Dear Chump Lady,
I left my cheater husband two years ago after learning he had been having sex with prostitutes intermittently throughout our relationship (pre- and during marriage). I went through counseling with him, but finally filed for divorce last year when all I was getting was the Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse.
We have two little girls and I’ve been home raising them since they were born, while he was working and engaging in other extra curricular activities. He quit his job (he says he was fired, but I think he’s lying) and starting fighting for 50/50 custody. Since we couldn’t agree on custody we got a Guardian Ad Litem appointed and after meeting with both of us and seeing us with the kids and interviewing family and friends, she has given him very close to 50/50 custody.
I am devastated. I don’t think this is what’s right for my kids. But I also know that going through a trial will be difficult both emotionally and financially and I may end up with exactly what the GAL recommended anyway.
Bottom line I suppose is: how do I deal with the fundamental unfairness and injustice of this situation? He goes and screws prostitutes, puts my life and the lives of my children at risk and yet he gets to work less and see his kids more while I didn’t do anything wrong and I have to work more and see my kids less. How is this fair?
Dear Frustrated Mom,
It’s not fair. It’s horribly unjust.
Personally, I think the no fault divorce ethos has gone waaaaaay too far. Fact is marriages break up most often because someone IS at fault. Someone is a drunk. Someone is an abuser. Someone is a cheater. Someone is mentally ill.
I certainly don’t want to go back to the bad ol’ days when people could hardly get divorces at all, or there was divorce stigma, but come on legal system — if a business partner did half the fraudulent things a cheating spouse does (steal marital resources, risk your health) we’d have a lawsuit with damages. Hell, we might even have jail time. You marry this person and they fuck you over? Oh, we drifted apart. We all brought issues to the marriage. WTFever.
Someone needs to explain to me how no fault divorce is better. I know there is some feminist argument out there someone (and I’m a feminist!) but I’ll be goddamned if I can see how getting rid of alimony helps women. When men can have babies and take a hit to their careers to raise children, call me.
That is not to say no fault divorce is a cake walk for men either. The entire system SUCKS for chumps! A man can support his family, she cheats, takes his kids and he’s got support and every other weekend. How the hell is THAT fair?
Back to you FM — you’ve got a very difficult calculus to do and I think you need to go consult with several lawyers. I am NOT a lawyer and I cannot give you legal advice, but here are some red flags leaping out at me in your letter.
1) He’s got a prostitution problem. How the hell was that not addressed? Last time I checked (unless you live in Nevada), prostitution is illegal. He’s breaking the law and he wants custody? I would so wave that shit under a judge’s nose.
Moreover, I am completely creeped out by men — especially men with DAUGHTERS — who frequent prostitutes. It’s not a victimless crime. People are trafficked, so many of these women are damaged, or tied up in organized crime, or are paying off “debts” for being transported to the country. Sure there are predatory “professionals” — and volunteers in the sex worker trade — but read the statistics!
- The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
- The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)
Having a hooker habit isn’t stamp collecting. It’s not some weird, slightly embarrassing past-time, it is CRIMINAL. Whatever evidence you have of his prostitution usage, I’d be giving to an attorney and possibly the cops and child protective services.
2) He quit his job. Boy, I’ve seen that play here at Chump Lady, over and over. I’ve got to believe judges see it too as the obvious move it is to weasel out of child support. How exactly does he propose to support himself and 50% time with the children? Indefinite employment? Welfare? (Moreover, how does he intend to pay for his hooker habit?)
Look, being forced back into the workforce is not a bad thing for you — you need financial independence from this clown. But that doesn’t mean his parenting is somehow equivalent to those years you spent at home because he quit his job now!
I would think a decent attorney could make hay with this.
Look, I have been through multiple custody trials — I can tell you first hand how costly it is and how deeply it sucks. I can also tell you I have always had physical custody of my kid too. I could buy a small house for what I spent on lawyer fees, no joke. I would go through it again to maintain custody. You asked my advice, so my advice is — fight him. You’ve got some terrific ammunition in my opinion. Also, I just doubt these cheaters really want THAT much time with their kids. They want zero consequences and zero expense usually.
If you can’t afford the fight, or are resigned to this outcome, then my next advice is document the shit out of everything he does, because when you’re in court again (you will be in court again), you can show chapter and verse of what he is doing that is NOT in the best interest of the kids. The legal system loves documentation.
Talk to some lawyers. I really think a fight with this dickhead is inevitable, so I’d get it out of the way now. Otherwise, you’re going uphill later. The court will think, well, he wasn’t so bad that she didn’t AGREE to let him have those girls… So don’t agree. Fight like hell.
Good luck FM, and big ((((HUGS))).
Thank you much for your response CL! The lawyers and GAL knew all about his escapades but he is very convincing and I think sold it as “I’m a changed man and this horrible event has caused me to change my ways and now I’m Super Dad!”
Perhaps a male judge will feel differently, I don’t know.
Your lawyer was fooled by him? I would get another lawyer.
