When I decided to leave my wife, I was not very educated in terms of the family court system or even the law for that matter. I paid for a couple of consultations with lawyers to see how it worked. I had never even thought of divorce and always laughed when Eddie Murphy or some other rich guy mentioned words like "half" while they got divorced from women who literally contributed nothing to a marriage beyond their looks. These lawyers I talked to all knew the law inside and out but you could feel the joy in their mannerisms as I rattled off my list of assets and living situation with young kids and a stay at home wife. They all made it clear my assets were going to be taken and I was not likely to get equal custody of my kids despite me having nothing that could be brought up in court that would indicate I would not be the best possible father for my young daughters.
I am guessing most men reading this blog are like me. You are a good dad, probably successful, and while you have a strong personality, you aren't prone to anger or violence in front of anyone much less your wife. You have simply had enough of a woman and want a divorce and proper custody. You may also be a man who was blindsided by a woman who wants to divorce you and deprive you of your assets and children.
No matter what has brought you to the point of you wanting out or you finding your ex wants out, there is one common denominator that is now going to explode in all of us no matter how controlled and strong you are as a man. ITS CALLED ANGER!!! Any man who is even slightly a man is going to get very upset when life circumstances force you to lose your assets and access to your children. It is made even worse when the person dictating things to you contributed little to nothing to what you built before you met her and after you met her. Whether she leaves you or you are forced to leave her because of how you are treated, you are going to lose these things. If you don't get angry at this situation, then you are a wimp or just a flat out liar.
Once you know it is happening and you cant undo it, you now deal with lawyers, yours and hers. While it is important to pick a lawyer that knows the law and the ins and outs of the local courtroom and its staff, there is nothing worse than to choose a lawyer who you feel does not give a crap about your situation or has no ability to relate through past experience or even just an above average ability to relate to a person who they take on as a client. I interviewed a few lawyers and as the client who was also a lawyer, I soon saw why people hate lawyers, especially domestic lawyers. I finally met one I liked who was real and genuine and she took me on probably against her better judgment. The fact I liked her personally didnt lessen my anger. I wasn't angry to the point I would embarrass myself or be an ass. I was always calm and friendly and did what I was told. She knew how things worked. I didn't although I was getting educated very quickly. It was what it was but I was a strong personality and I questioned everything. Lawyers don't always like that and it can make having smarter or educated clients a little tougher than the average man who is pissed off but does not know what to say or do. Although there were things I did not like, I give her a lot of credit in the fact I felt like she was fair and did her best to relate to me. We had very similar past life experiences. She was not going to gouge me financially despite my deep pockets which I appreciated as I have tried to be the same way with my own clients.
Now that the money is going out of my pocket and my wife and I both had lawyered up, the anger got only worse as her first lawyer, who knew nothing about me, writes me a letter offering me two overnight visits a month with my daughters while I also get the pleasure of paying every bill the wife has like she was not capable of doing anything other than being a housewife despite being educated and with a work history. My wife had the advantage and if she didn't know it because of her prior divorce experience, she knew it now. She was a stay at home mom with two young kids while I was the bread winner. She had a college degree and past work experience in sales and teaching but I soon learned that no court was going to be making her work. Until I got in the courtroom to make my case, she was going to dictate what custody I received and she wasn't going to let it be equal. ANGER!!
Imagine having to live in a new place while your soon to be ex wife stays in the house you purchased and moved her in to keeps you from equal custody of your kids while she also refuses to work. Her life hasn't really changed other than she is left with a bank account full of money and she has gotten rid of a man she no longer wanted now that she had the number of kids she wanted and the desire to be single while staying married. You are working and not seeing your kids equally while you now pay out money. Yes I left the marriage and walked out but not because I wanted to leave. I was finally strong enough to where I was not going to be so blatantly disrespected and used. Its the rare man that leaves a gorgeous wife who is the mother of his small kids and does not have a new woman lined up.That is how bad it was causing me to leave. I didn't ever cheat or have a girlfriend to move on with once I left. The exes smug attitude while she took pleasure in depriving me of time with my kids was off the charts. The fact I had done so much for her didnt mean a thing when it came to being fair about custody. There was no reason for us not to share custody equally. She would rather take them to play in the park then let them see dad however. ANGER!!
With all that is going to go on once the relationship ends, it cannot be stated enough how important it is for a man to have emotional support before, during, and after the process is underway. Women are stone cold emotionless creatures. They also have lots of friends who they lie to who tell them to take everything they can off the man. If you think a woman tells the facts of what is going on in a break up or custody to their friends and family, then I have a bridge to sell you. Between their support group and their over all dead emotions that likely lead to the breakup of your marriage, they have a huge advantage over a man wanting equal custody of his kids. If you are angry and unprepared on how to focus it, you are not likely to get equal custody.
