Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 23

More from the words of Jed Abraham

Your wife’s lawyer will ask your wife to tell the court why she court should be awarded custody of her children. Your wife will say: I am their mother. I have always been their custodian. I have always been the primary caretaker. I have always been the one to look after them. They need me, now more than ever. I love them, and they love me. We are a family.

Your wife’s lawyer will ask your wife why she opposes sharing custody of the children with you. Your wife will say that, throughout the marriage, you disagreed with how she tried to raise her children. You took them to a church she didn’t like. You took them to the doctor when they had the slightest sniffle. You took them for second opinions because you didn’t like the doctor she chose for them. You objected to her method of discipline. You still do. She is stern and swift but consistent. She sets rules, shows her displeasure when rules are broken, deprives the children of their snacks and activities, and, when all else fails, slaps them on the rear. But you think a parent should reason with young children. You wouldn’t cooperate with her and show children a united front. You never supported her authority over them, and that wasn’t good for the children, and you criticized her in their presence. You grew insistent and possessive with the children, and you harassed and bullied her to have your way. And now she knows that all along you secretly fantasized about the children. Your lack of cooperation in disciplining them was just another way you had of abusing her and the children. She doesn’t want to deal with you anymore.

On Cross-examination, your lawyer will get your wife to admit that her telemarketing job allows her, within limits, to make her own hours. She should well arranged to start and end work earlier, to be home when the children return from school. She didn’t take an earlier slot because she sometimes oversleeps in the morning, and she was afraid she’d lose her job if she racked up a lot of absences. When she oversleeps, the children take their own cold breakfast of cold cereal and milk. Before the separation, she hired baby-sitters with children in the afternoon. Now she can’t afford baby-sitters on the crumbs of temporary child support you pay her. Before the separation, she also had a maid once a week. Now, John cleans the house and does the wash. You never helped her with any of that.

She microwaves most of her meals. They cost more than fresh meals, but unprocessed food takes time to prepare, and by the time she comes home from work, the children are hungry. She microwaves meals on Sundays, too.

She takes the children’s word that they do their homework. She doesn’t believe in helping children with their homework. That would be cheating.

She doesn’t like your church because of the pastor’s old-fashioned patriarchal harangues. He believes that a wife should obey her husband, that society’s many problems all stem from the breakdown of the family hierarchy. She feels sorry for the pastor’s wife, whose phony piety also disgusts her. You should have never married the pastor’s wife.

Yes, the kids love you. They love you because you always let them have their own way. You weren’t home for the hard part when they were babies. She was. You didn’t clean up after them. She did. You would have tried to reason with them then, too. You would still be cleaning up after them, too. Your lawyer will tell the court he has no further questions of the witness.