I 100% agree!! shouldnt he need to PROVE he is not soliciting prostitutes? PROVE he is a changed man? i dont understand how he could just say he is a changed man and ANY lawyer just say, oh ok, well then i understand you are better now. WTF isnt YOUR lawyer suppose to be going for the juggler? i dont care how convincing your XH is, this is YOUR lawyer you are paying to fight for YOU!!! i seen lawyers who can make an innocent man questions his own innocence and yours just rolls over on you and believes his poor me sob story?
get a new lawyer, this one is defective.
Has anyone else here fought an unfavorable GAL report? How did it go?
You need a very experienced attorney, who knows the judge, the GAL, and who has the reputation and resources to present your case in the best possible light. Sadly, as with everything, there are good and bad GALs, but one recommendation certainly should not cause you to give up the fight. Your X sounds highly manipulative-most judges see through the ploy of voluntary employment down-sizing and do not like it one bit. At minimum, if think your lawyer is being dazzled by X’s bs, get a second opinion. Most state bars have “board certified” lawyers, who are specialists in their field. They are worth the cost. GAL recommendations are,for the most part, helpful but in no way binding on the judge. A good lawyer is going to hire their own expert to point out facts which may have been overlooked or minimized by the GAL. Your girls deserve your fierce advocacy.
You may want to consider privately hiring a parental responsibility evaluator to help rebut the GAL report.
What arrangement were you proposing? Primary physical custody? 50%-50% was unfavorable? That’s the default in a lot of places. Personally, I don’t think it’s a sustainable arrangement for most people.
I don’t know anyone who has maintained 50-50 custody for more than a couple of years. Kids hate it and end up choosing a primary residence, usually the home with fewer rules. If the child is a teenager, most courts will honor the child’s choice unless there is clear evidence of a threat to the child’s health (e.g., active substance, presence of sexual offenders, etc.).
Here’s my question: do the “family and friends” who were interviewed know he frequents prostitutes? Can you find out what happened with his job? How he is supporting himself? Is he paying rent or living with someone? What was the Guardian Ad Litem’s argument for nearly 50/50? Can you show that the Guardian did not take the relevant information into account?
And I agree with CL that going back to work, for you, is a great move. While I agree that alimony should be awarded in many cases, it’s also true that if a woman wants to divorce a cheater (or a drunk or a thief or an abuser), she cannot rely on that duplicitous person for lifetime financial support. Where the no-fault system went insane was equating “no fault” with “ability to divorce.” In the old days, someone who wanted out HAD to prove the spouse had broken the contract, and make that argument in front of a judge or master. I had that situation with my first marriage. I was very young. He used drugs, wouldn’t work, and finally starting hitting me. He fought the divorce and scared my parents so badly I had an armed guard when I went to the hospital for surgery. It was awful to sit through the divorce hearing while I recited to a stranger all the things he did. No-fault works well in these situations.
The biggest issue with custody, I think, is the difficulty the legal system has in sorting out who the bad guy is when a chump and a lying cheater go through the process. The system has pretty much given up on trying to do that necessary work. Going back to “fault,” not in divorce but in CUSTODY determinations, might be helpful so long as it doesn’t devolve into he said/she said. As we know, Mr. Sparkles and the other cheater types are very good at lying.
In Australia we have a ‘no fault’ system in every state, and it works well. Its very difficult to prove emotional abuse and in the same why we Chumps suddenly and surprisingly found ourselves to be married to dirty lying cheaters some people find themselves to be married to manipulative selfish emotionally controlling people and they want out – I don’t have problem with that. I DO have a problem with children being exposed to people of poor character and situations that might harm them- sharing custody arrangements with these narcissistic pricks is a nightmare – all we can do is be vigilant, well-informed and arm ourselves with the best advice possible,
I was in a similar situation. Got records of him calling prostitutes. I had a bully lawyer. He didn’t get 50/50, but he got visitation 2 times a week plus every other week end.
This is what my lawyer told me- yes, it’s wrong. But as long as he is doing this when kids are not there none cares. It makes him shitty husband but not a shitty father.
I personally disagree. I don’t think you can cheat, lie, hurt your children, and be a good father. But the judge will not stop his visitation unless there are some evidence of abuse, drugs, etc. I even read cases where women were prostitutes and as long as they didn’t do it in presence of their kids- they still had custody. I did a lot of research on this.
Yes you can fight and hopefully you have a good judge who will see him for who he really is. The judges are human too. There are judges who are former cheaters, and there are judges who are chumps. There are also judges who neutral to infedelity. It depends.
You need to talk to a lawyer who practices where you live. If you decide not to fight this please document. I can amost quarantee you that the reason he is going to joint custody is so that he doesn’t have to pay you child support.
Did you ask for alimony? If you were stay at home mom you should be asking for one. You need a good lawyer. If he quit his job the court can impute his income to previous level. It can be done. You will have to prove that he quit. His employer can be deposed. Did he file for unemployment? What did he state as reasons for termination of his employment? You need to investigate all of this and then make a decision.
Be very very careful when you text or talk to him. Act like every conversation can be recorded and end up In Front of the judge. Even if you hate him you need to pretend that you want him to have relationship with kids. The courts look at it. Don’t let him portray you as a person who simply wants to punish him for cheating. He is going to try this if you let him.
