How Can I Obtain Custody?


My wife and I have had a very rocky marriage for 10+ years. We have separated twice and come back together in this time both times against my better judgement. Now I’ve reached a point where I just don’t want to go on living any more, very depressed and beginning to have suicidal thoughts. I have no tendencies and I don’t see myself going to that extreme but I am very much feeling drained and hopeless. My wife has never worked and although I have been on unemployment since March she still refuses to get a job to help out. Our children are in elementary school, we have 2. She has been diagnosed bi-polar yet refuses to take any meds and she is violent. I came back 2 years ago after an 8 month separation and continue to stay because I worry about the kids. She flips out on them almost daily and screams profanities at them and threatens to hurt them which is where I step in. She has the same rage filled outbursts toward me almost daily and I’ll tell you its all I can do to keep from taking a swing at her but I refrain. She attacks my manhood, my ability to provide right now and calls me evil names like I’m a “fat f**k” which I’m not at 6’2" and 220 lbs I’m pretty solid but the pouch is coming with age! She is getting increasingly violent. In fact, last week during one of her emotional attacks I presented her with some truths that she did not like and she threw a shoe at me which hit me square in the face and busted my lip open. I must be getting patient with age because a few years back I would have gone back at her.

So here is my dilemma, I want out and I want the kids this time. I refuse to support this woman for the next 12 plus years with a third of my salary (when I find employment again) so she can continue living life and having a party on my dime. I have caught her contacting men AND women on craigslist and found a profile on an adult cheating website but I am sure there hasn’t been any face to face encounters. Yet, I am living my life completely devoid of affection because she is very cold to me. This is hard because I both offer and require lots of affection. I am not completely innocent here either, I have never had a physical affair but I did chat with a woman on yahoo back in 2001 in she has never let me forget it! I have behaved myself on-line since then but I am repeatedly accused of still doing it. Much of my work and school is done on the pc, so I must be doing something wrong… right?

I need to know how I can best start to build a case against her that will guarantee I maintain physical custody of the children but I do not want to call the police into the matter. I am ashamed enough that I have stayed with her all these years and I don’t want a scene in my neighborhood.

Thanks for letting me vent, I need your responses.



Custody is based on what is in the best interests of the children. Regarding the domestic violence, you should call the police and make reports. Documenting these instances is important as it will provide you with the evidence you need to present your case to the judge. Your embarrassment should not be a concern.

You should also seek counselling for yourself, your children cannot be safe with you if you are having suicidal thoughts.


In addition to Erin’s post I’d like to add that documenting everything is a must. Document outbursts, dates, times, and cause and outcome. Document by recording if possible. Go back to the doctor who originally diagnosed the bipolar disorder and request information. Look back through your insurance records to show that no medication was ever filled. Find out what your rights are in a separation and what it is you are entitled to and responsible for.

Emotional affairs are not recognized. It does not matter if you have been talking to someone on the internet. The courts look at these factors when determining alimony:
"What factors does the court consider in determining alimony?
The factors that are considered by the court are as follows:

  1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses,
  2. The relative earningsand earning capacity of the spouses,
  3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses,
  4. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others,
  5. The duration of the marriage,
  6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse,
  7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child,
  8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage,
  9. The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs,
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support,
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse,
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker,
  13. The relative needs of the spouses,
  14. The federal, state, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award, and
  15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper.
  16. The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital property."

My suggestion is that if you do not feel you or the children are safe you should leave and take the children with you. The majority of the time, the children remain with the parent who has initial custody…not always. You need to file for primary physical & legal custody.
I’ll tell you this, there are more men abused in relationships that anyone realizes. It’s embarrassing and they think no one will believe them, but the authorities KNOW that it DOES happen, and I’ve never heard of one person making fun of spousal abuse, regardless of who’s being abused!
If your neighbors do not already realize there is a serious problem in your home, then they are in their own little world and it will not matter if you bring the entire police department to your home. What I’m trying to say is that most people do not realize that other people already know…especially about stuff like this. They hear the screaming, the kids talk to someone at school, the neighbor sees your busted lip…people know. Your being embarrassed about this means that it will continue. It means that you accept it. If this is not the case, then you should contact the police, have her arrested and press charges for spousal abuse. This will get her out of the home so that you and the children are safe. That is the most important thing. Your ego will recover and you may be surprised at the reaction you get. If it never gets reported, it will never stop. If you allow it to continue, it will get worse. You need to protect yourself and your children. You need to seek counseling and get the children in counseling as well.