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Old 04-21-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
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Single parents?

OK, I made an appointment with an attorney for next Monday. I wish I could have gotten it sooner but that's the first thing he had available. I just can't go on living like this and I'm 99% sure that I'm going to file for divorce. Two years ago, when I was pregnant with James, I took DJ and left dh for about a month. DH said then that if I tried to file for divorce, he would not move out of the house unless I got a court order, he would not sign anything, he would not agree to anything, and he would not even discuss it with me. He also said that he would make it as long and drawn out and painful and expensive as he could. At that time, I talked to an attorney but I really didn't like what he told me (regarding visitation, shared custody, etc.) so I told dh that I would come back on the condition that we go for marriage counselling and he quit drinking. I went to counselling once on my own and he went with me once but then I started having complications with the pregnancy and we never went back. He did quit drinking for a while, but not long. So over the past two years, things have gotten progressively worse again and I've finally given up. I've brought up going to counselling again but he always just hems and haws and makes excuses not to. Frankly, I don't think it would do any good anyway. He's not going to change, I'm not going to change, this is as good as it gets. I haven't told dh that I made an appointment with an attorney yet. He knows that I want out and every time we argue (which is pretty much every time we talk) he yells at me to get out (which is great for the kids, eh?) but I want to have my ducks in a row before I tell him anything else at this point.

So anyway, I'm trying to make a list of questions for the attorney so that I won't forget anything that I want to ask him. I'm just curious for those who have btdt, what do you wish you had done differently or is there anything I should keep in mind? Also, how did you talk to your kids about what was happening? At this point, I don't know if I will be able to kick dh out of the house or if the boys and I will have to leave and move into an apartment. I don't really care about keeping the house except that it is their home, but I definitely want to avoid having to move them twice. DJ will be 4 in July and is very sensitive. The arguing and tension and all of that kills him. But I know from when I left before and when dh is travelling for work, that he misses his daddy (Heaven knows why...he never does anything with him!) I feel like I spend half my life right now apologizing to him and telling him that Daddy's not mad at him, he's mad at me. At least with DJ though, he can tell me what he's thinking and ask me questions so I can figure out how to explain it and what to tell him. James will be 2 in July and he's still not talking at all yet so it's even harder for me to figure out how to deal with him. Neither of them are very keen on change (who is?) I try very hard never to say anything negative about their daddy to them or around them, but he doesn't worry about it. I know there's nothing I can do about that...I just have to do what I know is right and trust that they will make their own judgements as they grow up. For now though, I just don't know how to explain things to them.

So any advice on things to talk to the attorney about or things to make sure are included in the agreements or how to talk to the kids are greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-21-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: Single parents?

just based on your first paragraph sounds like he doesn't want in it either...stand your grand as best as possible. lots of love to you and your kiddos...sorry i dont' have any advice. we were 5/7 when my mom and dad divorced. seems like forever ago and i'm sure things have changed since then
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Old 04-21-2008, 02:45 PM   #3
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Re: Single parents?

i just divorced my alcoholic ex.

he was abusive towards me (tried to stab me with a screw driver -- i kicked his butt litterally...dragged him to the ground and sat on him til his daddy could come save him...i was 6 months pregnant)

make sure you tell the lawyer if you feel threatened for you or your kids. provide examples of fights/violence if any - the lawyer can use them as leverage when things get hairy!

also im in TX but i was told that even with his background we have to share custody...which means we both share the parenting responsibilities but i have the right to designate where they live - no overnight visits until they are 3 yrs old and he is not allowed to give formula to the baby (had to fight for that one!)
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: Single parents?

He hasn't gotten violent towards us yet, but he's about a half a step away. He frequently has tantrums and punches or kicks or throws things. He has shoved me a couple of times but never really tried to hurt me. If he had, I would have been gone a long time ago. I have threatened to call the police when he's having one of his tantrums but for some reason I never have. I guess I don't want to take away from all the women who truly are battered and abused when I know in my heart I'm not in any real danger. I do know that it's not good for the kids to grow up watching their daddy get mad and throw things across the house, punch the walls, kick the doors, break windows (I locked him out one night and he stood at the front door screaming and cussing and tried to break the window with his fists. I told him I was calling the police and he finally drove off for a while and I let him in when he came back home), etc.

When I talked to the lawyer before, DJ was only a year and a half and still nursing and I was pregnant with James. The lawyer that I talked to told me that dh would get overnight visits with both of them right away and there was nothing I could do about that. He said that when James was born, I might be able to get something to say that he wouldn't have to go overnight till he was 6 months old since I'd be nursing but that was the best I could hope for. Otherwise, dh would definitely get them every other weekend and four weeks in the summer. I know now that's not true because I have a friend that just went through a divorce and was able to get something in her decree saying that he couldn't take the two younger kids for overnight visits until they were 2 years old even though she was formula feeding. He was only able to visit the baby with her there until he was a year old and then was only able to take him for an afternoon at a time until he was 2. I wish I could get something saying that he can't have overnight visits but with things the way they are now, I think that both boys will be ok going overnight. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he fights for the maximum visitation allowed and then never follows through with it. If he gave a d*mn about seeing the boys, we might not be where we are.

