Child sup­port doesn’t change af­ter di­vorce

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - El­lie Tesher

Q - I’m a 36-year-old fa­ther of two, di­vorc­ing af­ter seven years (mar­ried for the last three).

I’d sus­pected she was cheat­ing on me for 18 months. Friends showed me pic­tures of her out with an­other guy (we live in a smaller town).

When­ever con­fronted, she’d get an­gry and de­fen­sive. Yet she’d sit on her phone tex­ting this guy.

She ended it af­ter a fight about her re­fus­ing to wear her wed­ding rings.

I was dev­as­tated.

Her lover helped her move out when I was at work. She took ev­ery­thing of the kids, and most of our fur­ni­ture.

She was taunt­ing me about it and in­sult­ing me for be­ing dev­as­tated.

How do I move on from here? Our re­la­tion­ship was pic­tureper­fect for the first five and a half years.

Now she’s fight­ing me for ev­ery cent she can get, as I have a good job and she’s been mostly un­em­ployed while we were to­gether.

I feel de­feated and hu­mil­i­ated, sell­ing my dream house and mov­ing into a smaller town­home condo, los­ing over one-quar­ter of my af­ter-tax in­come to child sup­port, and watch­ing this man with whom she cheated mov­ing into my role rais­ing my kids.

I called so many coun­sel­lors who never call me back.

My friends and fam­ily are in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive, but it’s not al­ways enough.

Feel­ing Bro­ken

A - You are not “bro­ken” but need to re­build your sense of who you are, one piece at a time.

Start with your kids, whose lives have been changed abruptly. They need to see you and know you’re al­right, and you need to see them and know the same.

If ac­cess to them is a prob­lem from the start, get to a lawyer fast.

If not, you’ll still need a lawyer re­gard­ing all other di­vorce is­sues, but keep the fa­ther-child mat­ters as clear as pos­si­ble — in­sist on joint cus­tody, de­fined times to see them, hav­ing them stay with you, etc.

Child sup­port is an essen­tial part of your par­ent role that doesn’t change with di­vorce.

She may be ask­ing for un­re­al­is­tic amounts, but your lawyer and fi­nan­cial ad­viser will dis­cuss with you what’s rea­son­able for your in­come.

More im­por­tant, it’s about how you want your chil­dren to live, within what you can af­ford.

I em­pathize with you that be­trayal by a cheater feels dev­as­tat­ing.

But her be­hav­iour de­means her, not you.

What you need from a coun­sel­lor is val­i­da­tion of your right to your pain but also your need for the will to re­gain con­fi­dence and get on with your life.

Seek a coun­sel­lor for those rea­sons, not just to vent anger (which may feel nec­es­sary ini­tially, but is only a start­ing point to heal­ing).

Q - We met at a job I started. I’m 19, and he’s 36. We share many com­mon in­ter­ests.

We like each other a lot and want more.

I don’t look at the age dif­fer­ence, but at our con­nec­tion.

How­ever, my dad’s over­pro­tec­tive and won’t give the guy a chance, as­sum­ing that all he wants is sex, or me as a tro­phy.

I don’t want to lose my close fa­ther-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship. The guy also doesn’t want to cause is­sues be­tween us.

What should I do to get my dad to un­der­stand?

Over­pro­tec­tive Dad?

A - This man must to try to earn your fa­ther’s trust.

He has to show sin­cere longterm in­ter­est in you.

You need to con­vince your fa­ther that you still plan to fur­ther your ed­u­ca­tion and/or work life, and in­crease your in­de­pen­dence.

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