Stbx wants ds EVERY day - Update #111 - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:17 AM
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Theoretica, if you look back, I think you'll find that most people here jumped on SFS and told her to get her butt back to Maine, and that she'd had no right to take the child away like that.

However, you'll also see her descriptions of a guy who's shown no interest in taking care of the kid beyond bringing home bacon (with her help). If she's accurate, she's the one raising that child, and in many cases courts still acknowledge that in that situation, yeah, she actually does have more right to the kid than the father does.
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#92 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There are 40 billion responses I want to reply to, but ds only sleeps so long, so I'll do my best to put in my $.02 without writing a book

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Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
Our experience here around the country is that even in areas where bf is taken seriously, extended bf is not, and may even be looked at as a (somewhat sick) dodge to keep the guy away from the kid...The lawyer's also suggesting that she'll get custody because she's the only one who's been a caregiver.
I totally agree, and while I'm by no means sexist, I was surprised that the lawyer who felt that this was a very strong argument was the male lawyer I hired (vs. the 2 women attorneys, who didn't sound very enthused about using that as a primary convincing argument). He asked many very relevant intelligent questions - how long was ds exclusively bf, how many times a day does he still nurse, does he nurse at night? And the shocker - Does ds spend time around other women/families who also nurse their babies? (I'm thinking that he's setting the stage for the fact that bf'ing is a common, natural, healthy, NORMAL part of ds's daily life). And on the note of extended bf, I have compiled some research for him to use, including the AAP & WHO policy statements about bf'ing. I also have a signed letter to the court written by Dr. Dettwyler regarding average weaning ages, and that no research exists that extended bf'ing is detrimental to the child. We all know this, but most judges probably wouldn't know that the world average weaning age is 4.24. I'm not saying that the courts will decide one way or another about the bf'ing relationship, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have as much research on my side as possible. Especially is stbx starts in on "Well, he should be weaned anyway. He's old enough, she's only nursing him for HER benefit", etc. Also I have compiled some research and statements from psychologists about the attachment to the primary caregiver, and that abrupt separation is, of course, traumatic/detrimental to the child.

For future reference, here's a link to Dr. Dettwyler's letter for anyone who made need to use it, or pass it on. What a valuable piece of testimony!
http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detletter.htm

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Originally Posted by 4imprints View Post
Um....we have joint custody but do NOT have 50/50. Joint does NOT mean 50/50 - it doesn't even mean unsupervised visits or long term visits. All it basically means is that the parents retain 50/50 legal rights to the child. The rights to have an imput in medical decisions, the rights to claim them on taxes etc etc etc.
I'm not denying the stbx joint legal custody. I believe he has the right as much as I do to be involved in ds' medical, education, religion decisions. I have never had any intent of asking for sole legal custody. What he asked for though, was joint PHYSICAL custody. And not just joint physical custody as a standard arrangement (child has one primary home, and visits the other parent on every other weekend, etc), he wants 50/50 physical custody. Despite the amazing research the Theoretica has done and provided here, I truly feel that joint physical custody should be reserved for families and situations in which:
1)the parents can communicate effectively,
2)interact often without animosity,
3)live close enough in proximity (same town) so that the child can maintain continuity with friends, school, activities, etc.
None of these apply to stbx and I. If I need to remain in Maine in order to have primary custody, so be it. I, however, WILL NOT BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, stay in the same town as stbx. I dont know if its been said, but I grew up there and I HATED IT. And my opinion has not changed. Not to mention the town is miniature (we're talking rural Maine here), and I would be subject to seeing stbx's family (in-laws who despised me before, I can only imagine how they feel about me now), friends, associates, etc. Every business owner/post office employee/town hall employee is a friend or high school classmate of the stbx. I'd rather cut off my left foot than move back there. If I must stay in Maine, I will be moving to a more urban area, probably either 50-60 miles away, perhaps to Southern Maine, about 150 miles away (whatever the court will allow). So in either case, joint physical wouldn't be a good idea. Its just too much shuffling around, IMO, even more so because ds is still so young. On the whole, I dont think 50/50 physical custody works well for most kids - unless the circumstances are just right. Of course, just my opinion.

