldest was in first grade. When they moved out, I set up the basement for our use again. I forgot to turn on the parental controls on the cable box, and my oldest managed to start watching a porn movie with the other kids. He then began acting out what he saw on one of my daughters. We found out what was going on because my other son told us. We did everything we knew to do, and had the support of many professionals who were telling us that this was likely normal curiosity fueled by the imagery of the porn they saw. He remained in counseling from then on for one thing or other relating to his behavior. We moved a about a year later into a much larger house in a small town. My son has admitted to doing things to his brother while we lived there. I was still on alert for things, and I never knew it happened until he admitted it during a police interview.

This blog has many instances of the problems that he has had with my ex. The extreme behaviors of both of them, and the pain that it has caused me to watch things unfold over the last few years. I realize that I was fully distracted by their dysfunction, and I missed the significant problems that were brewing with my son. His aggressiveness has been increasing and yet he never seems to mature in his thinking and emotional reactions to things.

Fast forward to this summer. I moved in with my fiance’ in May. We rented a place together that was big enough for all of us. There has been some struggles with my ex related to this, but that is for another post. I worked my schedule out over the summer, so that I was working from home two days a week, and going into work early the rest of the week. My fiance’ went in late two days a week as well. This made it work out that my kids were only left home alone for a couple hours two days a week, and one day a week I had it so I was home before 2 PM. I kept returning to angry kids. My son had been causing trouble with the other kids. There are 6 kids total between us. My four and her two. Her two are younger than mine. Early elementary school. I was trying to figure out how to make things work. My oldest was nearly 14 and the others were 12 1/2, 11, and 9. There shouldn’t have been a problem leaving them home alone for a while.

My oldest was sneaking food at every moment. It was accumulating in his room, and beginning to stink. I cleared his room of all furniture except his bed. He continued to find ways to sneak food. I did not know what to do. We were at our wits end. I could not get him to follow the simplest of rules. I never limited how much they could eat. I did limit the food they could eat to healthier choices. He was eating frosting and whipped topping. He would eat an entire box of ice cream treats or popsicles in one sitting. He was getting physically aggressive with the other kids. Towards the end of the summer I got a phone call from my daughter as I was pulling into the neighborhood that he had hit my fiance’s daughter hard and that I needed to come home. I was a minute away and told her I would be there soon. When I got there, he clearly was intimidating them all into changing their story about what happened. I lost my temper and smacked him hard. I knew it was a futile. I just had no idea how to get the message through to him. In my gut I knew something more was going on, but I couldn’t figure it out.

After Labor Day, we were driving back from a family dinner with my fiance’s two kids. We were talking about things, and it was announced to us that her son had been having sex with my oldest. At the time we are talking about a 13 year old and a 7 year old. We were shocked. I had told her about his history before her kids spent anytime with him. I wanted her to be fully aware before she went any further with me. We reported the incident through the county mental health organization that we were already engaged with regarding my son, and to the local police department. Through the process, I found out that my other son had caught them, and thought he had stopped things. He was trying to be the protector, but he failed to tell us what was going on. This is another pattern that I have to deal with now. My younger son has decided that he can protect both his brother and people from his brother all by himself. I fear that he is going to get really hurt soon. Charges against my son have been filed and he is currently being adjudicated through the juvenile justice system.

My ex and I have placed my son in a residential treatment facility for the time being. His time there is almost up. He will be returning to my ex’s house. He cannot return to mine at this time, and I honestly don’t see a time that he will be able to in the future. A lot has to happen before that is something that I will consider. A lot more has to happen before my fiance’ would consider it. Right now she doesn’t see that it could ever happen. He only has four and a half years of school left. I suspect that he will be allowed back for family events over time, but he won’t ever live with me again. My ex asks why I am so aggressively angry about this, when I wasn’t when it happened to our daughter. She doesn’t understand that it is the new understanding I have through the recent events combined with what happened in the past that has me so angry.