FM I agre with CL fight him with everything you have. I helped my daughter get her divorce and custody 18 yrs ago. Her XH wanted custody. He drank a lot daily, didn’t belive in prenatal care (baby was 2 Lbs at birth) liked porn and thought women should be barefoot and pregnant. He gave his son beer in his bottle at 3mths old to shut him up. Instead of spending my energy hating him and being up set, I spent it figuring out how to eliminating him from his sons life. I made sure to draw the divorce out. These lazy no goods can’t seem to work hard at being super dad for too long. I spent every penny I could find on a killer lawyer. I also documented any communication. This was in California where you can kill someone and still have court ordered visitation. We got full custody with him having supervised visit at his expense. He also had to give 30days notice before. That was too much work for a jerk. He had one visitation and we never saw him again. Become a moma bear and bite his ass. Hugs
I’m so sorry to hear this is happening to you frustrated mom – My STBXH was also seeing prostitutes so I really relate ….its so awful when you have daughter (I have 3) and you think of how appallingly they must view women – just objects for their use – such a power trip – it made my skin crawl – it must be awful to send your girls to him knowing his view of women – what a creep…… I really feel for you.
I agree with mommyof2 if you are unhappy it go to court but from now on you have to think very strategically – be very very careful what you say and who you say it to, Always appear reasonable in any interaction with him – emails, phone calls etc. and assume that anything you say or do could be later used against you by him in court. Research on the net etc and ask around – get the very BEST lawyer in this area of law that you can afford- do not just go to anyone – my STBXH is a very senior lawyer but not is this field -I used the person he had once described to me as an ‘attack dog’ (after I had developed suspicions about his behaviours – I was planning ahead) – he was very expensive but saved me a lot of money in the end because his advice was spot on – he had seen every trick before in the end I saved money because we didn’t even get to court My STBXH caved quickly because he knew he had been out smarted. Arm yourself with as much information about your situation as possible – Research research research …information makes you powerful ..try to find out how others with similar problems have successfully dealt with the same situation and how they got the best outcome.
My exhusband just won significantly more time with our daughter, quit one of his jobs, and used the justification that he needed to be off more to spend time with our daughter. I know when he gets another mistress, he will lose interest in our daughter, but until then……
“I know there is some feminist argument out there someone (and I’m a feminist!) but I’ll be goddamned if I can see how getting rid of alimony helps women.”
Because with the exception of one person, all of the people I know paying alimony IRL are WOMEN Chumps. Their Cheater husband left them for someone else, and then either quit their jobs immediately so the Chump had to pay alimony, immediately began working part time so the Chump had to pay alimony, or just claimed Chump made a bit more than they did, so Chump had to pay alimony.
Which just means it is a chump issue. (We are a rainbow nation of chumps.) I think in cases of infidelity, they should waive alimony. And dear God, the system should get hip to the people who suddenly cannot work when they get divorced. I know in Virginia (ages ago) they based child support on potential earnings — the highest salary you ever made.
Agreed. I think “no fault” divorce is part of the minimizing problem. It makes it look official that adultery was “no big deal.” And it teaches marriages just end nebulously. On top of it, it gives cover to people who refuse to face the facts that adultery killed the matriage. They can hide behind the “irreconcilable differences” language. All of this treats adultery as a minor mistake as opposed to the colossal moral failure and relationship trauma that it is.
So what is the answer? How can we ( chumps) affect change? I think that is the question. I divorced my cheating ex after I forgave and tried reconciliation. I actually left with nothing but 2 garbage bags of clothes. My ex taunted me that it did not matter that he was an adulterer and he was right. 20 years later he has never supported his 2 daughters. I got $200 dollars total in the last 20 years. So again, the question I have is how can we cause change. I the words of Fredrick Douglass “Power concedes nothing without first a demand”.
Not allowing our voices to he silenced is a start. It is important to see adultery is not a hip thing. It hurts real people and destroys real families/marriages.
When the Jackass got divorced, his STBX got a huge child support payment for one child, based on his business income, but she declared bankruptcy and the business was lost in the fallout. So he got a job that paid well, but the CS was computed on his prior income as that was his “earning potential.” While I don’t at this point feel one bit sorry for any of the consequences that he has felt then or now, he really had to scramble and work a lot of overtime to stay out of arrears once he had to work for other people. So in some states, and some counties, the “I lost my job” argument doesn’t work.
In VA if you prove infidelity then alimony is waived, you can also get your divorce without a year long separation. But that’s about it AND the bar of proof is high, you have to have third party (PI) evidence.
It freaked me out to find that these laws do NOT apply in the case of domestic abuse. I am pissed that even if you prove spouse abused you, it makes not one bit of difference to the divorce process.
It’s disgusting that there are no consequences when defiling the “sanctity” of marriage. Our country tries to bar people of the same sex to have a legal marriage because of God and the Bible and the Tooth Fairy, for shit’s sake. Then when one of the people in “holy matrimony” decides to cheat or abuse their spouse, our court system says it’s okay by them. If some asshole went around smacking strangers or stole money from a neighbor (marital assets) there would be a heavy price to pay. When you do it to someone you marry and to the children produced in that marriage? The courts basically say “Hit ’em harder!”
These laws need to be changed. No more drive thru divorces. They need to be judged on a case-by-case basis. If anyone has any ideas on how to begin a grassroots effort, please share.
