After my post yesterday and the more-emotional-than-I-would-have-wanted conversation I had with IFKAMH several hours ago, I think it may be time to change our custody agreement. The current agreement filed with our divorce is for joint custody with me being the custodial parent. The only visitation arrangement is just that reasonable requests for visistation and contact are to be allowed. If he bothers to wise up and consult an attorney for any reason, he may be advised that he could fight for custody if I'm not allowing him to visit. At the moment, I haven't denied any requests to visit because they haven't actually been made, but he seems to think differently. I guess since I have now firmly expressed my less-then-enthusiastic opinion on continuing his sporadic attempts to be in contact with them, he feels that I have not allowed him to be involved. I tried to figure out when exactly had he wanted to see them, when had he made arrangements to see them, when had I denied these requests; he had no answer, just another promise that it would change soon.
His ability to live in his own version of reality blows my mind. He had the audacity to request a reduction in child support since he is making less with the new job (legally allowed, but he doesn't deserve it, in my opinion). I told him I can't agree to a lesser amount. The support that he has to pay now doesn't even cover the expense of daycare, a few cents shy of 2/3 of that check I have to write every week. So, while the money he has to relinquish may seem like a lot to him, in the grand scheme of actual money that has to be spent to care for M and J, it barely makes a dent. He swore that he would send additional money on his own. I didn't know whether to laugh or yell...I think it ended up being a slightly raised tone with some inaudible laughter. You see, that is the same thing he told me when the divorce was finalized over a year ago, that he would send more money whenever he could. I have yet to receive any amount from him that didn't come in the form of a check from the State of Florida's Department of Disbursement for precisely the amount that is required to be withheld from his paychecks. And now that he's making less, this should be different? I don't understand. He could not understand why I didn't understand. I could not figure out how to explain my logic of doubting his ability to send more money when he makes less even though he failed to do this when he made more. Made sense in my head, but then, his world doesn't necessarily function with the same sense of logic as the rest of us, I guess. I said that my trust cannot be given blindly, without action on his part. If and when he follows through on this new promise to send additional money without the wage garnishment, that would be the only way I could even begin to consider a revision to the existing child support agreement. I told him point blank that it was solely his decision to change jobs to one that pays less; he should have thought about his financial obligations before making the decision.
This somehow led to a comment about him getting out of having to pay child support, and I rattled off something about him giving up his parental rights if he didn't wanted to pay the child support. He said he would never give up his rights. I didn't push that, but I did try to reason with him (I don't even know why I still bother, except I don't know another way to state my case) about his desire to reenter their lives. I repeatedly explained how he is not really their dad anymore and that they have a dad in NS. I know it couldn't be easy to hear, but it is true, so it had to be said as frankly as possible. I'm certain I relayed nearly every point I wrote in yesterday's post as to why it wasn't in their best interest to suddenly try to reappear (even though I'm still not convinced he will manage to follow through except for the fact that he'll now be able to fly for free...but then there would still the issue of transportation and lodging after he got here). I asked why he was never able to drive for a visit if he so desparately wanted to see them. His response? Well, he only had two days off at a time. I questioned the truth of this seeing as he'd been with them for over a year, and I've known a major corporation (think major carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage company) not offering employees vacation time after a year. He said they did but he just didn't make the cut-off. I could hear the back-peddling in his voice. He had been there for over 18 months, there is no way that he just didn't make it to the one-year cut-off, but he just rushed passed my inquiries about this.
His only arguments were that he loves them and would always be their dad and that he's sorry for the mistakes he made before. I thought I might just have steam coming from my ears after that. I think I was almost in tears as I said that he should be very sorry for not being there for them and would be a horrible person if he wasn't sorry for the ignorance he's displayed in his actions over the past two years, but that doesn't mean he should try to come back to them now. Quite simply, he may have to suffer the consequences of his mistakes in that he's lost the chance to have the type of father-son relationship he thought he should have but that doesn't mean M and J should have to suffer, too. They shouldn't have to disrupt and adjust their lives to accommodate his regrets. That isn't fair to them.
The ending of our conversation included my encouraging him to focus on being involved with his daughter since I presume she's still in close proximity and doesn't have anyone else to fill that fatherly role for her. He didn't correct my assumptions, so I pleaded with him to be there for her since she needs him while our boys do not.
I am so angry at him right now. This phone call almost ruined my evening. Thankfully, I spent some enjoyable hours with my boys and had my spirits lifted. But now, after getting home and researching some points on parental rights, I have found that my denying him visitation could give him a legal means to take custody away from me, I feel a new agreement may be in order, one that grants me sole custody. Thank goodness he doesn't seem to be anywhere near rising above his status as "idiot" formerly know as my husband.