I have talked very little with him over the last couple of months. My heart aches at the thought of it. I am sad and angry. When I have talked with him, he lays blame with me for what he did. He blames the kids of my fiance’ for what he did. We did find out later that he had done things with her daughter as well, but she pushed him away and avoided him. Tonight I will have dinner with him and my mom. It will be a hard dinner to get through. He will be hurt by what we have to say, and he will be defensive. I need him to understand that his actions have changed his and other’s lives forever. I don’t know how it will go. I imagine it going so many ways. If he is truly working on changing, then it will end better than it starts. I love him, and hope that he gets the help he needs, but I see my job now as protecting others from him as much as I can.

For the coming years, I will struggle with how to be a father to my son. Many are going to judge me for my actions. Almost none of those people will have been through anything like this. I feel like I am writing the book on how to get through this all by myself. Maybe when the dust clears, I will write that book. My life has not turned out as I expected at all. It is now time to make my hand work from the cards that have been dealt to me. I am not a quitter, though there have been many times through this process that all I want to do is quit, but I keep plugging along. I have to search and see what part I play in the things that have happened to me, because life does not just happen to me, I am a part of the results. It is going to take some time and introspection to get there.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

December 13

Been A While!

while you were sleeping in 80 degree weather

I have had a rough few months since my last post. I felt like my anger was simmering when I wrote, and I wanted to take a break. I have learned that my anger really is better when I write, so I am back. I get to think things through, and get out what I don’t dare say out loud to many people, especially my ex. The past months have been filled with a lot of turmoil.

I moved in with my girlfriend, now fiance’ at the beginning of the summer. The transition was a little rough with the kids. I was arguing with my ex for my time with the kids. They are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home. I had worked out my schedule so that these hours were in the morning, so they weren’t doing much anyway. My house is right by the park where swim practices are, so the two who swim could walk there, and then call me when they got home. I got home about two hours after practice was over. I was working extra hours when I didn’t have the kids, so I could take the time off when I did.

I was having issues with behavior of all the kids, most of it was rooted in my oldest’s attitude. He turned 14 in September. As it turns out, he was sexually abusing my fiance’s two kids who were 6 and 7. Her son is autistic, and was very easily manipulated by my son. I had stripped my son’s room earlier in the summer of just about everything. He was hiding and stealing things. I could not find a way to stop him from doing what he was doing, and then I find out about this. We reported it through the county mental health organization that he was already working with in a family focused case managed therapy program. He is currently at a treatment facility, but will be coming back soon. I have had very little contact with him. I cannot allow him back in my home. I struggle at my very core on how to parent him, and I just don’t know how. I believe that he needs to be in full time care, but the system doesn’t allow that often anymore, especially if one parent is willing to care for him. He is going through the legal system, and will be most likely put on diversion.

Absolutely nothing is resolved in my divorce case, and it is costing a fortune. She complains she isn’t satisfied with things, but then offers no information to determine what might make things better. She is pursuing reducing my parenting time, and has done things to try and alienate me from my children. We are currently going through co-parenting counseling and back to mediation. I hope to get this resolved soon.

I am getting married, or more accurately, I am having a wedding. The marriage will happen later, since my ex won’t let the divorce finalize in a timely manner. We are now three years out from her pronouncement that she wanted the divorce, and two and a half out from when she moved out, and I have been with my fiance’ for well over a year. Its a strange thing, I know. I just won’t let my ex destroy anything else along the way.

I will expound on some of these things in upcoming posts. I just wanted people to know that I am still around and still fighting the fight. I wish this was all over, but I am now coming to the resolve that it may never be over until the kids are grown. I will have upcoming posts on my fiance’, on my son, on my ex, and on what is going on in general. I will also be writing about reforms I would like to see in divorce law and how things are handled in court. There is no reason that things in my case are taking so long. We have no assets, and both are adequate parents. I am going to actually make the argument that the bar should be lowered from the “best interests of the children” to something that takes into consideration all the people involved. The children are not the only ones with rights involved.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

April 11

Rash Decisions Early in Separation

Decisions, Decisions

My life came crumbling apart. My hopes and dreams were being destroyed forever. I was being faced with a life that I never wanted for me or my children. This was a life that I had clung to far beyond its reality. The reasons and much of the process are recorded in the blog. If you are interested read them. Much of my writing come out of my tears and anger, and the process of clearing myself of these emotions to move forward to the next steps in my life. These are processes that most men have to do on their own when they face the same problems in life.

