Going through divorce,....I'm scared....

helen2008January 3, 2008

I'm going through a divorce with an 18-month-old son involved. My DH has not been helping me with my baby. Ever since I delivered my baby, I was the only one that stayed up nights, feeding, changing diaper, bathing, taking him to the doctor, dropping him off and picking him up from daycare (pretty much from a-z) - my DH could care less. Now that we're going through a divorce and he said he wants shared custody where he could have my son during the weekend. I work both weekdays and weekends (depending on my schedule) and he works weekdays only from morning 'til 2:30 pm. I know the reason he wants my baby for the weekends is to take my baby home so his parents and family could play with my baby. He treats my son like a toy and I resent him for that. My son has been through 2 x-mas and he wanted my son for his family for 2 x-mas (like my son doesn't have a family of his own). But what I don't know is what are the chances he would have shared custody like that?? I don't want my son to fall into his hands nor his parents'. There were times he played with my son so tough that he could have killed him (like hitting him on the head with a ball when he was 6 months old and hitting the ball so hard to the ceiling that it broke the ceiling's light and the broken pieces of glass dropped, I swear,just about an inch from my son's head). I know they will put my son in danger for sure. Anybody in here has been through a divorce where you have won sole physical and legal custody of your children/child? What documents/evidence I could gather to present to my attorney and the judge to show that he should not have custody of my son?? I'm not scared to go through this divorce if it was just me,... I'm scared of loosing my son and custody of him.

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I'd talk to a divorce lawyer. They should be able to tell you what you need. If there's real abuse going on, document it or call 911 and report it when it is happening.

I know I get mad at my husband sometimes with how rough he plays with ours kids. I can't tell by your story if it was just a one time really stupid ball playing incidence with your husbnad, or if he's really abusive all the time. Obviously, you need to keep your kid safe. A lawyer should be able to help you sort through your stories and tell you how a judge may interpret them and what is important, and what is normal behavior versus abuse. Bottom line though, if you can't prove abuse, he's if probably going to get some custody. I see no reason why you wouldn't also get custody, though, right?

And, is there a particular reason you don't want your kid around your in-laws or is it just the normal in-law divorce thing? Unless you can prove something really bad is going on, I'm not sure you're going to be able to keep your son away from his father or his parents. That may just be something you have to accept. But again, talk to a lawyer and document or call 911 if there are any big problems. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 12:59AM
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I have never been through a divorce, but I have been through a custody battle (we were never married). First, your son is 18 months old and it's not unusual for the mother to be the primary caretaker, especially if the father works more. If you are that concerned that he doesn't know how to care for a child, then you can ask him to take parenting classes. The court may order him to if there's a real concern. It is the child's right to have a relationship with both parents. The courts are reluctant to award sole custody to one parent and in my state (CA), they favor 50/50, which means that if you live a reasonable distance from each other, you get one week, he gets the next. If he is asking for weekends, that's not unreasonable. IF you try to make it harder for him to see his child, make false allegations, or are more uncooperative in allowing "frequent & continuing contact", the courts can actually take custody away from you and give him custody and give YOU visitation. I'm sure you don't want that.

If he has extended family that is willing to help him out and you don't, then that's actually a plus for him. IF you try to make a case that taking the child around his family is a bad thing (unless you have valid reasons) the court may think you are being unreasonable.

Children are not property and are considered equal parents, with equal rights to custody.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 2:12AM
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My husband does rough plays with my son all the times when he's around him. Even if when they were together shopping, my husband would chase my son around like mad cows, making it hard for me to keep my son safe. The ball incidence (or I should call incidences) happen so frequently but it was me that was stupid enough to buy my son the ball- thinking he might like rolling it or throwing it with his baby's force. Well, I was wrong, my husband was one that kept on throwing that ball because the innocent child would laugh when he hears the ball banging on the walls and floor. A few times when my son's soft spot in the back and front have not closed yet, my husb threw the ball on the back of my son's head and other times on his front's. The other incidence about the lighting fixture was different. I have had calm talks with my husb about it so many times and he yelled back at me. It got to the point where I got so worried and mad that one day I deflated the ball. I mean how do I document that? And is that abuse or not? Even I myself got into situations where he yelled at me, called me names, banged on doors,...and one time even raised his hand up almost hitting me...I dared him that time,..I had my baby in my arms then and my baby was looking up. I mean I had no witness then. How can I prove that to the judge?

