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Main Forums => Custody Issues => Topic started by: Rave on Jan 26, 2005, 06:55:16 PM

Title: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Rave on Jan 26, 2005, 06:55:16 PM
My best friend is getting a divorce.  She is a hospice nurse and her husband has a corporate job.  They make about the same in terms of salary.  They have 2 boys, 13 and 8.  They haven't sold the house yet, so they haven't filed for divorce (she was told they can't file while still living together).

Summing them up:

She is involved with the boy's teachers.  Both boys have ADHD and are medicated for it.  She is a very warm and loving person and the boys are very attached to her.

Her husband just admitted he's been using his bonuses for the last 12 years to add to his 80+ gun collection.   He had told her 12 years ago that his company was no longer paying bonuses.  He's had a DUI, is an occasional pot smoker and calls his sons "stupid @sshole" and "f*cking @sshole".  

I've known them both for years.  Honestly, this guy should never have married.  He has always been very much into his gun thing.  He gets off work at 2pm and when the boys come home, they automatically go to their rooms until their mother comes home because the husband wants silence in the house.  He told my friend's sister a few weeks ago that sometimes he hates his own kids.  When I've been around him and the kids, they have always seemed like a constant source of irritation for him.  Undoubtedly their ADHD gets under his skin.

My question is, how automatic is 50/50 custody in Arizona?  I know the oldest boy for sure is going to want to stay primarily with my girlfriend.  He pretty much has said that he thinks his father hates him (not prompted BTW) and a few years ago asked my girlfriend why she ever married his father.  The youngest child will probably be confused and upset that his parents are splitting.  

The husband has already said that he doesn't plan to pay any child support and will see the kids as much as necessary so that he doesn't have to pay.  
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: joni on Jan 27, 2005, 12:02:08 AM

While I sympathize with your girlfriend's plight and the welfare of her children, if you were to look on the front page of this web site, you would see the mission statement of the people here.

Truth be known, all of us on this board are noncustodial parents or married to noncustodial parents.  Most of us are broke going to court to fight for the simple right for the visitation of our children.

I feel as though you're not in the proper community to be soliciting this sort of advice as to how to keep a parent from a child.

Here's the mission statement from the front of this site:

SPARC's goal is to ensure that children of divorce continue to have meaningful relationships with both parents, regardless of marital status. We advocate on behalf all non-custodial parents to ensure they get equitable treatment in court and continued access to their children. In addition, we work to promote gender equality in Divorce and Custody issues.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Rave on Jan 27, 2005, 07:37:09 AM
My husband is a non-custodial parent to 3 girls.  His ex-wife moved to another country as soon as his third child was born and used the lack of international child custody enforcement to bribe him for thousands and thousands of dollars, and to deny him not only visitation but often even phone communication for up to 6 months at a time.  The ONLY time we saw my skids was when we paid to fly the BM here with them, paid for her hotel, paid her full child support while she was here, and then paid to ship back all the crap she bought with the child support money she got while was was here.  And usually, by the time she left, she was demanding more money, or "you neva see da gurls again!!!!".  So, I'm quite sympathetic to the plights of non-custodial parents.  Was hoping for some impartial advice regardless.

I used to be on DNet starting 9 years ago and have been a member of this community for quite a while as well, just not on this board.

I am well aware of the challenges stepparents face and have been married 11 years to one of the most extreme non-custodial cases here.  

As for the SPARC mission statement, I've read it many times.

As for my post, I put it under "Custody Issues" because what I posted IS a custody issue.  However, I didn't see noted the status of the population here so no, I wasn't aware of the high non-custodial percentage.  It really shouldn't matter though, for what I was posting about.

I stated the facts, and want to know if and how they will effect child custody.  I want to know from people who KNOW AZ law, if 50/50 custody split is the norm.  No, that wouldn't be what these ADHD kids want.  They require lots and lots of patience and they certainly don't get it from their father (who calls them degrading names when they get on his nerves).  I simply want to know if that is something the judge will take into consideration or if nothing usually deviates the judge from making the 50/50 custody split.

And finally, when you say "we" as though you are speaking for SPARC as a whole, are you an employee?  Are you speaking for Waylon?  Are you saying that SPARC advocates for parents to be given equal time with their children, when one of the parents is definitely not interested in being a parent, is emotionally abusive to the child, the child's self-esteem is zero because of it and the child definitely doesn't want that?  
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 11:19:29 AM
It sounds like she has a good case for sole custody; whether she pursues that or not is going to be up to her.

