Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

If you’re thinking of becoming a new homeowner after divorce, you may find yourself a little bit overwhelmed.

The post Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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What You Need To Know In Order To Hire An Attorney And Survive The Ordeal

What You Need To Know In Order To Hire An Attorney And Survive The Ordeal

 

I wonder how long people who go through a divorce remain shell shocked?

I have struggled for so long trying to figure out why my life turned out like this. Why was I the chosen one to carry so much and what was my role in this?

Did I sign on to this in another life?

Did I agree to this before I was born?

Why did I allow so much emotional abuse after the divorce?

Why didn’t our divorce end on some note, if any of goodness?

I mean, he went through three attorneys. I had two. The first one was our mediator. But suddenly as it often happens, my then husband abandoned the notion that mediation was a good way to go. He allowed himself to be counseled by the woman he left me for and by a myriad of others presumably.

So, I was left to have the mediator act on my behalf. But sadly, I found out shortly into it that she was rather disinterested and was planning on retiring. She did. Hence the reason for me to hire someone new.

How does one hire an attorney anyway?

How does one hire someone who is serving you like a real estate agent and a Hollywood agent at the same time? Only the buying and selling is your personal marriage and your children are the amenities in the deal. How do you find an attorney that apparently has to look and feel the opposite of the person who served as the priest or minister who married you?

The dis-marriage is equal in emotional intensity as the marriage. On your wedding day, all is perfect in your world. You are enchanted with life and cannot wait to start this new journey into the unknown. On the day of your divorce, you are emotionally exhausted and terrified of the journey that lay in front of you. What I clearly see now as I reflect on that time 20 years ago, was that it all could have been so much better, and it all looks so silly to me now.

So, what do you need to know in order to hire an attorney and survive the ordeal?

How can you avoid being emotionally bankrupt along with financially bankrupt? What I am about to share has nothing to do with strategy or cunning. It is only my advice on how you can keep your heart and soul intact and keep your sanity as well. So, as I said to my attorney after every phone call, fax, email and paperclip he billed me for, I told him that I wanted to send my kids to college one day; not his. Keep that on the forefront of your brain as you wade through the troubled waters of divorce and seek a divorce attorney.

Please state your intentions.

This should be the first question you ask a prospective divorce attorney. You cannot control what your spouse is going to do or say as it relates to his finding the right representation. But you have all the say as it relates to your hiring your own representation because you are not only representing you. That is the easy part. You are representing your children as well.

You most likely have never been through this before and are terrified as you lay vulnerable to a process that you have never imagined before. Go with your gut, even at the first handshake. You do not want to be his prey too. Ask him what his methods are? Do they match your motives and mantras? There are so many questions in dismantling a marriage and none of them seem natural.

A good attorney will advise you of what is not possible, just as much as what is possible. Because my husband changed attorneys three times, it felt like the goal post kept getting moved farther away. His attorneys all seemed to have convinced him that I was a bad person who never held an ounce of importance to him. They did this, of course, to keep him angry and to keep cutting them the checks. They also convinced him that our children who were 4 years old and 4 weeks old, were literally collateral that he could leverage. That was the hardest thing I had ever faced, and it almost completely undid me.

The dehumanizing nature of child custody and support and the fact that your children’s wellbeing is relegated to a decimeter calculation was more than I could bear. In one of the child custody hearings, I remember my actual hearing started to fade away. I could see people talking but I could no longer hear words. My ex husband never once raised his head as they went on and sliced up our children before my eyes.

I drifted back to a moment less than a year earlier when I was being wheeled out of the hospital after delivering my baby girl and the volunteers all telling us what a perfect baby she was. My life felt as complete as I could possibly imagine. I loved my husband; I loved my 4-year-old little boy and we were all going home together. The moment I was currently in came slamming back at me and I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in a strange courtroom next to a mere stranger and my family was being dismantled by a Judge I had never seen before.

I quietly asked my attorney if I could be excused? I got up and walked to the women’s restroom and vomited. It was a physical reaction to the utter disbelief of where my life had been taken. Nothing could have been farther from that moment in the hospital and no one should ever experience that. Especially a new mother.

Don’t forget that you both once cared.