In terms of in-laws, I don't want my son to be near because the break up in my marriage is mainly because of his parents. They teach their kids to live disgusting lives. They were also the cause of another divorce of one other kid of theirs already. I don't want my son to grow up like one.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 2:26AM
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My in-laws live in a different state. He doesn't have the right to take my son out of state does he? I think in my state (MN), the judge usually doesn't favor shared custody (at least that's what I heard from a couple attorneys already). Like I said, I does everything for my son from a-z, even with household chores, he doesn't touch anything - with the excuse that he's bored and there would be a mess again anyway so why bother clean up. My son is with my mom (I called it daycare before to make it short) during the day while I go to work. I'm lucky enough to have my mom helping me care for my son free of charge because of financial difficulties. He doesn't even call to see how our son was doing on the days our son was sick.
Well,...enough of venting...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 2:57AM
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Ok, at the fear that there always could be a real abuse problem with a child involved, I will not comment on that... I do think you should talk to your lawyer about it and see what they tell you.

The other stuff you mention is probably not worth a hill of beans. Almost all new mothers think they do all the work with the baby (and I'm guessing a big percentage do) especially those that are going through a divorce. Now, it may help you get more custody. Around here, most of the time the mother gets main custody and the father gets Weds. and every other weekend. That may be something you could try for.

Most people going through a divorce also somewhat blame their in-laws for the way their spouse was raised, etc. and don't think their children will benefit being around them. But, unless there was real substantial abuse going on, you probably don't have a leg to stand on..."disgusting" is too subjective and probably means nothing in court.

Again, though, your best bet is to talk to a lawyer.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 9:44AM
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I may be over-analyzing, but you used the phrase "my baby" over and over and over in your posts, and only used "our baby" when you were blaming him for not calling when he was sick. For that reason, it sounds to me like as much of a 'possessive / control' issue as anything else -- which is very normal under the circumstances, but honestly, not in your child's best interests.

Many, many fathers don't know what to do with a young baby. And most fathers tend to play much more roughly with little boys than their mothers do. Again -- not saying this is right, just that it's very common, and many of these men eventually grow up to become good fathers.

The best outcome for your child would be for him to have a close and loving relationship with both of his parents. And for both of his parents to treat each other with respect. While you can't change your husband, you can do your part to make this happen.

Of course, at some point, having 'no father' in your life is better than having one who's horribly abusive. But frankly, it doesn't sound like he's reached that point, so trying to minimize and/or eliminate his role would be more damaging than helpful.

Not what you wanted to hear, I know. But I have walked in your shoes...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:14AM
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Well yes, maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe I am a new mother and all. But what do you think of a father who, when asked to feed his baby, feed him chips and pops? When asking him to help change diaper, he said it's gross and it's Mommy's job (and only on very rare occasions was he asked to help with these things)? When it came to making medical decisions, he refused treatments for his baby right in the Emergency Room (and I mean it-EMERGENCY ROOM!) When Mommy at 3 am in the morning got baby all packed up to go to ER he didn't even asked nor came along? When at x-mas time left for his family from 12/24 to 12/30th...with no calls to see how his sick child was doing back home and it literally was snow-storming outside and Mommy had to work until dusk (running around in that snow storm) on the 24th because of the family's financial difficulty! When both son and Mommy were trembling in bed with fever he was out drinking then clubbing until 3 am...only called back home to ask whether he could take a drunk woman home to his wife and kid?

Maybe I misused the word "my baby" and "our baby" just because I'm used to being with my baby all by myself and only use the term "our baby" when it involves my husband.

