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

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

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

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

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

The Letter I Will Never Send

Package from The Letter writers alliance

Dearest Ex Wife,

I married you under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together. We promised that through good times and bad, that we would maintain this bond. We promised to be faithful to each other. We did this not only for each other, but for the future children we would have. We would build a family and live our life the best we know how. I entered into this union without an exit plan. I took vows before my God, my friends, and my family to proclaim that intended to spend the rest of my life with you as your husband. I had dreams for what our life would be like, but I also knew that things could change and that times could be hard, and may be forever, but I took those vows intending to keep them.

You married me under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together as well. When times were good, you were not there by my side, you chose the company of others. When times were bad, you blamed me for the problems we both played our part in. You promised to be faithful, yet you were not. You thought very little of our children as you chose to leave my home and make a home for yourself separate from me. You entered our union knowing that you always had an exit plan, and you continually reminded me that you could pull that trigger anytime you wanted to. You had dreams that I would support you financially and emotionally in all that you do, whether it benefited our family or not. You were prepared to break our union when things became hard, and so you have. You took these vows hoping to keep them, if they weren’t too inconvenient for your current dreams.

I offered to pay for every expense for our children. Your only obligation would be to provide a home for them when they are with you. I told you I did not want to pay the state to pay you in my stead. I was preparing to have civil papers drawn up for your review, so that we could finish our broken union peacefully. You chose to go to a lawyer and demand child support that would of put me out of my home, and have run up lawyer fees on my side alone that far exceed anything we would have spent before. You have sought every advantage to take my money as your own, not just now but for the future. You have made me desire nothing more than for my children to grow up, so I can be done with you. Every dollar that I have to give to you is a reminder of the pain that you have caused me and our children with your selfish actions.

I cry for our son, who you have no empathy for. You treat him as if there is something wrong with him. I do not miss living with you, but I do miss the opportunity to act as his shield from your rages. You have made him the bad guy of the family. The other kids do not treat him well, and this is a direct result of the way you cast him to them. I regret that we ever adopted our children, because of the pain that you have and will continue to cause them. I cried with my father before he died about this very thing. It is a horrible day when you realize that your children would have been better off, if they had not been brought into your life. The destruction you leave in your wake will live on for generations, and there is very little I can do to fix this. I can only hope that my presence and actions will give them hope as they grow up.

You will never understand these things. You believe that you have done nothing to cause others harm. You were a miserable wife, but I would have stood by your side throughout the decades, because that is the promise that we made. You have changed me forever. You have stripped me of hope for my future. My life still remains subject to your whim. You know that I will do little to manipulate you, because I try to do the right thing, and this gives you freedom to do as you please. If only you could give me the same courtesy, but I will not have that courtesy from you. You are one of the most selfish people I have ever met, and sadly I thought I could build a life with you. I should have left you the night you told me that you cheated on my after a homecoming football game. I was stupid and overly committed to our marriage to do that. Now I must pay that price.

You left me to seek happiness, but you will not find it. You will constantly be dogged by the advantage you didn’t take. You will be the victim of people who won’t put up with your behavior. You will never understand that whatever advantage you take of me, I will be more content than I have ever been. Happiness will come and go in my life. It is not a state that sticks to anyone because their life is on the right track. I will live my life to love the people who I choose to have in it, and I will be content in the fact I value them more than I have in the past. For this, I thank you. Without knowing how hard things could be, I would not understand the value of these people in my life. Without the trials that you put me through, I would not know who would stand by me. Without your willingness to walk out on me, I would not know that most people do not walk away so easily and that most people do not hang the threat over my head for advantage. Without this, I would be a slave to those people who would, but now I will not put up with it.

Your last act is your worst. You chose to interpose the state into our relationship. We could have made things work without state interference. You know have made me subject to the state to pay you for the privilege of being one parent of our children. What you do not understand at this time, is you have also made yourself subject to their authority. You have taken away our ability to just work things out, because now that the state is there, they will remain there. I would be foolish to negotiate with you without the state involved. They are now an agent in our relationship. You will not feel the impact of this perhaps for years, but feel it you will. There is a reason that most divorced women end up on the loosing end of the financial game after the kids have grown up and moved out.

I wish this was good bye, but I will have to deal with you for the rest of my life. You will be a thorn in my side for years to come, and will most certainly manipulate my children against me as you already have. It is not fair to them, but it doesn’t change that you will do as you do. I wish you find your happiness, for it goes better for my children if you do. Any ill will I have to you must be suspended, because my children’s lives are also tied to your fortunes. You are selfish, manipulative and mean. These are the things I will remember you by.

Warm Regards,

Ex Husband.

There is more I could write, but I just needed to vent a little of what I would like to put in a letter to her.