This is a bit out of date (I think) but may help to serve as a guide:

http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/jointlaws.htm


Here is some more specific information on Arizona custody:



Arizona has guidelines and rules that set forth specific factors that the Court should address in deciding what is in the best interests of the children. There are other factors which may not be written in the rules, but are important. These factors are not limited to the following.

1. Whether either of the parties have primarily provided the care for the children in the past.
2. What the parents want and the reason why.
3. What the children want and the reason why.
4. What the children's relationship with the parents is..
5. How the children are doing in each household, and how they do in school and other areas.
6. Whether the parents use appropriate discipline and reinforcement.
7. The physical health of each of the parents.
8. The mental health of the children.
9. The mental health of each of the parents
10. The physical health of the children.
11. Which parent is more likely to work well with the other parent regarding parenting time and other issues.
12. Whether the parents have any problems which effect the children's best interests - For example - drug use, alcohol abuse, physical abuse of the children or the other parent, and criminal history in some cases.
13. If psychologists or other mental health providers have been involved, the Court may consider recommendations from such experts.
14. Whether one of the parties is attempting to alienate the children or is engaging in other inappropriate behavior.



In short, Arizona does not appear to have joint custody by default.

The husband sounds like a jerk in many ways, but I'm also sure there's enough blame to go around. In the long run I think it would be better to establish joint custody than sole custody- cutting the father off from the children further is not likely to improve anything.

It's a hard decision to make, but if your friend keeps her eye on the long-term picture the children will be better off for it. If joint custody truly doesn't work out, she can go for a modification, but don't start out that way by default.  He may be a jerk (and she may have her own issues) but he is their father. To casually dismiss as a parent and cut him off from his children is only going to alienate him and make things worse.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 11:27:53 AM
>And finally, when you say "we" as though you are speaking for
>SPARC as a whole, are you an employee?  Are you speaking for
>Waylon?  Are you saying that SPARC advocates for parents to be
>given equal time with their children, when one of the parents
>is definitely not interested in being a parent, is emotionally
>abusive to the child, the child's self-esteem is zero because
>of it and the child definitely doesn't want that?  

Let me try to shed some light on this....No one speaks for SPARC as a whole except the admin. I try to represent SPARC's views but I don't speak for SPARC, and neither does anyone else, at least not with authority.

I think I can say that SPARC does NOT advocate for abusive parents, but that we do value the child-parent relationship very highly, and with that comes an understanding that not all parents are good parents; some are downright horrible.

I said in another post that he sounds like a jerk in many ways, but I don't know if what I heard was justification enough to basically strip him of all his rights as a parent.

Some people rise to the occasion when given parenting repsonsibilities and some don't. Maybe he needs a dose of parenthood to get his head straight. And, of course, maybe he's not up to it, maybe he really is a genuine jerk and a bad parent. There are lots of them out there and they come in both genders. If the roles were reversed here, I suspect that many people would still be suggesting some form of joint custody.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Rave on Jan 27, 2005, 11:32:15 AM
She has no malicious intent whatsoever.  She makes a living out of helping people die peacefully.  She should never have married her husband to begin with.  She did it because her mother was terminally ill, he had been a friend for a long time, and her two best friends (me being one of them) were moving away.  If she hadn't married him,  he'd be a royal pothead.  I don't think he ever wanted to be married, but he had a huge crush on my friend for years.  

She would never want to cut him off from the kids.  She never speaks ill of him to the kids.  They do complain to her about him though.  The guy is royally selfish.  His number one priority is that the house be spotless (he wants her to keep it that way).  His number two priority is that the house be quiet.  The boys are stifled in their own house when she's not there.  The guy has been spending his bonus checks for 12 years on guns.  He got a DUI a few years ago.  He is only responsible because he is married to my friend.  And while I think he originally thought she would help him be more responsible, I think it's an irritation for him now.

Truthfully speaking, he'd be a better father if he had less quantity time with the boys.  If he was allowed to have more time to surf porn, shoot his guns, make knives and add to his gun collection, he'd probably appreciate the boys more during the time he did have with them.  Neither of them is moving away.  They will live close to each other.  But given the boys special needs, her involvement, and his disinterest, I just can't imagine that 50/50 would be in the best interests of the kids.  I think he probably doesn't even want that except if it means he doesn't have to pay CS.
Title: She's not looking for sole custody
Post by: Rave on Jan 27, 2005, 11:36:20 AM
She just doesn't want 50/50.  She is thinking one night during the week and every other weekend.  Or maybe a few nights during the week and e/o weekend.  She doesn't want 50/50 where the kids are literally spending 50% of their time at her place and 50% at his place.  I don't see how that would do them any good at all.  Just wondering if that is the norm these days.  

