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Custody visitation ruining my life...


rose2summer

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I wanted more than anything to have full custody of my son, but with that came a price (temporary full custody). I argued that he only see my son one day per week for visitation, but he argued to see him every single day he does not work, which ends up being 14-21 days per month including weekends for a few hours at the middle of the day so I can pretty much have no life or go anywhere. He picks him up 20-30 min late and drops him off late as well.

 

I have addressed this with my lawyer but he keeps saying, well if you aren't working (I'm applying for jobs at this time), I don't see why he shouldn't see him everyday he does not work and that 20-30min late is really nothing. My lawyer said unless I can prove otherwise, he will be getting 50/50 custody at our divorce trial in a few months. Sometimes, I feel like my lawyer isn't thinking in my best interest but after a huge retainer, I cannot retain another lawyer at this time. I just feel like he's a horrible father and he's been manipulative by making sure he ruins the middle of my day everyday and is always late. Anyone have any advice or been in this situation and how did you deal with it.

 

My family is getting frustrated as well because I miss birthdays, holidays, etc, because I have to sit home waiting for him to pick up our son 14-21 days out of the month and when he does come, he belittles me about how I spend the child support money. I have spent it only on the baby, but because I bought an alarm system for my safety with my own money, he argues.

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Is it written in stone that your Ex must pick up his son at your home? Do you own a smartphone?

 

I suggest that you make your plans and if your ex is expected at 1pm to pick up the child and he isn't there by 1:05pm, you text him that you will be at the park/grocery store/birthday party/unemployment counselor's office/wherever you were planning on going and he may meet you there to pick up his son (include the address or directions if it's not somewhere he knows). Then leave. Take all the things that you would normally give to your Ex while he would have his visit (the diaper bag, favourite toys, change of clothes, whatever) so that when he does show up, you will be prepared to hand over without any fuss. That way, it's not that you're not complying or actively keeping his son away from him, but you are saying to him that your time is important and you will not play this game any more.

 

If he shows up late for the return, that is not a problem, exactly, compared to picking up. You should still plan to be home in time to meet him, but there is nothing to stop you from texting him at the expected drop off time that you're waiting or where is he? IMO, if you're going to court to argue against this man, then you need a paper trail. What he's doing is disrespectful of your time, he's doing this to exert some level of control over you/your choices, and he's damaging your relationships with others/your ability to look for and find work. If you have a small recording device (some phones will do this), you could record what he says when he gets there. If you feel physically threatened by him, then you should arrange to have someone there to supervise the exchanges, or move them to a neutral place completely.

 

You should keep in mind that when you do find a job, having your Ex available as a babysitter (if he'll agree to that, and why should he not if he's not working?) would be much cheaper than paying a stranger to look after your son. Or, you may have to make some concessions in terms of support if your son is being looked after by his father while you work. I don't know how the courts would find in such a situation. But, IMO, unless his father is abusive, dangerous or a criminal, it would be much better for your son to have a relationship with his father than not.

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The texting idea is a good one! Live your life and have him meet YOU if he's late to pick his son up.

 

I still don't understand your custody situation. If you have temporary full custody shouldn't your Ex get ever other weekend? Was your current visitation schedule handed down by the judge? If not, I don't see why you can't change it to suit your needs. Tell you're lawyer unless there is legal obligation for your ex to see the child every day you will split visitation down the middle once 50/50 is legally established.

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Rose, you are going have to get a whole hell of a lot harder than you are. Just lead your life and he can pick up your son where you happen to be. Or like I said in one of your other threads and employ one of the child welfare agencies to be the agent to ferry your son back-and-forth. I used to drive children in exactly this situation. The agency that I volunteered for used to drive children back-and-forth between parental visits. And I can tell you no agency will put up with the monkey crap that you're putting up with from your soon-to-be ex. They will put him in his place and he will do his visits when he's told to do his visits.

 

If you want to protect yourself and your son you are just going to have to get really hardhearted and put this jack water in his place. The minute he finds out you're a strong woman most likely he will leave you alone because he's a bully. Didn't you say he has been stalking you ,he tried to force you to sign your name on a mortgage for a house he's buying for himself etc. etc. he's beyond bully he's a criminal.

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I don't want to beat a dead horse but I want to hammer home the importance of a paper trail. So, lets say he is picking up your son at 2:00pm.

 

Texted the following:

 

1:00 - 1:30: Hey, I want to confirm you are picking up (kid) at 2:00pm.

 

2:05: Hey, when can I expect you?

 

2:15: We will be at (location) if you are still picking (kid) up today.

