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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>My background story is that I have primary physical custody of my two children (age 5 and 7), and they go to school and daycare in my town.  All of their afterschool activities are in my town.  Their friends are in my town.  This is their life.  It wasn't always this way.  When DH and I first split up, we had 50/50 custody.  We would alternate weeks with them, and I would drive them to HIS town (he kept our rented house and I purchased a house elsewhere where I could afford it) where they were still in school until the end of the school year.  I didn't feel comfortable about uprooting them in the middle of the school year, so they continued at their old school until this year.  This was costing me ridiculous amounts in gas as it was a round trip of 100km a day.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So when my ex told me that he was moving five hours away for work, he told me that he could no longer keep the kids.  We were in the midst of working on our separation agreement, so he agreed to allow me primary physical custody in writing, and gave me permission to move their school/daycare to my town as logistically it made more sense.  I'm in a home I'll be staying in forever, while he bounces around and rents.  I have a permanant job nearby, and am not going anywhere, whereas his job takes him all over the province.  So for stability sake, it made sense for the kids to be with me.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Fast forward to now.  He has a new girlfriend, and wants to play house with her (I'm sorry if that sounds catty, but that's really the only way to put it.)  This is a man who only shows interest in taking his kids or phoning his kids when his girlfriend is around, as he wants to impress her with his "parenting skills."  I've noticed a clear pattern over the last year, and it is that if he is out of town for work, he doesn't call the kids.  If he's back in town and alone for the weekend, he won't acknowledge their existance and does not offer to take them (despite the fact that our agreement states he's supposed to get them the weekends he's home).  BUT if his girlfriend is staying with him, he'll call every night he's with her and will take them for the weekend.  It's a sad pattern.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So the kids went to see him last weekend for the first time in a month.  They came home on sunday, and informed me that their dad told them they're going to be living with him again.....</p>
<p> </p>
<p>He did not consult me on this.  He just decided it, and told them.  Our custody arrangement has not been altered.  He just made this decision, and went with it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So I'm worried that we're about to have a fight on our hands.  I'm glad that he's finally showing interest in their lives, but I just don't think that the alternating week arrangement is going to work, for a variety of reasons:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>1) He will want to change their school.  I'm not doing this again.  And I don't see how he can make it out to the school/daycare in time to get them before it closes, as he works long days.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>2) He will want child support.  He does not pay me child support, but when we DID have the 50/50 arrangement, tried to bully me into giving him money by using scare tactics instead of a lawyer.  I didn't budge on the issue.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>3) He is getting evicted in December.  Sorry, HIS story is that his landlord lost his job and is losing his house, and therefore needs to take the rental home back.  It's a little far fetched, I know his landlord (used to be mine!) and bank where his wife banks, and know it's a BS story.  He's getting evicted.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>4) My son just had allergy testing again, and has added cats and dogs to the list.  My ex has two cats.  I informed him of the allergy test results and he has now decided to add a dog to his family, as well......  I told him about the allergy!  And he's getting the biggest, hairyest dog you can get!  Just not a good environment for my allergic kiddo...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>5) Lunches.  The school is strict about what comes in their lunches.  I've seen what my ex packs, as I accompionied my son on a field trip when it happened to be my ex's week.  Half a heel of bread (mould on one side) folded in half with jam.  A piece of battered fruit.  And five smooshed nutrigain bars (which my son hates).  Nothing else for a full day trip.  Thank god I brought extras.  The school will not have any tolerance for that, will provide a lunch, and charge me for it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>6) Baths.  When they were with him, the daycare actually complained to me about the smell of the kids. =(  He does not bathe them.  He does not brush their teeth.  My daughter told me that at the end of the day, he'll take her dirty underwear and put it back in the drawer.  Makes me so angry.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So I could keep going, but I think you get the point.  If they go back with him, it's disrupting their schooling (they're doing so well right now, and have transitioned fantastically to the new school and daycare), disrupting their schedules, disrupting the after school activities I've already paid for (and he wont bring them to), possibly putting my son into a situation where he could be having allergic reactions constantly.  Just an all around bad situation.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So what would you do?  What CAN I do?  He's such a bully that he thinks he can strong-arm me into giving them to him just by saying "this is the way it's going to be."  I have a signed agreement stating that I have primary physical, and I'm pretty sure that he WILL have to take me to court if he wants to change that.  But should I try and play nice and amend the agreement to avoid the fight?  Am I wrong in having reservations about this being a good idea?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Sorry this got long.  I'm just so stressed out about it.  I just want to do what's right for the kids.</p>
 

