Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
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post #16 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 08:58 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

mj, you need to be documenting everything. Keep a hand-written journal every day when stuff comes up. Include all of your interactions with your children and all of the things you do for them. Include all the crazy things your wife says and does. Include things your kids do and say. When it comes to court, you need to be able to prove your wife is the crazy one.

I would also consider consulting with another attorney to get a second opinion. The protection order concerns me. Also, the strategy of waiting to file for divorce concerns me. Your wife earns little money, so the longer you are married the more you are on the hook for alimony, and the less you'll have for yourself for living and for retirement. I would consider moving to a state with a short divorce. After 6 months, depending on the state, you would have legal standing to file for divorce.

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post #17 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 04:27 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

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I would also consider consulting with another attorney to get a second opinion. The protection order concerns me. Also, the strategy of waiting to file for divorce concerns me. Your wife earns little money, so the longer you are married the more you are on the hook for alimony, and the less you'll have for yourself for living and for retirement. I would consider moving to a state with a short divorce. After 6 months, depending on the state, you would have legal standing to file for divorce.
^^This. Surely theres a way you can separate your finances now? What's to stop her going out and applying for a credit card or a loan and you'll end up being responsible for paying it off even when you're divorced.

You may be able to live with your parents etc., but why should you have to?
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post #18 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Unfortunately the PFA stipulates that I must maintain the residence despite me not living there. As far as the credit cards go, I tried to start calling to cancel them, but some had her as the primary holder and wouldn't allow it, so its pointless. I don't think she could open more with her low income thankfully. Right now its walking a tightrope. If I assert my right to live in a better apartment, I know the credit card balances will just go up faster and we'll get closer to bankruptcy.

There is also the spiteful route I could take. When I mentioned to my lawyer that I had to move out of state to stay employed in my field, he suggested that I not and just go on unemployment and/or work at a low wage job to screw her over with the potential child support and alimony. I chose not to. I want to have a productive and meaningful life and not be hanging around in this small town where my reputation is trashed and I have to worry about getting arrested for bumping into her at the grocery store.

The false PFA just screws me big time and its something I have to accept and cope with. All I feel like I have the power to do right now is expose her on the horrible parenting, provide evidence that the PFA was filed in bad faith, and bide my time with the divorce.

Nothing about this is fair. I'm moving 7 hours away so I can pay for the family's lifestyle, while she stays put and does a bit of at-home work that contributes little. I'll be working full time and driving back to see the kids every couple weeks when there is no reason they even need to even be there. I would gladly pay for her to have a separate apartment in my new town, even more than required by law. I just want to see my kids more and break them away from the terrible trajectory they are on. Its breaking my heart.
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post #19 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 05:03 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

If she is the primary holder of a card, tell the issuer to take you off as a responsible party. Make the card hers only.

You can use separation or filing divorce to create a barrier in your finances. After that date you are no longer responsible for anything she does financially. There may be a mechanism for you making a public announcement, i.e. paying for a public notice in your local news paper classifieds section, which says you are no longer financially responsible for anything she does. Your lawyer can advise you on how to make this happen in your location. Usually filing separation or divorce will do it.

You should listen to your attorney in matters of strategy. A temporary arrangement which makes for a better longterm outcome may be the smart move.

Since you're taking the route of moving away from your kids 7 hours, and working a higher wage job, you're setting yourself up to lose in the settlement. I would fight to make any terms in the decree easily amendable. If your income goes down, if you move closer, if she gets a better paying job, if she moves away. Any of those things should trigger a simple recalculation in your favor. Most decrees are inflexible. Try to avoid that.
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post #20 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Thor. Thanks for the advice. I'll ask my lawyer if any of that can work. I live in a state with no form of legal separation, which makes things harder.
My new job is only slightly higher paying than the one I'm at now, neither of which are tremendously great. I have been a little underemployed for my education level, so its more likely that my income will go up in the future if anything. So from that perspective, it might be good to do the divorce now.
My field of employment is very specialized and heavily dependent on staying active (PhD scientist in a narrow field), so getting a job closer by just isn't an option unless I give up on my career. That would ruin my future income potential and do too much damage to my dignity to be worth anything I'd save in the divorce settlement. That's the rub of my problem.
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post #21 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 08:30 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Just file for divorce asap then whatever she racks up after is hers. And I would of taken you lawyers advice and stayed put.
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post #22 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

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Just file for divorce asap then whatever she racks up after is hers. And I would of taken you lawyers advice and stayed put.
I appreciate the advice. On the first point I will likely follow. I probably right after the custody is finalized, which should be in about a month.

On the second I simply can't. I am 3 months away from being laid off from my job in an out of the way college town, with no other prospect than 6 months of unemployment insurance followed by something even worse after that. The job 7 hours away is the best closest thing I could find. It sucks but I can't afford the stay put option.

