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STBX wants 50/50 visitation with school aged kids!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

We are FINALLY getting to the last stages of our divorce proceedings.

 

The kids are 10,9 and 6.

 

We were married for 10 years. He has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He was emotionally and psychologically abusive to me during our marriage. Including having an affair which lasted 7 of the 10 years we were married, probably longer.

 

I was the primary caregiver for our children. I was a SAHM when I could be, and worked as a nurse off-shifts so I could be home for them during waking hours.

 

I went back to work 2 weeks after my last baby was born because he didn't have a job. When we were married he worked only 2 out of 10 years. Otherwise, he was an "independent contractor".

 

He got a job this last spring after we had been separated for over 6 months. Prior to that, he lived with his parents and didn't work. He finally got his own apartment in April/May of this year.

 

Since our separation he has them every Weds overnight and every other weekend. He was paying me $200/week child support without an order up until 2 weeks ago.

 

This is when he decided he wanted 50/50 visitation. Over 14 days we each have the kids 7 days, with no more than 3 days between visits. Of course, this hasn't been implemented yet.

 

He gives no reason for this. My guess is that he doesn't want to pay chilld support.

 

I was laid off 2 weeks ago and am going back to school. I've cut my expenses way back, living in a small but comfortable home, driving a small, paid-off vehicle etc etc.

 

He is moving from an apartment he pays $1300/month for to a 3500sf house at $2200/month. He has a $780/month truck payment. He claims he makes 50k a year. He is moving in with his girlfriend and her 3 kids which she has 50/50 visitation with. IMO, he is living beyond his means (which he has always done) and just doesn't want to pay me.

 

I am adamantly opposed to the 50/50 visitation because I don't think it's good for school aged kids. They need a "home base". I am the primary caregiver and would still remain responsible for all the "detail" type parenting tasks. It's always been deferred to me. He's helpless.

 

He is talking to the kids about it. Telling them that I was trying to keep him from seeing them, trying to take them away. Last night he was asking them if they wanted 50/50 or wanted to keep things how they are. I think it's ENTIRELY inappropriate for him to be talking to them about this stuff. I respectfully asked him to stop. He says their input counts and "someone" needs to speak up for them.

 

I have retained an attorney this week and we have a 4-way meeting next week before a Pre-Trial hearing. Is it possible that the courts will be ok with his proposed arrangement? What can I do to mitigate the damage he is causing them by talking to them about these "grown up" issues?!

 

He has always manipulated me and is doing it to the kids now. Is that considered abusive?

 

Thanks for reading.

post #2 of 12

Yes, it is abusive.  I feel for you.  My ex is also a narcissist - though thankfully we separated when my son was still a baby, so he has not been a daily influence.  But like yours, he speaks very inappropriately about me and our issues to our son, and that's horrid - since he hasn't stopped in spite of me asking him to, and in spite of the part of our divorce agreement that specifies that he not do so (!) - I have had to simply speak openly and honestly to my son (age 10) about it.  I don't slam his father, I keep it about the behavior as much as possible.  I have said that I want him to enjoy the time they have together, and am happy that he has a father who wants to spend time with him, because our son deserves that.  But that ex makes decisions not always based on what's best for anyone else, but himself.  My son has actually seen this, simply in the way ex treats people at times, so he does seem to get in, and in spite of ex's open disrespect of me, my son is very respectful with me.  He seems aware of his father's downfalls, but also knows he can tell me when they have fun (or even when ex does something bothersome) and that I will listen politely and be glad for him when it's good.  I never wanted to drag him into any of the details, but ex's behavior was too openly abhorrent to be able to ignore.  I guess my point is, what while I'm sure you don't want to put your children in the middle, it is okay to explain to them that you certainly aren't trying to keep them from him, that you want their lives to remain stable and happy.

