Hostile Environment

First, I’m not sure that your one year one day required separation has begun if you are still living in the same home. This is the only way that he could file for divorce.

Just because the two of you do not get along does not mean that he will “win” custody of the children. You should consider joint custody only because children need both parents. You could do joint legal custody with you having primary physical and him getting frequent visitation.

You are hostile to each other and he’s claiming that you are making the environment hostile. Maybe you should sit down with a calendar and notepad and make some documentations about these arguements, what started them and what happened. It will be on him to show why this is a hostile environment instead of just a routine separation…almost everyone is hostile during this time.

Filing for divorce from bed & board is normally only a technicality. Normally, one spouse has already left the marital home. His attorney, if he has one, should have told him that though this may end up forcing you to leave, you are still entitled to 1/2 the marital assets. This would include the furnishings and 1/2 any equity in the home, 1/2 the finacial debt would include the pets.
Divorce from Bed & Board does not cover custody or child support. Clothing for the children would be covered with child support and unless you both make an equal amount, one will have to pay child support to the other.

There are a lot of details that should be discussed with an attorney. Document, document, document!

Thanks for replying.

He makes well over 2x what I make and has asked for child support from me. I realize that he cannot take everything from me. some of the things are inheritances from my family he cannot touch.

My biggest concern is the kids. I am more than happy for him to have visitation with the kids, but I am not going to accept 50/50 custody when my kids have said flatly they do not want it. They have said they do not want to be in the position of taking care of their father, as they have seen me do for their entire lives. At 12 years of age he would ask my daughter what was for dinner and was she preparing it, if I didn’t have his dinner ready when he wanted it. They are afraid that they will become his new cook and maid.

I do have “journals” for about 7 years of going issues that I am hoping will help the judge view this in perspective. These things were not written to show to anyone, although twice they started out as letters to a girlfriend and deteriorated, and reveal only what I felt I was going through at the time. I have continued to document quite a bit, but not as much as I should. I will note this latest argument, what started it and my responses and his behavior.

I find it difficult to believe a judge wants to know all the pettiness of a divorce, when the important issue is the children involved and what is best for them.


It sounds to me as though he is using “scare tactics” to force you into giving him custody and support. You do not HAVE to agree to anything.
If he makes more then I suggest running the calculator on this website through all situations to see what the worst case would be, physical custody to you, joint custody with equal time, and physical custody to him. Support is based on income, number of overnights with each parent and other payments such as insurance and child care or other extrodinary expenses. There only way to get around paying the amount you come up with would be by agreement and it NOT going to court.
The children are old enough to make the decision though legally he may still have a leg to stand on for custody, but it is unlikely that the courts would force a teenager to with one parent or the other unless there is history of abuse or neglect. Make no mistake though, having both parents as involved as possible in a child’s life is what is normally considered to be in the best interest of the children. Your children may need to be prepared to talk to the judge. Have they told their father how they feel? It may make a difference to him to know that it’s rare that a court would force a teenager to go against their wishes, within reason of course. It may also make a difference to him to see from the state guidelines what amount support would be if this goes to court.
If he makes that much more than you, you should also consider alimony…
With your situation it may prove to be beneficial to have those “journals” handy for the sake of dates, scenarios, or specifics that you may not recall. Sadly, this is why we on this board normally stress to everyone to settle as much as possible through agreement or out of court. If the entire thing goes to court, every dirty detail of marriage and child care history could be told in open court with witnesses, family, friends there to hear. Document as much as you can and gather finacial and other paperwork. Talk with the marriage counselor you visited and ask if you can get a written summary of your visits and issues. See if you can find where he was diagnosed by the psychologist.
If he is determined that this goes to court, you want as much ammunition as possible. You give that to your attorney. Then your job is to show the courts why it would be better for your children to stay with you primarily. Show that you have been the primary caregiver. You take them to doctor’s appointments, give them lunch money, spend quality time with them. Do not try to show that he’s a bad father, only that you are a better choice for custody. Also, find out from the attorney what difference it makes that your children refuse to live with him and how that can be used…

Yes, I know some of it is trying to intimidate me. It works. Unfortunately he has gotten away with a lot over the years and I don’t have a lot of confidence that he won’t get away with this as well.

I did check out the child support calculator. Nice tool. I will be doing more investigation on this website too. I have done a lot of reading but reading and living are two different things.


I have a situation that has some similarities and hope you can help me. How did he get diagnosed as a narcassist? I plan to have a psychological evaluation on my stbx and wondered if that is what you had done. Also, was it court ordered or he just had it done?
Thanks for your help

About 3 years ago we went to marriage counseling and that counselor gave the diagnosis. However, in NC we are not able to use his diagnosis in court, because there are privacy laws or something like that. You can have, to my understand, psychological evaluations done and he did recommend a person for us to use if I went that route.


His allegations of a hostile environment matter very little in a custody case. The court will make decisions based on the best interests of your children. The court will look at the entire situation between you and will focus on the care you have each given to your children, this includes not only care for them in the home and providing them, but also includes general involvement in their lives.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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My husband of soon to be 25 years filed for divorce in the fall of last year. However, he would not leave. I made arrangements to get a home loan and move, but he will not sign financial separation papers unless he gets 50/50 custody of the kids. The kids at 14 do not want to live with their father. He has also taken us 2 1/2 years ago into Chptr 13 and is now stating he can’t find a place to live because of that, although in his divorce from bed and board he requested I be out of the house with him keeping all the furnishings, etc…

He claims he will win custody of the kids because he has been living in a “hostile” environment. This is a man who pushes buttons every weekend to setup an argument and then tries to act like the victim, when I confront him. Other than these issues he brings up we ignore each other. We have lived in separate bedrooms for almost 3 years. Never once did he request I return or ask me why I left. He and his parents began researching their rights upon divorce three years prior to his filing.

History: He pays the home loan, chptr 13, and basic utilities. I pay for everything else. I have complied with his instructions in this arrangement. He accuses me of demeaning him in front of the children because they ask him first if he can provide for something. If he cannot, then they come to me and I do it. Frequently, things are setup so that he forces expenses on me. This is the budget plan he setup when he took over the budget in 2005 and six months later filed chptr 13 after significantly contributing to our debt. He only cooks and feeds himself. He only does laundry for himself. He does take the garbage out and mow the lawn, but that is all that he does to contribute to the general maintenance of the home and the children. We have significant pets, which he agreed to and now wants to drop all the expense and responsibility on me. I insist that he pay for the rabies vaccines every three years, which is an issue for him. I insist that he pay 50% of the kids school clothes each year. He contributes a very minute amount to groceries, but until about two weeks ago that basically fed him. I told him I was no longer going to feed him since I felt very used and abused. he next words confirmed it, as he said, in that case I really need to move out since you won’t cook for me anymore.

Up until last year I worked part-time from the home in order to be available to my twins when necessary. When he filed Cptr 13 I sought additional contracts for my self-employee, but they were not fruitful, so I began seeking full-time employment and finally obtained it about a year later. I have worked 22 of the 25 years of our marriage. My pension was the down payment for our home and moved us across the country to it. My inheritance made significant improvements to the home. He does not consider that I have contributed to our marriage.

He has accused me of being bi-polar and a drug addict because I’m on pain medications due to disc bulges in my cervical spine causing significant pain. For 25 years every argument led him to accuse me of a mental instability because I didn’t agree with him. We went to marriage counseling and he has been diagnosed by a psychologist as a narcissist. There is no history of drug seeking.

How much weight does his “hostile” environment have regarding custody of my children?