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Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I agree that no trauma (no loss of parent) = no harm to child...
SFS, how is your little guy doing with the changes? I think you said he's speaking to his father by telephone every night, and that he is having regular interaction with your Oregon relatives. Does he seem happier or sadder at all about moving from Maine and the former family structure?
I know I'll get flamed for this because everyone seems to think already that I have been the big baddie by running off with stbx's child, and its not my right to deprive him of ds. But I'm going to say it anyway. Ds had such little contact/frequent time with stbx that I dont think I've traumatized him at all. Twice last year I traveled to Oregon to visit my family (with stbx's blessing, he was busy working and preferred for me to take off anyway). One of those times was last summer when ds was 9-10 months old, and we were gone for nearly 6 weeks. Do I think he missed his daddy? No, I dont. :

At that point (9 mo old) he saw his dad maybe 2-3 times a week for , IDK, 15-20 minutes at a time. Occasionally stbx would hang around the house for a day sleeping on the couch, but that still didnt mean he was interacting with ds. And because stbx never held him, fed him, bathed him, had any real hands-on (I mean literal touching/physical) contact, ds never really made a connection or created an attachment to his dad. I tried to create it. I tried SO many times to get stbx to take ds, hold him, rock him, bounce him, soothe him, play with him, etc. Ds had a phase where he would scream every night for 3 hours, for about 5 weeks, and during these times when stbx was out hunting all day, I thought I would go out of my mind. I BEGGED him to spend some time with his son so his son would be comfortable being held and carried beside someone that wasn't me. Stbx took him from me one night when I was absolutely desperate, and brought ds into his room, laid him in the co-sleeper (ds still screaming), turned out the light and walked out. Thats how stbx "comforted" his son. (Needless to say, I didn't leave ds there.)

My point is that ds has really only known 1 parent - me. His dad was around, but sort of this vague figure who sat in the other room watching Survivor and CSI (I didn't allow ds in the TV room). Ocasionally his dad would come out to go to the kitchen to get food or whatever, he would stop and say hi to ds for a minute, then disappear again into the TV room. My kid had more of an attachment to the cat. So really, no loss of parent=no harm to child. Pretty much spot on.

As for how ds is doing now? He's great. He has 3 attentive adults in the same house (yay for grandparents) that are consistent and caring. I have a cousin of the same age who has 2 young boys, so ds gets to spend time with his older cousins (ages 3 & 6), which he absolutely adores. In Maine, we were so cut-off from any regular playgroups that ds didnt have any kids that were his age to play with or have social time with. He idolizes his 3 yr old cousin. (Side note: And his 3 yr old cousin has flourished in the spotlight, because as the younger brother in his own household he is often outshined. He has had AMAZING improvements in his social skills, speech skills, and general self-esteem by being completely admired by a little one. Its a very mutually beneficial relationship).

Ds talks to his dad every night by phone, but I'll be honest...I dont think he cares. He spends most of the time trying to hang the phone up. Stands to reason, stbx never talked to ds before or had lengthy conversations, so its not like its something that ds would miss anyhow. Ds seems totally well-adjusted, I didn't notice any major upheaval in the drive across country, or change to a new home because I made sure that his most important things were already here when we got here. His favorite books, toys, loveys, etc. And of course our blankets and his favorite pillow. Plus he'd been here last summer for 6 weeks, so it wasnt a completely unfamiliar environment. In Maine, he had no family structure. It was just him and I all day, every day alone in the house. Stbx ate his meals in front of the TV while ds and I ate at the table alone. Once, I told stbx that I expected him to eat a meal with us so that we could have some family time, and so stbx brought his meal to the dining room table. With his laptop computer, which he set up and proceeded to peruse eBay while we ate.

Ds has more of a family structure here than he ever did in Maine. I tried my hardest to provide everything ds needed, but I have to admit, I was pissed off and resentful most of the time. I did everything in my power to not display that around ds, but kids know. And babies especially know. How could they not? I feel we are much healthier here. My son will be much healthier here. I dont think I've caused him undue trauma. OTOH, what do I know about a 16 mo. old's mind?

I know I'll get flamed, but really. Its my child. I really do know him best.
Not being snarky, just the truth of the matter.
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#93 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 04:38 AM
 
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No flames here...I totally understand what you are saying.

I just worry that a court isn't going to see it your way...cause legally it's just not about that.

And, like I said before, I think you should give your STBX the rope to hang himself. Let him play 'involved parent' for a few weeks, and let him lose interest like he will most likely do, based on your descriptions of him. Then you aren't the bad guy wanting to take his child away. You're the good guy facilitating the relationship and HE is the one bailing out. THEN it's his problem, and you hold the cards.

Worst case scenario, he makes a 180 turn around and becomes a great dad. Highly unlikely, but still not necessarily a bad outcome, and you've said before you'd support him being an involved parent.

