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Last minute advice for custody evaluator visit in home?

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barcher144 posted 12/4/2019 10:28 AM

Oh, an actual update too:

This afternoon is my *final* interview with the evaluator.

little turtle posted 12/4/2019 11:08 AM

Looking forward to the after interview update!

tushnurse posted 12/4/2019 13:11 PM

Sending you good MoJo and positive vibes my friend.....

Oh and

I will be willing to take that Chessie if, and only if, I am allowed to increase my dose of anti-depressants in the future

No need they just need firm consistent discipline and a shit ton (yes that's a real measurement) of exercise (coming from a HRC Chocolate Lab of 1 year I know this - I know what he needs, and the Chessies I have been around seem to be wound even tighter).
The redeeming factor is they are clowns and will make you laugh every single day.

barcher144 posted 12/5/2019 13:29 PM

The final interview with the custody evaluator went okay. It began with her explaining the results of the psychological testing. It was mostly spot-on, except that it claimed that I was not someone who would be very cooperative in a co-parenting situation and that I am not someone who takes responsibility for my faults.

After that, she asked a bunch of random, follow-up questions. Perhaps I was made uncomfortable from the discussion of the psychological testing, but I had a nagging feeling of "oh crap, she is going to conclude that I should not get custody" throughout the rest of the session.

After reflecting on the questions that she was asking me, though, I think that I am in a good place. She was, for a lack of better term, asking really stupid questions for most of the session.

For example, she queried me on our use of OurFamilyWizard software. When I first got it installed, I sent STBXW a message letting her know that I was going to send her 3 or 4 totally random messages in which I would say profane things simply to test out the tone meter that comes with the software. Apparently, STBXW complained about these messages to the custody evaluator.... and so the custody evaluator felt compelled to ask me about them.

Another example was that I apparently told DD12 last summer that I was too tired to do something specific like fly a kite. Basically, the suggestion was that I was being lazy (and thus a bad father). My response was that based on the specific activity and DD's history with that activity, the incident (if it occurred) did not happen in STBXW's presence. Perhaps a better answer would have been... yeah, that possibly happened. I am allowed to be tired. I am human, after all.

Anyway, it was about 45 minutes of questions in response to STBXW's bat-shit crazy allegations about me as a husband and as a father, most of which fall into the category of topics you all (and my attorney) have told me are irrelevant for a custody evaluation.

The evaluator meets with the lawyers in two weeks. I'll find out for sure, then.

WhoTheBleep posted 12/5/2019 14:32 PM

Thanks for the update. I'm curious about psychological testing. I wonder how accurate that is. I feel like anyone can fake being a well-adjusted person on those things...

I've taken psychological tests for jobs. They always appear to be very easily manipulated. What was your experience? How were you tested?

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 2:34 PM, December 5th (Thursday)]

whattheh posted 12/5/2019 23:25 PM

Joint custody would be more beneficial for your children. So she should have a mountain to climb to recommend your cheating (manipulative) wife get full custody IMHO.

Just by reading your posts for awhile the 2 negatives she told you about the pysch testing don't seem like appropriate conclusions in your case.

Hoping for the best outcome for you and your kids...

tushnurse posted 12/6/2019 07:06 AM

Well sending you good MoJo and fingers crossed that they do the sane thing for you and give you shared.
Hopefully you can finally get this thing done.

Now we wait.

barcher144 posted 12/6/2019 12:40 PM

They always appear to be very easily manipulated. What was your experience? How were you tested?

I took the MMPI-2 test, which supposedly cannot be manipulated or they can tell if you are trying to manipulate the test. It's 500 true/false questions.

I don't know if it can be manipulated or not -- I didn't try. It did describe me pretty well, with a couple of exceptions. For example, it said that I am someone who does not take responsibility for his faults/mistakes, when I am actually the opposite of that.

barcher144 posted 12/6/2019 12:46 PM

Joint custody would be more beneficial for your children.

I don't know about that.

I was thinking this morning about the myriad of parenting skills that STBXW and I brought to the table... and they were actually very complimentary of each other. Between the two of us, I think that our kids were parented very well.

