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: About to begin mediation & need help  (Read 5470 times)

ExMilitaryDad

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
About to begin mediation & need help
« on: Jun 17, 2016, 09:03:28 AM »
Gentlemen,

My wife recently decided that she was not happy and the grass is greener on the other side.  We have been married less than 3 years and have an 18 month old boy.  Initially she said that she knew how important I was in his life and that she would never keep him from me.  My response was that an even amount of time with each of us sounds fair. 

That obviously was not ok with her because "then I would not get as much child support."  If only I was recording conversations back then.  Since then she packed up whatever she wanted in the house along with everything to take care of my son (bed, dresser, all his clothes, all the diapers, wipes, changing pad, butt paste, etc.) and moved to her sister's.  She only allows me to see him Wednesday evenings with no overnight and then every other weekend.  She has no temp orders in to enforce this but what can I do?  Go over there and get myself arrested for trying to get my son and leave?  I am not falling for that one.  So I have been playing it cool. 

Although I about lost it the other day.  I got off work early to go pick my son up.  She had him at the pool on the hottest day of the year to date.  As I parked my truck I saw her stripping him down.  By the time I got to them she had him down to nothing but a swim diaper (she makes him wear a swim shirt, trunks and swim shoes).  She then went through the diaper bag to make sure she had everything and that I did not have any more than necessary.

 My son did not have a nap yet, by 3pm and of course was exhausted.  He fell asleep in the truck but then did not get much of a nap and was cranky all evening.  He fell asleep by 9pm which is early because she does not have him on a schedule.  So I asked if I could keep him overnight since he was asleep.  Of course she said no and came and picked him up.  Had to wake him up to do it and everything.  Made me so mad.

Now we are about to go into mediation and I want to know how to bring up many of her shortcomings; diagnosed depression & anxiety, never had a job & wants a free ride (as much child support as possible),  smokes marijuana, is currently using my son against me like a weapon, is already out partying and acting like a slut, has a side business that she is not claiming, etc. 

My initial reaction is to take my son as much as the court with grant me because I have been the sole provider, will be living in a better area with better schools/opportunities, and so forth but I also know she is a big part of his life and she loves him.  So my question is this, what do I do to show that I can take care of my son and that I belong in his life AT LEAST an equal amount of time?  I am no saint.  I am not owed any father of the year or husband of the year awards.  I cannot control that she wants to go sleep around and be single.  I just want to be with my son.  Any advice or assistance is greatly appreciated.


ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 4984
  • Karma: 171
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #1 on: Jun 17, 2016, 03:04:04 PM »
Few things you can do but you are at mom's mercy until you get court orders. At mediation , see if you can get temp orders with exact times and overnights so ex can not play games during the divorce process. Make sure it says these are temp orders just until a more 50/50 parenting plan is worked out.

Try to go to all dr appts or get info from dr. If you know who the dr is, call and ask if any appts are scheduled and if possible if they can call you when child has appts. Ask ex to give you dr appts ahead of time if possible and tell you of any sick appts as they happen. Call dr and see if child is up to date with shots and you can legally bring child on your time to dr.

Ask for First Right of Refusal is your papers. That means if either of you need a babysitter longer than xx hours , she needs to ask you first over other family including step-parents, boyfriends, grandparents. This will give you more time if she likes to go out a lot, then you have child.

Did you file divorce in supreme court and they are making you do mediation? Mediation is to see if you can work out some of the issues- parenting, child support, marital property. Your parenting plan should have holidays, fathers day, child birthday, halloween, summer vacations......then what happens when child is school age? you can have that schedule worked out now so you dont have to go back to court. From 18 months until 3 schedule will be  xyz, the from 3- summer of Kindergarten ...xyz, then school age...xyz.   Look at a school online calendar by you and see the long weekends and holiday weeks they have off and add time then too.

Keep pushing for 50/50 and try not to give up. Show the courts you would be able to take care of child during your time. (own bed, carseat).

The other stuff wont really matter in court. Do you have evidence of a medical diagnosis on ex? You an maybe ask for drug testing , better if you agree to take one too. Courts really dont care what she does unless it is directly affecting child so focus on that you want to be there for child as much as possible. Offer her the same child support as if she had child more but make the parenting time close to 50/50?

