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Author Topic: New user: Divorcing spouse with BPD  (Read 501 times)
MNnice1

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« on: December 03, 2018, 02:28:27 PM »

Hello all.  This is my first time ever posting on a message board or with a support group.  please bear with me as this is new to me. I am a 40 year old father of 2. One with my spouse, he is 2-1/2 and stepfather to her 11 year old (I've been in his life since he was 2-1/2. 11 now)  I am going through a divorce with my spouse.  She was diagnosed with BPD about a year ago now. We have been through a lot in our 7 year marriage.  She has suffered from alcoholism (now 4 years + sober), depression, post-part-em depression, PTSD, anxiety, and BPD.  I have tried to be there as a  helping hand and a rock through all of this.  I have taken care of and raised the kids pretty much on my own--I am not looking for any praise or father of the year award as she puts it. I have just gotten to the point that i can't take it anymore. i held on for a long time for the kids, to try and keep my family together.  I feel so drained and exhausted all the time.  I do see a therapist once in a while. i don't do anything for myself or have any free time to. i guess I am here to ask if anyone  has advice or encouragement that things do get better?  I'm trying to stick to the plan of moving forward through the divorce but she makes it difficult with the begging and pleading to try and work things out.  i have feelings of wavering constantly.  am i doing the right thing? should i have tried More marriage counseling? i can't take her rages at me and a lot of the time they are in front of the kids... currently we are living separately.  I have the boys with me for now but that wont last as the 11 year old is not my child.  i initially was going for full custody of our 2-1/2 year old but have since said that i would agree to 50/50.    if anyone has any experience in a situation like this please feel free to let me know.  also ask me anything. i would appreciate it. Thank you for your time.
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 02:51:06 PM »

Welcome.  I'm so sorry that you have to be here.

Divorce is hard, and with a personality-disordered spouse it can be harder.  I highly encourage you to go to therapy regularly.  It really helped me. 

Is your stepson's father in the picture?  If he is, and if he is a decent parent, you might want to clue him in on what your STBXW is up to.  He might want more custody.  If he is not - if you are the only father this child has known for 9 years, talk to your lawyer about whether there is a legal way for you to get at least visitation rights.  Being a safe space for this kid will be invaluable to him as he grows.

Are there temporary custody orders right now?  In the long run, why are you willing to settle for 50/50 custody?  Is it because you think she is an adequate parent, or because she will agree to it without a fight, or because you hope that she will agree to it without a fight?

Is she the type of woman to alienate your child from you?  Did she alienate her oldest from his dad?  My guess would be that however she treats the oldest's father will be how she treats you - in the divorce and in the 15.5 years of coparenting you have left.

My H's xw is uBPD.  They divorced when their daughter was about 2.5, and they split time roughly in half (although nights-wise, she got 60%; he had most weekends during the day, which made up for it).  We got primary custody this summer, when  SD turned 11.  Her mom's behaviors were causing her a great deal of stress (to the point that she called a crisis line to ask how to fix her mom).  I wish we had taken action earlier, but we were waiting for SD to speak up, and we did not realize SD has been conditioned to not talk about her mom to anyone, because mom is terrified that other people will call CPS and she will never see her child again. Now, the split is 65/35 in favor of us, and I suspect that we will be back in court in the next 12 months to ask for even less time for uBPDmom.

Right now, you have physical custody of the children.  That gives you the upper hand in negotiations.  The courts tend to like the status quo.  If you don't have temporary orders, get them.  Don't wait until the day she just decides not to return the children.

Document everything - when she agrees to keep the children, and when she actually has them.  Who takes them to doctor appointments and school activities.  When she has meltdowns in front of the children.  What she says to the children about you and the divorce and what she says to you about them or about custody.    Write down any threats or accusations she makes.  Document everything you can find out about her physical and mental health.

I also strongly recommend that when you negotiate, insist that you have sole rights to mental health decisions for your son.  It will save a lot of problems down the road... .with a mom with BPD, he WILL need therapy one day, and if she is anything like my SD's mom, she will try to stop it or otherwise interfere.