I also think it goes against all the 180 advice I see posted on this site. My wife, my children, and her family need to see me as a success and not some beaten down loser. (And I need that too, more importantly). My career allows me to travel, meet people, and keep my mind stimulated in many ways. So, while the staying put option would hurt my wife more than the what I'm doing, the only real accomplishment would be spite, because I'd suffer disproportionately even more in the long run. She'll likely wind up dependent on her parents whatever I do, but if I live well and have a meaningful life I'll get better sooner. In my view the new job is pretty much the only hopeful thing going on in my life.
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post #23 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Everything with this situation is difficult and full of drama. As I mentioned before, my wife opened a CPS case on my daughter, with me wondering if it was to get my visits supervised. I met with them today. They were friendly and I cooperated. They assured me that there were no allegations against me, and that my wife just wanted the extra help from the social workers. However, the social worker also did say that I'd be expected to have them come along for a portion of my weekend visits, which are now only a few hours every other Saturday and Sunday thanks to my wife's hardball negotiations. Don't know whether or not to take this as a manipulation by my wife or to accept the explanation at face value.

The caseworker also brought up an interesting point about my PFA. She was wondering why it couldn't be modified to allow communication through email only about the kids. It's making me wonder if my lawyer negotiated it the way he did to drive up the need for all the expensive communication through him. I wasn't even allowed to be in the room when that deal was made, and felt like I had no choice. At the time the only issue he brought up was the need to make sure the order stayed as a temporary one so that there was no finding of fault, but I wonder if some limited communication could have been worked in. Maybe it's something I should bring up now? The legal fees have been ridiculous just from trying to do basic co-parenting communication, collect tax documents etc. I can't imagine what the divorce will cost under these circumstances, as there is a lot to go disentangle from 20 years of marriage.

Speaking of paperwork. i asked my wife for copies of documents I needed to do some administrative stuff. Interestingly she gave me photocopies of the kids birth certificates, but the original marriage certificate. I'm wondering if there is a subtle message there, as if she's saying she doesn't want it and it means nothing to her anymore. I don't know, is it required for the divorce filing? Maybe she's trying to put that responsibility on me instead of taking it on herself? I'm probably reading way to much into things, but that tends to happen when your living behind the wall of a restraining order. Of course she forgot a couple of the things I asked for, so there will be the need for more expensive emails to the lawyers. I'm getting so sick of this.
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post #24 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 09:18 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

You are in an untenable situation.

There is no wiggle room, no hope on the horizon. Hope, as far as I can see lives in Canada.

Your marriage is toast.
Your children are toast. Their situation is tragic. Your [well meaning] hands are tied. Tied by your wife and tied by the courts, the Law. Your kids resent you. Resent life. Bitter kids.
Your options are toast. You have one option--->Make yourself happy. Cut all ties with your family.

File for divorce, if you have not already.

Move out of state. Few on this site, TAM will agree on this move. Let her..and you go bankrupt. It is only money. Eventually, you will have to pay something. Live frugally, save some money for when the financial hammer strikes you.

Send your wife a check every month. The amount? Something fair, something affordable. They cannot quite say you totally abandoned them. You are sending them money. Keep your cancelled checks for proof.

Your kids? They are presently "toast". When they move out of the house you can reconnect and help them, if you choose, and if they want a dad.

Live for you. No one else will.

Life can be hard.

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
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post #25 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

SunCMars. Thanks for your message. I feel like you're one of very few people who have looked at my situation and really gets how unlivable it is. I agree that the money and potential bankruptcy are the least of my concerns. The thing is, this false protective order gives her victory in every way possible, including most importantly the perception battle. I can now be fully blamed for the break up of the marriage when family and friends learn about it. I can also be blamed for all the related difficulties (the kids' behavioral problems, the financial troubles, etc.)

Even my own family, while supportive, buys into the crap at some level, saying things like, maybe its for the best you can't speak to each other now, etc. No it's not. We can't even decide whether our kids will do an extracurricular activity without bleepn letters going back and forth between lawyers. My kids are treated to big dramatic scenes where they are transferred between us at a gas station where my mother-in-law comes separately to keep an eye on things. Meanwhile my 9 year-old asks when I can come to house and play her favorite video game with her.

I read other posts on this forum and actually wish my wife had an affair and left me for another man as often happens. At least then it would have been clear to the world who was destroying the marriage. I just sit in the shadows, afraid to talk to people I was close to, doubting anyone will believe me about what happened. Even if they might, it's a story that requires a good couple of hours to go through and explain. I'm too emotionally drained to keep having those conversations.

I think I will do better when I start my job out of state in April. I'll be able to meet some new people and get to forge some relationships that aren't tainted by this toxic mess.

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post #26 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:53 PM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

You are best off having no contact with her especially while the protection order is hanging over your head. She can spin ANYTHING whether true or not into a bigger legal mess. It's not fair and sucks but these types of things are over abused in divorce/separation. Even once it's lifted your beat not contacting her, yeah it means lawyers and such but your liable to end up right back in a mess as you can never trust her again.

