I have been divorced for a few months now. We have an almost 5 year old son and have joint physical
and legal custody
. 50/50 one week on, one week off arrangement. I have so much on my mind about this I am grateful to have found this forum.
1. My ex is an extremely high conflict person. I am completely the opposite and avoid conflict in every manner. I feel sometimes as though it is impossible for us to co-parent. I have limited any conversation between the two of us to only being about our son and only through email. I had to change my cell phone number just to avoid his harassing text messages. I have also had issues with his mother, including a protective order. I live with my boyfriend, whom my son loves, but this arrangement is just another thing that my ex has an issue with. My ex has repeatedly said inappropriate things to our son regarding my bf, including asking if he "touches him" which upset my son extremely. One instance, my son told my ex that my bf had spanked him (which he never has, they are never alone together as I understand this is a concern of my ex's) and later my son admitted he was lying. Upon hearing this, I spoke to my son regarding how his lies can hurt people and that he needs to be sure to tell the truth but that he could always tell me if anything ever bothered him or if anyone ever hurt him, including my bf. My son has actually asked that we no longer talk about my bf, to which I completely respect. I can tell he honestly feels put in the middle of it. Any time my ex and I have anything to discuss regarding our son, it always ends in emails with him calling me names, insulting myself or my bf, etc. I have repeatedly asked him not to do that and do not respond any further if he cannot have an appropriate conversation. I keep documentation of EVERYTHING, including recording every pick up/drop off of our son. There is always conflict, of which I can prove absolutely none is brought upon by me. My bf completely stays out of it and has zero contact with my ex in any way. My question here is, are there any suggestions of ways to get him to come around to putting our son first and stop with all of the conflict? If not, what can I do about this legally? I expect in the near future he is planning to move out of state which will require us to go back to court as is in our divorce agreement.
2. We constantly have issues over our custody arrangement. As stated, it is 50/50 with one week on, one week off. We also have a holiday schedule. Any time there is a holiday schedule change, I email him asking how he would like to arrange for exchanging our son, most times we usually just have the receiving parent pick him up from daycare that day. I am the kind of person who likes everything to be planned out ahead of time so we don't run into these conflicting situations. He continues to not want to abide by the court agreement, so we end up going back and forth about it for days. We currently have the issue of Mother's Day as our agreement states I will have our son the Friday before Mother's day after school recesses until 6pm on Mother's day. As our son is not yet in school, he is arguing about the time we exchange him.
We also have the issue of right of first refusal
. I have only needed to use a sitter twice since our divorce, both times I gave him right of first refusal and let him take our son overnight, even though I only needed someone for a few hours. So in essence, I am giving him more time than I would have had him at a sitter. He constantly has a changing work schedule which means working nights at least 1-3 nights per week. He almost never gives me right of first refusal for this even though it is stated in our decree. What can I do about this? I have documented each time as well as emailed him about it as soon as I found out that my son was with someone other than me, particularly when I had time off from work. He has also done this when our son's daycare lady was out of town and did not notify me. I mainly have an issue with when he works nights as I don't want my son sleeping at someone else's house and being taken home in the middle of the night when he could be with me in his own bed. At what point do I say enough is enough and have him held in contempt for not following the agreement? Is there anything else I can do?
3. My ex is in the military and has plans to get out in the next year. I know his intentions are to move back to where his family is. I currently have an issue with my ex's mother. There was a temporary protective order in place for stalking and harassment. We recently went to court over this, to which the judge issued a verbal order that she is not to contact me for the next few months until we go back to court again. We do have it written into our agreement that if one of us wants to move out of state, we have to go back to court. So I know I can expect this. What should I be doing in the meantime to prepare for this?
4. I constantly feel as though I need to give in to what my ex wants, just to avoid the impending conflict and arguments. I try my hardest to comply with his requests, ie. limiting video game time, having our son call him before bed each night (which I am not required to do), etc. Nothing in particular that I really disagree with. I just feel like he has so much control over my life, moreso than even when we were married. How do you separate all of this but still coparent and try to avoid the constant arguments that he starts?