Every Other Weekend Father

I think it is time to totally re-write the script.

There was NO way I was going to be an every other weekend father after my divorce. It just was not going to happen. Visitation? That word never comes out of my mouth. I don’t visit my own children. I am their father. See my kids four days out of 30? That is simply a non-starter in a divorce settlement.

I got divorced just like the next guy. I went through 11 months of family court hell. Some of us men have it worse than others. I’m glad my divorce proceeding was relatively short and I’m proud that I had the balls to fight for what was right – equal time with our kids and no exchange of money between us at all.

I figured that if I had no choice in staying married, I would at least continue the relationship I had with my kids. Even though my relationship with my ex was permanently destroyed, why does my relationship with my kids have to be destroyed along with it? I figured out the game being played on me before it was too late. I was proactive.

Too many men never think things through and fall into a similar pattern; get divorced, pay child support, alimony and see their kids every other weekend…and spend the next decade angry and bitter at the world.

That was not going to be me.

If you really start to think about how the game of divorce is played, ask yourself, why haven’t things been changed to reflect our modern society? Why would the father be automatically assumed to take on the role of personal welfare agency even if his wife walks out on the marriage?

Fathers are forced by the state all too often to play the role of chump and pay child support and alimony to abusive ex spouses. Usually, the father walks out of his own home because they can no longer handle dealing with an irrational future ex wife and is frustrated to such a point that he sees no other alternative. After he is gone, he is at a disadvantage in family court because it appears that he abandoned his family. The reality is often much different. It might be a false allegation of abuse in court filings or the future ex using the court system to get some kind of court order to legally evict the man from the home. Fathers seem to continue to be forever at a disadvantage in many relationships during a breakup of the family .

Yes, I know all too well the nonsense that goes with family court and had to deal with it first hand. I also know how difficult exes can be and how they use kids to get what they want. Maybe I am just different and refused to allow any thing to get between me and my children.

I have heard some real horror stories. I mean really really bad ones. Divorces that involved international kidnapping and INTERPOL. I learned from fathers like them so I wouldn’t put myself in that position.

In fact, the one father who had his son taken from the USA and taken to Italy gave me one piece of advice that I would have never thought about if I never spoke to him. He told me to NOT get passports for the kids. If you do, the ex can take the children anywhere in the world if you are married. Yes, that can happen. It happened to him and he wound up spending lots of money and it took many years to get his son back.

Little things like that make a huge difference. These are the things I learned early on to prevent my ex from even thinking of taking my kids anywhere I did not want them to go.

Back when I got divorced, I had an advantage that no one has today. I lived in a fault state. New York State was the last one to adopt the horrible statute called no-fault. No-fault divorce allows a spouse to unilaterally break the marital contract for any reason. Since my ex would have had to prove fault, (which she couldn’t), I was going to have her make a fool of herself in a trial. She would have lost and I would have won. This leverage forced her to settle and I got what I deserved.

Most divorces are settled, so even with no-fault being the law of the land nothing should stop you from standing your ground if you choose to do so. Divorce is pretty much a last person standing game. The person who has the most money or the ability to wear the other down to a point of giving up usually wins. From what I see, more men need to get a shot of testosterone. Money isn’t everything. Yes, you do need a good lawyer, money and the time to deal with the madness of the court system, but with a few key moves in the very beginning, you can beat a system that is filled with landmines for fathers.

I see too many examples of men getting depressed, feeling hopeless and helpless when they get served by their exes. I hear stories of men not having specific times to be with their kids because their ex is controlling the parenting schedule. I hear of stories where men don’t know when their next court date is. I hear stories of men playing defense instead of offense most of the time.

I say it is time to “man up” and do what is right…for your kids. They need you just as much as they need their mother. When your relationship ends with your ex, do not let that be any deterrent to being with your kids. Forget all about her and focus on what is important – your relationship with your kids.

It is frustrating to see so many men who are killers and lions at the office and can make several hundreds of thousand dollars a year but are little kittens when they are dealing with their exes. Have men become so emasculated in our culture that we cannot control our own destiny with our relationships with our children? If so, how did this happen and can we change it?

I am a living example of what all you can do if you do your homework. It is interesting to see people on Facebook who have lost weight and have overcome the odds and look great. I look to them as inspiration. I hope you can read my blog and find that same sort of feeling. You can win in family court. What you have to do is be proactive and not reactive. You cannot allow your vindictive future ex to control the game.

I asked several of my friends this question recently; if you were in a loveless, sexless marriage and knew that you could get divorced and not have to pay child support or alimony and you could see your children 50 percent of the time, would you file for divorce? Most of the time, I would get answers that beat around the bush, and never get specific, but most people say no. I find that fascinating yet frustrating. I feel  it is because we would perceive the marriage a failure. Men don’t like to fail.

Women file for divorce over 70 percent of the time in the USA. Why? All kinds of reasons. most of the time they are ‘unhappy.’ Well, aren’t men unhappy too? Of course we are! The difference is the idea of divorce equals financial devastation. We think we will have to pay child support and alimony.

Right now, we have to maintain our focus as men and fathers. That focus is clearly on our children. They need us more than ever and we should never allow divorce to come between the relationship we have with our children. Fathers clearly love their children just as much as mothers. Why should anything change with a divorce?




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