This is going to be really hard.  You can do it.  Your children are depending on you.
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MNnice1

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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 04:04:46 PM »

Thank you!
Yes his father is in the picture.  I have had an open line of communication with him too.  He doesn't quite understand the severity of BPD , but is there if needed for his son.  He has told T that he can come live with him if needed.
as for now there are no custody orders.  i have been the primary caretaker for these kids forever and she does what she wants.  i decided to settle for 50/50 because she went absolutely crazy when i initially served her divorce papers and said she would "never try and keep my child from you, why would i do that to her?" yes, i thought it was the best way to go to avoid a fight and she would agree to it and because I've heard our court system favors the mother so it would be a long, drawn out, expensive battle.  I want what is best for my son, but feel I don't have adequate means to get it. Thoughts?

I have been documenting everything since July.  very detailed.  Though I'm concerned no one will take it into account unless we go to trial.  Mediation is set for next week. 


Thank you for reaching out!
I'm glad you are getting more custody in your situation.

 It really makes me think i should fight for sole legal & physical...
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 05:54:27 PM »

Mediation... .A fine goal and it really does tend to work with two reasonably normal parents.  But that's not the case here, is it?  Odds are she will try to take the upper hand in the negotiations, if they can be called that.  Most here have faced ultimatums and demands, not realistic or sincere negotiations.

Typically mediation fails when at the beginning of a divorce case.  The disordered parent is just too entitled and feeling in control for any agreeable terms to be reached.  On the other hand, many here report reaching a settlement eventually, usually just before a major hearing or trial.  I have been known to be blunt and state that - in most of our cases - if mediation works so early in the case then you probably gave up too much.

Your case might not be so daunting.  You seem to have several factors in your favor.  First and most important, you have assumed the primary parent role.  And she has let you do it, though with a lot of guilting.  This is amazingly good for you and the kids.  My counsel?  Don't Gift Away whatever advantages you and the kids now have.  Why?

  • Our great qualities (such as our sense of fairness, our desires to be peacemakers and avoid conflict) are terrible disadvantages when dealing with acting-out disordered persons.  If you try to be overly fair then you're essentially sabotaging your parenting, abdicating too much power to someone who can't handle it responsibly.
  • Somehow you have majority time now.  Bravo!  That is a wonderful Parenting History, one court will probably accept, perhaps grudgingly.  But... .If you Gift Away time with your child now, it will be much, much harder to get it back.  (Think Sisyphus pushing that boulder uphill only to have to do it all over again the next day and every day.)   Court will view her having more time as the new 'normal' and will be reluctant to undo it when she causes problems (again).
  • If you grant her equal time, then court will have to ponder who should be the Primary Parent.  And it probably won't be you without a big court struggle, because courts often default to mothers.
  • You may think, "But I already mentioned equal time... ."  Well, you also have a right to withdraw your offer or musings.  The way to backtrack is to note that you're currently doing most of the parenting, always have in the past, and that going forward it should continue that way.  I'm not saying it has to be 90/10, but you simply cannot risk gifting away your current status.
  • Ponder what is her "normal" level of parenting, her "comfort zone".  Right now in a divorce she may be desperate to look like a wonderful mother but it's likely that afterward she will drift back to a more passive role matching the past.  Find ways she can feel okay with the current status but you still are left handling the important things.
  • Have you pondered what 50/50 can mean?  I've already mentioned that court will be inclined to put her in charge.  But if she has that then what if she decides to move away?  If she's considered primary parent then you may have a hard time keeping the kids local.  Do you want to risk having to follow her when she moves?  Another consideration is that if she has substantial time then the court could automatically gift her child support, taking it out of your hands to gift as you feel appropriate.
  • You are not being 'mean' to look out for the best outcome for the kids and everyone.  Don't feel obligated or guilted.  Have you heard of The FOG?  Fear, Obligation, Guilt.  Don't shackle yourself to draining concepts.  You need to be an empowered dad.  That's not a reflection on her, that's just the way things are.

As for the older child, yes, legally you have little legal standing.  However, that's for her and the dad to work out.  If he supports the current status, then he could allow you to continue parenting on much or all of "his" time.  He could actually be a wonderful person to have on your side as you get though the legal case.

Edit:  I wrote so much I ought to repeat my mediation thoughts... .  Don't feel you have to be overly fair.  Don't feel you have to make a deal right there.  As I wrote above, most of us had mediation at the beginning of court and the outcome for most was failure.  So what did we do?  We proceeded on to the court's next step.  No big deal.  Repeat, don't feel you have to agree to a bad deal.  It's okay to say, "Sorry, this isn't working.  I tried but I guess we'll proceed to the next step in court."