As your situation moves toward the courtroom and the preparation, ask yourself why are you going to court? If women would agree to equal 50/50 custody, probably 75% of court hearings would never take place. Courts and lawyers cant lose 75% of their business so there is incentive to promote these disagreements which is done by not holding a woman who refuses equal custody accountable by payment of attorney fees or some other penalty for depriving a man of equal custody without cause. We have become so ingrained as a society that by default men need to earn yet women have ownership of the kids. Feminism has only emboldened the absolute unfairness the court system is to a man and damaged children by denying them equal access to their fathers. It simply promotes ANGER in even the most level headed well reasoned man. We are going to court because my wife wants me to see my kids 2-4 overnight days a month. She can be the worst person in the world and unless you have actual physical evidence of mental illness or deviant behavior toward children, 50/50 custody is her worst case scenario so what incentive is there for her to give me equal. The right Judge will also make the man pay her attorney fees for preventing the man from getting equal custody. Do you understand how messed up that is and why even calm natured men have so much ANGER!!
In North Carolina, the law is that the Judge "shall consider joint custody" when determining custody of children. This is simply a broad statement that does nothing for a man. The judge can do whatever he or she wants and the things you do or say in court will determine what custody is going to be no matter how great a dad you are. My lawyer made it clear to me on numerous occasions that I was not likely to win equal custody of my kids. It was not because I couldn't be there for them day to day etc. Assume she said this knowing I had every possible angle covered and provided for in the raising of these girls. She knew what the Judge preferred to do no matter the facts which was award the woman primary custody. I was not likely to get equal custody. ANGER!!! Men are told this often enough by their own lawyers that in most cases they give up and agree to a consent order that gives them every other weekend and a dinner visit. The wife's parental alienation tactics combined with no positivity coming your way only promotes your ANGER. It is easy for the person with the advantage to be all calm and collective. This caused me to make a lot of mistakes in my court hearing because I was now living it. Doing the right thing and behaving as a man meant nothing in this battle.
When I finally got court to try and win equal custody of my kids, I thought the truth mattered. I thought they type of character I had mattered. I thought my past ability to provide for my family mattered. As men and fathers went there was no one better than me yet I had to go to court to try and get equal custody. I wasn't asking for primary which if the facts that came out against the wife had been against me, getting equal custody would have not even been considered. The Judges and lawyers don't care about any of this stuff and how top notch I think I am. They are about winning and a robotic non emotional procedure. It is not about the best interests of the kids. I saw the tactics by the wife and her lawyers to devalue me and the kids. They took pride and seeing me squirm while they did their best to deprive me of my kids without reason. As long as their client paid them they didn't care. It was never about the right thing. It was about dividing and not promoting the equal value of mothers and fathers which would allow for good co parenting and the best development of the kids possible in light of the situation.
The end result in court was that I was very passionate and strong in my testimony and I did all I could to keep from speaking out of turn as the wife's lies kept pouring out with a fake Marilyn Monroe voice to get sympathy from the court. She knew exactly how to play victim and get the court to like her. The Judge hated me and admonished me in court about my eye rolls and my clear disdain for the process. I was about the truth and the lies told without the slightest inflection only angered me even more. The judge wanted robotic calm so he could get the info he needed and make his decision and then on to the next case. The fact that not getting equal custody for any parent is deadly to the parent child relationship didn't matter. It was about my behavior. My lawyer had no confidence that I would be awarded equal custody before we walked in there but I knew if I accepted the standard every other weekend agreement, it would be hard to get it changed later and I would be failing my daughters. Girls need a top notch dad and there is not one better than me. The Judge was going to have to take them and he was going to hear from me and how I felt. My lawyer wasnt overly confident about it even after the hearing filled with evidence against the wife that if was on me would cause me be lucky to see my kids at all without supervision. If I was the perfect father being offered 2-4 nights a month, if bad facts came out at trial like they did with my wife, she would have offered me visits with a sheriff in the room with me. The double standard is alive and well.
She was doing exactly what she did win and I was not. The two new lawyers she hired prepared her well but the cynic in me says she prepared herself without the need for help. For all the stories and complaints about what the ex does and the negativity of the court system, winning a custody battle or atleast giving yourself a chance to get equal custody of your kids is simply about the Judge liking you or you having something on the ex that makes her likability in court seem not so genuine. You must do everything in your power the make the Judge like you. It is not easy and must be prepped and understood before you go in there for trial. Your wife and her lawyers are pushing your buttons because they know what you are facing and that any normal man is going to react harshly to everything. It is very hard for a man, a dominant problem solving man, to just sit quietly with no emotion while a woman tells lies about you and blatantly hurts her kids with the use of the school system and mental health professionals. She says you aren't worthy of equal time with your kids yet you were worthy to pay all her bills while she stays at home. Men need other men to prep them correctly to handle this dilemma. I did horribly in court despite me being the most real and truthful witness possible. All my anger got me was an admonishment from a judge. The lying wife was not called out on what she did or said because she said it calmly and with the victim voice. My passion and body language was not liked by the Judge so truth or not, I was scolded in open court.
Ultimately I was given equal 50/50 custody by the Judge. It wasn't because of me. It was because I found the wife's secrets which when presented in court probably turned the Judges stomach. While he thought what he thought about me in a negative way, he saw I was clearly was a good and we have this woman who was clearly not as she presented. Despite all the evidence, the lawyers including my own were shocked that I got equal custody. Now that I know more about the system they were right. The absolute craziness of it all aside, most men don't have things going for them that allow them to get equal custody if the Judge does not like them. I was very angry that in light of the facts I was made to go to trial because I wanted to be an equal partner in my children's upbringing.