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<p>Do you have a laywer? If not, get one. I think it would help you a great deal to have the advice of a professional who knows your rights and obligations in this situation. And no, I don't think you should avoid the fight seeing as this recent move looks like something more whimsical than anything. If you stand firm long enough with your lawyer in your back pocket, chances are he'll fade once again into the background. But just in case...get a lawyer.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Nikki~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do#post_16066062"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><strong>My background story is that I have primary physical custody of my two children (age 5 and 7), and they go to school and daycare in my town. </strong> All of their afterschool activities are in my town.  Their friends are in my town.  This is their life.  It wasn't always this way.  When DH and I first split up, we had 50/50 custody.  We would alternate weeks with them, and I would drive them to HIS town (he kept our rented house and I purchased a house elsewhere where I could afford it) where they were still in school until the end of the school year.  I didn't feel comfortable about uprooting them in the middle of the school year, so they continued at their old school until this year.  This was costing me ridiculous amounts in gas as it was a round trip of 100km a day.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>So when my ex told me that he was moving five hours away for work, he told me that he could no longer keep the kids.</strong>  We were in the midst of working on our separation agreement, <strong>so he agreed to allow me primary physical custody in writing</strong>, and <strong>gave me permission to move their school/daycare to my town as logistically it made more sense</strong>.  I'm in a home I'll be staying in forever, while he bounces around and rents.  I have a permanant job nearby, and am not going anywhere, whereas his job takes him all over the province.  So for stability sake, it made sense for the kids to be with me.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><snip></p>
<p> </p>
<p>So the kids went to see him last weekend for the first time in a month.  <strong>They came home on sunday, and informed me that their dad told them they're going to be living with him again.....</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>He did not consult me on this.  He just decided it, and told them.  <strong>Our custody arrangement has not been altered. </strong> He just made this decision, and went with it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So I'm worried that we're about to have a fight on our hands.  I'm glad that he's finally showing interest in their lives, but I just don't think that the alternating week arrangement is going to work, for a variety of reasons:</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>1) He will want to change their school.  I'm not doing this again.  And I don't see how he can make it out to the school/daycare in time to get them before it closes, as he works long days.</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>2) He will want child support.  He does not pay me child support, but when we DID have the 50/50 arrangement, tried to bully me into giving him money by using scare tactics instead of a lawyer.  I didn't budge on the issue.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>3) He is getting evicted in December.</strong>  Sorry, HIS story is that his landlord lost his job and is losing his house, and therefore needs to take the rental home back.  It's a little far fetched, I know his landlord (used to be mine!) and bank where his wife banks, and know it's a BS story.  He's getting evicted.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>4) <strong>My son just had allergy testing again,</strong> and has added cats and dogs to the list.  My ex has two cats.  I informed him of the allergy test results and he has now decided to add a dog to his family, as well......  I told him about the allergy!  And he's getting the biggest, hairyest dog you can get!  Just not a good environment for my allergic kiddo...</p>
<p> </p>
<p><snip></p>
<br><p> </p>