Please tell me what a married man can do with condoms in his pocket when he's out on the streets! If he is capable of using those condoms then he should be more than capable of caring for his own baby. Where are all the men in this forum(?)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:34PM
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Sounds like a winner. Out of curiosity, since the baby so young - what made you decide to have kids with this one? Did he change overnight?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:36AM
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Helen your baby is 18 months old, so you haven't been doing everything for years.Most mothers do the bulk of the work with small babies and many of them nurse which is not an equal opportunity activity. You sound like you have been angry at this guy since before the birth. Was he a jerk before you got pregnant?>
Its too bad you decided to have a baby with this guy but you are probably not going to get sole custody. If you work weekends and weekdays I fail to see why the court would give sole custody to you as I am guessing somebody takes care of baby besides you when you are at work, or did I misunderstand that you work a lot?>
So if husband (with or without his mother) wants to take care of his own baby rather than leave it with a sitter the judge is going to see it that way. However, if he is such a jerk eventually he will get tired of picking up the baby and spending time with the baby so be real cooperative at the beginning, its like a new toy to him. Its so hard for these guys to date with a small child. Ultimately you are back doing everthihg for your son. The reason these guys want to ask for joint custody is that they pay less child support that way.
On the other hand he may be a good father eventually, thats better for a child to have their own father interested in them. Being a single mother with a son is not a picnic.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 2:10AM
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It was a stupid mistake (being pregnant) I made in thinking I was still in love with him. He was my first love in college and was a jerk to me back then. It got to the point I was devasted and committed suicide because of him at one time. Eventually, I woke up and broke up with the guy. His mother and him then begged me to get back to him. I did eventually (my 2nd mistake-the first was falling for him). I then moved back to my state after college. He left his parents and came to live with me in my state when I becamse successful in business. I owned 2 houses and lived in a decent house with my parents then. He was very nice to me and my parents then and promised to treasure our love. He seemed like a hard-working person so I thought he had changed....until one day I accidently got pregnant with his baby and to my disappointment, sensed his irresponsible side of being human. He didn't seem so happy knowing he had created a baby. We decided to get married in 4 months of the pregnancy. That is when he called his parents and asked them to attend our wedding. Since their son left them for me, his parents were furious. They bad-mouthed about my parents with the intention of tearing us apart. The result was the man insulted me even before the wedding. I did not believe in abortion and I didn't want my son to live without a father so I went through the wedding in bitterness (my 3rd mistake). His parents came to the wedding with their empty hands (very rude in our culture) and insulted my family and I right at the ceremony. The first time in my life I cried for my parents. I was their bad seed because I'd put shame on them. Because of what his parents did, my husband first realized he couldn't even trust his parents...but then who could divorce their parents? He agained listened to his parents and our marriage just got worse and worse. My husband would call me names, fights broke out between us, he repeatedly threatened divorce, eventually spent the nights out and did not help me with the baby nor household chores. My in-laws live out-of-state, treat my baby like a toy, but wants no part in caring for him. On the contrary, my husband had to make mortgage and utility payments for them every month, no matter what financial hardship we were in. My 72-year-old mother resented my husband (he listened to his parents and wanted to kick my parents out of my own house which I planned to purchase for them - my parents ended up leaving) but had no choice but to love her daughter (me) and babysit my son since he was 2 months. My career went downhill so I had no money for daycare. With repeated threatens of divorce, I one day fulfilled his wish: I filed the divorce.

Marge-the work that I do is very flexible so it is not an issue. I make the call for whether I want to work or not. Right now I always make time for my son in the afternoon...stopping by grandma's place to bathe him, feed him, and tug him in for a nap. Both my parents are very supportive of me in terms of caring for my son. It broke my heart to see my mom in the emergency room and still thinking about what my son has to eat with every meal she had.

I just got my baby's medical record today showing how involved I have been with my baby and how little his medical record mentioned of his father. I talked to a few attorneys already and they said I should have no trouble getting full physical custody for my case. It's been very stressful for me everytimes I think of my son not being well cared for if he was to spend weekends with his dad. I mean I've known my husband looking up porns on my laptop right next to my son when he was 2 months old when I had to go do grocery shopping....and many other things... How can my mind be at peace when thinking of how my husband had treated me and his own child?

We had another fight again tonight because he said the "F" word to me. I emailed him and told him to leave within 1 week because I cannot tolerate it anymore and I do feel unsafe being around him.

...just want to break down and cry but I know I need to be strong to care for my child...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:24AM
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Dear Helen,

I saw your post - My husband and I were in a very similar situation with regard to the in-laws - on both sides, no less.

It's terrible to say this about the people that raised us and are supposed love us but the conclusion my husband and I came to was that we had to separate ourselves from our toxic families. Both sides were very hateful (on his side), cold and unloving and unsupporting (on my side of the family).

We did everything possible - we encouraged both sides to go to church, counseling together, have an open discussion but both sides were determined to be haters.

Our solution - since they're were poisoning our marriage and kids - was recommit to ourselves and put our kids first. We now go to church on a regular basis, have been to counseling, and spend alot of keeping the lines of communication by talking with one another. We also have been firm on our decision not to speak with family unless they are ready to apologize and make ammends. It has now been 4 years since we last spoke to them - but we're still praying that all (both sides) will have a change of heart. Hard as it has been, our lives have that much less stressful.

