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Topics - suebee

Pages: 1
Moms Without Custody / Mother without custody needing info/advice
« on: Sep 26, 2007, 10:46:20 AM »

I was divorced 3 years ago. We have joint custody (although I've learned that means very little as far as the noncustodial parent goes), but the father has physical custody. We have three children, one of whom is 19 and married, but was still a minor child at the time of the divorce. My second son is now 16 and my daughter is about to turn 10.

I agreed to this custody arrangement because: a. I wanted the divorce, but he and I were on good terms, b. I did not want to disrupt my kids' lives any more than necessary and thought it would be best because I'd have continual contact with them since we lived only 9 miles apart, and c. I was afraid if I pursued physical custody, he would have fought and I would have lost my kids. It was his idea that he retain physical custody for their well being, but we agreed to always work together to raise and care for them. I had no legal representation for the divorce. He had also told me quite a few times over the years we were married (18) that if I ever divorced him, I would not get his kids.

He and I worked together pretty well taking care of the kids. We continued behaving much the same as when we were married and had begun to discuss putting our family back together and getting remarried. Then he met a woman and now, two years later, I have been all but cut out of their lives. I had to retain an attorney to try to have my visitation protected and expanded. Unfortunately, my attorney was pretty much ineffective and I have little additional contact with my kids.

While I avoid playing the blame game, his wife (who has left him within the last two days) has been instrumental in this situation becoming what it is. He's been involved with her for about 2 years, and married her barely a year ago. She has a history of mental illness and of being dangerous. My attorney knows her personally, having represented her last ex-husband in their divorce and custody case, and is aware of what she is capable of doing, and had warned me that all of the incidents I related to him were following her behavior pattern in her previous two marriages.

I will not go into all the details of the types of things that were done to destroy my cooperative and pretty amicable relationship with my kids' father in this introduction. I will  say that she orchestrated situations and events, created stories and lies, to give the appearance that I was on a vendetta against her and was someone who was not good for my kids. I was completely unaware of the things that were being done. I accidentally learned about how bad things were when I sought recommendations for an attorney from the county victims' advocate last October.

I want what is best for my children. My own children are aware of what this woman has done in their lives and (especially my daughter) want to have both dad and mom involved in their lives. I fully support this and always remind my kids that both of us love them and want what's best. My daughter worships her dad, but cannot understand why he had allowed his wife to wreak so much havoc on them all, and why he can't just see that she needs both of us. Over the last few years, it is my daughter who has said the most significant and profound thing over and over..."why doesn't dad see that all kids need both parents and I need my mom. Seeing you (mom) every two weeks for two days isn't cool." She has actually said that many, many times. Sadly, her father hasn't listened.

I am now trying to figure out what to do next. I was foolish for not being represented at the time of my divorce and remianing with a lawyer who was poorly representing me in this custody case. I was not fighting for custody...I was fighting for what is best for my kids which is to have me involved in their lives. I was not well informed, and my attorney did not do a good job of explaining the law and other things to me. He promised one thing, then changed what he said later. He did not even tell me until the day of the mediation (two months ago) that the child support laws had changed months earlier and I would not get any relief on the amount I'm paying. I want to take care of my kids financially, but I pay about the highest percentage for two children, and have to borrow money from friends to pay my basic bills and buy gas and groceries. I am not trying to avoid my financial responsibilty to my kids.

This is my way of introduction. I am not sure exactly what I need right now. I am looking for a supportive environment, but I am not here to whine and cry. I've done all that already. I need encouragement, but I also need knowledge and ideas about what I can do to make things better for my kids (especially in light of the trauma they've been dealing with during their dad's marriage and his breakup) and be ready in the future if more legal avenues need to be taken. I know I want to understand better what my rights are with regard to knowing what goes on with my children as far as school, their medical care, etc. and information for trying to improve this situation for my kids and myself for the future. I hope one day their dad will let go of his anger and want to work with me to raise them and care for them, but I have come to doubt that things will change between he and I because he is very bitter about our divorce and very angry towards me. I don't want to revisit the past or blame or point fingers...I want to be able to stay involved in my kids' lives, help them grow, keep them safe, teach them, and love them, and I want to do this in cooperation with their dad.

Thank you,


General Issues / Questions about rights
« on: Sep 27, 2007, 02:39:23 PM »
I posted my story on Mothers w/o custody. What info do I have the right to ask for about my kids as regards school issues, behavioral problems, medical issues, info about dangers posed to them, etc? Can someone direct me to resources I can read about what I can and cannot ask, when is it my right to know, and when does it infringe upon my EX's privacy, etc?

I found out yesterday from a teacher that the school took it upon themselves to put out a school wide alert to keep my EX's current wife (who's just left him) away from my kids b/c she poses a danger. Several teachers have been watching my kids for months b/c they were aware my kids were not safe in their dad's home situation. I was never informed of any of this even though I am well known and well thought of by teachers and administrators and had worked in that school for 5 years. This is the first of many questions I will have about my rights, Ex's rights, kids' rights, and how to work to rebuild communication with my EX so we can cooperatively raise our kids and do what is best for them.

Thanks, SueBee

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