Best case scenario, he loses interest within a few weeks/months, you can petition for change of circumstances, and voila...instant approval from the courts to get outta dodge. Or maine. You know what I mean lol

So no, no flames. flames are bad I do disagree with some of your decisions, and I'm concerned for the outcome of this based on some of them, but I don't think you're a bad mama, and I have no doubt you love your boy and want what is best for him.

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#94 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
*deep sigh*

I really feel like everyone is missing my point ENTIRELY. I was not trying to start a debate about this, I am certainly not "deliberately misleading" anyone, and we can argue references till we're all blue in the face. First, that's not the point of this thread, and second, it's not going to help the OP.

My point is simply this. She is LIKELY to be facing a large amount of shared parenting time with her stbx. It is, without ANY doubt, in her (and her child's) best interests that she get on board with co-parenting. I posted the references because there ARE ample studies showing it's beneficial for the child to have as much contact as possible with BOTH parents. I realize we can dissect studies here and there and everywhere to make them say whatever we want, but my INTENT was to give the OP some encouragement that going back and participating with coparenting her child is something she can and should do. I am really worried about the OP's situation, and I am really hoping she doesn't end up losing big here. She clearly adores her child, and I have no doubt she wants what is best for him...so my goal is to support her in this journey while helping her focus on the reality at hand, unpleasant as it may be.

My PERSONAL opinion is that she doesn't have the right to take the child from his father, any more than the father would have the right to do the same to her, for the same reasons. It's hypocritical and sexist for anyone to say she has more rights to the child than he does. If she were in his shoes right now, and posting on this board from his perspective, everyone would be up in arms defending her rights and ranting that he should have supervised visitation for pulling a stunt like this. But she's a mom, so it's different somehow...apparently?

We are not missing the point, we have pointed out that the long-distance parenting plan is going to involve the child being away from the primary caregiver for large chunks of time. And that she could end up the NCP as a result of her moving the child away without the consent of the father or the court.

But if she didn't move away, the chances of 50/50 physical in a child as young as hers is not good, nor is it in the child's best interest. In my state, overnight visits aren't even ordered until the child is at least 2 years old, and then it is only one overnight a week until the child is older and then you get to the every other week-end and a dinner during the week. Where you see 50/50 physical custody happen is when the kids are older, around the age of my oldest (he's 9), and only then, it's if the parents agree to it.

I think SFS is wrong to have moved the child away.
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#95 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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At the heart of every discussion, difficult issue, etc. I ask myself, "How will I feel, down the road, when I have to look my child in the eye and tell them why I made the choice(s) I made?"

If I know I can look them in the eye and tell them what I believed in my heart and feel it's in THEIR best interest, then I know what my answer, my actions, my steps need to be.

I have made very deliberate choices to ensure they have every opportunity possible. When others fall short, they do it on their own and I help the kids through it the best I can.

Divorces, custody battles, etc. can get messy. They place us in the position of having to defend oneself...which usually means, defend at all costs and quite often, that means the children end up being the biggest losers of all. I hope you will find a way to for your son to come out ahead in the end, whatever route ends up being chosen to get there.

I'm wishing you all some peace in this journey.
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#96 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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In Michigan if you have joint custody (either physical OR legal), you have to petition the court to move either out of state or 100+ miles away from the other parent. I don't know what Maine's laws are, but I can't imagine they're much more different. Having said that, you may be able to get the 50 miles away, but might have a hard time with the 150 miles away (if you are ordered to stay in Maine, which I would bet money on).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#97 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
Worst case scenario, he makes a 180 turn around and becomes a great dad. Highly unlikely, but still not necessarily a bad outcome, and you've said before you'd support him being an involved parent.

Best case scenario, he loses interest within a few weeks/months, you can petition for change of circumstances, and voila...instant approval from the courts to get outta dodge. Or maine. You know what I mean lol
I'm really hoping I'm reading this wrong so I've got to ask.... how is a PARENT making a 180 turn around and becoming a "great dad" the worst case scenario? I would have called that the best case scenario. The kid will only benefit from having both parents involved.

And, that begs the question, how is it the best case scenario for the dad to lose interest?