The problem with us co-parenting in the future is that STBXW does not want to co-parent. She has been practicing parental alienation, in fact. This means that if we were to be awarded 50-50% custody, that she will essentially alienate the kids against me. This is not healthy, of course.

The bad news is that I am clearly nowhere near as good of a parent as a single dad as the two of us were as a couple. I love my kids and I feel confident that I could be a great co-parent with STBXW, but she won't allow that due to her own personal issues. It's kind of heartbreaking, tbh.

So she should have a mountain to climb to recommend your cheating (manipulative) wife get full custody IMHO.

I'd like to think that too, but the ass-kicking that I received in court in June has me not getting my hopes up.

Just by reading your posts for awhile the 2 negatives she told you about the pysch testing don't seem like appropriate conclusions in your case.

The evaluator is very poker-faced throughout the interviews. I was told by my lawyer ahead of time that she would do this, so I was ready. This all means that I have no guess as to how she is feeling.

However, she did state that she takes into account her personal knowledge of each of us when interpreting the psychological testing scores. So, there's that.

Hoping for the best outcome for you and your kids...

Thank you. I am doing well. Life after living with a narcissist is all sunshine and happiness by comparison. I am just worried about my kids.

barcher144 posted 12/6/2019 12:51 PM

Well sending you good MoJo and fingers crossed that they do the sane thing for you and give you shared.

Thank you.

I honestly don't think that we will be getting shared custody, but it's possible. My rationale is that this particular evaluator has numerous published articles (online and in legit trade journals) stating that shared custody in high conflict divorces is simply a recipe for disaster.

After the last year, I actually agree with her. I think that there is a good chance that my kids would be better off with STBXW 100% of the time than with 50% custody. That is, with 100% custody, STBXW wouldn't abuse the kids so much as a means to torturing me.

This is why I have basically decided (although I reserve the right to change my mind) that I will give up if the evaluator recommends that STBXW gets 100% or majority custody. STBXW is clearly after the money, so I will give her the money and lay low until my kids are 18 and they can legally leave her dungeon/nest/lair. It'll be easiest on them.

WhoTheBleep posted 12/6/2019 14:43 PM

This is why I have basically decided (although I reserve the right to change my mind) that I will give up if the evaluator recommends that STBXW gets 100% or majority custody. STBXW is clearly after the money, so I will give her the money and lay low until my kids are 18 and they can legally leave her dungeon/nest/lair. It'll be easiest on them.

This troubles me greatly. So this evaluator will recommend that a good parent gets screwed over simply because the divorce is high conflict? I get what she's saying about the kids being in the middle, but that doesn't seem like justification to rob one parent of time with the children.

And by you backing down, you are also trusting that by backing down your exww will magically become a stellar mom who never talks badly about you. I don't believe this for one minute. You will always be the enemy. She will make sure your kids know it. If you lay low, you will also be the enemy who "abandoned" them. Think long and hard about this, Barcher.

WhoTheBleep posted 12/6/2019 15:12 PM

Also, I wasn't thinking about you manipulating the test. I was thinking your stbx would definitely manipulate it.

Bleu posted 12/7/2019 06:49 AM

The end is in sight.

Congrats! I refresh my suggestion to tell your attorney of the GF's letter if you have not already, particularly in light of your psychological test results.

Your attorney will have one last opportunity to advocate for you with the evaluator when they meet. Your attorney can clear up any doubt and explain that your GF acted without your knowledge. She can also clarify your GFs role with your kids. (If I were the evaluator, I may wonder why this clear instruction was not followed among other things. She likely has an idea of what attorneys tell their clients.)

Lastly, it is a bit unfair for your attorney to sit down in the meeting without knowledge of this letter. Although this has probably happened before in her career, it is helpful to know beforehand.

This is a low cost move you can make in a high stakes situation.

Good luck either way!

barcher144 posted 12/7/2019 10:17 AM

This troubles me greatly. So this evaluator will recommend that a good parent gets screwed over simply because the divorce is high conflict? I get what she's saying about the kids being in the middle, but that doesn't seem like justification to rob one parent of time with the children.