<p>So I could keep going, but I think you get the point.  If they go back with him, it's disrupting their schooling (they're doing so well right now, and have transitioned fantastically to the new school and daycare), disrupting their schedules, disrupting the after school activities I've already paid for (and he wont bring them to), possibly putting my son into a situation where he could be having allergic reactions constantly.  Just an all around bad situation.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So what would you do?  What CAN I do?  He's such a bully that he thinks he can strong-arm me into giving them to him just by saying "this is the way it's going to be."  <strong>I have a signed agreement stating that I have primary physical, and I'm pretty sure that he WILL have to take me to court if he wants to change that.</strong>  But should I try and play nice and amend the agreement to avoid the fight?  Am I wrong in having reservations about this being a good idea?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Sorry this got long.  I'm just so stressed out about it.  I just want to do what's right for the kids.</p>
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<p><br>
Ok, forget about lunches and baths.  Well, don't forget about baths entirely, its just not going to be that helpful to you now - althoug DOCUMENTING e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g is always a good idea.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So, they go to school and daycare in your town - and your ex lives 5 HOURS away?  Did I read that right?  If he lives 5 hours away, there is no way you are going back to 50/50 - its impossible for children to commute 5 HOURS one way to go to school - even half the time.  It's not just impractical, its impossible.</p>
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<p>He's getting evicted - well, that might be good for you.  But, its a he-said, she-said.  So, you want to avoid that as much as possible.  It's not that he's getting evicted, its that he's moving, again.  Keep track of how often he moves, and when so that you can show a pattern of instability - the reason doesn't matter as much.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>A parent knowingly ignoring their child's allergies when choosing pets is not good.  It's worse than not good - get your kiddos to take a few pictures with the animals on their own disposable camera's one weekend so that you can show that he's being exposed at your ex's place.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What type of agreement is it that you signed?  Did he also sign it?  Did lawyers help draft it?  Was it entered in court?  What exactly does it say?  (you don't have to tell me, you just need to know all these things - I think you need to seek some sort of legal advice).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You can refuse to change the kids school, and take him to court.  Are you getting any child support?  If not, you should file for it - it will hurt his chances of getting physical custody if he's not helping to financially support his children.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Lastly, I would recommend that ANY time you go to court over this, you try to look your absolute best by playing FAIR.  Don't talk about how awful he is, talk about how AWESOME you are - "I have a place to live, near my work, near my children's current school, I make enough to financially support them, own my home (or whatever), etc"  "I really want my children to have a wonderful relationship with their father, and _________ is how I plan to support that.  I make sure they can talk to him on the phone x number of times/week, when he wants weekends with them I often oblige by _______, I'm more than willing to work around his hectic work schedule, blah blah blah."</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When you attack another person in court, it can decrease your credibility, and make you unfavorable looking to the judge - the more you can be positive about things, the better.  You need to know all of the bad things to help you frame your arguments in a way that make you look like the better, more stable parent, but you also need to be positive about his involvement with the children - does he need parenting classes?  Figure out a way to recommend that to a judge that makes it sound like it would improve his relationship with the kids, along with anything else.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Good luck!  (and sorry that was such a long winded response!)</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<p>Thank you so much for the long winded response!  That does help.  I have a lawyer, and haven't yet discussed the situation with her has he hasn't yet "officially" asked for them aside from saying "Hey we're going to go back to 50/50, ok?"  He hasn't set a date, hasn't done anything further to persue it officially, and we haven't had a sit-down discussion about it.</p>
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<p>The custody agreement is laid out in our separation agreement, which is all official and by the books and filed and everything it's supposed to be.  My lawyer is working on the divorce as we speak, and the separation agreement will go along with this in lieu of any further long-winded documents, which I'm told by my lawyer is perfectly ok.  As far as I know, I'm doing everything by the book.  I document everything stupid that he does (and sadly, it's a lot), but do my best to not vent about his short-comings (aside from to my parents, who let me vent about anything I need to, heh).  I haven't been to court yet, so it's good to know which "angle" to use in this.  I'm brand new at all this, heh.  And frankly, it's a scary and intimidating process even WITHOUT the scary and intimidating ex. =P</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I've actually been afraid to go for child support, as I'm worried that if I try for it, he'll lose his mind and just take me to court to get the kids back 50% of the time again, which right now isn't the best thing for them.  