I say this because there was a time that you both were on the same page and your ex-husband was present when the order for the babies was placed. When I look back at the chaotic times during our divorce, I see that much of it came from the attorneys. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the other woman in our life had much to say as well.  Her motivations were to take care of herself and her children. She didn’t need his money. She just needed the man beside her and to heck, with the wife, baby, and toddler he was also responsible for.

I could only see her as a woman capable of cheating with a man with a pregnant wife so there was no need for me to hold her to any high standards. But the attorneys had more knowledge than anyone on how to play the game and, played it they did.

Before them stood two people who were well out of their comfort zones and were complete sponges for anything to be absorbed into. This included creating the utter strangers we became to each other overnight. My husband may have been a mixed-up man who didn’t know how to be happy in my opinion. But he wasn’t a bad man. I never could have dated, let alone marry a bad man. That isn’t to make excuses for him. This realization has come over time so that I could better understand his decisions based on what I now believe to be his fears and insecurities.

We did have isolated moments during the divorce process when we were standing on the same team sideline. But those moments became fewer and fewer as the attorneys played us against each other as if we were in a prizefighting match. We soon lost track of what we were doing and why. The why was always, or at least should have been… our children.

I did not qualify for spousal support, so it was all about the child support. And soon that became a game. The percentage of time for him was all about the money it equated to. I never really understood that. He wanted to flee us and live with his girlfriend who lived 50 miles away. I was fine with that. Go. I never wanted to see them in my town anyway. But when you have children, and in my case very small children that matters.

I had a baby who was now being taken 50 miles away from me. And it no longer became about my discomfort… and believe me I died every other weekend that my children were taken to some women’s house that I had never even met. But it became about the wellbeing of my children. My parents who were from the greatest generation were horrified to see what was happening with their grandchildren. It just wasn’t in their realm of thinking that a father could do this to the mother of his children. I spent many hours consoling them as much as myself.

The attorneys and the Judge no longer looked at us as people. We were just a negotiation. Take the time needed to come together for your children outside of the attorneys. If we could have had a civil conversation centered solely around our children, I really don’t think we would have had to endure what amounted as cruelty to each other. He wasn’t a bad man. But his lawyer and girlfriend had agendas that outweighed his sense of decency which preyed on his weakness and the people who suffered the most were our children.

So, I share this so you all get a hold of the divorce process before it gets a hold of you and before you get as far away from the sacred moments of bringing your babies into the world together as you could possibly imagine. Don’t let that happen. Find a sliver of the reason you came together in the first place and do the right thing for your children. You are responsible for raising them and you owe your children this. The attorneys and Judges are not their parents and they will fade away as soon as all the dust has settled.

We all have regrets.

I can’t think of anything in my life that I regret more than having to go through a divorce and be a single parent. There isn’t anything in my upbringing that prepared me for that. But what I know for sure 20 years later, is that if he and I had first calmly sat down and outlined our own ground rules and reminded each other that there was a day not that long ago, that we did love each other and that we were friends then maybe, just maybe we could have taken the reigns to that horrible experience away from the attorneys, judges and even girlfriends and navigated the choppy waters with the north star of our children in mind.

Maybe then we all would have suffered less. I don’t know for sure, but I want to remember that my ex-husband was my Best Friend at one time and trusted him with my life and the lives of our children.

Choose wisely so that one of the regrets you have in divorce, isn’t the attorney that represented you. And your children, though tough as divorce is on them, are spared the taffy pull that can last a lifetime for them and which can become fully ensconced into their blueprints. Give them a chance to be as whole as possible by just choosing wisely your words, your actions and your attorney at the start. And remember you had a childhood. Let them have one too.

The post What You Need To Know In Order To Hire An Attorney And Survive The Ordeal appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Should A Marriage License Come With Warnings?

Should A Marriage License Come With Warnings?

Potential new pamphlets to accompany marriage licenses may list rights and obligations from marriage and on divorce.

The post Should A Marriage License Come With Warnings? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Texas Appeals Court Upholds Modification Allowing Unsupervised Visitation

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Modification Allowing Unsupervised Visitation

Originally published by Robert Epstein.

By

Sometimes in a Texas custody case, the court may find it appropriate to place certain restrictions on a parent’s access to the children.  In time and with changed circumstances, it may be in the children’s best interest to remove those restrictions to allow the children to spend more time with that parent.  In a recent case, a mother appealed an order modifying visitation.