I would learn this again later when my ex made a motion to get the kids back in her primary custody using her behavior to create conflict to justify being back in the courtroom. One reason I tell men to never consent to a custody agreement giving him less than 50/50 custody is that he will not only miss out on the time watching his kids grow up, but when the day comes that he wants more time, he has to show a "substantial change in circumstances" to make this happen. Basically once a custody order is in place the standard to change it is much harder. That didn't stop my ex wife however. She does not want me having influence on the girls upbringing or thinking which I will never understand.
I was soon back in court with a new Judge presiding. This Judge was not going to be on my side for lots of reasons that don't matter. My ex and I didn't co parent and didn't speak to each other. I wont bother with the stories and behavior designed to create conflict to get the case back in front of a Judge. I will share one example though that pretty much summed up what I was going to face no matter what I tried to do for the benefit of my kids.
My daughters attended the local public elementary school. I had applied for my daughters to get into
a local charter school where there were lots of applications for very few spots. My girls were pulled off the wait list at the last minute and given spots for the upcoming school year. I was over the moon and assumed the mom would be as well. I told her to go go the school and meet the teachers etc and she refused. She made it clear that the public school was much better than the charter school. I was shocked. I offered to do anything to let them go. I begged her to let them go and swallowed my pride to text a woman who I wanted no contact with. I would take and pick them up(I was working she was sitting at home without a full time job) and every suggestion was rejected. I enrolled them anyways and asked for a hearing in front of a Judge which would take place before public school would start. The girls went the first day and loved it. I assumed even a Judge that hated me would allow the girls to go to the Charter School that was clearly better than the public school. The ex got an injunction pulling them out of the Charter School before the hearing would take place even though attendance would not interfere with the first day of public school should they be ordered back to public school. Needless to say I was very upset. In addition to all the things I felt she did to destroy the kids self esteem she is now depriving them of a better education which would cost nothing extra. I got spots for the girls that other parents were praying for and not getting them.
We went to court and I was very mad. I spoke openly about everything. The Judge did not like me and ordered the girls back to public school and fined me substantially. She even scolded me for sending too many texts to the wife over the issue. I will never forget her telling me in open court that my kids would not do well at the Charter School anyways. I was mad beyond belief and probably had the courage to speak openly more than most men who can be intimidated by having to go into a court room for a trial. The Judge didn't change the custody because as much as she disliked me and took joy in fining me for trying to better my kids education, she interviewed the girls and it was clear I was a good dad and they enjoyed their time with me. There was passion from me as to my belief in the injustice that had gone on, but there was no "substantial change" in circumstances to justify a switch of primary custody to the mother.
While all these examples regarding my own situation will someday generate a book as to the injustice of the court system and understanding female behavior, I do what I do for men now because I didn't have the guidance and emotional support which would have helped me behave in a way in court that the Judges want. Judges are giving more men equal custody than they used to and you don't always need a smoking gun against your wife to win equal custody but if you are not likable by the Judge you cannot win absent a smoking gun similar to what I had. I am the most likable guy in the world day to day yet in the courtroom speaking up is simply frowned upon and no one cared that your emotions are on high because of what is going on. The woman who is being rewarded for the divorce has nothing to lose and has all the custodial advantages so it is easier to keep her calm and she likely does not even need help.
As you get into the process, ask yourself if you are getting the proper emotional support and guidance so you can be the best witness possible so the Judge will like you. The Judge is going to rule for who they like best absent real bad behavior against the kids. Most parents with cases going to trial are just two people who broke up and the mom wont allow for equal custody. The dad usually caves in but if he fights he must know how to act in court. I would have given anything to have this ingrained in to me to offset the negativity where you are told what you aren't likely to get with no logical reasoning to support such a result. While you don't want your lawyer to lie to you about likely outcomes, if you are going to fight you need to be prepped correctly as to how to behave.
You should want someone on your team that has been through this process and can help you prepare emotionally for how to act in court. I didn't understand the importance of behavior over truth and only by the grace of God did I get stumble upon the smoking gun that got me equal custody when I probably would have lost without it because of how I behaved in court combined with courts defaulting primary custody to the mother. I dont blame my lawyer for this as it was going to take a special person to get me to be quiet in court but most men can be counseled and controlled if they respect who is teaching them. I have done it for even the most angry men with military backgrounds who would kill their ex wives if they could get away with it.
Despite the difficulties with the ex, the lack of coparenting, and no speaking to each other since the day we separated, I have a good relationship with my daughters and I still have equal custody. They are now to the age where what they want matters so the shenanigans from the ex can be further ignored. Let the girls decide if they want to change things. I like my chances.
Do not underestimate the value of equal custody of your children. There are reasons that your ex does not want you to have it which goes beyond money. Getting equal custody is not easy but should always be fought for until the very end even if that means trial. You must be trained as to how to behave in court and it must be done by someone you respect and who can offer detailed advice supported by their own experience.
You now know where to go to get it.
The Red Devil