He does pay half the cost of daycare (late every month, so I've had to front the cost...but I HAVE gotten it eventually each month), but that's it.  He's an incredibly intimidating, manipulative person, and I just don't like going to battle with him.  The last time we had to fight things out (when he was bullying me into giving him child support "under the table" to "save me costs") I ended up on anti-anxiety medication, heh.  Trust me, it's not fun.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>He doesn't live 5 hours away.  He works 5 hours away and "crashes on people's couches" to quote him, while he's working.  But his permanant residence is about half an hour from me.  And now that he's not working the out-of-town job (for now, he told me it'd be off and on for 2 years) he's back in my area and wants the kids back.  But what happens when he goes back to work for another 2 months??  They're back with me full-time.  Which is fine, I love having them.  But it's not cool for the kids to change their schedule around so much.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Nikki~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do#post_16066325"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The custody agreement is laid out in our separation agreement, which is all official and by the books and filed and everything it's supposed to be.  My lawyer is working on the divorce as we speak, and the separation agreement will go along with this in lieu of any further long-winded documents, which I'm told by my lawyer is perfectly ok.  As far as I know, I'm doing everything by the book.  I document everything stupid that he does (and sadly, it's a lot), but do my best to not vent about his short-comings (aside from to my parents, who let me vent about anything I need to, heh).  I haven't been to court yet, so it's good to know which "angle" to use in this.  I'm brand new at all this, heh.  And frankly, it's a scary and intimidating process even WITHOUT the scary and intimidating ex. =P</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I've actually been afraid to go for child support, as I'm worried that if I try for it, he'll lose his mind and just take me to court to get the kids back 50% of the time again, which right now isn't the best thing for them.  He does pay half the cost of daycare (late every month, so I've had to front the cost...but I HAVE gotten it eventually each month), but that's it.  He's an incredibly intimidating, manipulative person, and I just don't like going to battle with him.  The last time we had to fight things out (when he was bullying me into giving him child support "under the table" to "save me costs") I ended up on anti-anxiety medication, heh.  Trust me, it's not fun.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>He doesn't live 5 hours away.  He works 5 hours away and "crashes on people's couches" to quote him, while he's working.  But his permanant residence is about half an hour from me.  And now that he's not working the out-of-town job (for now, he told me it'd be off and on for 2 years) he's back in my area and wants the kids back.  But what happens when he goes back to work for another 2 months??  They're back with me full-time.  Which is fine, I love having them.  But it's not cool for the kids to change their schedule around so much.</p>
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<p><br>
Be prepared though, for a judge NOT to sign off on the divorce if there isn't child support in it, or to require you to seek some (the children are entitled, and thats the court's primary concern - children being provided for financially).</p>
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<p>Him just randomly deciding that he can do 50/50 sometimes and not others isn't going to fly - just saying he wants it, isn't going to get it.  Keep with the mantra I laid out above, "I really want him to have a relationship with the kids, they and he love each other dearly.  It isn't in their best interest to be with him 50% of the time if its not all of the time.  Since its not all of the time, he can have EOW when he's in town, and when he isn't in town he can have the weekends he's able to come back to town for so long as I have reasonable notice."</p>
<p> </p>
<p>A court is HIGHLY unlikely to give discretion over visitation to someone who isn't really in town 100% of the time - he'd have a better case if he lived and worked near you.  Although, depending on how long it takes for them to get to school when they are with him, that might not fly either. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Talk to your lawyer about it NOW (meaning, before he actually does anything), b/c then s/he can be prepared to deal with it.  Surprises are bad, being prepared is good.  Legally, he's not required to serve you as soon as he files for anything - he can serve you like 7 or 8 days prior to the court date - and you do not want to be in that situation.  I would get in touch with your lawyer, mention what he said to the kids, and ask if there is anything that needs to be done to prevent it. </p>
 

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<p>I'm not fully sure about this, but I believe that you can often get basic court proceedings information on a person if you know their name and county/provincial area.  At least in the US you can look up to find if there have been any court actions on a person from purchasing property to divorce, etc.  I would think that an attorney may be able to get even more information with regards to your ex being evicted since evictions generally require going through the courts.  </p>
 

