Yes, a 4 yo and they have been divorced 4 years. They separated before the pregnancy, she got pregnant so they stayed together then shortly after 4 yo was born Mom decides to load up dad's truck with all of his stuff, tell him to get out. Dad moves out rents a home and mom says she wants him to come back. Dad says no, mom turns in divorce paperwork.
They got a biforcated divorce, so temporary orders were all that were standing until this last January. She gave up all but 2-3 days a week since about 10 mo after separation because she said she couldn't handle the kids on her own. We had the kids usually about 5 days a week, although she had "full temporary custody". We lost days with the kids in january and gained 50% legal custody. That was after a $14,000 custody evaluation. In Utah, trust me it is VERY hard for a father to get full custody. The mother pretty much has to be blatantly on drugs and still they give her many chances before they will take away custody.
What upsets me about the situation is that she moves her sister into her home when she received more days because she says she can't do it by herself. According to the kids (freely telling us) their mom's sister and her partner are the only ones that will play with them. Mom just wants to watch tv. She will not cook meals, or even carry out for that matter. They have boxes of doughnuts, ding dongs, twinkis etc that are free grab for meals. (And that comes from the kids which was after verified by the custody evaluator in her report) No, we are not going to try and get full custody. I would love to have it but i think every child needs time with mom and dad.
I have stayed out of the court stuff. As far me doing childcare; she always has the first right of refusal, meaning if she would like to take the day off work to spend with the kids then she could do so at any point. If she doesn't have the day off work then the decision goes to my husband for childcare. I believe it is a lot better on kids (and less back and forth) to be able to stay at home vs. daycare.
@Goodmom- "If there is neglect or abuse going on, the Father needs to discuss that with an attorney to see what his options are."--- We have discussed the things being said to the kids by their mother, unfortunately mental abuse is a lot harder to prove than physical abuse. We have both kids in counseling and thats basically all we can do to help. It is hard when 6 yo bursts into tears and spills her guts about something harsh her mom has said to her, but she will not repeat it after that one time. Its like she explodes and spills her guts and everything that is hurting her and closes back up. That is something we are hopefully working through with counseling. I don't know specifics, but the counselor has said that the kids warned not to tell us certain things by her mother. The counseling is confidential unless he feels the children are in danger of physical harm so we don't know what those things are.
As far as the court giving her the final say over education; we got the attendance records from the school she went to kindergarten at and she was late for school about 75% of the time on the days her mom took her to school and missed 11 full days of school, all which we did not know about and were unexplainable. I doubt they would give her the final say over school, but i could be wrong. I guess if that were the case we would figure it out at that point.
As i said before, we wanted to close on a house by August when school starts. Either way she would be switching school this year because her mom wanted to pull her out of the one she is in to have her go to a school by her friends house (closer to daycare but not in boundaries). The daycare lady we have been using is going to stop childcare in about a year because she just finished school so after a year we'd have to move her schools again, not to mention 4yo will be starting kindergarten next year. I want to make the change once. I don't want them having to attend a different school for each grade. Therefore a short sale wouldn't have worked because we couldn't close in enough time.
SRS- I don't know how you keep getting on this "we lied to the court" kick. In january, we had absolutely no idea where or when we were going to move. We were still left renting and on top of that we were having to save up money to pay Mom's morgage because she kept threatning to walk out to screw my husbands credit. In march we actually ended up having to pay her full morgage on top of alimony so that it didn't screw up his credit. At that point we did not even know we were building. We hadn't even looked in the area. We did not lie to the court about anything, everything has just kinda fallen into place.
Like i said, we are not going to try for full custody. I would never want to take the kids away from their mom. Yes, i know she is mentally abusive to the kids, i hope it stops at some point but all we can do on our end in regards to that is being done. And my husband has and does help with the driving. That was mentioned in a previous post where i said "every day either my husband or i had to leave work" He does most the driving as far as taking to daycare and picking up, i was saying when she was in school i had to leave work to pick her up from school and take her to daycare a lot of days because my husbands job did not allow for him to always be able to have that specific time off to pick her up.... That was said to the ex from the very beginning and she still insisted on pulling 6yo from school by daycare where transportation was available to enroll her in one over 10 miles away.