Status: in process of D. Custody agreement was mediated and is in place. Trying to do financial mediation now. Still both filling our roles in the company.
Nutshell--Sultan is a very P/A, *rules don't apply to him*-type guy. EveryDamnThing is a battle, accompanied by the apparently required *personal digs*.
So, I've gotten pretty good at dealing with his *attitude* when it comes to D and business stuff.
But I don't know how to handle the kid stuff....and that's an area that's actually *settled*.
Here's how our time-share is set up:
Sunday 4pm- Monday 3pm--*my* time
Monday 3pm- Wed 3pm--*Sultan*
Wed 3pm- Fri 3pm--*my* time
So, last Thursday the therapist/caregiver for DS15 cancelled because of a family emergency and I had one of my classes that night. Ok. I'll just take DS15 to school with me and let DS13 choose to come along or stay home. DS13 says he wants to stay home. Ok. Then he asks if he can maybe go hang with his dad while I'm gone (Sultan lives about 2 houses away). I told DS13 that it wasn't his Dad's night, but if Dad didn't have other plans....that it was fine for him to go over there. So next thing I know, I got *this* text from Sultan: "next time please check with me as opposed to taking DS15. I know I am nothing more than a lottery ticket to you, but I am his father." I didn't respond.
Then on Friday, he sends an email that he needs/wants to go out of town for a meeting next month and the day's that he'll be gone are Sun-Wed. Now that pretty much encompasses his entire *week* time with the boys. Then he says this:
"Is it possible you can trade me some days so I can attend?"
I responded on Sunday night with this:
"I'm not available until 4pm on May 19th.
I can take the kids on the nights of the May 20 and 21.
You can have my May 24 and 25 if you want to trade"
And I didn't hear anything back from him about. Ok. Whatever. He'll answer me eventually. And he did yesterday, well...kinda anyway.
him: Btw, I have the kids covered for may. Thanks anyway.
me: I don't know what having the kids covered means.
him: I don't need your help.
me: Ok. Remember that there's a right of first refusal clause in the visitation agreement. And I didn't refuse. So am I to assume that they will be going with you? Or did you change the dates so they don't conflict with your time?
him: Your times didnt work for me, so I worked it out elsewhere. My dates and times are not flexible.
me: You have mis-interpreted the agreement. I am available for the kids on those days.
him: I don't care to trade for the days you offered and i can't leave Sunday evening.
me: Right of first refusal isn't optional. Trading is. I told you that I wasn't available until 4pm on Sunday. So there's no problem with your *other arrangements* for Sunday. However, I *am* available for the rest of the time.
him: So, what are you getting at? What do you want?
me: I want the kids starting at 4pm on Sunday, for the time that you'll be gone.
I've said what I needed to say and I don't plan to re-visit the conversation with him. It'll play out however it plays out. If he were only going to be gone for a couple hours or whatever past the time where the ROFR kicks in, I wouldn't have even bothered with it. But the guy's gonna be gone for 2.5 days!
Anyway. ^^^That conversation is a clear example of the completely circular exchanges that we have. Every single damn conversation is like that one. He just talks *at* me. And, like usual, I still have no idea what his *answer* is.
I know that *this* is the type of stuff I'm going to get from him. It's what I've always gotten....if I *get* in his way about anything, then I'm controlling/unreasonable/judgmental/whatever. I know that he's incapable of having a productive, give/take conversation.
So what the hell do I do? Going forward, what's the most effective way to deal with a person like this?
tl;dr---Sultan will be unavailable for his scheduled time during a week in May. He asked me to *help* and wanted to trade days. I said I was available to take kids, offered *trade* dates for him. He didn't like *trade* dates, so apparently just made other arrangements for the time he's going to be gone. Even though we have a ROFR. Lengthy, circular, completely unproductive conversation occurred. I want to avoid those in the future. How do I do that?
[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 8:49 AM, April 25th (Thursday)]
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
What's the most effective way to deal with a person like this?
Erm a blunt object and a woodchipper?
I'm not sure about you but I got confused here, and ignoring the RoFR bit, so he wanted you to have them but to swap days, you said "ok here are the days you can have instead" and he essentially said "no I'll give the kids to someone else, miss out on 2.5 days with them and get no days back?" purely because he didn't want the days you offered?
Yeah going back to my above statement...
