Anyway, so she's now talking about divorce, and I've been listening and giving some advice where I can. (I talked them into seeing an MC for at least 2 months, which was a pretty big "win" IMO.)
She talks sometimes about co-parenting. Her ideal co-parenting situation involves him maintaining his current role, but not living with them. Basically show up every morning and chauffeur the daughter to school, and that's it. He gets no say, no opinion, no influence on the daughter's life. My coworker feels entitled to this arrangement because she is the primary caregiver and the primary breadwinner (she's going to be paying him a ridiculous amount of alimony). In her words, "it'll be fine as long as he does what I tell him to."
It makes me wonder, between everything I've seen on these boards, whether a "healthy" co-parenting situation really exists, anywhere. Or are the ones that people claim are healthy really just one person letting the other push them around? Is there ever a situation where the power struggle doesn't exist, where a divorced couple can legitimately both just act in the best interests of their children and leave the past out of it?
Or is my perspective skewed because so many of the exes I read about here on SI bring their same issues to parenting that they brought to the marriage?
Just processing, I guess. It makes me sad to see her marriage ending, and that they've lived in strife and frustration so long that neither is willing to see the others' perspective anymore. Just so much anger and resentment.
Wouldn't it be "cheaper to keep her", as they say, only actually cheaper to keep him around for free childcare one hour a day?
I suspect that there are some fairly healthy co-pareting situations out there in the world. Possibly not here on SI since this board is populated with the fall-out of infidelity, so there's already animosity between the partners.
Unless her H agrees to be only a chauffeur then he will get at a minimum every other weekend and 1 overnight a week and if he asks for it, he may (depending on the slant of the courts where he lives) get 50/50 physical custody. On her days, it will be her responsibility to bring her child to school.
She will owe him CS and potentially SS. And she will no longer have the right to tell him what to do.
There are healthy co-parenting going on. We don't hear of it much on SI because people post when things are going wrong, not when things are going right.
The legal system will never let her have her ideal co-parenting scenario. Never. Since he's not an abusive whatever, the court is going to presume he's a fit parent and award him 50/50 custody, most likely. She'll also be paying him child support as well as spousal support. Is she prepared for this reality?
If she divorces him then she no longer gets ANY say in what he does or does not do involving the kids that isn't in a written agreement or court order. That is as long as he is a fit parent of course and the definition of fit is subjective barring documented abuse and such.
There are healthy coparenting relationships out there. I really dislike my STBXWW but both of us put the craziness aside when it comes to the kids. Our issues are not their issues and we are trying our best to make sure they get the best that we can offer as parents even if we won't be together.
it'll be fine as long as he does what I tell him to.
[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 12:10 PM, June 13th (Thursday)]
Perhaps your friend needs to realize that if her future-ex-husband is forced to return to work - which he will be - he probably won't be around to drive their DD to school in the morning, he'll be busy getting himself to work on time. So she'll be stuck figuring out how to get her DD to school like the rest of us. Walk to school alone? School bus? Before-school childcare?
Your friend is living in total fantasy land.
It is likely he'd get 50% legal custody, but it is entirely up to him if he chooses to participate. He can also be awarded all this visitation in the world, but it is up to him if he takes it. Courts would not give a crap if he agreed to chauffeur every morning, as long as both parties agreed.
She would need to be prepared for him to take all the visitation to which he is entitled, as no court would award the chaffeur scenario.
Just seems like co-parenting is by definition messy and uncomfortable.
First, no court in the land will take away a parent's legal custody (the exception is when adoption is involved), so it is a guarantee that they will have 50/50 legal custody.
weeeeeellllll.... I have this. Our court decree as mediated by the court says that we have "joint physical custody" where I am the primary and he has EOW, an agreed upon split holidays (not the every other year thing) and he has 2 non consecutive weeks in summer... which he has not scheduled for this summer.
BUT I have sole legal custody. The exact language is that we confer on educational, religious, etc, but that the mother has "sole determinitive decision making rights." It was explained to us both that we should try to discuss, but that if we did not agree, I had the tie breaker vote. The exact language though is "sole legal custody."
But my other observation is that he sounds depressed. If they can address his lack of motivation, sleeping issues, then perhaps she can keep on living the fantasy she HAS where he does the shuffling in the AM and she can maintain influence and supervision of the parenting of their DD... which will NEVER happen in even the best of co-parenting between divorced parents. And remind her that eventually her ex will date and she won't influence or choose that person either.
I don't know your friend, but I'd encourage her to come and read here about some of the realities of life post divorce and the "co-parenting possibilities on the other end of her "fantasy."
Your description of her situation was hard to read; I went through a lot worse after the X was injured and had to retire. During that period (long before any whiff of an A), I felt my vows bound me 'in sickness and health' but it was really difficult. Her sitch doesn't even come close,; she sounds somewhat spoiled and selfish to me, but we all have our breaking point.