The parents had two children during their marriage.  The mother moved to another town and filed for divorce.  The decree required the father to use a Soberlink alcohol monitoring device before and during visitation.  The court ordered the father’s visitation would be supervised in Hidalgo County, but he would be allowed unsupervised visits beginning in August 2018 when the youngest child turned three.

The mother petitioned to modify the parent-child relationship to postpone the unsupervised visits.  She argued unsupervised visits were not in the children’s best interest because the oldest child had significant speech delays and the younger child lacked emotional maturity.  She also alleged the father failed one of his alcohol tests.

 

The father filed a counter petition, asking for standard visitation with exchange of the children occurring about midway between the parents’ homes in Alice.  He claimed the modifications were in the children’s best interests and that there was a material and substantial change in circumstances since the divorce decree.

The trial court ordered a mental evaluation of the father, and based on that evaluation, allowed him unsupervised overnight visitation. The trial court issued a final order granting standard unsupervised visitation, omitting the Soberlink requirement, and requiring the parents to meet in Alice to exchange the children.

The mother appealed, arguing the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the parents to exchange the children in Alice.  Pursuant to Tex. Fam. Ann. § 153.316, the court must order the parents to surrender the children at one of their homes.  The appeals court noted, however, that this section only applies to the original possession order, and this case involved a modification.  Modifications are governed instead by § 156.101, which allows modification of a possession order if it is in the children’s best interest and the circumstances have changed.  The mother had alleged a change of circumstances in her own petition to modify.  Under Texas case law, that allegation of changed circumstances constituted a judicial admission for purposes of the other father’s similar pleading.

The mother argued exchanging the children in Alice was not in their best interest.  The appeals court noted, however, that there was evidence supporting a conclusion that meeting in Alice was in the children’s best interests.  The father testified he had not exercised his right to communicate with his children electronically because the mother had stated she would not allow them to communicate through video-teleconference or Skype.  He claimed she was trying to prevent him from having a strong relationship with his children.  He asked the court to have them meet in Alice if standard visitation was granted.  He said it was a little more than halfway for him and he thought it was in the children’s best interests for him to be in their lives.

The mother’s attorney argued she was working on her master’s degree in clinical psychology and was required to be at a facility all day and could not get from work to Alice at the scheduled time.  The father offered to change the time, but pointed out it would only be once a month.  The court agreed to order the weekend visitation exchange to occur in Alice.

The appeals court found there testimony that seeing their father more often was in the children’s best interests and found no abuse of discretion in the court ordering the exchange to occur in Alice.

The mother also argued the court abused its discretion in eliminating the Soberlink requirement.  The divorce decree required sobriety testing before and during the father’s time with the children for five years after the divorce.  The mother argued the father had not requested the removal of the condition and the judgment had to conform to the pleadings. The appeals court noted, however, that the best interests of the children are the most important issue in custody cases, and technical rules should not interfere with acting in their best interests.  The appeals court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not conforming to the pleadings if it did not do so arbitrarily.

The mother argued the Soberlink requirement was in the children’s best interests.  The father testified he used a breathalyzer twice a day for another court and did not have any violations.  The mother offered evidence of an alleged positive Soberlink test result, but the father testified it was a false positive and another test six minutes later was confirmed at 0.000.  The trial court found the first test was a false positive. The court further stated the father testified he was receiving psychological and psychiatric treatment.  The appeals court found no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s elimination of the Soberlink requirement because there was some evidence it was no longer in the children’s best interests.

The mother also argued the trial court erred in granting overnight visitation to the father.  The children’s counselor testified that “It would be very difficult and traumatic for them to be away from their mother at night.”

The father argued the original divorce decree granted him unsupervised overnight visits.  The father’s psychological evaluation resulted in a recommendation the father have full access to his children with standard visitation.  The appeals court found the trial court had sufficient evidence to exercise its discretion and did not abuse its discretion.  There was evidence it was in the children’s best interests to have unsupervised, overnight visits with the father.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

If you are seeking or fighting a modification of a custody order, an experienced Texas custody attorney can help you fight for your children.  Call McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting to discuss your case.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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risks of cohabitation

What Are The Risks of Cohabitation For You And Your Kids?

risks of cohabitation

 

Over the last fifty years, there has been a quiet shift in the landscape of family life in America. Approximately two-thirds of couples live together before marriage; this number is compared to one-half of couples 20 years ago, according to The Pew Research Center.