For all you know, that might be what triggers her to grasp for straws, you could let her have some inconsequential things (that mean little to court outcome) that she values.
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Turkish
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 09:19:11 PM »

Is there a legal custody order between your wife and her ex?
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 08:37:16 AM »

i decided to settle for 50/50 because she went absolutely crazy when i initially served her divorce papers and said she would "never try and keep my child from you, why would i do that to her?"

I think this is probably my stepdaughter's mom's favorite line.  She has never tried to keep the child away, but she tells my SD ALL. The. Time. that my H and I are trying to take SD away from her.  Everything - even H offering an opinion about something related to SD - is a sign that H is trying to take SD away.  For a very long time, we bent over backward to prove that we weren't trying to do this.  (We didn't know about BPD until this year and still thought we could reason with her.)  I think if we hadn't been trying to prove so hard that we weren't mean people, we would have asked for primary custody of SD years ago.  We were in the FOG, as ForeverDad pointed out, and that was bad for SD.

Our new way of thinking is that we aren't doing anything TO uBPDmom.  We are making decisions solely FOR my stepdaughter. 

In our case, we realized that SD exhibited stress behaviors if she spent 5 days in a row or more with her mom, and her mom exhibited more emotional dysregulations.  So H picked a modified week-on/week-off schedule.  uBPDmom gets SD for two days in a row, SD comes to our house for 2 days to recenter herself, uBPDmom gets another 3 nights, and then SD spends 7 straight days with us.  uBPDmom complains about the schedule, but she also keeps telling us how much better her relationship with SD is now ... .they aren't together enough to stress each other out as much.   [In the summer, uBPDmom gets three one-week periods in addition to her normal weekends.  SD wouldn't be able to handle the standard 30 days in a row.]

Think about what you see on the occasions when your wife takes care of the kids.  How do they respond when she's in charge ?  At what point does she get overwhelmed?  These should be major considerations for your proposed schedule.

If you have documentation that you have been doing the majority of the child care for years, and you have documentation noting when your wife gets overwhelmed with parenting, you have a pretty strong case.  I would treat mediation as a time to discuss what the schedule will look like - which weekends does she get, how many school days will she have, and what will the summer look like.  I wouldn't negotiate on the time percentages.  (In our case, we gifted uBPDmom one extra weekend for an event that she always brings SD to... .uBPDmom felt like she "won" that.)

Keep reminding yourself that the state believes that their standard schedule granting one parent about 65% and the other 35% is fair.  The parent who has been doing the bulk of the childcare gets the 65%.  This is NOT taking your son away from his mom.  This is granting him consistency and stability while making sure he has a relationship with his mom.

I also think you need to have a long discussion with stepson's dad about what the arrangements for stepson should look like - living with dad with visitation for mom, a three-way split between you and dad and mom, .  You don't want to abandon the kid to his mom if she's never been the primary caretaker for him.   If he's willing to go to court for a modification (or official custody agreement?) the two of you can coordinate what you are asking for.  That would make sure the boys gets to spend time together as your biological son ages.
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MNnice1

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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 09:06:15 AM »

Is there a legal custody order between your wife and her ex?

TBH I don't know.  i think it is joint custody
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MNnice1

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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 09:15:18 AM »

Mediation... .A fine goal and it really does tend to work with two reasonably normal parents.  But that's not the case here, is it?  Odds are she will try to take the upper hand in the negotiations, if they can be called that.  Most here have faced ultimatums and demands, not realistic or sincere negotiations.

Typically mediation fails when at the beginning of a divorce case.  The disordered parent is just too entitled and feeling in control for any agreeable terms to be reached.  On the other hand, many here report reaching a settlement eventually, usually just before a major hearing or trial.  I have been known to be blunt and state that - in most of our cases - if mediation works so early in the case then you probably gave up too much.

Your case might not be so daunting.  You seem to have several factors in your favor.  First and most important, you have assumed the primary parent role.  And she has let you do it, though with a lot of guilting.  This is amazingly good for you and the kids.  My counsel?  Don't Gift Away whatever advantages you and the kids now have.  Why?

