Tag Archives: single-parenting

When Money Gets In The Way Of Being A Parent- Really Carl Crawford?

Carl Crawford

Photo source: csnbayarea.com

So apparently according to TMZ,  Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Carl Crawford and soon-to-be father to former Basketball Wives Star Evelyn Lozada plans to take Amy Freeman, the mother of two of his children to court over child support. Allegedly, Amy Freeman  plans to relocate from Arizona to California, so the children can be closer to their father. Carl, believes her intentions are not pure and she plans to relocate so she can receive more child support. Therefore, he plans to block her from moving closer. Apparently California child support laws are more generous than Arizona.

My Insights

So what if Carl’s Babies Momma is moving to California purely to receive more money. Carl look at the bigger picture, you will play a bigger part in your children’s lives. Isn’t that worth a bigger pay out to the mother of their children? Think of the money you spend on trekking back and forth to Arizona. Now that money spent on travel can now be used to benefit the children and the mother who is with the children all the time without sacrificing face time with your children. You cannot make up cherished time with your kids. Put yourself in your children’s shoes, how would you feel hearing your father is restricting you from being closer to him?

In custody battles, there is so much focus on how much money the other parent will receive or pay. My perspective is to think of the children first. A quality education, normal childhood sprinkled with some culture, enriching activities along with the necessities of food and clothing should be a parent’s first priority. If you are worried to save a couple of hundred, yet sacrificing any of those needs of your children so you can keep pushing your Mercedes E-Class, you as a parent need to check your priorities and question why you wanted to become a parent in the first place. Parents time spent with your children is more valuable than money. So, because California laws are more generous than Arizona, who cares. Your lifestyle and career requires and affords you to live in California. So it should be afforded to the children and their mother.

Now I get Amy’s perspective too, the father of her children is about to father another child with Evelyn. Since Carl and Evelyn are together as a couple their baby will have one hundred percent of Carl’s time. She wants to make an even playing field so her children can benefit from their father the same as Carl and Evelyn’s child to be will. That is reasonable, and what mother wouldn’t want that for her children?

Stop fussing over dollars Carl and think of what will better benefit your children.

What are your thoughts? Should Carl prevent his mother and two children from relocating to California because he views she has ill-intentions?

Advertisements

We’re Better Friends: Kris Jenner Talks Relationship With Bruce Post-Separation

kris-jenner-03-300

Photo Source: people.com

According to People.com, Kris Jenner said that since the separation from estranged husband Bruce Jenner  hew relationship with him has improved. This was discussed during an interview at the #cirocthenewyear anti-drinking and driving pledge party. She cited about her separation:  “We’re Great. He’s great and I’m great. We are such good friends. Sometimes people are just better apart and have better energy.” She also mentions that there is no talk of divorce, but the two of them are getting along better since separation. She also states “We don’t bicker as much. We were starting to sound like some old sitcom from the 50’s. I listened to myself and didn’t like me. Everyone is happier.”

My Insights on My Relationship With Ex-Husband

I can absolutely relate to Kris’s comments. When reflecting on my current relationship with my ex-husband, I can say we get along better now our marriage is over. We have established a great co-parenting relationship and friendship. We accepted each other’s quirks and differences. We agreed to disagree and do not have to deal with each other different points of views anymore. There is nothing driving each other crazy. The arguments and debates are minimal.

While married, I did not like who I was becoming. I would become frustrated easily over every small matter, masking over the bigger issues in our marriage. The whole household would feel the effects of my mood swings. The cool down-to-earth chick that I was known for was evolving into a spiteful shrew. When a situation is not making you the best person you can be, you have to exit to find your inner-peace. Likewise for my ex-husband. He also transformed to a very different man from the laid-back gent I married seven-years ago. There was so much tension, we had disagreements that blew up to large ominous clouds haunting our marriage.

Now divorced, we can come together for a cocktail  before he relieves the babysitter for his weekend with the kids. We discuss plans for the weekend, joke about dating life as a divorcee, our careers and go our separate ways. He also has read a few articles on my blog and while hesitant, he mutters a few slurs of positive feedback. We both are encountering this divorcee journey, while separately we can both identify with the benefits and obstacles of the single life with children. Many of the key differences that were factors of ending our marriage still exists….but they are our problems we need to figure out together anymore. For that, we are able to come as friends and more importantly establish a great co-parenting relationship for the sake of our sprouts.