My guess is that divorces do not become high conflict unless there is seriously something wrong with one or both parents. The evaluator also said that 99% of her clients claim that the other spouse has mental health problems.

I'd like to think that my custody case is fairly straight-forward. One of us has a personality disorder and one of us doesn't. One of us is a dangerous parent and the other one of us isn't. Again, just guessing, I think that custody evaluations get really complicated when both parents have personality disorders.

But, I am just guessing. I'll know more in two weeks.

And by you backing down, you are also trusting that by backing down your exww will magically become a stellar mom who never talks badly about you. I don't believe this for one minute. You will always be the enemy. She will make sure your kids know it. If you lay low, you will also be the enemy who "abandoned" them. Think long and hard about this, Barcher.

I think that you are misinterpreting my plan. I am going to stop fighting STBXW. I will go even more grey rock than I am now. I will pick them up on time and I will drop them off on time. I will accept that I lost the legal battle.

This is strategic. I will talk to my kids and let them know what I am doing to the extent that is appropriate. I am sick of them being held hostage by her. I will get them out of the middle and I will stop them from receiving so much collateral damage.

I will still attend band concerts, sporting events, etc. I will still take care of the kids (but not the fucking dog, Tushie) whenever she asks. I will be a great dad with the time that I get.

To put into Batman terms, I will be the dark knight. I will appear to be the bad person when I am actually the good person. I can handle it. And I will explain it all to my kids once they are 18 or so.

Also, I wasn't thinking about you manipulating the test. I was thinking your stbx would definitely manipulate it.

I didn't think that you would were thinking about me manipulating the test. I am just saying that I didn't think about her answers at all. My GF asked similar questions and the answer is that I have no idea. Supposedly, this type of test is literally used to diagnose people with NPD... but again, we're outside my area of actual knowledge.

barcher144 posted 12/7/2019 10:30 AM

Your attorney will have one last opportunity to advocate for you with the evaluator when they meet. Your attorney can clear up any doubt and explain that your GF acted without your knowledge.

My attorney knows almost nothing about the custody evaluation. Her specific instructions were to be honest no matter what. Reveal your flaws, no matter how embarrassing.

I gave her a nearly-complete draft of my initial submission to get her feedback but that has been it. She did give me a few helpful suggestions here and there as far as ways to improve my answers, but mostly her review served to confirm that I was answering the evaluator's questions appropriately. Meaning, I stuck to the facts, did not go off on weird tangents, and that I did not complain about incidents that have little to do with parenting.

The gambit is that I will be flawed but honest versus STBXW who will try to make herself out to be perfect but who is obviously dishonest (and I'd say horribly flawed).

My attorney will not be advocating for me at the meeting. This meeting is strictly a means of communicating the results of the evaluation to the attorneys without a written report.

My guess is that we will then enter a period of negotiations before the evaluator actually writes her report. There is no point in making the evaluator write a long, expensive report if we are going to settle. That is, the evaluator's report is strictly for the judge (and an appeals court)... but the hope is that the results of the evaluation will simply trigger a settlement (thus, no report and no judge being required).

She can also clarify your GFs role with your kids. (If I were the evaluator, I may wonder why this clear instruction was not followed among other things. She likely has an idea of what attorneys tell their clients.)

The evaluator is 100% clear of GF's role with my kids -- it's very minimal. GF has met my oldest child precisely twice. Once was at a sporting event (very low key). The other was when I took DD14 to the spa where GF works and GF gave DD14 a facial. GF has not met either of my other two kids yet, although I am introducing DD13 to GF in about an hour.

Also, GF is almost literally the perfect GF for this situation. She is a high school teacher with a master's degree in education, with a strong emphasis in family systems (i.e., the field of psychology that is "family systems"). And, in case you are confused by various other comments that I made above, GF teaches cosmetology and barbering, so she's also a licensed as a cosmetologist and esthetician (and does that as a second job to keep her license current).

p.s. in case you are confused by the ages/genders of my kids, there have been recent birthdays. So, kids are now DD14, DD13, and DS7 (almost DS8).

