I Soooo Need Help!

Updated on April 15, 2008
M.J. asks from Victorville, CA
74 answers

I am getting ready to go through a divorce with two small children. One of my biggest problems is that their father, who was hardly involved in their lives when we were together, now wants to act like he's father of the year. But that is only on occasion. He says he wants to be there financially, but so far, I'v recieved no help from him. And to make matters worse, he hasn't even filed for the divorce yet, and he's the one who wanted it in the first place!
What do I tell my children when they start asking about their father, and why isn't he in the picture? And how do I cope now, when my gut reaction is to tear my soon to be ex apart, while not taking it out on my children? I love my children desperately, but I know that what they need is a mother who is fun to be around, and not wanting to tear daddy's face off if she gets the chance. HELP!

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M.S.

answers from Visalia on

First of all I would say to why are you waiting for him to do the filing? Girl get yourself to an attorney, file, start getting court ordered child support and any other finicial help that you may be entiteled to. If your marraige is over, it does not matter who does the filing. But you need to protect yourself legally. Second my best advise to you is to never speak ill of their father. They do not want to hear bad things about their father. They will figure out what type of person he is on their own. Tell them that you and their father have decided to live apart because it makes both of you happier and that their lives will not change because of it. If he choses to be involved in their lives let him, they need him. If not then it's his loss and you must make up for it by being there for them (still not pointing out dad's faults) I know this is hard, believe me. I've been thru it myself after 15 years of marraige my husband left me for another woman. I was devestated. But my children were more important than any hate and anger I had towards him. You can do it. Stand up and be the strong woman that you can be.

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R.L.

answers from San Diego on

I would apply for divorce myself and officially file for alimony. You should be able to find a pro-bono lawyer or, at least, one that will bill your husband if he is the breadwinner. if you son asks where Daddy is try not too honest (ie. He's run off because he's an irresponsible bastard). It'll come back to bite you in the ass, not him.

I'm so sorry you are going through this right now! And it sucks to say, but you will cope because you have to. You're a Mommy, we're made to handle the world on our shoulders and it looks like you are right now. When you go to take it out on the kids, just stop and remind yourself that they are not the ones who put you in this situation, they are in this situation with you. Do you have family or friends that can help you out? You know, give you a couple of hours out of the house without the kids?

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R.S.

answers from Honolulu on

My husbands x-wife was AWEFUL! But, now I know way more than I should about how to get everything you could ever want and more out of a divorce :)

If you are separated, the best way to get the upperhand is to file for child support with the Child Support Enforcement Agency in your area.

Apply for foodstamps if you qualify.

If you want detailed info, just e-mail me and I'll be glad to tell you what I know.

What state are you in?

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think the first step is one you have already taken!! That would be: Recognize the temptation/problem... I was 19 when I got pregnant with my now 12 year old daughter. Her father and I were going two different directions- me toward a college degree, him toward a criminal record- so we didn't make it even to the end of the pregnancy together. By the time my daughter was born, his other girlfriend was pregnant. He now has 2 12 year old daughters and 2 more kids on top of that...

SO, you can believe me when I tell you this: It's not worth it to say mean things about him or be angry at him, especially in a way that the children can recognize. Part of the reason is this: He is going to make promises to them that he will not keep and they will need love and comfort from their mommy when that happens. They will need you to be disappointed for them and with them.

If you can find a way to forgive (not forget) him his shortcomings and let him be the best father he can muster, without feeling like you have to talk him up to the kids or talk him down to the kids, you will give them one of the best gifts you can. Another such gift would be to give them a mom who is a great example of what kind of woman you want your daughter to be and your son to marry... Someone who takes disappointment in stride, cries when she is sad, and laughs when she is happy... There is nothing wrong with your kids knowing that the loss of their father in your life causes you pain as well. They will feel comforted in being able to share their sorrow with you. In the end, though, you'll all move on and heal. You'll do it together, which is the best way! You'll find something that makes you smile everyday and it will all work out!

I thank God every day that my daughter does not remember the person I was when I let every little thing her father did devastate me and cut me to the quick! I wish for you a much speedier healing process than I had!

These days, we take everything he says with a grain of "we'll believe it when we see it" but not because of anything I have said or done... He has taught my daughter on his own that he may or may not be here when he says he will. And, that is perfectly fine. What is amazing to me is that she has become a person who sucks the experience for every drop of life she can get out of it. If she hasn't seen him in forever and wants to just hug him enough to last her the next year, she does it and makes no apologies for it. It is amazing but she has always known how to seize the moment better than anyone I know.

So, I guess I just have to say "Hang in there!!" and "You can do this!"

And, if he won't file the papers, you can file them yourself! You can buy pretty cheap computer software to fill out the forms, and you can fill out a form at the court that will let you file reduced or for free if you can't afford the full filing fee. You don't need a lawyer until he gets one! If he doesn't get one, you can go without one!! (If he gets one or shows up with one when you didn't know he had one, ask for a continuance and get one quick!!) I've been lucky enough to have been able to make it through 12 years of custody and child support hearings without a lawyer, yay!!

Get those child support papers filled out ASAP though, Go to the DA's office and file a claim! It takes a while to process the forms and it is a very hit and miss process but that debt will never go away until it is paid to you!

Gosh, I've written a novel... God bless you for trying to do what is right for the kids!! :D

Huggles!!
~S.~
[email protected]____.com

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L.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

M. you have to set the example for your children and remember to always be the bigger person. Remind yourself that your children are made up equally of you both. And, like the old saying goes, "if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all." If only have derrogatory thing to your children about their father in a way your saying bad things about them. In addition, they love their dad and until he disappoints them himself all your unfavorable comments will only backfire on you. Allow your ex husband a chance to disappoint his children on his own. . . Because he will. Then your children will decide and will know exactly why they feel whichever way they do. In addition, you want your children to come to you for anything but if they know you react and get upset when they bring up or want to say something about daddy they'll start to clam up. Try to avoid building unnecessary walls. Let's face it, there had to be at least two times when you and your husband got a long. It takes time but you'll find working together instead of against the other, will make the transition that much easier on everyone. Whether your husband is around or not the last thing you want your children to have a sense of insecurity, uncertainty or fear of them knowing when they see that you and your ex in the same room together they rather not be around.

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V.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so sorry youare going through this. It is hard enough to be a good parent of two little ones let alone go through something so painful at the same time. If he is suddenly acting like dad of the year...perhaps a lawyer suggested he do this. Either way, it doesn't sound like its in him to be dedicated and "hands on" and I'll bet his threats to be a real dad fizzle out soon. I agree with the post that says to file to get the child support rolling. To help you cope...I have heard of lots of support groups for single parents...through churches and other community programs. That can be a huge support. Love, friendship and encouragement will go a long way. Also, how about a family therapist? A good therapist can really be an advocate for you and help you sort through the anger you are dealing with. And you have every right to be very angry. There is affordable counseling through Foothill Family Services and Pacific Clinics at various locations. My prayers are with you and your kids.Love and strength to you!

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K.T.

answers from Honolulu on

I have a quick bit of advice. I had a daughter when i was very young and her father and i parted ways when she was 3. My dad once told me, "no matter what the circumstance, don't ever ever say anything bad or degrading about her father in front of her - NO MATTER WHAT". so i have held onto those words, even though at times, when she brings him up, i want to just tell her what a low life worthless person he is, it would just tear her apart because even at 10, she wouldn't understand. So when you are going through this, just don't let your kids hear you talk about your soon to be ex in a way that would upset them.

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V.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Lean on your friends and family right now. It will be hard, but it will all be worth it in the end. A marriage can't be a good one if only one of you is committed. Borrow some money and file for divorce- show him that you want this too (even if you don't really yet), the threat of change is a tough one but believe me, you will get through this and you will be in a happy place soon. The longer you stay in limbo though, the harder it will be. Move on with your life and repeat the mantra "I know what I'm doing is the right choice for me and for my children". Remember that eventhough he has not been a great father in the past does not mean he can't be in the future (especially when he's on his own for visiting, the bond with the kids will be better), never put your ex down in front of your kids, and realize that this really will only make you stronger. We're here for you too you know!

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J.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, and I can relate. I went through the same thing many years ago with two small children also.

I want to encourage you to take a look at my website, www.SoloMama.com. After my divorce I went back to school and became trained as a Personal Coach - and then I created a coaching company just for us Divorced Moms! I knew how much I needed some support at the time, and I wanted to help other moms learn to thrive after divorce.

