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Frustrated/Angry Need Opinions &Advice

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Haven't been here in a while, I don't have internet access at home any longer so it makes foruming difficult. As a catch up-divorce was final in March-but ex refused to sign the papers until July. Thought that after the judge ruled he would get the picture NOT. He paid child support until June and then paid nothing else until I went to the state to have it withheld from his check-hard to raise 3 boys without help from their dad. We just went back to court and the judge forgave $2000 of the $2500 he owed.WOW that made me so MAD!! And then she dropped the monthly amount by $300.


The problem now is he is taking me to court because he wants joint physical custody ( 1 week at his house/1 week at my house). He is doing this because he wants to pay no child support-he didn't file this until I took the money from his check. After what happened in court last time I am soooo afraid of him getting the boys

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I can really feel your frustration, this has to seem like a never-ending nightmare to you. I'm really sorry you're getting faced with this right at the beginning of a brand new year.


But maybe you can avoid all the unpleasantness of before, or at least a good deal of it, if you let go of some wants financially, in exchange for a bit of peace of mind.


Do you make enough money to support your children? Even if it's tight? The reason I ask is because I don't think your ex is going to come through with his end of the deal financially for a long time to come, if ever. There might be a point where you just have to resign yourself to that, in exchange for retaining most of the custody of your kids and sparing them from any more tension from being caught in the middle of all this.


I know this would be unfair for you. I don't deny that. It's not fair you'd get stuck for paying most of everything. But if you can manage to do it, it may save your sanity to just accept he's never going to hold up his end of the bargain financially. He may be a basically decent Dad, but it doesn't sound like he's responsible financially at all, while it sounds like you are much more so.

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You need to think about what's best for your boys. As frustrated and angry you are about the child support adjustment you need to get over it because it's petty. You're allowed to be angry at the JUDGE not your EX for forgiving his arrears ($2000) and yes, maybe that is not fair but every state has different laws pertaining to child support. thereforeeee, I'm not going to elaborate anymore on the child support issue because it's pointless and I'm not an expert in VA Family Court law.


However, I will give my opinion about joint custody. As much as you don't want to hear this the fact is your EX has rights just as you do. For you to say that the reason he's filing for joint custody is he "wants to pay no support" is petty on your part. Your EX has just as much right to those boys as you do. So why are you wasting pointless energy on facts that cannot be changed?


Instead, you should be using you energy to figure out what's BEST for your boys. Yes, it's going to be difficult if you and your EX have joint custody but you need to start thinking and planning now how you're going to make this transition for them go as smoothly as possible. You and your EX will have to put your anger and pettiness aside so you two can figure out a plan to make this work out so everyone is not stressed.


This may be hard but I think you should step up and be the "hero" that your family needs. What this means is putting aside all of your hurt, anger etc. and start finding solutions so your boys can grow up in a family (although broken) isn't broken for the rest of their lives.


I'm a single mom myself and I grew up in a broken home because my parents would not put aside their pettiness. My parents went through a nasty divorce and custody battle when I was 10. It took 14 yrs until they finally realized the damaged that they did. Don't make this mistake with your boys. Step up and be the "hero" of your family, and do whatever is necessary to give those boys a loving, stable environment to grow up in.

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I don't feel I am being petty. I have been the bigger person through the past 3 years of this ongoing crap. I cannot make it without his help, I don't make enough money to support myself & the boys, believe me I wish I did. The past six months have been agonizing-pay for electric or food-in the end I did both but only by putting groceries on the credit card. My parents have paid for the new shoes, clothes, school supplies,etc that children need. I am an adult, with a college education, I shouldn't need to have my parents pay for anything!!!


I guess I don't like being judged as petty for determining that he wants them so he doesn't have to pay-I know this man. The fact that he has NEVER asked for joint physical custody until I filed with the state to have the child support-ordered by the court-taken from his check makes me question his motive. His past behavior also leads to this decision, his need for control, his verbal/emotional abuse toward me & the boys, the porn addiction, the affairs, the fact that he has had 4 jobs in the past 3 years, each job paying LESS than the one before. I agreed to joint custody, with me having primary physical custody because I believe that the boys need him in their life. I have not said anything to the boys about him or his lack of support. I refuse to bad-mouth him to them, they will make their own decisions about him.


What is best for the boys is stability, studies show that most kids do not do well when shuffled back and forth between parents whether the parents get along or not. I am not bitter, I am honest and yes right now I am angry at both the judge and at my ex. I want the best for my children I work hard to be certain that they are fed, clothed & loved unconditionally.

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I don't think "petty" was an accurate choice, but think the other poster maybe didn't realize all the details of your situation. Plus, she was hearkening back to her own youth and her parents divorce, memories that your thread obviously triggered.