  • Our great qualities (such as our sense of fairness, our desires to be peacemakers and avoid conflict) are terrible disadvantages when dealing with acting-out disordered persons.  If you try to be overly fair then you're essentially sabotaging your parenting, abdicating too much power to someone who can't handle it responsibly.
  • Somehow you have majority time now.  Bravo!  That is a wonderful Parenting History, one court will probably accept, perhaps grudgingly.  But... .If you Gift Away time with your child now, it will be much, much harder to get it back.  (Think Sisyphus pushing that boulder uphill only to have to do it all over again the next day and every day.)   Court will view her having more time as the new 'normal' and will be reluctant to undo it when she causes problems (again).
  • If you grant her equal time, then court will have to ponder who should be the Primary Parent.  And it probably won't be you without a big court struggle, because courts often default to mothers.
  • You may think, "But I already mentioned equal time... ."  Well, you also have a right to withdraw your offer or musings.  The way to backtrack is to note that you're currently doing most of the parenting, always have in the past, and that going forward it should continue that way.  I'm not saying it has to be 90/10, but you simply cannot risk gifting away your current status.
  • Ponder what is her "normal" level of parenting, her "comfort zone".  Right now in a divorce she may be desperate to look like a wonderful mother but it's likely that afterward she will drift back to a more passive role matching the past.  Find ways she can feel okay with the current status but you still are left handling the important things.
  • Have you pondered what 50/50 can mean?  I've already mentioned that court will be inclined to put her in charge.  But if she has that then what if she decides to move away?  If she's considered primary parent then you may have a hard time keeping the kids local.  Do you want to risk having to follow her when she moves?  Another consideration is that if she has substantial time then the court could automatically gift her child support, taking it out of your hands to gift as you feel appropriate.
  • You are not being 'mean' to look out for the best outcome for the kids and everyone.  Don't feel obligated or guilted.  Have you heard of The FOG?  Fear, Obligation, Guilt.  Don't shackle yourself to draining concepts.  You need to be an empowered dad.  That's not a reflection on her, that's just the way things are.

As for the older child, yes, legally you have little legal standing.  However, that's for her and the dad to work out.  If he supports the current status, then he could allow you to continue parenting on much or all of "his" time.  He could actually be a wonderful person to have on your side as you get though the legal case.

Edit:  I wrote so much I ought to repeat my mediation thoughts... .  Don't feel you have to be overly fair.  Don't feel you have to make a deal right there.  As I wrote above, most of us had mediation at the beginning of court and the outcome for most was failure.  So what did we do?  We proceeded on to the court's next step.  No big deal.  Repeat, don't feel you have to agree to a bad deal.  It's okay to say, "Sorry, this isn't working.  I tried but I guess we'll proceed to the next step in court."

For all you know, that might be what triggers her to grasp for straws, you could let her have some inconsequential things (that mean little to court outcome) that she values.

Thank you.  I sincerely appreciate your insight. I HAVE felt that I have to be fair.  I felt that was the best course to avoid fighting and get things done just to get them done. As you have reminded me that is not what is best for the kids.  50/50 is not what i truly want.  I am a passive person and avoid conflict to a fault.  I need to be more assertive and keep my kids best interests in mind...    Also she is a master at putting me in the "F,O,G"  it happens daily. 
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MNnice1

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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 10:34:26 AM »

I think this is probably my stepdaughter's mom's favorite line.  She has never tried to keep the child away, but she tells my SD ALL. The. Time. that my H and I are trying to take SD away from her.  Everything - even H offering an opinion about something related to SD - is a sign that H is trying to take SD away.  For a very long time, we bent over backward to prove that we weren't trying to do this.  (We didn't know about BPD until this year and still thought we could reason with her.)  I think if we hadn't been trying to prove so hard that we weren't mean people, we would have asked for primary custody of SD years ago.  We were in the FOG, as ForeverDad pointed out, and that was bad for SD.

Our new way of thinking is that we aren't doing anything TO uBPDmom.  We are making decisions solely FOR my stepdaughter. 

In our case, we realized that SD exhibited stress behaviors if she spent 5 days in a row or more with her mom, and her mom exhibited more emotional dysregulations.  So H picked a modified week-on/week-off schedule.  uBPDmom gets SD for two days in a row, SD comes to our house for 2 days to recenter herself, uBPDmom gets another 3 nights, and then SD spends 7 straight days with us.  uBPDmom complains about the schedule, but she also keeps telling us how much better her relationship with SD is now ... .they aren't together enough to stress each other out as much.   [In the summer, uBPDmom gets three one-week periods in addition to her normal weekends.  SD wouldn't be able to handle the standard 30 days in a row.]