I'm actually kinda shocked to be reading this. : The best interest of the CHILD is to have both parents involved and attached. If dad does a turn around and becomes involved and attached.... that's bad... why? Because then mom will have to deal with him? Because she may not be able to move across the country? Because she'll end up spending large chunks of time without the kid? Too bad. It's supposed to be focused on what's best for the CHILD. Not the parent.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#98 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Socks for Supper View Post
I truly feel that joint physical custody should be reserved for families and situations in which:
1)the parents can communicate effectively,
2)interact often without animosity,
3)live close enough in proximity (same town) so that the child can maintain continuity with friends, school, activities, etc.

None of these apply to stbx and I. If I need to remain in Maine in order to have primary custody, so be it. I, however, WILL NOT BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, stay in the same town as stbx. I dont know if its been said, but I grew up there and I HATED IT.
The parents you feel joint custody should be reserved for are the parents who stopped acting like children, put their difference/anger aside when considering what is best for their child(ren) AND started acting like adults. Adults, who are behaving in a manner that is in the best interest of their child(ren).
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#99 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
I'm really hoping I'm reading this wrong so I've got to ask.... how is a PARENT making a 180 turn around and becoming a "great dad" the worst case scenario? I would have called that the best case scenario. The kid will only benefit from having both parents involved.

And, that begs the question, how is it the best case scenario for the dad to lose interest?

I'm actually kinda shocked to be reading this. : The best interest of the CHILD is to have both parents involved and attached. If dad does a turn around and becomes involved and attached.... that's bad... why? Because then mom will have to deal with him? Because she may not be able to move across the country? Because she'll end up spending large chunks of time without the kid? Too bad. It's supposed to be focused on what's best for the CHILD. Not the parent.
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#100 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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steph i think she is using best and worst case based on what SFS feels right now.

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#101 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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SFS - I haven't weighed in at all except to comment on 50/50 vs. joint custody. I want to say first that I am sorry you are going through this, I know how difficult it is, I was in a very similar situation with a very similar bio father. DS is now four and we are beginning proceedings to terminate the bio father's parental rights because its been more than three years since he has seen ds and he has never paid a penny of support. He was exactly the same as your DH for the short time we lived together, absolutely no interaction and no participation in the care of ds. None. When I ended things though suddenly ds became a possesion as you are describing. We lived in the same town until ds was 18 months old, he went months without seeing him, with no contact at all. He would only come around if I "was being nice to him". It was absurd and ridiculous. I was and am like you. I know my son, I knew then in my soul that he would never be more than he was at that time, a sperm donor. Harsh I know, but true. I resented and still do the pro-father at all costs to the child and the mother. I am not saying this is how your situation will turn out and I do think you have made a mistake in leaving your home state though I understand why you did. You have to now be very careful and get through this. If your child is lucky his father will turn around and be an active parent in his life. You do have to give him a chance to do this. I guess I just wanted to say that I know where you are at and I believe that you feel you are doing what is best for your child. I believe what you said about your dh and his lack of participation in your ds's life - as I said it sounds very similar to my early situation.

Hang in there and do whatever you have to do to remain the primary caregiver for your ds, even if that means moving back to Maine.
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#102 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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steph i think she is using best and worst case based on what SFS feels right now.
Exactly.

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#103 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socks for Supper View Post
I truly feel that joint physical custody should be reserved for families and situations in which:
1)the parents can communicate effectively,
2)interact often without animosity,
3)live close enough in proximity (same town) so that the child can maintain continuity with friends, school, activities, etc.

None of these apply to stbx and I. If I need to remain in Maine in order to have primary custody, so be it. I, however, WILL NOT BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, stay in the same town as stbx. I dont know if its been said, but I grew up there and I HATED IT.

end quote

The parents you feel joint custody should be reserved for are the parents who stopped acting like children, put their difference/anger aside when considering what is best for their child(ren) AND started acting like adults. Adults, who are behaving in a manner that is in the best interest of their child(ren).
Yes, yes, yes and yes. Unfortunately, not matter how much one party does this, it doesn't make a difference unless both parties cooperate. When you get a controlling man (abusively so) then the stage is set for there to be huge amounts of conflict, legal work and so on.



In those cases, sole custody is clearly better for the children. Is this the majority of cases? Nope. But they are there and should not be denied.

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#104 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Exactly.

I figured it out.
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#105 of 111 Old 01-17-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Maybe your lawyer should ask for an extention and during that time go back
and let your ex take care of your son some and write down everything that happens.


