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Joint custody - PLEASE HELP

I'm new to this, but I feel like my entire world is falling apart. I really need some help.

I'm 8 months into separation, and based on my adultery with a woman I met AFTER we agreed to split and told the kids (!). I've got three children, the eldest is in Y6 and my youngest has just started Reception. All 3 tick boxes on the autistic spectrum, though my wife has always demanded that none of them are tested which is still how it is. The kids stay with her, and I see them for one night every two weeks. She doesn't work (she gave it up when we had kids - her choice) and I work full time. The family home is sold and the money is being held by Solicitors. She is living with her Mum, I'm renting a house. I'm 39, she's 35.

I want to go part time (which my boss agrees to) so I can have joint, 50% custody of the kids. They're a job to my wife - what she does to pay the bills. She doesn't play with them, get involved with them and would rather be on her phone than spend time with them. But equally she doesn't want to get a job, claims that she can't for various reasons (my working hours, childcare, too qualified), and so wants to use the as a way of making money.

My Solicitor says I've no chance of getting joint custody. What I'm getting from them is basically roll over and take it, and give her what she wants - which is everything. 

But they're my kids! I can't just sit there and let her waste their childhoods! I need desperately to be majorly involved in my children's upbringing, even if just to dilute her down a bit. I'm sure that lots of us say this, but she's really quite a nasty, uncaring person. My kids basically get ignored or snapped at for bothering her - which was pretty much how marriage was. 

I'm at rock bottom. I can't see any way out of this - even my own Solicitor won't help. I have never felt so alone and so helpless.

What can I do?
First thing to teach you is to break this down into little bits you can cope with as when you look at it as a whole ... its tough so let me try and look at it without being in it... hope it helps

Don;t worry why the relationship failed .. it did .. and timing and who to blame really doesn't matter... neither of you are getting taken away from your kids coz you had an affair - share the blame ... you had an affair for a reason and i doubt it was because your ex was perfect

Autistic spectrum - park this ... not going to help the breakup ... but agree with wife you get expert advice via school. nether you or your wife can do the test ... ask school for opinion and follow the designed pathway for testing and diagnosis ... allow expert to do their job

Access - you can see you kids alternate weekends, 1-2 nights in the week and up to 1/2 school holidays - you would get that in court so what she is offering you is appalling ... start mediation immediatly and then go to court to get this if she wont agree or attend mediation

Part time - no need - work an access plan out that supports your work schedule.. you may up with 50% or 40% but you can work it around work... which is needed if you are to support your family... I'm changing from a 2 week mixed day schedule to a week on / week off to help with change in work so lots of options

Your opinion on your wife's parenting skills ... not really relevant unless your kids are in danger ... playing candy crush is apparently the hobby for most mother's

She can't sue the kids as a way of making money as the child support will be based on their needs (no profit) so look on line and work out the child maintenance payment you will make and the reduction you have on that when they stay at your house (reduction is because you will be spending the money on them for food and clothes etc)

Your solicitor is a muppet... ask for shared custody... if you have to work and she doesn't ... you may not get 50:50 as one parent normally has 51% and then is awarded the benefits (child, rent etc etc) but what you want here is a healthy access to your kids that is legally stamped to stop her mind games

They are not YOUR kids! - that is how she thinks... they are BOTH YOUR (PLURAL) kids... the minute you think like that it will work but YOU BOTH need to be on that page not using them to hurt the other person

You won't waste their childhoods - you will have them 50% of the time and create memories for them... really not your issue if all they remember at mums house was playing on a ipad... that's up to her

You still in touch with the other woman... give her a call and take her out for a drink ... if shes not nasty and uncaring... you've improved your life already!

Change solicitor if needed ;-)
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
Thanks, that's good advice.

It's just really hard. My ex is making things harder and harder. She's filling my kids with so much hate - they've said things to me that could only have come from an adult, and when I ask them if they can explain what they're saying a bit more then they can't. It's just that soundbite.

I now haven't seen my 10yo boy for two months, as he's refused to come because I made him homeless, and if it wasn't for Granny stepping in they'd be on the streets. Now my 8yo son isn't coming to stay either, and she won't let my daughter come on her own.

I need to get this sorted. Has anyone tried an interim contact order before?
Fire your solicitor and get a new one.  If the advice you're getting is "roll over and play along", you might as well save yourself the money and self-rep.

Mine is an absolute pitbull when she needs to be, and she is getting far better results than the previous one who wanted to keep everything out of court (and hence the ex- ran rings around her).  

Get a better lawyer, send her an offer of mediation, if she refuses/isn't reasonable get it straight into court tout suite.

Courts won't give a toss about the affair unless the other party is a drug dealer or sex offender.  My ex- made all sorts of fuss at every opportunity about my new partner, tried to play the poor abandoned single mother card, and it just made her look bitter, and she has dropped it recently (I suspect her legal people finally gave her a firm talking to about it).  It might get sympathy with her mates, but the courts don't really give a toss about you or your ex-, their only concern is what's best for the kids.
Thanks for all your advice. I went into see my Solicitor for a meeting, and came out knowing it was the last time.

She didn't have a clue. She asked me things that I'd already written to her about, and said that my ex's Brief hadn't said stuff when it was right there in his letter. Twice. It was like she hadn't read a single thing. She even questioned when I was moving in with my girlfriend, when that's not something that either of us are looking at doing (she's got her son, I want my kids. A bit of independence isn't a bad thing as we've both had our fingers burnt by our exes).

And she told me that I had no chance of shared custody. She even questioned my motivation! I said to her that I feel like I'm being punished for going out to work, and she said my ex probably feels the same for staying at home! That was the last straw.

Ciao Adiós I'm done.
Ha ha. Top marks for an Annemarie song reference!

Good advice from LTCDAD. You know it might be hard to believe but - as long as we stay reasonable and level-headed - I continue to believe that we as fathers are our children's best advocates. I think one way we should all think about using legal services more is to use them just for a portion of the case. We don't need solicitors for all aspects of tlevrry case and we should think more about using them in cases just on the basis where they are really needed and in the most straightforward cases, not at all.
I agree - I genuinely hoped that when my ex and I separated, that we'd be able to sort most of the details ourselves. Amicably and with the kids in mind.

Like I say, I hoped that. But in my heart I knew it would come down to a war. I may not have known the kind of woman she was when I married her, but I certainly do now I'm divorcing her...

It's a good point though, there should be no need to call in the big guns under most circumstances.
You know Pete, I've read a lot of these stories now and they have so much in common. The bitterness of the exes, the need for the (as they seem it) to lie and make allegations of DV, especially, control, stalking, the refusal to negotiate or attend mediation.

Frankly, I'm a long time over my ex but it's a shame she can't move past me, not even for the sake of the children. You put it so succinctly, we all certainly know who we married now!
I've had the lot - bullying of her and the children, refusal to attend mediation. The latest is that I'm trying to brainwash the kids - these would be the same children that I have 1 night every 2 weeks, not to mention I haven't seen my eldest since September.

But it's tactics in the divorce, pure and simple. And she's using the kids as pawns to get what she wants, which is a house bought outright for her. She's 35.

But what's so sad is that she's doing this to our kids , who were close to me are now pushing me away. But this will be screwing them up and they'll feel the effects of this for years to come, possibly their whole lives.

She's willing to sacrifice our kids so she can get what she wants. What kind of a person does that to their own children?
When they hate you more than they love their own children ... it drives all the decisions they make
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"

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