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<p>He may have "decided" and said it aloud, but that's not what makes things happen.  The only way that could happen is if he took you to court about it, in which case you would politely share with the court the information that you have shared here.</p>
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<p>He's a bag of hot air, and hopes that by saying it, he can bully you into it.  (Because that's easier than, you know, actually <em>doing</em> something.)  Or better still, manipulate your kids into telling you about it.  Pathetic.  Don't buy into it.  I absolutely agree about talking to your lawyer, just to make yourself feel better and have your lawyer "prepared" and up to date, in case the hot air bag is propelled to do something.  But I really would not take it seriously beyond that.  He in no way, shape or form sounds prepared to be a responsible parent, and I would not dream of having him be any sort of 50/50 parent, even if I did think that was a good idea for kids (which I don't). </p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for the fact that he does not even pay child support.... That alone:  I would laugh in his FACE if he tried to threaten me with that nonsense, when he doesn't have a financial leg to stand on! </p>
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<p>Your children have acclimated well into a stable situation where you are the primary caregiver.  Handing them over to a guy who won't pay a penny to support them and thinks that statements he utters in his home are legal decisions, is not the way to go. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Thanks guys.  I'll get in touch with my lawyer today just to update her on the situation.  I have a feeling she'll tell me what all of you have said, though. ;)</p>
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<p>I'm really hoping he's just blowing hot air and bluffing about this one, too.  I remember back when we first separated, he actually bullied me into paying half of HIS bills, including our car, which I had already given him free and clear.  He had me convinced that he had spoken to a lawyer, and that I was legally obligated to pay for half of everything until he "no longer needed me to" (exact quote from him), because <em>I</em> had left <em>him</em>.  I did this for a month because honestly, it scared the crap out of me to think that he was going to drag me to court for alimony, which is what he blackmailed me with essentially.  "Do this, and I won't go after alimony."  I spoke to a lawyer that same month, and she (in the nicest way possible) called me a moron and told me to stop giving him money.  Which I did.  Because I wasn't afraid anymore.</p>
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<p>He pulled the same garbage with the child support back in April.  "My lawyer will be sending you a letter this week, outlining how much you are to give me for each child each month.  And you will be paying 100% of the daycare costs."  WTF???  I never did get a letter, but that's the month I ended up on anti-anxiety medication because the nasty messages he was leaving me were putting me into full-out breakdown mode.  He's an unpleasant person who uses scare tactics to try and bully me into giving him his way. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>It won't happen this time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks guys.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>After ten years of being together, he definitely knows how to manipulate a situation to the point that I'm having a breakdown, haha.  He knows me probably better than anyone, and uses that to his advantage whenever he can.  It really sucks.  I'm getting better at shutting it out and not letting it get to me.  I assume it'll get even easier over time as I've become a much stronger person in the past year or so.  The more I hate him, the easier it becomes to ignore his BS, heh.</p>
 

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<p>Might I recommend a book?  "Why does he DO that?" by lundy bancroft.  It's about abusive men, and someone who manipulates you, especially if its to make you fear the outcome, is definitely abusive (maybe only emotionally) - but you should read it.  It helped me to not let the manipulation get to me since I knew exactly what he was trying to do.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<p>Thanks for the book recommendation.  I'll check and see if my library has it.  I'm still fairly new at this whole thing, and it can be hard to work through all the messy feelings at times, so something like that may just be perfect.</p>
 

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<p>Oh.  I need to read that book.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for custody.  he can't just take custody.  period.  Do you have an official custody arrangement?  If not NOW is the time to get one.  It was the first thing we addressed in the separation.    Once it is set he cannot just up and change it.  It would take a court order. And once you have a working custody arrangement (especially since he is not even sticking to the one you have) it is unlikely a judge will make much deviation from it. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<p>So I think he finally just "asked" for custody.  And by asked, I mean demanded:</p>