Recently, Rand sociologists who study family demographics, surveyed 2,600 couples who lived together without marriage. One of the most important findings of this study is that young adults who cohabitated had lower levels of commitment than those who marry. Further, couples who cohabitate report lower levels of certainty about the future of their relationships, especially if they are males.

This “commitment gap” has been studied by sociologists Michael Pollard and Kathleen Mullan Harris who found that cohabitating males have a lower level of commitment to their relationship than their female partners. This “commitment gap” was also researched by psychologists Scott Stanley and Galena Rhodes who discovered that women who live with their future husband prior to becoming engaged are 40% more likely to divorce than those who are engaged before moving in together.

Interestingly, many couples in America today believe that living together prior to tying the knot will decrease their chances of getting a divorce. However, researchers Stanley and Rhodes have demonstrated the “cohabitation effect” – showing that couples who cohabit before marriage are less satisfied with their marriages and more likely to divorce.

According to Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, studies have shown that not all of the effect can be explained by demographics such as politics, education, or religion. Jay writes, “Research suggests that at least some of the effect may lie in cohabitation itself.” She posits that one of the main factors that put cohabitating couples at risk for breakup is “sliding not deciding.” This means that a couple gradually decides to move in together mostly out of convenience rather than discussing their expectations and plans for the future.

One thing is for certain, researchers have found that before you decide to live with someone, it is incredibly important that you and your partner are on the same page. Dr. John Curtis, author of Happily Unmarried highlights the “expectation gap” as a critical consideration before moving in with your partner. He states that the fundamental difference between men and women according to a recent Rand Study is that many women view living together as a step towards marriage while many men see it as a test drive.

It’s no secret that marriage rates are on the decline. In 1960, 72% of Americans were married. Today approximately 50% are. Understandably, there’s a lot of fear about marriage. Since the divorce rate has hovered around 50% for decades, the question for many is: Why marry when there is one in two chances it won’t work out? However, what many people forget is that just because a couple isn’t married when they breakup it doesn’t mean they don’t have issues to resolve such as financial claims (related to property or combined assets); as well as the custody of children.

As the rate of couples who live together without being married are rising dramatically, children in America are more likely to experience cohabitation than divorce, according to W. Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Many experts, including Wilcox conclude that cohabitation puts children at risk for psychological and academic problems as well as child abuse. Wilcox notes that cohabitation also creates more instability for children.

He writes, “A recent study from Drs. Sheela Kennedy and Larry Bumpass found that 65% of children born to cohabitating parents saw their parents break up by age 12, compared to 24% born to married families.” Since 40% of children in the US will experience the divorce of their parents prior to the age of 16, this is an important topic to explore.

If you’re a single parent who is considering cohabitation what are the risks to your children? In my opinion, you need to consider that your children may see your partner as an intruder – as a complication they don’t want in their lives – who is a rival with their father.

In addition, if the relationship doesn’t last, they may see it as yet another loss (in addition to your divorce) if they’ve established a bond. In What About the Kids, the late Judith Wallerstein writes, “If they genuinely grow to like or even love the person you’ve invited into your lives and that person disappears one night, it’s another loss. It’s frightening when people disappear and it’s awful to feel rejected.”

Let’s take a look at some statistics that shed light on this topic:

  • Over 50% of couples who cohabitate before marriage are broken up within five years (Cherlin, 2009)
  • Over 75% of children born to couples who are not married no longer live with both parents by the age of fifteen (Cherlin, 2009)
  • 47% of American women who give birth in their twenties are unmarried at the time (Cherlin, New York Times, 4/27/2013)

Considering the research, if you’re a divorced parent contemplating cohabiting, proceed with caution. Ask yourself: What are your motivations for living together? If you want to develop a deeper bond, and most significantly, you see cohabitation as a step toward marriage, having differing expectations from your partner may be a problem.

If you decide to cohabitate these are steps to minimize damage to your children:

  • Sit down with your partner and clarify your expectations about the future. This can enhance your chances of remaining in a committed relationship.
  • Be careful not to bypass these discussions and fall into “sliding not deciding,” according to author Meg Jay.
  • Don’t ask your children’s permission to cohabitate – this is too much responsibility for them and will be harder for them to recover from if you breakup.
  • Discuss parenting strategies such as how you are going to handle conflicts that will arise with children and between them – especially if you are blending families.
  • Prepare your children carefully. Make sure they’ve met the person many times and feel comfortable with them. Reassure your children that they are still a priority and that your partner will not replace their biological parent.
  • Set household routines that accommodate your partner and your children. Have regular discussions and share meals together so you can check in about how household issues are going.

