Thanks for all the good info

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.

Getting custody

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

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.