forward and backwards

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sevenyears

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forward and backwards
« on: April 02, 2021, 08:54:29 PM »
Two steps forward and one step backwards today. Or, was it one step forward and two steps backwards?

Progress: After UNOCPD XH refused to let both children attend a support group for kids of divorced parents, my (foster) daughter's social worker stepped in and said she's going. (Unfortunately, SW can't do the same for our son).

Step backwards: I stupidly sent him the full list of groups, instead of one or two, so he chose the one the farthest away and which she will have to miss school for (only 30 minutes, but still).

Backwards and more backwards: our court-ordered mediation devolved from discussing how to get my son to his new school and back (the bilingual school where I enrolled him) into which school he should go to. On the table for discussion are now: I do what UNOCPDEX wants, or I pay him to do what is best for our son in terms of schools. So frustrating. I have to survive one more mediation session, and then we'll be at court in a full blown custody battle.

I'm trying to look at the bright side: I didn't have a full blown panic attack before the mediation and I managed to keep it from devolving entirely. I think I can refocus it back to focussing on the school and that ExH needs to accept this. I am, however, up in the middle of the night unable to sleep.

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Free2Bme

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2021, 10:13:30 PM »
Hi sevenyears,

I am sorry for what you are going through, really sucks.  IME, counter-parenting abounds and the kids lose out.  I am glad your DD is able to attend the group.  Does SW have any suggestions as to how you could get the same for DS?
Maybe DD could share her experience with DS and he can request it at some point.
Equally believable that uxH would chose the most inconvenient location for you, argh.

I'm guessing the bilingual school a private school requiring tuition?  If the negotiations fail, maybe you could propose splitting the cost as a last ditch effort?

Kudos to you for getting through the mediation meetings, they are so very stressful and expensive, I've been through it but never had to go to court thankfully.  There are many things that I stressed over that never materialized, and then there were some surprises too. 

I wish I had more wisdom to offer you.  I know there are others here with expertise about legal/custody matters.

You will get through this.  It does get better.   :bighug:
Be good to yourself, even in small ways.  Create a peaceful bedtime routine, a bubble bath and a cup of sleepytime tea helps me.  ;)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 10:15:15 PM by Free2Bme »

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Penny Lane

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2021, 02:49:16 PM »
I'm sorry. It does sound like you're progressing (despite his best efforts). Hang in there - your life will be miserable during the court case but hopefully things get a lot better afterward.

 :bighug:

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athene1399

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2021, 01:55:58 PM »
I am so sorry this is going on, Seven. And even if giving your ex the list of places backfired (with him picking the furthest one), you now know not to do this in the future. SO and I had done something similar as well. We decided going forward to not offer something as a solution/option if it would be difficult for us as that would be what BPDBM picks.

Try to keep your focus on what is going well, like the SW saying DD needs to attend the group. And give yourself some time for self care and relaxation. The whole process can get overwhelming.

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sevenyears

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 08:09:41 PM »
We had the second of two mediations yesterday. I feel better about it because I got it back on track talking about the way in which we get my son back and forth to the bilingual school during the weeks when his is with UNOCPD EX. He was confrontational, and tried to bully/bait/provoke me and I managed to stay on track and be solution focussed on getting his agreement for the bilingual school.

The bilingual school is a public school (in the U.S. sense), although there are some minor additional costs associated with it. UNOCPD EXH knows the only one of his rationalizations against the bilingual school that the judge might listen to is that it will cost him more than the other local school. So, he wants to make it appear that it is a huge financial burden for him and get me to pay him off in order to agree with this school. He wants to know how much I will pay him/what my "pain threshold" is to compensate him for "financial damages," and then he will decide whether to accept my offer or not. His need for control - he wants a veto! But anyway..... I managed to pick apart his demands enough to figure out  what's reasonable, what is hot air.

So, I'm trying to figure out whether I make an offer at the top of my "pain threshold" to pay him off and keep our son in the bilingual school, or whether I make a more reasonable offer. In real terms, the difference isn't that much - it's the principle. And, there's my fear that either way, I will make a financial offer and then he'll set the bar higher and make new demands, and that ultimately, we'll end up at court in a custody dispute anyway.

And, while he appeared kind of willing to compromise during the mediation, outside of mediation his gaslighting and triangulation continue. He told our daughter that the reason why she has to go to the support group for kids of divorce is because I have said that she is a threat or dangerous to other children. And because our son was born with a donor egg, he said that DS isn't a part of each of us during mediation. WTF?! HE also said the reason why the children act out with me is because I'm conflict avoidant. This comment was right after he said I escalate conflicts because I run to court everytime we disagree. sigh.

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Penny Lane

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2021, 02:57:26 PM »
I'm sorry he said all that terrible stuff! I can't imagine that his donor egg comment impressed the mediator. And your poor daughter being put in the middle like that.

On the fees, in theory, it should be a matter of whether you pay for half the costs of the school up to, maybe, 100% of the costs, right? It would be absurd to be talking about more than that. If you can afford it, this might be a situation where money is the cheapest way to pay. I know it feels like paying him off but you might save yourself some hassle and emotional distress for you and for the kids.

