Walter is a soon-to-be-singe father to four kids, ages 2 to 8 years old. He has been separated from his ex wife for two years with a pending divorce. His ex wife has moved to Redding, California with their children to live with her parents.
AG: Your soon to be ex-wife is now living in Redding, about three hours away. Where are the kids?
Walter: The kids are with her most of the time. The divorce is taking a long time since there’s property to split and custody of the kids to consider. I see the kids on every weekend, and usually about once or twice during the week. I travel for my job, so I’m in the area anyway a lot of the time. It doesn’t make my ex too happy though that I see them so much.
AG: How is the divorce going?
Walter: ugh, it’s ugly. It’s actually not too bad, but she’s fighting everything. She agreed that I can keep the house, but what she doesn’t realize is that the judge already said that she cannot get full custody of the kids without the family home. She has no place to live, other than her parents house. Her attorney didn’t see that or something. So I have the house, we just have to work out the custody and visitation schedules, the division of property is what she’s really being stupid on. The last fight we had was for a bird cage that was in the attic of the house for the last 9 years. We paid $4 for it at a yard sale and she’s fighting for it? She left me, but now she’s dragging it out all over the place, like she doesn’t want to let go. Her attorney has filed papers to get it all thrown out on three occasions. She keeps saying she’s changed her mind, wants the marriage back, but it’s gone too far now, I couldn’t take her back. Never. The judge keeps continuing things to make sure I’m ready, it’s stupid.
AG: How is the relationship between you and your ex now?
Walter: It’s not great. She is living with her parents and really unhappy, she takes it out on the kids, she really wants the kids to hate me for some reason. I’m not a bad guy though, she’s just unhappy. I don’t talk to her unless I have to. She hates me, but then cries for me to come get her so she can move back in. It’s crazy, I don’t understand it. She has tried canceling the divorce over and over, but it won’t work. She hates me but wants me back. I’m not backing down after what she did.
AG: And what is it that she did?
Walter: She had affairs, a lot of them. She was cheating when our youngest was born,a guy showed up to the hospital. She told him it was his baby. Three days later, another guy comes around, thinking the baby was his. A week later it was another. The paternity tests show that all 4 kids are mine, thank God. She tried counseling for some problems, but then she started sleeping with the therapist, if you can believe that. It was disgusting. She finally left, stating that I was the problem, that it was my fault. Like an idiot, I believed her. My own counselor has helped me see that sure, I have some things to improve, but ultimately she was unhappy, that it wasn’t solely my fault. I had a lot of guilt over it for a long time. I believed her.
AG: And how are you now?
Walter: I’m good. I’m really good. A lot of good friends, family, my kids, my work and church has really helped me out. I have therapy down to once a month, it’s great. I feel great, knowing the end is almost there. I’m in a singles group, not for dating, but for like group talking and socialization and it’s really helped. I’m not ready to date, not really interested in dating, right now I need to focus on myself and my kids.
AG: How is your relationship with the kids?
Walter? It’s great, considering they don’t live with me right now. We have fun, we talk about what’s going on. They are okay with things, they are always so so happy to see me, and they ask me questions about what’s going on. I like that they want to talk to me. I see them enough that they don’t feel the gap in their lives.
AG: Have the kids adjusted to their new living situation?
Walter: Not really. They love their grandparents, and their grandparents love them, of course, but there’s a lot of fighting with their mom, it’s stressful. They can’t wait to come back home. They’ve had problems in school, fights on the playground, very uncharacteristic of my kids.
AG: Have either of you moved on in other relationships?
Walter: [laughing] oh yes. She has obviously moved on a whole bunch of times. But me? not yet. It effected me when she left, so I’ve had to take care of myself with counseling and my church, it’s helped. She’s been a little careless since she left, from what I understand from her parents she kind of has a new lover every week. The kids meet them, she introduces her men as ‘their new daddy’. That about kills me. I wouldn’t mind if it were a husband, an actual step father who was going to help care for the kids and raise them, but a one night stand? It’s ridiculous. She doesn’t even know these men. That’s going to stop once the divorce is final in a few weeks though, it’s stated on visitation time that the kids are not to be introduced to any significant others until the other parent has met them. That goes for both of us. Last I heard she’s moved onto women. The kids were asking about why they’d have two mommies. I was confused since I haven’t dated another woman, but my ex wife is. It’s kind of shocking that she’s behaving like this. She was always a really fine woman, very solid, strong, I don’t know where this is coming from.
AG: So what’s going to happen when the divorce is final?
Walter: A big party [ laughs]. Actually not really, I’m still sort of down by my marriage ending. I thought we could have worked it out, but I didn’t really know what the problems were. I was naive, I thought things were fine. After the divorce is final, should be only in a couple more days, the kids will move in with me, she’s supposed to pay child support, but she doesn’t work, so that won’t happen. She’ll likely have every other weekend visitation, that was her request. The kids will move back down here, into their home and we’ll move on. After things are final, I’d like to start looking into dating, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. I was really burned, so it’s going to take some time. Not to mention, before any of that, I have to get the kids settled down, counseling, schools registered again. So I have some work cut out for me. Were so close to getting this thing done, unless she fights me for the garbage can too.
Walter’s divorce will be finalized on January 20,2011. The kids were expected to arrive on January 21,2011. However his ex- wife decided she was ready for them to move and dropped them off with Walter’s neighbor on December 17th. His ex-wife has left her parents home after their refusal to give her money and has not been in contact with her parents or Walter since December 17th. Walter spent Christmas with his children and both sets of grandparents in his Sacramento home.