“I am completely creeped out by men — especially men with DAUGHTERS — who frequent prostitutes.”
Yep, me too except I didn’t realise the horribleness of it (and porn) until I married XH who had two teenage (and very attractive) daughters from his first marriage.
They used to visit at holiday times. XH said he missed them which is why he used to be very physical with them. I always felt uneasy about this ‘closeness’- XH said I was just jealous. I guess this was the beginning of triangulation.
Anyway one of the worst rows we had in front of his daughters was when I found he had been looking at teen porn. There was even one who looked exactly liked his younger daughter. I’d already been through EA crap with him and I was furious, disgusted and hugely disappointed. XH ‘managed’ my outburst by making me seem crazy- I probably was- with fury.
However XH said he was a sex addict and started twelve stepping where he simply found more EAs. His financial problems led to us moving and while I got a job and supported him and his new business, he was stealing money from me to go to prostitutes. Oh, and there was the alcoholic relapse. Finally of course there was the OW.
XH never accepted that there was a connection between his use of women for sex (who were all someone’s daughter) and his own daughters. Either he narcissistically didn’t really value his own daughters or he just managed to maintain some mental block. I also got the ‘all men do it’ line. It was an argument I could never win but the experience did make me very aware of the dark, predatory nature of (some) men. I also see that the progression from EAs to porn to prostitutes to final OW was inevitable once he had tested each boundary. I used to think I’d let the anti-Christ into my life, and then of course, the Mr Sparkles persona would put in an appearance and I’d start to think I’d imagined the other dark side to him.
Now, I think you have to challenge this shit straight away- and never let them get away with anything that damages other people’s daughters. Failure to do so means you end up condoning this behaviour, however unwittingly.
As the grown up women here, we have to look after the young and keep them safe- our daughters, sisters, and friends.
FM, fight your XH and show your daughters they don’t need a man like this in their lives.
Weirdly I just had this argument with my cheater and the counselor. Asshat has always viewed porn. His favorite sites are The Fappening, teenage Fuckfest, xhamster teen, etc… I have no problem with erotica. But this porn creeps me out because the girls are young. They are getting pounded by lots of guys and it’s so demeaning to watch. Asshat says every guy watches this stuff. I know in the past I would have let the boundary go and I did, but not anymore.
The fact is he is jacking off to disturbing images of girls around his own daughter’s age. Since he claims he no longer is fucking side pieces, he is simply releasing a physiological need. Barf. He has been “connecting” with my daughter after a lifetime (hers) of emotional distance. Of course she enjoys the spotlight. I know this because I know what his NPD laser point focus feels like. It is disturbing to see him use her to replace the fact that I won’t touch him and his other ego supplies are on hold. My kid doesn’t know her father is an emotionally stunted person.
The counselor asked me if I felt jealous about the attention he gives my daughter. I said no. I am creeped out because of the porn he watches very closely resembles girls his daughter’s age. And this porn is gang-banging type stuff. The counselor did not feel my concern was really that important. Now I’m even more vigilant about the asshat and if he would chose to cross this boundary. He has no boundaries.
I don’t believe the sites my cheater views as erotica. It’s porn. He thinks these terms mean the same thing. I do not. Just like the women on live chats are remote prostitiutes. Those gals are not just women who like wander infront of a webcam naked and performing sex acts.
Had the feeling I should clarify.
Hi ANC- it’s sort of secondary abuse when you have a counsellor not thinking your concern is important. The problem is there’s an attempt to get us to accept the unacceptable. I’m old school feminist so I believe we’re still stuck in the patriarchal set up that makes women’s needs secondary to those of men. But I’m not lecturing… and my feminist cred didn’t stop me hooking up and putting up with XH. The further away I am from that hell, the more I can’t understand how it happened. Guess it was a cheater mind meld.
ANC–find another counselor. Anyone who doesn’t take watching teen porn seriously, especially if you are concerned about it in your marriage, needs their license revoked.
I Agree with Tempest ANC. And if he is downloading porn with actual minors, that is a criminal offense. Found out during the crazy time my ex was looking at porn for hours a day in the wee of the morning. He too liked the teenagers best. However, the sites always had disclaimers that the girls were over 18. Otherwise I can assure you, I would have reported him.
Thanks for the input and advice. I know the sites have the same disclaimers of being 18yrs +, but I could also tell you I’m an 80yr old canine with the remarkable ability to type and understand English. Who’s to say the disclaimer is legit? I know what I saw.
I’m working on the counselor. Thanks again!
Jealous!?! I would not give be more dime to a MC who had the brass balls to ask that question. Teen porn is disgusting and all it does is blur lines. What a perv.
Thank you for this post, Mikky. I’m sad to say that I could relate to every single word. My X, like yours, had a serious porn habit, and that included teen porn (which he denied–but I took screen shots once I finally got into his browsing and download histories). Funny thing, I never had an issue with porn before, but maybe that’s because I never took the time to really unpack it. I never *had to* unpack it. But just like you said, he had 2 teenage daughters, and so did I, and once I found out the extent of his habit, it was like, “What part of this connection are you not making?” He was actually jerking off to images of girls younger than his own daughters! This, from someone who regularly attends meetings and rallies for ‘social justice,’ and all the stats that CL posted about prostitution could as well be posted about porn. The irony just slays me, and some of the sites he was visiting were ultra-disturbing to me. Shit like “The Bang Bus.” And yeah, viewing that makes you complicit in our culture of raping, shaming, and otherwise degrading women. Once I found out what he was looking at, I was so creeped out and scared for my girls that I was gone within a matter of weeks, but a year and some out, I am still trying to detox from those images. When I confronted him, I got the ‘all men do it’ line, too (and the insecure/jealous tag, too). But that’s one of the greatest gifts of having found myself here at Chump Nation: the reassurance that, no, not all men do it.