I hope she finds a way to successfully co-parent for the kids' sake, and I hope he gets help for his depression.
You have to know who you're dealing with when you decide how big of a deal to make things. I knew if I made a fuss over wanting custody of the kids or insisting on a visitation schedule or in anyway tried to influence how or when he saw the kids he would fight me. Its just his personality. So I didn't make a big deal about anything, we have joint everything and he spends as much time with the kids now as he did when we were married and living together if you catch my drift. But that's just what worked for me. I knew he wasn't a danger or any kind of threat to the kids, he really does love them. And I'm willing to bet it never becomes and issue in the future.
FWIW I think it would have been harder if they were younger. Right now my kids are 12, 14 and 16.
She is delusional on many different levels.
she sounds somewhat spoiled and selfish to me, but we all have our breaking point.
That's kinda what I thought too, sorry Ama. I mean, sounds like she wants to eat a lot of cake.
She wants a divorce.
She doesn't want her schedule to change.
She doesn't want to take the daughter to school.
She doesn't want his opinion or input on their daughter.
She wants to tell him what to do.
I don't see how that is "co-parenting". She wants him to have the same relationship/influence on the girl as the school bus driver. Really?
I don't know that there are many co-parenting relationships that work. I think, even the ones that look like it may not actually be so, you know? I mean, you know quite a bit about the situation between x and I. And, people have told me MANY times they are so impressed with how well we get along and how well we parent the kids. They don't see ALL the other bullshit I deal with. But, it looks good from the outside.
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end
Happily remarried to a wonderful man (Aussie). I think I found the right guy and the right finger this time.
I will never understand why a parent feels the need to control children in this way. It only damages the kids in the long run.
When they were in school, they used to tell me they appreciated the fact that even though their parents were divorced, we did not put them through the hell all their freinds from broken homes seemed to go through, with the parents constantly fighting over custody, child support, money, and such issues.
We agreed to the amount of CS he would pay (considerably lower than what the state would order according to their formula at the time). Against my lawyer's advice, I asked for no alimony even though I was left as a single mother with three young kids. He did have to pay our house mortgage though (until I either remarried or the youngest turned 18...I remarried in 1995 and gave him back the house) so I guess that was a form of alimony.
He did pay the agreed upon amount faithfully throughout the entire time. He also knew if he did not, I had the power to take him to court at any time.
Anyway, my X also did not spend much time with our kids when we were married. He was a truck driver. On the rare times he was actually "home" he was working on trucks or doing something else, not home spending time with family. This was part of my final decision to go ahead and divorce, as our kids were a huge consideration. I thought, what difference will this make? He never spends any time with them anyway.
But you never know how these things will go. I can honestly say my XH became a better parent after we divorced. He had the kids almost every weekend, and did spend time with them on those weekends.
Once in awhile I come in this forum and talk briefly about my experiences. I have not yet met even one other person who agreed with my stance that it was better for the kids to "get along" than to haul him to court because I didn't think he was paying enough. As far as money, I felt it more important they had a roof over their head, the basic necessities, clothes, etc, and food to eat. I feel my XH was fairly generous with the kids on his weekends and I sense this would not have been the case if I squeezed as much money out of him as I could have for CS.
I know there are lawyers likely reading this and they won't like my stance here but I don't see most lawyers as truly having the kids's best interest in mind, encouraging people to get along, etc. The first one I approached absolutely would not hear me when I said I didn't want alimony and wanted to make it as painless as possible since he was my children's father.
The one I went with agreed to do whatever I wanted, but advised against many of the things I wanted.
I have some friends who basically told me they were going to "go easy" on their ex when they divorced but then when the lawyer got to talking to them, they changed their mind. I have one friend in particular, who has four grown chidren. She waited to D him until the youngest was a senior in high school. CS was not going to be much of an issue but I think she wanted him to help with college for the youngest. She was going to leave him the home, which his family had given them when they married years earlier. She did not realize she would have any legal right to that home, apparently.
Well, the lawyer "enlightened her" that she could take half or more of the value of that home, and guess what? Her XH had to borrow a huge amount of money to keep his home.
Perhaps that is only fair, but the price this woman paid was none of her four grown children speak to her any more! One recently got married and she was not invited to the wedding.
Money and fairness in splitting marital assets has NEVER been worth much to me as compared to having happy healthy children who get along with both parents.
I should add here that I realize this takes some cooperation of BOTH parents and I know that not everybody could have my situation even if they tried. I know some non-custodial parents would do anything to try to get out of paying anything at all. I am not talking about such cases, but whenever there is a chance for compromise, getting along, etc., that would be what I would recommend.
[This message edited by Bobbi_sue at 7:49 AM, June 14th (Friday)]