There are many ways you can help yourself right now, and I want to acknowledge you for trying your best in a really tough situation. Your children are very lucky to have you as their mom. Please take a look at my site - I have lots of free resources and support for moms just like you. There's a free ezine, monthly conference call, assessments, and even a social group if you are in the Los Angeles area.

Hope to meet you soon M..
Hang tight. It does get better.
J. Rule
www.SoloMama.com
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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L.A.

answers from Reno on

Dear M.:
Been there done that twice. I guess the first thing you need to do is decide if that is what you want - a divorce. If not, might try to get the soon-2-b-x into counseling. Sounds like he needs some growing up to do. If divorce is the route you want to go, and he is playing the tune "want my cake and eat it too" then you file for divorce. You can file for a separation first and get the courts to make him pay child support and alimony. Never give up the alimony even if you don't need it cause you can't go back and ask for it later. (Of course the laws probably have changed since my time). Back in the day, you kept it on the books with a least $1.00.

Anyhow, you stay in the residence and let him find a place. You ask that he pays the rent(etc) if you aren't working. The kids will ask where dad it but they are still too young to understand a long explanation. A simple response like he is living at his own house should work. They will forget the question five minutes after they asked.

When you are around your soon-2-b-x, do not fight or yell in front of the kids. Do not bad mouth or tear down your x in front of the kids. When they are old enough to understand things better, they will learn on their own what their dad is made of. He will let them down plenty of times to show who he is. That way you are not the bad guy for trying to make him look bad. This is how you keep your sanity. Counseling will help also to get you through this.

I raised four kids by myself and on little or nothing. My kids came out wonderful adults and thank me every day for the way I raised them to be hard working and productive people. Sorry this was so lengthy but hopefully it was helpful.
L./Carson City

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E.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

M.,

Went through this 13 years ago. First off go to Legal Aid if you qualify or get an attorney that you like. I didn't stay with an attorney because it was costing me so much but after all was said and done (my ex fought me tooth and nail for everything) it cost me 10 times in what I lost than if I had an attorney. Hopefully, you both can work it out to not have to spend your children's future inheritance on lawyers.

File for Child Support through the District Attorney's office immediately. Once it is figured out, he will have to pay back to the date you filed. You do not have to be divorced to do this. My ex also became Father of the Year from Golf Man after we separated but my kids benefited from it so I would swallow my irritation about him not being that before.

Be fair but do not give up your rights concerning support. This is support for the children, not for you. I hear about women who where so proud not to be taking a dime from the father and it is the children that pay for this. They lose because then their mom has to work extra hours away from them, there is more stress in the household due to lack of money and then when they do visit dad he has extra money to blow on them. They might choose to live with him when they are older just because support wasn't accepted by mom years before.

Do not trust what is said by your husband at this time and expect that he has already spoken to an attorney and might try to turn things to his advantage. Do not talk with him unless you realize that there might be an ulterior motive for anything he asks for.

Evelyn

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K.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

I would suggest to keep your heart open. Even though he sounds like a scum-bag- your kids will need a "father of the year" -or any attempt at fathering that he will do! This news is heart breaking, know that I will pray for you!

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S.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

I'm so sorry to hear you are about the join the ranks of me... single mom with a flaky and inconsistent ex. BUT, let me first tell you the up-sides, before I tell you what I did, if that will help you. I am happier on my lonliest day without him than I ever was with him. Divorce brings out the worst in people, and he reminds me, almost every day, how happy I am to not be with him. the other side of this is that he will always be my son's dad, and I have to deal with him for the rest of his life. So, just like you, my ex traveled 6 months out of his first year of life. When he filed for divorce (depends what state you're in, but CA is no-fault divorce, so it doesn't matter who files. If he's dragging his feat, you could always just file. BUT - whoever files is always the petitioner, and the other party is always the respondent.) He barely knew our son too, but then when it came time for custody, he became father of the year and I had to listen to my child wail for me when he took him. but it soon passed. It all gets better. My son was a year and a half. He's now three and he knows nothing different than the fact that he has two homes, etc. I think it's best to do it while the children are young. this way, they don't go through any of the emotional stress that an older child would. I have been trying to get a divorce for almost 2 years now. Custody was decided 60/40 and he's taking me back to court for 50/50. He was ordered to pay support which I have not yet seen one dollar of. I have filed contempt. Like i said, buckle your seat belt, this process definitely is arduous and brings out the worst in both of you. You have to know that being with this man is not the right thing for you or your children and that you will re-build your own life. you're allowed to have emotions, anger, sadness, the whole gamut, but try to do it when you're children are not present. As their surroundings change, they will need to you to be consistent and secure and safe. You don't have to be super fun mom all the time, just always be their safe place to land. I hope for you that your ex is not as contentious or litigious and mine and that you get through the court system swiftly, or mediate or do anything peaceful that you can to avoid spending any money you might have on supporting your attorney's children! If you would like to ask any more questions or discuss this further, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. I wish I had known SO much more before I started this process. Best of luck to you...

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T.C.

answers from Honolulu on

When I read this I thought that I might have possibly posted it myself! I am going through the same exact thing. My husband left me out of the blue telling me he wants a divorce and now, eight months later, has yet to file. He said the same, he will be there financially and acts like he wants to be around the boys, but comes up with all sorts of excuses as to why he hasnt paid me a cent and why he cant make it to see the kids. My boys are three and two. The thing I found, being from a broken home myself, is that the best thing is to be honest. Stay strong around the kids, but when they ask why dad isnt there tell them the truth (refrain from the your daddy is a...you know). Just try to explain the situation...yes, they are young, but you would be suprised how much they understand and this gives the children the chance to decide how they feel about things. Its hard and they will most likely throw their tantrums, but its about growing and learning, and time will come when things will make more sense. Act civil around daddy, dont have to pretend you guys are all lovin', but when you need to discuss things pull him to the side, when you need to yell...call him on the phone from another room...hehe, my full thing with my children is dont expose them to fighting and anger, but let them learn how they feel with honesty, remember, I was a child that went through it too, honesty is really best....be STRONG sister!

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V.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

A friend is going thru this same thing. Her father is a lawyer. YOU FILE!!! Your support is retroactive back to the date of filing (at least in CA). So the longer your husband waits, the less he will have to pay! YOU FILE! Then at least your support will be there in the meantime, especially if for whatever reason you reconcile. Good luck.

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C.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

It looks like you have received a lot of good advice! I personally am going through a divorce and its been a looong process - mostly because my husband did not want to do anything about it and resolve the issues. I had in my head, an idea of what I wanted him to be as father and as a co-parent and I worked so hard to try and make it happen only to get enormously frustrated and not only was I resentful and angry from the marriage but now the divorce process. It got to the point where I couldn't even look him in the face or be civil around him when our daughter was around. She definitely felt it. After two years of built up anger towards him I finally got so tired of being this angry person because it is not who I am. I was letting him and my expectations of him control me. I finally let go and realized I cannot change him and I will not let our situation make me become this person full of anger and hate. I let go and feel sooo much better! I can now look at him and be civil around him and my daughter feels it and is happier too. Underneath it all, I realized, when I let go, that I do love him and whether we're meant to be together or not, we all have our journeys in life and I just decided to let go and love him for who he is and not let this change who I am. It took me two years to get here, but it was well worth it.

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A.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

My husband was in a similar situation when I met him. I would say that you need to legally file for a separation and back date it to the day he told you he wanted a divorce. I don't know him but he could be out there maxing out credit cards and whatever else and you do not want to be responsible for that. In California everything is 50/50 so if that does happen half of that debt will be yours. Try to go to a paralegal b/c it is cheaper and hopefully it can be agreeable between the two of you. 50/50 custody is hard but from what you described I think he may realize it is a big responsiblity taking care of 2 little children and he may back off with the whole custody thing. My husband was given some statistic about how many fathers end up just letting the mother have the majority of custody eventhough at first they make it difficult. We have managed to keep the 50/50 custody and they have been divorced for 7 years. Just protect yourself b/c in California there is no fault divorce b/c the divorce rate is so high out here. The courts don't have the time to deal with little details. Basically, everything is split and then you're done. At least my husband's was this way b/c they were in agreement on most things. Some are pretty bad but hopefully yours will be okay. Good Luck.

