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LOTS of questions, help me figure out divorce...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

DH doesn't know I'm leaving him yet but he knows things are not good between us. 

We've been married 6 years.

We have 3 kids, 1 has autism and would not do well in public school at all so I have to figure out how to be a single mom who works from home so I can home school. 

I feel like he will sign whatever agreement I give him, may not even read it (his nature) so I need help with what to include.

 

What do I say if I want full custody? He hates being a parent so I am 90% sure he'll agree but I want to know what language to use. Is there an all-encompassing term for physical, legal, medical, etc custody? I also want open visitation with 3 days notice so he can see them as often as he wants to, is that reasonable? We will be staying in the same town to facilitate his relationship with the kids until he PCS's.

What is reasonable child support to ask for? He's an E-6 in the army and like I said, there are 3 kids including at least 1 special needs kid (we have another kid in ECI for SPD but it's not a medical dx).

My parents want me to ask for 400-500 per kid per month but I don't know if that's reasonable or not. We will have no debt at all when it's all final so he'll be bringing home twice his living expenses, or more.

Also is it reasonable to deny overnight visits until the youngest is 5? He has a history of anger problems and I want them old enough to tell me if something happens. My oldest can't convey that type of info.

I have a couple cards in my hand. Pictures of the boys with handprints on them (one on my special child's face) from him hitting them (spanking/smacking). The fact that he was dx bipolar and didn't tell the army about it (he's now in intelligence). The fact that he is unstable (went AWOL last year and was suicidal). 

 

If there's a chance he *could* (not that he would) get more custody than me, I don't want to leave. I'd rather suffer than let him have the boys alone. I feel like open visitation is best because he can be a dad when he wants and he's not forced.

 

If we want to do this on our own I know we have to submit our agreement to a judge and have it signed, etc. I need a lawyer huh? When do I go about getting one? I know I can get a JAG lawyer if I get there first, so should I go see them before I tell DH I'm leaving?

post #2 of 9

IDK how the military works but if you have ac cess to JAG get yourself over there asap.

Most places have a child support calculator and extras for special needs etc.

post #3 of 9

you should def. see a lawyer first, and if you can get a JAG, all the better.

 

Always request the max child/spousal support that the law allows - it's generally dependent on your state guidelines, but is probably different for military. It's usually based on a percentage of income for the non-custodial parent and can also take into account the amount of visitation (many fathers try to get a 50/50 agreement so they can pay less in child support)

 

For visitation, I started with offering the same time Daddy already was with the kids. In our case it was breakfast every day and all day Sunday (he moved into the house next door so that set-up was easy for us for the first few years, we dropped it a couple of years ago when he got a job farther away and started dating someone who lives 20 miles away). We added a dinner/overnight after about 6 months and then a second a little while after that. my kids were 3 & 7 when he moved out so we started slowly to get the little one adjusted. We eventually started alternating Saturdays, too, so that I got a full weekend once in a while and changed to EOW plus Sunday afternoons, also when he started dating and wanted more non-kid time to spend w/ his GF. It's about 35% visitation now (about half of that they spend sleeping)

post #4 of 9

 (Just FYI, I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice, this is simply from my own research/experience.)

 

What you are describing is that you will have sole legal and physical custody with reasonable visitation to the father.  Basically, that means the kids live with you, you have final say in decision making regarding both daily decisions and big decisions like education, medical, religion etc.  Dad retains the right to visit the kids on whatever schedule you guys agree on (with you having final say.) 

 

Probably the only way you will get the above is if he agrees to it, unless you have very strong evidence of severe abuse, possibly drug problems, etc. 

 

I imagine that when he is deployed, you would be able to get something saying you have sole legal custody during that time (kind of like him signing over power of attorney?) but I don't have any actual experience with that.  Otherwise, the standard is definitely that parents share legal custody, and he would likely be given a set visitation schedule as well if he asked for it-at least EOW plus a weeknight dinner is the standard bare minimum here. 

 

If you think he will agree, then by all means write it down and go for it.  You can dig up the forms on the internet or law library and file yourself, but in this case I would definitely try to get the JAG lawyer first.  I don't know how custody works with active duty military, so I'm sure it would be helpful to get those questions answered. 

 

FWIW, my stbx started off saying I could have whatever I wanted (sole custody etc.), then quickly flipped to threatening to take me to court for full full custody.  I'm sure we'll end up somewhere in the middle.  Good luck. 

post #5 of 9

Honestly it doesn't sound like you will be able to get sole legal and physical, so go for the minimum which for me was eow and one evening every other week. Due to holidays etc this makes it a 80/20 split. You will also find that you like the routine of knowing when he should have the kids so you can make plans. 

