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Custody Battle

weightedworld's picture

I'm going through a custody battle with the exhb. He intiated going for full custody. A ploy to impress his latest girlfriend turned fiance. 

Long story super short.. our co-parenting has taken an entire nose dive since the two of them have become serious. 

We are currently at the point of my older kids go back to dads every Wednesday with a new elaborate gift coming from Amazon.
I previously would get comments on how well behaved they were to now we can't go to our local walmart with them not crying/laying on the ground/hitting me at the register because they didn't get what they wanted. 

I have grown sick and tired of it, I'm for one not made of money and two am not raising my kids to be and act like entitled brats as they have been. It's disgusting. So I decided to say something again for the 3rd time. As the last 2 gifts my son alone received were a "diamond covered mens watch" of course it is fake but what 7 year old needs to be sporting such a thing? And a black onyx ring. W.T.F. I'm embaressed for my own child as he is so proud showing these things off and the looks adults and other kids are giving him.

My daughter is no longer wearing ear rings in her ears and is petrified to get them pierced again. We waited until she was 5 because I myself have a bad metal allergy and chances are she did too and I wanted her to be able to address it first. Turns out she does. We bought her the special ear rings, drilled it into her head that she cannot just put random ear rings in her ears, they needed to be 'special' Dads girlfriend purchases her a pack of ear rings and puts in her most favorite pair. I had to dig the back of the ear rings out of my daughters ears. A conversation that we had more than 100 times. Just zip gone. 

I texted him and asked him what the point was? Stated the behaviors I have started to see from the kids and how all these over endulging gifts and trips and constant to dos are really affecting them in a negative way. Asked him to think about it. He wasn't raised that way, neither was I, and we previously had the same beliefs on 'earning what you had and knowing the value of a dollar' He stated that he NEVER sees these types of behaviors, I'm jealous, and he will get and do whatever his kids want. I half expected the answer because as I said this is the 3rd time I've tried addressing this, the other two In person and was returned with very demeaning and down talk that I just refuse to speak to him in person anymore because of it. Anyway, we still share a few mutual friends and so I approached the subject with them. Behaviors are there with dad, they have never seen either of them act the way they do now. "Doesn't suprise me he's marrying money now look how his attitude has changed" ahh lovely. 
I responded with I knew the kids didn't just express this type of behavior with me as I had asked half expecting that answer in return as it hasn't been the first time I have heard it. No response.. 2 days later I receive a LONG email from "him" clearly NOT from him but from the fiance. Playing a huge victim card, I destroyed the kids life when I broke up our family, they have made it a point to give them a better life, I make him feel like a terrible father, animosity shown towards fiance. - Make me want to bounce my head off the wall. Reading it I was furious, I have not responded and I don't intend to because I am NOT speaking to my ex, his fiance is the one who is composing. I've known him long enough to know 1. animosity is not part of his vocabulary 2. not his structure amongst others. He asked me when picking up the kids last if I received his email and I said yes. He asked if I was going to respond and I told him no. 

My attorney is growing very impatient with him and his attorney as his attorney doesn't know what is going on or what the plan is - what is even wanted from going back to court. It has been 4 months now since the case has been opened up and my attorney just today actually spoke with his attorney for the first time now that a trial date has been set. My attorney thinks this entire thing is laughable and told me the contact between him and I will be very limited until he can figure out what if any is their game plan and we actually have something to talk about. He has told me to just hang tight. Today his lawyer provided my lawyer with his pay stubs to see on a CS modification - that was IT! He was asked if this was more fueled towards CS or was he really looking at primary care and his lawyer said he didn't know. My lawyer told him that if he was set on getting primary we are forefitting mediation and going straight to trial. He said he would let him know what was going on. (I don't see this as his attorney being an ass. We are from a VERY small town and I could bet money that his lawyer advised him against this)

As all of this started I reached out to the previous "long" term ex as he stated she just disappeared. "She blocked me and I don't know what happened." I know how he is.. I was married to him and dated him over half of my life.. I figured it wasn't good but I figured I would try my luck to see if she could be to any assistance with the custody. That was a 45 minute conversation of how she fell for me being the evil person and soon realized why I left. "He's a terrible drunk, I got tired of caring for your kids when he had them and he decided to get drunk instead, even at the trampoline park. I had to foot the bill for everything because he barely had enough money for gas. I don't know where he got the money for the lawyer for your divorce because he didn't have it." and the best part "I can only imagine what he has told her and what she is believing I wish you well because he's good at it, I believed it for far too long." 