Before you make the decision about whether or not to cohabitate, consider the risks to your children if it doesn’t work out. Ask yourself: Am I selling myself short by moving in with my partner? Would cohabitation put my children at risk for instability, psychological, or academic problems?

Weigh the advantages of tying the knot before having children or delaying cohabiting until your children launch if you’re a parent. In the end, consider that your children may grow to genuinely like or love this person and if the relationship ends, it’s yet another loss. However, if you decide to cohabitate, approach your new lifestyle with optimism and confidence – because you’ve taken all the steps to enhance your chances of success.

More From Terry:

Follow Terry Gaspard on Facebook, Twitter, and movingpastdivorce.com

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Psychological Benefits of Renovating Your Home, Post-Divorce

Psychological Benefits of Renovating Your Home, Post-Divorce

Look at this time as an opportunity to turn your marital house into the home of your dreams, and take advantage of the benefits that come with it.

The post Psychological Benefits of Renovating Your Home, Post-Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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She Can’t Be Erased; She’s Their Mother

She Can’t Be Erased; She’s Their Mother

 

One of the worst memories I have about my divorce was the day my children found a family photo that had black tape over my face.  It was found in an album at my ex’s mom’s house. What was even more devastating is that my children didn’t have the heart to tell me themselves.

Days later I received a phone call from my mom telling me that my kids told her what they had seen, as they held back tears to explain to her that it was a family member who had done it.  Every emotion imaginable hit me all at the same time as I tried to swallow the rage.

My first thought was how do I begin to explain the unexplainable to my children.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what message was this sending them?

That their mother was someone that was no longer part of this family?

That divorcing their father meant I no longer existed in their world?

Or was it that I no longer mattered because of my choices?

I wasn’t ready to have a conversation about something that I was still trying to process.

I had no idea why this family member lashed out at me in this way.  I was raised to be respectful and kind to others and also to mind my own business.  I could never imagine doing that to anyone.

Why did he do it?

She Can’t Be Erased; She’s Their Mother

Was it because I am an Italian woman who chose to stand in her truth? You have to understand the Italian culture to make sense of this insanity.  In the Italian culture, you do not leave your marriage, no matter what the situation is. At least this is what I was shown.

I thought about my great grandmother who lived in Italy, and how much pain she must have carried in her soul.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out my great grandfather had a whole other family we knew nothing about.  I wondered what that betrayal did to her.

What wounds had she been made to carry?

My heart ached for her silence. How many other women before her stayed silent in marriages that no longer served them?

Was it my strength in leaving my marriage that offended this family member? Was it the fact that I was no longer going to be controlled by anyone or anything? Or was it just another man willing to throw a woman out like garbage because she was no longer submissive to her husband?

My truth and my courage sent an aftershock that rattled everybody.

Once the rage wore off I was left with a deep sense of sadness.  I understood why my great grandmother stayed. What was she going to do, leave my great grandfather and raise the children on her own? He financially supported the family.

Back then there were no options for mothers that wanted out of their unfulfilling marriages. Did men take advantage of this position of power because they knew women had no way out? I wondered what it would have looked like if she left him.

I realized that my divorce was so much bigger than just wanting out of a marriage.  I was breaking cultural norms that had never been done before. It was my truth that offended people. “How dare she break her family apart. What kind of mother is she?

She left a good man that gave her everything she could have ever wanted.  She doesn’t deserve to be part of this family”… this was the message I received loud and clear from the black tape over my face, and this is what landed on my children’s eyes.

I couldn’t make them unsee what they had seen, and I also didn’t want them to have hatred in their hearts for the ignorant behavior that was displayed upon them. I wasn’t going to let this person do what so many others before him had done…keep women from standing in their power by crippling their spirit.

No, I choose to rise instead.  Not only for myself but for the many women before me that didn’t have the power to do it.  I chose to rise for my children because I wasn’t going to show them that I needed to defend myself or prove myself worthy by giving this any more of my energy.  I chose to show them that the power of forgiveness is stronger than any stones thrown at me. That’s the legacy they will remember, a mom that stands in love can’t ever be erased.

