Thursday, March 02, 2006

DIVORCE SUCKS

All of this discussion and cataloging of joint custody initiatives has resulted in *at times* forgetting my real position on divorce/custody. DIVORCE SUCKS even under the best, most amicable of circumstances.

Sure, I started this site because of my disgust at a legal system that appears to treat dads as little more than a source of funding. And I know that with no fault divorce - if this is the route your spouse wants to take you have few resources to impede the divorce.

I certainly would not advocate begging anyone to remain in their marriage - but then, who am I kidding? As a child of divorce between two parents with few differences other than conflicting outlooks - the kid left in me wants to scream stop it any way you can even if it means you have to drop to your knees and plead.

The adult in me is disgusted at that idea. I knew that my mother was cheating and I will be the first to publicly say that the best thing that ever happened to my father was their divorce. (The ensuing custody war is something else entirely). And yet, I still hear my seven year old voice wishing they "would get back together" and that things should just PLEASE go back to normal. During this period I loved and hated them both. I knew my mother had made the decision, I knew she had been cheating and I resented the almost instant presence of her new boyfriend in our home. But my dad had abandoned us (I can rationalize now that he obviously did not) but then I couldn't get my head around how he could leave OUR HOME and then let this new man show up, sleep in his bed, boss us around, etc....

Hmm, do I still have unresolved issues about my parents divorce? Absolutely.

The following is from an article printed earlier this month: Even 'good' divorces can make life highly stressful for children

Marquardt discovered that, even in "good" divorces where both parents worked together to make the situation as comfortable as possible for the children, 52 percent of those surveyed said that life was stressful, compared to 6 percent from happy marriages.

And the situation tended to make them feel isolated from both parents. In response to the survey question, "In thinking back on your childhood, when you needed comfort, what did you do?", 69 percent of children in intact families said they went to a parent, but only 33 percent of children of divorce did.

This and other data led Marquardt to the conclusion that - although children are better off after divorce when there was abuse, serial infidelity and other serious problems - they are not better off when divorce ends a "low-conflict" marriage.

"The children of low-conflict couples fare worse after the divorce because the divorce marks their first exposure to a serious problem. One day, without much warning, their world just falls apart," she writes in her book Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. Along with complete survey data and her analysis of it, the book also includes examples from her own life.

She describes a low-conflict marriage as one "in which parents divorce because they are unhappy or unfulfilled, or have other problems that are not seriously threatening." According to studies, she said, about two-thirds of marriages that end in divorce could be described as low-conflict.

She said she would not presume to tell people that they should stay together just for the sake of the children. What she would hope, she said, is that people who know that their spouse is a good person and a good parent will take her findings into account before going ahead with a divorce.

So what to do (if you are in what was described above as a low conflict marriage)? One of my first suggestions would be as soon as there is talk of divorce visit the uptoparents.com site and both go through the commitments. Try to aware your spouse of the research regarding children of divorce. Explore counseling/therapy to address issues within the marriage. And whatever happens - do not forget who will suffer the most and always keep the welfare of your children at the forefront of your mind.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Danny Guspie said...

Great piece here: "As a child of divorce between two parents with few differences other than conflicting outlooks - the kid left in me wants to scream stop it any way you can even if it means you have to drop to your knees and plead."

Most adults just don't get it - Unless you've gone through it as a child, you cannot possibly know anything about what us "children of divorce" go through. My comment - "Adults Suck" especially when they forget their childhood, humanity, responsibilities and selfishly place their needs above their obligations to their children.

You would think Judges, the most educated members of society would get that. But they don't. and we've seen plenty of cases just like this:

A father who has had his kids for many, many years finally gets an order of child support. He's forced to keep going to Family Court, spend money, and not get any support for the kids, for excuses that would never be tolerated if the roles were reversed. What woman waits years for such an order? Oh and he doesn't get an order of enforcement of child support by the Family Responsibility Office. The Judge turned down what is a routine order in every child support matter in Ontario - enforcement.

This particular mother and the way the Court has let her off the hook for years epitomizes everything bigoted about Family Court. He told the Judge that his kids were begging him to stop all action in Family Court (mom was putting a lot of pressure on them, as you can all imagine.)

Why is it that mothers rarely pay child support when they lose custody?

Because - Adults Suck.

Danny Guspie
Executive Director
Fathers Resources International
www.divorced-dad-daily.com

6:12 PM  

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