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Custodial father of two children has two other children he hasn't seen much; he now wants to move with girlfriend and mother is fighting it

Your Question:
I have to warn you that this is going be kind of lengthy and perhaps hard to answer. I want to make sure I get all the details to u that I can about this situation. I have been separated from my wife since Feb. of 2004. We have 2 children together ages 7 and 3, both boys. My pride and joy and my sole purpose for being. I have the 2 boys in my possession as we have not been divorced and papers have not been drawn up and nothing has been decided in the courts. I have a g/f and we have been with each other since shortly after my wife left. I did not want the divorce but alas I know when there is nothing to fight for. She lives an alternative lifestyle that came to light shortly before Christmas of 2003. I thought that I could deal with that because I was about too able to live every guyís fantasy. Hahaha. But, I couldnít so she, in a split decision left me and our children only taking her clothes and a select few pieces of furniture and her computer and whatever food she wanted, which at the time we didnít have much. The months prior to her leaving she ran whatever we had into the ground and I let her. She left $60.00 took the reliable car of which was later repossessed. She also left a stack of bills and rent due in a few days in the amount of $965.00. The boys and I made it through and we are doing well now. I have been trying to take care of this on our own because I feel no one needs a battle and a bunch of crap to be flung around. As of this point there is no fight over assets. We had nothing. Everything has been divided as we wanted and we have both moved on. She says she wants this divorce but has not been willing to help the process go smoothly. I live quite literally by paycheck to pay check at the moment and have for the past 9 months. I have not been working as it costs more for both my girlfriend and I to work, childcare and all that. My g/f has 2 children of her own that she shares 49/51 custody with her ex husband. He has majority but we have them quite often and through the summer. 4 children are quite expensive. I have 2 other children outside of my marriage that I have an order of support for and I have not been, up till shortly after my ex left forth coming about. I paid for about 6 months and now am sending what I can when I can. My oldest son (11) I have recently reconnected with and have been seeing at least every other weekend since Christmas 2004 and have missed two weekends once because of weather of which I made up for and once because of car troubles. Because of my mistakes I have no license and I am cannot get it back till certain requirements are met. My daughter is 4 and I have no association with. Period. She has a father and has had one since she has been born. I feel it is better this way and her mom doesnít want me to have anything to do with her. So I have made some major mistakes that I have to atone for. With all that info out in the open here comes the problem. I am about 3 weeks away from a move from the Twin Cities of Minnesota about 200 miles away in the northern part of the state. My g/f (of whom I plan on marrying fall of 2006 if I can get this divorce done) is purchasing a house there and we are going with her. It is on a 40-acre plot and the kids have plenty of yard to play in. The kids are very excited for this move. They understand that nothing is going to change with seeing their mom (every other weekend if she shows up). I asked my ex about this in January of this year and she said she alright with it. Now with 3 weeks left until the move she has flipped and says she has hired a lawyer and is going for full custody. She made a threat to me this weekend (June 3-5, 2005) that she wasnít going to return the kids to me if she had to pick them up. The arrangement is for her to pick up on Friday and I pick up on Sunday. She never asked for me to drop them off, she demanded, and I probably would have done it but I had work to do that night. So I made calls to make sure of what I could legally do. Because nothing is in the courts if I let them go I would have a fight on my hands to get them back so I was advised not to even send them, and I didnít. She is pissed now cause her ploy of calling the cops to retrieve the kids back fired on her, because here it is day 2 that I am waiting for them to knock on my door. I am deeply worried about this because once again I make a fatal mistake and have not documented anything. I can recall most of this year what has happened as far as her not showing to pick up the kids for the weekend and what not. And if I am not dead on they say they were in the hospital for various reasons and there should be documents they can provide to prove the exact weekend. She has not paid anything for CS and says that even if I had legal custody of the kids that she still wouldnít have to pay. Not that I care about that really, the kids are my concern. She has purchased a pair of shoes for each of the kids and has given about $40.00 for school things, and a few other things that I will not deny her credit for. There are a whole lot of other things that need to be discussed and they will have to be dealt with by attorneys and the court. But that is a lot of background into both sides of it as I am trying to be impartial so that you can give an impartial answer. SHE IS CRAZY. I need to know that I can make this move legally and not have it affect my chances of winning this battle. I admit that it is for me that I am moving I feel I can build a great life up at this new house and get my life on track, but also our children will reap the benefits of being out of the rat race of the cities and have the freedom to run around without all the fear that is here. 40 acres of playground basically. The life that we always wanted for them when we were together. I made sure the schools were good for our 7 yr old has some issues with emotional breakdowns and inattentiveness. This is not result of our separation, in fact he has come leaps and bounds since she left. I feel I am a better more attentive father as a result of her leaving and for the first time really feel that I like who I am and once again our children reap the benefits of that. I realize I can write for hours and hours on this but I will not. The question once again is can I make this move legally and not have severe consequences. I cannot let her dictate my life no more and will not allow her to destroy this for our children or me. I am willing do my part for her to see them, whether or not she will do hers is a different story. Thanx for any help that you can provide on this matter. It is no more Mr. Niceguy time for me. I really hoped it didn't have to come to this but, she has pushed my last nerve. Also I am going to be calling every resource that I possably have at my disposal.

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My Answer:

Thanks for your note.

To make the facts clear, you have two children living with you after your wife walked out. You have two other children with two other women, and you haven't been much involved with them. You're also not following child support orders for them. You don't work because childcare is expensive. You don't have a driver's license due to some "mistakes" you've made. You have a girlfriend with two children of her own. You now want to move 200 miles away to live in the 40 acre ranch that your girlfriend is purchasing, and you want to know how to make that happen.

I really don't know how I can help you. I think it's great that you readily admit you make mistakes, but all I can urge you to do is find a way to stabilize your life as quickly as possible, in a sustainable way. Your kids have been through so much chaos, and for them to have a shot in life, they need someone around them who is willing to act like a responsible adult.

I have no idea if you're a bad person. You could be a great person. But the decisons you've made have thrust so much instability on you (i.e., and I foresee the potential that you're refusual to take child support seriously will result in future trouble for you).

Sorry. This is one post where I just don't have any guidance. Just do what you think is best for your kids, perhaps after talking with a couple of objective people (e.g., religious leader, school counselor, child psychologist).


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