I personally think there has to be a much wider discussion of porn and the effect it’s having on our society in general, especially young people who are trying to carve out their identities and whose first sexual knowledge likely contains images and baselines that would’ve been considered seriously freaky 20 years ago but now are normative. The Internet has taken it all to a truly frightening level, and kids are being exposed to all manner of sick shit when they’re still in grade school. It’s just a mouse click away. And those are the norms they’ll internalize, and inflict upon their partners, unless there is a movement to take back our sexuality. Like you said, it’s a larger conversation about keeping our young people safe.
Okay, rant over. Stepping off the soap box now.
I feel I should clarify here, I’m not saying that everyone has to have the same sexual preferences and values. The ‘sick shit’ is less about the activity itself than the age, agency and awareness (or lack thereof) of the participants. For consenting adults who are coming into it all from a place of emotional understanding and maturity, fine. Otherwise, there are boundaries being crossed. Scary and damaging ones.
Please continue to stay on your porn soap box! I use mine regularity!
I believe it was a puzzle piece in the demise of my marriage.
I won’t go into details – but he needed to live his life and explore his sexuality where part of BD.
The stuff he put on my dsughter’s laptop while she was away horrified me. Thank God I caught it before she did.
It changes their perception of the world and how a man and woman are supposed to be.
Next I accidently dated a guy who started to give me those exact same creepy porn vibes. Stared at very young teen girls in a way that is never good.
Found out he is so far down the rabbit hole he could only wish to be a sex addict!
I know not all men are like this, but there are enough of them for me to realize that the chances of having an equal, loving and healthy relationship are pretty slim.
If one more fucktard tells me the line “all men do it”, I may just give up for good.
wow!! your situation really sucks frustrated mom. i really dont have anything to add except that i am very very sorry you XH is a fucking jerk and that you are in this situation.
i think ChumpLady has given you excellent advice. good point on solicitation of prostitution is illegal. hope you have documentation and proof. i bet his IS STILL doing it too, so you might need to hire a detective (or have a friend follow him). if you could prove he is STILL doing it it would work against him “i am a changed man” defense. and i dont see him suddenly growing a conscious just because you divorced him. anyone who would do something like that when he is married, doesnt have feelings at all, doesnt care about other people except for himself, he did it because he liked it. so you divorce and all of a sudden he doesnt like it anymore? ya, sure.
IMHO i would fight. i would rather get no child support and have sole custody of my boys then for them to be with my XH crazy life. (xh is not too bad, just a weasel, it is the people he surrounds himself with that scare me) and right not that is exactly what i have. XH quit his job and is not paying child support. i havent done or said anything for the past 6 months but i have documented it and he just gave me a loaded gun if we go to court. i am not sure how long i have to wait before i can get him on abandonment for the kids, but i am looking it that and then i will involve the child support agency, which is really a joke in our state.
how can he pay a lawyer if he is not working? doesnt your state care who can actual afford to raise the children?
anyhow, i wish you luck. lots of luck and God bless you and your kids.
Holy cow, Frustrated Mom! Can I just mention what tremendous things you have accomplished in the last two years? After learning of his cheating with hookers, you left him, filed for and completed a divorce, found employment, and sound as well adjusted as anyone could be in these circumstances. Your kids are lucky to have you as the dependable parent in their lives.
Now that we’ve pointed out how capable you are, I wonder what makes you hesitate to challenge the custody agreement. You appear to be able to accomplish what you set your mind to. Maybe you’re being a reasonable person and your previous experience with the custody issue has worn you down. Of course, the cost is a big factor. But, maybe in your attempts to be the dependable parent, you’re overdue for a fight. I love the feistiness of the CL forum, and it has helped me deal with a lot of suppressed anger. It’s taught me that the act of fighting is sometimes more therapeutic than winning the battle. Even if a custody battle in court resulted in the same outcome as the current agreement, I wonder if you’ll feel better after letting it all come out in court.
Big hugs to you!
I think that, frighteningly, several of our (Chump Lady subscribers’) cheaters carry the same ‘cheater genetic code.’ I sometimes wonder if these cheaters were twin offspring of Rosemary (of the movie Rosemary’s Baby) who were swapped at birth in the style of The Omen for the loyal, humane partners we all thought we were getting.)