Not 100% sure, but what I would do is email him outlining that you have offered to swap days with him in order to help him out. Point out that even if those days do not work for him you are still willing and able to have the children as you have the RoFR as stated in your agreement and will expect the children from 4pm on the sunday as previously stated.
From there I think we can imagine he will send you some bullshit back, but you may have to just document this and report it back to whomever enforces these things in the states, just keep documenting it for use later. With regards to your children just ensure they know you are willing to have them during the time and if he does leave them with someone else let them know they can come back to you any time they like.
No idea how much help that is to you, but i'm still leaning towards the first idea....
I'm not so worried about how to deal with *this* particular incident since it's basically been addressed already.
I'm wondering more along the lines of.....is there a more effective way for me to deal with this type of unproductive conversation in the future? I'm fine with just ignoring a lot of stuff, but there are some things that can't be ignored and these unproductive conversations are a waste of time.
(oh, and I put a tl;dr version in my original post )
Though having read about the sultan I think that is probably it entirely?
Unfortunately we don't have the RoFR clause over here in the UK. Or at least not when I have looked into it. I'm guessing though that you could be stuck with this and the only thing you can do is keep a record of this and each and every time that it occurs. I'm stuck with similar my XWW the rules don't apply to her either and she too is extremely P/A at times. So if you do find a better method of dealing with it, I'd love to hear it! I'm attempting to go with the ignoring her and letting her get on with it stage and hoping that the kids will realise who the stable parent is so when they are old enough they can make decisisons for themselves regarding these sort of things.
My XWH#1 was the same way. He asked for my son after school everyday. I worked until 7:00 and it took another 15-30 minutes for me to get to our rental, where he was living at the time. I tried to always let him see our son whenever possible, so I said Ok (my first mistake). Everytime I went to pick up my son he would come to my car and start an arguement about something. He did not feed him 1/2 the time and his homework was never done. It was impossible and was causing problems with my son, so I had to put him in after school daycare and then pay a daycare worker to keep him for the extra 1.5 hours after the daycare closed because my XWH#1 wanted to be an ass everyday.
I never knew about RoFR, Thank God. That sounds like a major flaw in a custody agreement, especially when dealing with a P/A. It would make NC and detachment almost impossible. The only way I could deal with XWH#1 was certified mail, other than that I refused to deal with him. There was no co-parenting with him, as you said "everydamnthing is/was a battle."
The best way you can deal with him is to try not to whenever you don't have to. This unfortunately makes it that much harder on the kids to have parents who can't communicate with each other, but it is better than seeing them in a constant battle. My XWH#1 and I are now cordial when we do see each other and it got better after awhile of NC. Try to look at the bright side. You only have to deal with him for 5 more years at the most. Hang in there, you are doing great!!!
If he's out of town and you can keep kids the entire time, just say "yes."
I think he misread part of your comments about trade times, and believed you were trying to start up crap with him over days in future and he just needed an answer about kid coverage in an emergency with a work situation. So rather than try to get into all that, and rearrange his future work schedules in a rush, he just called his mom or whoever as a sitter, and thought it too much to deal with you right now. He probably viewed your answer to his request as a complicated antagonistic one, just as you viewed his answer to you as the same. If your ex is like 80 percent of the men I work with, they won't listen until they hear "yes" or "no" as a direct answer. Then they will listen for details. But ONLY after they get the yes or no answer immediately.
You can figure out the trade days later, even if those trade days will be in June, August or September when you need them for out of town or emergencies.
So next time this comes up, say "yes" or "no" then hash out the makeup times later.
If you really are at work or elsewhere on Sunday until 4, rather than just being inflexible about the Sunday, then it would be easier to have said:
"I'll be happy to trade times and keep them, except we'll have to get a sitter for them here when you drop them off until 4 p.m. Sunday, until I return from (work/wherever). When you return, we will figure out times that you can keep them to make up those days".
[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 10:25 AM, April 25th (Thursday)]
RFF is pretty cut-and-dried, and it's spelled out in your (draft) decree. He can read, and yet you were engaged to point his out to him. Frustrating. But honestly, I think you were golden in the exchange quoted above. You stayed on point and didn't take the bait.
The "proper" way to deal with it, of course (from a purely legal perspective) is to to let him screw up, and inform him of vialoations of the decree via your attorney.
But I'm not suggesting you do that. For the benefit of your kids, you have to deal with him, and he's either truly ignorant, or willfully so in a passive-aggressive way. Probably won't go away...but I think you did pretty darn well.
