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justmakingthebest's picture

My heart truly breaks for my husband. But then I want to kick him in the balls....

Quick recap on what is currently happening: CS has never been officially determined. 9 years now on temp orders. We are probably underpaying by about $100-150/month in all reality. DH makes a good living, BM probably makes around $15-17 per hour under the table. We have subpoenaed her bank statements and taxes to prove she works but she will not turn them over (Still don't know how that is possible). DH won't agree to a number until she turns over her financials (can't blame him). 

Also, DH has done 22 yrs in the Navy, his extension is running out and he can retire next year. However, we can't make that decision until we know what the judge will order in terms of back CS, if he thinks DH still owes alimony (I have documentation showing she was overpaid by 8K), etc.

Last night: Our lawyer has been trying really hard to get an order from the judge but isn't getting a response so he reached out to BM's attorney for a "If we settle this ourselves what will it take" offer from them. BM wants 5K, leave CS as it is now and SS get's to make his own choice for visitation. 

I told DH to counter with leaving CS, no extra money and SS can make his own choice. 

DH SAID NO! OMFG... I can't y'all. He said that is giving up on his kid and no decent parent would do that. He said he isn't going to fight in court if he doesn't come out but he isn't putting it in writing that SS can make his own choice. 

Now DH wants to go to some judicial review board and bring the judge up on disciplinary action. I agree what the judge has done -- Really what he refuses to do -- should be criminal but REALLY??? He wants keep this going? 

I can't y'all. I can't keep doing this. I thought it was over. 

DH gave the lawyer a deadline of Sept 30th MONTHS ago on when we had to have a decision made. So now what? Back to court? 

I was the one talking to our lawyer, he said that bringing action against the judge is extreme but I countered that not having a CS order in 9 years is extreme. That my husband not being able to take his federal retirement because of the judge refusing to do his job is extreme. We have paid him over 80K- FIGURE IT OUT BEFORE THE 1st of OCTOBER! 

I am so tired. I just want to cry. 


tog redux's picture

This is how I felt when DH lost to BM based on SS's lies and then filed for an appeal. I was DONE and ready to walk, honestly. Thankfully DH's attorney discouraged him from any more court action, and I think DH sensed I was at the breaking point - and that's when he dropped the rope. Took me a long time to get him to see the difference between "giving up" and "letting go". 

ETA:  don't do one teeny-tiny thing to help with any of this going forward. Let him deal with ALL of it. 

Gimlet's picture

I am so sorry.

Honestly, this isn't giving up on his son, it's accepting that he can't have the presence in his life that he wants right now, but is leaving the door open for the future.  This isn't good for SS either, it's just prolonging the loyalty conflict for a fight he will never win. 

The loving thing for everyone is to settle with BM and just let go. Let SS know the door is open, but he won't pursue him.  If he is focused on what is best for SS, the decent thing to do is to take him out of the middle of this.

I agree with Tog, I would not do anything in support of this decision.

justmakingthebest's picture

I wish that DH could even say that he would agree that SS can make his own choice after a facetime call so that he can say those words to SS. It is so important for SS to know that the door on our end is open and I know DH wants to tell him that but I also think that not forcing SS would probably be the only way he will ever be receptive to coming in the future. DH won't hear any of it though. 

6 weeks. We have 6 weeks of visitation until he turns 18. What does my husband actually think will happen? SS will magically want to come live with us for his Sr. year? Right after HS get out of podunk and come stay with us to figure out college?? NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OF THIS. He is going to be miserable to be with. 

OH! And since DH didn't put in for holiday leave, IF SS does show up for 2nd half of x-mas break DH will be working a 24 hr shift every 3 days. So just screw JMTB, right? I can't just leave, I don't trust him in my home and I have worked too damn hard to have this life for SS to ruin anything of mine. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

All this for a kid who will soon be 18? Jesus. I feel you, though. My SO's neverending shitshow is the same. Some people just can't share kids without spending the whole fricking time in court. I think he has spent the last 20 years of his life with one open custody case or another, with one BM or another. And 7 years until the youngest is 18. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Oh, and the best is watching SO scroll through Facebook and comment on his lawyer's vacation photos. Lots of nice trips....barf! 

tog redux's picture

You have to wonder if it's more about "winning" than anything else, at that point. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I think so. The only one winning, though, is the lawyer, on vacation to every nice beach he can find! 

halo1998's picture

at this point it just about "winning".  But really what are you winning....a kid that doesn't want to be there at the cost of several new cars...seems like a zero sum game to me.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Well, crudmuffins. Terribly sorry to hear this, JMTB. Just reading it makes me tired, so I can imagine how tired you must feel. {{{HUGS}}}

Tog and Gimlet both give good advice. It's time for you to drop this ball and leave the game. Everything going forward is on your DH. Every.Single.Thing. In fact, I would start gray rocking him on the matter. "You do what you feel is best." "This not my decision to make." And so on...

advice.only2's picture

I agree with the others you need to disengage from this process and let your DH do what he wants to do...he's a grown man he can figure it out, and he will need to start carving out the time to deal with this rather than relying on you.

