Vexing Ex-Wife

7 May

Dear LetterBalm: My ex-wife and I have been divorced for three years. We have joint legal custody of our three kids. She doesn’t follow the provisions set out in our divorce agreement. The children live with her, so she says the agreement is meaningless. She misses scheduled dates for me to have the kids, she doesn’t allow them to talk with me during scheduled phone calls, and she refuses to discuss any part of their lives. We should be talking about school, health care, church, aspects of their lives – all outlined in the agreement. I’ve always paid child support on time and honored all my responsibilities. I’m at the end of my rope. I’ll try to get through to her one more time before I go to my lawyer. The kids are well aware of this battle of wills, too.

–Agreeing with the Agreement

Your ex is creating undue stress for you and your children, certainly not the mark of a mature adult. Ms. L.B. assumes there isn’t another factor in the mix – a boyfriend who’s stirring the pot, for example, or a resentful friend or relative of hers filling her ear with misinformation about you and your parenting skills. Handwrite your ex a no-nonsense letter and mail it. (You might want to have your lawyer check the letter first.) See if this moves her:

Dear Trudy,

I’m writing this to you for the sake of our children.

We have a legal agreement in place intended to ensure their well-being in all aspects of their lives, and you consistently do not honor that agreement, even though I have asked you many times to do so. You keep the children from me, you don’t permit visits on time and you keep them from participating in mandated phone calls. What this means is that you belittle my role and my access to the children as their dad. Most importantly, these actions are having a negative impact on the kids – as a mother, you should never want this to happen.

A court of law has witnessed and certified our roles as parents. You and I agreed to it, and it is not for us to cavalierly amend the provisions. I will have no choice but to seek legal counsel and involve the courts, a path I believe neither you nor I want to take.

As ever,

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