New here, so sorry if this is too long, but at my wit’s end. I feel I have been extremely patient with all the instability and poor parenting my ex is putting my youngest child through, but now I am really torn and for the first time in 12 years, feel like I should file for custody.
Divorced with 3 children in 2006 in Indiana. Re-Married in 2012 to my wife with 2 children of her own.
Because of our vast differences in income, the Ex receives a nice chunk in Spousal support – Awarded for either 20 years or until she re-marries. In 2013, she moved to Illinois based on a new job she got there, which I allowed for her financial reasons and it was only 2hours away. At that time, She kicked our oldest daughter out and said she would need to stay with me. Only 7 months before my daughter’s eighteenth birthday I decided to continue paying child support for her even though she was living with me, to avoid additional attorney fees. The Ex then had our case moved to Illinois, where the child support was more than doubled. She started refusing to meet me half way for visitations, which forced me to drive 2 hours each way to see my kids every other weekend. This has gone on for the past 5 years. In 2014, after moving into an apartment in a new school system, she kicked my second daughter out who was all too happy to come and live with me. Her constant harping at my daughter and pleas for help or “she would be homeless” caused me to offer to continue paying child support again for our second daughter for 2 years until she graduated. After all, my son was still in her care and I didn’t want him to suffer. I am not at all unreasonable and have been more than fair. I have always been that dad who will help out whenever possible – going in halves and sometimes full on Piano lessons, Karate, Uniform costs, school clothes, etc, all on top of child support paid. Despite the distance I have been to every belt change ceremony, every recital, every performance and special event in my kid’s lives! All I can say, is thank God they were never on any sports teams! And yes, I know, she has taken advantage of my generosity, but I don’t want my kids to suffer because of her poor financial decisions. Side note: I left her with a $380k+ mortgage-free, furnished home, a paid off SUV, and $100K in settlement cash. She has lost it all. Another side note: When my Second daughter moved in with me, the Ex literally did not see her for a 2-year period, never paid a penny to help with anything, showed up to her high school graduation with some chocolates and has seen her very little since.
After the move in 2014, she moved an additional 4 times in and around the same area, always for a better rental rate, but each time into a different school system. This has been extremely frustrating!
This past May, she told me she received a job offer in North Carolina and was moving. She was granted permission from the courts in Illinois to do so, based on “hardship” and proof of a new job in Charlotte. So now, she has up and packed our son up and moved to North Carolina. I feel helpless, but this is what I just learned today: 1. He is already getting bullied at the new school which I researched and found out to be a D-rated School. 2. She is already talking about moving out of that school system because of it. 3. She is still employed at her job in Illinois.
Unknown to me, she has been working from home with this company and is still employed by them. She did get another job offer from a company in Charlotte, NC but didn’t take it. She only used it to get permission from the courts to move. She is now refusing to move the court case to North Carolina, which I can see would be a fairly sizable reduction in child support paid to her. From Her sister’s mouth, She moved there for a guy she met online, they broke up after three weeks, and she has had 3 or 4 new boyfriends since.
Factors that bother me: (some previously mentioned, and some not)
1. The gross instability my Son is being put through.
2. Poor Diet – Eating out daily – fast food – Donuts for breakfast every school day.
3. Poor Life and Motor Skills. – Little to no “parenting” or “teaching” done by Ex. He is 14 years old and it took us all summer long to work with him on holding a fork properly. (Small, but just one example.)
4. Most recent count is upwards of over 40 men she has brought and out of our children’s lives in the past 12 years. Six short-lived, live-in boyfriends, 2 engagements, and most were introduced to my kids and spent time with them.
5. Reports from daughters that all she ever does is sit on the couch and talk on the phone with her boyfriends.
6. My son has mentioned several times over the past couple of years that he would like to come and live with us. However, she always guilts him; telling him she would be homeless if he ever leaves. This tears him apart as he loves his mother and would never want to see harm come to her.
Should I file for custody?
I am pretty emotional right now, So someone may need to talk me off the ledge if this is a bad idea. I know courts favor the mother, and I don’t know the law, but isn’t there some way to protect my child against this ignorance and instability!??!