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Divorce trial/Custody - please help

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MichelleRenee posted 7/10/2013 19:22 PM

My stbx and I had our temp hearing for support & custody. He came out with what he asked for which was 3 weekends/month during the school year and 4 weekends/month during summer break. Fine. I have dealt with it and am okay with it. BUT he is angry over the support he was ordered to pay. He has c/s plus $300 spousal. The judge knocked the spousal from almost $700 down because he thought it was too much.

Anyways, my point is, my stbx is now harassing me about going to trial. he says he has done his homework and will represent himself and will take full custody etc etc. The judge we had already gave him what he asked for in the first place so I have reason to be scared....

Since the custody we have is just temp does anybody have an idea of wth could happen if he goes for full? He's saying he will quit his job and go on disability (he has a disabled placard for his car so getting cash aid is obviously possible) so he doesn't have to pay me and so he can be home for our son.

I am dealing with a mad man. Any insight or advice?

Dreamboat posted 7/10/2013 19:52 PM


First, please do not panic. You cannot make informed decisions when you are in panic mode.

Second, your stbx's threats are pretty standard from men who are used to having control and are losing control. He is trying to control you and bully you with his words. He knows your buttons and he is using that knowledge to upset you.

So he got the visitation that he asked for. But he still only has weekends. Is there a reason he did not get weeknight visitation? At any time during the hearing did he say he could not take weekday visitation or anything along those lines? If so, then you can use that against him later and there is no way he can get full custody if he previously said in a hearing he cannot even take weekday visitation.

His threat of quitting his job is so common that he really has no teeth at all. My X actually did quit his job but it did not change his CS. Why? The courts have seen antics like this so many times that they rarely consider it. Instead they usually use the last 3 years of tax returns to compute CS.

And him saying that he will represent himself? HA! What an idiot! There is a saying something like "The man who represents himself has a fool for a client."

I don't have any experience with disability but I don't think it is as easy as just saying that you cannot work. You have to prove it. I would advise you to age a VAR (voice activated recorder) and keep ti with you anytime you talk to him. Also save every single email and text he ever sends you. If he tries to fraudulently get disability then you may be able to derail it.

Stay strong! Fight for your kids.

((more hugs))

Duffy1958 posted 7/10/2013 20:35 PM

DreamBoat is spot on. I would like to repeat what she said about the court seeing men quit their job to avoid support. The fathers can't just do whatever they want.

If you can get a text with him threatening, that would be good but don't engage with him. You could text him something to the effect, "your suggestions of doing 1. 2. 3. are hurtful to our son & ABSURD as well. Why would you do that?" then hopefully he will spew a response. The end. No more talk. It gives him audience & fuels his fire. Let him spew all that anger elsewhere. Then they are witnesses but that's his fault.

The visitation doesn't seem overly favorable to him, was there
something else the judge did?

What a bummer for STBX: Reality (check)

I would like to smack him with my purse. Grrrr

Hang in there. It's almost over. Keep your eye on that mark! Hugs sister!

devistatedmom posted 7/10/2013 20:39 PM

Did he harass you by email? Text? Print it off. Save it. If he put it in writing saying he's going to take it from you, the judge will know it's him trying to intimidate you.

Don't panic. First things first...he has to actually take you to trial. Keep going the way you are.

MichelleRenee posted 7/10/2013 22:21 PM

I have all the texts that he sent. He has told me via text that he will quit his job before he pays me a penny. I have the texts about giving his 2 weeks notice at work and going on disability. I have them all....

He did say during our hearing that he did not want weekday visits at this time due to his work schedule. If he quits that won't be a factor. In addition to the weekends he has 1 week in the summer and 1 week in sept/oct when his work closes. He also took away my ability to home school after this school year.

I was going to meet him for lunch this week and see what the hell his problem is but my lawyer said no. I am just so confused and worried since the judge gave him what he asked for and lowered his spousal support. Will the judge then give him what he wants during trial, too? That is my worry. The cost of trial also scares me! Neither of us can afford it.

[This message edited by MichelleRenee at 10:23 PM, July 10th (Wednesday)]

rainagain posted 7/10/2013 23:33 PM

Try not to panic, and spend some time talking to your lawyer. It's going to be ok, you just can't cave in to him because you are afraid. I get it because I've been there.

First of all, is getting your divorce involve a trial? In many states, not. Most likely, there will be a full day at the courthouse and you will be paying your lawyer by the hour for that. Yes, expensive but necessary it sounds.