Regarding the following information, please note that I am not an attorney and do not know all of the laws of all states. From what I’ve heard from the legal community, you need proof that your spouse did illegal things (e.g., inflicted injury upon your children that was more severe than the children would have suffered through corporal punishment) to affect a custody decision. You need proof that your spouse hired a prostitute in places where prostitution is illegal to affect any legal decisions regarding division of assets. To get any reimbursement for cheater’s illegal activities, you would need receipts or other forms of irrefutable evidence that he used your family’s assets to fund illegal activities. Unfortunately for some of us, these services were paid for in cash (frequent, ‘small’ payments), making it difficult to show that these illegal activities occurred. Sadly, some of our children’s college savings accounts (as well as other funds) have been dissipated. And these cheaters trumpet to the world that they love their kids more than their loyal spouses do!
I wish that I knew how to counter the injustice created by cheaters and the legal system would help create a fairer outcome. I hope that things start going your way.
A-MEN to all this.
I am not a lawyer, FM, but one thing I would say is to read up on how narcissists behave in court. It doesn’t really matter what particular craptacular flavor of crazy your ex is-knowing that lawyers are narcissists, too, sometimes, is power. Not sure where you are with the fixing your picker part, but you need to trust your gut on what lawyer you retain. Pick a nice barracuda, or bulldog. If you are at the GAL stage, then when it goes to court, you need to come out swinging.
Other than that, FM-this will be a long fight as your kids grow up-the road to Meh starts with establishing No Contact-while these custody issues are being discussed, you should have nothing to say to this loser. Beyond that, until your kids are grown, YOU state what you will tolerate, you will find your ex drops the ball constantly, and your kids will eventually vote with their feet. The karma bus will squish him, but you don’t get to drive it. It is killingly frustrating and unjust. We know.
I am learning (my DD is 15 now, and I have sole custody on another continent) that these narcs really don’t want to do the work. So. Your house, your rules, and guess what…….YOU are and have always been the only card-carrying paid-up ADULT in your kids’ lives. So-massive hug, and-Keep up the good work, and keep walking!
Love to all in Chump Nation
“The karma bus will squish him, but you don’t get to drive it.”
I love this. 🙂
Frustrated mom, I thought i had it bad. So cheating is not a defining factor in being considered a fit parent , neither is exposung one to std, missing child visitations or your case quitting his job and doing prostitues. That sucks…but I see where you are coming from chump lady if the mom is doing theses actions it won’t matter either.
I’m at the beginning end of the this battle filed for divorce in June and temp orders in place since august I have physical prime custody and now wasband is pulling antics. Filing for primary custody of the kids, lower child support fighting on what we do with the house. Meanwhile he is voluntarily working less hours, took a three week trip out of the country and an extra week off work and yet he can’t afford his current child support payments !!..i am trying to force on mediation with the wasband just want this to be done with but his lawyers says that he is not ready.
I guess the worse case would be that I get the same result of 50/50 but with his work schedule he can’t pull that off .. Court date on 1/15 for mediation …Trying to see the light at the end of this crappy tunnel.
I think no-fault is necessary when to comes to deciding whether a divorce should be granted. You don’t want (as was formerly required) that someone seeking a divorce (usually a woman) has to PROVE something (usually to a judge or jury who was male) to obtain her marital freedom. The problem arises when the “no fault” principle is applied to the financial aspects of the divorce.
Some states, like Texas I believe, have “modified no fault” divorce, meaning you don’t need to prove fault to obtain the divorce, but fault is one of the elements considered when deciding what division of assets is fair and just. Unfortunately, even in Texas where it is “considered,” fault isn’t given as much weight as it should be.
Why someone who marries under false pretenses, cheats throughout the duration of a marriage, perhaps was supported by the labors of the spouse for years and years, and wastes marital assets on affair partners is entitled to more than a nominal portion of the marital estate is beyond me. The cheater didn’t honor the marriage, so why should the judicial system?
Nomar, will you please run for Supreme Court? Or President?
My thoughts are hire a PI to collect evidence on his prostitution problem. Maybe get court orders to have his former employer release reasons for termination. Maybe he has a drug problem you don’t know about. Court favor the mother We all know that. In times they do not favor the mother it is usually due to her drug problem or criminal activities. Your exhusband is showing addiction and criminal activities and then inability to hold down a secure job. I don’t see how a judge would favor him for even close to 50% percent custody. He has to be joking to think he can really accomplish that in my opinion. But be safe. Consult many attorneys. Don’t take risks when it comes to your daughters. This will likely be expensive, but don’t let that stop you. Make family aware of the situation and his problems and maybe they will be determined to protect the your daughters from him as well and will help with the legal fees. I am sure you know that your primary job is to protect the daughters and everything else takes a back seat. Here is an idea. Consider threating him with a restraining order that will keep him from seeing his daughters until they are 18 if he doesn’t drop this ridiculous case.
I agree with Fred that it is a good idea to try to determine why your husband’s employment ended. However, I don’t completely agree with his statements about courts favoring women (at least in my state in the 21st century) and those women who lose physical custody usually having drug problems or committing crimes. I know of several mothers losing physical custody for purely economic and logistical reasons (they couldn’t pay attorneys’ fees to get as good representation as their husbands had, they had to move to a cheaper city, which was considered more dangerous and contained worse schools, or their schedules purportedly didn’t allow as much time with kids as did their husbands’). I would advise caution in getting a restraining order. If you feel physically threatened, get one. However, getting one without grounds (e.g., no commission of physical violence, no threats of killing you or the kids) could make you look like a dishonest, vindictive spouse, thus potentially hurting your case.
