I am going through a divorce from a 4y relationship with a 3yo child. I have put in slightly more hours (stay home dad for first 1.5 years), though we are both great parents. Neither of us have filed anything (Oregon law) We are going to a mediator tomorrow so want some quick advice.
My wife got resentful for being the breadwinner while I was stay home dad and part time PhD student for the first 2 years of my sons life. She planned to kick me out of the house at the start of her summer holidays when she is going to .75 next year and I’m working more. maybe also advantaging her in terms of child support and alimony if im earning more and she’s having more time with our child.
She wanted me to pay her back for the time with our child she missed out on while working, all the money she contributed to the relationship while working, oh and also her expenses while perusing the relationship. This gave the lawyers a good laugh. Though going the nasty legal path is expensive and causes animosity, so I need to address the irrational logic if I want to proceed through mediation. Yes I felt like I wanted to repay her goodwill and would have turned the tables and supported her, but that goodwill all vanished when she plotted, and kicked me out of the house. Im not saying I wouldnt nessisarily feel generous in the future when my life is going a bit smoother, but I prefer generosity to be given rather than a manipulative attempt to have it taken.
I found a house sitting arraignment and was about to move out, though was told not to abandon the family if I want custody. So I refused to leave unless I had our son with me for half the time out of the house. Original I was out of the house for 4 nights a week with my son 2 of them (all 3 of us together the other 3 nights).
Is this a safe move if I leave the house and have our son for half the nights out of the house? I’m still keeping the nights even. Or am I effectively homeless now so not in deserving of custody even while im forcing a more rigid 50% of the nights.
The house is co-mingled asset, does moving out impact my claim on the comingled asset? She wants the mortgage to stop coming out of the shared account, does that stop it from being comingled? Is it half the increase in value of the house till the day I move out, stop paying mortgage etc? Or is it calculated on a future value of the house at the time of divorce (still appreciating while im moved out). I think I saw something about in California a parent kicked out of a comingled asset house may get a slightly more favorable equity distribution due to having to bear the burden of supporting a second house.
What is considered moving out? Is house sitting considered a move? If I leave my possessions there? If I still get mail there? If im still visiting there? Should I move back in before its too late saying it was just a temporary house sitting arraignment?
Since she learnt about the comingled asset topic she has tried to keep me out of the house, try to stop the morgage coming from the shared account, try to stop me from doing anything around the house (she would yell at me if I start emptying the dishwasher). maybe a desperate attempt to try and reclaim that portion of the house.
I offered to give her more flexibility to have more than 50% time for her summer holidays (more PhD time for me too), and while im in housing transition if she would agree to signing a peice of paper that we agree on joint custody and 50-50 physical shared time, except for these exceptions such as this summer. She refused which makes me thing she has ulterior motives.
She said “I will agree to joint custody when you set things right financially” she kept at this for a long time till I said she can not use our son as a bargaining chip. So, she instantly changed her story to a cover citing this article ([censored]://[censored].mediate.com/divorce/pg1034.cfm) which says at 3yo a visiting parent should have only a couple of nights a week compared to the custodial parent. But as far as I can see we are still equal parents so I could just as easily make the same argument the other way around. She extrapolates that to be that he needs to spend most of his nights in his primary household which she defines as her(our) house, and then he would only have a couple of nights in his secondary house (the place Im currently house sitting or any future place I may have).
Does anyone have any contrary articles? Ones that state that a full 50-50 share is best for 3yo if both parents are equally awesome parents? Or supporting the role of a father?
We went to a counseling group whom suggested we don’t need to take the rough legal path. That I don’t need to be keeping the number of nights even, I vacate and give her the house etc. And we agree on joint custody. This sounds nice to do things peacefully… though I’d be screwed if I then abandon my position, and then she turns around and takes this to court after I let her become the primary care provider.
She verbally agreed to joint custody and 50-50 time share in the future, though refuses to sign any document for 3.5nights/week. Claiming that maybe later he needs his father half the time but at this age he needs his mother more than half the time. Without the reassurance of a signed document that there will be no custody battle then I do not want to risk just stepping away from our child for a period of time. I need to cover my bases in that case of a potential custody battle threat.
The more subtle ramifications on custody and the comingled asset is a bit grey in this case where Im out of the house in a house sitting arraignment, most of my personal bellongings are in the house, my son is with me half the time. Etc.
Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of?
Of course I could go the hardball legal route, though that can be expensive, could screw her over, and would cause animosity. Going the path of a mediator seems potentially good to save on the legal conflict, though it should be in line with my legal rights, as opposed to falling into some twisted reality.
I know many people say “get a lawyer” I have had a couple of consultations (hence know my rights). though I wonder if its too early for a lawyer and i havent paid a retainer yet, still hoping it can be avoided via mediation. at the moment im trying to work my way through it, mainly trying to get advice to position myself correctly for whatever may come in the future, avoid any pitfalls, and then hope that a reasonable solution can be made without going down the ugly path.