My first reaction was to cling too hard. I thought a lot of “if only” thoughts. I fought to get her to stay. This was a purely emotional response. Men need to understand that by the time she has told you she wants a divorce, she has at the very least had fantasies of the moment. She is firmly planted on the idea. She more than likely has a plan and she may go along with you for some of these things, but she will execute the plan. Mine had not planned much beyond getting out of the house with me. She went to counseling and all the other things I asked, but she still moved out on her original schedule. The right thing to do when she says she wants a divorce is not to panic. It is simply to ask what her plan is, and remain as disinterested as possible. It is unlikely anything that you do at this point fixes your marriage, but if there is any hope of re-capturing her heart, it is in showing that you are going to be just fine without her. Marriage counseling is generally for chumps. It isn’t effective, and the advice you will usually get comes down to you aren’t doing enough things she wants you to do, but if you look at your lifestyle, she determines what you do most of the time. Man up and do what you want to do. Set boundaries while you are still in the house, and take charge of how your family is going to split. If she is truly determined to leave, then you will have some control of the process. If she is not determined to leave, then you are showing the masculine traits she needs to see to be attracted to you.

We lived twenty miles outside the nearest suburb. She wanted to move into the suburbs when she left. She changed the kids schools and moved. I probably could have stopped her, and maybe I should have. That doesn’t matter so much as I didn’t even evaluate what was best for me and the kids. I could have made a lot of choices here. Changing schools is a joint decision. I could have immediately gone to court for temporary orders to require them to stay in their current schools. Maybe I should have. I won’t know the answer to that, but I didn’t even think about it. I was responding to her plan and actions. I saw some value in the move. All the kids activities were too far away from home. We had talked about moving before we talked about divorce, so it was reasonable. Boy what a trap that can be. Try arguing with a reasonable suggestion. Its tough. Its hard to argue that because of this change, I don’t want to do the other thing that we already agreed might be good.

I tried parenting from this town, but it was hard. I was scattered, and she spent the mortgage to move without telling me. I could have negotiated a new deal with the bank, and maybe I should have. I would have a house that is large enough for me and my girlfriend and all of our kids. They could all have their own room, which is an amazing thing. I loved the house. It fit my personality. If I had known she would move again a year later, I probably would have. I should have guessed that she would, but I wasn’t thinking much about things. I was just reacting. The bank would have offered me a new loan that is cheaper than anything I can rent now.

I tell you this, not so much because I regret the decision, but because I want men to think before the act. Stop reacting, and start making decisions based on the new circumstance. Don’t get railroaded by a woman who has been plotting for six months or more for this moment. She has the edge because of this, so slow down and really think about it. It is too late to save your marriage, so don’t run down that path, because it wastes precious time. If there is a chance to save the marriage, it will happen by you being assertive and direct in handling this circumstance. She says she wants a divorce, so go get a lawyer. File temporary orders that grant you equal time, the house, reasonable child support payments or none if you think you can make that work with her. Take charge and get the ball rolling. Don’t play softball, be a man. The divorce ball doesn’t need to run any faster after that, but now you have sure footing guaranteed by the courts. None of this prevents her from false abuse allegations, and if she is of that low of a character, then good luck. You can only hope that she is terribly inconsistent and you will prevail in court.

Once you have the first pieces in place, then take your time and do as much as you can without lawyers. This will save a fortune. I didn’t get those things in place, and when she filed, she tried to extract a large amount of child support. Thankfully the courts don’t respond quickly, so even though the orders were in place we negotiated a different deal that will hold from here on out. In the final orders any arrears can be cleared with a court order.

She had the first choice of stuff as she moved out. She didn’t take the newer furniture, and is pissed she made that decision, but we each got enough stuff. I don’t care if it was fair or not. There was no making both of totally happy. When I moved there was a ton of things left at the house. We took our time and took things as we saw the need. Ultimately she took more than me, but on the first move, I got what I cared about. Our stuff is thus divided with no real arguments. A few complaints, but no arguments. We will codify that in the divorce decree and its done.

I have written this over a course of a few days. It may not be totally congruent, but I am going to end it here. Slow down fellas, and make sure you are acting not reacting through the end of your marriage.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 6

She so crazy!

this is my favorite photo i've ever taken.

