Three months after he took custody, he had decided half-day preschool was a better choice than the full-day we had talked about, and changed their enrollment without discussion. He also chose their dentist without discussion. A small thing, but a piece of the pattern to come.
Six months later, he had made another unilateral decision about their school hours and location.
Two months after that, his plan to relocate to Atlanta turned to an acceptance of an offer to move to Orlando, and he had found a house to rent and put down a deposit. Problem is, he selected their school district with it, and without discussion. Orlando is a large city. There are lots of places to live and lots of places to go to school, and there were plenty of opportunity for discussion, none of which he took. We went to court over this one. I refused to agree to his move, which was over the allowable miles in the divorce.
All in the first year they lived with him.
Not to mention his decisions about what doctors they’ll see, karate as an activity, Disney season tickets as an “enrichment activity” choice, taking them out of summer school so his girlfriend could babysit for two weeks, putting our daughter in Girl Scouts and I find out when she’s practicing the oath while we Skype.
Not to mention all the things I’m not going to mention to keep the word count below that of Russian Novel. I type “decision” in my Gmail search bar and get 27 (at current) emails with me replying with some version of “stop making decisions without me,” or “this isn’t how shared parental responsibility works,” or
“Stop denying me information. Stop ignoring my questions. Start communicating and I won’t have to continue to ask you for it. Stop making decisions without involving me. I’m trying to work with you and you refuse to work back with me. It is your responsibility as the custodial parent to involve me, as much as it is my responsibility to involve myself.”
“Discuss the decisions you are required to discuss. Provide information. Treat me like a partner in raising [daughter] and [son]. I’m not going away any time soon and I will continue to attempt to talk to you, ask you questions, request information, and have conversations that involve the children and their lives and there’s nothing you can do to stop that.”
But it doesn’t matter. I might as well be talking to air. This is who he is. This is what I tried to explain to the judge to begin with.
He did it again yesterday. He emailed to give me the kids new address and school name. He is moving in with his girlfriend this summer. He rents in the Timber Lakes Elementary boundary. She owns in the Avalon Park Elementary boundary. And so I got out my broken record player and said,
“Shared Parental Responsibility requires a discussion with me for decisions involving the kids. You do not have total decision making authority. Shared Parental Responsibility is clear: ‘it is in the best interest of the child[ren] that the parents confer and jointly make all major decisions affecting the welfare of the child[ren]. Major decisions include, but are not limited to, decisions about the child[ren]’s education, healthcare, and other responsibilities unique to this family.’
…decisions about the children’s education…regardless if it involves your love life.
You have established a pattern of sole and unilateral decisions, demonstrating a lack of capacity and disposition to facilitate and encourage shared parental responsibilities.”
Like he cares. He does what is good for him. Fuck all the rest.