Okay. Thanks, that really does help. I don't mind reading long things.
I'm reading through the speakoutloud website. Here is an additional complication: I have so far been allowing him to watch the kid a lot. He lives with his parents so I have been less concerned than I otherwise would be, because I figured his parents would put a stop to any abusive behavior.
This is how it happened:
- I originally wanted to limit his time spent with kid.
- He demanded fifty-fifty custody. Made me feel like I was being selfish and unfair. Made me believe that the courts would order fifty-fifty anyway.
- I signed the fifty-fifty agreement that his lawyer drew up, wanting to make him happy and not cause conflict and all that other stuff.
- Later thought better of it and, on the advice of others, found my own lawyer. He was going to file for divorce but hadn't yet, so I went ahead and filed myself. Asked for a normal custody plan where I had primary residential custody and he saw him only a couple of times per week and had to pay child support.
- He is disputing that, on the grounds that we "have been" doing the fifty-fifty arrangement so far - except we have NOT, because his job makes that impossible. So his family has been watching the kid when he can't. He says that counts. I say it doesn't. And from what I've heard, the courts would agree that it doesn't count.
The whole reason he wanted fifty-fifty custody - and he has told me this himself
- is he did not want to pay child support.
Also, before he said he wanted a divorce, I did nearly 100% of the childcare.
It was like pulling teeth to get him to help me.
Also, I need *someone* to help me watch kid so I can work, and he and his family have been providing that for me.
So I would feel like a jerk suddenly fighting for custody again, and I have said multiple times that I do not want a long drawn-out custody battle. But if it is better for the kid in the long run I will do it.
I'm just worried about it looking like I suddenly changed my mind and backed out on my promises and things like that.
I'm vulnerable to accusations of being a bad person and selfish and things like that, I guess. I start to believe them subconsciously, even though *consciously* I know I'm a good person and I'm just trying to do what's best for me and my kid. And I don't know how to fight back against such accusations.
Also: I don't have a lot of money. My lawyer is doing my case at a reduced flat fee. If this turns into more of a custody battle I will probably have to pay more.
I have told my lawyer that he is possibly emotionally abusive but wasn't able to give much detail, and so we didn't go down that track.
And NO he does not meet my needs. He has not met my needs for a long time. But I was raised to believe that marriage is not about getting someone to meet your needs - marriage is about giving to the other person. There is the social idea that getting divorced just because your needs aren't getting met is a selfish thing to do. "You're ruining your family for the sake of your own happiness!" It's really pervasive.
I have this thing where I need to prove that I Am The Person Who Can Love The Most Regardless Of What It Does To Me.
But I think I have
proven that by now. Gone past proving it. Made some dumb decisions trying to prove it. Now I just need to figure out where to go from here.