The post She Can’t Be Erased; She’s Their Mother appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How to Prevent Addiction After Divorce

How to Prevent Addiction After Divorce

Why is it that more divorced people struggle with addiction issues? What is it about divorce that brings about a possible predisposition for addiction?

The post How to Prevent Addiction After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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child visitation after divorce

Child Visitation After Divorce: How My Narcissistic Ex Is Using It Against My Children

child visitation after divorce

 

My divorce never hit me. I was contently past all the stages of grief on the day of my divorce. I was free and so eager to start anew. (I even agreed to attempt reconciliation with my ex post-divorce, but that’s a story for another day.)

Some months later, I moved back to the town I had grown up in. My boys, then seven and eight, moved with me. It felt great to be starting fresh and to be surrounded by family and my childhood girlfriends again.

My boys and I did get the I’m-so-sorry-face from everyone we knew. But despite the catastrophe that others saw, I was relieved, happy, and shame-free to be divorced. I could breathe again, and my life was my own again. Or so I thought…

Given my move, I had agreed to my ex-husband, aka WASband, seeing our boys virtually every weekend and agreed that he could have the boys visit him at his home 400 miles away on any given weekend.

Child Visitation After Divorce

My ex abused my trust.

My WASband turned our flexible visitation agreement into a nightmare for my boys. He insisted that every visit be in Los Angeles in his world. I had agreed to this and he had a legal contract to enforce it.

So, our children traveled from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then back again three to four weekends each month during the school year.

He didn’t care that virtually every Friday his children spent four hours or more traveling to him and four hours or more on Sundays traveling back.

He didn’t care if the children were sick.

He didn’t care if they missed the one and only birthday party they got invited to.

He didn’t care if they weren’t making friends at their new school.

He didn’t care if our son cried and cried over not being able to compete in his once-a-year Tae Kwon Do championship.

He didn’t care if their Friday flight was canceled by the airline. He made them take the 6:00 am flight on Saturday morning only to fly back on Sunday.

He didn’t care if the children were exhausted from all the travel.

He didn’t care if they couldn’t join the basketball team because of weekend games.

He just didn’t care. It was a zero-exceptions contract that I had agreed to.

My WASband’s words were, I am NOT willing to spend my custodial time in Northern California. There was intense hatred towards me in that single sentence. Each time I asked for some flexibility for our children, those words were written back to me in bigger, bolder font along with, My position hasn’t changed.

I had made a huge mistake.

I had willingly given a narcissist full discretion to decide where and how he spends time with our children assuming that he would be reasonable when it came to the children.

I don’t know if he saw their tears. I wiped them.

I don’t know if he heard their screams. Some days that’s all I heard.

He denied their pain. I couldn’t.

I don’t know if he realized their isolation. I saw it.

Over and over I begged a father to accommodate his children’s needs. Each time he refused.

There came a time when my children cried, I know the answer is no. The answer is always no. Then came a time when they no longer asked.

My ex now controlled the boys with custody.  

Spending his time with his children in Los Angeles trumped all else. He was blind to their physical health, their social development, and their emotions. He had to have control: It’s okay for [our son] to miss a birthday party in order to spend quality time with his father.

Of course, nothing was preventing this father from accompanying his son to this one and only birthday party that his son had been invited to all year.

And my ex also controlled me with custody.

When I mailed out a birthday card over summer break and asked my WASband to give the card to our son, my ex responded, “You should do that personally, meaning during your own custodial time.”

This was emotional abuse at its worst.

The control and emotional abuse I thought I had escaped resurfaced like a newer, stronger virus. This time, while aimed at me, it was infecting our children. The children weren’t doing well socially or emotionally.  Despite multiple pediatricians’ recommendations for immediate therapy for our children, my ex refused to consent.

Since the divorce and move my older son had begun to break out crying and screaming for no apparent reason. Of course, I knew the reason; he wasn’t coping well with his parent’s separation.

He was eight-years-old at the time and completely non-verbal about our divorce. He didn’t want to talk, or discuss, or listen to anything related to his mom and dad no longer living together.

Over the course of a year and a half, even after two pediatricians independently witnessed my older son have such an emotional meltdown including throwing himself around the room, my WASband maintained that my son didn’t need therapy.

