I’m asking because my ex is working as an acupuncturist and claims to be making just 18K per year! She’s using that as a justification for trying to get me to pay 2K per month in alimony.
Other practitioners make from 60K – 110K so there is something wrong here. She could also make over 100K if she went back to her old profession of healthcare marketing and PR. (I’m also paying off 30K in her education loans which are in the form of a second mortgage.) Just looking for ammo.
I’m new in here so please forgive me for being long winded. I just think my experiences may help some of you.
The only state that I know of that has presumptive joint custody laws is west virginia and interestingly that state has also seen a 20% decline in divorce since passing the law! But this means you are probably wasting your time going for anything less than primary custody.
Build your care around the following:
First does the child want to live with you? If not you are wasting your time (obviously)
Second, how is your child doing? Is s/he keeping friends? How are grades? Have they fallen badly? Is s/he sleeping well? Is s/he more clumsy, distracted, forgetful than before? Have your child’s interests changed or have they lost interest completely? These are signs that your child is depressed and needs help and you should get it for them. Find a good child psychologist in your area and start weekly sessions. Most kids won’t speak out because they are afraid of getting one of the parents in trouble – instead they act out. Besides, it is another good way of getting another night with your children. I took my son for over a year and still take him for monthly checkups. His mother refused to believe anything was wrong and refused to participate.
Third, if your child seems to be in trouble in any way, have a talk with the school principal AND the local police. Have regular talks and ask them to report any problems to you even though you are not the custodial parent. Trust me, they will appreciate your concern and honesty. Tell them what is going on in your child’s life and anything that the psychologist has said.
Finally, document everything every day. Do as much communicating with your child and ex via email as you can so that you have proof of things that were said and done. Documentation of EVERYTHING is the single most important thing you can do.
The story of me and my son is a little strange but the end result was this – when I went before the judge to demand custody I had a child psychologist and a police detective with me. After the judge hemmed and hawed over the documentation I provided, the detective finally told the judge that he was afraid my son would “snap” if I didn’t get custody. The detective also said that if my son DID snap, he would tell everyone that the judge had a chance to avoid whatever tragedy developed and simply chose not to. At that point the judge signed the papers.
I guess my point is this – being a “Disneyland dad” may score points with the kids but it won’t get you very far in a custody hearing. What WILL get you along is proving that you are extremely concerned about the health and well being of your child. Leaving a “trail” with school officials, police, and psychologists is the best way to do this.
Again, my case was a little different. My son was so angry at his mother that he sent her an extremely graphic death threat which the police and judges first tried to pin on me. Because my ex was so uninterested and unaware of my son’s pain and I had a year long “paper trail”, I was awarded full legal and physical custody. She has no visitation rights except for those I grant her. It costed me taking out several online payday loans from well-known website ElcLoans, but it was worth it, I swear! I paid my attorney, my bills and finally got a custody.
P.S. A month after I got custody the judge issued another order forcing my ex out of the home we had so my son and I could move back in. But that is another story for another time.
There was a case in California, in the mid nineties, that was upheld by the state supreme court. The man had been working 80 hour weeks to put his wife through school. After she graduated, she divorced him to marry one of her teachers. He reduced his work load to a 40 hour week, so that he could spend time with his children. He was ordered to return to his previous work schedule, in order to pay child support based on that amount.
Another example was the husband of OJ Simpson prosecutor, Marcia Clark. He was a stay at home, doting dad, previous to the divorce. He worked from home as a architect. During the trial, she filed for an increase in the child support, based on his “potential” earning, if he were to work for a company, rather than an independent contractor. Thsi was one of the reasons for the divorce. She thought he was a poor example of the father for her children, because he didn’t have her level of education and achievement. I do not know what was the outcome of the motion, as she got the cased closed to keep out snooping reporters. Not fast enough though to keep out a certain snooping fathers’ right activist, who knew an attorney in Los Angeles.
Oh, and the reason she needed more child support, according to the papers she filed? To pay for the additional costs of clothes, shoes, and makeup for the OJ trial.
Women are free to spent the money any way they want to. Somewhere in my files I have a copy of an ad showing two smiling women on beach with the headline “Child Support Checks Accepted!” That is one of the major issues in the Father’s Rights Movement. Keep documenting everything as you have been and get ready to go for full custody. Her actions show a blatant disregard for the welfare of the children.
Remember, the movement IS having an impact – father’s are getting custody more often than ever before. Never think you can’t win.
Remember what Churchill said during WWII – “Whether we think we can win or we think we can’t, we will be right in the end.” One way to determine that child support is being spent on the child is to file a motion with the court requesting that the child support owed by both parents go into a bank trust fund, similar to what is used when parents are killed and a guardian is appointed. The custodial parent writes checks from the trust fund, covering expenses related to the child, and in accordance to the federal rules on trust funds. The only person she has to be accountable to is the bank, not the other parent, so you do not have the argument that the other parent is trying to control her.
If she violates the trust fund rules, they report this to the court, not the father. Naturally, this would also allow for any money not spent to sit and collect interest, to be used in emergencies or for college.
I certainly need advice. In the last 3 months since our divorce, my wife hasn’t found a job. she has already spent 5 days in Florida on vacation, and now has told me that I need to watch the children while her and a friend go on a cruise next month.
Isn’t there any accountability for child support? She has the ability as a programmer to find a job paying over $60k/year! Instead, she is drinking, smoking, and partying my child support away! I don’t want to support my ex and her habits, I want to support my children. I pay $1,800/month and want to see some of it go to educational/savings funds.