Good luck!

MixedBag

  • Global Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3045
  • Karma: 155
  • That's Me...MixedBag
    • View Profile
    • http://www.doilyboutique.com
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #2 on: Jun 18, 2016, 09:03:47 AM »
what ocean said....

ExMilitaryDad

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #3 on: Jul 01, 2016, 10:20:50 AM »
She filed at the county courthouse. Attorneys recommended mediation ASAP so we have gone to the individual one already. So far it has only been in regards to our son and nothing else.  Mediator said that we will focus on a schedule for now and then probably come back when my son is between 3 and 5 and possible again later in life. My ex will begin working at a local school so I pulled their calendar.  She will have a lot of days off of work that I will not and I think that over the course of the year she is looking at a significant more amount of time than I am.  So to me 50/50 the rest of the time is more than fair. While I am at work if she is off then it makes sense for her to have him. 

I already have everything I need to care for my son. When she vacated she left me with nothing and would send my son with next to nothing. So I am setup now.

Working on getting copies of records for my son.  I have to sign a release and have them sent in the mail.

I do not have a document showing a diagnosis.  However, she is seeing a psychiatrist and is on medication for depression/anxiety.  She has been on two different types of medication that I can prove.  She was also hospitalized in a mental health institution for attempting suicide.  I do not have documents on that but if it comes down to it we could subpoena them if it goes to court right?

Her drug use is minimal and I know that. But I want to make it known that she has used marijuana at least twice within the past 6 months.  One of the times she purchased it in a legal state, used it in front of her 8 year old nephew and proceeded to roll around on the floor with him laughing her butt off.  Does that not count for something? And while I cannot prove this, I know for a fact that she brought that substance back across state line and then sold it to a friend. So to me it is a valid concern regardless if I have evidence.  It is the truth and should be mentioned. I would be more than willing to take a test right beside her.  But I would want it to be a hair folicle test so that it will go back far enough to see her usage.  Pee would likely be clean.

MixedBag

  • Global Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3045
  • Karma: 155
  • That's Me...MixedBag
    • View Profile
    • http://www.doilyboutique.com
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #4 on: Jul 02, 2016, 06:36:51 AM »
you say in your screen name ... military...

Retired here.

And I've had to make some "adjustments" in my "attitude" regarding drugs -- pot....

It's only gonna be an issue if in your state it's still illegal and if you can prove she smokes in front of the child and therefore it puts the child in a harmful position.  SO.....old school was to ask her to submit to testing in some form.  But we all know (or I have learned) that there's OTC stuff available to skew that test.  Found out years later that a friend would have a bottle in his car and drink it on the way over to pee for his "golden flow" test.  And I kept thinking "Not in my Air Force!" but we were both retired....done....and the relationship didn't work out.

As for the rest....goof luck.  You got the right idea....  remember in mediation, the mediator's role is to get both sides to talk to come to a settlement.  It has to be agreed upon.....not dictated by the mediator, although the mediator may have some good ideas.


ExMilitaryDad

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #5 on: Jul 07, 2016, 09:10:20 AM »
Well here is how conciliation went.

Ex went in there all spun up.  I noticed it within the first five minutes we were in the room.  Her hand was visibly shaking a little.  The mediator started talking a little and my ex jumped in telling her we needed to focus on a long term parenting plan and then can come back to all the small stuff.  She sounded like she was wanting to run the meeting.  The mediator told her that the small stuff is what we start with in order to build a long term plan.  If we had a long term plan without the small stuff figured out first then the parenting plan would eventually fall apart. 

I expressed my desire to "not throw stones at each other" and to focus on us both being in our son's life.  Then my ex went on to mention all of the concerns she has with me as a parent.  I tried to address them as she brought them up but she raised her voice and then strung together about four or five separate topics.  I sat back in my seat and didn't say a word.  She stated that I was an absent parent and that she did 100% of the parenting.  I might come home and play with our son for five or ten minutes but then I just sat and watched TV.  I am spending more alone time with our son now than I ever did is her main argument.  We batted this around a minute talking about baths I've given, books I've read to him, etc.