The emotional outbursts became more frequent, became more intense and shifted from crying and screaming to also verbally threatening his family and physically hurting those around him.

Family court was a game of poker.

With no other resolution in sight, I turned to the Court for help. My children were in danger if nothing changed.

That journey through Court was long, expensive, and made unreasonably longer and more expensive by my ex on the other side. (During our eight-year marriage my ex had been in constant litigation all eight years; he sued all his business partners from multiple businesses, a dentist who voluntarily admitted a mistake, and an employee of a Fortune 500 company knowing the company would pay him damages just to avoid litigation).

I should have known better. My ex had no qualms or limits in abusing the legal system. He was an eye-for-an-eye man once he convinced himself that you had slighted him.

So, my ex showed up in Court with thick, oversized, zero-prescription eyeglasses and a bow tie to complete his geekiest Caltech persona. A charming serial entrepreneur with 20-20 vision (the one I had married) now sat disguised as a nerdy engineer in an effort to explain away his complete inflexibility in co-parenting his children.

He claimed he was an engineer who was scrambling to make ends meet and whose employer had been loaning him money for personal expenses. The fact was that he owned the company he worked for!

He showed virtually no income and no assets all the while affording private flying lessons, affording aircraft rentals, and paying his parents and extended family from business profits.

And so, a game of poker with the judges ensued. The first judge had enough common sense and provided temporary relief for the children from all the travel. This judge saw the thousands of pages of written communication between my ex and me as a complete breakdown of communication.

But he retired. Then a second judge with a completely different common sense, had me pay my ex’s attorney fees and didn’t bat an eye at the amount of travel our children were doing between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

This new judge wanted proof to correlate sickness to excessive travel. Common sense wasn’t good enough. This new judge saw the thousands of pages of written communication between my ex and me as normal negotiation.

This judge saw my wealth against my poor Caltech-graduate WASband with his fake glasses and bow tie, who had no car in his name, no property in his name, who for years had paid his company’s profits to his extended relatives.

In retaliation to me going to Court, my ex had convinced himself that he needed $30,000 per month to support our children. And since he could afford neither a car nor housing, he wanted me to now support a new lifestyle for him, complete with private jet travel, five-star hotels, and much more.

A third judge put an end to my ex’s non-sense; my WASband got his child support but an amount which I proposed to the Court based on facts instead of exaggerations. Disappointed with this outcome, my ex filed two more cases trying to get exorbitant amounts of money from me.

Those cases, while dismissed, still took an emotional and financial toll. I’ve learned now that it’s a matter of time before my WASband sues me again.

Court was a two-year war. And war is never good.

One of my sons got therapy after two years of jumping through all the Court’s hoops. My children’s travel was slightly reduced and many smaller issues were resolved. Yet the Court was fooled by a narcissist.

The Court didn’t approve therapy for my younger son because I didn’t have any evidence for its need. So, now a year later when my younger son says, “I will kill myself,” and my WASband still refuses therapy for him, am I to return to Court?

The Family Court that deals with divorced families and children couldn’t see this coming? I could.

This Court that also ordered my ex to spend the first weekend a month in Northern California because it coincided with the Tae Kwon Do schedule didn’t think to make it an order that my WASband actually take the children to these Tae Kwon Do events.

The Court couldn’t catch the narcissist in disguise. How am I to point out this mistake to the Court? With another trial and 2-year battle? No thank you.

Life, Uh, Finds a Way.

For nearly three years now, my children have been traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles nearly every weekend. Yes, it’s hard and unheard of, but the one weekend each month we have together is better than ever.

We miss most of the special school events, but we did go to one dance last year and I caught my boys on camera doing the Floss with their classmates!

We do miss most of the special Tae Kwon Do events, but every now and then the stars line up and we get to go to the one we get to go to!

We do miss most family get togethers, so now many of my nine first cousins go out of their way to have our children meet.

For over two years now, my WASband has been telling our children: Your mom is a liar. Her entire family lies. It’s her fault; she’s the one that divorced me. He shows them snippets of court documents to prove his story with evidence.

Sadly, my nine and ten-year-old children are versed in court vocabulary including evidence, exhibits, credibility, and legal contracts. My WASband tells my older son:  You go to therapy because you have mental problems. Your mom forced you to go to therapy.

You’ll be in therapy for your whole life.