The courts in all states will look at a parent's potential earnings, so quitting a job to not pay doesn't fly. That parent is still responsible for the amount they should be able to pay (in my experience, the judge settled with an amount a little less than what it should have been, but didn't fall for the lies of being let go from his contract work).
But you said he is going to claim disability. Talk to your lawyer about this and show the texts. It's really serious to falsely claim disability, so if you think he's doing this, so if he is then by all means make noise about it. Your lawyer will have some ideas about this, most likely contacting his lawyer to let her/him know you all will be outing him on this.

You said you had homeschooled, so you must have spent much if not the majority of time taking care of the kids at home. And the current situation with weekends only sounds like their regular routine has been with you. That is what a judge will look at - what can help ensure stability and routine for the kids (especially if they have to go from homeschooling to a school setting, that's a big change). But time will need to be set for them with their father. Are you ok with most or all of their weekends with him? If so, you should be able to just continue that and no more from what you are doing right now, but if not (you and the kids do not get much relaxing down time together - what about the traditional one weeknight, every other weekend with him plan?), now is the time to get that change. It's hard to change visitation orders after they are set unless there is a big life change.

Also, ask your lawyer about visitation for the 16 year old, usually that is about the age orders don't apply because kids that age want more flexibility in choosing because of their own needs (jobs, friends) and from the sounds of it, your X is trying to control things and you will want to make things clear that the 16 yr old (who will be 17 next year) has a say in the situation.
Hang in there! You can do it because you have to. The more you can talk to your lawyer and through her/him to the judge about the reality of the situation, the more fairly it will work out and in a way that is fair to the kids and you.

homewrecked2011 posted 7/10/2013 23:48 PM

He is in full panic mode and he's doing what has always worked with you.

Don't meet with him, bc he might be taping you.

Immediately forward those texts to your email, your atty, AND a trusted friend or two! the texts really showed the evil side of my XH, so in the end, after all the threats, he didn't even go for anything.

Also, get a spiral notebook and every night jot down what happened that day. when you show consistency to the judge, they take you seriously.

Also, my atty had me quietly mark on a calender the days WH did/did not attend functions, picked up kids, returned them early, etc. It shows how WS are using the children as pawns. Judges hate that.

Duffy1958 posted 7/14/2013 22:00 PM

I think you have a good lawyer, he gave you good advice.

I second the thought of forwarding evidence to email. If I could interject, keep "the evidence" for attorney, organize it, label it with explanations for ease of your attorney. Less $$ spent. Then see how he will proceed to protect you. I'm glad you have evidence so is not he said/she said.

Im sorry for the angst you feel over this. Hang in there & hang on! Better days are a comin!

TheClimb posted 7/15/2013 10:27 AM

Trust your attorney Michelle. He has probably seen this a number of times. And remember, this is NOT about your kids. Your STBX is pissed about the MONEY. He doesn't want the kids full time. He just knows that this will scare the shit out of you and is hoping that you will work out some "financial" deal with him.

Go ahead and quit; what a cry baby! My sister has a handicap sticker for her car and she works full time. She got it because her doctor is a pushover. Her knee hurts so she doesn't like to walk too far. It is much more difficult to get and keep permanent disability. You are talking about someone PAYING you to sit on your butt. They don't hand out disability checks easily.

Don't talk to him about this. Try not to worry too much. Let your lawyer take care of this.

TrustGone posted 7/15/2013 15:53 PM

Do not worry about the disability. If he goes on disability (will have to prove it first and that takes a while to do)being home everyday does not guarantee he will get full custody. My XWH#1 was on disability and I worked 12hour days. I only had to prove he was being taken care of when I wasn't there. He could not prove I was a bad mother, so he really had no chance with primary custody. I was also worried and he drug me through the ringer during the D, but it all worked out in the end. Do not let him intimidate you with his threats. Even if he tries it in court, as long as you have proof, you have nothing to worry about. Just because he gets on disability does not stop CS or SS or make him a better father than you are a mother. CS may be lowered, but so will his part of SSI disability. Also any money that comes from SSI for the children goes to the one with primary custody. My lawyer screwed this up by not getting it in writing from Social Security, so the judge gave it to him, but then he had to turn around and give it to me as CS. It was messed up and should have been in addition to CS according to the Social Security office. Make sure you get all information in writing. Good luck and let me know if you have any SSI questions that I may be able to answer.

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