Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

The Game of Divorce

OFF-2016-chess

If divorce was a game would you be so competitive with your spouse to WIN? Are there limits to which you would not stoop? Like damaging their livelihood? Burdening them with so much debt and payments that they can’t afford a place to live and thus a place to have the kids on their alternating weekends? What’s the fair limit between partners who just want to split amicably? Is that even possible?

Let’s look at the game board and the moves you decide on.

First Move: 50/50 parenting or something else?
If something else, why? Is the other parent worse than you at some critical task? Would you feel more sad if you had your kids less time? Is it about you or the kids?

I was going with the instinct that we had been lovers, parents, and now even in parting we were going to do what was best for BOTH of us. I did not have the same killer instinct my soon-to-be-ex-wife had.

Second Move: Keep the house or sell it?
The kids should be able to stay in their home through this trying time. Sure, that’s a good premise, but if keeping the home pushes the financial picture out of balance, what can we use to make things fair? Retirement savings? Okay, but do you realize those will require a 25% penalty if they are withdrawn early?

Third Move: Joint Custody or Non-Custodial/Custodial Parent Roles?
If not joint, then why? What makes your decisions carry more weight then your former partner’s? Or is this one just about the money?

Fourth Move: Child Support?
Shouldn’t the parent that makes the most money help offset some of the expenses of raising the children when they are with the other parent? Oh wait, what if the other parent wants 50/50 parenting, what’s the financial split then? Can you base the child support on BOTH incomes and not attach it to the dad every single time? That might be more fair.

But again, this isn’t about fair at this point. Divorce is about winning.

Fifth Move: Insurance for the kids?
Who pays for the kids to be insured? Somebody’s got to be the responsible party? How about the parent that already had the child support payments? Why not give them an additional financial burden? And if they lose their job, what’s the plan then? Oh perhaps you can turn the whole thing into the AG’s office for enforcement.

So in the GAME OF DIVORCE I was unaware of the real consequences of all 5 moves. I was going with the instinct that we had been lovers, parents, and now even in parting we were going to do what was best for BOTH of us. I did not have the same killer instinct my soon-to-be-ex-wife had.

This game is rigged and the courts know it, the wives know it, and the divorce attorney’s who’d rather represent the moms, know it.

In 80% of the family court cases the man loses every single move. Unless you are prepared to go to court and spend some money, get ready for the Game of Divorce to hand you a very lopsided playing card. You don’t even get a say in the outcome. Here’s what you’ve lost:

  1. SPO (Standard Possession Order) works out to about 35% custody. She’s getting them almost twice as many hours as you are.
  2. Custody sets child support and in Texas the fee is pretty much set at around $500+ per kid.
  3. Insurance responsibility settles on the non-custodial parent as well. Just to keep things simple, one party owes money and services, the other party receives money and services.
  4. The home will go with the mom, 80% of the time, because the kids usually go with her, and there is case history that shows the kids should be disturbed as little as possible at this difficult time. What about the dad’s disturbance?
  5. The Attorney General’s Office does not represent you, they represent the Custodial Parent. Listen to their voice-tree navigation system. “If you are the custodial parent, press one.” All others, be prepared to HOLD.

I lost the Game of Divorce in a big way. Not because I didn’t play. And not because I didn’t ask for what I thought was “in the best interest of the kids” and FAIR. I lost because that’s the way the game is stacked against the fathers today. The financial hardships often cause newly divorced dads to live in crappy apartments while struggling to make the money to pay their ex-wives so that they are allowed to see their kids.

I’m not a men’s right’s activist, but am a DADS LIVES MATTER advocate. This game is rigged and the courts know it, the wives know it, and the divorce attorney’s who’d rather represent the moms, know it. But that’s not the way it should be.

Respectfully,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

This post continues with: Not Winning At Divorce

< back to The Hard Stuff posts

related posts:

image: it’s good to be the king, creative commons usage

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Responses

  1. Its not a game when the results are fairly predictable. Its an exercise in futility. If I hadn’t asked for what was fair for me and best for my kids, I would have had a SPO or what in my county is called minimum parenting time. Instead I have none. Everyone seemed determined to force me to accept this, and when I didn’t, it became time to destroy my character. Everyone in the courtroom participated, except my attorney who did little or nothing to defend me.

    March 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm

  2. J.-C. Daigle

    Texas is a bad place to get divorced if you are male. And this statement applies to most states in the US.

    In Ontario, Canada, if both parents work and there is sufficient equity in the home, you can get the court to force a buy-out of the equity and the starting point is always 50/50 custody if both parents can maintain a home with suitable space. In fact, the parent who keeps the family home is financially obligated to pay for half of the costs to furnish the kids’ rooms.

    My soon-to-be-ex has to pay me child support from all the stocks we’d put in her name when her employment income was a shadow of mine. she’s also obliged to sell a chunk of those stocks and take on a decent mortgage on the house we’d paid off to buy me out.

    We (read I) used our last couple’s therapy as divorce prep. The therapist gave us three names of mediators and my wife invariably chose the one female name. Bad move I guess.

    Our mediator was a retired judge of family court (Ontario Superior Court) and she was very judge-judy with my wife.

    wife: why do I have to pay child support?
    mediator: because you have the higher income thanks to the stocks bought [using air quotes] jointly.
    wife: but I’m being punished for my success.
    mediator: who paid for your PHD?
    wife: I did
    mediator: you did? On 12k of employment income for 6 years while having 2 kids?
    wife: uh, yes.
    mediator: Sister, you spent 6 years pulling less weight than a Kardashian while your husband paid for your privilege. I can assure you, he is letting you off easy by coming here. If this went to court, you’d be paying him alimony as well as child support.
    wife: [tears welling]
    mediator: Save it sister. I’ve seen it too many times to care. All you are doing is making me think of calling an end to these proceedings for want of a psychiatric assessment.
    wife: No!
    mediator: Then let us play nice. And that means you either accept or reject my proposals outright, without appending your answer with self-victimization or other passive bullshit!

    I will keep the recording of this session until I die.

    March 6, 2016 at 12:35 am

Leave a Reply