I have the kids signed up and awaiting seats for counseling. They are so booked out due to Covid and the limited office visits. They aren't doing zoom meetings for kids who aren't established patients. He is demanding that I pay for it all because after all I am the reason they need it due to the terrible person I am. Whatever.. we will iron that our later. Our CO is 25/75. As I said worry about that later.

The last interaction we all had was 2 weekends ago my son had a wrestling tournament (resulted in the previously mentioned ring) I walked in and called him to see where they were, when he was wrestling, I was ignored. I finally spotted them and walked over and his fiance threw her arm in the air waving like we were the best of friends. I just looked at her like she was a crazy woman. Seems as if they are just the same in bullshit appearance to the public eye. Not playing. My last interaction was with him on the phone as I had to call the kids regarding school. She wasn't there, he talked to me as if we were the best of friends, I ended the conversation. Save it. 

Any advice on how to deal with that? 




tog redux's picture

This is a parental alienation situation. Sounds like the new fiancee is buying the BS about what a terrible person you are. The old one bought it too, but she didn't try to alienate the kids from you.

Would the ex-girlfriend do an affidavit for you for court? So they can see how he painted you to her, and probably to this current GF?

weightedworld's picture

I'm not sure if she would or not. She made it very clear if she could have that time of her life back she would definately take it and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. If it gets to that point I may have to try.

tog redux's picture

The good news is that this current GF is likely to get sick of him as well, at some point. And your kids are so young it's unlikely any court would consider a change in custody to the father. 

weightedworld's picture

For her sake I hope they aren't married before she makes that realization. But as time goes on I think she has motives of her own. She doesn't have kids and is well into her 40s.

He seen a counselor as our divorce started to proceed. I had started dating someone new and he accused him of molesting our daughter. So we went in and had a VERY interesting counseling session with his counselor. 

She ended up asking him to leave the room because he blew up about how I was a whore, ruined his life, ect in front of our daughter. Not even acknowleding why we were there - the abuse allegation.

She told me that he wasn't mentally ready to hear it and would address it if needed but she thought he would lose interest in that fixation and he did. He still brings it up once in a while but I am fully aware of what she told me and I know it could be found in his file as well if needed. 

When he filed the custody I started pulling everything together in my own defense and contacted the counselor for my daughters record of being there. The receptionist told me that I did not have access to it because it was placed in his file. I would ultimately have to create our daughter as a patient so we could move the file. 

A few minutes later I get a call from the counselor herself and she wants to know what is going on and why I am so interested in this file. (I was aware that he stopped going to counseling quite awhile ago.) I told her and she was instantly mad. (I have a recording app on my phone for his conversations if ever needed and thankfully caught this conversation) "HE DOESN'T DESERVE THE CUSTODY HE HAS LET ALONE FULL. WHAT can I do to help!?" 

ESMOD's picture

It sounds like a very frustrating situation.  It also sounds like despite your ex appearing to be good at coparenting he may well have been torpedoing you to his GF's and possibly the kids... 

But, I do think there are some things you do have to "accept".  Coparenting doesn't necessarily mean that you have any say over what happens in his home.. how he parents or how his new GF may interact with your children.  If she wants to blow in as Ms Moneybags and buy your kids ridiculous gifts.. and spoil them because the money comes easy for her... and she values material things and thinks that's how you get people to like you?  sorry.. you can't control any of that.  You had children with this man.. you are going to have to do the uncomfortable thing and let him make the parenting decisions when the kids are with him.. including whether he brings other people into their lives like the GF.