You need to lose weight. You need to get in shape.

Are you trying to gain weight?

He tells our children: Do you have any Indian friends? I’ll arrange a playdate [on my visits to San Francisco] if your friends are Indian.

This type of abuse attacks every aspect of their lives. There may never be a respite from this.

My children began coming back to me on Sundays, especially after long holidays, and telling me: You’re a liar. A big fat liar because you don’t have any evidence. Daddy has evidence. I was caught off-guard, hurt, and defensive.

My co-parenting counselor (not to mention others) advised me to open up to my children, but mostly all I could say was: These are adult issues. Children shouldn’t be worried about these things. I will tell you when you’re seventeen or eighteen. Your Daddy loves you, but some of these things he is doing and saying are wrong. And he may never change. You have to be stronger.

After two years of this, there are still new frustrations, more confusion, and deeper wounds but my children are finding their way. They tell me: Mommy, you have to be stronger!

And I am stronger because I chose to be free. My marriage was bad and the aftermath of my divorce worse, but I am free. I’ve begun to learn to allow myself to resign all outcomes to a higher power when I need to.

I’ve learned that there’s nothing that can break me. I’ve been shattered more than once, and I’ve gotten up to collect and put myself back together each time. I don’t hate my ex; it’s as if my body or mind or soul has decided that this person doesn’t deserve even my hatred.

I pray for his peace of mind, I tell my children to send love towards Daddy, and I’ve never been one to pray. Whenever I remember, I tell my children to say something nice about someone else each night.

I’ve learned to hug and cuddle. My children wonder: Why have you gone all lovey-dovey. I suppose it’s because love is all that remains for me.

The post Child Visitation After Divorce: How My Narcissistic Ex Is Using It Against My Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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VETERANS IN POLITICS WINS SUPREME COURT APPEAL

VETERANS IN POLITICS WINS SUPREME COURT APPEAL

Contact: Steve Sanson
Phone: 702-283-8088
Email: vipipresident@cs.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2020

LAS VEGAS – Today, Friday, February 21st, 2020, Veteran In Politics International won an appeal in the Nevada Supreme Court against attorney Marshal Willick and his law firm, Willick Law Group.

The case has its roots stemming from an interview Mr. Willick voluntarily participated in on the Veterans In Politics Radio Show in November of 2015. Steve Sanson, host of the radio show and president of Veterans In Politics International, and Mr. Willick discussed the passage of AB 150 in the 2015 Legislative Session.

The passage of this appalling bill allowed veterans disability benefits to be included in divorce proceedings. Mr. Sanson courageously spoke out against this highly detrimental bill that hurt veterans in testimony to the Nevada Assembly Committee on the Judiciary. In those same committee meetings, Mr. Willick voiced his fervent support for the bill. It seems that Mr. Willick, by his support of the bill, condones taking disability benefits from wounded veterans as a way of enticing future clients to claim more money during their divorce proceedings.

After the radio show, Veterans In Politics International posted several statements on social media over the course of several years calling Mr. Willick out for his blatant hypocrisy. He claimed to support veterans, but he advocated for a policy that preys on disabled veterans and hits them unfairly hard during divorce proceedings. Veterans In Politics was pointing out Mr. Willick’s despicable behavior towards disabled veterans at a low point in their lives and addressing other issues stemming from his status as a practicing attorney, which will not be discussed in this release.

To deflect criticism from his targeting of disabled veterans involved in the trying situation of a divorce, Mr. Willick and his law firm filed a suit against Mr. Sanson and Veterans In Politics claiming, among other things “defamation…false light, and business disparagement.” Mr. Sanson fired back with an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) motion to dismiss Mr. Willick’s claims.

While the Eighth Judicial District Court dismissed Mr. Sanson’s motion, he appealed the motion and was granted a major victory in a ruling filed today by the Nevada Supreme Court. The case has been remanded back to the Eighth Judicial District Court for “further proceedings.”

Today is a win for veterans advocates in Southern Nevada, especially Veterans In Politics International. Mr. Sanson and Veterans In Politics are proud to continue the fight for veterans, the fight against the injustices of the broken Family Court system, and the fight against individuals and groups that prey on veterans (especially disabled veterans) and their livelihoods.
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The post VETERANS IN POLITICS WINS SUPREME COURT APPEAL appeared first on Veterans In Politics International.

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