Well, here goes.
A bit of backstory. My wife and I have two children. I dropped out of my Master's program so she could go back to school to pursue hers. She hated being a stay at home Mom, has openly admitted to regretting having children and resenting them. I agreed to just work as much as possible as a cook and to watch our children during the day, from 3 months old on. During this time I worked 3 jobs, some until 4am, then would be up again at 6 or 7 to take care of kids. We were working on purchasing a home from her wealthy parents, but then she hated it after I spent copious hours remodeling. She finishes degree, gets a job, then starts becoming emotionally unavailable. Starts writing in her journals that now that she makes 40k a year she can leave my ass and pay for everything. That I was only making 20-25k and was working terrible jobs. She starts lying about her contract hours so she can go in early and stay late. I did not read her journals until a few months ago. Our oldest starts having abandonment issues because Mom is never there. Daughter starts trying to wake up earlier to see Mom, Mom starts getting up earlier to go to work earlier as to avoid emotional issues. Fast forward to three months ago.
My wife and I are divorcing. We tried to do things amicably but then she started to demand that I pay her $1440 a month for supervised visitation rights for our children. I said no, I'm not signing any kind of financial agreement to see my kids without some kind of courts involved. I sought legal help. The day I consulted with a lawyer was the day we were also meeting to sign a finalized financial agreement. I told her no, that I had a lawyer and was seeking split custody with no child support from either side. The very next day she filed a restraining order against me, littered with lies. She then filed DHS report against me, again with lies. I found out about the restraining order because I had gone to the courts to grab a financial assistance document for my case. I walked into family law area, and saw her sitting at a courtroom with a look of panic on her face. I walked over to her to see what was going on and she grabbed her things and ran to the counter to alert a clerk. It was at that time my alarm bells went off, and I left the court house and went straight to my lawyer's office. I was a stay at home dad for 6 years, but then would work at night to augment our income. I cooked, worked my way through managing restaurants, then worked my way up into fine dining. I would constantly have to call in late because of unplanned appointments taking her additional time. I digress
When I find out about the restraining order, I contacted a friend, and moved all of my clothes, tools, and personal belongings that same day. The next day I went to the sheriffs office to self serve myself as they are busy enough. She then spends the next 30 days removing things from the marital home, and throwing away as much as possible without any consent. She sells the car, buys new one, changes her number, gets a new phone, sticks me with all of the bills. I had taken two months off of work to take care of her after a pre cancer cervical surgery. I was now jobless, homeless, and had $0.34 to my name. I got two jobs cooking concurrently. Worked for 24 hours on some days, got a third job, worked myself as much as humanly possible. Sleep 2-4 hours a night. Got an amazing job offer to chef at a restaurant, got a 2 bedroom apartment, things are going better.
Restraining order is dropped as I have all of our other old phones and emails with a plethora of evidence refuting her claims. She settles out of court for a temporary parenting plan, but refuses 50/50. I furnished my home for $15 by scouring craigslist and facebook market place. I finally get time with my children. Step up program into overnights.
Covid 19 hits. My parenting plan was modeled for my chef job, and I was about to leave my other 2 because of the new found stability. I was going to give notice, but then I lost both of my cooking jobs on the same day. Thousands of cancellation, banquets, graduation, etc. Lucky for me I still have one. But its at night. Like 530pm-until the job is done night. Sometimes I'm done at 4am, sometimes 730am. I get my kids for a week, then I have a panic attack and end up in the ER, thinking its a heart attack and not wanting to die alone. So, because I went to the ER, I now have to quarantine for two weeks. Can't have my kids. I can still work at the warehouse making sure schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and restaurants that are remaining open, but I can't see my kids.
Part of the temporary parenting plan came with my filing for a dissolution of marriage. I requested 50/50, child support to be paid into accounts for the children so that they can have college money when they're 18, as she now makes 60k a year. She hires a lawyer and is now responding that she wants full custody and child support and wants me to have supervised visits.
I am trying to find another job that isn't nights, that pays better so I can afford a lawyer because the first round cost me over $1500. I know the next will be the same if not more. I am working but am not really making it. I'm borrowing money from family members, something I have never done before. I feel lost and hopeless. I just want my kids. She is abusive towards them, and I have just recently discovered pictures on her facebook and other old hard drives of her giving alcohol to our children. I need help. Please.