Difficult ex feeling burnt out
Hi guys, hope your well, I’m getting to the point, we’re I’m experiencing burnout, it’s been two long years of court battles with my ex, I’ve racked up 22k worth of debt in legal fees for divorce and child matter issues, I’m gonna have to take up a second job, I was awarded, the arrangement in Jan 2022, with the child custody, my divorce is almost finalised, so I should be happy, but I’ve started a new job in those two years to cover the bills on my own, I work two weekends, and have my son, who is non verbal Autistic, the other two weekends, I take him to school twice a week, my ex said no to that arrangement the courts forced it, she wanted me to have no child care, because of the child maintenance she would receive, so at the moment I’m paying £460, and I travel to London for work as well, and pay the mortgage which she refused to contribute, for two years and she wanted half of the proceeds during the divorce battle.
my ex wife is being difficult as always, with communication, not telling me about new schools he might be attending cancelling last minute booking with schools and keeping me out the loop, she would agree to going to school together and the suddenly change her mind becuase of her controlling mum.
I’ve been speaking to a close friend who has advised me I need to take a step back, no more weekends or school pickups, recharge my batteries, they advice I should step away for a month obviously make up an excuse, just to sort myself out mentally, then come back refreshed, they explained I’m expecting to much from my ex, and court order doesn’t really mean anything and should accept she never going to change, no matter how I go about it.
so I wanted to get other dad’s opinions on the matter, would you take the advice?
sorry to hear your having a tough time. yes it can be very difficult and feel like this is consuming your whole life. if you know which school child is going to, I would suggest you introduce yourself to them. can email or phone them and ask to be added to their list of parent contacts, so they can keep you updated with child school reports, parents evening meetings etc.
if your paying through child maintenance service, have you informed them that child stays overnight with you? they would give a little reduction to your payments. also if your still paying mortgage for a property your ex lives in, you may be able to claim a special expense from CMS:
I suggest you take up an exercise routine if not doing so. breathing exercises are great. check out wim hoff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tybOi4hjZFQ
thank you for sharing on the forum, you certainly have been through a very challenging journey.
Whilst I am unable to advise you from a "legal" perspective i.e the child maintenance/access side of things, as a parent myself and Auntie to twin boys who are mainly non-verbal and autistic, I would advise that you keep the routine going in your son's life as much as you possibly can.
Routine is important in children as it offers stability, security and comfort, especially if things are difficult around them. For children with neurological diverse needs like autism, the need for continuity is even more important. Also, the time you have with your son, is your special time with him. You have the opportunity to bond with him, to see how he is growing up, and learning - because my twin nephews have certainly changed and grown up!
You have a right to be able to be a part of your sons life - the court has determined this, so I feel that it is important that you carry on looking after and spending time with him.
I would agree with your friend that looking after your mental and physical health is important, but I think that is achievable alongside being a Dad. Do you need to see your GP? Perhaps seeking some counselling to help with your mental health and help you process all that has been going on?
Have a look out for your local Autism support charity, they hold support groups where you can meet like minded families going through life with autism and all that entails.
Are there any self help things you can do at home during the week when you are not with your son? For example, after work relaxing to music, watching a film, going for a walk, calling a friend, cooking a nice meal - little things which are free and achievable. Would keeping a journal help at the moment ?
There are some great charities which offer practical advice - Fegans have counselling and parent support, Care for the family - offers support for single/parents whose children have additional needs, Samaritians - a great service if you want to talk with someone safely and non judgmentally.
Remember you are doing the best that you can - by coming on the forum shows that you care about your sons wellbeing - as it takes courage to talk openly about these things. Take one day at a time, make memories with your son, take photographs so you can look back and recall good times.
I hope this has helped, and I wish you all the very best,
Kind regards, Fegans Parent Support.
I am sorry to hear of your situation- it sucks
What you are going through is not fair and not something solvable – education/previous life experience does not prepare anyone for Court battles, a difficult ex, and coping with an Autistic child.
You asked for a dad’s opinion re advice you’ve been given – answer is no – stick to CAO.
Whilst a month out is probably much needed; it’s unlikely that anyone, given the situation, would be able to sort themselves out in such a short time frame and any deviation from CAO could just be fuel for your ex or her mother.
Feeling burnt out, worried, anxious etc is par for the course.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, feeling burnt out and are mentally exhausted, talk to your GP.
Exercise, talking, breathing, eating healthily, drinking sensibly, counselling etc is all good advice, it’s whatever works for you, keep an open mind and explore when you can.
Only you will know what you need.
You cannot change how your ex behaves - You can protect yourself from how her behaviours affect you – stick to the CAO.