He told her that since he gets off at 2pm and she doesn't get off until 5pm, that he would pick up the kids after school, feed them dinner every night and then bring them to her place.  He feels that this would negate him paying any CS.  
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 11:38:48 AM
>Truthfully speaking, he'd be a better father if he had less
>quantity time with the boys.  If he was allowed to have more
>time to surf porn, shoot his guns, make knives and add to his
>gun collection,

Lol, I can tell you're a big fan of his. ;)

If this is truly the case, I'd suggest she get a custody evaluation. Have the court appoint an independent evaluator. But still, having his children half the time is almost certainly going to be better than the classic 2 weekends a month. You want to see him turn into a real shit? Cut him off from his family, and stick him with a hefty CS obligation. Give him no say in the entire processor what comes afterwards. Believe me, that'll do it.

Jont custody may seem like the wrong decision now, but not in the long term.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Rave on Jan 27, 2005, 11:42:19 AM
I think that's a good idea, getting a custody eval.  I don't think he'd ever get 50/50 that way, particularly when the kids say that he often calls them stupid assholes.  I mean, who does that?  Talk about shattering a kid's self-esteem.  Particularly when they already know they are different.  
Title: RE: She's not looking for sole custody
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 11:43:58 AM
>She just doesn't want 50/50.  She is thinking one night
>during the week and every other weekend.  Or maybe a few
>nights during the week and e/o weekend.  She doesn't want
>50/50 where the kids are literally spending 50% of their time
>at her place and 50% at his place.

Read what I said before. If she wants an ugly divorce and years of shit to follow, that's the way to go about it. Suddenly she's regulating exactly how much time he gets to spend with his own children. Give me a break.


>  I don't see how that would
>do them any good at all.  

I do- they'd get time with both parents. Isn't that what it's all about?  If it doesn't work out, modify the arrangements. But It'll work out better in the long run if they start with joint custody.



>Just wondering if that is the norm
>these days.  

Arizona does not appear to have JC by default, but it is a common custody arrangement.



>He told her that since he gets off at 2pm and she doesn't get
>off until 5pm, that he would pick up the kids after school,
>feed them dinner every night and then bring them to her place.
> He feels that this would negate him paying any CS.  

Yah, hello, hello- what is he trying to tell her?

Start with joint custody and reasonable CS. Going the route she wants to go is going to cause a lot more trouble, I guarantee you.

Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 11:48:10 AM
>I think that's a good idea, getting a custody eval.  I don't
>think he'd ever get 50/50 that way, particularly when the kids
>say that he often calls them stupid assholes.

I agree- it's a stupid, uncaring, asinine thing to do, but is this what the custody arrangement should be decided on? Come on, get real. Should parents lose their kids because of this?? A bit of an overreaction, wouldn't you say? This is like arresting 10 year old kids for drawing violent pictures, which is now the norm. Utter lunacy, in my opinion. Have some sense of proportion.
Title: Depending on the extent, I think...
Post by: Genie on Jan 27, 2005, 12:20:36 PM
mental abuse should be thought about when deciding custody etc.  Now I don't know how often he has called them this or if that is just a couple of choice lines in the list of many but that shouldn't be said to your children at all.  They have a problem that they can't help and they shouldn't have Dad ramming it down their throat all the time.  It is a very big self esteem buster.

Case in point, my DH is a major asshole who thinks it is OK to say stuff like this all the time. We have a daughter with Down Syndrome and he doesn't hesitate to call her retarded, or a retard or tell me how she is retarded so she won't amount to anything and he is not going to be the one to take care of her for the rest of her life.  She is 4 yrs old and doesn't even know what retarded means but there is no way I am going to have her grow up hearing this when she does know what it means. He harps on how she will get made fun of when she is older and people will say mean things to her and she will be stupid. Etc.  Nice and how is is going to be when she has to hear it from her peers then come home and hear it from her Dad too.  No Way in Hell is that going to happen.

Believe me that will be brought up when I divorce him soon.

So do you think that too is acceptable behavior and he shouldn't be "denied" his rights as a parent b/c of it?

Sorry to sound a little harsh and defensive but sometimes it just isn't cut and dry. Would I want to cut him out of her life as a Dad and parent? No but I do want to make sure he doesn't damage her in anyway.  You want your children to be confident productive people. Being treated like that will produce the opposite.
Title: RE: Depending on the extent, I think...
Post by: Brent on Jan 27, 2005, 12:32:55 PM
>mental abuse should be thought about when deciding custody
>etc.  

I agree, no argument there.