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L.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.
I would be glad to discuss your situation with you. I am a divorce mediator with 12 years experience. You may call me for a free half hour consultation at ###-###-####. Or take a look at my web site at www.divorcewizards.com
I have a number of articles on the site that you will find helpful.
Hang in there - you will get to the other side of this!
L. D

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H.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M....I have a similiar situation and hope that I can shed some light for you. I left my husband in Oct 2006 for pretty dramatic reasons. It was VERY intense for about 3 months, things have improved GREATLY as far as being amicable and the things that I attribute this behavior to is realizing that as far as he and I are concerned, we needed to work out the situation not for eachother, but for the CHILDREN!!! Trust me, 1.5 years later we are far better off without eachother and we are better people apart, but the one thing I refused to do is let the EMOTION about the separation affect the way I love my children. I refused to use the children as an excuse for support, money...etc. etc. I have the ability to choose a different life, and I am looking forward to starting all over again after a 20 year relationship and 10 year marriage, but my kids have only ONE mom and dad and its up to us to make sure they see us working out our differences and knowing that OUR feelings are secondary to theirs...THEY are the most important thing. Don't allow your husband to MANIPULATE you or those children. If he wants to be "Father of the Year", let him...that sounds like a great scenario for your kids...YOU have to manage the aggravation and frustration that comes with that for YOU personally. When we surrender some of our emotions instead of trying to control them AMAZING things happen. I wish you all the best on this journey, it won't be easy, but with the proper support system and some FAITH...you WILL get through it. Good Luck to you. Please feel free to contact me if you feel you would like some further info on my network and support system that I relied upon as I walked MY journey H. W. www.candlewealth.com/soulmates

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D.S.

answers from Reno on

I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I too am in the middle of a nasty divorce, am 6 months pregnant and have a 3 year old son. My soon to be ex will not leave my home and I was stupid enough to make him a partner in my business that he is now fighting me for! We all learn from our mistakes. Take a deep breath and use all of that negative energy to be pro-active. You and your children don't deserve to be put through this and unfortunately much of this is out of your control and not of your choosing. What is in your control, however, is how you respond (and it is not easy I TOTALLY understand.) When you're feeling angry...take a walk or find another pattern break that might be fun for your little ones as well. If you haven't started yet, JOURNAL EVERYTHING! This is a great way of relieving some of that stress and will give you much needed documentation of your husband's neglectful parenting when the time comes. And lastly, remember, things could always be worse. I felt like I was spiraling downhill and my life was upside down until I found out that the counselor I had an appointment with for my 3 year old had to cancel due to a family emergency.....her 2 year old son died. This awful story gave me a new perspective and if I have to believe that everything happens for a reason, I will use this sad tale to fuel me to appreciate the wonderful things I have to be thankful for and to keep my spirits up so I can give my children the strong and powerful voice they need to give them what is best for them....from their strong and powerful mother that will always do what's right and set a great example for them - regardless of what others do that is out of my control. Hang in there!

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

What ever you do NEVER bad mouth the wee one's daddy! My parents divorced when I was 5 and my mom went through hell with me manipulating the situation for at east 10 years. She never, not once, said anything bad about my dad. In fact she always spoke whatever positive she could pull from the situation. I was 15 before I realized my dad was anything less than perfect (in fact, quite the opposite). But it was something I needed to discover on my own. If she would have talked bad about him, I would have defended him to the death and it would have made her even more miserable. Love your kids, like the X, for your relationship with the kids sake.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like you and the kids weren't being fufilled by him when he WAS there. Now he feels guilty. It will pass. If he ends up at least being good to the kids than thats the best you can hope for. Keep telling him, just be good to your kids. As for the money, get a good lawyer now! don't wait for him to decide he wants to leave then decide how much he wants to contribute. Why do you give him this much control? You are still young and alive and have 2 beautiful kids to keep you busy & happy. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't have to spend the rest of your life with a husband who wasn't really involved in your life, or your kids! I really do feel bad for you but women have an amazing ability to bounce back. Your a strong woman. Have you thought about going out with friends and forgetting about him for a bit? Has he moved out yet? If not, get his things out asap, don't let it look you and the kids in the face each day. As for the kids maybe consult a councelor on how to tell them. I don't want to give you any advise that could hurt them.

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S.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sweetie, I wish I could help you. I'm a single mom of a 3 yr old little girl. and I don't know how to tell her why he isn't around much. He wasn't around much when we were together and after six years I finally called it quits. What do I tell her when she's older, he's totally irresponsible. If its right for you, do what it takes to get the divorce. practice being civil to him, and try and emotionally distance yourself and the kids as much as possible. If the kids see you fight now, it's not the end of the world. but do let them know you still love them, but sometimes people can't be together for alot of different reasons. If youre oldest can handle it explain some stuff. Remember when they're with him they will tell him stuff so be impersonal but honest. Chances are he will soon lose interest or is using them to keep fighting with you and destroy you in some way. I know this is an extremely hard time in your life. But hang in there, he will get bored and move on, and they will learn to trust you and you will always be there for them. Then help them with their issues when he betrays them. I know you can do it. You sound like a really good person who loves her kids alot. take care and write me.. But you aren't alone in this, it just feels like it. Someone has to be the grown up in all this, and right now.. it's you.. good luck.. S.

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A.H.

answers from San Diego on

If your soon to be ex is the one who wanted the divorce in the first place, then it is his duty to explain to the kids why he's not there. I haven't been in this situation, but this did happen to a close friend and this is what she did. As far as being civil, my friend told me she had to have some love(friend like) for the kids father so that she didn't bad mouth him to her kids. If there were no children it wouldn't matter. I told her she was a very strong woman. I hope things work out for the best.

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T.K.

answers from San Diego on

get councilling together and separate and stay friends. Don't ruin your children's lives by being enemys. It can be done and you have to learn to just be quiet and deal with him in the best possible way, believe me it pays off in the end. My ex is now one of my and my new husbands best friends and our daughter has come through it all fantastic! Good luck

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N.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear sister , try not to be too angry ... try not to be hopeless ,
TRUST in GOD ! Try to surround yourself with good people who will help you through this transition ,
have you tried couple-therapy - but if that is to late -
please know that an end with a shock is better then a shock with no end !! I pray that you & your sweet children will be happy and give your worries to GOD - She is also a MOTHER ! AND YOU ARE WOMAN , YOU ARE MOTHER , SISTER - YOU ARE STRONG ! BELIEVE!! Let go of a relationship which is not healthy anymore . Try to put all your trust in your GOD!!
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU MiGHT THiNK!! And YOU WiLL WiN ,
all you have to do is : DON'T DOUBT! DON'T WORRY !
Have FAiTH!
...and as I was reading the other advices - I agree : one thing is truly important : not to speak bad about the childrens father - because such things create only chaos and breaks little childrens hearts .
Please Mama's all over the world , Let's show our children : unconditional Love , Respect & Dignity !
Nomatter what kind of relationship we might have with the fathers of our children !
They will thank You a thousandfold for this sacrifice !
Love , N.

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J.M.

answers from Reno on

I'm am so sorry that you and your children have to go through this. I feel your pain as my ex left me when I was 1 month pregnant with our second daughter, our oldest was 3 at the time. I know the frustration is overwhelming and all I wanted to do was knock some sense into him. I go to church and recieved some counseling and soon understood that I can't do anything about his behavior and that he is responsible for that. What I can do is be there for my children whole heartedly! I go to Sparks Christian Fellowship on Greenbrae in Sparks, Nevada. I don't know where you live but this an amazing church! I would get in contact with a local church, there is free counseling and small groups that can really help you get through this! At mine we have a divorce recovery class and I lead a small group for single moms on Tuesday nights, it is an open class with a Bible study and fun games. If you're interesting check out www.hope4singlemoms.com and there is a list of cities on it to see if one is near you.
You sound like a strong woman, I'll be praying for you and your family! You'll get through this!
J.
###-###-#### (if you need to talk, call)

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S.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

I have a similar situation and have gotten some good advice if you want to scroll through the responses to my request about "boyfriend issues." It's a hard thing to decide to leave but once you've made up your mind stick to it!

Good luck,
S.

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R.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi M.,
Just a shot in the dark, but:
Perhaps your husband needs to know that you have not prejudged his actions or Perhaps he needs to know that
you accept him as it is or as he is or as he wants
to be (before talk of divorce came and maybe even now)
It may be that you do not have the type of man
you want but he is the type of man you have. Just one
of those things of life. He probably wants to do his own
thing for his purposes even tho it is troublesome or burdensome to you.
Perhaps he believes the burden is in your head.
Perhaps he is not willing to do things the way you want.
Quite a eye opener and a life change, HUH!!!!!
Perhaps you have not been able to communicate to him his
reasons for lots of things. Be willing to hear him for
where he is at.
Love,
R (I would love to know what you think of my answers)

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G.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi M.! I have been where you are and hope I can help. The best piece of advice I got when going through my divorce was this - your children see themselves as half of each parent so if one parent says the other is bad, the child feels he/she is bad. Never, ever, let yourself go there in front of your kids - that's what girlfriend are for! :) I think it's important to be honest with your kids to a poiint - for example, tell them dad is going through some tough times and needs to be alone for awhile but it has nothing to do with them. If you decide to divorce, you must tell the kids together as a united front - it will make a difference that could affect them for a long time. I would also suggest seeking a therapist or counseling group. It will help you get some perspective. Finally, I used a mediator in my divorce and it was a great process. We used A Fair Way Mediation downtown. None of this is going to be easy and you will have to bite your tongue more than you think possible but if your kids come out of this healthy and happy - it's so worth it! Good luck - be kind to yourself.