 

Also, via email or text let you ex know you schedule:

 

"I have (appointment) at 3:00pm on Monday. You can pick up (kid) any time before 2:30pm. If you aren't here by then I will have to take (kid) with me."

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When "civil and courteous" goes out the window, you have to protect yourself by treating it as you would a business relationship where you are responsible for showing paper, logs, and documentation for everything so nobody is relying on your word or his word alone.

 

It probably sounds to your lawyer, if you're bringing it up as "he tends to be 15-20 minutes late on pickups" as minor compared to some of the battles he deals with on a daily basis. If you present him with a log, as an example, of appointments and times you're missing, late for, or otherwise having to reschedule due to his disregard for your schedule and desire to exert control, along with the problems with the mortgage application, etc - as a FILE - it becomes a different story.

 

And you can also call around for some of the mother and child advocacy groups for suggestions, mediation, and go-betweens. The more you can remove any emotional elements from the equation and make it strictly business - the less you appear to be emotion driven and the more reasonable you look. And as a result, the more it reflects his unreasonableness.

 

No, it shouldn't require having to do it. However, lawyers and advocacy groups are so accustomed to dealing with a lot of folks that don't hesitate to drag in every minor conflict and blow it into a war out of heated emotions and desire to hurt each other, nevermind the child in the middle, that the more they can rely on documented issues and less on emotional pleas - the better. So make a file with sub-files for any issues, document everything, and anything you feel would be better with a third party witness, get one.

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Wow. Just wow. How can your lawyer know any of this and not see that he or she should be fighting for you tooth and nail? Sure, he needs your credit history to get a mortgage -- so he can default on it and stick you with all that debt.

 

I didn't read all of that thread, the first page was enough. Whatever you get in paper form, photocopy it and put the original in a safety deposit box. If your ex has a key to your place, change the locks. Upgrade your cellphone if it doesn't have a camera in it already so you can photograph anyone who follows you again. There is a device you can get for your phone that will allow you to record your calls, I bought one for a different reason that connects to a digital voice recorder like what university students use in a lecture hall. Start recording your calls. Seriously, this guy is bad news, he is not going to give up or fade away gracefully and he will do whatever he can to screw with you. I'm sorry that you have to go through this, but you need to keep excellent records of everything going forward. This is going to become a "he said, she said" and it will help your case immeasurably if you can sink him with his own words and deeds.

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True. But, if I were in her situation, I would want a record of it -- just for my own personal security. I don't want to be melodramatic, but what happens if he harms her physically? Or she goes missing? IMO, I'd rather have a CD full of recorded phone calls that demonstrate a pattern of abuse or threats for the authorities to investigate than worry about whether or not it's breaking the law. If nothing else, she could tell him that she's recording all her calls, and let him then pick his words. Just like if there's another person around, I have a feeling he would be less of a if he knew he was being recorded.

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True. But, if I were in her situation, I would want a record of it -- just for my own personal security. I don't want to be melodramatic, but what happens if he harms her physically? Or she goes missing? IMO, I'd rather have a CD full of recorded phone calls that demonstrate a pattern of abuse or threats for the authorities to investigate than worry about whether or not it's breaking the law. If nothing else, she could tell him that she's recording all her calls, and let him then pick his words. Just like if there's another person around, I have a feeling he would be less of a if he knew he was being recorded.

 

Not a bad idea. "I'm recording all my phone calls, including this one, if you don't wish to be recorded please send me an email." He can then choose which he wants to do.

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Thanks everyone for the amazing advice!

 

I am definitely going to follow each of these things.

 

He told me today that his lawyer said that our emergency hearing a few months back could not be used to determine child support/alimony so he doesn't need to pay it to me (he didn't have this lawyer at that time). He has defaulted on the payments.

 

It's amazing to me how little he cares about his son, to not even pay child support, buy him a Christmas present, nothing.

 

I have my next hearing in a few months, but I am definitely going to address it with my lawyer.

 

He wants me to be his slave waiting for him to pick up the baby/drop him off, etc, but not provide any financial help. It's disappointing. Since he was born premature, baby food alone is $400 per month right now. Thankfully, I have family to help me but he makes a ton of money and he said he cannot afford to help out, he said he's barely making it, yet bought a new house and buying a new $80k sportscar. Definitely a deadbeat dad.

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He told me today that his lawyer said that our emergency hearing a few months back could not be used to determine child support/alimony so he doesn't need to pay it to me . . .