Then my ex decides with all her power to ask me what my concerns were with her.  I said my main concern was her mental health.  She jumped in saying that her mental health was great and that her psychiatrist says she's never seen her so happy.  I asked if I could finish talking since she had her time to talk.  Then I said that I worrry that she might go off of her medicine and become suicidal again or possibly attempt suicide again and end up hospitalized in the local mental health clinic again.  Her response?  "I was never hospitalized [there]."  I clearly caught her off guard but this is an honest to God concern I have.  Her mother and grandmother both deal with depression and have been on and off medicine over the years.  What happens if my ex one day decides she has been fine for the last couple of years and decides she doesn't need medicine anymore.  Or what happens when she gets knocked up by one of the guys she's sleeping with and HAS to go off the meds cold turkey.  Can she really take care of our son? 

Anyways, throughout the meeting she brought up money about five or six times.  Nothing direct to child support and time spent with our son, but she did mention child support.  She mentioned how much money we were wasting because we cannot talk and I slightly leaned over the table and looked her right in the eye and said, "there is no amount of money that is worth not being in my son's life. So I'm not worried about that."  I pulled out a text between the ex and I discussing Independence Day schedules.  She told me, "this was additional time that was given to you, not something I had to do. I need him by 8 as originally discussed, we have plans. I'm sorry for the miscommunication this morning, but you will have 10 hours with him today that you wouldn't normally have. Please let me know where to meet you at 8." Ex says she hasn't been keeping my son from me.  Then why is this normally time I wouldn't have?  Why does she think she's so generous by allowing me to see him?  The mediator asked me why that bothered me.  I told her that is sounds like my ex is a parent giving me permission to spend the night at a friends house when we are suppose to be equally important in his life. 

Mediator asked ex if she understood why that bothered me and how it sounds.  Ex says 'I can never word things right for him.  He always says I don't say things the right way.' Mediator says no I mean in this particular instance do you see how that comes across to him.  She rolls her eyes and said yeah I'll try to word things better.

We did get through most of the holiday schedules but we have to go back for another two hour session.  I am worried what we will end up with.  Ex stated that because our son is so young he needs to be with her more.  Age 4 is about when that will not be a factor for her.  I said that ideally we would both be equal even though it never can be quite equal.  That is because the ex has never had a job and does not start one until August when she will become a para educator at an elementary school.  I pulled their school calendar and counted 87-88 business days where I HAVE to work that she does not.  It does make sense that she have him when she does not have to work so right off the top she has him 25% of the year.  "Don't throw percentages at me! I've never even seen this calendar!" I placed it on the table between us.  The mediator said that next session we will discuss a graduated parenting plan from now until age 4.  "That way you are both as equally unhappy with the plan."  So I am not sure what to make of that statement but hopefully I am looking at half and half on paper.

Side note:  What makes a person whom less than 30 day before filing was talking about having another baby this summer decide to hate me so much and use our son against like she is?  I have not done anything to her to deserve this treatment.  Friends and family say she is crazy and karma will come back around but I just don't know.  She is the type of person you see get away with soo much and wonder how they get away with it.  But somehow they always do.

ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 4984
  • Karma: 171
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #6 on: Jul 07, 2016, 09:37:00 AM »
As long as she signs at the end of mediation, keep your cool. You did good. Not sure why mediator started with holidays first but make sure Halloween, Father's day, your birthday, child birthday is in there. Vacations should be in there too (half of summer when child is older) and school vacations. Also when you make a schedule what happens when child has monday holiday off on your weekend? Kids have a few week long vacations too in school calendar. Also, thanksgiving kids are off for 4-5 days that week, same with christmas week- new years, easter/spring break, and some schools have winter break.

Remember to put that first right of refusal. Eventually she will need a job and she will have to ask you first. Can also be used if she wants to go out after x hours. If she wants to go away for a weekend or just out for the whole day, you come before babysitters or other family (have it written in there).

Look on line and get a good plan ready to negotiate with. Bring a few copies so she can see it and the mediator and they cross out and make adjustments. If you don't have it written , you wont get child so think and read as many parenting plans as possible.