I do agree though about taking action against the judge, he needs to be held accountable for not doing his job, and really the only way to start getting sh@t judges like this out of the court system is to take them to task for their lack of doing their job.

justmakingthebest's picture

I agree that the judge needs to be held accountable but I just don't care anymore to be the person to do it. I don't have it in me to be a social justice warrior for a kid who is an a-hole to my husband.

advice.only2's picture

I understand and agree, but in this instance if my lawyer told me I had a good shot at having that judge have to be disciplined, you bet I would do it, not for the a$$hole kid, but because the judge allowed the BM to pull this sh@t and turn the kid into an a$$hole.

CallMeCrazy's picture

Holy moly. What an absolute mess. Would BM go for the extra $5K and SS doesn't make the choice? Geez, it's time to put a period on this and move forward. Who has temp orders for 9 years?! Ugh.

ESMOD's picture

He wouldn't be giving up on his son.  He would be giving up on the ILLUSION that he has any control over whether his son comes for a visit..

The resources that have been put into this situation has far outpaced any benefit to anyone.  The boy has been put further and further into PAS land.. and the balance of your family has suffered.. emotionally.. financially.

This isn't a situation of a 6 year old refusing to eat their veggies..where the parent needs to force or press the issue for the child's own good.

This is a 16 year old teen.. within 2 years of being absolutely legally able to make his own decisions.  Frog stepping the kid onto a plane a few more time?  based on his past behavior does he really think the outcome will improve?

And.. at 16, the kid should have some autonomy in his life.  I would be absolutely giving him the option to visit or not... BUT.. I would ensure that any post 18 payments are optional on your DH's part.  If the kid doesn't want his relationship.. he won't be getting financial support for college etc... sweet with the sour kid.

Maybe he needs to demand an "in person" meeting with his son to talk about it?

He could say that he will agree to the terms if he is able to have a 30 minute in person meeting with his son first... No meeting? No signature.. and he can proceed with a plan b.

justmakingthebest's picture

Oh, I like that! I will suggest it to DH. Just a one on one meeting with the 2 of them.

Winterglow's picture

My brother tried it with his middle child who wanted to switch colleges, switch subjects, switch etc. but needed someone to foot the bill. Bro said "OK, I'd be happy to but he has to come and talk it over with me at the local McDonald's, face to face." Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? He sat there for nearly 3 hours before he gave up (definitively).

Winterglow's picture

He certainly did not. In fact, it turned out to be the last straw for his two oldest. They were in their mid-twenties at the time and he cut them off completely. 

CastleJJ's picture

I am really sorry you are going through this. As ESMOD said, your husband is only fighting his because he is trying to maintain some form of control over this terrible situation. What your DH fails to realize is that he hasn't had any control all along; BM and SS have had the control, dictating when SS visits, when SS communicates with DH, etc. Your husband is just in denial about the state of he and SS' relationship. 

This would be my hill to die on. SS has made it clear that he has no interest in having a relationship with DH or your family. DH can say all he wants that BM is preventing it, but in reality, SS is almost 17 and if he wanted a relationship with DH, he would find a way. Teens are crafty and they can easily hide communication apps, fake social media accounts, etc. to communicate if they were really that determined. The truth is, SS doesn't care. Your DH and family has expressed time and time again that the door is always open. I don't think one final conversation to reiterate that point is going to make any difference. By forcing it, your DH is further alienating him. 

Your DH can ask for a one on one meeting with SS, but know that it likely won't happen. And he can keep the stipulation the way it is and keep fighting for SS to visit, only for him to not show up. It's a waste of time, money, and emotional energy. 

I recommend that your DH request the meeting, fully expecting that it won't happen. If it doesn't, then your husband needs to take BM's offer, minus the $5k, and attach a letter from DH for SS that outlines that the door is always open, but that future financial assistance (college, wedding, house down-payment assistance, etc.) is not available without some form of relationship in the future. The letter may help provide DH with some closure. Then DH needs to drop rope. He isn't giving up on his kid because his kid isn't a child anymore. But your DH continuing this charade makes me believe that he will continue to push SS, even after emancipation, to try to force a relationship. Your DH needs counseling to accept the situation for what it is. 

tog redux's picture

I agree. This is what my DH did and we found peace finally. I no longer blame BM - my SS is 21, and his choice to not have much relationship with DH is his own.  Only DH doesn't care as much anymore. 

JMTB's DH still wants to "win" and beat BM, mine did too. But he thrived after he dropped the rope and accepted the reality of his situation. 

CastleJJ's picture

And I can't imagine how hard it is to accept that reality. Hell, it's been a full year and a half since we ended court and decided that we are done fighting and essentially "letting go" and that has been incredibly difficult to come to terms with. But, we have accepted that we can't "win" against BM. I think acknowledging that is the biggest step. 

JMTB's DH has been in and out of court for years. Hell, BM falsified health department documents and got away with it 100%, that should be a clear indicator that BM is the only "winner" in this case. I just hope her DH can see that you can't win a losing battle when all the cards are stacked against you. 

tog redux's picture

It was very hard. But the alternative was worse. There are no good outcomes here. Only bad ones and worse ones. 

strugglingSM's picture

I can see why your DH would feel that way, but he's never going to "win" a fight with HCBM and the alternative you proposed seems like the best option for him.