No really, she is. I try to convince myself all the time that I have the normal crap, and it feels crazy to me, but every time I do, she proves me wrong. There are a couple good ones going on right now. The things she is or has done recently are 1) She has my kids spying on me, and is trying to convince them that my life is harming them. 2) She is telling me what I can and can’t do with my girlfriend around the kids. 3) She has stolen things from my home without remorse.

Spying

This was one that I expected, but not so overtly. I expected that she would question them about what goes on at my house. What surprised me is that she got my middle boy to actually call and text her what was going on. Nothing bad was going on, but it was none of her business, and of course she wants to twist it into something bad. She has been waging a campaign on my oldest boy to convince him that I am harming him. She will go to his counseling sessions, and sit there and bad mouth me for as long as the counselor will let it go on. There are plenty of people who want to tell me how to behave, but none of them really understand what this woman is. She is a border line personality. This means that she projects her own problems on others. She manipulates without remorse, because she has no empathy. Only her end goal is what matters to her. Anyone who has their own opinion is doing it to assault, punish, etc. her

I had a long talk with the kids. Letting them know that it is not okay to do this. I tried not to point out the primary offender. I made it clear that choosing not to talk to me about things at my house, and talking to her instead would be met with consequences. I really hated having to do this. Its what I have avoided, but there is no alternative, but to make them choose who they wanted to piss off. I don’t want them in the middle, but if their mother will put them there, I have to inform them of the boundaries and that crossing them is going to be an issue. My little spy asked me how much trouble he will get into, so I suspect it won’t stop until he is met with consequences. I also told my oldest that he can ask to leave his counseling session and sit in the lobby if his mother needs some therapy regarding me, and that if he needed to talk about me, then it could be done without her in the room, or he can request that I come along instead.

Girlfriend

Yes, I have a girlfriend who has met the children. We have been separated for what amounts to about two years at this point. The kids already see us as divorced. She is a nice woman, who really is about as opposite of my ex as a woman can be. She is thin, brunette, thoughtful, and unselfish. She is a single mom. Meaning her kids father lives in another state, and chooses to participate very little in their lives. The reasons why, I do not know, I do know that she actively gives him chances and always leaves frustrated. It was fairly natural for her to meet my kids, because it was nearly unavoidable that I would meet hers.

One evening she was over. She was working on homework, and her kids were going to stay the night, because there wasn’t any school the next day and she had to work. I went to play soccer for about an hour and a half. The boys biological half sister was there. She stayed working on homework and looking after things. At one point she snapped at my oldest and sent him to another room to play video games. I got the same story from both, so I am fairly certain it really was as simple as that. He called his mom crying. The next day I saw her, she went off on me. She told me that she isn’t allowed to babysit the kids. She wasn’t supposed to be emotionally involved with the kids, and a list of other things. Now the kids in question don’t need a babysitter for 90 minutes. She also said she had the right of first refusal as if that were an edict. It was not included in the temporary orders she filed, and I would not have had a baby sitter for such a short period of time. If I did, it would have been a family member of mine. I will not call her and haul the kids to her, and all the other issues that would come with that. I don’t think she understands that its my parenting time, and if she was sitting for the kids, I could make her stay at my house with them.

My core problem here is the idea that there are rules that we have to follow on these things leads to deceit. Probably by her. It is a way to assert authority into your ex’s life through the kids. I know it is. When I challenged her that she had no say in my personal life, her answer was I do when it involves the kids. I know that my oldest has met boyfriends of hers. They weren’t introduced as such, but that is what they were. This happened early. I had to process all of this then. I made the decision that I wouldn’t say or do anything, because I didn’t want her to think she had a say in my life. Its really that simple. I chose to have kids with her, so I chose her as their mother. Whether that was a good choice or not, I have to live with the fact she is going to make decisions I won’t agree with. Not a lot different than being married in that respect. I have to trust that anything short of being dangerous is not my business, and ultimately is not harmful. That is the environment created through divorce. I don’t agree that its best, but it is what I have to live with. She will probably never accept this, but I will enforce it in my life.

