Week 5: Custody Ups & Downs

October 19, 2016 — We are a month out from the reunion and next week Mario will visit me in New York. I haven’t seen him since September 30, when in a fit of sexual frustration, we met for a short weekend stay in a resort hotel. We spent the whole time in bed. But the trip wasn’t just sexual, because I needed to see that he was still “real.”

Sadly, my friendship with Emma is in shambles. We don’t talk. I arrange to go on a movie date with another single mom who I’m trying to know better. For some reason I have a hard time making female friends. Moms can be a tricky group. First time moms are buried in the new adventures of mommy-hood. Moms of more than one tend to be more relaxed — the first one survived so we don’t have to worry as much, right? Then you also have groups of stay-at-home or working-moms. And the single mom category cuts through all of these. Of course I have mom friends in all walks of life, but having a few good single mom friends is essential.

Drama continues with my daughter’s father. He is fragile and acts as if Mario has moved into my house. He refuses to come inside. He starts going to Jake’s house to visit our daughter. He gets moody and suspicious when I want to see a movie. What are my choices? As a divorce lawyer, I know too well. If I start a custody proceeding, I think that he’ll only behave worse. I want to get to a place where we can co-parent.

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I draft a custody agreement that I hope to file in Court. Things are tense. After several drafts and negotiations, her dad signs off on an agreement. I hope that it results in him becoming calm, but he still obsesses about Mario.

Mario’s divorce is fully filed in court. He isn’t sure how long it takes to be approved. “We were separated so long, but I’m regretting procrastinating on the divorce,” he says. “I just figured I would never be interested in anyone again.” His ex- took steps to file the divorce on her own. He gets a lawyer and pays extra to expedite the case.

Then, as if there wasn’t enough drama, we find out his ex- has posted a Go-Fund-Me link on Facebook. She’s looking for money towards her “dream wedding.” She has a long story about how unhappy she was with Mario. I can tell it hurts him and he’s worried about his kids reading it. He sends the link to his lawyer, just in case things get ugly.

Meanwhile, at work things are picking up in the Real Housewives of New York divorce case that I’m handling. We make Page Six. More importantly, my client is happy and starts sending me referrals. A friend of his needs a divorce. The catch: he’s getting divorced in Florida. He has a post-nuptial agreement that must be read under New York law. He hires me to be an “expert on New York divorce law” for his Florida case.

Mario is excited for me. My business is growing leaps and bounds. I tell him my goal is to be the most terrifying divorce lawyer in Manhattan in five years time. One night we are talking about our goals and he announces “I’m going to move there.” Me: “But, your business is so great — what will you do? What about your kids?” He explains that he’s felt in a rut with his business for awhile and he was thinking of moving before we met. He has a number of new ventures and it’s exciting to listen to his business ideas.

We start talking about timelines for a move. If things are going this well between us, then the summer would be the ideal time. But first, he needs to visit. We’re both excited that he’ll be here next week. He’s coming by train and I’m meeting him at Penn Station. Ok — so we both have the same romantic tendencies, even if I am a jaded divorce shark.

 

 

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