Think about what you see on the occasions when your wife takes care of the kids.  How do they respond when she's in charge ?  At what point does she get overwhelmed?  These should be major considerations for your proposed schedule.

If you have documentation that you have been doing the majority of the child care for years, and you have documentation noting when your wife gets overwhelmed with parenting, you have a pretty strong case.  I would treat mediation as a time to discuss what the schedule will look like - which weekends does she get, how many school days will she have, and what will the summer look like.  I wouldn't negotiate on the time percentages.  (In our case, we gifted uBPDmom one extra weekend for an event that she always brings SD to... .uBPDmom felt like she "won" that.)

Keep reminding yourself that the state believes that their standard schedule granting one parent about 65% and the other 35% is fair.  The parent who has been doing the bulk of the childcare gets the 65%.  This is NOT taking your son away from his mom.  This is granting him consistency and stability while making sure he has a relationship with his mom.

I also think you need to have a long discussion with stepson's dad about what the arrangements for stepson should look like - living with dad with visitation for mom, a three-way split between you and dad and mom, .  You don't want to abandon the kid to his mom if she's never been the primary caretaker for him.   If he's willing to go to court for a modification (or official custody agreement?) the two of you can coordinate what you are asking for.  That would make sure the boys gets to spend time together as your biological son ages.


I hadn't thought to much about a schedule yet. she gets overwhelmed when E (2 year old) cries. Example- I remember one morning she told him to "stop crying your fine, knock it off,ugh F*%$ God you coddle him too much."  Two hours later we were at the ER for double ear infections. 

So in mediation i should try and get things like schedules worked out and who gets what of our property, but realize that this will probably go to trial as i should not give in to 50/50, right?  "This is granting him consistency and stability while making sure he has a relationship with his mom." - is something I have to try and stress to her... it will not be easy.

I completely agree with you on the discussion with his father.  we have talked on several occasions, and he has suggested that it would be OK with him if T stays with me.  My lawyer is aware of this as well.  Which brings me to another point- she does not have a lawyer.  She has been unsuccessful, for whatever reason, to get an attorney either on her own or through legal aid.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not but it's definitely making her more volatile and hard to deal with as things progress. 

How does one navigate the daily onslaught of -
"you don't accept my mental illness. The best way to support someone that is living with any kind of disorder/mental illness is acceptance.  accept that they may not be able to do certain things, or go certain places, or live a certain way.  support goes a long way. it gives us the confidence and strength to keep fighting."  and things like- "look at the example you are giving our son's.  when the time get's tough, you throw your arms up and walk away?  great example for them."   
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 10:42:59 AM »

I'm assuming you have a lawyer?  It's imperative you have an assertive, proactive experienced lawyer.  You can't risk having a lawyer who claims, "I always get settlements, I never have to go to trial.  All I have to do is file forms and hold my clients' hands."  That may be okay - with reasonably normal parents.  For many of us, court is the only way to weaken the entitlement of our acting-out disordered spouses.  You need a lawyer who will understand the extreme dysfunction of marriage and will see the need to fight for you.

Have you read Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by William Eddy & Randi Kreger?  When things go Legal, it's our #1 handbook!  It's a "must have", not a "nice to have".

What is your parenting schedule like now?  If she currently, despite her complaints, lets you have have majority time, then you have every reason to say, as calmly as possible, "This is what has been working, it really ought to stay that way."

As I always emphasize, we here are typically peaceful, fair people.  But we have to be even more "fair" to our children and their futures.  You can take care of yourself.  She ought to be able to take care of herself.  But the children are minors, they need the best outcome possible.  After all, custody and parenting schedules are all about the children!  Don't forget that!
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 12:35:25 PM »

I highly commend you for your efforts with your stepson.  When my ex and his second wife divorced, our daughter was convinced that custody would be split three way, so she'd still live with ex-stepmom sometimes.  I offered to meet ex-stepmom at a park so that she and my kids could visit, but it never happened.  It broke my kid's heart. Your SS is fortunate to have you in his life and fighting for what is best for him.