Christmas New Beginnings with the Sprouts!

I reflect on my Christmas season so far with the sprouts. This is the first season with just us three. We had an awesome time trimming the tree, baking ginger bread cookies, sipping egg nog and watching Continue reading Christmas New Beginnings with the Sprouts!

Upper West Side Ex-Wife Could Lose Custody of Kids Due to a Post-Marital Abortion Decision- My Insights! Your Thoughts?

112113mehos5CR

Photo source: http://www.nypost.com

http://nypost.com/2013/11/25/she-could-lose-custody-over-an-abortion/

During my Monday morning read of the NY Post, I caught notice of this article.  Apparently, the divorced former housewife, Lisa Mehos is in a dirty custody battle with her ex-husband Manuel John Mehos, founder and CEO of Houston’s Green Bank. The ex-husband subpoenaed her medical records that include her recent abortion following a recent sexual encounter.  The tryst occurred outside of her home and not in the presence of her children. According to the article, the lady is a mother of two children from her previous marriage to a super rich banker. The couple have been divorced since 2011. She has nursed her children until almost the age of two and has been an ideal nurturing mother. However, the judge is ruling the pregnancy and termination as relevant due to her religious views in contrast to her husband’s atheist views. Citing that she imposes that her husband is not allowed to see her children on Easter, so this abortion now becomes play. Yet, the banker guy according to Lisa’s testimony tearfully confessed to cheating on her with dozens of prostitutes.

My Insights

What does it matter who she has affairs with after her marriage and whether or not it resulted in a pregnancy and termination? She just happened to be intimate with a person she knew for some time and a pregnancy happened. Her decision to terminate the pregnancy, should not matter. Abortion is legal in the United States, and she has a right of choice. Her decision did not endanger her children. Her mother was babysitting at the time of the sexual engagement, thus, the kids wellbeing was considered. Is Manuel the ex-husband a fit parent, given that he parades around with prostitutes? Do we throw stones at her because Yes, she just happened to marry someone who is affluent and following her divorce she had a few increasingly popular cosmetic procedures that any woman in their 30’s with some means would do. Especially after leaving  a stressful marriage. This is not a third-world country. Her decision to terminate should not matter, regardless of her previous choices.

This article had me reflect on my current situation as a Divorcee. No, I did not marry rich and I am a working mother. But, hey I am at the gym at least 4 times a week, I  get certain spa services done regularly. All of which have been a more common ritual post-divorce. So yes, I am constantly working on my 30-something year-old appearance too, now that my “status” is single.  I am social and dating. I keep my dating life personal and away from my ex-husband’s knowledge. It is none of his business. When I feel it should be considered his business, because maybe my “status” may change, then I will share because it will affect my children’s lives. Additionally, my kids are always in secure hands when I choose to be social. I wish my ex-husband would try to gain access to my medical records or anything that is personal to me. He didn’t have access to them when we were married, so why would he think he could access them now that we are unmarried? My decisions post my marriage should not matter as long as it does not compromise me from being the wonderful mother I am to my children.

What are your thoughts? Should a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy be considered in judging whether she is a fit mother? Does a woman’s dating lifestyle also be considered?

 

Duke It Out! Screw A Lawyer

images (24)

One of the sole reasons why I wanted to start this blog was to aid those who are in an unhappy marriage or separated from their spouse but cannot really move forward with their lives because of the fear of “divorce” itself. The word “divorce” has so many negative connotations. Movies highlight the divorce process as stressful, differences are escalated and all reasoning is removed. Hollywood sensationalize the gold digger wife aiming to take more than half of his spouses earnings…and the husband transferring assets to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying part of his wealth towards his kids.

Many of my peers are surprised when they learn that I am divorced from my former spouse. They are shocked because 1) this is the first time hearing that I am no longer married, as they think to themselves what the heck happen, and 2) stunned that I chose to end my marriage and it is already completed. They often have follow-up questions on how was I able to end my divorce quickly. My marriage was not a drive-through marriage, there were kids and assets that were involved….and we were married for about three-quarters of a decade.

