Posted in Divorce & Separation, Tough Topics

Tough divorce

Anonymous

After less than 5 years of marriage my wife decided that we couldn’t make the relationship work. She was unwilling to do couples counseling (every counselor I suggested she would turn down). She and the kids moved in with her sister about 7 months ago. Our oldest (now 5) is having a really hard time with this. We haven’t finalized the divorce yet and she met someone 3 months after moving out. She asked me if I would cause trouble because of her talking to/seeing someone, I agreed that our relationship was over and told her as long as the kids came first I wouldn’t cause any trouble. She received financial help from her mom for the first 6 months, as well as part of each of my checks (roughly what I would pay in child support). Now with that background. Her mom and sister think I should be going for full custody because they feel that she isn’t putting the kids first. She officially started dating the guy 1 month after they started talking. 2 months later she was thinking about moving in with him at the end of the school year (the 5 year old is in kindergarten). 3 months later she felt that moving in with him was a done deal if he was ok with it. She has known that I don’t feel comfortable with her rushing into a new relationship so fast. Because of how hard our oldest child is taking things already, and he’s already talking about wishing the boy friend was just go away (she says he hasn’t met the kids yet). She currently has no job, she only has the money I’m giving her and her mom is paying her rent and household bills still. She does have an interview coming up so that’s a good thing. I meet her every weekend to get the kids (her sister lives 4 hours away from where I live, still in the marital home). And she has made comments about getting her “weekends off” from the kids. She and our oldest child have had serious issues for the last several months since they moved out. Both she and our oldest child have started therapy and things have started getting better. I was going to take the advice of HER family and go for full custody, but as I’ve seen our oldest child’s behavior and relationship with mom improve I’m having second thoughts. I told her that if she is willing to give it until the end of the year to see if things will keep getting better I probably wouldn’t have as much of a problem letting things stay the way they are now with the custody arrangement. We’re supposed to talk today when she picks the kids up to go back home with her. She is apparently really angry about my attitude and I believe that it’s because her boyfriend isn’t welcome in her Mom’s house if we aren’t finished with the divorce (she keeps bringing that up and even tried to tell me she wouldn’t be welcome if we aren’t divorced, I checked, that’s not the case, it’s only the boyfriend that isn’t welcome). So now the question part. Am I overreacting? Should I want to see that the arrangement is stable enough for the kids before agreeing to it, or should I go based on the evidence I’ve seen so far and push for custody? I still want her to have visitation with our kids, I don’t want to take the kids away from her but I can’t be ok with the consistently unstable home life she is providing.

  • Anonymous
    Oct 28, 2018

    I’d be freaked out to put any of my kids with someone that I don’t know and the person I do know doesn’t know. Especially living with them. She is rushing into that relationship and not thinking of the kids. I wouldn’t let that fly. If he hasn’t even met the kids yet and he is gonna be moving in. That’s gonna be so much on them. That’s gonna ruin any relationship either of you have with them. Moms because she straight just tried to replace you. Yours because you just let a stranger in. Especially if he turns out to be a creep. Cause she can think he is not all she wants she wouldn’t know after 3 months. Idk if he is for it but if he is after 3 months, that’s a big red flag.

  • Anonymous
    Oct 28, 2018

    Op here: Well it’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who feels like that. Personally if she’d been dating this guys for a year or more I’d be more inclined to think that it was ok. And according to her they are still discussing it.

  • Emily
    Oct 28, 2018

    Yeah that’d be different if it was a year. The fact he considering it after 3 months is just weird to me. When I was a kid my parents were divorced. When my mom got with a guy she had to wait 6 months to even mention him. Then my dad met him. Then we met him. After that she waited a year and half to even discuss moving in. She’s also asking for people to be in and out of their lives. That’s not stable. If you could provide some where more stable I’d go for full custody.

  • Anonymous
    Oct 28, 2018

    Op again. Thanks for the input Emily. I understand that, for her, the relationship has been over for a while. But I’m with you, if I were in his shoes and I met a woman I liked and she was in the process of divorce, or already divorced, and wanted to start talking about us moving in together after less than a year of dating I’d be really uncomfortable. With kids involved I’d be heading for the hills. To put kids in the position of getting attached to someone not their parents and take the chance of the relationship not working out. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around anyone being ok with that. Looking at the statistics every time you’re divorced the chances of the next marriage working out drops significantly. It takes a bit more work to get over the trust issues. My parents have been together longer than I’ve been alive, so I don’t have the first hand experience of the kids view of divorce. But I have friends that have been through it, and they have all talked about the strained relationship with the parent who moved on too quickly. Especially the ones where there wasn’t any abuse and the kids were 5-6 years old during the time. It seems to affect their view of relationships pretty negatively.

  • Emily
    Oct 28, 2018

    I agree. I was 5 when my parents divorced. I was very lucky that they handled it in the way they did! The only time I remember feeling crappy about their divorce was when my mom took us out on the first date with her boyfriend. I felt like she kept putting him before me. I had to pee and he wanted to leave and I ended up peeing in the car. I told my dad and he came and got us that night. They talked and after my mom never did it again. They always would tell me that even though they aren’t together anymore they still will always be apart of each others lives cause of us. Which meant they had to work together and keep each other on track for the kids. In my eyes going for full custody in this case would be going on the right track for the kids. Just like my dad taking us instead of letting that become a thing.

  • Lulu
    Oct 28, 2018

    You sound very level headed and fair minded about all of this. I have to give you major props for that! It also sounds like she's talking major advantage of you and her family. Based on what you've said, I would go for full custody. She sounds like she is too busy with the new boyfriend to worry about the kids and I agree, there isn't a stable home. It doesn't seem like that's going to change unfortunately.

  • Anonymous
    Oct 28, 2018

    I’d go for custody. Your children come first and it may help the relationship with mom and oldest to be away from each other more too. It sounds to me like she is putting more of a priority on this new guy than your kids to me. And I wouldn’t have that. Plus if her family is around her more and can see things you don’t, I’d take their advise.

  • Sarah
    Nov 04, 2018

    I’m sorry for all the things you have been going through and I’ve been in very similar circumstances... very similar. My question to you is doesn’t your state require you and your ex to attend co-parenting training before issuing a divorce? The reason I ask is it is very clear and bluntly stated the any parents that are going through divorce should not date within 6 months and if they do they should not bring that boy/ girl friend around the children for a minimum of a year. If she moves in with ole boy it's considered cohabitation in the eyes of the law and you can get full custody as well as her pay child support. I would question her judgement and make sure she isn't making any other rash decision about anything else you didn't discuss also just to make sure. I understand it's hard but it's what's best for the kids and all parties involved that matters. You both have to be civil for the kids but you both need to be adults and respectful of each other to raise kids for the next 18 years. So I'd go for custody and if you want to change things when she gets her stuff together you can.

  • Anonymous
    Nov 09, 2018

    Op responding. Sarah, no our state doesn’t require co-parenting training. And the only reason the courts typically take children from the custodial parent in our state is child endangerment. Moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t automatically count, even in cases of infidelity. Thank you all for the feedback. I was starting to think I could be overreacting but when total strangers look at the situation and cringe it’s pretty obvious I’m on the right track. Ultimately I get to have fun now convincing a court that this behavior is detrimental to the kids. Which isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either.

  • Emily
    Nov 09, 2018

    Good luck! I wish the best it’s never easy!