My H's ex couldn't afford a lawyer either.  That, combined with her belief that if anyone knows she has anxiety they will take her child away forever, meant she didn't show up in court for the custody modification this summer.  She tried to make my H's life hell during the time between his filing and the hearing.  He wouldn't withdraw the petition, and the day before the first hearing she gave up and handed him a notarized paper saying he could have whatever he wanted. 

During this time he offered mediation and he asked her repeatedly what she would like the schedule to look like.  She never offered any feedback or suggestions. Much easier for her just to say no and whine that she was the victim.  When you go to mediation, it will be important for you to know exactly what you want (and then ask for more than that), because it is unlikely your wife will offer a suggestion.  It might be useful to offer her something she doesn't know you don't care about to make it seem like she "wins" so that she agrees. 

Your ex is going to try lots of emotional blackmail and lots of pressure on you.  Stand strong.  There is no reason that you need to respond to any comments like that.  You know that you are protecting your children and giving them a home free of chaos and anger and instability.  You are showing them that no one has to live in an emotionally abusive relationship, and that it isn't your responsibility - or theirs - to fix someone else.  These are tremendous gifts.
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2018, 05:12:12 AM »

If the kids are with you 90 % of the time now you may want to take your time getting things done through the courts. The longer you have majority time, and the kids are doing good, the less likely courts will want to change what is working. Establish the pattern, document it, and say nothing about it to their mother.
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2018, 08:57:12 AM »

The longer you have majority time, and the kids are doing good, the less likely courts will want to change what is working.  Establish the pattern, document it, and say nothing about it to their mother.

Note those last words.  When you are in a relationship and your goal is to make it succeed, then yes you do share information.  However, when the relationship is ending, then you transition into "share only the necessary information" mode.  In other words, keep it limited to parenting information such as the kids' appointments, exchange information, and similar.  Anything more and it become TMI — Too Much Information — and sharing additional information could risk sabotaging yourself and your parenting strategies.

Your stbEx will try to weasel extra information from you using FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) but determine what is appropriate for your boundaries and stick to them.  Remember, explaining your thoughts, actions and perspectives will have only limited success, perhaps none at all in many cases.  BIFF works best, JADE often flies in one ear and out the other.

JADE - Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain
BIFF - Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm
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MNnice1

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 09:35:55 AM »

If the kids are with you 90 % of the time now you may want to take your time getting things done through the courts. The longer you have majority time, and the kids are doing good, the less likely courts will want to change what is working. Establish the pattern, document it, and say nothing about it to their mother.

Agreed. Thank you. I am documenting every single day. 
Just last night i was able to heed these words and not divulge something to her.
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MNnice1

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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2018, 09:37:51 AM »

Note those last words.  When you are in a relationship and your goal is to make it succeed, then yes you do share information.  However, when the relationship is ending, then you transition into "share only the necessary information" mode.  In other words, keep it limited to parenting information such as the kids' appointments, exchange information, and similar.  Anything more and it become TMI — Too Much Information — and sharing additional information could risk sabotaging yourself and your parenting strategies.

Your stbEx will try to weasel extra information from you using FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) but determine what is appropriate for your boundaries and stick to them.  Remember, explaining your thoughts, actions and perspectives will have only limited success, perhaps none at all in many cases.  BIFF works best, JADE often flies in one ear and out the other.

JADE - Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain
BIFF - Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm


Just last night she tried to get some important information out of me prior to our mediation.  I felt I was able to hold firm and not divulge anything.  Thank you for the advice and words of encouragement.
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MNnice1

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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2018, 09:42:15 AM »

I highly commend you for your efforts with your stepson.  When my ex and his second wife divorced, our daughter was convinced that custody would be split three way, so she'd still live with ex-stepmom sometimes.  I offered to meet ex-stepmom at a park so that she and my kids could visit, but it never happened.  It broke my kid's heart. Your SS is fortunate to have you in his life and fighting for what is best for him.

My H's ex couldn't afford a lawyer either.  That, combined with her belief that if anyone knows she has anxiety they will take her child away forever, meant she didn't show up in court for the custody modification this summer.  She tried to make my H's life hell during the time between his filing and the hearing.  He wouldn't withdraw the petition, and the day before the first hearing she gave up and handed him a notarized paper saying he could have whatever he wanted. 