However, I wanted a quick-ending and researched how the drive-through marriages were dissolved before their one year anniversary. I was terrified of the divorce process. I was trying to justify ways of annulling my marriage even though our marriage did not qualify for an annulment. I heard the stories from my now divorced friends about how much money they spent on lawyers. Ewwwww! I did not want to waste any additional funds, his or mine on any lawyers. I am already thinking of how I am going to afford my lifestyle solo…so if possible I am avoiding the lawyer route.

I also did not want nor have the time to take off of work to go back and forth to court. That seemed like an arduous process. Why would I want some judge who doesn’t even know me nor my kids lifestyle to determine what I should rightfully deserve a month? I know my bills intricately, way more than a judge that is not hip to the current parents generation costs of raising kids. Shoot, just birthday parties alone are 20x more than they were for the 70s, 80s or 90s babies. The cost per kid for a birthday party in New York City almost equates to the cost per person at a moderate wedding in the MidWest. Yeah, that judge would not understand, nor my son who attends these fabulous birthday bashes and wonder why he is not having a birthday celebration this year. So yes, I had to take all of that into account too.

Plus, more importantly I did not like nor wanted my status to be classified as “Separated”.  I wanted that title to be as short-lived as possible. No pun attended for those that are “separated” and are comfortable with their status. But for me, I loathed that label…..I felt being “separated” meant that I was not 100% my own woman. I “technically” still belong to someone. Matter-of-fact everyone I would meet while I was going through the divorce process felt the same way. The status “separate” means to me that she is unhappy in her marriage and is taking a break but not necessarily taking the steps to dissolve the marriage and move on with her life. When I was dating, if a gent said he was separated, that is exactly what I thought of him and moved on. And as expected, when a man met me while “status” is separated, that is exactly what they thought of me and I should expect the same. So I thought lets just eliminate all of those ambiguities as quickly as possible. I want to press forward with my life.

I will admit while my divorce process to my friends appeared seamless….we had our spouts. Boy, did we! But our spouts were between us, not with a third-party involved….and the major battles were handled before I filed the divorce papers.

Last fall, I came to the absolute decision that the divorce would be imminent. My pondering thoughts from the Spring and Summer reached a conclusion. So what did I do, I went online and read about the divorce process. Figured which way I would be filing…hmmm…”unreconcilable differences”.  I thought that was the best category and the quickest way in New Jersey to end a marriage. There was no “separated” for a year requirement. Six months were required, and the man and wife could “technically” be under the same roof but sleep in separate dwellings. The six months began from the time you started the paperwork, not when you filed. Hmmmm. Sign me up!

I thought what can a lawyer do that I cannot do for myself? I went to business school, am a Certified Public Accountant, I know how to complete my tax returns…yeah, who needs a lawyer. I created an Excel spreadsheet and itemized every cost associated with my kids. The basketball clinic, daycare, school tuition, dance classes, summer camp, clothing, hair cuts, food and sitter cost. Then I itemized housing costs, rent, electricity, cable, mortgages and etc. I looked at what each of our contributions were to all of these costs. I looked at the housing costs that I pay monthly and the entire amount that I would end up paying, sans any contribution from him. Okay…that might be a bit of a stretch….but I paid this rent before on my own when we were living in two states. I think I can make this work. I then had a larger contribution towards the kids expenses….so I thought maybe this is where I could balance the difference. So I came with a monthly figure of the entire cost and did a clean and fair allocation. There it was all of the costs of living and supporting his kids right in front of him. The details were there….I thought to myself, I wish he would say something! Easy, rational clean break, right? Ha! Oh boy, he said something all right.

images (22)

Round 1: The battle begins. He says that while the expenses somewhat appeared accurate, (thought I embellished a bit), he also has to think about getting his own place and other additional expenses. Yeah, I guess I did not quite factor that in. But my expenses would be higher too. Hello! This is not going to be easy for both of us, I said. We are both incurring additional costs. I am not asking alimony…just child support. Of course, his rebuttal was he could technically ask for alimony too and claim full custody. Whoa!! Wasn’t expecting that. I thought this would be relatively easy. Isn’t it natural that the mother gets full custody, especially when the kids are younger? Plus, I am better organized and if I left the kids with him…didn’t even want to think of that notion. Anyway, he travels for his job…so that option does not exist.