As others said, letting go and dropping the rope is not the same as giving up. I feel bad for divorced dads of HCBMs, but the sad reality is that there's not much they can do and children don't have the emotional maturity to see through manipulation (most adults don't either), so they are easy targets for HCBMs who know they can use the "poor, single mother who only cares about the kids" trope to do whatever they want. 

strugglingSM's picture

Also, sorry you have paid so much in legal fees and still have nothing to show for it. In my limited experience, the family court system is terrible.

ESMOD's picture

I get it.. I really do.

He wants to punish someone for this horrible outcome.  If the issues were more forced by the court years ago?  perhaps he would have had a shot.  SHOOT.. the court could have really stung BM and awarded your DH full custody and let her deal with sporadic visitation.  But.. that didn't happen.. 

He tried to get the court to punish BM... they passed on that multiple times.  To continue to go to the court expecting a different result? madness.

He wants to punish the judge?  For what?  for failing to hold BM accountable?  Well.. the problem is that in the end, he was doing what he thought was in the child's best interest.. and that was not to lock up the primary parent.  The default seems to try to resolve things reasonably... with warnings.. with encouragement to the parents to do the right thing.

But.. how easy is it for BM to throw her hands up and say I cannot make a teenager comply? Pretty damn easy.

So the court didn't do anything really.. and tiime marched on.. and they will NOT do anything to the judge either.. 

Does your DH really have some unlimited pot of money to keep tossing it in the black hole legal system? I'm guessing he doesn't.  I'm guessing the rest of you pull in your financial belt loops so he can continue his hopeless crusade.

Someone needs to point blank tell him a few things.  Preface it with... I know you aren't going to like a lot of what I say but here goes.. it has to be said.

1.  The court will never punish BM.  You are wasting time and ruining our lives living in that fantasy world.

2.  You will never get the satisfaction of seeing the judge held accountable for whatever failings you think he made.  I know from our POV it looks bad, but I guarantee the court will side with the judges.. for lack of better word.. judgement in how the case was handled. (and covid in the middle.. etc.).  

3.  You are not giving up on your son, but you have to understand your son has absolutely given up on you.  He does not want to be in your life, in our lives.  His mom may have pushed this, but he is old enough to understand and know what he wants... HE has made this decision.  The order would not say you don't get visitation.. it leaves it to HIM (at almost 18) to make the decision to come or not.  It's just agreeing to what is already happening anyway...

You are left with few options at this point and I will not support the option that has us fighting forward wasting more money on this legal fiasco.

The best option is to accept her terms... perhaps with the exception of the $5k payment.  The only other thing he could consider is that he would sweeten the pot by saying he would pay BM an additional $1K for each of those 6 visitation weeks she can encourage his son to accept... but my guess is she is probably more mean than

The bottom line is that he has lost his relationship with his son.... there is none to preserve at this point.  Letting the kid just make his own mind up?  fine.  Maybe his son will be liable to be more grateful that his dad stopped the fight at some point.  

But, as his wife? this stops now.  If you choose to go forward with this, I don't want to hear word one about it.  The fight is killing us financially.. and you have to admit that you will never get the result you want in court... 

SteppedOut's picture

Exactly all of this. 

I'd be SUPER mad about the potential that skid comes at Christmas and YOU are stuck AGAIN dealing with his BS. OP, you do too much for your huaband for him to be so careless with you. 

AgedOut's picture

my heart hurts for your husband. He's tried so hard and I understand him thinking he'd be giving up on his son. Remind him that he isn't giving up, the door is always open. His phone works, he can still reach out but forcing a teen to visit is a no win situation that may backfire and cause his son to cut him off forever. He's not giving up, he's just trying to keep that path open. And as his son matures he may reach out to Dad, he may form a relationship but right now that isn't happening. 

However, make it clear that the open wallet closes, he is not going to throw money at his son while his son fakes a bond with him. 

I hate that you're all going through this. But stepping back isn't quitting, it's just realizing that running head first into the same wall over and over isn't doing anything for anyone.

justmakingthebest's picture

Thank you all for your understanding and wise words. I have to talk to DH again tonight about this. We can't keep going down this path. 

The judge won't be held accountable.- After doing research into what this would entail it would most likely be a letter from the Judicial board saying that he has to make his rulings in a timely manner. 

BM won't be held accountable- This has been proven over and over.

SS is lost- facts are facts. 

DH didn't walk away with out a fight. He fought more than most would have. It's time. SS will be 17 in a few weeks. It is time to back away, find a settlement that lets us live our lives and we can always keep the door open for SS. As long as DH is able to communicate that to him, that is all we can do at this point. 

SteppedOut's picture

As long as "keeping the door open" doesn't mean your husband throws money at him after he is 18 every time he asks to assuage the guilt. BM is going to feel the sting of no more CS and she will use it to further weaponize skid.