Thank you for your thoughts. My husband has essentially positioned himself as the risen from the ashes dad who is reconstructing his whole life to make more time w his children. The GAL was taken in by this which is really sad and even more frustrating. In the court system all that matters is your audience and somehow this woman was charmed and convinced. Despite all his precious acts she believes giving more time to him is what is best for the kids. I disagree. It’s really sad how much power GALs have – they meet w you for a few hours and hold your fate in their hands.
I am not familiar with the term GAL. I am assuming that is the same as Child Protective Services in the U.S. I would think you should be able to get a second opinion from a different representative of GAL after you have giving your evidence. If the guy is a dead beat, doesn’t have a job, mingles with criminals (who usually reside in shady areas) i would consider that grounds for a restraining order as it puts the kids at risk. If the parent was a junky but was never high in front of the kids or only bought his drugs when the kids weren’t around would the judge care? NO he is still a junky with a drug problem who associates with dangerous people. i do not consider this any different. But ask some attorneys what they think. There is a website avvo.com where you can ask attornys in your area for free and get responsies within hours on business days from several attornys I am not sure if you are in the US but i think this site covers Europe too. You could give it a try and they can tell you how a judge is likely to view prostitution problems as being a risk to your kids.
There is a great deal of variation from state to state about the role of GALS in the evaluaion process, the necessary qualifications to be appointed, and the weight given to GAL recommendations. Additionally, individual GALs enjoy different degrees of respect from judge to judge. That is why it is so important to find the best lawyer you can. A GAL recommendation simply is not the be all and end all to most judges. Just be sure you have done everything necessary to present your position in the most reasonable, objective, and thorough way possible.
I hear you, Frustrated Mom! Chronic liars, criminals, and people with personality disorders have lots (often nearly a lifetime) of practice lying, deceiving, and acting, so they tend to get better results than they deserve in the current legal system in the U.S. I agree that it’s very frustrating that GALs, custody evaluators, and judges can determine the course of you life based on scant information or misinformation in a few minutes. I realize, too, that malevolent cheaters can bankrupt you in and out of court.
Do you know when you can go to court to challenge the current arrangement? If you want to contest
the current arrangement, you might consider contacting nationally known experts on high conflict court cases (which generally involve people with personality disorders). Bill Eddy and Lundy Bancroft are a couple experts who come to mind. You might even get help from their organizations at a relatively reasonable price.
Fred, I totally disagree with “Court favor the mother We all know that.” That is not true, it’s an old trope. In my state the courts favor 50/50 custody unless one spouse can PROVE the other is unfit, or the spouse mediate and come to an agreement. There are many other states where 50/50 custody is the norm, we are not living in the 1980s and it’s time men stop using that as an excuse to NOT fight for their kids. A recent study also shows this old “women get the kids so why bother” line is BS.
On getting a protective order, it’s not easy at all. You can get a temp one with no evidence, but you better damn well prove the person hurt you and is still dangerous to you when the hearing comes. Also, you cannot get one just because your spouse is a junkie and “might” cause harm to the kids. Just want to clear that right up. A temporary order that is shown to have been false would seriously hurt Frustrated Mom.
Once a GAL is involved the state has pretty much sealed the deal. An its unfortunate that your lawyer takes such a passive approach… New lawyer please. The other thing you need to do is get very savy about your states child custody laws and all the jargon. It can be overwhelming but if you are more savy it will help you not only chose a lawyer but save money and time with your chosen lawyer. Custody is never set in stone…. But courts hate and i mean hate having to deal with custody cases.
If the custody decision has been rendered then you need to start documenting and quick everything your ex says and does… Everything. What you need to do is follow the agreement to the letter… Demonstrate that you are the better parent and be flexible. Most courts always take into consideration the status quo… Usually the period of time ( atleast 6 months ) prior to the petition. So if you were the primary care giver and can demonstrate you did all the doctors appt, school snacks and activities then you have a case.
Do your homework… Read everything you can about custody, custody plans, and document everything he does. Read about what GAL look for at hearings. Read how to prepare for mediation… Read about what wins custody cases. Petition for a modification …. Try to get a hearingofficer ….. Without a GAL involved…. Otherwise you are off to trial and thats where the money starts.
and what are you fighting for? Money? Or is it your kids? Yes the POS should be helping to support his children… However at what cost to your sanity and debt load. You may find that over a short period of time he is unable to keep up his end of the 50/50… And if you are smart you wont say a word… Just document the hell of of everytime he doesnt have then or leaves them somewhee else or fails to follow thru. You may very well have your children with you 90% of the time. … But without the finacial support. … But also without the asshole. After a year ( yes a year… Most courts dont want to lookat you again prior to that ) you can petition for mediation and with the documenation reflecting he did not have them in his care for 50 percent of the time… It will be a no brainer for the court. You will need to play the game and wait it out… Which means no complaining and no statements like ‘ how do you expect me to take care of these kids by myself’ you must always reflect that u got it covered. My guess time will play this little drama of his out. Just document. And find a lawyer that will listen to what you want. But educate yourself first. Internet !