Stealing

I have very few things from our wedding. Maybe nothing now. I don’t care much, because as this blog catalogs, it was largely a farce. I had three trivets I used in the kitchen. They were nice, and were wedding gifts. She saw them when she was dropping off the kids one day. The next day she was picking up my sons for a game while I was already gone with the girls for another game. She took the trivets. I noticed a day or so later when I went to use them.

Since we are in this temporary order stage of divorce, I notified my lawyer, who sent an email to hers. Her response to me was incredible. She told me that it was my bad communication like that scenario is why our marriage didn’t work. She was furious I would dare tattle on her to my lawyer. I let her know that taking things without asking was not communicating, and that she filed the orders that said we were not to remove things from each others property. She apologized angrily, but never returned the items. She threatened to take all my tools in the divorce, and other things. All of which is very unlikely. Our property is essentially divided, and I am sure she doesn’t want to give up the numerous things she took from our marital home along the way without any conversation.

What I find amazing is she thought that this action was acceptable. Even defensible. I know lots of women have done things like this, but most realize that they are doing something wrong, but are also know that they will probably get away with it.


I have a fun decade in my future dealing with this woman. I don’t know what she will do. I kind of hope she does something crazy for everyone to see, so I can just get the kids and let her fade away. I feel sorry for my kids having her as a mom, and even sorrier that I played a part in that. I do hope that things get better, but I doubt she will do anything the easy way. I think that much of what she is doing is an initial salvo in a parental alienation campaign, so I have to be on my toes.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

January 22

Catching Up

Catching Up with a Cup of Tea

Its been a long time since I posted anything. I haven’t lost interest, but my life has consumed my time almost completely. I haven’t had the downtime to address things on here. My last post was a time that I had my oldest son full time. That came to an abrupt halt as my mother needed help as my father took a rapid downturn in his health. This is going to be a long post, and will cover the gaps from October to now.

My Father

My father died of brain cancer on November 8, 2012. He had suffered from lung cancer that metastasized in his brain. He was a strong man who fought every moment in the end to retain his mental capacities. He managed to make most people not even realize that he was being affected as badly as he was with his quick wit and ability to steer the conversation as he pleased. Him and my mother just missed their 40th wedding anniversarry by a couple of weeks.

My mother is still relatively young. She grew up in the feminist expansion era of the 1960s. She would have graduated high school in 1972 if she had followed a normal path in life. She adored my father, and went to great efforts that even in his reduced mental capacity, he was able to be the leader in their relationship. It was something amazing to watch. She is the reason that I have such a hard time with most modern women. They say they want to be like her, but none really want to make the sacrifices that are necessary to be like her. They don’t see the rewards that come with those risks taken with a man they love. As much as I am aware of how the world has changed, I still hope that I may find a woman like her. A woman that understand men and women are different, and wants to say “fuck you” to the culture and do things our way.

His downward turn was shortly after my last blog post. His memory with me, my sister, and his seven grandkids will be a tribute to his life. He was a man who wore his emotions on his sleeve. You never were left wondering where you stood with him, and no one regrets the conversations never had with him. He helped rebuild a relationship between my mom and her older brother that had soured over a business deal between them and him. He had a childhood friend who gave him an ultimatum decades before and had walked out of his life, who heard he was dieing and returned in hopes of rekindling that relationship. This man hovered over my dad, and was willing to carry him if he had to just to spend time with him. My dad would complain that this man was hovering, but then with a smile say “but he needs to do this to close the gap in lost time.” My dad put up with his hovering to let this man heal the wounds created by his own decision to walk away decades earlier. He didn’t hold grudges, and he always thought of the other person. He was not a soft man. There were many times that he and I had ridiculous arguments, and yet we both walked away with a mutual respect for each other.

I loved my dad like I could love no other man. The only two grudges he held in his entire life were with my mom’s sister, who intentionally and continually hurt and alienated my mother, and my ex who isolated me from the rest of the family and has done so much damage to my oldest son emotionally without remorse. He actually banned them from his funeral. That was the only thing we did not honor of his wishes. I understood the feelings, but it was not the time to carry out his grudge. Both will fade from our lives forever over time. He held those grudges not for the harm they did to him, but the harm they did to those he loved most.