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<div>Oh and post Christmas holidays I'll be reverting back to our 50/50 Friday to Friday schedule as I have one week comin between now and then when I'm working out of the city.</div>
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<div>At the beginning of the year we tried a 50/50 custody arrangement, but he bailed on it as he claimed he had to work 5 hours away for the next 2 years, and asked that I take the kids full-time.  We wrote up our separation and custody agreement to reflect this change.  It's been three months since he made this change, and I switched the kids to their new school.... so I don't know what happened to the 2 years of guaranteed work out of the city.  He's also been telling the kids that they'll be going back to their old school (a 40 minute drive for me....) when they go to live with him again. </div>
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<p>Again, none of this has been run by me, or agreed upon in any way shape or form.  Our formal custody agreement states that I have primary physical custody, and he has access to them on weekends when he's actually in town.  He was in town this weekend.  He pawned the kids off on his brother so he could go on a date saturday night, and the kids came back unwashed yet again, teeth not brushed for the entire weekend according to them.  Oh, and his lovely new girlfriend greeted me at the door in her freaking bra, which is how she had been parading around the house in front of my children.  And the kids stressed again that their new dog is coming home soon (that my son is allergic to) and even has a name now.  So yeah, I'm really not pleased about his recent demands for a change in custody.  I just don't think it's in the best interest of the kids to be in a home where they're poorly cared for at best.  In a situation where their father is constantly travelling out of the city for work, and what...his new girlfriend is going to have shared custody with me while he's gone??? Um, no.</p>
 

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<p>You don't even need reasons or to justify to him why you're not agreeing to this.  Even if he was the greatest father on the planet, he doesn't get to just announce what the custody arrangement is!  That's not how things work.   </p>
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<p>I seriously would not even enter into the discussion.  I think he'd interpret that in the sense that he's got you considering it.  Have your lawyer write a letter and remind him that a legal written/signed custody agreement is in place already that you and the children will continue to abide by.  Remember, the law is on your side.  He doesn't get to swivel back and forth and make <strong>huge</strong> decisions about the children's lives and disrupt legal orders simply on a whim! </p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MissLotus</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16082681"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a>Have your lawyer write a letter and remind him that a legal written/signed custody agreement is in place already that you and the children will continue to abide by. </div>
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<p>perfect!</p>
 

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Fast forward to now.  He has a new girlfriend, and wants to play house with her (I'm sorry if that sounds catty, but that's really the only way to put it.)  This is a man who only shows interest in taking his kids or phoning his kids when his girlfriend is around, as he wants to impress her with his "parenting skills."  I've noticed a clear pattern over the last year, and it is that if he is out of town for work, he doesn't call the kids.  If he's back in town and alone for the weekend, he won't acknowledge their existance and does not offer to take them (despite the fact that our agreement states he's supposed to get them the weekends he's home).  BUT if his girlfriend is staying with him, he'll call every night he's with her and will take them for the weekend.  It's a sad pattern.</p>
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Have you been keeping track of this? I would keep a log of every time he contacts the kids. You can, of course, make a note if anything is specifically said to confirm that girlfriend is there (i.e., "Ex said gf was over")...that way you can specifically say that you KNOW she was there, and it wasn't speculation. Even if nothing is specifically said every time, the pattern will probably become quite obvious. If he tells you his work/travel schedules, write those down. Only go by what you are being specifically told by him or what you hear him say to your LOs on the phone. If you do all this, it should be obvious to any reasonable judge that he's just doing this to impress his girlfriend and has no interest of his own in his children.<br><br><div class="quote-container" style="margin-top:5px;margin-right:20px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:20px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">
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Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">~Nikki~</strong> <a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16066062" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a>
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2) He will want child support.  He does not pay me child support, but when we DID have the 50/50 arrangement, tried to bully me into giving him money by using scare tactics instead of a lawyer.  I didn't budge on the issue.</p>
