Hi, all. First time poster. I am currently at the point of facing the reality that my marriage is over. I am a Dad first, and my number one priority is getting the best (primary) custody arrangement as this thing moves forward. I am looking for any input or 2x4’s you have to offer based on my situation and plan. I apologize in advance if this is rambling on too much. Here are the details:
- Married for 11 years
- One DS 10
- Own home – little to no equity
- Me – primary income earner - $120 k per year, plus bonus
- Wife - $45 k per year part-time – (20 hours per week) – she has Masters degree and has made much more…will not go back to work fulltime at this point.
Marriage background FWIW - My wife has a history of bi-polar behavior. It has been this way since I have known her. We have been in and out of counseling. I have done what she has asked me to do and stayed focused on trying to make this marriage work, including convincing her to go to joint counseling (again) with me beginning last January. Well, it has been over a year, and it has not gotten any better. She wants me out of the house. When I have asked her if she wants to be married, she says she is not sure. When I ask her if she wants a divorce, she says she does not know.
I know she has consulted with an attorney. She has threatened false domestic violence charges to get me out of the house, of which I have on recording. I also found out recently that she has an account on Match.com
Like I said….my marriage is over, and have suspected it for some time. Now, it is time to take action, or my fear is she will file first and I will be royally screwed.
What I have Done --- With the marriage floundering, I found this site a year ago and have been lurking. I have been playing James Bond cool at home. I have read the LIST and began following most of what is in it, including gathering all financial documents, voice recorder at all times, inventorying and photographing items in home.. I have documented and journaled any and all time with my son. I have his school records, and such. I am actively involved in his life, his school / teachers, and lead his Scout troop. I was his primary caregiver his first three years. I work at home 3 days a week and no weekends, so I take him to school and pick him up. I cook, clean, do the groceries, etc. He is my right hand man, and I cannot imagine not being around him.
I have an attorney and have already paid a retainer. Two things I have learned from this site….do NOT move out, before any type of custody is signed by a judge; and file first. My attorney also reiterated these points.
So, here are my goals and plan --- any and all input is greatly appreciated. My attorney wants to file for custody and residence first, so the initial filing would be:
1. Maximum parenting time with my son - I plan on filing for primary custody, knowing I ultimately I may need to settle for joint legal 50/50.
2. Maintain residence in the home for myself and my son - I plan on asking to retain primary residence.
3. There have been violent outbursts from my STBX, that I have on recording. I also plan to ask for a TRO.
Depending on how the above hearing goes, I will either stay in the house, or have to find a place (I am looking now for a 3 bedroom rental in case needed).
Financially, my goals are to minimize any alimony. Child support will be what it is, based on the parenting arrangement. Right now, I am focused on my son.
Does my plan sound OK? Anything I am missing?
This whole thing sucks royally. I don't want my marriage to end, but I also don't want to leave my head in the sand. It just seems like she is getting ready to pull the trigger. My fear is falling on my sword because I am told that I am too nice a guy sometimes. I guess that's where any 2x4's will come in....feel free to offer advice, or ask any other questions.