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N.P.

answers from Honolulu on

My advice to you could fill books and books, but I'll try to summarize as one who has been there and done that: Ten years later and my ex still thinks he is "father of the year" when we all know, including the kids, that he is more like "Wanna-be father of the year" with nothing to back it up. In the beginning he was putting me down to the (then) 2, 4, and 10 yr old during the separation when I would let him have them for the weekend etc (still with no fiancial help from him -- the State Family Services helped me through those couple of years, I am not ashamed to say). While he put me down, I never said a bad word about him, while careful never to build him up, either because honestly, I wasn't going to put my kids in the middle, but neither was I going to help him make me to be the bad guy by acting like the "bad guy". The lesson I want to share here is to never put down your ex, don't let the kids overhear you call him a loser etc. Your best chance for the LONG RUN (because your kids will be 10 and 11 one day -- and then 19 and 20) is to BE THE BEST parent -- the one who loves, listens, cares, corrects, has boundaries etc. I know -- I was the one and I am still the one the kids now know to be THE ONE. It isn't about war exactly, but when it comes to having the best possible relationship with your kids I think the "nice gloves" should come off and you must fight for what is yours.. and what is your is your kids and their best possible upbrining you can provide, and I'm not talking money: I'm talking love, support etc. So, fast forward with me about 10 years and do you remember that I was on state assistance at the beginning of my story? 3 kids spanning 2 yrs to 10 years, still no child support and still single (though I've had a couple of serious relationships in between, and am in one right now --- and I have turned down too many to remember, so YES, there is life with kids as long as they always come first!!) Well, I am now a successful professional. I started my own business and moved on to other work. I support my children by myself. Their father is still in the picture, but in a more realistic way: The kids know and love dad, and he loves them, but they know Mom is where it is at. And they are getting older by the year and see more than just with their eyes as they do. I do have to warn you that there may be a time when one of your boys hits about 12 and he is missing his dat very much. VERY MUCH -- only he may not say, but his actions will -- a little defiant etc. It may even come sooner (my son started acting out around 7yrs but I didn't confront it until I couldn't "talk/hug it away" at 12yrs). What happened is that I let my (then 11yr old) son live with his dad for a school year (cried, prayed etc). When he came back he was different -- more responsible, more together -- so I saw that it was good in that respect. BUT, it also made it worst because he wanted his dad and me to be together "like it used to be". I couldn't take it anymore because here I was struggling all these years for this boy, sheltering him about the a-$-$ his father really was/is/will always be and he wants his dad??? Well, we had it out in a yelling match where he learned that in no way in hell was I ever going back to his dad because his dad used to beat me. That was an eye opener. I calmed down and stressed that his father, yes, is a different man, but I will never go back to that and that I wanted him to forgive his dad and keep loving him because his dad, yes, is a different man who changed himself over time -- like all of us. Since my son got THAT through his head that his father and I will never be together again, my son and I have had a relationship better than I ever thought we would --because I always knew he liked "dad best" and loved dad best and resented being with me. That isn't the case anymore and though I'm sorry we yelled, I'm glad we cleared the air. His older brother remembers dad hitting me and is the sweetest man (do UNLIKE your father, I said); his younger sister doesn't even have a clue, unless her brothers told her, as she was just a baby and I left before it could go on.

SO, am I fun? HELL YES? Am I a great big lover of LIFE, LOVE, FAMILY, HAPPY MEMORIES? Hell yes!!! Am I some times the bad guy who has to say, "No."? Yep. Do I smile when my ex is the, now, occassional a-$-$? HELL YES! Because I am the one who is living well and I am the one who has the best relationship with the kids. Again, not that this is a game, but I can't help but think, "Game over. I win, butthead."

And if you can't take my experience or advice, than take my father's. He always said, "The best revenge is living well." So --- start living. "Revenge" will come as sweet as roses one day -- your smiling kids will prove it. Mine do, every day.

Take care and good luck!!!

Aloha,
N.

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B.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

dear M., i can totally relate except for mine is refusing to move out and he has cut off all financial support and thinks the kids and i should go... he is making life totally unbearable and he too is the one perpetuating this..he is never around i have pretty much been a single mom he is never around nor does he parent at all! i think you have to try to remember that you are the better person and the children need you because that is ultimately who they are closest to and depend on to have their needs met. kids especially you 2 1/2 year old have eyes and ears and can really start to think and see things on thier own you want to try your best to be the better parent ..your soon to be ex will hang himself eventually kids are great little intuitive people, who need strucutre , stability and boundries which it sounds like you give them ..as well as the most important aspect of all consistency. i too have days where i feel im going to rip off his face ..(among other things) ;) but remember when it goes to court there will be people talking to your son.. i know its infurinating i have really had to bite my tongue alot of times keep a journal with dates and events... it will be to your advantage.. i am also a stay at home mom so i on top of all of this am desperatley trying to find a job...handle kids as well as the emotional rollercoaster dont worry you are not alone ..keep smiling play with your children and rely on your friends for support and venting. my 4 year old son picks up on everything ..but at the end of the day he makes me laugh and brightens my life ...B.

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T.M.

answers from Las Vegas on

The best thing you can keep telling yourself to ease the anger is you won. No matter what happens from here on out...you win, You got the kids and because of that you will have more then your husband will ever have. He won't get these moments you get!! It will only get harder but when it does...hug them, tighter then you ever have and know deep down that when they look up at you, they love you with no strings attached. Second and most important...the person who files for divorce generally has the upper hand. Take advantage of the fact that he hasn't filed and you do it first. I know money is always going to be a factor so go down to the court and just file the papers. If he disagrees with what you are asking for on the papers then he has to get the lawyers. The hardest part is keeping the kids out of the middle of this. The anger is natural so if at all possible find something that you can release it. Exercise is a really good Help and just getting out of the house and going for a walk can make a difference. It sounds silly but after a few days of the fresh air and just being out, you will feel better...I promise. Your strong enough for this...just believe it because right now you have to be. Good luck and my thoughts are with you and your kids

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D.M.

answers from San Diego on

I sorry. It wont be easy. It took me 3 years to file for child support... I filed last September & have yet to recieve paymnet. So if your counting on money... might want to do that soon. You need to keep yourself busy. The weather has been cold... But i took my son to the park alot.... he loved it and it was our time. We also did alot of chuck e cheese/peter piper. We didnt stay home too much. Home is where he would ask for his dad. Get in a routine. easier said than done i know. You cant bad mouth the dad, as much as he urks you. You can't. As they get older they will realize they cant count on him. It gets easier. Play dates are good... we all have friends with kids.. I did alot of sleep overs the 1st year I left. Let my friends kids, entertain my son. It was my way & I ran the show. For awhile we all took turns. so we got to get out with a new date while our kids were with another mom ;) Just be strong. You can get thru, i did.

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N.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

You can never take words back. I've heard it said that words are like opening a feather pillow on a windy hilltop. Once they're out, it's impossible to take them back. You can be both loving and firm. As straightforward (and unemotional) as you can, lay down the law with dad. Tell him to put his money where his mouth is. The next time he wants to see the kids tell him that we're having a family meeting first. He will explain why he's chosen not to live with mommy and will calendar his visits with everyone as witnesses. He's been a little boy all his life- you don't need to wipe his nose or his.... for him. You don't need to make excuses for him to the children- again that said, the wrong words will only justify in his mind his bad behavior and be used against you with the kids.. I'm sorry but unless something major occurs to change him- he'll always be a disappointment. Good luck and God bless. N.