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Did you two never make a child support agreement? Or is he specifically not paying what was agreed upon/ordered? If he's not paying what was agreed upon or ordered, that will DEFINITELY make your case much stronger. But even if you two simply never had an agreement about support, even that should help you. The fact that he has not offered to pay any child support and that you have been the sole provider for these children. <br><br><div class="quote-container" style="margin-top:5px;margin-right:20px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:20px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">
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Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">~Nikki~</strong> <a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16066062" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a></p>
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3) He is getting evicted in December.  Sorry, HIS story is that his landlord lost his job and is losing his house, and therefore needs to take the rental home back.  It's a little far fetched, I know his landlord (used to be mine!) and bank where his wife banks, and know it's a BS story.  He's getting evicted.</p>
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Can you get the landlord to write a letter on your behalf stating that he was evicted? I don't know how legal this is, or if it really is a good idea, so if anyone else has any ideas feel free to chime in. But I think that, if the landlord is willing to state that he's being evicted and why, it would certainly help your case. Why, especially, may really help. If he's got a job that should cover his rent, but he's not paying rent and getting evicted for it...how on earth is he going to provide for children if he can't/won't even pay his rent? If it's something like having animals that weren't in the lease, etc., it's not as irresponsible so may really hold no water in court, but something like not paying rent or if the house was severely destroyed, etc., would definitely help. </div>
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Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">~Nikki~</strong> <a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16066062" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a>
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6) Baths.  When they were with him, the daycare actually complained to me about the smell of the kids. =(  He does not bathe them.  He does not brush their teeth.  My daughter told me that at the end of the day, he'll take her dirty underwear and put it back in the drawer.  Makes me so angry.</p>
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Can you get the daycare to write a letter stating this? If you can get ANYONE at the daycare to write a letter stating that the kids were filthy (and about what timeframe it happened, so you can show that it was when he had them, not you), this would help a lot I think. Btw, I am so sorry to hear about this part especially. It really breaks my heart. :( Kids get dirty and gross and we can't always bathe them every night, but there's no excuse for them to be smelling so bad that DCPs complain about it, and never an excuse for putting DIRTY underwear back in the drawer. Yuck! Your poor babies!!!</p>
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Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">~Nikki~</strong> <a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16066062" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a>
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So what would you do?  What CAN I do?  He's such a bully that he thinks he can strong-arm me into giving them to him just by saying "this is the way it's going to be."  I have a signed agreement stating that I have primary physical, and I'm pretty sure that he WILL have to take me to court if he wants to change that.  But should I try and play nice and amend the agreement to avoid the fight?  Am I wrong in having reservations about this being a good idea?</p>
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I would keep the agreement as it is. I would not change a thing. If HE wants to go to court, great. You definitely have a case. I would never, EVER amend the agreement with just the things you have said here. Their safety and wellbeing is clearly at risk with him, a fight would be much better than regularly risking their wellbeing and health. Plus, if you amended the agreement and then things got really bad and you took him to court, or he took you to court anyway, it might not look so great that you're all of a sudden accusing him of all these horrible things, yet you still amended the agreement despite that. If you're unlucky, you may get a judge who assumes that you are now making it up and that if you were really concerned you wouldn't have amended the agreement. (Obviously, you are considering it for fear of a big battle, which is totally different, but you kind of have to assume worst case scenario with judges, IMO.)</div>
