If for whatever reason you did agree to let your spouse leave with the kids, you will notice that for the first few weeks or even months it works. Until… that first disagreement.
See what happened to me was that right before she left, we drew up our own agreement. An agreement to do 50/50 from 4 hours away. I would have the kids for a week, meet half way, then she would have the kids for a week, at least until they were in school. This went on for a few months. In our agreement we agreed that I nor her would pay child support because we both had the kids an equal amount of time. … So life went on. I kept my business with my best friend, trying to piece together my life one day at a time, all while being strong for the kids.
As Trudy was living back in her home town with her parents, things started to change. And started to quickly. I would notice that our cordial conversations were quickly turning into snarky jabs, she was getting this attitude about herself. … almost like she was better than i was, that she was the better parent, that the kids were better off with her. .. I dealt with it. I mean, all that matters to me at this point is my children. i don’t care what she thinks, or what her family thinks… or anyone for that matter. But yet.. . I do care. And it was eating me alive.
ADVICE BLURB: NO MATTER WHAT GOES ON AFTER THE SEPARATION, DO NOT EVER LET HER FAMILY, OR FRIENDS, MAKE YOU THINK YOU ARE LESS OF A PERSON THAN YOU KNOW YOU ARE. I LET IT GET TO ME, AND IT PUT ME INTO A DOWNWARD SPIRAL. I GOT DEPRESSED, CONFUSED, AND STARTED TO WONDER IF WHAT HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE SAYING IS TRUE… I DOUBTED MYSELF. I KNOW ITS A LOT HARDER THAN I’M MAKING IT SOUND.. BUT TRY AND SHRUG IT OFF. HOLD YOUR OWN FRIENDS AND FAMILY SUPER CLOSE, RELY ON THEM AND KEEP YOURSELF HAPPY…. YOUR KIDS DEPEND ON IT.
I remember one winters day, i believe it was a Wednesday, I had called Trudy to let her know that I couldn’t take the kids next week, as I would be out of town on business. I asked if she could keep them. She replied that of course she could, but if this was going to start happening a lot, then we would have to look at changing the agreement. Well of course that started a fight. These fights solve absolutely nothing. If i could go back in time, I would literally just shut my mouth, deal with whatever she said, and make it work.
The next few months the same thing was happening. I had to be out of town for work, I was giving up my time with my kids. She was being very unreasonable about it, which looking back, maybe she wasn’t. At the time though… you don’t think about the stress its putting on her, but mainly.. what its doing to the kids. With her already living back with her parents, they were constantly in her ear about “going after” me. Get more money, Get custody, hes a dead beat.. blah bla blah. So it didn’t surprise me when I got home from a business trip one week, and I was served with court documents.
She was seeking Sole Custody, with reasonable access.
Are you kidding me? Ya i haven’t kept up with seeing my kids every weekend, that’s my screw up. I was still seeing them.. i figured in my eyes, that was good. Did i wish I could see them more? You bet. Did my career choice make it possible? No. or so I thought. Again, looking back I made excuses. I was essentially choosing my career and my company over my kids. HUGE MISTAKE. No money in the world will ever replace the time you can spend with your kids.
So she was seeking sole custody. i wasn’t having that… at all. Moving forward, I had to retain a lawyer. I was making great money, i figured I’d get a high powered, expensive lawyer and win this case easily. Maybe I wouldn’t get 50/50, but id get more than “reasonable access.” So i got my lawyer… 450 an hour. I’m gonna win this. Well there’s so much more than just going to trial. First of all there’s a for sake of the children course you have to take… you sit in a room with a bunch of people, learn how to co parent, and learn the ins and outs of a separation. Then you can go to Mediation. Mediation is a free program that you and your ex sit down with a neutral party. Usually someone that used to, or does practice law. They know the ins and outs of family law, and they know what a judge would more or less agree with. They will stop a parent from being unfair. If a parent isn’t taking the advice of the mediator, they will simply kick you out of the program. And if mediation doesnt work, then my lawyer will finally go to work for me- might as well give it go.
So here i go…. Going to sit through a few days of Mediation with an ex that hates everything about me right now, an ex that has belittled me for the past 5 months, and an ex that is notoriously very stubborn….
Should be fun………