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Ask the Divorced Guy!
by Dean Hughson
Title: A Spiteful Ex!
How do you handle an ex-wife that takes no responsibility in maintaining a
relationship between my children and I?
I travel six-hours round trip every other Friday and then the same on
Sunday to be with my children. I will never receive a phone call to let me
know how the kids are doing, or if they are going to a doctor or just to say
hello. I have to make all the calls, and if no one is home when I call, I have
to leave a message and await a collect call at their mother's convenience.
I pay over $1,200.00 a month in child support and daycare. I am also
responsible for 100% of medical that I can not afford. (She refuses to go
through the state medical program that she is eligible for) I have spent over
$20,000 on attorney fees with little satisfaction because my ex-wife is
vindictive and continues to blatantly hold herself in contempt of our divorce
I only make 38,000 annually and am finding it hard to afford my attorney's
services which seem to be requested every other week. What can I do to attempt
to gain custody of my children or force her to "play by the rules"?
I am assuming your divorce and child custody orders are from New York.
When you have a mean, spiteful, ex-spouse to deal with you have a couple of
options. The initial thought in your mind is to fight them back and get
even but I would imagine your inner voice tells you that you can't ever
get even with someone who is mean. Besides their anger and chaos in their
life is enough punishment for them and your kids are right in the middle of
it all. So the logical way to handle this is to learn ways to stop the
battle, since your ex is not going to help much in the process.
Your battle strategy should include the following:
1. Education In Long island you have an excellent group Father's
Rights of Long Island (http://www.sarilaw.com/frali01.htm) which can help you learn the process
so you don't have to depend on your attorney as much. In the area where
you live, Philadelphia, there are similar groups such as the chapter of
the National Congress For Fathers and Children (http://com.primenet.com/ncfc/sheahen.html), ran in your area by my
friend Kevin . I find that
nearly every place in the country there are similar groups organized to
help non-custodial parents, men or women, keep involved in their kids lives.
2. Concentrate on your kids and don't worry about your ex-spouses behavior.
Even if your ex-spouse is into devil worship or something similarly
strange, don't let it bother you. Work on spending time with your kids on
the telephone, in person, via letters, email, fax, or carrier pigeon (just
kidding). A lot of people lose sight that the goal should be to help our
kids and not worry about someone you no longer have to.
3. Remember that financial child support doesn't last forever but
emotional support should. Some day you will look back on these days and
remember some of the problems but work on surviving the tough economic
times you have. Go to a financial planner and see what can be done to help
you get yourself financially organized.
4. Focus on maintaining your present relationship. There is a lot of
stress from being married to someone who is under stress.
Dean Hughson, called the Dear Abby of Divorced Dads by the KC Star, is the founder of the DIVORCE HOMEPAGE. He has talked to thousands of people contemplating divorce, going through divorce, or the chaos afterwards and gives referrals and advice. He resides in Nevada, the state with the highest divorce rate in the US.
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