Well, at any rate...I think I would feel exactly as frustrated as you do.


Where is your ex going to find the money to pay for lawyers bills to get joint custody? Are his parents supporting him with this kind of stuff?

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I am unsure where he will get the money-although having paid only 6 months of support in the past 18 months he should have some stashed away. I don't know if his mother is helping him, his father passed away last year and his step-mother is extremely angry with his actions and lack of support. She actually sends everything for the boys to me, she says that way she knows they get it.


I am trying to make a list of people for the guardian ad litem to speak to-a lawyer to specifically represent the kids-about custody. I'm thinking all their teachers, the oldest's therapist, etc. but I don't know if that is what they do or even if there will be time for that.


I guess I am just afraid because I feel the judge really didn't hear what I said on Wed. and if it goes that way again my kids just get stuck in the middle. And as I said, they are FINALLY getting back on track and feeling some stabilty it shows in their behavior and their physical actions toward me and others. I get calls on their behavior after they spend a weekend with their dad, what would happen if it was an entire week?


Quite honestly, if it would screw my kids up sooooo badly I'd like him to see the exact cost of raising the kids-childcare, food, fieldtrips, school supplies, clothes. He has no clue, he has never done it. He was getting off easy before the judge lowered his payments, let alone now.


I hate to gripe about $$ but when it isn't available it is hard to see past those issues. I really wish I made enough to not ask him for a dime, to him it is still his way of controlling us and it does a damn good job.

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i also think the other poster was letting her own feelings/past experience enter the situation...you are not petty...you just want what your kids need and you need their father to help financially to provide that. i can tell you are a strong woman and i am so sorry that you are going thru this...these boys are lucky to have a mother who cares for them and will provide/fight for them. stay strong for those boys and continue to pursue what is right...some day when they are older they will thank you for it!

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Confusedmama, I don't have a surefire answer to your situation right now, but definitely encourage you to post away here. It will be a great place for you to unload your frustration! And with time, things tend to work themselves out, slowly but surely. Right now, it may look bleak, but perhaps your husband will change his mind, or some opportunity will come up where the situation simply changes.

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I say talk with the therapists and teachers about the boys behavior, just get written statments. You need to phrase everything you say in the "best interest of your children. Ask questions as small as if school supplies come up in your week do you pay or do I. He may be asking for week after week custody, but honestly, I don't think he will last two months. You might even ask the judge to do a trial, but to let them live consistently as they are now, but during the summer vacation do the week on week off and if it is working then you can continue to do it during the schoolyear. I'm sure of it, there is no way he can provide, the teachers will know just as yourself how you come through when things are awry and he doesn't. Also get a statement from his step mother if she is willing. Because in court a he said she wants and she said he wants, and he said she did and she said he didn't. The courts are very cautious about awarding everything to the mother these days. So you don't have to say anything, just get sworn statements from those people involved in your childrens lives. The therapist will most certainly have a say in this. She has the outside perspective, in fact if she feels that the child will be harmed by .... she has to report it. Make an appointment with just you and her to discuss what is going on. Yes, you will probably have to pay for it, but I'm certain it will be well worth it. She can probably help by redirecting your energy away from the money and towards the children. I have an idea of what he is doing. I've seen other guys do this as well. They get awarded some child support. They feel it is proposterous that they should have to pay that amount. So they quit or get fired from their job, file for unemployment and live on pennies until the spouse complains to the law as you have done or the courts get involved. He isn't taking cheap paying jobs for him... He's taking them to screw you. So now he has been able to show the court that he has an unreasonable burden and they have lowered the rate. That is fine, itemize your budget line by line on how you spend yours and his money as well as how you add things to the credit card in a pinch. You are sacrificing as well, document that, and show it to the courts and let them see how much financially and timewise you are putting into the kids and that is where they will follow. Don't say I need or the boys need, show them what you are doing and ask for suggestions on how you can do better than you are? This provides discourse. If you can take an assault by turning it back with a question you have eliminated almost all the energy of the assault. Insist that we come up with a workable plan and inquire about their ideas and discuss how this won't work because of that and so on.


For example, I came back from Iraq and had to go through behavioral health. After waiting in line for an hour to see one of the therapists with multiple stations still to go, I got in and set down with the counselor. He asked me if I was married.. I said Yes. He asked if I was still going to be married... I said Yes and my marriage I felt was stronger than it was before I had left. He said it says here on the sheet that you have seen dead civilians, and soldiers... How do you feel about that. [Here it is....] I reply with how do you think I should feel about that? Now he has to put himself in my shoes and he stamped my paperwork and I was out of there. 2 minutes.