Ten-Fourend,

JeD

Child Support Power Shift

I used to have Super Human Powers

Now lets understand that I am speaking from a perspective of equal or nearly equal parenting time. I do believe that these principles apply in a larger context, but I know that they apply in this context. I think it is a pretty simple idea that money does equate to power. All other arguments aside child support is a shift in power in the parenting relationship. Some might say that it is a fair one, because neither parent should have greater power. There might be some truth to this, but not really. Its a surface argument that really doesn’t hold much water, because of human nature. The relationship already had some power boundary lines, and thus this is a change in power not maintaining marital power structures when dealing with children. Lets not pretend that a father who is actively engaged with his children is going to actively avoid his financial responsibilities without the weight of the court making him. This just isn’t the case for most men.

The System

We understand that as a rule men pay women child support. There are few exceptions to this rule, but statistically they are insignificant for what we are talking about. So the man is required to shift his power to this woman that he already is in a contentious relationship with. Now the system is set up such that the father doesn’t pay the mother, but he pays the state, and the state pays the mother, and if the father fails to pay, then there will be severe consequences down the road. Now the system has chosen sides. They are on the side of the other. They don’t care if the father can sustain a house for his family, they only care for whether the mother can. The court may not agree, but you have to get to court to fix it. The system is transparently anti-father. The only protection the father has, is the mother cannot claim that he is not paying when he does pay, but in most cases he doesn’t have a choice, because it is taken straight out of his paycheck before he ever gets to see it.

Right to Determine Your Financial Future

Lets say a father loses his job or has a reduction in pay. It is his responsibility to take that to court and get a change in support orders. He won’t have as much money to do this, and is in a position where any savings he has is precious to make it through the income change. Until such time that there is a change, he still has to pay the previous order. If the judge decides that he is lazy or shirking his responsibilities to his children then he might be ordered to maintain support at current levels. He does not have a choice to seek lesser employment to have more time with his kids, because the payments will surely not change. He no longer has the right to work as much or as little as he pleases, because it was established that he is required to support his kids at a minimum level determined by the court when the child support order was originally issued. This of course was a freedom that he had when he was married to the mother. To be clear, once a child support order is in place, the man loses his right to determine his lifestyle unless he chooses to improve his financial position. He must also understand that every time that he chooses to improve his financial position, he also chooses to improve the mother of his children’s position, because she will go after more child support. The child support guidelines state that they are seeking to maintain the children’s lifestyle after divorce, but if that were merely the case, then increased income would have no bearing on future child support orders. All orders would be based on the income levels of the father at the time of separation of the parents.

Now lets reverse things. The mother decides to work less or earn less or is fired or has a forced reduction in pay, what happens? Well in many cases, the system will increase the father’s child support. In some cases it will have to go to court, but it is rare that they impute income on the mother and maintain support at the current levels. There are cases where she remarries a man who can provide for her to stay at home, and the father is then required to pay child support as if she has no earnings. I do believe that these cases are becoming rarer and rarer, but they do exist. The thing is, if she doesn’t take it to court or the system, she just chooses to stop working, then she is magically no longer required to provide her portion of the child’s support. There is no government agency charged with ensuring that she is earning the money and providing it to the children’s benefit. She is free to make these decisions in her life, and even if the court imputes income on her, she can simply adjust her budget based on the loss of income. So in the worst cases the father pays if the mother has a change in income, and in the best cases she is not penalized by her behavior any further than she has to herself.

The Children’s Perception

There are two ways that this goes. The first is this. Mom provide everything. The father has paid for not only the kids needs but a chunk of the mother’s lifestyle through child support. He has provided on top of that things the children don’t see, but the child sees mom providing everything. She pays for school fees, she pays for activities, she pays for all the tangible things that the children see. They don’t know or understand that their dad is paying for these things through their mother. Depending on the mother involved, she may or may not leverage this to her advantage, but very few will correct their children’s perspective on the issue.

The other way goes like this. The mother constantly informs the kids that their father isn’t paying enough in child support. That they cannot do the things they want to, because dad doesn’t pay enough. She creates a constant divide between the father and the child using child support as the tool. This is direct manipulation and it is cruel to all involved. It is also a tool that the father is not able to use with the children. This is a tool that only the person paid child support has.

Justice

The only justice is a natural one. Men have to figure out how to live on less than they actually earn. They have to find a way to make ends meet, and over time develop better spending habits. They get their life together, and over time make do with this new life. As the children grow up and leave the house, the father will no longer have to pay child support, but now have a lifestyle that doesn’t require that money. At that point they can start to use that money to bolster retirement and other savings that they had neglected to support the mother of their children.

The flip side of this, is the mother has this money coming in, and it abruptly stops as the kids grow into adults. They have a lifestyle that required this money, but they no longer have a legal right to that money. They go deep into debt and have an end result of them not being able to make ends meet. Her cushy life living off her ex has come to an end. Not all women fall to this plight. The few good ones actually use the money for their children only and don’t bolster their lifestyle using the money at all. They come out alright, but in truth these women tend to take different routes like the one I will mention next in the modern divorce paradigm.