Good luck either way!

Thank you.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 10:33 AM, December 7th (Saturday)]

Catwoman posted 12/7/2019 16:25 PM

But does your attorney know that you used your GF as a reference and what she told the evaluator? I think that's the issue that has most people here concerned, as conclusions could be drawn that GF was merely your mouthpiece (which is a LOGICAL conclusion) and that GF only learned of these negative things through you (which, again, makes her your mouthpiece).

I don't think you can afford to have your attorney blindsided by this. I hope that you have let them know what GF said.

GF spouting things about STBXW when the two of them (GF and STBXW) have no connection other than you does not present well. If she had been part of your circle of friends or aquaintances, say, then it would have lent more impartiality. But she doesn't know STBXW. Correct? She would only know if these things from you.

This is of concern, and I think your attorney needs to know so that they can prepare appropriate responses to the evaluator. You can BET that STBXW will play any card she can, including this one, to discredit you.

Cat

Loukas posted 12/7/2019 16:54 PM

It was mostly spot-on, except that it claimed that I was not someone who would be very cooperative in a co-parenting situation and that I am not someone who takes responsibility for my faults.
Have you considered, that if you feel she was mostly spot on and you only disagree with these two points, that maybe you should look into her claim? I mean, she really has no reason to make this up other than to point out what she has observed.

ArkLaMiss posted 12/7/2019 17:19 PM

Please read everything that Catwoman said. She's spot on and you need to tell your attorney asap!

barcher144 posted 12/8/2019 10:29 AM

Have you considered, that if you feel she was mostly spot on and you only disagree with these two points, that maybe you should look into her claim? I mean, she really has no reason to make this up other than to point out what she has observed.

These claims were based on the psychological testing, not her observations.

barcher144 posted 12/8/2019 10:43 AM

But does your attorney know that you used your GF as a reference and what she told the evaluator?

My attorney has no knowledge of the identities of any of my references.

I don't think you can afford to have your attorney blindsided by this. I hope that you have let them know what GF said.

The entirety of the custody evaluation will be "blindsiding" my attorney. She has no idea what the results will be, neither does STBXW's attorney. The point of the meeting is to reveal the results of the evaluation to the attorneys. There will be no advocating, arguing, or negotiating at the meeting.

I don't know this for fact, but my attorney suggested that a previous client of hers was viewed as "not credible" simply because he tried to claim that he never got angry.

The other pertinent fact here is that I have no direct knowledge of what GF said in her letter. I have not read it. GF has made a couple of comments, suggesting that she mentioned concerns about STBXW's on-going relationships with multiple men in spite of claiming to be in a relationship with one guy (who has met my kids). GF has direct evidence of this (she has seen the text messages).


GF spouting things about STBXW when the two of them (GF and STBXW) have no connection other than you does not present well. If she had been part of your circle of friends or aquaintances, say, then it would have lent more impartiality. But she doesn't know STBXW. Correct? She would only know if these things from you.

This is of concern, and I think your attorney needs to know so that they can prepare appropriate responses to the evaluator. You can BET that STBXW will play any card she can, including this one, to discredit you.

That is, paying my attorney $310 per hour to sit and listen to my concerns about what the evaluator might or might not say is not money well spent.

If she had been part of your circle of friends or aquaintances, say, then it would have lent more impartiality. But she doesn't know STBXW. Correct? She would only know if these things from you.

Not correct. GF claims that she focused specifically on anecdotes that she personally witnessed.

In July, for example, I received a phone call in the middle of the night by DD14 asking that I take her to the emergency room because she was experiencing severe back pain. GF was in the room (in bed, right next to me) and could hear everything that was being said by me, DD14, and by STBXW. STBXW is claiming that I am a bad father because I was groggy and offering poor advice and suggested that STBXW should just go ahead and take DD14 to the hospital. The reality is that I convinced DD14 to calm down and just wait until the morning when her mother could take her to the pediatrician, where she could receive better care.

This is of concern, and I think your attorney needs to know so that they can prepare appropriate responses to the evaluator.

Again, my attorney will not be making any response to the evaluator.

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