 

I'm with you on the 50/50 thing, I don't think that's a stable arrangement either.  And especially not to spend more time with a narcissist who will NEVER put their needs ahead of his own!  If you haven't done so, make a list and keep track of all the duties you have always performed as the primary caregiver.  Also, does your lawyer know and understand that your ex is a narcissist and of the manipulation tactics?  I'm not sure if the 4-way phone call is some kind of mediation, but it doesn't seem one can mediate with a narcissist because nothing you say will be good enough.

 

I have also been looking into possible counseling for my child, because though he seems balanced about this presently, I want him to know he can speak up for himself when ex tries his nasty manipulation tactics on him as he grows older.  Because narcissists are nasty to anyone close to them - any way your ex acted with you, he will act with the kids.  If they haven't seen it already, they will.  So don't be afraid to stick to your plan and keep it at visitation and not split custody and don't be afraid to tell them why.  As long as you speak respectfully when discussing it (which I'm sure your ex doesn't) they will see eventually that you are taking the high road.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply!

 

The kids see the counselor at school. I requested this last Fall when we first separated.

 

Yep, the 4-way is required mediation to try and attempt to make an agreement to present to the Judge at the Pre-Trial Conference. I know he won't budge.

 

I try and take the high road, but worry that "the good guy finishes last" and that it will end up working against me. At the same time, I know those kids love their Dad. They are too young to see him for what he is and it's not up to me to show them. I do my best to speak well of him to them. I do correct miscommunication with them, when I know it's happened. I want them to feel like they can talk to me if anything he says doesn't make sense to them, but at the same time I don't want them to feel like they are "telling" on him, KWIM?

 

Gah. As if living with this man wasn't crazy-making enough, now he is passing it onto the kids and that is just viscious IMO. I can't believe he would ever say those things to them! That's Parenting 101!!

 

I'm waiting to hear from my attorney now as to what steps I should be taking. The Pre-Trial came up really quickly. I filed last December and haven't heard a squeak from the court since then. All of a sudden I have 2.5 weeks to prepare for the battle of a lifetime. I'm just trying to focus and do what I have to do.

post #4 of 12

(((HUGS))) I can also relate.. my ex is a narcissist too. But mine is seeking SOLE custody, instead of 50/50. Just because he wants it NOW, doesn't mean that he gets it now.. he has to take you to court over it, and from the looks of his expenses it doesn't seam like he has that kind of money. If he is worried about 200/m CS, how is he going to pay 1000's in court costs?

 

In my case, his mother pays for everything (as she always has), so he doesn't have to worry about the costs of taking me to court over custody.

post #5 of 12

Good thread.  

 

First, hugs.  Yes, it is abusive.

 

I am fighting for custody (my ex is seeking sole custody....he is out of state).  It would be awful for him to win for the kids for them (he loves them, he just doesn't have it in him to be a full-time dad and get it right...) but he is fighting because his view of the facts are so warped...and he wants to hurt me.

 

Don't do the 50/50 if you can avoid (depends on the state...some states prefer...) but try to figure out how to deal with this without huge costs.  I have spend almost $100K on the custody fight so far, and my ex is not stopping even though the latest ruling from the judge said that it was clear I was always the primary parent and that residential custody was best with me (he is getting money from his family to fight this fight)..  If your ex has a narcissistic personality disorder, I suspect that he, like my ex, will fight for the sake of fighting and continuing to hurt me in the only way available to him anymore...

 

I agree he should not be talking to them about this stuff.  These are the issues that the grown-ups decide.  Sounds like parental alienation to me.

 

Stay strong.  Listen to your attorney.  And hug your kids...

 

 

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tccandlsccmom View Post

Good thread.  

 

First, hugs.  Yes, it is abusive.

 

I am fighting for custody (my ex is seeking sole custody....he is out of state).  It would be awful for him to win for the kids for them (he loves them, he just doesn't have it in him to be a full-time dad and get it right...) but he is fighting because his view of the facts are so warped...and he wants to hurt me.

