Living in a nightmare


I am happy with my lawyer. She has done what I perceive to be a great job but I’m still not sure I’m completely understanding everything and perhaps writing it down in this forum will help me articulate it.

I have gone thru the mediation process with my cheating wife. We mediated the distribution of our marital assets and came up with a child support arrangment that is a 50/50 physical split of custody of the children with an equal number of overnights for each of us. The mediation also calls for me to pay a sum of $X to her every month for child support based on that split…the amount that I am paying her is a bit less than the schedule B would call for as it is understood as I am the only one with a job or any true employability that the reality is what it is. As she is a cheating and adultering wife she of course signed away and is not entitled to alimony. The final consent agreement is not yet filed with the court - all that is in play right now is the mediated final separation agreement.

Well - as we are now several months past mediation and have been separated for nearly a year, I have tracked very carefully the number of overnights that the kids have been with me as opposed to her and as an example over the last six months the kids have been with me 169 out of the last 180 nights (nowhere near the 90/90 that should be in play). The other reality of the situation is that my children generally refuse and do not want to spend the night with their cheating mother and her drug-using lover as they are collectively responsible for the destruction of their lives as they knew it and frankly she doesn’t really show much interest in the children anymore - - - she is much more interested in her partying lifestyle and appearing as a moviestar to the community. My kids are not toddlers - they are of an age where forcing them to do something is virtually impossible and also the fact is that their activities and needs cannot be met by her or her lover (or so she says). She actually took her half of the marital assets after mediation and blew a large portion of it on a high-end german automobile and now she is claiming to be broke and unable to find a job as she cruises the town in her stupid car. It would almost be comical if it wasn’t reality.

After running the numbers thru the Rosen calculator - - - I happen to believe that she should be paying me child support (which is of course impossible since she has no job and no prospects and is making very little effort to find a job - - - it would appear she is living off of her lover’s money or something - - - it’s truly a mystery to me but I can’t worry about that anymore). Is it not true that number of overnights is the driving factor in the calculation of child support? I am doing basically everything for these kids and she is doing basically nothing.

My lawyer suggests (and I have no reason to believe it is not correct) that it is rare that a court will take children from a parent (especially a mother) unless something horrible is in play. Apparently being a cheating and lying woman who committed adultery with a drug-user doesn’t really preclude her ability to be with them - - which I find troubling but I also sort of do understand it. My lawyer told me that they can’t get high by having dinner with them.

Should I let the final consent order get done and then revisit this issue? Should I just bend over and take it and basically pay her what amounts to alimony since she is clearly not doing nor does she intend to do anything for the children? I do have a lawyer - and asking her is something I will do - - - - but I also am just trying to get my ducks in a row and gather further data. I don’t want her to be with the kids - - - basically I just don’t want to keep paying her anything. I don’t care if she starves and lives under a bridge - - - she has ruined my life and my kids life - - - there has to be some semblance of justice in this process.

Living in a TV Show.


Your lawyer’s advice is correct. It is likely not enough to gain primary custody of the kids because her boyfriend uses drugs, without more. If he does drugs in front of the kids, etc., that would certainly help you get full custody rights. Her adultery is completely irrelevant to custody determination. I understand you don’t feel that joint custody is being exercised right now, since you seem to have the kids already on a primary custodial schedule. It’s up to you whether or not you want to continue consenting to a joint custody arrangement and the corresponding level of support, or if you want to have primary custody. Income can be imputed to her, but only if she is found to be suppressing her income in bad faith. From the limited facts given, I can’t determine that she is doing that.

For what it’s worth, remember that your kids will have to go along with whatever arrangement you’re consenting to. If you agree to joint, and the kids don’t spend the time with mom that they’re supposed to, and she files contempt against you, you cannot use the fact that the kids didn’t want to go as a defense. You would have to make them go, or you can get into trouble yourself. You would need to show the court facts about why the arrangement is not in your children’s best interests, such as evidence of drug or alcohol abuse (especially in their presence), emotional, verbal or physical abuse, endangerment or neglect.