Your best bet is to pull back, let her implode, child services or county help will see more and more she is either unstable/unfit. I'd also start looking for a different lawyer. I don't agree about not filing for divorce now nor how they are approaching your protective order. Simply put if you file for divorce you are showing the courts you don't want contact with her so why would she need these protection orders.

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday
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post #27 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

Honcho, thanks for that perspective on filing now. No one has mentioned that to me that it would actually look better with regards to the PFA, regarding looking like I'm moving on. I think my full compliance and leaving town also helps. I don't even look in her direction when we do our custodial exchanges at the gas station.

I understand than now that all this PFA crap has happened it is best to have no contact. I guess my last post was just a lament about how unfair it all is and what the psychological and social damage to me has been. I wouldn't go back to anything beyond discussing basic parenting and financial issues over email if it were dropped. Sadly you are right, she can't be trusted anymore. I feel as if I am already divorced in a sense because that bond is completely shattered and I don't see how it can be repaired. An alcoholic can go to AA, a cheater can ask forgiveness and go no contact with their lover, but what could my wife even do to regain trust if she wanted to?

I also wonder how she can be so blind to the cruelty of this? Does she actually believe that I am an abuser? Did the people in the local domestic violence office talk her into that mindset? Or is she just a manipulative psychopath who doesn't think at all about my perspective and feelings? When we were in counseling more than one therapist made it clear to us that while I was yelling too much to cope with living in constant frustration, I was not abusive. Anger and abuse are not the same thing. I did not demean and try to control people in the family with anger. I did not threaten people. I was slowly being driven crazy from dealing with constant irrationality and disrespect for my parental authority. Near the end I was't even yelling in frustration anymore, I was mostly crying. I've recently read about gas-lighting, and that really seems to describe what happened to me.

So I really don't know going forward what kind of relationship I can have with my wife. As parents of the same children we will by definition have to have some sort of one. Will we ever be able to communicate at all? Will we be able to be friendly EXs someday. Like I said, right now I can't even look in her direction without feeling ill, and a decent amount of time (3 months) has passed. With time and clarity my hatred and disgust are growing, not subsiding.
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post #28 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

I have come up with a plan that I'd like to air out here. All the advice I'm getting here indicates that I should file a divorce ASAP. I do want one now, but am afraid to get the ball rolling. Mostly because my wife has exhibited horrible high conflict tendencies, resulting in high legal fees just for the PFA and custody, which aren't even done yet. God only knows what a divorce could ring up to be. I also feel bad because my parents are paying for it and will probably have to delay their retirement as a result. There are also the travel costs and time off work from the new job if I need to attend hearings. At the same time the wife gets unlimited access to her free domestic violence attorney.

So here's the thought. I'm moving out of state and can file there after 1 year of residency. Even if my wife were to file in her state, I could block the divorce for up to 2 years there. So I'm thinking that I should just wait it out and if necessary manipulate things to get the filing in my new state. That way she'll have to put up with all of the out of state conveniences, perhaps without a free lawyer. The PFA should also be over and expunged by then, so I could possibly go before a new judge without all of that baggage. I'd also love to deny all of the lawyers and judges currently making all of this money off of my pain some of the spoils they think they're entitled to. The only downside is the wait, but honestly I don't think I can emotionally deal with the pressures of a high conflict divorce now anyway.

I'm also thinking of wiping my butt with our marriage certificate and mailing it to her, but I guess that would be a violation of the PFA.
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post #29 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 08:52 AM
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

I would look at what the differences are in the divorce laws between the two states. If there is no major advantage to the new state's laws, I'd file asap. She's going to react poorly no matter when or where you file. If you wait for her to file you will be behind the curve once again.
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post #30 of 86 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight

The state we are in has no fault divorce only by mutual consent for 2 years after separation. So either of us could file, but the other could block it just by not responding. My new state will allow me to file after 1 year residency. There are also advantages in the new state regarding alimony that would benefit me.
So I'm really thinking now that I'll wait it out for the new state. She is already using high conflict tactics with her free "domestic violence attorney" that have maximized my legal fees and travel expenses (coming from my aging parents). It will be a long wait, but it will be glorious to see her have to deal with the out of state filing. There will be no free lawyer, she'll have to travel for court appearances, and there might be no alimony. She'll have a complete meltdown. It will be well worth waiting and paying her bills in the mean time.
I also suspect the time and cost wouldn't really be any less if I were to file in her state now and she allowed it to proceed. She'd argue over every little detail of the settlement and force me to come back for scores of court appearances. Her attitude might be different if the shoe was on the other foot. She dictated the terms of the separation, but it looks like I can dictate the playing field for the divorce if I'm patient. There could be no greater revenge on a control freak like her.
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