Sunday, November 19, 2006

So, then, I have to face the next logical issue: if I can't reach agreement with my wife -- we've been going, at best, sideways for six months -- then we need agreement imposed from outside. In my state, according to the attorney I spoke with yesterday, I need to consider filing for legal separation, which would include a binding "parenting plan" of custody, visitation schedule and support payments.

I probably will not like what's ordered, my wife may not like it, but at least it would be stable and I would have some legal recourse if she reneges. Plus, I wouldn't have to go through the constant ordeal of trying to negotiate every single time I see my son. I would know exactly what my minimum responsibilities are and exactly what my parental privileges are.

The questions I have to ask myself are: Am I, honestly, motivated by trying to provide stability and predictability for my son and myself? Or am I actually trying to exert control for the sake of being in control? Are there other options that I should consider? Should I make yet another attempt to reach an agreement directly with my wife?

The most discouraging thing about trying to work out an agreement with my wife is that I don't trust her to abide by what we agree to. In the past several months she has built up a pretty good track record of unilaterally discarding agreements and commitments, big and small, as soon as they become inconvenient to her. How do you negotiate and compromise with someone when you don't trust their intention to live up to their word?

I also am pretty sure she will go ballistic when I tell her I've decided not to move to LA. I think she's counting on it at this point, so that I can relieve her of some of the burden of taking care of our son (when it's convenient for her and/or she needs a break). I don't want to speculate about how she will want to "punish" me for it, or how she will try to get some "justice." It would not surprise me at all if she suddenly picked up and moved to yet another city, state or country. It couldn't hurt to have the court encouraging her to stay put.