My Mother

My mother has needed some extra help, but not a lot. I worry about her far more than she needs me to. Going through the holidays has been tough for her. My dad loved everything about the holidays. She is glad to have spent those first close to his death. That they won’t drag out over the next year and catch her again a year later like he just died all over again.

My Dating

I was talking to a woman while my dad was in his last weeks. She was supportive. She was someone to talk to that seemed to get what was going on. Sadly she had some health problems, and turned out to be a flake. After not hearing from her for a while, I called it quits. That was followed with some panicked calls from her, but I don’t have the patience for someone who stops communicating with me. We haven’t talked much since then. I know she found someone to date. I think she just wanted a guy, and was scared that another one would not come along.

I met another woman very quickly. We have connected better than I imagined. Her story is similar to mine as a woman. I have let her be involved with my kids, something I have not considered with any of the other women that I have been involved with. I see some real oporunity here. I struggle with how the laws and the system works, but I am not going to be scared. I won’t be having kids with anyone anymore, so if I can find someone that I could spend the next 20+ years with, I would be happy. I don’t need that to be happy, but I do like the companionship of a wife. My standards are much different than before. My view of the world is much darker than it was before. I will cautiously move forward with this woman for now. She is the first woman to not be terrified of a man with 4 kids, who is actually involved in their daily lives, and who is probably going to seek full custody of the kids soon.

The Ex and Kids

She has become more aggressive in her behaviours with my oldest. This past weekend she scratched his neck during an argument. She blames me because I embarassed her by bringing my girlfriend to the kids games over the weekend. The kids had asked for her to be there. She said something within earshot of him after the game before he left with me. He was crying and I talked to him. Explained that my feelings weren’t hurt, and that he shouldn’t have had to hear it. She brought it up the next day as she was taking them to church. He called me to come get him. Before I arrived she had taken him to church. I have asked some questions and found out that she announced to the other kids he scratched himself. So they pipe in to defend her everytime he says something. I am starting to get together documentaiton of things to seek full custody of him, and by extension all of the kids when I file for divorce. I have reached my wits end on this. I have friends and family who will testify to how she treats the kids, and I have kept some logs of things as they happened to add to that. I hope that I can get a judge who isn’t stuck in the 1960s view of the world, and can get this thing done in the best interest of the kids.

DUI Fallout

There isn’t much. I show up every month and I talk to my CSO. I pee in a cup when they ask me too, and go on with life. I have been driving, but don’t have my license back. Thank goodness I drive like an old man anyway. I took the tint out of the windows, so no one has a reason to pull me over. I will be going in to get the ignition interlock and get my license back on a restricted basis soon, so I don’t have to be quite so careful, and so I have an ID to travel with, if I need to.

That is the condensed version of my life for the last few months. Its been a roller coaster. I will be blogging more, because its theraputic for me as well. I have some things on my mind to blog about. Some of them are the things mentioned above, and some are topics of interest I have.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 2

Constantly Changing

High Dumbo Range

This has always been an issue. She has always been an unsettled person. We moved 6 times in 14 years. She left me by moving back to the city, and she doesn’t feel like she was thoughtful enough in her choice, and wants to move again. I almost believe that what precipitated the separation was a desire to move when we were upside in our house. The market killed us. We had made good money on each house up until this one. We are taking a bath in this one. We are selling a house that is more than twice the size of one of our old houses for less money than we sold that house for. It sucks. She expected that I would stay in that house, and be the one stuck while she moved up here and started her new life without me. She would be the known one at the school, and I would be one of those dads. I turned the tables a bit. I wasn’t willing to live that far away from my kids. I moved shortly after her to a place near the kids schools. I am not in the same district, but close enough to drive them there quickly. I am in the neighboring district. I don’t really care if she moves. The kids will, but I am out of the business of telling her she is making mistakes. She can do that fine on her own. I do keep notes on those mistakes. I want to make sure that I keep at least equal time with my kids. My problem is that she can’t seem to find anything in the same school district, and can’t work her schedule around school when she has the kids, so they need to ride the bus, or go to the schools near the high school she works at. This puts me in a position of choosing a place that is convenient to the schools they are in, but not very convenient to where she is looking. It will make my mornings tougher, and make getting to work harder. I hope she changes her mind for at least a year. If she is more patient, she will find a place in the district we are in now.