As to the over nights, he is going to have to learn how to parent, it is only fair to the children that they get to spend time with him.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubelin View Post

you should def. see a lawyer first, and if you can get a JAG, all the better.

 

Always request the max child/spousal support that the law allows - it's generally dependent on your state guidelines, but is probably different for military. It's usually based on a percentage of income for the non-custodial parent and can also take into account the amount of visitation (many fathers try to get a 50/50 agreement so they can pay less in child support)

 

For visitation, I started with offering the same time Daddy already was with the kids. In our case it was breakfast every day and all day Sunday (he moved into the house next door so that set-up was easy for us for the first few years, we dropped it a couple of years ago when he got a job farther away and started dating someone who lives 20 miles away). We added a dinner/overnight after about 6 months and then a second a little while after that. my kids were 3 & 7 when he moved out so we started slowly to get the little one adjusted. We eventually started alternating Saturdays, too, so that I got a full weekend once in a while and changed to EOW plus Sunday afternoons, also when he started dating and wanted more non-kid time to spend w/ his GF. It's about 35% visitation now (about half of that they spend sleeping)

I feel I would rather him pay less support and less custody. Kwim? I like how y'all did visitation, though I wonder how it would work if daddy didn't live next door? 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

 (Just FYI, I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice, this is simply from my own research/experience.)

 

What you are describing is that you will have sole legal and physical custody with reasonable visitation to the father.  Basically, that means the kids live with you, you have final say in decision making regarding both daily decisions and big decisions like education, medical, religion etc.  Dad retains the right to visit the kids on whatever schedule you guys agree on (with you having final say.) 

 

Probably the only way you will get the above is if he agrees to it, unless you have very strong evidence of severe abuse, possibly drug problems, etc. 

 

I imagine that when he is deployed, you would be able to get something saying you have sole legal custody during that time (kind of like him signing over power of attorney?) but I don't have any actual experience with that.  Otherwise, the standard is definitely that parents share legal custody, and he would likely be given a set visitation schedule as well if he asked for it-at least EOW plus a weeknight dinner is the standard bare minimum here. 

 

If you think he will agree, then by all means write it down and go for it.  You can dig up the forms on the internet or law library and file yourself, but in this case I would definitely try to get the JAG lawyer first.  I don't know how custody works with active duty military, so I'm sure it would be helpful to get those questions answered. 

 

FWIW, my stbx started off saying I could have whatever I wanted (sole custody etc.), then quickly flipped to threatening to take me to court for full full custody.  I'm sure we'll end up somewhere in the middle.  Good luck. 

This is my worst fear. :(

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post

Honestly it doesn't sound like you will be able to get sole legal and physical, so go for the minimum which for me was eow and one evening every other week. Due to holidays etc this makes it a 80/20 split. You will also find that you like the routine of knowing when he should have the kids so you can make plans. 

As to the over nights, he is going to have to learn how to parent, it is only fair to the children that they get to spend time with him.

I don't want the kids to not spend time with him..I don't want the kids to spend time with someone whose idea of parenting is to scream at them and spank/hit them. I have a picture of my 4 yo autistic child with a hand print across his face. I want him to learn how to parent, but not at the expense of the kids.

post #7 of 9

Texas is an expanded parenting time state.  Which means that it is not the standard EOW with a dinner during the week.  And if you end up with joint legal(which is the norm), the joint legal has teeth in it.  Which means it goes beyond just him giving his input on major decisions.  But I don't see why a judge won't sign off onto an agreement that states you have sole legal custody (which means that you get to make all decisions, where they go to school, religion, medical care, etc..).  As for child support, it doesn't take parenting time into consideration and I don't think that you can stray from what the guidelines state (an attorney would better be able to answer this question). 

 

As for him getting custody, well, your argument is that you are not the one working for an employer who is known to move their employees around, even deploy them to a war zone. 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks I didn't know that about Texas. We have decided to stay married but...I'm starting school and will be moving to my home town with the boys to do it. So we'll be married but separated for 4-5 years. 

 

If we do decide to divorce can we not just use a mediator in Texas and write our own agreement? Do you happen to know the way it works in Colorado?

post #9 of 9

A judge will sign off on what you agree to. 

 

But the state you would file in is the state that you live in.  If you are moving to Colorado and won't be filing for divorce for a few years, that is likely where you will file. 

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