My STBXH, who since our separation in September said over and over again that he did not want physical custody and at MOST wanted one overnight a week, has now completely spun around and is demanding 50/50 custody. We have been in mediation for months and it looks like he's about to walk away from it. The closest he would come to a compromise was saying he would take 6 overnights in a 2 wk period.
I'm just so terrified of this whole process. I'm in shock over the man he has become--this person bears no resemblance to the man I married and I feel like our children are pawns that he is using to control and punish me. I'm fairly certain that his only reasons for wanting this custody arrangement are a) he wants to pay as little child support as possible and b) he wants to punish me. Up until literally days ago he said things like "I don't care if I have no contact or relationship with them." He refused to care for our children on his agreed upon day when our son had stomach flu and I had to call off work, he will never take them when I need a babysitter for something and has told me not to even ask him. He's spoken with a lawyer and now everything he's saying has changed. He's done lots of things over the last few months that have been controlling, abusive, stalking, etc. He is alleging that I've been having affairs throughout our marriage, which is absolutely untrue. I spent one evening (not an overnight) with an old friend of mine (and was intimate with him), a month after STBXH and I agreed to divorce, and STBXH burst in on us at 1am, after apparently driving by our house after he got off work and seeing a car in the driveway. He has used this one incident (which I am kicking myself for bc, while I don't really think I did anything wrong, it has escalated him so much) to try and make me look like the town whore who exposes our children to strange men (they were both sleeping on another floor of the house the whole time, I had a monitor in the room).
A couple of weeks ago he came over to our house, where I still live with our two children, and after having a very hostile conversation with me he ended up restraining me twice and physically blocking me from going up the stairs to go to bed, when i said that I wanted the conversation to end since he was being so verbally abusive. I fought him and yelled and even bit him for several minutes before he let me go, the first time, and then he did it again in the kitchen a few minutes later. No hitting though, and no bruises, and no proof of anything. I didn't call the police, I had no idea what to think and honestly didn't get it together enough until a few days ago to really realize that that is behavior that he needs to be held responsible for.
Our mediator has indicated that our chances of getting what we want in terms of custody basically depend on which judge we get. One judge who gets 50% of cases almost always awards 50/50 if one parent asks for it. The others would likely be more sympathetic to my requested schedule, but that's a 50/50 chance of getting one of them. I just can't wrap my brain around how horrible this all is, and that judges wouldn't think that all of this indicates that his motives for demanding this many overnights with our kids are not genuine. Our daughter is 3.5 and our son is 1 and he has NEVER done overnight parenting with my son. He has barely slept in the same room with us since he was born and has had no solo overnights with them at all (ever, but also) since we've been separated. How could a judge rule that 50/50 is in the best interests of our very young, still breastfeeding children who have never spent more than 12 hours away from me? I'm hoping this is not true.
I've contacted our local DV Safehouse, am moving out of our home into my sister's house (our house is on the market and XH lives in a rented room downtown). I've also contacted a lawyer and will speak with her tomorrow.
I keep thinking that I don't want to try to take away his time with them, I don't want to be unfair to him, I don't want to "fight dirty" or do any of this. I want us to agree that equal parenting doesn't have to mean equal overnights and come to an agreement--I want us to remember that we made a commitment to parent these children and to honor and respect each other that we should really uphold.
But he doesn't seem to care about any of that. He's not playing fair, he's not being rational, he's not being truthful or kind or respectful. He's not thinking about their emotional or cognitive ability to cope with and understand what he's asking for. He's just enraged. And that totally and completely freaks me out.
I know that every situation and judge are different. I'm not looking for advice. I just have talked ad nauseum about this and can't stop thinking about it and needed to get it out in a forum with other empathic souls. I appreciate your eyes and ears.