>that shouldn't be said to your children at all.  They have a
>problem that they can't help and they shouldn't have Dad
>ramming it down their throat all the time.  It is a very big
>self esteem buster.

I agree, but unless it's really extreme, is this enough of a reason to lose custody or be denied your children?



>So do you think that too is acceptable behavior and he
>shouldn't be "denied" his rights as a parent b/c of it?

See above. I don't condone this sort of thing at all, but I also believe that the parent-child is very, very important and should be given every opportunity and chance, within reasonable limits.


>
>Sorry to sound a little harsh and defensive but sometimes it
>just isn't cut and dry.

Never said it was, in fact I said more or less just the opposite.


>Would I want to cut him out of her
>life as a Dad and parent? No but I do want to make sure he
>doesn't damage her in anyway.

Again, no argument from me, but you also have to keep the long-term in mind. And sometimes there are no good answers, as the admin is fond of saying. Sometimes all you get to pick from are bad choices. Pick the best bad choice you can. :)

Title: RE: Depending on the extent, I think...
Post by: Rave on Jan 27, 2005, 12:36:01 PM
I bet a lot varied depending on the custodial evaluator and how impartial they are.   I mean, if I were a custodial evaluator in your situatuion, I can't imagine putting your daughter with him 50% of the time.  How horrible.  But how would you be able to prove that he says that stuff?  If you could prove it, perhaps he would be ordered to attend some parenting classes before given as much visitation.

I just can't believe people call their kids names like this.  I know many people do worse, like knock the hell out of their kids.  But I've also read about how emotional abuse can actually be worse than the physical abuse.  If my friend's husband gets 50% custody, I guarantee the older son who is now 12 or 13, will be rebelling against his father big time in a few more years.  He already avoids his father.  Hell, who wouldn't?  

So, while custody may wind up being 50/50 in my friend's case, I don't think it would stay that way for long.  

Good luck to you.  How horrible that your child has to hear your husband be so cruel.  Can't imagine that you'd ever feel comfortable with him having visitation with your daughter.  
Title: No I wouldn't and...
Post by: Genie on Jan 27, 2005, 12:44:23 PM
it conflicts me alot.  Being a step parent I know the issues from the other side too and did fight long and hard to keep the SKs in our lives on a regular basis until I started seeing him in a real light and stopped fighting his battles for him. Showed me that he didn't care too much b/c he stopped fighting for them too.

My DD does love her Dad and I wouldn't want to take him from her. But I do have to protect her too.  Thankfully I have a list of other things that are not in his favor (i.e. extreme alcoholism) that would deter him from having 50/50 custody and I would have a good case for supervised as well.  I also know DH has no money for an attorney (since he doesn't think he needs to work) so he wouldn't even be able to fight anything much. He basically signed whatever he was given on his previous divorce and would most likely do so again.

I know most people here are NCPs but this is a Custody board and things need to be looked at on a case by case basis and answer as per the law not their emotions. I bet if most hear had ex wives that treated their children as your friend's husband and mine do, they wouldn't be wanting ex wife to have custody either.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: joni on Jan 28, 2005, 08:40:19 AM

You should probably visit the web site, http://www.singlemomz.com.   You'll hear the advice that you want on that board.

Have a nice weekend.
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: Rave on Jan 28, 2005, 09:06:19 AM
A shame that you have so much baggage.  Was hoping for some impartialiality.  
Title: RE: Need advice in Phoenix
Post by: wendl on Jan 28, 2005, 09:56:25 AM
I don't think we should be discouraging people here.

Each case is different, if this father is not so good, then a parenting evaluation on both parents should be done, both parents should attend a parenting class.

I know my ex wasn't the greatest dad for many many years, drugs, drinking etc and went 2yrs without seeing our son. Now that we have moved he is realising how much he has missed in our son and is now trying to mend the relationship between both of them, he is now clean and has contact with our son.

I think this man may need a wake up call, and he will not get out of paying child support, it just doesn't work that way.

Your friend needs to get an attorney, who is family law board certified, make sure not to just pick one, go see them in action prior to hiring an attorney.

Document everything, good and bad, people change during a divorce, some for the better others for th worse.

Each parent needs to do what they feel is right for the safety and well being of their chidlren.

Even if your friends ex and her get 50/50 who is to say he will actually take the kids??? If your friend is worried about when the kids are with dad, then have the local police to a wellfare child check while the kids are in dads care.

If this man has a drinking/drug problem or is emotionally or physically abusive towards his kids, then hopefully the courts will order him to get help, but even if he gets help, most of the time it will not work unless that person admits to having the problem.

For legal questions, you can post to Soc just make sure to use his posting guidelines.


**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**