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi!

i know the feeling. ive been there and done that.

my son is now 11 yrs old but when he was an infant, during arguments, his father would say "if youre not happy, LEAVE!!!" the more he said it, the more i thought about it.

my son turned 1 and his father said those famous words again, i had the guts to leave him. it wasnt easy. but i made sure my son have a better life with me than i had with his father. i received no help from him either. i raised my son on my own financially.

his father is never around. he come and go as he pleases but for the last year, hes been paying child support on time (finally).

when my son was growing up, i tell him that his father was mean to me and i was not happy with him and that i did not want him to learn from his father, just like his father learned from his own father. he totally understand now and do not wish to talk to him when his father calls (he call about once a year).

one day, when i had to go to court for divorce and child custody a while back... i waited outside the court room and his father was there as well. he sat down next to me and said something. i told him "remember, you always said to me 'if youre not happy, leave!'....... youre right. i wasnt happy so i left" he cried and i left him like that going to the court room. he deserved it.

i was granted full/sole/physical/legal custody of my son which made the best day of my life.

okey, i dont want to bore you with my sob story but i went through as similar as you are going through. if you want to talk more, you know where to find me :)

GOOD LUCK!!!
C.

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A.N.

answers from San Diego on

I empathize.
This is hard - but trust that you will know what to do and say when the time comes. Keep things VERY simple.

He is not going to be in the picture at all in their future? You don't know that yet. If at all possible, keep him in their lives - I used to say beter not, but experience has taught me ... they will not thanks YOU for it later if he's kept away (even if he's the worst dad ever).

You can file btw.
Good luck.

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N.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hang in there! Remember that your soon to be ex-husband is the childrens' father and you can't tear him down without demeaning them. When I went through a similar situation, I found it best to tell the truth in simple terms that my children could understand. They draw their own conclusions and you don't turn into the villain.

Father of the year will very likely revert to his natural state fairly quickly. If he remains involved and supportive, great, but don't count on it. The children will notice his consistency or lack thereof and adjust. Try to keep their expectations realistic, but let the transaction be between them and their father. Don't try to broker the relationships or get in the middle.

Angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc., etc...you'll feel all of that and more. Take it easy on yourself. Enjoy your time with your children as much as you can. It's OK to let them know when you're upset and request "hugs all around"! It makes Mommy AND the little ones feel much better.

Get yourself some legal advice and a support network. Your husband must provide for his children. You may not want to deal with him, but the support he provides is THEIRS. They may need your help to get what they are entitled to receive. Reach out to your family, friends, neighbors, church, so that the lines of communication are already open when you need help or advice.

I wish you all the best.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M., My name is M. and I know what you are going through. When my son was 2 I got devorced. I couont myself and my son lucky because he was so young that he now has no rememberance of ever living with his father. He is five now and he was asking some questions last summer when I got remarried. He wanted to know why I did not marrie his daddy. My ex has giving me $150 in child support over the past 3 years and has seen my son for a few hrs every few months. All I know is that my son (When he dose see his father) thinks he's the best because it is all fun when they are together. I however know the truth of what my ex did to break up our marrage and how he has not been there for my son in any way. And while I would reather him fall of the face of the earth, I don't let my son see my feelings because I know that it would only make things harder on my son. And I know that one day as he gets older he is going to see who is here taking care of him.
As a mother all you can do is feel out your kids and try to get them by untill they are at the age where they can come to there own decision on the whole thing. It wont be easy, will pray for you. I know that as a mother you will be able to give your kids all the love they need. Keep your head up!
M.

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K.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Take control. Get a good lawyer and file yourself. Then petition the court to award you interim child support. The court will garnish his wages if he doesn't pay up.

By taking matters into your own hands you will no longer feel at the mercy of your ex, and being in a position of strength will make it easier to reign in your impulse to throttle him.
If he starts to aggravate you or sweet talk you, just put up your hand and say, "You'll have to talk to my lawyer". It sounds horrible, but just knowing that he is powerless and that you don't have to talk to him at all can feel so good. I always feel really good after saying it.

Trust me, I feel a lot calmer and relaxed since I got my lawyer and filed. Knowing that he can't do anything to you, and that you will be able to take care of your kids when he skips out again is almost enough to erase the anger.

As for your kids, simply say you don't know why he isn't there, and that is something they should ask their father. You do not need to make excuses for him, but likewise, this answer may keep you from saying something spiteful that you'd regret later.

And don't worry, what goes around comes around.... just keep your cool and you'll come out a winner.

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H.C.

answers from San Diego on

Listen to Doctor Laura, M.. Hopefully, you will go do the right thing. It's not all about you any longer, nor the immature spouse who may have recently been wise enough to see the 'writing on the wall'. Get Christian schooling for the family and invite the spouse. Macho man is not going to necessarily listen to your advice, so get a Christian man to 'happen by' when he's there visiting the kids. Man to man can make a difference. No pressure, just hand him a good publication on fathering. The focus is on bringing up healthy, happy kids. Screeming, tantrums by parents...what do you eventually think that will do to the family? It will be inevitable if you cannot bite your tongue or he cannot withhold a temper session. Take it outside or go to the park, watch the children while you iron things out....give hugs to ALL and go home. The spouse will be feeling lonely...hopefully not finding solace in a new love affair.

Please go to a network facility in your own community that has home schooling experience, just to know the difference. You will be very much supported in your community and find a lifestyle for you ALL that you didn't know existed.

I have never, never seen in our family of 10 offspring's children any negative influence...pride of accomplishments abound..and LOVE. Your choice, dear.

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G.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Seek counseling and support! You have to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, emotionally) first to me able to take care of your babies.

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A.F.

answers from San Diego on

Hi M.! You have had so many responses, but I just want to send my sympathies. I can't imagine how hard it must be to be the kind of mom you want to be under those circumstances. It's a constant challenge for all of us not to take our frustrations out on our kids (and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail, and some have advantages or disadvantages in handling frustration based on their own childhood challenges). The only thing I am slowly beginning to believe is that when I do 'lose' it, no matter the age of the child, hug them, explain that you were sad, forgive yourself, and move on. As much as possible, try to keep in mind that they will always need their daddy's love, no matter who he is or how old they are when he leaves. Maybe be honest but gentle with them - maybe that's not helpful or concrete enough - but hopefully you can find someone to really vent to about what you are experiencing, and remember to be gentle with yourself! Best wishes.

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L.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,

Find a really good marriage and family therapy counselor to help you through this. It might be the nicest thing you can do for your children. It's like the example of when there's turbulence on the plane and the oxygen masks come down. You're instructed to first put it on yourself and then assist your children. You need to take care of your personal spiritual/emotional well being and then you will be prepared to help your children.
I also highly recommend staying active in your faith and praying daily. God is aware of what you are going through. He didn't make it happen and He'll help you through it.

Your Ex is missing the boat big time! He will not find happiness anywhere else but in family life. Sounds like he didn't know how to parent when he was a full time Dad. So, he it somewhat uncomfortable with that role. You've got to be strong. I feel sorry for him--he's throwing away happiness with both hands! He's leaving you at a very hard time. Shame on him! Yes, I'd like to string him up by his toes, too. But it wouldn't help your kids any. They still need a father and for right now, he's it. If he wants to act like Father of the Year, encourage it. The kids don't need to know all that you know, again it wouldn't be good for them right now. It probably makes him feel good to act like Santa Clause. Okay. Praise him for whatever good he does with the kids--obviously it's all he's willing to do. And praise him to your children for whatever good they perceive. Why isn't he there? He cannot accept the responsibility of home and family. It's not about love, it's about being responsible. Try to take yourself out of the equation (if possible) and communicate in a kind and gentle way with "the father of your children"honestly and openly about finances. Treat it like a business--because that's what it is now.
Bring receipts and ledger sheets to your meeting explaining the amount that you'll need.
The mortgage/rent, electricity, gas, water, food, health insurance, medical, car insurance,
dentist, child care costs, continuing education costs for you to return to school and start a career, etc. Make sure you have a copy of last year's tax return and keep a copy of all of your bank statements for that last few years. Get control of any savings, 401K or anything like that.
You can make it work. Express appreciation for anything he does. He's probably feeling disappointed in himself but doesn't show it. He's trying to overcompensate with the kids because he knows he's doing the wrong thing by you and by them. Nonetheless, you can be lovely, pleasant and the angel that he married, because YOU STILL ARE!!!!! The power is within you to do this well and with dignity and grace.

As a woman, I applaud you and support you for every day you can keep a smile on your face!
Louise H.

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S.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M....

First of all...I am soooo sorry to hear about your divorce and the fact that you will soon be a single mother. Being a single mother is not the easiest thing in the world...but as time goes by, you do adjust and times "become" easier, fun (because of your love for your children), and rewarding.