I remember when my ex first left he came over every other night but 1 year later he is down to every other Saturday
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#106 of 111 Old 01-19-2009, 05:18 AM
 
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we have 50/50 joint custody. it's not ideal but the courts in CA tend to favor that arrangement because the court feel do what is best for the child and keeping both parents in the picture is what they deem best. unless you can show some gross negligence, abuse, etc it's going to be hard to get another arrangement. i fought tooth and nail and lost in the end. i also wanted to move but the court was very against it. my parents live about 350 miles away and i had no support system here. i begged and pleaded but the court would not budge. there was no clear proof of abuse and neglect (emotional abuse is very very very hard to prove). i went thru 3 lawyers, lots of heartache that dragged on for a year. dd was 2.5 by the time we hashed it out and going back and forth was the way of life.
yes there was a lot of crying, begging,etc. it broke my heart but i kept reassuring her that mommy and daddy cared about each other but we just couldn't live together. so it was better to have two homes. it didn't change the love for her and i still keep reassuring her that mommy and daddy love her and care about her. it was a tough 2 years and the last year has been much better.
it was also frustrating because our parenting styles were different but i learned to let it go. i was also againt CIO and guns, etc but I learned to live with. there are bigger battles to fight. i try to install my values, my ways of live and hope one day dd will pick the best from both of us and make her own decisions. and it's been a good thing for me because i'm actually getting some breathing room. before the split, i was working full time and parenting full time. i was exhausted. i actually learned to enjoy my free time and it has made me a better parent.
all i can say is be prepared for the best and hope for the rest. again dont' take the decision personally. the court looks at the whole picture and what you cited just wont hold water in court. i'm sorry but that is how the system works...
hugs and sending lots of good vibes your way...

single mama to DD 5.09
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#107 of 111 Old 01-27-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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How are you doing, SFS?

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#108 of 111 Old 01-28-2009, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How are you doing, SFS?
I am STILL sitting here in Oregon, waiting for my lawyer to tell me when to get on a plane. AS IF I have the money to pay for a last-minute, next-day flight. I'm a wreck. The lawyer is trying to negotiate w/stbx's lawyer to arrange the visitation (pre-mediation/pre-hearing) to ensure that stbx doesn't decide to "run off" with ds as revenge. At least thats what I'm assuming. I emailed my lawyer last Friday, telling him that time was of the essence regarding my finances and I needed to book a flight soon if he wanted me back in Maine before the mediation Feb 4th. Left a msg w/him today. Haven't heard a peep from him and its making me a little nuts.
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#109 of 111 Old 01-28-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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I am STILL sitting here in Oregon, waiting for my lawyer to tell me when to get on a plane. AS IF I have the money to pay for a last-minute, next-day flight. I'm a wreck. The lawyer is trying to negotiate w/stbx's lawyer to arrange the visitation (pre-mediation/pre-hearing) to ensure that stbx doesn't decide to "run off" with ds as revenge. At least thats what I'm assuming. I emailed my lawyer last Friday, telling him that time was of the essence regarding my finances and I needed to book a flight soon if he wanted me back in Maine before the mediation Feb 4th. Left a msg w/him today. Haven't heard a peep from him and its making me a little nuts.
I've been thinking about you too. Sounds very stressful -
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#110 of 111 Old 01-28-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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How incredibly frustrating! I hope you get closure, and happy reassurance, soon (Feb 9 is your hearing IIRC).

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#111 of 111 Old 01-29-2009, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Most recent events - I have finally been given the go-ahead to fly back to Maine. I am flying back Saturday, and my lawyer advised not to allow stbx contact/visitation until he has arranged it through stbx's lawyer.

I have submitted my proposed visitation starting the day after I get there, 5 hour blocks every day. My lawyer said it sounds fine. If I have to remain in Maine, I will increase the time slowly to 6, 7, 8 hrs, working up to the standard every other weekend situation (yes, with overnights). I figure if it seems probable that the court will award standard EOW then I might as well get ds prepared. Just in case.

I am hoping for some peaceful resolutions in mediation Feb 4th. Maybe, just maybe we will come to some agreements and the hearing will just be for forms sake.

My big concern now is how to get myself settled in the event that I will be ordered not to return to Oregon. This of course means finding a safe home for us in Maine, and finding a way to support myself and ds financially. Its going to be harder than it sounds - rural Maine is not hopping with jobs that will be easy to work around the visitation schedule. Not to mention the money (or lack thereof). Its going to be hard to put together a workable plan. I think that if stbx wants us to stay in Maine, he's going to have to help me for a couple months with temp spousal support, until I can get on my feet. Not sure how likely that is, even for only 2-3 months, but it might be necessary to ask.

I'm focusing on good positive resolutions. This can be done.
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