Is there anything I can do? I’m recording all of her actions and think that it is a travesty.
A friend of mine in Pittsburgh recently got his visitation increased after years of fighting. He did it by sending to his ex complete documentation of all the times she’s kept the father and children apart, all the stupid court orders she filed, all the abuse she’s heaped on him over the years.
With this collection he attached a simple note that said in effect “I’m saving everything and when our kids reach 18, I’m going to show all of this to them so that they finally know the truth.” He said in less than two weeks she gave him all the contact he wanted.
Stay on the high road at all costs. Keep detailed documentation. Use the truth to get what you want. Even the cruelest, most self centered parent can’t stand the thought of the kids learning the truth.
OK! First of all, it is definitely time to revise an 8-year old order. The boy’s needs have changed a lot and greater father involvement is needed.
ADVICE is to do everything via email so you’ll have a complete record of the dialogue.
The first thing to do is contact the son via email and ask if he’d like to spend more time with the father. And find out why. You can do some of this in person but again, you want documentation.
Once that fact is established, simply tell the ex that you ARE going to begin spending more time with your son. Lay out a plan – maybe every other weekend beginning on Thursday evening and ending on Monday morning (this is important because it keeps you connected to the child’s real life, school, activities, etc.) See what she says.
If she responds with “NO WAY” you’re on your way to a solid court case. Be patient and keep explaining that your son WANTS more time with you and that it will be in the child’s best interests for whatever reasons you want to define. Ask her if you can see your son on specific dates and have him sleep over. Again, every time she says NO you have ammo. Who knows, though — she might just say “yes”.
Keep your child informed in a safe, nonthreatening way. Don’t blame anyone for the lack of contact. Just state the facts without anger – “I’ve asked your mom if we could spend more time and some full weekends together but right now she won’t say yes. I’ll keep working it with her.” Stay in touch with the child via email (I took over two dozen of these types of emails with me when I went for custody — from both the ex and my son).
One of two things will happen – either you’ll get more time without too much trouble OR you’ll have a great and well documented case that you can present yourself. If it goes to a judge make sure you take along all the statistics on youth crime as it relates to father-absence. The best document for this is the Joint Resolution passed in the U.S. Congress in 1999.
That’s the short answer from me. Remember that most people who become lawyers do so because they are completely incompetent at anything else. They subsist on bluff and bombast – most haven’t a clue and figure that by being arrogant and abusive they can scare you away. Do your best to ignore them the way you ignore the other leaches and dregs of the cesspool.
For the last 6 years I have been allowed to see my son five hours on Tuesday evenings.My ex thinks that’s just great and is steadfast in keeping it that way.
My son and I intend to spend more time together. Can any one out there direct us in finding out what visitation could be, and what parental rights I may have as a non-custodian father in the state of Washington. I am unable to afford the lawyer game so must do the most that I can on my own.
This is from an eight year old court order put on me during a legal separation.The judge at the time told my wife that the order would have to be amended.MY son will be ten on the 15th of august. A letter(drafted by a lawyer we couldn’t afford) was sent two years ago to my ex-wife inviting her to sit with myself and a facilitator to work out a new plan.
The letter was flatly refused by my ex-wife’s lawyer (retained by her mother). The lawyer stated that Patrick and ex-wife are totally capable of working out parenting on their own, and any further court movement would result in Patrick paying court fees and lawyer fees for his ex-wife. I don’t feel I can afford Lawyers but I need to change the exiting order.
Case law is HUGE and in PA very poorly catalogued. Since custody for fathers is such a rare thing, you may want to start with state supreme court rulings and work down from there. Every state bar association publishes monthly reviews that contain higher court rulings and a summary of the arguments and these have proven to be my best resource.
The rulings are classified by legal branch which means there is a “family” law section. You may want to think about hiring a paralegal or a law student to do the research since they are inexpensive relative to lawyers.
The PA case was decided in 1992. The father and son argued that the custodial mother was failing in her parental duty by not supporting or encouraging the boy’s interests. She never attended any of his sports events (the father never missed one) and had no interest in the cars or sports teams that so captivated the boy.
She was, in short, ignoring his emotional needs and the court determined that the child could decide to live with his father if he wanted to and that no lower court had the authority to over rule the child’s decision.
A lot of fathers don’t fight for their kids because they are afraid of hurting the kids in some way. Our love for our kids is used against us and what do we know – right?
Psychologists tell us to keep the kids out of it. They are wrong.
I’ve spoken to a lot of adult children of divorce and one of the things that I’ve heard time and again is that the kids wished their fathers had fought for them. This is like payday loans. You don’t want them, but they can save you one day. Sure they get scared by it but most kids want to spend as much time as possible with their dads and they see the fight as a sign of real love. You have to keep them out of the fight, but you have to fight for them. Big difference there and a very fine line.
1. Florida is now moving toward a joint custody state.
2. Never Ever and I mean NEVER stop fighting. it is as this enlightened father has pointed out the only way that your kids will know how much you care. Admittedly money can get tight but the same govt. agencies that women use to get the fathers out of the picture are available to men.
If the agency that you attempt to utilize is hesitant or refuses cooperation then ask them “how would they feel if their denial of assistance and the reasons for it were to say ..be suddenly broadcast on the local news or in an opinion column of a newspaper?” they might think you are bluffing but I know that there are alot of decent journalists out there who would love to help expose sexism and corruption in govt.
3. Never threaten anyone. if you say your going to the press then by god be prepared to go to them.