S.P.A.R.C.

Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center
crazy gamesriddles and jokesfunny picturesdeath psychic!mad triviafunny & odd!pregnancy testshape testwin custodyrecipes

Author Topic: Mother without custody needing info/advice  (Read 4700 times)

suebee

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Mother without custody needing info/advice
« on: Sep 26, 2007, 10:46:20 AM »
Hello,

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,

Sue


olanna

  • Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 9821
  • Karma: 416
    • View Profile
Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #1 on: Sep 28, 2007, 12:38:17 AM »
and by all means, try to talk to the other parent about changing the arrangements. What state are you in?

With your children being so much older, you should probably consider counseling and getting some sort of parenting plan together with a mediator.

suebee

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #2 on: Sep 28, 2007, 07:13:08 AM »
Hi,

I didn't include all the details in the intro about my situation. I'm in Georgia.

I have had an attorney since last October and have just recently completed a mediation on Aug 2nd. I walked out with little more than I went in with. I actually lost some things I had before.

Please explain what you mean about a parenting plan with a mediator. I have been to counseling for myself for quite some time and have come a long way emotionally in dealing with this situation. Are you talking about counseling for my two minor kids? EX would never go for that. He fought to keep a guardian ad litem from being appointed so my kids could not express their feelings and wishes.

What I want and need now are answers, facts, and such because my attorney explained very little to me. It was always "you can't do this" "you can't change that", while my EX's attorney seemed to work diligently to get him what he wanted, even while knowing what a problem his wife was.

During a meeting in April, EX's attorney told EX in front of me and my attorney that EX's wife was a problem and he needed to get her under control and not allow her to continue to negatively influence the situation. Attorney said EX needed to start working with me to raise our kids because that's what this thing is all about and that's what's best for them. EX's attorney spent a lot of time pointing out EX is not handling things well and needed to let go of the anger and stop believing all the heresay and do what's best for our kids. EX obviously did not take attorneys advice, and here I am.


olanna

  • Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 9821
  • Karma: 416
    • View Profile
RE: Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #3 on: Sep 28, 2007, 11:06:58 PM »
In California, the parent's MUST come up with a parenting plan...ie, a plan that both parents are in agreement with.  If they can't, the mediator will come up with one he/she feels is in the best interest of the children and present that to the judge.  The mediator is impartial.

If your atty isn't giving you the service you feel you are paying for, fire the atty and get another one.  After all, they are providing a service to you.


suebee

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #4 on: Oct 01, 2007, 07:24:38 AM »
I don't think that parenting plans are a requirement here in Georgia. We had a mediator on Aug 2 to rework the visitation but I came away with very little. Almost 1/2 my net montly income goes to him for child support so I barely have enought to pay my bills. I cannot afford another attorney; I can't even afford to pay the $3000 I now owe my lawyer nd he's not even done (and I own the mediating attorney about $250 more, too). The paperwork hasn't been finalized yet. I'll be paying my attorney $10 a month for the rest of my life.

I should have fired my lawyer, but should haves mean nothing. I couldn't find anyone, anywhere to give me advice about what to do and explain the law and such to me, so I hung on to the lawyer and got pretty much nothing out of it. I had talked to several other lawyers over the months before settling on the one I have in order to get advice, but most of it was that I could do nothing about my situation. One attorney was so rude, he told me to shut up and said he would give my case to his son b/c he wouldn't be able to represent me b/c I was emotional and talked too much. All I wanted was for my questions to be answered.

Anyway, over this past weekend my EX has let me know that he has filed for divorce from his wife, there is a restraining order against her, and he wants us to start communicating again and he's going to "let me" start having more contact with the kids. I will work with him b/c I want to be part of my kids' lives, and I've come far emotionally in being able to handle things the right way, but I won't allow myself to be played again.

I've talked with him more in the past 3 days than I have in the last year. He is acting like nothing ever happened and we are going to be buddies. I have no intention of pointing fingers, blaming, accusing, whining, or all the other stuff. I will talk about what we are going to do to raise our kids from now forward, but I have no intention of discussing the past or of becoming friends.

Any thoughts on how to proceed with this?



Zephyr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #5 on: Oct 02, 2007, 10:22:22 AM »
ALSO CHECK OUT http://www.nancm.org

suebee

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Seek the advice of an atty
« Reply #6 on: Oct 03, 2007, 11:22:27 AM »
I did check out the site. Thank you. I hope I can get some info there as well.

 

Copyright © SPARC - A Parenting Advocacy Group
Use of this website does not constitute a client/attorney relationship and this site does not provide legal advice.
If you need legal assistance for divorce, child custody, or child support issues, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.