What can you do?  You can insist that your kids behavior not change in your household.  They are young.. and yes.. it is a bit confusing to have different expectations.. but they will get used to it.  It doesn't mean that you love them less if you have different expectations and boundaries.  They may like the gifts she gives them.. but you are still their mother.. that trumps that.  It's not your job to get them to "love you more".. your job is to parent them to the best of your ability when you have them in your care.  

Now, your EX is likely motivated, in part, by elimination of CS.. or even a reversal where YOU pay HIM.  His new GF may be pushing for this as she may see it as a way to have more control over him and her life.  Honestly, it's really unlikely she really wants them there full time.  Honestly.. almost zero stepmothers want the kids full time barring a situation where the EX is abusive and they feel they need to save the kids.  In almost every case.. it is not a desire to have unrelated rug rats in their home... interferring with their plans and making messes in their home.. really.  she may want his financial obligation to you to go away..   she may be selling him some "happy family fantasy" to lure him in and marry him.

I would definitely listen to your legal counsel.  Answer what communications that the lawyer feels are important for you to respond to (even if you think the new GF is doing the typing).   And document whatever you can in support of your case.. whether he declines visitation.. returns kids early... or any other issue.

I wouldn't be so focused on things like the gifts and earrings.. The latter was likely your daughter trying to get the GF to like her.. and to please her by wearing the new earrings.  GF likely doesn't know the medical nature and wasn't intentionally trying to harm your daughter.. it was an honest mistake on her part.. and kids can do dumb things for nice reasons.

weightedworld's picture

I appreciate your comment and thats why I chose to come here with this.

It gets under my skin terribly because when she does realize how he is and leaves him like the rest of us things will go back to where they were before. I'd just greatly appreciate it as their mother that things don't get so entirely high before they come plummeting back down that they aren't completed screwed up when it does happen. 

I don't think she has ever been in the situation of steps to grasp the fullness of it yet and as the spot light continues to be on me she isn't realizing just what it takes. That she will need to learn on her own.

The every other weekly battle of straightening my kids out is plain and simply exhausting.

I have to retrain my daughter to not change her voice to a high pitched baby talk every time she returns (how she is spoken to by gf) It drives me crazy - there is no other way to put it. 

I try the best I can, the behaviors for my son in school began a few months back. I've tried talking to him about things and it seems to work on the weeks he is with me and then we start over after a week at dads. He carries the I'm better than everyone look at all these things. A couple weeks ago a kid pinned him to the ground and the teacher had to get him off from him. The teacher told me that he was lucky he didn't get punched in the face because he surely deserved it. (The teacher is a pastors wife) 
I'm to the point where he is just going to have to get punched in the face a few times by his peers and I hope he learns the valuable lessons that stem from that. I know his dad surely didn't. This last winter I took the kids for him a couple extra days because he got his face kicked and all bruised up because he was running his mouth at a bar and the group he was mouthing off to decided to attack him. I should have not agreed to it and let them see him so he could explain and hear himself while doing it. 

ESMOD's picture

Yikes....sounds like it is not just the GF who may be feeding the "poor example" there.

I do sympathize.. we would have to "decompress" when my DH's kids made the transition to our house.  

I hope that as time goes on.. that your kids will learn with consistent treatment from you, that you aren't their dad or his GF and that your home doesn't allow that kind of behavior.

The kids are young.. the GF is "new" and I'm guessing her interest in winning their affection through gifts will get old.. and it sounds like the kind of behavior you are experiencing does happen there.. so she will tire of THAT too.  

I understand how frustrating this must be.. but I think you will reap the rewards for your stable and reliable expectations!

Survivingstephell's picture

Wow. That's a lot to deal with.  Two things come to mind 

1. All gifts stay at dad's. 
2. Decompress time.  I always gave my bios an hour or so to just chill in their rooms after they came back from their father.  I kept Sunday night low key with no pressure , just getting ready for the school week.  I also did not change my expectations for their behavior.  I kept as much as I could the same so they could deal with the changes that are inevitable from divorce.  

The book Divorce Poison is a good resource for the games that are played during an alienation campaign.  There have been other stories over the years that have an over eager stepparent.  Very hard to deal with if that's where the money is coming from. They expect a return on their investment.  