Though I've never been divorced....I was a single mom for 7 years. I left my daughter's father when she was 8 months. I saw that we were headed in different directions and he just REFUSED to be responsible and care for our daughter on any level. For the first 4 years of her life I only received ONE pack of pampers and ONE can of milk from him. Finally (after 4 years of nothing) I filed for child support and he had the audacity to be angry about it.

I've never spoken bad about my daughter's father. As she has become older, she has found out how selfish he truly is (telling her once that gas was too expensive for him to come pick her up). I have however given her (age appropiate) truths regarding her (biological) father and our relationship. When she was young and asked for her father, I would just tell her, let me see if he's home and call him. She was allowed to leave messages for him and that satisfied her at that time. Sometimes he called back....other times he didn't.

Our lives became filled with so many activities that those times for asking for him were far and in between. Though I am now married, she still sees her (biological) father about twice a year (birthday/Christmas), but she looks at my husband as her "daddy". And their relationship is beautiful.

You will definitely make it through...with tears, laughter, prayer and the joy of your children. And should you need an extra ear to listen to your vents, you are welcome to sit in my Single Parent Support Group if you live in the LA area (Gardena). Take it one day and one step at a time. You're going to make it.

Contact me if you'd like to come (to the Single Parent Support Group) and I will send you the information.

Take Care. God bless. And kiss those lovely babies!!

S. V.
www.dreamplanters.com
[email protected]____.com

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E.N.

answers from San Diego on

Hi M.,
I'm so sorry that you are going through this right now. I don't know what is the cause of the divorce, but its obvious you are very angry at him. And maybe you have very good reasons to be. But at the same time, no matter what people say he deserves or how you should feel, when I've been in situations where it is obvious I'm justified in my anger, being angry doesn't make the bad situation better. Anger will eat you up inside and make your life harder. It won't make your husband change and it won't punish him how you would like. I know this may be one of the hardest things to hear in your life, but try to take a step back and separate yourself from these negative feelings through prayer and meditation. I know you may not want to pray to God, but don't misdirect these difficult feelings either.
It sounds like your husband may not want to go through with a divorce after all. If there is any way you can work through your problems now by talking to a counselor, pastor, or whatever works for you I think you will regret not doing it. Does it matter who has to be the bigger person? Is your marriage worth giving up so someone can be right and someone has to be wrong? Who cares who's right and who's wrong. This is the father of your children. Both of you can still get through this, but you have to be willing to lay your lives down for one another.
I hope this helps your heart, and I hope things work out for you both.

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S.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Let me just say M., Be Strong! Dont let him run your life. Remember, he wants the divorse! Dont let him put your life with your children on hold cause he's trying to control the situation. Right now your children and you are the important issue. Just redmember always be honest with your kids, they will understand. dont fight infrount of them ever. get a job and support you and your kids, so you dont have to depend on anyone but yourself. Remember, your kids are your life, clear your mind and be happy with yourself and your kids will be happy and proud of you! my name is S.

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H.R.

answers from Sioux City on

M., I am glad that you are reaching out for help. I personally do not know what your situation is but my parents got divorced and my sister did also(she has 4 children from 5-10yrs). When it comes to the courts I will tell you this much....document everything that happens. Also, if you haven't already, when you do separate households you would want to have a receipt book. (you can get them at wal-mart for a few dollars) This way you BOTH have proof of what was paid. The only reason that I say this is because my sis DIDN'T do this with her ex and is now having issues because there is no documentation. The only other thing I would say is LOVE LOVE LOVE your children. I know that later down the road it will be really hard but try your best not to say bad things about their father to them. It is VERY hard to do even as an outsider but sooner or later they will make their own decision on whether they think he is a good guy or not.
I hope I am not complicating things but these are some things I have learned from both my experience(being the child in the situation) and my sisters experience.
H.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Oh how I feel your pain. My girls were 4 and 10 mos when I left their father. The best advice I ever received and cannot thank god enough that I followed, was to NEVER say anything bad about your ex infront of your kids. If you have to give him a fake name- my girlfriends and I called my ex Sadam when we were infront of the kids or I was on the phone. But even that I kept extremely limited. No matter how hard it gets, don't do it. My ex use to bad mouth me all over the place, but I never did and what happened was that my girls came to my defense and were so angry at him. You cannot attack a childs parent no matter who you are. The kids will always side with the parent getting attacked.

As far as the divorce goes...I am still waiting for my ex to sign the papers and that was 5 years ago.

I could talk your ear off and give you tons of "advice" - Most on what not to do since i have made so many mistakes : )I have been exactly where you are. If you want my help, just let me know.

I wish you the best of luck.

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P.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M., I really feel for you and hope that you are really listening to your heart and letting it guide you. I am a believer that divorce should be the last thing considered, but if it is necessary for your well being and that of your children it should be done. I lived a life with a Mother who was not strong enough to let go of a man that was horrible to her and to us. I used to pray that she would be strong enough to take us away from that nightmare, and still sometimes wonder what my young life (which I will never get back) would have been like with some peace and harmony in it. I learned to cope and made it through all of that and perhaps it made me really strong. But in the long run I ask, Was it really necessary? Did my mom have a choice? (Yes she did).
It will be difficult to be a single mom, but we are our children's advocates and we have to make the decisions that are going to impact their little lives and their grown up lives. We have the responsibility to make choices that will make their lives the best they can be. If that means that we have to do it without their dads, then so be it! The children may not understand why they do not live with their Daddy and only see him once a week or every 2 weeks, but it just might make their relationship with him better in the long run.
I hope this helps a little.

God Bless!!
P. R.

God Bless you.

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L.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Do you think a support group or a professional family counselor would help with your situation?

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K.H.

answers from San Diego on

I know its a hard thing to do, but do not tear him apart in front of the kids. When they ask why he isn't around,be honest but soft. Say something like - he just didn't want to live here anymore. Assure them that he still loves them. I have a 30 year old son. I did my best not to trash talk his dad - even when my son would be sitting on the porch waiting for his dad to pick him up and of course, never showed up. I wasn't always good at holding my tongue but I tried. Believe me, your kids will figure out the truth as they grow older, when they can handle it better. Then, they will realize how gracious you were in a bad situation. Regardless, how bad your relationship gets with you ex, he is still their dad and they love him just because of that. I know he last thing you want to do is hurt your kids and talking badly about their dad will do just that.

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E.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

First off, try to calm down. Document everything and I mean everything, when you seperated, when you asked for money and how you have recieved nothing, and when he sees the kids. Try to use email which documents everything and a journal. Don't talk bad about him in front of your children ever. They don't need the stress. And they will start to take it out on you. No matter what, he is their father. Try to keep them out of it as much as possible. You just need to let them know daddy and mommy are not going to live in the same house anymore, but will still be their parents and there for them. Document everything!

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B.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

M.,

I too went through a divorce when my kids were small and my girlfriend gave me a bit of advice. She told me from her own experience how important is was to not bad mouth the ex in front of the kids. She grew up in a house where her mother did that and she ended up resenting her mother because it forced her to choose sides. I found that really helpful and so I did my venting to my girlfriends and since my kids were so young I really protected them. When they were old enough I made sure that I reminded them that the reason their dad wasn't around was because we would fight all the time. One day they heard us fighting and never pushed the subject again. Divorce is a hard time so it is difficult to put on a happy face all the time, but I'm sure your fun self will come back. :) Good Luck!

B

www.zenmothers.com

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N.D.

answers from Reno on

I didn't get a chance to read all the responses here, and I should because I am in the same spot as you. The onle difference is that my kids are 8,3&2 and mu soon to be ex left in Aug of 2007. Still no change, I have the kids 24/7, while he does come to our house to see all three of them twice a week and he stays with the two little boys while I take our 8 year old daughter to girl scouts. I do now see money whenever he feels the need to get it to me. The one problem I have had with getting state help is that without some kind of agreement bewtween us for child support they won't help. I am getting there. As for the kids, my daughter adjusted fast, Daddy wasn't home much before he left, so the main difference is that she can't find any of his t-shirts to sleep in now. The boys are little and have bounced back, and do great as long as Daddy sticks to some kind of schedule even if its only a few hours twice a week. The hardest part is not letting our feelings out on the children; keep in mind that the problems that you and daddy have are not related to the kids and should NEVER affect the daddy-kid relations ship. As for daddy never taking them and when he does he is "more fun" then you, remember this...that when the kids life gets tough, they are sick, they have questions about anything, who do they come to? Mommy, always Mommy, becasue she is the rock, she is always there no matter what! And Daddy might be the fun vacation place Mommy has made a "home" and a home is more important then a house. God bless you and I wish you luck, I would say it gets easier but really it just gets different and you learn to deal.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.
In reading everyone's responses I completely agree with them..My parents divorced when I was 15..my mother bad mouthed my father left and right...I have a great relationship with my father...my mother and I don't have a relationship anymore...with that said I too divorced my ex when my son was 2...thru the years he has asked me why we got divorced..and my response has always been the same...:as we get older we want different things in life and we grow differently...neither of us are bad people...it was no ones fault:..I will never never tell my son the truth..but what I have done is tell him without lying..and believe there were many days when I wanted to tell my son..however..as my father told me when my parents got divorced...you only ever have one mother..you only ever have one father...what I will tell you is your relationship with your soon to be ex is a completely different relationship that your kids have with him...think of it as your relationship with your grandparents and your perception of your grandparents is different compared to the relationship your parents had with them and their perception of their own parents...when I got divorced I told my ex ..."the relationship you build with your son now is the relationship you will have with him when he is older"...the parents build the relationship not the children...there will be a time for you a year from now 5 years from now you may meet someone who will love your kids as his own..your kids will go to the people that they know love them, are there for them...kids are smart...

also...why are you waiting for him to file for divorce...why don't you do it..
...and that's all I have to say on that...

remember if you need to vent...we'll all listen...come to us..not the kids...