RockStarWife and The Clip said it well. How often our spouses, etc. spread lies pointing the finger at us in an attempt to cover up their wrongdoing. Despite not having a successful means of taking care of the children, he has been able to con his way into this agreement, continuing to abuse you. Sadly, after all the suffering you’ve already been through, now you do have to do the legwork and the research to beat him at his own game, and I hate that for you. I do believe, however, that you will win this in the long run, and despite your frustration you’re going to have to keep fighting and documenting. It will work out, you just have to hang in there and know that we’re in your corner. You’ll find a good lawyer who’s willing to fight this thing through with you.This is a great place to get advice from those who have been through what you’re going through. BIG Hugs…
Fight fight fight, if for no other reason than your girls need to know that their mom fought to keep them safe when they’re old enough to understand.
Still living with the guy, I find out he is sleeping with men. Then I find out 3 months later he has (now had) 2 online under age profiles, one posing as a 14 year old boy from Australia and the other posing as a 15 year old girl from North Dakota. It’s not against the law then I called the police. The police called the FBI. The FBI could only investigate for child porn. They didn’t find any in his computer or his work computer. But they didn’t check his phone. So they closed the case. There is nothing I can do. I have contacted every house representative, legislature, for my district and anyone who is afflicted with child abuse plus all children agencies for child abuse. I want to make it a law in my state adults can’t have under age online profiles. I couldn’t and still can’t get anyone to call me or email me back. Family court system sucks.
this was 4 years ago and I moved out 3 weeks after the FBI told me they were going to investigate, which was 4 years ago
I am on the fly so will say quickly that the chances of him actually taking his almost 50% custody are pretty unlikely. My ex blathered on about this, forced the kids into it, was Disney Dad for the first year or so and now? He sees one a few times a month and the other once or twice a week, tops. And even when he sees them it’s all about him and they know it, so as they get older they’re asserting their rights to see him when it suits them.
Very few of these self-absorbed idiots really want to see their kids. They just the world to think they care so much. But they don’t and it eventually shows itself.
I agree with Nomar and Nord. He’s pushing for 50/50 so he doesn’t have to pay full support. These guys DO NOT want to raise the kids half the time. They are too selfish. I would tell my ex H#2 what a great guy he was but this is a bad weekend to take the kids because of blah, blah, blah. As long as the asshole felt he was a great dad, I could have the kids 80% and later 100% of the time. At 15 they made up their own minds.
See if you can cut a deal regarding child support. Legally you can’t give up child support but you can tell him he can make it up later with their higher education needs. $$ talks.
Document, watch what you say, fight it, but don’t despair, it’s all smoke and mirrors with daddio.
Jedi Hugs Frustrated Mom! It totally sucks and yeah, life’s not fair. I don’t know jack about fighting for custody because I have no kids. I do know about commitment and going the Full Monty, or giving up. Weigh your choices, consult other attorneys. Find out if there is a real chance to change the 50/50 if you fight for it, or if it makes more sense to wait, let it play out for a while and use his likely negligence to change it later. It’s going to cost you a lot of money to fight, you may not be able to do it. I had no children and it cost me over $30K in atty fees to get my divorce settled because I needed a protective order and it was hard to get and because I would not give that fucker my house. Don’t leave out the practical in your considerations, because if you win but you are broke, you may not be able to afford the custody you get. Don’t leave out the emotional because it can eat you alive if you feel you did the wrong thing.
The only advice I have is; if you fight, go all in, the FULL fucking MONTY, and you have to believe you will win. Go into this fight half ass and you will fail for sure.
One practical thing, I see a few peeps mentioning you should get evidence that your stbx was really fired. Even when someone is fired, 99% of the time they will offer the person the option of “resigning” rather than have a termination on their record. So basically, you can use that because you can show he quit, even if he really WAS fired. Life’s not fair, your ex doesn’t play fair, to go all in, you can’t play fair either. And it pains me to say that. Before my ex fucked me over I thought there was this thing called justice in our legal system. Bwahahahahah, what a joke. The best manipulator with the best lawyer wins.
And, if you don’t have one get a therapist!
I am very late to this discussion but am relatively new to the Chump Nation so am just seeing this now because I googled the subject matter. Frustrated Mom – I am in exactly the same circumstances. I am in the middle of a court-ordered child assessment because I refuse to allow my dirtbag STBXH to have my two daughters overnight or allow him to see them in isolation of each other during the day. He spends one day a week with them, during the day. I have a lot of evidence of his use of prostitutes and sugar babies prior to D-Day (day after discovery and day of separation) and even more evidence that I was able to amass for three months after separation. I have asserted that his compulsive need to have sex with young women, barely older than his daughters, leaves them at risk of sexual abuse (Contacted 42 prostitutes in less than 30 days) . The child assessor has met with us individually and with the children. He is a master liar and manipulator which is how he was able to keep his activities from me for years. He told his lawyer and the child assessor that he is in a stable relationship with a mature woman. I gave the child assessor a memory key with pdfs of about 60 documents with hard proof (PI reports, photos of him with young hookers in public, screen shots of funds being transferred to hookers, text messages procuring services etc.). I am sure that he is in a relationship with a “mature woman” as a cover. Still, I fear these assessors. There is no way of knowing their biases and there is so much at stake. I so hope that you are still following this posting so that I can know how you have made out these past two years.