During this time he offered mediation and he asked her repeatedly what she would like the schedule to look like.  She never offered any feedback or suggestions. Much easier for her just to say no and whine that she was the victim.  When you go to mediation, it will be important for you to know exactly what you want (and then ask for more than that), because it is unlikely your wife will offer a suggestion.  It might be useful to offer her something she doesn't know you don't care about to make it seem like she "wins" so that she agrees. 

Your ex is going to try lots of emotional blackmail and lots of pressure on you.  Stand strong.  There is no reason that you need to respond to any comments like that.  You know that you are protecting your children and giving them a home free of chaos and anger and instability.  You are showing them that no one has to live in an emotionally abusive relationship, and that it isn't your responsibility - or theirs - to fix someone else.  These are tremendous gifts.

Thank you again for your words and encouragement! I will always fight for them both.
protecting them is my number 1 goal. 

She has been trying very hard lately.  Emptying the house of all pictures and photos, furniture, etc.  try to make it feel bare. 
I realize what she is doing and all of those things can be replaced.  I will stand strong.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2018, 09:56:33 AM »

Check whether your county has any suggested or typical schedules.  Your lawyer ought to be able to provide input too.

My county had two schedules.  I'll describe them from the perspective of you being the "primary parent"... . Even though joint custody is typical, custody related issues are typically applied mostly to major aspects such as medical decisions, where the child goes to school, religious instruction, etc.  My point is that even with joint custody (fine... .as long as you seek to reduce logjams by having Decision Making or Tie Breaker status) the one with more time is defaulted or assumed to be the Primary Parent.

My court has a common guideline schedule.  (I thought it was ironclad, but found out it was only an example.)  The primary parent has all school days and alternate weekends.  The non-primary parent gets an alternate weekend and an evening or overnight in between, typically on a Thursday.  There are all sorts of variations.  Rather than a long three overnight weekend, it could be a shorter one, starting sometime on Friday evening (or even sometime Saturday) and ending Sunday afternoon.  Another change is that instead of one midweek overnight you can have two evenings after school spaced midway between her alternate weekends.  The point is that it's a starting point where you can then add modifications for what works best for your family.

My court has a modified schedule for children under 3 years old.  It includes shorter but more frequent visits with the non-primary parent.  With your son already on his way to reaching 3 years of age, choosing this may be a brief solution.  Your son and your ex both may benefit from the shorter visits but frequent exchanges eventually, to be frank, become a major pain if conflict continues.

Also, especially if the older child will be with you more, you'd need to become the parent responsible for which school they attend.  (The benefit is that if ex moves frequently then you don't have to challenge her in court or follow her around if she moves out of the area.)
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MNnice1

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Posts: 9


« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2018, 12:51:25 PM »

Check whether your county has any suggested or typical schedules.  Your lawyer ought to be able to provide input too.

My county had two schedules.  I'll describe them from the perspective of you being the "primary parent"... . Even though joint custody is typical, custody related issues are typically applied mostly to major aspects such as medical decisions, where the child goes to school, religious instruction, etc.  My point is that even with joint custody (fine... .as long as you seek to reduce logjams by having Decision Making or Tie Breaker status) the one with more time is defaulted or assumed to be the Primary Parent.

My court has a common guideline schedule.  (I thought it was ironclad, but found out it was only an example.)  The primary parent has all school days and alternate weekends.  The non-primary parent gets an alternate weekend and an evening or overnight in between, typically on a Thursday.  There are all sorts of variations.  Rather than a long three overnight weekend, it could be a shorter one, starting sometime on Friday evening (or even sometime Saturday) and ending Sunday afternoon.  Another change is that instead of one midweek overnight you can have two evenings after school spaced midway between her alternate weekends.  The point is that it's a starting point where you can then add modifications for what works best for your family.

My court has a modified schedule for children under 3 years old.  It includes shorter but more frequent visits with the non-primary parent.  With your son already on his way to reaching 3 years of age, choosing this may be a brief solution.  Your son and your ex both may benefit from the shorter visits but frequent exchanges eventually, to be frank, become a major pain if conflict continues.

Also, especially if the older child will be with you more, you'd need to become the parent responsible for which school they attend.  (The benefit is that if ex moves frequently then you don't have to challenge her in court or follow her around if she moves out of the area.)

More excellent advice. I actually have a meeting with my lawyer today.  I will be bringing up these points with him. Kudos!
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