I am hoping to get sole legal custody so that I can make all the decisions regarding the boys. I don't know if that's possible but he's never had any input into any of the major decisions (when I try to talk about things with him, he always just zones out and says to do whatever I want or whatever I think is best). He doesn't even know that I've decided not to vax the boys at this time. He just doesn't care but he could cause problems if he wants to and since he has the maturity of a 12 year old, I'd rather go ahead and get it up front that I make the decisions.

I just wish it were over with already. I want to be divorced, I just don't want to go through a divorce.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:48 PM   #5
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Re: Single parents?

I'm sorry you're dealing with this mess. All I can suggest to you is: document everything that could possibly help you in court. Drinking, hitting the walls etc. It just might be enough to get you the stipulations you need in the divorce decree. AFA I know, refusing to sign anything doesn't necessarily prevent a divorce from being finalized, but ask your attorney for sure.
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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Re: Single parents?

I'm getting ready to get a divorce from my DH.

One thing that I would suggest is to be as nice and calm as possible. Don't try to verbally "smash him into the wall", don't make him mad and don't fight things that aren't that important. The calmer and more "blase" (sp) he feels about the whole deal, the more you can get turned in your favor. I learned with my dh that the more I pi**ed him off the more he would fight my decisions with the boys...if I was nice, he could care less what I did with them (he hasn't even seen them in 5-6 months). He even voluntarily handed custody over to me (not legal yet of course, we're still married) and doesn't want visitation to even got to court right now....if I made him mad, he would for sure fight tooth and nail!
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:09 PM   #7
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Re: Single parents?

My attorney just sent me my first draft of my petition for dissolution.
I agree, I wouldn't tick him off if you can help it. I also agree on documenting everything. I did, it's in a notebook in my home but I haven't used it. Write down what he does (negative, LOL) with dates, times, whatever you think should be included.
We have a very amicable relationship for the kids at this point, and I'm not dragging that mess into it. Their dad works nights, so can't take them then. He also wants to go out and drink and party on the weekends, so he doesn't want them then either, LOL. He does, however, watch them while I'm at work. So he's like a SAHD and sees far enough of them during the week I imagine.
I asked my attorney about:
*Our house/mortgage (but kids' dad doesn't want the house anyway, I kicked him out and he said he never liked the house)
*Physical/legal custody.
*Child support
*Name change (I'm changing my last name to have both of ours in it).
*Cost
*Anything you are required to do (mediation, classes). We have to take a child in the middle class at some point while it's pending.
It sounds like I should be getting it to sign this week and will be filing shortly.
I'm trying to think of anything else I needed to ask him, or anything specific for you that you should ask.
Try a different attorney! There should be something under a certain age where they don't have overnights.

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Old 04-21-2008, 11:24 PM   #8
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Re: Single parents?

whether or not you currently feel threatened is not important when it comes to documenting. i did not feel threatened either...for 5 yrs the words just built up and he cracked out of the blue and raised his hand to me (that was his butt kickin #1) then shoved me another time (butt kickin #2) and then the screwdriver (butt kickin #3) i let my att know about these just in the event that he brought them up - but also made sure to call the police the 1st time he put his hand on me. they can document it - yes they have to come out - but imagine if he goes overboard drinking that night and does crack and hurt you. i feared WAY deep down that he may hurt me in my sleep or something - not that he really WANTED to but that he would just 'do it' to do it...i had 3 claims against him and pictures of a few bruises from him shoving or hitting me...that was enough for my att to say something to his att - and they stopped fighting.

i know here in tx (from the other moms i know that have been divorced) that standard visitation is 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends) over nights starting at 3 yrs old. that is only if the mom & dad cant come to other agreements. we agreed mon & wed every week from 530-730 and then 1st 3rd and 5th sat & sun from 12-6. so he can see them more - he's good to them just not to me. we also agree outside all the paperwork that he can now get them at 9am on sat so i can work. my ex was supposed to start seeing dd1 overnights starting in feb (yeah she'll be 3 in july -- att's thought it would be a good idea to take babysteps in seeing dad more...then threw in overnights a little early - but we agreed) ... he has not seen her over night yet. it cuts into his drinking and night life fine with me...he actually doesnt want her overnight if she is nursing at all...which yep...at almost 3 she still nurses to sleep every night as well as wakes in the middle of the night to 'hold me'

he wouldnt be able to handle missing a few hours of sleep because he had to be a daddy and actually stop thinking about himself and his sleepiness to comfort her!
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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Re: Single parents?