D.

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J.B.

answers from Las Vegas on

Why not file for divorce yourself? Have you already moved out? I would think moving out might ease the feelings of wanting to tear him apart...but maybe you have already moved out. I just remember my friend going through a divorce and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why they were living in the house together for so long during the process. It seemed to make all the hurt just linger and neither one could really start to move on until they were away from each other.

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S.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I will tell you a few things I learned when I was going through my divorce that really turned my attitude around. First of all, you will get over it if you don't harbor too much resentment. The resentment is what keeps you attached to him. Two, you don't have to "wait" for him to file for divorce. Men are not good with paperwork. Go to a lawyer or We The People (legal documentation preparation) and do it yourself. It will make you feel better and like it's more your idea than his. If he isn't sincere about it, it will give him 6 months to "wake up" while the clock is ticking to make it legal. Once you have the divorce paperwork, it will be easier for you to go after him for the child support-have your attorney ask the courts to attach his wages at work. The third thing, and the most important emotionally when there are kids involved is to LOVE YOUR KIDS MORE THAN YOU HATE YOUR EX. This means, don't talk bad about him in front of them. They are 1/2 of him and it will feel like you're talking about part of them when you do it. Take charge of the situation and have your own plan. Do not count on him for anything. When a caged bird wants out, the best thing to do is open up the cage door and let it fly. Sometimes they realize they don't really want to go. If they do go, it is best for you to let go sooner vs. later. I was married for 12 years and it took me about 5 to really get over it. Save yourself a lot of heartache and trouble and know the feelings you have are valid, but also temporary. They will go away and you will be fine. There was another woman involved in my divorce story (he's married to her now) so, it was very hard for me to have this "other woman" around my kids. Now, we are seriously at a place where we can all be around each other and we are all very civil. THAT is what is best for the children. When they are adults, they will make up their own minds about what happened. I've moved on, got remarried, and I have another child with my new husband. Things will be Okay. It is a shame he is not being an active, participating father-it is even more of a shame for your son, because he will need a good male role model. You will find one for him, even if it's a family friend, neighbor, or relative. Keep in mind also that NO influence is better than BAD influence on a kid. If this is the way he plays it, get him out of your lives and heal so you can bring positive people into your lives. Hopefully your soon-to-be-ex-husband will open his eyes and see whether you are together or not, he has a responsibility to your kids. If he doesn't, then all of you are better off without him. If he is not doing anything to help you out, I would suggest you don't even communicate at ALL with him. You do not have to talk to him-especially if it makes you more upset. If you speak to a lawyer for a consultation, they will let you know of all your rights. At least get a free consultation. You will feel empowered. Your kids are young enough that if you handle this right now, they will be very resilient and may not even remember him living with you at all.

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H.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Oh honey, I can soooooo sympathize! I left my husband when our son was 6 months old, and while it was the BEST decision I have ever made, it was also the hardest. Right now, the wound is fresh and raw, but in a short time you will feel better. That's when anything nasty you say now will come back to haunt you. The high road is so hard to take, but we as mommies will do anything for our kids. That's what you have to do! Put yourself in your kids place and try to imagine how much it would hurt if someone badmouthed someone you love. You will have so many opportunities to be mean, (trust me - he's going to give you several)but those are also opportunities to take that high road. My son is 15 now, I am HAPPILY married to the right man, have two more kids, and a great relationship with my ex. My son has been allowed to grow and blossom without any negativity from us, and I know that helped shape him into a wonderful young man. HANG IN THERE!! It will be worth it I promise! :)

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M.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,
I am so sorry that things are going poorly in your marriage. Relationships are hard and dealing with husbands can be extra hard. I don't have any advice except I would fight to save your marriage with everything you have. Things might be hard in a marriage, but splitting up is going to make things so much more difficult. You have probably read questions from single moms and remarried women and can get a sense of what things will be like if you get a divorce.
I don't know why your husband is asking for a divorce, but if I were you I would look at what I could change in myself. Is your husband wrong? Probably. Is he behaving badly? Most likely, but what lies ahead if the divorce goes through is going to be worse. Your kids need you both to be united and a healthy marriage is worth fighting for. Don't give up.
M. T

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K.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I filed for divorce when my girls were 2 1/2 and age 4. It was tough, but I did it. If he asked for the divorce, and won't actually file, don't wait around. Just do it yourself. This way you can go on with your life . Let's face it, he has already moved on. Your kids will be fine. Be honest with them. Don't tear your husbands head off in front of the kids. In fact, don't show anger towards him. Make sure you go through the district attorney's office to have his wages garnished so you will not have to ask him for a dime. I did it in 1997. I have sole legal custody . My girls are 13 and almost 15. You will be fine. I know how hard it is. You will be okay, and remember that there are people out there who will and can help you.

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O.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

What if you ask their father what kind of response he'd like for you to tell the kids when they start asking for him?
My parents were divorced when I was 10, and from this experience - plus friends who have now gone through this, I know that it's best to not talk badly/negatively about your spouse infront of or to the children. It just makes the complaining spouse look bad (for making such bad choices) and makes the children feel terrible and confused. My mother spoke bad of my father, while my father didn't talk about her at all and if he did, he taught us to respect her, she was our mother.
Keep a journal when you have terrible days and express yourself there, not to the kids.
If he doesn't help you out financially or keep his word about helping and supporting his children, seek financial assistance right away. I think the biggest mistake is to let a father off of his responsibility. Give him a warning and file for child support assistance with the District Attorney if he doesn't step up. You don't have to be divorced to get the City's/County's help.
Be strong, I'm sure it's hard, and don't give him so much power, don't let him make you so angry. Be calm, give him choices and remind him that there are consequences for his action or lack of.

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C.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
The first thing you have to do is to contact an attorney and/or a paralegal depending on your financial status. Don't wait for him to make the first move. As you can see by now, he's all talk and no action.

I waited too long to file for divorce, making up an excuse everytime. My kids are much older now and it is worse because I stayed for the wrong reasons. You and your babies will be fine, the road will just be a bit rough.

Good-luck!

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P.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
I work in the family law field and like the book What About the Kids? Raising Your Children Before During and After Divorce by Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee. There is good advice and support in there.

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A.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so so sorry to hear about your situation. It breaks my heart. My recommendation would be to seek advice from a pastor. I highly recommend Centerpoint Church in Colton for a loving, non-judgemental, come as you are place to seek help. The pastors name is Dane Aaker. If you dont live in the area, still give him a call and he can point you to a good church to go to (he knows a lot of good churches all sround and will even research it for you if he doesnt know). Above all be strong and consistent. Your kids will need the consistency through love in a tough transition time. I believe in being honest with children to the extent of what they need to know. REASSURE your older boy that mommy is always there for him and loves him always. It will be hard so please find a good support system via family or friends (people you can call on the drop of a hat when you are going to loose it emotionally and need that break).

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H.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Though it may be hard, stay positive for the children, and keep a cordial relationship with your ex for the sake of the children. Never bad mouth your ex in front of the children. I wish you luck, and am sorry to hear about your situation.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

So sorry to hear! I know what you are going through. I was married for almost 13 years and had one child with him. Our son was almost 5 when we split, but thankfully we are friends now and our son is better off. If you just need someone to talk to feel free to email [email protected]____.com I try to check my emails often

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K.P.

answers from Fayetteville on

My dear M.,

I am so sorry that you are going through this. A divorce, no matter how necessary, is not something I would wish on my enemy. My advice comes to you as a 42 year old, grown child of divorced parents. My parents' divorce was finalized when I was 5. I have no bad recollections of this time.