This is a bitter pill but perhaps you and your still husband should stay away from family (both sides) for now and work things out on your own and get some counseling. I know this was very hard for me since my parents are foreigners, they thought that I was selling them out for some American. As for the counseling, even if he does not want any, get some for yourself.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but it sounds like both sides (especially his) are fueling this divorce. And whether you are divorced or not, you will still need to get along with him because you have a child with him and he still has legal rights whether you want to admit that or not. It is not right of you to deny access to your baby's father. Your child (I have seen so many times with friends and aquaintances) will resent you later for it.

You need to figure a way to work this out.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 11:41PM
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My goal at first was to keep our small family apart from both sides of our families but my husband did not want that. I guess it's also a change of heart after our baby was born (and no it's not about the look because I actually looked better during and after our son was born)- he told me I was a great mother and wife and all but it was just that I wasn't "fit" for him. What he wanted was more of a social life but I on the other hand, was too much of a "home girl". Besides work, my small family was priority. I don't go out partying nor even hang out with friends after we got married. I did well in school and in life but I'm the type of person who doesn't even know what a bar or club looks like. Sometimes it makes me wonder whether that's what a woman need to know to make her more "attractive" -being a party animal(??) I feel much more contented spending time with my baby than anything else. Maybe I do my job well as a mom but not as a wife after all since I don't know how to help my husband party. But if I have to do that then I'd rather be a single mom. No offense to men out there but I hope you get the msg! If you're not going to be supportive to your wife and kids then you shouldn't stick around...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:20AM
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I didn't read all the posts - just the first one and when I divorced I got sole legal and physical custody of our son. My husband was a drinker, ran with women, didn't come home, was irresponsible, fell asleep while watching our child when he was very young, drove drunk with the child, you name it, but that won't keep children from parents in most cases. Sexual and physical abuse will do it in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:15PM
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I've read the 1st post and kind of skimmed the others, and I fully support you helen2008 in saying this is YOUR BABY.

I am sorry to be harsh, but you are not your hubby's mommy, it is not your responsibility to wait for him to grow up, or nurture him until such time, especially given his behavior (drunk women at party with condoms in pocket) MY GOD!

You must continue to stand up for you and your rights to see YOUR plans for YOUR life and the life of YOUR child as you plan it. I would stop at nothing to reduce ex hubby's role to what I would make of it, if I were you.

He will do what you advise, when you say, and his parents, who have shown you no respect, are OUT.

Hire a P.I. and track his every move, even who comes to his home, they will also visit when 18 MO is there.

A friend of mine was able to include her ex hangin with sex addict who had kiddy porn("as a joke" my ass) as amo to gain sole custody.

You sound like you are well on your way, but this guy is not father material. He could use baby as toy on his supervised visits, nothign more I hope.

When he becomes acceptible he could see kid on his own. This is not about what makes everybody happy or even about the romantic and juvenile notion that he will eventually look into the magic eyes of his son and clean up his life. He needs to get his act together and prove it before he comes near attached to the poison attitudes (and I am sure words) of his parents, not to mention his sex buddy of the moment, into this kid's life.

The child deserves peace, I don't foresee this with father having any power in this situation.

My friend also went to lengths to prove she already had a clear plan for child's schooling and a college fund, as compared to ex's nada.

helen2008 your role for now is mummy and daddy, take everything, until you fill the role of dad with a great guy for you both, one who relieves you of some burdens next time.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Comettose -
I hope your post doesnt suggest to falsely accuse an ex of abuse and molestation to get custody, and that I read that last part wrong- I'm sorry for your experience with your ex though -

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Doesn't sound like he wanted a child to begin with. Was this a planned pregnancy if not how did he respond when he found out?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:33PM
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alltriedout- Yes he did not want the child to begin with and it wasn't a planned pregnancy. He felt he was still young (at 32) and needed more fun before he's "ready to get settled down".

Ok,..so after those months I was gone from this site, I was busy with work and the divorce. My STBX is now fighting over custody. Apparently, he's been unemployed for about 3 months already and is now trying to prove that he's a good father. It got to the point where neither of us can afford to pay our attorneys and he wants to settle in between us. He seems to have given up on joint custody but says that he wants to have liberal visiting time with the child.... (after extensive research on his end.. Meaning he wants to take our son out on set dates and even overnights. He also wants to have have my son on certain holidays (I haven't thought of holidays yet). My question is if I have sole physical and legal custody, do I need to have the child go with him on holidays? If I do, how does it work for those of us that have been through this? Do you do every other holiday or one whole year worth of holiday with Mom and another year with Dad? Please, those that have been through this and is dealing with visitation issues, give me some inputs!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 2:57AM
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