I am a single parent of 5 kids. Two years ago my wife packed up her things and moved out of the house leaving me with all the responsibility of the kids, and no financial support at all from her, even though we have an agreement that states she is to pay $800/month. Mind you this isnít the main issue. It wasnít until recently that I found out that, 1) she hasnít felt like a mother for quite a while and 2) the reason she moved out was because she was depressed. She has since moved out of the state and every two weeks makes a 500 something mile trip back to see the kids. I have held off on the divorce issue, with hopes of reconciliation, but that is now out the window. My main issues are trying to deal with the criticism of my parenting skills, routines and disciplining of the kids. Another concern is that I am in the process of consulting a lawyer to get the divorce rolling, but am struggling with the custody, because she has the feeling that she and the kids really need to be involved with each other. She proposed split custody (week with me and then week with her) provided she can find a job back in the area where I am. I am totally against this as I feel it will cause confusion and disrupt everything plus it will be like the ultimate game of Mom vs Pop. Another is that I am active duty military and she stated that she is entitled to a percentage of my retirement, but since I havenít received anything in the form of child support I kinda find that a little unfair.
Any advice would be appreciated and thanks for letting me share.
I would legally go after the child support. Im sure you need it. I think joint custody is a good idea of she lives in the same town. The kids need their mom too unless there is so much bitterness that she will bad mouth you to the kids? Kids need both parents especially if you get deployment orders. Start the divorce process and discuss all this with your lawyer. I am in the middle of a divorce now too and my lawyer's advice has been invaluable. Good luck.
How can she do "joint custody" if she lives in another state? In my honest opinion, she wasnts "joint" custody so that she doesn't have to pay you child support. My understanding is that if you truly have joint custody, the parent that makes the most money pays the other child-support.
In a standard order, where she would have the kids first and third weekends, etc...she could still have a relationship w/ the kids and be invovled with them. From the little I know about your situation, this seems to be the best option.
If you think about it this way ---she all but abandonded you and your children. I'm really not even sure she would be granted joint custody. Don't get me wrong, I understand depression and how it can completely over take you but until you know she has gotten the help she needs, i don't think going w/ her desires is the best for any of you.
Take care and hang in there!! I know this is so super tough.