 

Don't do the 50/50 if you can avoid (depends on the state...some states prefer...) but try to figure out how to deal with this without huge costs.  I have spend almost $100K on the custody fight so far, and my ex is not stopping even though the latest ruling from the judge said that it was clear I was always the primary parent and that residential custody was best with me (he is getting money from his family to fight this fight)..  If your ex has a narcissistic personality disorder, I suspect that he, like my ex, will fight for the sake of fighting and continuing to hurt me in the only way available to him anymore...

 

I agree he should not be talking to them about this stuff.  These are the issues that the grown-ups decide.  Sounds like parental alienation to me.

 

Stay strong.  Listen to your attorney.  And hug your kids...

 

 



Geez.. did we all marry/divorce the same man!?

post #7 of 12

This is an outside strategy that may not even sound reasonable BUT, maybe you could tell him you won't push for more child support if he leaves you alone regarding custody.  Not only that, but if the kids have been with you all along, I was told in my state (Virginia) that basically the deed is done--they live where they live.  That's how it's done in Virginia anyway.  Mine has been pretty good about that,but lately the holiday thing is becoming an issue all over again.  It's screwed up because it's all in writing and I know he's too lazy to take me to court to try to do something different after all this time.  OMG I hope I never marry again.  I'd love a boyfriend but never want to be in this position ever again.

post #8 of 12

I have a few questions for you, warning there is quite a bit, but more information is needed:

 

1.  What state are you in?  This will play a big factor as  a few states do have the presumption of 50/50 phsyical.  In those states, you are going to have a hard time preventing it without cause. 

 

2.  Is the current plan signed off on by the judge?  This will make it easier to argue for the status quo.

 

3.  Has he been utilizing all of this time or does he skip his time or return them early on a regular basis?  The answer to this will also determine how successful you are in your fight.

 

4.  Have you been documenting the parenting plan?

 

5.  How close will he be living to you?  If he is an hour away, he isn't likely to be successful, even if you are in a state with a 50/50 presumption.

 

6.  Can the kids handle a 50/50 schedule? 

 

If you are in a state that has a presumption of 50/50 physical, you will probably lose.  But you can make it clear that he is expected to actually parent them during that time.  If the kids are sick during his days, he is the one who has to take off from work to take care of them.  If the school is closed or closes early for inclement weather during his time, he is the one who has to take off from work to care for the kids.  And since he has them 50% of the time, he will have to provide a wardrobe at his place at his expense.  There is no need for the kids to have to take a bag back and forth.   This may be enough to make him change his mind.  I know that would stop my ex should he ever ask for 50/50.

 

 

And if he does get 50/50, he may still end up paying child support.  In fact, some states don't take parenting time into consideration at all. 

 

Oh, and I would also push for a very strongly worded ROFR (right of first refusal). 

post #9 of 12

Hugs mama. Sending prayers for you. Custody battles are ugly... My ex fought for sake of hurting me and it took it's toll on all of us.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

 


My answers are in bold.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodmom2008 View Post

I have a few questions for you, warning there is quite a bit, but more information is needed:

 

1.  What state are you in? MA

This will play a big factor as  a few states do have the presumption of 50/50 phsyical.  In those states, you are going to have a hard time preventing it without cause. 

 

2.  Is the current plan signed off on by the judge? Not yet. I filed last December when he was unemployed and living with his parents. We were trying to do it Pro Se. I thought the Child Support portion only addressed CS which I wasn't pursuing at the time because he wasn't working. It never occurred to me that I'd have to have the custody portion signed off for. My Atty says regardless, it's the status quo since he moved out which he can't deny.

  This will make it easier to argue for the status quo.

 

3.  Has he been utilizing all of this time or does he skip his time or return them early on a regular basis? Most of the time he does take them. There are occasions where he's had work or meetings and we've had to trade days. Most recently, he couldn't take them for the weekend or his Weds and he only took them for a few hours on my weekend to "make up" for it while I attended a wedding.   The answer to this will also determine how successful you are in your fight.

 

4.  Have you been documenting the parenting plan? Not until a couple weeks ago. As in, keeping a journal of the time he is with them and with me and what they tell me or what I know as fact?