(I have the opposite problem...ZP observes RFF, but I am always subjected to TMI...all the little details that apparently demostrate how cool and awesome her new life is when a simple "can you take the kids on X at Y, as I have plans" would more than suffice. )
Glad to see you're moving forward.
My actual *agreement* filed with the court says:
"Cancelled periods of placement may be rescheduled with the consent of the other party with 2 weeks notice. Rescheduling must be done at the time of cancellation and must occur within 30 days of the cancelled period of placement or be forfeited."
And then the right of first refusal clause comes next and says, in part:
"if either party needs a babysitter for more than 6 hrs exclusive of *regularly scheduled*daycare for school/work, the other party will be offered the chance to provide the child care.
So I'm not just trying to be a pain in the ass. I know from past experience that being *flexible* with Sultan is a slippery slope and if he gets an inch, he'll take a mile.....and before I know it, he'll have the schedule all wrecked to hell as he fits the kids around his life instead of his life around the kids. That is why the *official agreement* is pretty detailed in certain areas.
DS15 is special needs, and DS13 is always involved in some sport or another. We NEED a fairly predictable and routine schedule or else my special-needs kid starts acting out and DS13 starts *losing* stuff or *forgetting* where he needs to be. It turns into a nightmare. DS15 acts out, DS13 runs around trying to remember where his ball glove is, Sultan'll be sending me insulting texts = brain damage that I do NOT need to deal with.
And I think it's pretty silly that the guy complained about not having DS15 on a night that DS15 spent the entire evening *with* me...for no reason other than just to squawk at me about something........and yet he sees NO problem with leaving them both to someone else for 2.5 days when he's not even going to be there. It's just petty and stupid.
So how do you deal effectively with petty and stupid?
[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 10:47 AM, April 25th (Thursday)]
Would it be worth to talk to your lawyer and have a letter drafted to his lawyer, spelling out step by step how the agreement plays out when you can't take the kids for more than 6 hours of your scheduled time? Like:
Per the agreement, the following procedures are followed:
If either parent cannot supervise the child directly for more than six hours of his/her scheduled time, t
1. Other parent has first right of refusal, and may opt to take the children during this time before any other arrangments can be made.
2. If other parent refuses first right of refusal, the parent with the scheduled time is responsible for arranging and paying for childcare during that time.
3. If other parent accepts right of first refusal, they are responsible for direct supervision or arranging for and paying for childcare during that time.
If either parent needs to cancel their visitation time
1)Cancelled periods of placement may be rescheduled with the consent of the other party with 2 weeks notice.
2)Cancelled periods of placement with less than two weeks notice are subject ot right of first refusal to the other parent.
3) If the other parent declines right of first refusal, then the scheduled parent is responsible for arranging and paying for childcare.
4)With 2+ weeks notice, rescheduling must be done at the time of cancellation and must occur within 30 days of the cancelled period of placement or be forfeited. Right of first refusal still applies to the other parent regardless of rescheduling.
Am I understanding this right?
The only thing I think you could do differently is be clearer. And what I mean by that is - spell out everything exactly, like you are explaining to a 2 year old.
- I will take the children during X time.
- I am unavailable until X on Y day, so we will have to make other arrangements until I can pick them up at X time.
- I have X dates available for you to take as swap dates. Let me know if you would like the kids on those days. If not, let me know if there are other days that work better for you, and I will see if those dates are acceptable to me as well.
Overall, though.. it probably won't matter too much how you try to communicate. If he's difficult, he'll be difficult as long as you do anything but say, "Yes, whatever you want."
I really feel for all of you that have to deal with this. No kids here, so I didn't have that issue... just a couple of cats, and when my X pulled stuff about no being able to take his cat, but wanting to have "visitation" and to be able to have input into his vet care - but still not pay for any of the vet bills - I quickly put a stop to it by telling him he could either take the cat or leave it and go away. No in between.
It's not so easy as that with kids, though.
Do you like the fact that you have specific guaranteed days the kids aren't there? Or is this schedule set up to make sure sultan spends time with your eldest?
I'm asking because given the ages of the boys, how close sultan lives, why aren't they staying with you full time?
Or maybe a better way to ask the question, what were you attempting to accomplish with this type of custody schedule. Feel free to roll your eyes at me if I'm being dense here. No kids I bet there's some of this going over my head from lack of experience.
