I learned after the fact (YEARS after it began) just how ugly easy child's step mom was regarding me. She also was quite domineering (putting it mildly). She also represented herself, with my daughter present, as the bio mother (I too have full custody). easy child heard things she should never have heard. Now she never heard step say she hated her (That breaks my heart for your kids to hear that, thats terrible). But my easy child sure listened to how disappointing she was in her choices (when they weren't step's choices for her), listened to years of comments about how sad it must be for easy child to not have a mom who loves her, blah blah. I could go on, but it's so fresh following my latest court nightmare that lasted most of 2012, that its still hard for me. Suffice to say, I know the harm that type of thing does to children and I'm very sorry your kids have to deal with it. It isn't fair, and it isn't right. So lets see though, the facts. Dad would rather pay more support than pay less AND get a bonus of seeing his kids for holidays and for longer periods than weekends during summer off school. That is bass ackwards from most good fathers, who would see that as paying less money and getting more parenting time which should be for them a win-win. Your ex is cracked in the head, sadly your children suffer for it. I have some words I'd like to say about that ex of yours, but our censors here prevent me. Use your imagination, then expand to worse terms, and you might figure out what I'd like to say. Grrr. He also is married to a woman who, aside from the obvious line crossing of saying hateful things where your kid can hear them, obviously has no pleasure having your children in the home on visitation weekends. Despite your ex's constant threats and bullying and desire to keep you under his control through fear, his wife obviously is never going to willingly allow your ex to pursue full custody. This is all simply sick sick sick thinking and abuse on his part. I'm glad you are not in that relationship anymore romantically. I really think that you need to decide to opt out of the dynamic of the relationship that remains. Obviously you must have communication and it seems you handle discussion about schedules etc very well. I would like to suggest again, that you make a decision to look this mans threats straight in the eye, and call this piece of dungs bluff. I do think it's time. I think you are human, so fear is rational. Especially since at one stage you did have your kids living elsewhere. However, I beg you to stop seeing things through the lens of fear and your ex's control and hateful words. He WANTS you to think you paint a ugly parental picture to a family court, because this enables him to continue controlling you and your children through fear. You deserve better than that. And the most important thing to know, is he is FULL OF KOI!!! Absolutely FULL of it. Listen friend, I've been round the bend in family courts. I will play devils advocate here, on your side. Ignoring any garbage that he or a lawyer of his could throw out there, let's pretend I am your attorney and tasked with presenting your identity as "mother" to the court. Your honor, Miss XYZ is mother to two children ages (X & Y). She has been the full custodial parent for the lifetime of both children, with a exception in 19XY for a period of XY months. At that time, this mother was experiencing (insert your struggles). This mother used the time her children were not in her care to make the following steps to improve her own mental health and to ensure that upon the childrens return to her home full time, she was in a more secure position to parent them as she worked hard their entire lives to do, and wanted to be able to continue to do. The children returned to this mothers care on XYZ date and have remained with the mother for the past XY years since, and they are still in this mothers care today. Miss XYZ's former partner Mr. DungHeap, entered into a visitation arrangement through the court of every other weekend, reduced support for visitation over holidays if he so chooses. Mr husband has NOT at any point in the past XY period of years, ever seen these children for holidays or longer visitation during school breaks. He instead has opted to pay extra support in order to NOT have his children present for family holidays etc. Mr husband has seen the children for visitation, however frequently he requires the assistance of Miss XYZ in transportation for the children for visits, despite the current order mandating transportation being his responsability. Mr husband also has on frequent occassions, missed visits for weeks in a row, although at times he does take them for consecutive weekends to "make up" for lost time. While the children visit in Mr. husband's home, they often are spoken to in negative ways (Insert examples) about Miss XYZ. Mr husband's current wife Mrs DungHeap, is known to speak in negative ways about the childrens mother to them or in their hearing range, as well as having been overheard screaming at her husband that she hates his children. Mr husband does not participate in school meetings, IEP hearings for special needs, specialist appointments for behavior/mental health issues with the children. Miss XYZ is left to manage all of those issues on her own, often not only lacking invovlement of Mr. husband, but often also being subjected to rants from Mr. husband about how he doesnt "believe" official diagnosis from medical professionals that the children have issues that require treatment etc. Mr. husband has a long history of threatening Miss XYZ with family court every time she asserts herself as a parent and speaks up on important issues that need to be addressed. A favorite threat of Mr husband is that he will present my client as a bipolar mother, too unstable to care for these children. Today we are here to call his bluff and end this abusive treatment your honor. My client controls her mental illness, as do millions of other parents (single and otherwise) around the world and continues to be a good parent. Miss XYZ is actively involved with the supports in her kids schools as they attempt to find new approaches to help the children. Even when the kids refuse to attend school or create more problems in that environment, Miss XYZ continues to attempt to utilize programs and staff of the schools support, to improve her challenging childrens attendance. Miss XYZ is employed full time at XYZ school district in a position of (insert job title). Miss XYZ often cannot count on child support payments arriving in a timely fashion, yet Miss XYZ is still managing to keep bills paid, juggle medical costs and shuttling kids to appointments, hold down her respectable job, keep food on the table, and provide for her two children. I could go on here, but you get my drift????? Whose lenses are realllllly portraying you as a unfit parent? HIS HIS HIS HIS HIS. Which works for WHO? HIM HIM HIM HIM HIM. No judge is going to see it any way other than how it REALLY is. And how it REALLY is, is NOTHING like how your ex wants to paint the scene. I say its time to fuel your self confidence, and start believing in yourself and undoing years of the tapes in your head of your ex's voice hoping to make you underestimate all of the good in you, the mother in you. Start making some new tapes, TODAY. This is your ex's ONLY ammunition over you, and it can be ripped away in a fantastic moment where you just say "Whatever, I'm sick of it, file the dang papers because I'm sooooo ready to fill a judge in and stop your abusive games. PLEASE file. I'm ready. More than ready, as are our children". Better yet, send a certified letter from an attorney outlining all of these facts, and insisting that your ex STOP: list what MUST change. I cannot imagine living under that cloud so long as you have been. Liberate yourself and your kids from his tyranny. He really sounds rather pathetic and all bluster and no bite. If there is more substance to his parenting than outline here, that would change my idea here perhaps. Otherwise, I think the time has come and gone for you to stand up and stop taking this.