I honestly understand that you are very frustrated. I can tell you from personal experience that none of this matters to the court as far as custody and that is what makes it all so sad.
I will relate in short my husband’s previous situation. Married 15 years, two boys 6 & 9 at the time, she moves from the home into an apartment and leaves the children with him for several weeks to party. Pushes him to get a separation agreement so that she can be seen in public with her boyfriend without repercussions. He’s paying her $100 per week and splitting the cost of everything. There were only two visits, one overnight with her roommates boyfriend babysitting while she went out barhopping. He and I met, she’s on her 3rd boyfriend in as many months, she hits the roof. Goes psychotic on me and all of a sudden it’s MY fault that they split up. She tries to get their separation agreement voided, my car gets keyed, numerous threats, cursing me and arguing with him and all in front the boys. He sues for custody, and we all go to court. During the preliminary hearing she realizes that he’s got all this dirt on her and that he has been taking care of the children so he’s likely to get custody and decides to settle. Now, they have both spent $10,000 on attorney’s fees, we’ve spent an hour and half in court. What she settled for: joint custody with equal time, he pays $250 per child per month, she buys clothes twice a year that he will reimburse her half or up to $500. (We each buy clothes now because that did not work out so well after the first time) and everything else is her responsibility. She had it better before but she got greedy. Has bought two homes and recently moved back into a two bedroom apartment where the boys have to share a room 10 & 13 now due to her last boyfriend ruining her credit and putting herself into finacial jeopardy.
Now, the oldest is beginning to suggest that he may want to live with us because it’s not as chaotic and he is also starting to see his mother for what she is. I have no doubt that she loves them but with her, it’s more important that they love her, if that makes sense. She is not happy.
The suggestion that I have is to set an example. Support your children and talk to them. Fight for joint custody if she will not agree to it because it really is what’s best for the children. They deserve for you to allow them to spend time with thier mother regardless of whether or not she chooses to spend time with them. Get into a support group, talk to a minister or a friend but do not talk badly to your children about their mother. They will remember. Be patient…it will all come back around. Keep the “big picture” in mind and pick your battles. Things change quickly during separation and divorce so even though something bothers you, decide if it’s something that you can do anything about before you even let her know it bothers you. That drives my husband’s ex up the wall when she does something that used to send him over the edge and now he just shrugs it off.