 

5.  How close will he be living to you? He currently lives about 40 mins away from me. He is moving into the same area as I live on October 1st. Renting our old house with his GF and her 3 children which she has 50/50.  If he is an hour away, he isn't likely to be successful, even if you are in a state with a 50/50 presumption.

 

6.  Can the kids handle a 50/50 schedule? I don't think they can. The arrangement I came up with had us going no more than 3 days without seeing each other but had more "windshield" time. His proposal is no more than 5 days without seeing each other. Less switch offs but I don't think they can go that long without seeing me. I know I can't. I think with their activities it woud be too hard for them to keep track. Things are already getting forgotten. Plus at this age I think they need a home base.

 

If you are in a state that has a presumption of 50/50 physical, you will probably lose.  But you can make it clear that he is expected to actually parent them during that time.  If the kids are sick during his days, he is the one who has to take off from work to take care of them.  If the school is closed or closes early for inclement weather during his time, he is the one who has to take off from work to care for the kids.  And since he has them 50% of the time, he will have to provide a wardrobe at his place at his expense.  There is no need for the kids to have to take a bag back and forth.   This may be enough to make him change his mind.  I know that would stop my ex should he ever ask for 50/50.  This is what I think. I think a lot of this stuff will fall to his GF because she doesn't work during the day. She is a waitress and works evenings. He has a full-time job and has to travel to Boston etc on occasion and is "on call" 24 hours a day for emergencies. (He does fire, water, storm restoration). He wasn't 50% of a parent when we were married and he was unemployed. I don't know how he thinks he's going to do it now. :(

 

 

And if he does get 50/50, he may still end up paying child support.  In fact, some states don't take parenting time into consideration at all. 

 

Oh, and I would also push for a very strongly worded ROFR (right of first refusal). 



 

post #11 of 12

MA is a joint legal preference only.  This means that you and your stbx will have joint legal custody (mostly pertains to major decision such as school, major medical decisions and religion). 

 

The longer you can document how the schedule the two of you agreed on in the beginning and how often he doens't exercise all of it, the better it is for your case.

 

He can deny anything he wants.  He can also make the claim that you refused to let him see the kids (this is why you documenting when the kids are with you and with him and whenever he has asked for more time is a good idea) and that that is why he has the schedule that is currently being exercised. 

 

Plus, he has the argument that he lived 40 minutes away, which is why the schedule was what it was.  Now that he lives closer, he is more able to handle more time.  And a judge just may agree with him, especially with school age kids.  If they were toddlers, that would be different.

 

This is where ROFR comes in.  What this will do is insure that you will get them over his girlfriend. 

post #12 of 12

in the eyes of the court your children are no longer young, the youngest being 6. 

 

talking to his kids about this is a big no no. coz they themselves don't know.

 

instead of saying no you can talk to him about doing it gradually. do regular 3 days and then add a 4. let him do that for a couple of months and then try 5.

 

i am sorry but the age of your kids are not where the court will look upon ur request very well.

 

if ur ex will listen to reason (thankfully my narcis. ex still emotionally abusing me over the phone and in conversation - we mostly communicate thru email - tries to be a involved dad to dd and what he is as an ex is completely different to what he is as a dad) try to negotiate with him. when you talk to him take the your child needs approach.

 

i noticed ex was more open to what i had to say if i said dd needs.

 

he sounds like an involved father taking them on his days.

 

respectfully mama no court is going to look at your argument of '50/50 is damaging for school aged kids" favorably. this is the reality all around us. 50/50 co-parenting is almost the norm these days in two household families. at least 30% of dd's classmates from grade 1 have spent one week with mom and one week with dad. that doesn't mean that is what has to happen with you. in our case it is alternate days during the week and then i have her over the weekend. though the time is not divided 50/50 and its more like 70/30 i still call it 50/50 and that's what works for dd.

 

i am hoping your lawyer will support you in all your wishes. be v. specific with what you put in your order including ROFR. 

 

unfortunately even though you dot all your eyes and cross all your t's its all left to the discretion of the judge. 

 

i would say have two plans in mind just for backup. 

 

 

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