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Ask the Divorced Guy!
by Dean Hughson
Title: An Unfair System
I was married for 5 years. My ex-wife started going out at night drinking at night clubs and I stayed home with the children. After a while she moved out of the house and was living with another man. I stayed in the home,thinking that the kids would do better with a stable home. One weekend I had to go away on business and she agreed to stay with the kids. Unbeknowst to me, she had spoken to an attorney and the attorney advised her to file a domestic abuse complaint against me,which she did. I had never hit her--in fact I hadn't seen her for a long time. Not only did the court grant her an order to keep me away from MY house but it awarded temporary custody of the kids to her,even though she hadn't been with the kids for over a year. We went to court and the final order was that she got SOLE custody of the kids and I got supervised visitation. I feel that the system walked over me. What should I do?
As one person put it divorce is like living through 6 months of mondays. It is an all-consuming pain for a while and then it settles down to a dull ache.
The system does appear to be unfair. You were the stable one in the marriage taking care of your kids and yet the system showed gender bias against you. In many ways, it is my feeling that the courts don't know how to react to fathers in a positive manner. You represent only child support and an inconvenience to the custodial parent to the judge I think.
What do you do?
Take the high road. Love your kids enough to stay involved,no matter how tough the 'sobs' make it. You pay the child support,you hang out with your kids as much as you can and eventually they'll grow up. They'll realize that you made a bad situation as good as it can be.
Find love again. You deserve to be loved and to love someone else. It is healthy for your kids to see you in a healthy relationship. Find someone who will be supportive of your role as a father in a difficult situation.
Get active in a group that will help you change the things you feel wrong in the system. I give the same advice to moms who tell me that they have been victimized by the system. It is my thought that bad systems can be found against both moms and dads.
Dean Hughson, called the Dear Abby of Divorced Dads by the KC Star, is the founder of the DIVORCE HOMEPAGE. He has talked to thousands of people contemplating divorce, going through divorce, or the chaos afterwards and gives referrals and advice. He resides in Nevada, the state with the highest divorce rate in the US.
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