Document everything, keep a journal with quick descriptions jotted down. 

Maxwell09's picture

At this point it doesn't really matter if its him or the fiance communicating with you because at the end of the day itll be taken as coming from HIM in court so don't just ignore it. If you know him to be a lazy parent then it might actually be easier if you coparent through her pretending to be him. I'm not saying you should have to do it, but if he's just difficult for the sake of being difficult then it might be easier to go this route in the long run. For now, take your lawyers advice and try to avoid conflict and confrontation with either of them until court unless absolutely necessary (health issues, not gifts). 

As for the gifts I think you should take them to hobby lobby and let them pick out a cheap deocrative box to keep these junk pieces in while they are with you so they don't go missing or get broken. Don't tell him its causing you problems, that's exactly why he's doing it in the first place--to create the gift competition mentality. The only way to fix it is to not play along. Tell the kids those treasures need to be put up so they don't get damaged or stolen and I bet the kids will forget about them within hours of being out of sight. 

On this website theres a search bar where you can look up other posts about what most of us would recommend for a really good custody order: things like specific custody times for holidays, special school days (in-services/half days), weekends, summer rotations, etc. as well as other things like financial costs like cell phone bills, car insurance when theyre older, braces and other out of pocket medical costs, I know there are so many other things mentioned in those posts that will save you so much trouble in the future. Just know that the judge and lawyers will want the custody order to be as vague as possible because it will give yall leeway to make decisions as they come BUT it is almost always the worst advice. Get as much as you can, as specific as you can so they cant run you back to court over anything they feel is ambiguous. 

weightedworld's picture

Thank you for all of your input. At times it's hard to see past the bright lights in my face. Looking forward to this all calming down. 

Rags's picture

If there is no foundational change in circumstance the odds of family Court changing custody are pretty much slim and none.  

When SS was barely 1yo the SpermClan attempted to take custody from my 16&pregnant/single teen mom eventual DW.  Long story short... they failed.... miserably.

A few months after she graduated HS, with her class and with honors, DW moved out of State for university with SS who was just barely a year year old.  She had been named CP with sole physical and legal custody when SS was born.  There was zero effort by the Spermidiot or SpermClan to maintain contact or see SS.  The Spermidiot strung my then FDW along with promisses of reconciliation, being a happy family, etc.... She took the bus to the airport more than once to meet the flight he was supposedly on for a visit. He never was on any plane he claimed to have a seat on.  

It was game on at that point.  Instead of folding and giving them the easy win for their efforts to burry her financially she took out supplemental school loans, got an attorney, and went to battle. They repeatedly backed out of court at the last minute after she had flown back to SpermLand for court dates.  Finally the attorney held their feet to the fire and court happened.  They dropped the custody element of their suit but demanded 26 weeks of visitation, which my DW refused, they then decrementally reduced their visitation demand with a final offer of 15wks which my DW refused though she did counter offer 9 weeks which they refused.  After a 8 hours in court the next day the Judge upheld my DW's full physical and legal custody, raised CS from $110/mo to $133/mo  and granted the SpermClan 7wks of long distance visitation (5wks summer, 1wk winter, 1wk spring).  As we walked out of court, their attorney attempted to accept the 9wks they had refused the night before. DW laughed at that.

My forecast is that with the history your XDH and his faince have of poor parenting decisions that you will hand them their asses in court.  Stay firm, drive home the facts with assertive diligence, and do whatever you have to do to protect the best interests of your kids and your own best interests.

Deep breaths, stay the course, and be the confident assertive parent your kids need and your XDH needs to keep a foot up his idiot ass.

Good luck.

weightedworld's picture

We offered 0 child support and to make financial obligations 50/50 (changing medical 75-25) everything else remains the same. (50/50 shared. No extras)

He took it and we are waiting for it to be drawn up and to sign. 

AND on the bright side this weekend my daughter told me, "Mama, when I have kids I am going to treat them just like you do"
Way to melt my heart. There is a lot of self doubt that goes into parenting and I really just needed to hear that.