Only about 40 days later did the intense PTSD stuff kick in, but I did the right thing for the time.


But you see the transition, how I opened communication by phrasing it back to him in the form of a question. Here is what I have done, and you are critisizing me about this, I would like your solution... You aren't doing it accusatory, but really listening, not necessairliy to their words or suggestions but try to feel their emotion at the moment and have mercy on them. When you are able to feel that your ex is trying to screw you and you see his anticipatory emotion, feel your sadness for him that he has to go through it this way. Same with the judge, when you turn the question around on her, feel her reflect on what she would do. But emotionally listen, not fake, not like you're sarcastically predicting your doom, but really want to hear what they have to say.


You will make it through this. The other thing to touch on is what if one of you moves to another state for a better job or career or relationship etc... What happens to the week on week off system. If you are in Northern VA, I feel for you. If you are getting pummeled, I'd pack up and move to somewhere less economically intense. You can make it through this either way. Everyday you wake up, tell yourself that you will be a good person, and that you will pursue what makes you and your children happy both today and in the future.


The obedience thing when they get back from his house... I'm sure this is normal. I had a discussion with my mother about it. I didn't percieve our (my brother and my) actions as being that out of the ordinary, but I remember being scolded for how undiciplined we were for coming back from our dads. We did every other weekend and then two weeks in the summer until we moved out of the state. My mom says we were. I guess I think of it as an attachment theory issue. Get back to the root of what your kids need. It isn't enough to discuss the cool things they did when they were with dad. Is what is important is to discuss how much you missed them and give them that "chakra-like" hug that transfers your loving energy into them until they relax. If you get them back focusing on your ex's negative energy and he will do things to poke at you. Spouses know how to do this kind of stuff. But you need not to take the higher ground but to defer those emotions for the higher priority ones like seeing your children back safely. Feel the love and excitement of the reunion and not the avoidance of not wanting to fake your true feelings about your ex in front of your kids. Trust me, they know how tense things are. It isn't just what you say, but your body language and tone of voice, they are picking up the picture just fine with the nonverbal clues as to what is going on.


I think this is about all I have to say. I've thrown a lot of things out there, but the main ones are. Outside sworn statements, not from friends, but from unbiased sources. Turn assaults into reverse questions with an attitude of connection and listening. Make an appointment with your oldest's therapist alone without having him/her (I forgot the gender) along. Positive energy with your kids. If you think the world is going to crumble then you will act in ways to make it crumble. I pieced together a lot of negative self-talk from your posts. I'm reading "The Feeling Good Hanbook" by David Burns. It has helped me to see the irrationality in some of my own negative self talk. I can see a lot of fortune-telling, all or nothing thinking, and emotional reasoning. Statements like "I have a college degree, this shouldn't be happening" or worrying about the judge screwing you over again. Child support and Custody are two separate issues. Don't place them in the same box. If you do you will look like a woman trying to drain him for everything he has.


OK I'm done rambling.

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Thanks for the acolades, but trust me. I couldn't have reached that deep 6 weeks ago. I think the story of the girl working things out with her alleged cheating mom was one of the best visions of a healthy relationship that I wish I had been able to do at that age.


As far as this thread, I do have life experience and I have seen both sides. I've lived on the welfare system when we were no kidding dirt poor. I spent 6 weeks of my high school teenage years living in a women's crisis shelter, been in the military and seen guys have to pay child support for children that aren't theirs, but the thought they were and treated them as such until things seemed a little weird after the split and they got a paternity test. The court ruled in favor of the children so he has had to pay even though they are not his. He is the one specifically that skipped out on life. Doing odds and ends jobs for cash so there was no money to be taken from him living with friends, etc... Then I've seen guys in the Military with 4 children with 4 different women all with Child Support payments that consume 60% of his income and he is currently with another woman with one on the way. I advised him to get snipped. I've seen guys honestly trying to meet the courts requirement and living like abused puppies because they can't afford to move on. They can barely afford their rent after paying the court.


As far as child support, I'm unsure how I feel. After all that was the random cause of my Dad's death. That is a part of why I got snipped before getting married. I didn't want to put any child through the horror that I have been through. I felt destined to make the same mistakes and reflecting on the relationship with my STBX. I put her through them instead of a child. But walking away from it all and taking a step back, I have grown tremendously in the last few months.


I have no desire to become a therapist. I think in a lot of ways I can help people as I come accross them. I don't believe I have had all of the past hardships for nothing and some of the little quippy things that I've learned about "life's little interactions" have been amazing. I listen to others so differently now. Because I'm seeing their cues, verbal and nonverbal. I'm looking to pick them apart. Which is bad and good as I tend to pre-judge and catagorize, but I can also learn what is a healthy interaction and what isn't.