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<p>Thanks guys.  The only thing I was considering was having my lawyer write up a "trial basis" custody agreement, though I'm not even sure that's legal.  I want the kids to have an opportunity to spend more time with their father, it's just clearly not in their well-being right now.  I'm wondering if I could write up a trial agreement, something like a three month trial where he has to agree to be meeting their basic needs, making sure their marks aren't suffering (they attend a french school, and I have doubts that ex will even be able to read the homework sheets that come home, let alone help them with it), and not endangering them.  It's also imperative that he be getting them to daycare on time, and picking them up before daycare closes.  Our daycare closes at 5:30.  Not once has he made it here to pick them up on time from my house, claiming delays at work.  So how does he intend to pick them up on time during the week?  I called him on this, he said it was "none of my business."  Um, it is.  If they get booted out of daycare, I'm screwed.  And I'm quite concerned that this is his plan, to get them kicked out so he has a good excuse to switch their school again.  He's in the process of enrolling his girlfriend's kid into the school near his house, and told my kids on the weekend he wants them to go there, too.  He uses this kid as a pawn.  She's the only reason the kids even LIKE going over there, as they have a little built-in friend to play with.  And now he's trying to convince them that it'll be "super fun" to go to school with her, as well.  Sigh.</p>
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<p>To top things off nicely, I found out on the weekend that he doesn't even have a working car.  The last time he picked up the kids, it was in a car with a broken headlight, a broken tail light, and only one carseat (I had to loan him one of mine).  Now, it's not even roadworthy.  His girlfriend has no car.  And he just recently purchased a brand new iPhone...so I'm not sure what the deal is with his priorities.  But currently, he has to borrow vehicles to even get around.  How can he reliably deliver my children to daycare, which is 40 minutes away from his house??  And he tells me this is none of my business.  He'll figure it out.  Forgive me if I'm not convinced.</p>
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<p>The problem with the three month trial idea is that it will just bring up this fight again, and of course he will claim that he IS doing all the stuff he's supposed to.  I know you're trying to meet him halfway so that he won't be so difficult (I have a similar type of ex who tries to just announce things & hopes I'll regard that as law, so that he won't have to actually go through the legal steps that make things happen... lazy and incompetent).  But it won't work - the only thing to really ward him off is to stick to the legally set boundaries.  Else it will be a free-for-all any time he gets an idea in his head.  Like someone else said - let HIM jump through the hoops and take you to court if it really means so much to him.  Amending the agreement to suit him will NOT avoid a fight, because with a bully it's always something.  So, do what's best for your KIDS.</p>
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<p>Oh and about how he pawned the kids off on his brother... I meant to ask if your agreement has a "right of first refusal" clause in it for you.... meaning that when the children aren't in his care during his visitation time, you have the right to be with them. </p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Nikki~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281145/custody-what-would-you-do-update-he-asked-sort-of#post_16084233"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Thanks guys.  The only thing I was considering was having my lawyer write up a "trial basis" custody agreement, though I'm not even sure that's legal.  I want the kids to have an opportunity to spend more time with their father, it's just clearly not in their well-being right now.  I'm wondering if I could write up a trial agreement, something like a three month trial where he has to agree to be meeting their basic needs, making sure their marks aren't suffering (they attend a french school, and I have doubts that ex will even be able to read the homework sheets that come home, let alone help them with it), and not endangering them.</p>
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<br><br><p>Do not do this.  If you allow him to have the kids 50% of the time, and then go to court claiming that you knew he couldn't meet their needs before hand....well, you will not get what you want. </p>
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<p>Stick to what you have right this moment.  Do not agree to change it.  A court is most likely to order the "status quo" - keep it the way it is.  Have your lawyer write him a letter, and if you need to have the police enforce the order (ie, if he fails to return them to you).  If he didn't make it known to you, in the agreement that you signed, that the situation was temporary, then its not temporary. </p>
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<p>ETA - when my ex was bullying me, I had ALL communication go through my lawyer.  My lawyer didn't give a rats ass what he thought, or what he said, or anything - she is not emotionally involved, and handled it all BEAUTIFULLY - she was well worth her keep.  My ex's lawyer was the nastiest person I have ever met in my life, and my lawyer handled her with ease and grace (that I hope I learn someday....).  Pay your lawyer to do this communication for you.  Any time he says anything, just deflect it with, "All communication about visitation/custody needs to go through my lawyer.  How was the weekend?"  Disengage, end the conversation, "kids, say bye to daddy!  Give daddy bye bye kisses!   Bye bye STBX, see you next visitation day, feel free to call the kiddos."</p>
 
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