So I look at the numbers again, I knock a few hundred off. He should be good with this. I begin to research the filing process and required forms. There are so many forms needed, good grief! On the New Jersey website…. the types of forms are cited but I don’t see where you can download them. At this time, I feel that I am on a roll….yeah I went this far, who needs a lawyer to hand me forms and charge me an exorbitant fee. Found a website http://www.divorcewriter.com, my Savior. Essentially, it was an online questionnaire that ask all of the essential questions to complete all of the divorce filing forms. The website itemize your assets, childcare costs, division of property, delegates which parent has the kids on holidays, and whether it is every holiday or alternating holidays. Wow! So much I have to answer… not sure I knew all of these answers yet. I manage to complete it all and pay the nominal fee. The forms were sent to my email and printed versions were sent Federal Express the next day. Ah yes! Just in time for me to give to my spouse by the end of the day.

images (23)

Round 2: I deliver the forms to him for review before we file with the court. Well, talk about amnesia! I think it was the initial shock, that I was not playing games and serious about the dissolution of our marriage. I think the whole entire time, he thought I was just blowing steam and providing empty threats. His first blank question was “What the heck is this?” Well a bit more graphic than that. Then after accepting what the forms were, the game of 100 questions began.  The amount he would pay, how the child support contribution percentage was calculated and what is all of this amount in the “Other” category that magically boosts the child support total. Hey there! The ending balance is the same as was noted on my spreadsheet I showed you a week or two ago. Do you Remember? The “Other” amount is for all of the additional expenses we choose for our kids that is not necessary a line item on the form. The assets were laid out, you keep what you brought into the marriage and I do the same. I stay where I am at or another place in my building, and you find a place. Simple enough. Then he comes with an idea. He wants to alter the percentage of his contribution based on the hours the kids spend with each of us. He suggests joint custody. Joint legal custody, sure, physical??? Okay buddy….let’s think about that. So every other week you want our kids to have a different house to live under? Oh, what about the times when you are out-of-town for a project? Hmmmm. You are more than welcome to come by in the morning to take the kids to school or come over for visits in the evening and stop by extracurricular activities when they are not with you. I am not keeping them away. I encourage that. We can adjust the percentage for the time you think you will spend with them, that is feasible…but joint custody now. No way! I am not invoking all of that change on my kids right now. When my son becomes older, we can discuss further but not at their age now.

images (25)

Revisions are again made, and let’s say they were made 3 or 4 more times afterwards. So I had DivorceWriter re-send revised papers at least a few more times. However, we did it amongst ourselves. We did not need a lawyer to come help us to decide. Yes there were threats and blows from each of us. Accusations of how I was not fair with my terms and he was going to have a lawyer to review and defend his behalf. I thought fine, do that but here are the itemize expenses. So now go pay thousands of dollars for them to review but still pay my agreed upon amount. He eventually caved in and a final agreement was made. Can I file these papers now? Sheesh!

Round 3: The battle of selecting a date to get the papers notarize. Finding an agreed upon time just to stop by a bank for a notary was a hassle in itself. Maybe he was avoiding it, who knows. But the dates were re-scheduled a few times. I was finally able to file the divorce papers in January 2013. This followed a few months of us duking it out.  I can now say my divorce is filed. I feel relaxed. I accomplished a milestone…and did it without the consult of lawyers. I share the filing information to my then husband. I guess this was another blow. He is thinking….Wow! This woman is serious! She is not joking! Twenty questions are asked again. How long is the process? How will the child support be handled? Will it be taking from my check? He begins to think my child support number is again too high. Really???? I have bitten the bullet and modified the numbers to now barely covering the costs to raise my kids. I am not compromising anymore. So I think if you have a problem, go ahead and bring on the lawyers, cause my foot is down. I make steps to move to another unit in my building, planning for space that can accommodate myself and the kids. He begins to look for a place to live nearby. The process is smooth, he begins to pay his designated amount before our court hearing. This agreed upon process is slowly but surely working. We duked it out and said screw the lawyers!