When I very first filed for D, I didn't do any temporary orders. Just wrote up a real informal *visitation* that included one night a week and EOW. But that was awful because he didn't always make concrete plans ahead of time, and if I told him *no* he would accuse me of not letting him see the kids.
So after the suspension, when I re-filed, I did the agreement through temporary orders. I can't remember if he was allowed one or two nights, but the orders said that he had to let me know by Sunday night which night he would take them. Again....ok, short-term....long term? Not so much. No predictable routine and it was impacting the kids and DS15's *therapy* schedule negatively.
So when we sat down in mediation and started going through the visitation nights.....he was insisting on having them 2 overnights during the week. HIS idea. I only wanted him to go with one overnight and a *dinner*. But he was insistent, and so I told him very clearly: "You, Sultan, need to think hard about what nights are going to work best for you because those are YOUR nights. He tried to mutter about *being flexible*...until the mediator said that if those were his nights, then they were his nights. He could ask me to change, but I wasn't required to.
So, the schedule was chosen by him. As long as he sticks to it and doesn't try to change it up all of the time, I'm fine with it.
He also chose the 6 hour ROFR. I would have preferred one for just over-night time periods. But again, whatever.
I was going for a schedule that was very detailed, fairly rigid, and unambiguous--and that's what I got.
But about the current issue. He's been pretty good about keeping to the schedule. I'm out of school then, so it's fine. It's just the fact that he's acting like this agreement doesn't *exist* because his plan isn't working out the way that he wants it to. He didn't even attempt to discuss or ask if any other days might work other than the ones that I offered him. He just went and *did his own thing*. And will violate the ROFR is he carries it out.
monster goes through phases of this too. Being vague as hell about school holiday stuff to make me contact him several more times than I needed to. I told him I didn't appreciate him being purposefully unclear in order to force me to communicate with him.
He has improved since then - I hit his ego right on the bullseye.
It is part poking, part he is a fucking idiot. Sad, sad clown.
Our FRR agreement states that we are to tell the other what the alternate arrangements are should we decline a swap. Perhaps next time you decline (or state a different time) you should ask him what the alternate arrangements are.
Otherwise, try not to let this shit get to you. Accept that he will take whatever opportunity to goad you that he can and learn to expect it and NOT react to it.
You know this is about control, right? They are still trying to exert control over us.
Step away and look at the big picture - this is the ONLY way he can get to you now. That is a GOOD thing!
And it means I don't think you can find a "solution" because the solution is really for him to change who he is, and we both know that he's just not capable of the introspection required to do that.
I do think though that you're going too far in your responses to him. So when he says
Then he says this:
"Is it possible you can trade me some days so I can attend?"
Merely answer "yes" or "no" full stop. And if your answer is yes, then wait for him to say what the day switch is. When you try to resolve it by being forthcoming and helpful, it's allowing him to make it a clusterfuck bc he's choosing to wilfully misunderstand you. And as you try to clarfiy, it's making it worse. Remember, this is how he was about all the A shit. It's the same game plan here, just different details to play with.
[This message edited by cayc at 4:56 PM, April 25th (Thursday)]
I told him I didn't appreciate him being purposefully unclear in order to force me to communicate with him.
Awesome that you said this. Sometimes we give advice on this site to deal with that issue without actually telling the BS to confront it directly - as in saying that using confusion as a tactic is quite transparent and easy to see through.
I'm never sure why WS'es have the whole "I will not be ignored!" syndrome since they did everything possible to rid themselves of their spouses, and often never seemed to wish to talk to their spouses while in the marriage itself before D-Day even, but who can make sense of nonsense?
[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 12:53 PM, April 26th (Friday)]
then I'm controlling/unreasonable/judgmental/whatever.
Who cares if that is what he wants to think.
Document the situation. Quote the orders/decree back to him. Make everything clear, cut and concise. And stick to it.
In my experience, there is nothing you can do that you haven't already done.
The circular talk is to make you crazy.. and distract you so you won't know which way is up or down.. and in your confusion you might just agree with him.
He will continue to poke you mama bear until he gets no reaction from you. Until DS is driving and making his own schedule you may be stuck like this.
I didn't see a way out of it with my X. I wish I was wiser and could offer you something. I just don't see it ending.. if the FOFR gets hammered into his head.. it will be something else next time.
Eventually it will end..unfortunately it takes time.