I credit my mother with the way it was handled. She had every opportunity and would even be justified in letting us know what a heel my dad was, but she didn't. She always spoke highly of him. She made excuses when for him when, as children, we would be sitting with our coats on waiting for his visit and he didn't show. If a birthday or Christmas present did not come from him, one would soon appear with his name on it.

It wasn't until I was in college that I found out how much anger and resentment my mother had toward my father for his coming in and out of our lives as was convenient for him. By then I could handle it and understood. I had also figured out on my own what kind of man he was.

Every child needs to feel love for and be loved by their parents. As they get older, they will realize for themselves who their Dad is and who knows, he may actually rise to the responsibility. My father did when I was in my teens.

I know how hard it is to bite your tongue and to separate your feelings for him as a partner with the kids needs for a father, but that is my advice. Good luck with everything.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

M.,

I am so sorry to hear of what you're going through. All I can say is to try to not let your children know your opinion of their father. They will see what you're seeing in time. I come from a broken home (I don't even remember living with my dad) and grew up putting my dad on a pedestal because my mom never let on what really happened. To this day, they still care for each other, but now I know that they really are 2 very different people, and now that I'm a parent myself, I really see what he wasn't there for, and though it makes me angry, I'm able to deal with it in a mature manner since I am now an adult. I think that the way they handled their divorce, helped me from being "damaged" and allowed me from feeling like I was in the middle of something ugly. I'm sure your husband is probably scared to actually file because it's so permanent, but if it's something that you both have agreed is needed, than perhaps YOU should follow through with his request and present him with the papers. Don't let him dangle this carrot in front of you. You need to move on if that's what's going to happen. It just breaks my heart to hear when a marriage doesn't work out because nobody gets married thinking "Let's see if this will work or not." Bottome line is, just know that your kids will be fine in the big picture. Maybe counseling would be good for you in order to know the best way for you to handle your emotions regarding your husband around your kids.

I hope this helps. Good luck,
M.

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B.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Been there! My son is now almost 16 and we're still dealing with some of the same things we dealt with 14 years ago! Just remember, you once loved their father and at a minimum chose to have children with him. The kids are half him so never put him down in front of them (remember they hear everything even when you're talking to him or venting to friends)because they will start feeling like something is bad about them too. I became a very good liar for the sake of my son's heart. Kids are smart and if you tell them the good about their dad or make up a reasonable story for why he can't be around that day or always, they will make up their own minds in time. Kids believe whatever we want them too and we can easily put our anger and prejudices into their minds. Later they will blame not liking or spending time with him on you. He will probably not follow the same rules but if they are with you more they will be able to sort out the truth. My son confronted his father on EVERYTHING when he was 13 and has thanked me for letting him love his dad even though he has learned he is an unreliable, lying ass. Try not to fight even over the phone with him. Don't discuss money in front of the kids and the best way to handle financial support is through the courts. They will collect and send it to you. It's easier. If he hasn't filed for divorce, can you? You can file seperation papers in court and get the support part started. I won't lie, you're in for a rough year and half or so. That's about how long it takes to deal with the anger & frustration and get comfortable in the power you have in your new life. Try to look at it in a positive light. When you look back you'll be glad it's now and not 5 years from now. Believe in how strong you really are and how much happier your children will be without the stress of living with parents who are unhappy together. I assume, you weren't happy. If you are going through a rough patch and end up working it out,you'll be glad you didn't let the kids know you wanted to tear daddy face off!! As for being a happy mom again... just look at their beautiful faces and remember the good in them, not the stress the other half of them is currently causing. it is not easy, but my greatest accomplishment and compliment has been people saying to me that my son doesn't seem like he was raised by a single mom. That he so secure and confident in who he is. If i had let him know how i really felt about his father i don't think he would be the same.
Hang in there! It does get easier!

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,

Divorce is hard, I know. But divorce and child support in California is so cut and dried that you can put the extra worry out of your mind. It doesn't matter who left who -- ours is a no-fault state. It doesn't matter if he wants to support his children -- the California Child Support Calculator will spit out a number and he must pay that amount by law.

File for divorce yourself. Run the Child Support Calculator. If ex-hubby refuses to agree to the amount, go to court and get the judge to order support and order the ex pay all of the legal fees. Because the system is so simple Judges don't like it when a spouse avoids opportunities to settle issues out of court.

You'll be happier without this stuff hanging over your head. Hey, were you married for more that 10 years? If so, you may be entitled to alimony...

I've been through a divorce myself and I don't know what to tell you about the lingering resentment. It's a bear. Just try not to let it get to you and, for sure, hide it from your children.

Best wishes.

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G.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

See a therapist? My first husband and I split when my son was 7 1/2 months old because I had gone into severe post-partum depression when my son was 2 1/2 months old due to doubts about being a first-time mom, we both lost our jobs, my husband emotionally separated from me, etc., etc. I had to see a psychiatrist and therapist. What I learned from that was to express my emotions. However, he took our son and I immediately filed for divorce and got a hearing set for custody issues, etc. I ended up paying back rent, past due doctor's bills, etc. because my husband was not (and still is not) financially responsible. But finances aside, it was the best thing. I eventually went back into therapy and had to put my son in therapy for about 6 sessions when he was in 1st grade and 4th grade because of issues with his father.

I am remarried and have a 14-month old daughter. My husband is financially responsible and loves his daughter but we had quite a few fights the first year of her life and that is pretty normal, him being a first-time dad.

Anyway, just so you know, you can do it on your own, it's hard but maybe find someone to talk to.

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Twenty three years ago, I was right where you are and didn't want to be. I had a 14 yr marriage with a young teen daughter, a 7 yr old son, and 4 yr old daughter. Their father decided to move out at age 33 "to find himself" We went to marriage counseling once a week and that gave him more reason to go into personal therapy. We also had the kids going to therapy with different people. After a year, he decided NOT to come home because he decided he didn't want to be a father or husband any longer. Well, the family therapist set him straight that he had no choice since he did father three children and they needed him. The one thing I learned from the therapist was I could not "help" him be a father nor tell him what he needed to do so WE came to an agreement that the kids would tell him what they wanted in the safety of the therapist's sessions. That was so helpful to have someone else for them to talk to and for that someone else to facilitate what he needed to hear. The therapist told him NOT to be a "Disney Dad" where the kids are treated to all kinds of special events, outings and the like only when he wanted to take them. The children need routine and order and if they are to go with him it should be to his house and do regular day to day things like chores and homework since it is their home, too, when they are there. It also takes pressure off you that you don't have to entertain your own children. And for you as a mother, you don't have to try and outdo any thing he does. Money is another factor and you need to get a lawyer ASAP. If you have to borrow the money for one. Keep a calendar of every thing he says and does with the children, and if he gives you any money document it. Close out the checking account and any credit cards in both names. Get your own. Until you are divorced, you are just as liable as he is for any money owed to anyone. Get the car into your name and if you own a house you just have to keep it for your kids sake. If you have a job, stay there but do not go out and get a job, yet. A lawyer will advise you, take heed. Look out for you and your children. If you are hoping he'll change, don't hold on to that hope but fight for your children. Get professional advice but talk to alot of women who have gone through what you are. Do you have a church or school group you can go to for help? Do you have health insurance? You can get therapists' names from them. Stick up for yourself and don't let the man dictate what you should be doing. As for me, I moved on with my life. I have not gotten remarried but I have lived with another man for twenty one years and we have a daughter we are raising together. We have had some rocky times, too, but I have had alot of support from him because he came from a family that went through what I did and didn't want his daughter to go through what he did. Anyway, my ex husband and I are very civil with each other and he put the kids first when they were still young helping them with many financial endeavors like schooling and establishing their own homes. He even helped the youngest one open her own business. He did remarry and adopted a child, too. There were times when I thought I would never see hope but things have worked out but there were alot of tears over the years and alot of therapy!
You will find strength if you just keep delving into yourself. Have a blessed life! M. S.

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D.W.

answers from San Diego on

M.,

This must be so hard for you, but you have got to stay strong (and positive) for your little ones. My advice is to find a family law attorney you trust - take advantage of free consultations and pick the attorney you connect with best. Then go after the father for support!

Keep remembering that you and your kids will be a whole lot better (and happier) off w/out him. Just love your kids up and find your joy in them.

Good luck!
D.

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