They say every therapist got to where they were today by figuring out themselves. I believe that is true for about 70%, but the really fantastic ones chose this career path because this is what they have in their hearts naturally.


It is kind of like me taking Massage Therapy Classes for me. Not for a career and I will become a good one at that, but the thing is there are people with a gift, they can pat you on the back and transfer loads of positive energy and you can feel their security. Those people like that are like the 30% of natural therapists.


I appreciate the accolades once again. It just sounds so strange as I scored in the 25th percentile in the English Catagory of the GRE, the test you have to take for graduate school after you have an undergraduate degree. This means 75% of everyone who has ever taken the test has scored better than me. And you say I'm "articulate" Hah. I'm laughing in a good way.


But the thing is, I have all this emotional growth and knowledge, and I'm able to look at others and see the path that they may not see. But in my own life, I'm drowning, depressed, anxious, hurting, and I'm learning how to reach out to people. I kind of tend to dump my life story out like a vomit, and people distance themselves from my negativity. Now I'm having to relearn how to have platonic relationships with women in my life, how do you select women for dates knowing that you are not attracted, but see something in their personality that you want to understand so you can incorperate that into your concept of who is "The One." I guess it is kind of like the book the "Sex Starved Marriage" OK... what does the guy do when the faucet is turned off and it isn't starving anymore it is a friggin famine. There are so many inclinations. (One night stand, rebound relationship) It is extraordinarily difficult for me not to evaluate (pre-judge) every woman that I am mildly attracted to for sexual potential... of all the things I've wanted from marriage but my STBX was unable to provide. But maybe that is the thing. That very well could be the baggage that I'm carrying with me. That is why I need to take a year to myself, but there is that line. A year in isolation is not appropriate either, and I see myself slipping into the same roles as I did as a kid. Lots of female platonic friends and very few male friends, but no one close. Most people can tell you who their best male and female friend is. I can't, other than my best female friend is my STBX, and my best male friend is a three way tie. How do I go about fostering male relationships. I don't like sports, I'm not much for hanging out at the bar, I'm either an extreme extrovert (vomit my personal life) or an extreme introvert (insecure in group settings). I know I need to figure out who I am. to work on me and a rebound relationship would just transfer the expectations and baggage from my marriage. A one night stand is against my values, and isn't safe I don't care what protection you use. I do know that I can't figure out who I am by not putting myself into emotional connections with others, Knowledge is one thing, but emotional experience is HUGE. I want to be able to break emotional experience up into little bite sized chunks, so I know what to work on this month or even this week to build up to a druel deluge of personal life details instead of a vomit. So I may have good ideas and advice, but where is mine? How do I see the light? How do I break life up into pleasant morsels of hurt and pleasure? I've never had the opportunity to take control and kind of let life do with me as it will, but now I want to plan ahead, find some goals and feel good about myself for achieving them and not crushed if I don't. I have ton's of baggage and it all feels like I carry it around and by sharing it with others It doesn't weight half the weight, now they cary the weight and mine doubles.


Once again thanks for the accolades, they really REALLY mean a lot to me.



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thanks to all-especially Mike! You gave some really good advice and although I have contacted my sons therapist and their teachers to hear it echoed through someone else definitely helps!!! And I really like the idea of turning all the questions back on him for the answers, such as school supplies and clothes etc. I have pulled all the back financial info and I'm trying to get it dated so I can ask the VERY specific details. And while I realize the child support & custody are or should be 2 separate issues, in the state of VA the amount of child support is ratioed directly to how much time is spent with each parent. I am really not after his money, i want him to stand up and accept the responsiblity of his children stop looking for ways to dodge it.


Mike, it sounds as if you have been through a bunch, but it also sounds as if you are working toward finding yourself and making yourself the type of person you want to be and that is fantastic. I know, personally, going through this crap has definitely changed me and I hope it is for the better. I can almost find myself. I am discovering where I stand on things and how to say what I think/feel. I think the more you expose yourself to social situations and tell yourself ahead of time what you are going to be up front about and set a boundary with yourself the easier you will find it to be in relationships. I know I had to do just that and it is getting easier, not that I'm a pro, but it's getting easier!


Right now, the fear of the unknown is driving me to distraction. I can get some things accomplished but then I have to fall back and re-group. I am trying NOT to become bitter or vindictive at my ex because I know from my parents divorce, it carries over into the life I have with my children and I REFUSE to do that!! My boys know I love them unconditionally and would go to the ends of the earth for them, I can only hope that the "impartial" persons involved will see that too.

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