 

I am well-familiar with this type, unfortunately. The type that thinks THEY are in charge and THEY are the ones calling the shots, and everyone is taking orders from THEM. The only thing I can tell you is hold firm. I went through this same thing during my divorce; xH telling me on a daily basis what he was or was not going to do, told me everything was up to him and if he didn't agree with this or that then he didn't have to do it. And my lawyer acting like she wanted me to concede and give him what he wanted in order to keep the peace and so that we wouldn't end up hating each other. Yeah, too late. I sent her e-mail after e-mail (at a cost of about $60 apiece--they charge for the time to read those) trying to explain who we were dealing with here, and that the last thing you do when dealing with an abuser/bully is give in to him out of fear. She would tell me much the same thing your lawyer is saying "the judge is likely to decide this" and "the judge is likely to say that" well that's fine, then let the judge order it, I'm not rolling over and giving up my rights. Guess what? I held firm and xH backed down. Which is what usually happens when those pieces of *expletive* are confronted.

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I'll put it simply...

 

It won't be over until he turns 18.

 

Not your ex-husband, your kid!! Luckily so, because there's good change the latter just might someday!!

 

The quality of attorney makes a huge difference in these matters, but if your ex is a fighter, I haven't any good news because in this sort of matter, the courts are also a matter of who's wallet is bigger. If he's boneheaded, I'm sorry.

 

You can't let your guard down, that's the number one thing you can't do. This goes for boyfriends, parties, injuries, you name it. My mom lost a lot more than she should have because of the lifestyle she pursued in the afterglow of her divorce. Yes, getting the papers signed was easy, but it was nothing compared to the war that would be the settlement.

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She would tell me much the same thing your lawyer is saying "the judge is likely to decide this" and "the judge is likely to say that" well that's fine, then let the judge order it, I'm not rolling over and giving up my rights. Guess what? I held firm and xH backed down. Which is what usually happens when those pieces of *expletive* are confronted.

 

Ugh. I hate weak lawyers! You're paying for a service and they're not fighting for you!

 

OP, waffle makes good points here. Stand firm against your Ex and when you're lawyer is giving you in BS on what the judge is "likely to say" tell him/her that isn't good enough.

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Hey Rose, ok so your ex will see you kid today. Right after he drops him back at your house send him a text about the following visit saying just what we have discussed here. Make it clear he needs to be at your house by a certain time or you will not be there.

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Thanks everyone for the excellent advice.

 

I will definitely do that today Moontiger.

 

I'm a little concerned though, my parents told me that last night and two nights ago, someone came at 1am banging at their door, they said it wasn't just knocking, they were really hitting the door hard. By the time, they looked, no one was there.

 

He's unhinged and crazy, imo, I don't know if it's him or his family. His family is filled with crimes and felons, so I don't doubt they would do anything to get to me because I put a wedge in between them stealing my identity.

 

It could have just been random, but who knocks a door at 1am, so coincidentally it coincides with this divorce.

 

He had told me once that to get to someone, you harm them where it hurts, their family.

 

It's hard to file a police report when no one was there by the time they went to the door. I guess asking the police for extra patrol is good too because it's happening at 1am consistently.

 

Also, I have asked him numerous times for his schedule so I know when he will pick up our son. After asking 4 times, he still hasn't given it to me and ignores me saying he can't give it to me because it has phone numbers for his colleagues on it. I told him to hand write out the days then, but still nothing. Our court orders said he needs to tell me 2 weeks in advance his schedule and he shows up as he pleases and if custodial time is 3 hours, drops him off whenever he wants during those 3 hours, sometimes after 1 hour.

 

Yesterday, a truck was parked outside my house, but the person was visiting our neighbor. He seemed to take notice and said to our son, son, you only have one mom and one dad. He's so odd sometimes.

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Keep records of all these strange things. Write down license plate numbers, if you have to install out door cameras. Not sure the cost on that but I think it would be worth looking into.

 

When you text him add, "And, as we have discussed before, could you please send me, via text or email, your work schedule? Thanks."

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install out door cameras.
Which, to your previous point, can also be illegal if they are pointed the wrong way, or so someone who did set up cameras at his house told me when I saw him playing with the system and asked about it. It was actually very cool, I wish I could remember the name of it. There's a hard drive somewhere that captures the footage, which only records if a hotspot he set changes. He can then go in via a web page and check it from anywhere, delete the footage from anywhere. He was telling me about how he used the setup to catch some kids in the area who were stealing things. But he did warn that the one camera that looked out his front door (literally, it was inside the house, all his cameras were) had to be aligned so that it mainly captured his door, front walkway, yard and road, not a house accross the street due to privacy issues. The thing that would be good about having the cameras inside is that no one could disable them by removing the cables or painting over the lenses. If this guy is as crazy as you say he is, I wouldn't put it past him.
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