In the end I kind of think it doesn't matter if you put in an offer that's the very minimum you would accept vs some sort of compromise. Either he's motivated to settle, or he isn't, and there's not much you can do either way. If it were me I'd be inclined to offer something with a little wiggle room - because I think he'll want to keep "negotiating."

Whatever you do I would make sure the agreement is that your money goes directly to the school - you're not paying him directly.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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sevenyears

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2021, 04:13:58 PM »
PL - my daughter is in the middle; my son is in the middle. it sucks. I try to keep them out of the debates but he draws them into it complaining to them about me or the school or the support program. It makes me so angry.

I can agree to pay most of the school fees. I'm having trouble with his "request" that I compensate him to offset his salary losses because he will work less. I've put that "request" as neutral as I can. He said he wants to know what my "pain threshold" is for paying him for "financial damages."
 

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Penny Lane

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2021, 04:24:53 PM »
!!!!!!! So he literally wants you to pay him off! I thought you were speaking more metaphorically. Yeah I'd have a hard time with that too.

To me that says he's not interested in negotiating seriously. "Pay me to do the right thing for our son."

I think that comes back to, always be prepared for court even when they act like they might be willing to compromise.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this - you are so strong to go through this for your kids.

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sevenyears

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2021, 06:07:56 PM »
Penny Lane - you nailed it. He wants me to pay him to do the right thing for our son. Even if I were to agree to this, he will do everything possible to undermine our son so that he won't be happy at that school. He already does that. I try my best to be calm and stable for the kids. DS recently wanted to know whether he could go to "my" school when he's with me and to "daddy's" school when he's with him (he alternates weeks between us). I told him that he is registered at the bilingual school while daddy and I work on an agreement, that he can only go to one school, and that it is "his" school and will be the best school for him. In other conversations, I tell him how lucky he is growing up and able to speak two languages, and how many exciting things he will get to do in the first grade, and how he'll get to pick out his school backpack and that he'll receive a giant cone of candy on the first day (a great tradition on the first day of first grade here with lots of pomp and circumstance).

And, paying UNOCPD XH to work less so that he'll do the right thing - is so unreasonable. He says he can't work full time if our son goes to the bilingual school. I wonder what is next that he'll want me to pay for so that he'll do the right thing for our son. He wants me to pay for his parking when he takes our daughter to the support group. He wants less than a total of 20 Euros over the course of three months because he's being so cooperative and agreed to take DD to the meetings when she is with him. This is how petty he is and how ridiculous it gets.

I'll keep focussed though on the main goal. DD will go to the support group. While I would love to make an agreement in mediation for DS to attend the bilingual school, I won't do it at all costs. I can now stand my ground better. And, even though I'm intimidated by court, I'm in a much better place now emotionally than I was at this time last year. Although I come and go, OOTF and all of you are such a big help. 

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sevenyears

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 08:00:34 PM »
So, in mediation today, UNOCPD XH agreed that DS attend the bilingual school provided that I pay the extra school fees and transfer my share of the state's child subsidy to him. (He was demanding that I pay part of his salary so that he can work fewer hours). The devil of course is in the details. Let's see if we actually get to a written agreement stamped and sealed by the judge.

UNOCPD XH was up to his usual tricks. Angry, yelling, interrupting, dismissing, blaming, threats, etc. The list goes on. We were conferencing via video. He would turn his screen on and off to show me his "displeasure." In a moment of comic relief, he actually stuck his fingers in his ears!

At the very least, I held my own against him in mediation. And, hopefully, we have an agreement. Paying him my share of the child subsidy sucks, but I can accept that if my DS can attend a school in which he learns in my language. 

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Rose1

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2021, 09:32:45 PM »
Maybemput a time frame on it, like 12 months. Things change

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sevenyears

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2021, 01:51:13 PM »
Update: During our last court session before the judge sent us to mediation, UNOCPDXH agreed not to try to change DS's school enrollment while we were in mediation. Guess what? Two days after the mediation session, in which we agreed that he goes to the bilingual school, XH contacted the school board to unenroll him there and enroll him in a different school. Fortunately, the school board is onto his game and won't reregister DS in any other school without a signed agreement from both of us or a court order to change him. Meanwhile, the school sent me an acceptance letter. I'm sooooo happy.  DS will be able to learn in my language, as well as the local language (and that of ExH).  I doubt the judge will order us to change his registration. And, I'm proud of myself for standing up to his bullying. We're not out of the woods yet. He threatened several times during mediation to "go after me", and he's been making noise insinuating that I've been hurting the children - not true of course - so I can only predict what is coming..... Meanwhile, I'm keeping focussed on doing what is right for our son and daughter, and trying not to worry (too much).

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athene1399

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Re: forward and backwards
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2021, 02:57:00 PM »
I am glad the school didnít unenroll DS and he is still enrolled at the bilingual school. That is good news!