Major, major update for those who follow my blog but not my Twitter stream (they knew days ago! ) – the ex and I reached an agreement on the whole settlement issue. It involved cash payment up front so I could do as I planned and get a new place, and him buying back a few of the larger furniture items I had been awarded by the court that he wanted to keep. I thought overall we were both happy enough with it. We drew up a contract and he came over and signed it, and I thought, naively, that that would be the end of it.
My how things change quickly. Almost immediately after the contract was signed and money changed hands, I started getting emails about how he talked to his lawyer, and the court’s decision that I get all the household stuff didn’t include blah blah blah (fill in the blanks, because he is trying to make it sound like pretty much most of the stuff in the house). Nothing belonging to the kids, nothing belonging to him from before we were together (which clearly I agree with), and nothing he terms as ‘gifts’, which he has now expanded to mean anything anyone has ever given us for free, ever, and some of which we paid for. He is also trying to say ‘household items’ does not include appliances, so he gets to keep both refrigerators, even though the agreement he and I drew up includes him buying one from me. (For the record, the house did not come with a fridge, and we would be taking it with us if we’d moved. I am not talking about appliances that came with the house, like the stove). As part of the agreement he is supposed to pay me the final $1,000 when I move out by the 11th of December, and as you can imagine he is trying to say anything and everything is reason for him to not follow through on that signed, video-taped contract.
The court papers were exceedingly clear in that he gets the kids bedroom furniture, and I am awarded the remaining household items. I can’t think of any way at all it could be more clear. Yet he continues to try to bargain for, and when that doesn’t work, bully me into, giving him things that I have been awarded by the court. He has even gone so far as to offer to trade me things I already own, for things that I’ve told him are not for sale. The logic, or lack thereof, has been absolutely comical at times, and great fodder for conversation with friends who swear I need to write a book about my experiences when this is all finished.
His visit today was not so comical. In fact it came close to downright scary. He came over to drop off the washing machine, and knowing he was coming I had the video camera ready (something I started some time ago for my own safety). For those who may have doubted or thought I was exaggerating when I describe his behavior, you can not see it with your own eyes. Nothing happens until about a minute in, and you can see when he comes in he is immediately pissy and confrontational, despite the fact that I’d said nothing to him or even tried to initiate conversation. Warning ahead of time- there is some language here so I’d deem it NSFW, or not safe to listen to around kids.
The police won’t issue a restraining order unless he actually does something (I looked into this back when everything first went down) but luckily this will all be over soon as I have agreed to be moved out by the 11th. Needless to say after his behavior today, I will be carrying my pepper spray on me as well, in addition to keeping the video camera running.
First and foremost, the big news- my divorce is final.
Longtime readers of my blog know just how big this news is. This has been nothing short of a war for over a year and a half now. Luckily the kids have for the majority of it been kept in the dark, but the process has taken an emotional toll on all of us, so there was a huge sigh of relief just calling the courthouse and hearing that yes, the divorce decree had been processed yesterday.
The relief was somewhat short lived as I got and read the papers. The terms of my divorce are somewhat unusual- the ex got custody of the kids, and I continue to have supervised visitation pending the results of another psych evaluation, and if I am deemed not to be a threat to anyone, then I will be allowed normal, every-other-weekend unsupervised visitation.
For all of the hassle and concern, you’d think I’d put a gun to my kids heads rather than tried to overdose myself in a hotel room alone in a moment of extreme stress.
I’m not overly concerned about that part, just curious why a second evaluation is needed when the court already has a copy of the first one I undertook voluntarily. The interesting part about it is that visitation has now been ordered at a family center here who charges $45 an hour, at his expense. Ouch. Considering how often I haven’t been able to see the kids because no one was free to be here to supervise, this arrangement is actually something of an improvement over what it was, and is clearly very temporary. The thought of him having custody of our kids kills me, but the fact is right now he is the one with a stable job, and when I am able to look at things objectively I know this is a good opportunity for me to get myself settled and in a better place financially to equalize things more in the future. It’s a very bitter pill to swallow though to even think about that.
As for the rest…When we were in court the ex was asked about his plan for things financially. At that point he said there was nothing in the house worth fighting over as far as assets, and that he had a company lined up and willing to give him an equity loan on the house (which we long ago agreed he’d keep) and he would use that that to give me a settlement check when the divorce was over. Said all this on the stand, under oath.