Any delays are now self-inflicted, delaying in serving the papers, getting notaries on subsequent papers that are required for divorce completion. This is expected, I am a novice, I don’t file divorce papers for a living…and I hope I don’t have to ever go through this again.  Finally, we receive a confirmed court date. Yes! The process is almost over. I share the news with my kids father ….Uh oh! He wants the date postponed. Now the uncertain decision of what school my son will attend in the fall is weighing largely on what he is agreeing to pay monthly. Here we go again! I have to re-do the math of all the costs that are entailed in raising our children….and how he actually received the discount “Super Dad” package. I explain to him how he can keep that title of “Super Dad” by acknowledging whatever difference in amounts could be used for other perks and necessities for the children…like a larger contribution in the college fund. Or don’t see it my way,  I am ready to duke it out some more. Let Round 4 begin!

images (16)

In the end there was no delay in our date and the duking out we did months before paid off. We both saved on lawyer fees and were able to come up with an agreement that was in the best interest of our kids. I do not have nightmares or grief of my divorce process. The decision and having a divorce, are stressful enough in itself. Divorce is an emotional undertaking. Why add more anxiety by going into further debt with lawyers when you can use that money towards your children’s future.  Duke it Out! Come to an Agreement! And Screw a Lawyer!

Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

Ok this really precedes the dating conflict #1 I posted about a week in a half ago….but will call it #2 anyway. I was sharing the story with my girlfriend recently, and thought I share. Continue reading Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

The Kids Are Alright!

20131110-212639.jpg
My daughter and son are both energetic, charismatic and expressive in their moods. Once the kids took notice that mommy and daddy don’t live together I wondered if their behavior would deviate much.

I will be candid…when researching divorce and impact on children…. I considered the effects by age range. According to various literatures I read, it was cited that divorce impacts kids differently. Numerous examples of possible side effects were given. It seemed that the younger age range are much easier transitioning to change. Which was spot on with my initial assumption. I could handle a year delay of potty training for a two year old and occasional mood swings from a seven year old. I personally thought I rather cope with that than an adolescent teenage son’s screaming match about it is my fault for invoking change to his life or my daughter searching for love of her father and answers from boys that have ulterior motives than her genuine curiosity and candid answers…. Because she shut us out from her thoughts.
Not that I would be all in the clear… I cannot foresee the challenges I will face when my kids reach their teenage years. But I would not want such a major transition like divorce be an issue for them along with the other various stresses of transitioning into adulthood, solidifying aspirations and college applications. So I thought there wasn’t any sense dwelling and prolonging the inevitable. Why keep trying to fit a Phillips screwdriver bit in a slotted screw?

So my decision to complete the divorce while my children were young was what I thought would be best. My kids would be accustomed of having two loving parents but in separate households.

I reflect on the day I told my eldest that daddy and I won’t be living together. His comment was just this: “You and daddy don’t really get along anyway. I just want you to be happy.” Then he preceded on his fixation of wanting a baby brother…and went on and on that maybe I can hurry up and get remarried so I can have another baby. Kids are smarter than you think. Despite how much you try to hide your discontent with each other…..My son was not clueless.

Despite what age your children are, if the situation is unhealthy for you it is not healthy for them either. The timing for me was ideal since we had so much change in our lives over the past few years between new cities and schools. All of which my son seamlessly transition into. I think ultimately kids want their parents to be happy. There may be disappointment and children may not accept change right away. If love from their parents is reinforced and they are comforted that they are not the cause of the separation..I believe they will accept the change.

Reflecting on my Sunday with the kids… They are joyful when their father arrives for basketball clinic in the morning and are content in saying goodbye as we set out to our next venture of the day. They love us both and understand that we can’t do everything together like before. I refer mostly of my son as he is the eldest, the most in-tuned and has had the most adjustment. My daughter is younger and is aware of us both as being profound in her lives. She has adjusted to saying daddy’s house and doesn’t say where is daddy in the morning? I know when she gets older I will have that discussion of why her father and I are not married. But as of now this is my son and daughter’s reality, family portrait, and backdrop setting. I look at them both. I admire their strength, resilience to change and unconditional love that they have for their father and I. Sheesh! They are precious. My kids are alright!