Thanks. The attorney I'm going to see next week is a different one than I had talked to before. This one has handled the divorces for two people at the boys' school and from what they say, he comes across kind of harsh because he's strictly business but he's very good and knows how to work things out especially where there are kids involved. We'll see what he says.

Last night, both of the boys were having a "mommy night" and neither one wanted anything to do with dh. I had gotten James out of the bathtub and he didn't want his diaper and pajamas on so I just held him wrapped in a towel for a little while. He finally settled down and got down to play, but with no clothes on. I was cutting up with him and working up to getting his clothes on but dh walked in the room and just picked him up and tried to force the issue of clothes. Well, James went into a temper tantrum and screamed until he threw up (all over dh of course! ) I wound up going in the other room to get DJ out of the bath and figured that if James couldn't see me he'd calm down but he didn't. DH finally forced his pajamas on him and then as soon as he let go of him, James came running to me (duh!) DJ dressed himself while I tried to console James and then (according to our bedtime routine) it was story time. DJ picked out a story but I was still trying to get James calm so dh offered to read to DJ. Well, DJ pitched a fit that he didn't want Daddy to read to him, he wanted Mommy. I was actually starting to feel a little sorry for dh till he kicked down the baby gate that blocks off the kitchen and stormed outside to smoke. I got James settled down and put him to bed then tried to talk to DJ. I told him that it hurt Daddy's feelings and made him sad that the boys didn't want to let him help get them ready for bed and he loves them and all that. I didn't tell him to go apologize or anything but I did encourage him in that direction. Well, when dh came back in the house, DJ went running in the kitchen and announced "I love you Daddy". DH just responded "I love you too now go get in bed." DJ told him "I want to give you a hug and tell you sorry I was mean to you" and dh just yelled at him "FINE DJ! NOW GO GET IN BED!" So DJ comes running back to me crying because he tried to be nice to Daddy but Daddy yelled at him! I wanted to tell dh he's an idiot and it's no wonder the kids don't want anything to do with him but that would have been mean and spiteful on my part so I resisted. I did let him know that DJ only wanted to love on him because he had hurt his feelings and that I had told him it was ok and that DJ was very upset when he returned his affection by yelling at him. So he yelled at me that he didn't yell at DJ. I guess DJ and I just imagined the whole scene!

I want to be very generous with him regarding visitation but I do want to have limits (no overnight girlfriends, I have to know where they are staying when he has them, no smoking or drinking when they're with him, etc.) Like I said, it won't surprise me if he fights for the maximum visitation and then doesn't follow through with it. I'm fully expecting him to move back to his parents' house which is 100 miles away so it would be too inconvenient for him to see them during the week and Heaven forbid he should go a whole weekend without drinking so even a couple of weekends a month would cramp his style. I wonder if you can get some kind of stipulation that if he doesn't do his visits regularly, he forfeits them but I doubt it. One thing that I really don't want is for him to go months without seeing the boys and then just suddenly show up wanting to play father of the year until he gets bored and disappears again. If he moves back in with his mother, I don't think she'll allow that to happen but he'll only stay with her until he finds another girlfriend that will take care of him and if he's living with a girl, I doubt he'll want the boys in the way. It's sad that he's such an idiot...we really have beautiful kids and this has the potential to be the best of both worlds for him. He likes the idea of being a father but he doesn't think that his life should change because of having kids. As the non-custodial parent, he will have the opportunity to spend time with them when it's convenient for him, spoil them rotten, and then send them home. It's the next best thing to having grandkids. He can continue to live his life the way he wants to, drinking and partying every night, sleeping all day on the weekends, playing his video games around the clock, and only have to take a break to be a daddy once in a while. Sadly, I'm afraid even that will be too much for him. And I'll be the one left to pick up the pieces and explain to the kids when he's not around.

So for those of you who are right here with me or have been recently, how do you explain it to the kids? I'm waiting to hear back from a family counsellor because I really want to see someone myself to try to help me through this and I'm sure they'll have some thoughts on the kids. We'll also have to go through the mandatory parenting class as part of the divorce although I'm not expecting that to be anything profound. It's just so hard to take such grownup concepts as marriage and divorce and break it down for toddlers.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: Single parents?

My oldest ds was almost 4 when my ex and I started the divorce. He really didn't understand it and still really doesn't get it all, but when he would ask "why don't you and daddy live together?" or "I want you and daddy to live in one house again" I would usually keep it short and simple. I would just tell him that mommy and daddy argued too much to keep living together and that it wasn't his or his brothers fault, that we loved them both very much, and want to make sure that they are happy. It wasn't very detailed and we made sure to let him know it was never either of the boys faults, it was mommy and daddys. My youngest son, is was almost 2 he didn't even act like anything was different, and he doesnt have a very big vocab, he doesnt ask but I will handle him the same way.
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