Clearly the judge took all this to heart, and since the ex felt there was nothing worth fighting over, awarded me everything in the house, aside from the kids bedroom furniture. Yes, everything. ( Alabama- equitable distribution state FTW!)
Guess who has suddenly decided, despite testifying otherwise, that maybe he can’t give me that lump sum after all? The papers say he has the ‘option’ to pay the settlement in $120 a month installments, starting in January.
Guess who is saying that if I want him to pay the lump sum so I can, after being locked out of the checking account for the last 18 months and given only enough money to barely get by on, start over and get a place to live, must now make him an offer on the property the court awarded to me in the divorce.
In short, if I want the money up front as he has agreed to multiple times both in and out of court, I basically must agree ahead of time to give up some of what the court gave me as part of the settlement.
Worse yet, he won’t even tell me what it is he is after, he just keeps telling me to ‘make him an offer’. I’m not stupid, nothing I even tried to offer would be enough, and I’d likely be considerably better off selling what I don’t need rather than trying to bargain with him.
He is even now arguing that things that he bought and paid for himself are ‘gifts’ (to himself apparently) and that they ‘don’t count’ in what the court awarded me. I’m sorry, what part of everything but the kids bedroom furniture is so hard to understand?
Icing on the cake? He’s making comments about the time I have left in the house running out and how I will be living in my van if I don’t get the money, so I need to hurry up and make him an offer.
So rather than going and signing papers on a cute rental house I found tomorrow, I get to go back to the courthouse and start filing more crap to get this all dealt with. More time, more headaches, more delays.
I just want this done. I want it over so I can get out of this house and move on, but as usual his wallet is more important than trying to make a stable life for his kids, and a smooth transition for all of us.
I don’t know why I expected any better from him. 18+ months of being fucked over at every opportunity should have taught me better.
(And unfortunately for him, a tantrum on a balding, morbidly obese 42 year old is not nearly as cute as it is on a 4 year old.)
So this has not been a fabulous week. I got a broken tooth, which very quickly became infected and started giving me the kind of pain one would expect from I dunno, say, having a screwdriver rammed into the gums. Not good. Went to the dentist and was given antibiotics to take before they can do (OMG A FUCKING ROOT CANAL) a repair on the tooth. I hate going to the dentist, so this all had me a little stressed. They did give me painkillers, which they said would keep me from killing anyone comfortable until the antibiotics kick in. I have VERY low tolerance for things like that, so Paul (and I’m sure everyone in my Twitter stream) has been getting a good giggle at my expense.
Aside from the tooth thing, I was not able to find anyone to supervise this weekends visitation with the kids. I have awesome friends who are very quick to help where they can, but it was just a bad combination of people being busy or out of town. It happens, but unfortunately it means I will not be able to see the kids this weekend.
Totally sucks, but Brendan’s birthday is Tuesday, so I figured at least I’ll be able to see them for an hour or so then. I’ll pick up a cake, and it will be just like Gabrielle’s birthday in June, which fell on a Monday. Same story, right?
When the ex emailed asking what the deal with the weekend was, I told him I wasn’t able to get anyone for this weekend, but asked what the story is with Tuesday. This was his reply-
There is no story with Tuesday. It is not a visitation day for you, this weekend is. Brendan’s birthday is close enough to your visitation weekend for you to celebrate it during your scheduled visitation time. I have no plans on making a special trip over with them on Tuesday. If your recent behavior was more appropriate lately I would have considered it, but I am not comfortable spending time around you with your recent actions.
Considering our only contact in the last two weeks has been in regards to him locking me out of the master bedroom and my subsequent removal of that door, it’s pretty safe to say he’s decided to retaliate by not allowing me to see my son on his birthday. This was driven home to me when I emailed back and said that if he was ‘uncomfortable being around me’ then there should be no problem with me having a supervisor with me and picking up the kids for an hour or so Tuesday night so I could spend part of Brendan’s birthday with him, to which he replied-
You have your scheduled weekends. The schedule of every other weekend has not changed since it was imposed. So you have had more than enough time to plan and arrange for supervision. If you have alienated yourself so much from actual friends and family to the point they are not willing to help you then that is the situation you have created, not me. Have a nice weekend and I would suggest you start arranging now for the next visitation weekend so you can celebrate with Brendan at that time. If you wish to drop off his birthday present from you this weekend I am fine with that as long as I have sufficient advance notice and as long as you understand you would not be staying.
Real sweetheart, ain’t he? Got to love a man who so clearly puts his kids above all else.