Long term, what school will child go to- yours /hers?  Put a clause in there that mother will not move more than 30 miles from current residence without father approval. Some people write not leave county but depends on how big county is.

Good luck!

ExMilitaryDad

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #7 on: Jul 27, 2016, 03:14:23 PM »
So long story short... es didn't sign.  Mediator let her rehash her issues with me by letting ex read a letter she wrote.  None of it was serious or worth addressing.  We finished the holiday schedule and that was it.  No long term plan.  But after talking with my attorney and the counselor that both of us were seeing together and now both see apart, it sounds like I will get more time.  Apparently the mediator called the counselor to ask questions and said something to the effect of "it sounds like I have a mother who thinks she is in control when she isn't, and I have a father who is scared to do anything because he is afraid of losing what he already has."  Counselor then went on to tell me that she strongly believes the mediator will recommend I get one or two extra days per month now (currently I have ten) and then we will go back to mediation when our child turns 3 to discuss me gaining more time then.  That way we should both be in a more permanent situation since we both are living with family members.  I do not think a seasoned counselor would tell a client that unless he strongly believed it.

And to top all of that off my ex has been acting like she holds all the power when she talks to me through texts.  She has threatened to take away time that we have traded for various reasons and has acted like she is always doing me a favor when in fact she is just treating me fairly.  So I have sent screen shots of these texts to the mediator and my attorney (these two are acquaintances and respect each other as well) to ask what I should do when I am in a situation such as being off work early on my day so I show up to pickup my child and ex will not give our child to me.  Well this last one the mediator finally responded and said maybe we need to meet so we can clear some of this up.

Hopefully this all means that I am about to get a good recommendation from the mediator.  We are still waiting to hear what the recommendation will be.  Obviously I am nervous but what can I do besides wait.  Does anyone think that my screen shots would get a mediator to skip straight to 50/50 since my ex is conducting herself the way she is?  The mediator seems to be a fair and reasonable person.  What is everyone's thoughts or advice at this point?

ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 4984
  • Karma: 171
    • View Profile
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #8 on: Jul 27, 2016, 03:31:47 PM »
What does your plan state now about you picking up child early on your days? Usually you should wait until your court ordered time to pick up child or text mom and ask "im getting off work early, could I pick up xx at xx time instead".
50/50 is hard to get but keep pushing when appropriate.
Keep texts to yes/no and short as possible. Answer and ignore her comments. Screen shot them and then laugh it off.

MixedBag

  • Global Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3045
  • Karma: 155
  • That's Me...MixedBag
    • View Profile
    • http://www.doilyboutique.com
Re: About to begin mediation & need help
« Reply #9 on: Jul 27, 2016, 04:58:30 PM »
Yes, screen shot, PRINT, FILE, laugh it off, answer YES or NO....stay unemotional.

There was a book I once read about "after divorce" I think it was called "Joint Custody with a Jerk" -- and I thought "Yep, that's me".  The book was all about rephrasing how you talk to the other side and including "feeling" -- I feel this and I feel that....  or maybe I missed the point.  BUT -- My EX didn't give a rats arse about co-parenting and always needed to feel superior etc...  Sound familiar?

I think you're on the right track to 50/50.  Bounce ideas off of "us" here -- vent HERE -- not at her.

Many of us have dealt with the "high and mighty EX" who needs to be in control -- even to the point where I got called the "control freak" in our relationship as parents to our son....  And to a certain degree we all want to be in control of our lives, so put control that you can live with in the final order.  That way neither one has control, but the order does. 

Right of first refusal comes to mind -- and if that is a potential option, make sure you define it.  For example, I was never allowed to pick up our son from school on a Friday for our weekends -- if I made it early to town after a 12 hour drive.  Nope, EX insisted he go home, change clothes and WAIT until the exact minute the order said.  Didn't even matter that a snow storm was approaching.....EX didn't care....not one bit.  I did have a clause that said I could have additional other times when we agreed.....and EX simply never agreed..,...and there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it.....except document to show that he never agreed and the whole point for the clause was to be ABLE to be flexible.  That bit him in the butt....so sorry, he lost a few pounds that day.

just sharing so you get the idea...



 

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.