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Father starting divorce process feels like negotation is going nowhere; what to do?

Your Question:
I am currently going through a divorce with my wife after 8 years of marriage. I have a 6 year old and 4 year old, both boys. In October 2004, I told my wife that I wanted a divorce, that I was willing to take care of her, even after everything was final. I offered to give her the house as long as she didn't touch my pension. My wife also has a good job making almost $80,000 a year. I told her I wanted to make the divorce easy for the kids and was willing to compromise in any way possible to make this go smooth. The big mistake was that I thought my wife would at least trust me to do the right thing regarding her and my kids. All I want to do is take care of my children and see them as much as possible. My wife's family has turned against me and don't even want to be in the same room with me. For my 4 year olds birthday I had to leave my own house so my wife could have his party with her family. I only did this because I want to do everything possible to make everyone happy, but it is not working. I don't want to go to court because of the stress it would have on everyone involved, but my wife is not willing to make decisions for herself. I have asked her to set up a meeting with the lawyers and come up with an agreement and I'm still waiting for an answer. My wife is making her decisions for all the wrong reasons. She believes I have a girlfriend, and tells me all the time that she doens't want me to move on. I know my wife has pscycological problems, but has never confronted them and never wanted help. If I knew I could get custody, I would have went to court right from the beginning, because I know that my kids would be better off with me but I trusted her to do the right thing, and here we are, no where. Should I just go to court and fight for everything, or should I hold out a little longer. My lawyer has already drawn up final papers, but my wife and her lawyer claim that they are a joke and do not want to compromise. I'm not asking for anything except spending as much time with my kids as possible. My wife has told me so many times tha I am a great father but not a good husband, so why she does not want to work this out for the kids, I have no idea. WHAT SHOULD I DO ? Hold Out, Go to Court, Try to reason with her again. Ask friends to talk to her and try to reason. Please Help.

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My Answer:

Sorry for what you're going through.

Quit being Mr. Niceguy. Litigation is an adversarial process, and your wife has picked her battleground. You wanted a peace treaty, she (and perhaps her family) want to punish you into submission and with a very painful war.

You have no choice.

Tell your attorney to file for MORE than what you offered them, because the judge will usually give you LESS than you want. Don't worry about any settlement discussion coming up in court-- it can't be introduced to a judge. BTW, it's not your job to take care of your wife after the divorce. It's your job to be a good father to the boys. So, take that off the table (i.e., and you can use finances as a bargaining chip in the future).

Get the book "Win your child custody war" by Hardwick. Huge resource for you to understand this process. On my Resources page, there's a convenient link to it on Amazon. Send it to your work, not home. :)

Have you ever pulled off a band-aid bandage?

Regarding your divorce, you've been pulling off that sucker so slow that it grabs every hair, every skin cell.

It sounds like it's time to yank it off for the quicker path to peace. You can't put yourself or your kids through this crap for another six months, trying to negotiate with a party that wants you to have ZERO.

File and go to court. Yeah, it'll be expensive, but right now you're flushing attorney fees down the toilet due to a party who isn't interested in negotiating a settlement.

Finally, don't talk to her friends or family until the divorce is over. Last thing you need is for one of them to say, "He demanded that I convince her to settle, or he said he would have his cop friends make my life unbearable."

You gotta pound into your head that your wife is no longer your wife. Your wife is no longer someone who cares about your interest. In fact, of everyone in the world right now, your wife probably wants to cause you the most harm. Use your head and act accordingly.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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