The Story Behind The Drama

When my stress levels go through the roof, I tend to retreat INTO social media.  It’s fun there.  I can make base jokes, or even attempted thought-out ones.  I can rant about politics, or anti-science celebrities. 

The problem is, the more stressed I am, the longer I stay in social media.  It’s far more relaxing than the real world.  But, time on Twitter, or blogging, doesn’t solve problems you’re actually facing in life.

I feel like I should just put out there what’s going on with me.  Maybe I’m doing it more for me; maybe I’m doing it just so I can point people here when they ask what’s wrong.  I wish I knew if this story had a happy ending, but I don’t.

My ex-wife is remarrying.  Fine by me.  It took her over 9 years to even DATE after we split up, so I’m all for her moving on, and focusing less on me.  Of course, the difference is that she flaunted and exposed our daughter to her dating life, despite a “morals clause” in our divorce decree (she had the idea to put it in there, by the way, aimed at me) precluding her from certain activities.

She’s marrying the equivalent of “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (very old tv show I didn’t watch, but it fits), i.e., a widower with a son.  My daughter doesn’t like the son, and tolerates the dad.  She’s being forced to leave the only home she’s ever attended school from, and take up at a new place.  She’s unhappy.

Custody was always fairly easy, because my ex and I (relatively) got along.  It was quite liberal.  Basically, it was, “I get to see my daughter pretty much whenever I want,” but her primary home is with mom.  So the 3 of us hung out a lot together, which suited my daughter fine.  As she got older, she started to spend weekends, even summer weeks, in DC instead.  So the transition was gradual, and smooth.  Because she always had her home to go to with her mom, which I know she felt was her “main” home.  It was very loose in structure.  It gave my ex control over my daughter’s “calendar,” meaning my ex could tell me here and there when my daughter was “unavailable.”  The trouble was, as my ex dated more, and included our daughter, my time with her was unilaterally reduced.  We have joint legal custody, but you’d never know it from the outside look of things.

Fast forward to the ex’s engagement.  Of course, the new hubby does not like the idea of me coming/going in their house whenever I please, and I get that.  So, we’re negotiating a new custody agreement.  As usual, I’ve tried to approach this objectively.  Because, you know, Scientific Skepticism.

They’re moving so far away that I can’t see my daughter school nights anymore, at least not practically.  So, I modeled a proposed custody agreement based on what those usually look like, allowing for some weekends:

3 weekends per month out of months, regardless of 4-5 weekends.  Summers, although not the entire summer.  Alternating holidays.  That works out, nights-wise, to about a 65/35 split in my ex wife’s favor.

What I got back was this:

She wants 2 weekends per month, in which she’ll let me know what weekends I can have.  She wants up to 5 out of 11 weeks of the summer, and she’ll let me know, annually, which weeks she’ll keep. 

So what my ex wants is for me to give up the liberal access to my daughter, but she gets to keep the control over telling me when/where I can see my daughter.  The point of a structured custody arrangement is to allow for predictability, and protect each parent’s rights to see their child, and spend time with her.  But what she wants is me to give up significant time with her, and still submit to being informed annually how I can see her.

All tallied up, she’s offering herself about a 75/25 split in time, and she gets to direct when my 25% will be.

This isn’t reasonable, and it’s going to be a mess.

Granted, my ex- has had it quite good for 10+ years.  She tells me if something is going on for a weekend/week, and I adjust my schedule.  If I want to do something with my daughter, I’ve had to go through her to make sure I’d be able to see her that day/weekend.  But, I accepted that arrangement, because I could pretty much just drive out to see her whenever I wanted, barring scheduling issues.

So now, she STILL wants the ability to tell me when I get to see my daughter, but she wants me to reduce my time to roughly 96 hours a month, plus whenever my ex decides certain weeks in the summer will work.

Again:  This isn’t reasonable, and it’s going to be a mess.

I’ve gone back to my divorce attorney, and it’s in her hands now.  We will litigate this, I hope, but I need to see what she thinks the best way to deal with this idiocy is.  When we divorced, almost this exact same thing happened — I offered her all the assets, everything I could think of, short of my own salary, and one car.  She wanted to keep all the assets, but demanded I assume the debt attached to those assets (so she keeps the house, but I pay the mortgage, she keeps the cars, but I make the payments).  Our incomes were virtually equal.  We litigated, and thousands of dollars later, I had an “offical” say, “I don’t know how he did it, but it seems to me the husband got it correct from the very beginning.”  I’m hoping I got it right again.  I think I did, but convincing someone who isn’t objective is a difficult process.  Even if I’m wrong about some of the date handling, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be ordered 25% of the time, and only when my ex-wife designates weeks to me on an annually-notified basis.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on. I don’t think I’ll publicize this entry, and will instead just refer people here if/when they ask what’s happening. I should lay off social media for a while, because this needs to be solved.

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