by Armin Silbersmith
(Lido Beach, NY, USA)
In 1998, about the time I was going to break off a 3 year relationship with a woman, she suddenly became pregnant for the 3rd time and I was the 3rd father. She refused an abortion and we eventually married. We divorced 6 months later. I was making $300,000 then, so I was ordered to pay monthly child support of $3,000 PLUS $2,500 a year in extra curricular activities and costly health insurance premiums. I was also forced to pay her legal fees in the divorce. My lawyers were able to include a clause in my decree that she could not move more than 60 miles, the smartest part of my decree because she moved around like a gypsy, getting evicted from one place to another.
My ex won't work, earn, or pay her own bills, not even rent. She's been evicted from multiple residences, usually paying only the deposit then staying until the eviction laws get her out or she is thrown out by force. She has moved my son about 11 times in 9 years, to several school districts. When she is between "boyfriends", her life is extremely unstable because she has no concept of earning, saving or setting priorities or laying any structure down, so she lives on the edge until someone with means "takes over".
However, my son and I and my girlfriend have enjoyed a very happy and healthy relationship and my ex and I have amicably stayed out of one another's business for 9 years, which benefited everyone. Her malicious conduct prior and during our divorce toward her 2 former exes and myself was not something I wanted to experience ever again.
While I did not like her moving so often, my son was very young and it did not seem to impact too much on his life and I kept a close eye on things as I was able to see him for our bi-monthly visitations, holidays, half summers, etc. with no problems.
Around January 2007, my 9-year-old son's behavior started drastically changing and our
former "close" relationship began deteriorating. He refused to see me or come out of the house when I arrived, he hostily canceling our weekend visitations and eventually began making shocking false allegations
of abuse by my girlfriend and me. This was coincidentally followed by emails (first ever) from my ex that "due to my terrible relationship with my son and my not seeing him, she is filing a relocation petition". She had previously requested to relocate to Texas (I live in NY) and I denied her this request. What ensued were police reports filed by my 9 year old when I exercised my visitation rights, hysterical public scenes by him when I tried to see him, a restraining order served upon me by my ex's boyfriend with my son, a child protective investigation, all unfounded. My son said "he wanted me jailed".
Currently, I'm in court for custody and now, due to my firm being sold, and my earnings being reduced to 1/3 of what I once made, I am seeking a downward modification.
The legal fees to date have exceeded $50,000 and the courts have not made this any better. The Referee has postponed and even not showed up twice, causing further delays and un-due expense to me. A year has gone by and little progress has been made except that the law guardian and Forensic Psychiatrist determined she "should not relocate" and she dropped the petition.
My son and I were ordered to go "for therapy" and I was forced to see a "court listed therapist" that turned out to be indifferent and placed me in harm's way, telling us to "go out for ice cream" alone, knowing full well my son's intentions to see me in jail. Luckily for me, he determined not to continue seeing us.
The courts could not even manage to find a replacement therapist and I am still awaiting my lawyer's conference to accept one I found on my own. It has been months since I've seen my son. Our "court appointed" bi-weekly phone calls usually last about 3 minutes with my son telling me he "has nothing to say to me".
I'm told "custody" will be another uphill and expensive battle I can ill afford.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Currently I am seeking an attorney that does not charge $425.00 an hour to represent me in my downward modification petition I will be filing this week.