A Better Way

The modern world is not so harsh to women in the work place. When they put in the work, they will achieve like the men or better. The system should assume that people who are parenting together can figure out the day to day expenses together. It should assume that unless the parents agree to something different, that all expenses for school, activities and healthcare is going to be split 50/50. No power shift here. Most men who do earn more than the other parent will pay more to ensure their kids are taken care of. Remember we are talking about men who are involved in their children’s life. I would further suggest that the proportion should be based on the time you spend with the kids. A deadbeat dad would be a dad who spends no time with his kids. Mom foots the bill for everything in this case. There currently is a financial advantage to having the kids more, so mother’s will argue for more time, knowing that more money will come their way. A mother who has the kids 80% of the time should have to pay 80% of the expenses. Allow social pressures of fathers who want less involvement to get them to support their children. In my opinion, the time with the children is much more valuable than the money. The system should assume that time is 50/50, and in turn that expenses are 50/50. This would be a fair result. This allows for both parents to determine their futures without influence from the other parent by using the courts and the system against them.

I know this is not perfect, and it would mean that in the cases where a woman is truly abandoned with her children the system would have be more involved in providing for them. I think the freedom that the average guy would have in this is so much more important. Right now divorce equates to loss of freedom for the man in most cases. He no longer has complete freedom in determining his future. This is not good for society, and it is leading to the the upcoming generation of men choosing to not engage in productive activities that lead to having families. Not only is this not good for society, but it ultimately is not good for them. I can’t argue that they should make a different decision in this culture.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

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

After A Deep Breath…

Deep breath

… and a talk with a lawyer, I can sleep again. He pulled up the filing and the words out of his mouth were “Holy shit, this is fucked up” Turns out that with all that with the arrangements we are seeking child support is roughly a third what she had, especially after the right figure was put in for my income, and she would be responsible for all direct expenses. The only negotiating point is the non-recreational sports they are involved in. No big deal if those expenses are split. We keep clothes and necessities at both houses, so she doesn’t need money to supply me with those things.

I have found that the only thing that makes me panic is loss of time with my kids. Nothing else can throw me into sleepless nights anymore. Well maybe fear that harm is coming to them. I now am confident that I won’t be broke when this is done, and I can relax a little. She will throw a temper tantrum over the hearing that fixes her orders already filed.

She won’t be nice through the process, but that’s okay. I am confident that my estimates are conservative enough that I will come out happier with the results than I was planning on. I found out that not only have the equal parenting time revisions been published in April 2012 in my state, but there was further guidance and pressure to the courts to use it in August 2012. This is all fantastic, and confirms that I was right to wait. I wish I had filed first, but things should still work out fine this way. I meet with the lawyer tomorrow morning to hire him and get moving.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Hard Lesson Learned

Lesotho - Maseru Qoaling School - John Hogg - 090626 (14)

I tried hard to get an agreement with my wife that worked for both of us. I was informed this morning that she filed for divorce. I spent most of the day stressing over what she put in the temporary orders. Something that of course we haven’t needed for the last almost two years to make things work. She has now gone after child support based on bogus numbers. Child support that will if I can’t get it fixed put me in a position that I cannot afford to continue to live where I live now. I live in a 3 bedroom duplex. When I have my kids there are 5 of us in this duplex. On top of that I am expected to pay 1/2 of all their expenses. Literally child support doesn’t pay for their extra-curricular, school, or medical expenses. I know this is not a shocker to anyone reading this, but it pisses me off that I am supposed to pay those in proportion to our gross incomes, but after child support her monthly income is greater than mine. This just reinforces to me that child support is bogus in most cases where the father is actively involved. I have the kids 1/2 the time or better. I will not be able to maintain a home that can fit my family when this is done. I continue to cut expenses hoping to get ahead, yet my ex keeps finding ways to increase my expenses related to children. I hate her. I really do. I can’t even say she changed. I was blind to what she was. She is truly a horrible human being, and only cares for herself.

I was hoping to stay off using the adversarial system, but she has changed the game on that. Greed of course has driven her. I stand to lose in this system. The question is by how much do I stand to lose. I hope that I can afford a lawyer that can do something to limit that loss. If not, then I stand to lose time with my children, because I will paying for all their shit. I am sure that they will love me for that, because stuff is really what matters. Not time with their father. If I am lucky, I will have a wonderful new wife/girlfriend who will at least tell them how great I am while I work my second and third job to pay the home they stay in when they are with me. I actually do have a girlfriend who is pretty great, and much better with a limited budget than I am. I can hope that she really does figure out some ways to help me out there. We plan on combining households this summer. I was nervous about it before, but now it seems that may be the only way I can find a way out of this mess. I do love her, and she seems to be in every way the opposite of my ex, so at least she brings new problems to the table if there are some.

I am disgusted that in divorce the children are used as the leverage for me to continue to pay for the lifestyle of a woman who chose not to be with me. I can only hope that she remains as bad at budgeting as she is now, and that she is blindsided as the kids age out of support, and she goes bankrupt and miserable alone with a bunch of fucking cats she can’t feed anymore. I know that sounds awful, but as it stands now my divorce will cost me half a million dollars when you consider that amount of money that I have to send to her in the name of the kids. Money I could just as easily just pay the expenses with. Instead I have to pay her. What does this do? This shifts the balance of power to her. The person with the money has the power. The government ensures that women get the power.

Ten-Foured,

JeD