We have not been separated for a year yet. The schedule is constantly changing. First we were using a 2/3/5/4 schedule. It meant we were changing houses only once during the week. She had the 5/2 part of the schedule. She complained that the kids didn’t feel like they saw her as much, so at the first of the year we swapped schedules. I got the 5/2 part of the schedule. The real reason that the kids felt this way, was because they hadn’t. I took the kids to most of their practices, even when they weren’t with me. There were a number of nights that I would be there while she did something else like the gym. I would do homework, fix dinner, and get them off to showers and bed. She would come home just in time to kiss them good night. This still happens some, but I am much more apt to ask her to bring them over to me, or go get them, and have them spend the night or evening with me. She hasn’t handled my oldest well. They explode at each other. I have posted about this before, and there is more to come. He has done some crazy things in his rages at her. Rages that just don’t happen with me. She has been threatening him with having to come live with me all the time. I finally pulled the trigger, and asked that she let me have him during the week. She would have any access to him she wanted, but he would spend the night with me. He would still have his weekends with her and his siblings, and he would be with me and the other kids when they were with me. It amounted to at most 2 days a week where he may not see his siblings. I thought this was needed to give them some space to develop a new kind of relationship. She was not sold, but went along with it for a week and a half. She then talked to a counselor about him and came over and pretty much took him. She wanted to have him when the other kids weren’t there, except the weekends. The weekends would stay the same. So now he spends 5 nights a week without his siblings. A new family dynamic is being created, and its not good. They still don’t get along any better. She just doesn’t explode in front of the other kids at him. This is sad for me. I really would rather be back on a schedule where he gets to be with his siblings all the time, especially if things aren’t going to change for him and her. I am sure that by the time school starts she will want another change. I am almost tempted to propose that we do one week on, and one week off. Friday through Thursday. We would still help each other with practices, but the consistency I can provide in week, I think would be good for all of them. It would feel less harried, and give me a better work schedule.

With the moving comes changing schools. My oldest has been in 4 different school systems and is only in sixth grade. The kid who hates change keeps getting changed. Even if she doesn’t move, she is trying to change his school to one that feeds into her high school, so she can keep a better eye on him. If she moves they all will be moved to another school, because she can’t get them or pick them up from school. They will have to go to a school where they can ride the bus for her place. I can’t keep them in the same schools. If they came to my schools, I would use the bus. I would also allow them to come to my place every afternoon and start homework until she gets off work. Something she won’t allow. She also won’t go for having to pick them up every afternoon. They have all just made some new great friends, and I am sad that she might uproot them again. Without a pattern of this changing all the time, I don’t believe that I can get them residential status with me to provide that stability. I am going to have to talk to a lawyer and see if filing for that type of custody would do some good.

Changing teams is the next thing she wants to change. She has tried ever season to move my kids from one team to another. She begins bad talking the coach, and making other people feel bad about them as well. I am not happy with this. My son is being made to feel bad about a coach who loves him. A coach who cares for him probably more than anyone outside the family. A coach who does a fine job, and mostly for free, even though he should be being paid. She is doing this for my daughter, who plays on a team with my niece. My niece fought hard to get on this team, and has been a great player on the team. They have fun together, and this is one of the rare times that they get to be together with the busy life our families have with four and three kids a piece. She has told me that it is my responsibility to get them together, and that it wouldn’t be her fault they see each other less. I haven’t told her, but I would not take her to games in favor of playing with cousins if that is the choice I am forced to make. I think I will win with my daughter, but not with my son. His coach is working with us while he is suspended from playing by us for grades and school work. Any random coach who just liked how he played would drop him from the team at the first opportunity, because he is not invested in him.

I hate the fact she constantly wants to change things for my kids. I hope she will settle down, but without me to settle her in her life as a husband, I doubt that she will. I fully expect she will become more chaotic. Divorce is such a huge change for the kids. I don’t think changing the rest of their life is smart, but I don’t have all the say. I hope that my kids get through this without any more damage than necessary. I will try hard to do this on my part.

Ten-Foured,

JeD