1. A father against his will
At the age of 45, when he thought he could finally stop the rat-race and settle into a much-anticipated calmer life, she informed him that she wanted a divorce. Later on, he learned that she had someone else and he realized why his pleas for her to reverse her decision fell on deaf ears. They divorced well, and despite the difficult personal crisis he experienced he agreed to pay generous amounts of alimony, assuring her that he would spare nothing from his beloved sons.
Broken mentally he consoled himself in the arms of many women who desired the handsome, smart and charismatic man. One even lasted with him for three weeks. He said that they had known each other before the divorce and were even friendly so he trusted her completely. She was perfect for a rebound relationship – fun, cheerful and care-free. They spent almost every evening in bars, getting drunk and ending up in a wild, uninhibited sex. Three weeks later she informed him that she was pregnant. He begged her to get an abortion, explaining that he just got divorced, that he was paying alimony for three children and that he was definitely not ready to be a father to a fourth child from a three-week liaison. For the second time in his life, his pleas fell on deaf ears.
She was divorced without children at 37 and this pregnancy came to her-or was carefully planned-just in time. Her age, plus the fact that the father of her unborn child had good genes, contributed to her determination. Although she steadfastly refused to end the pregnancy, she assured him she would not bother him or demand anything from him. "I have enough money to raise the child by myself, you can relax," she promised.
He came to consult with me while she was still pregnant but nothing could be done at that stage. We agreed that we could only hope that she would keep her word. He was devastated and told me that he felt great distress, on top of the distress of his divorce.
This week we were in court for the alimony claim she was quick to file a month after the baby was born. When the court ordered her to file bank statements, we saw that her account had sufficient funds and that she did not really need the money. Apparently, what she wanted was revenge. “We could never, as women, understand how it feels to be a father against his will. It could not happen to us.” I explained to the judge, who in turn clarified that alimony must be paid, even if it was for a fourth child and even if the father was very resistant to the pregnancy. I did convince her that the bulk share of the amount and responsibility should be imposed on the mother, who forced him to be a father, against his will, in the fifth decade of his life.
The moral of the story for men – at no age and in no situation should you leave the responsibility for preventing pregnancy to the woman, even if you are sure there is no chance of pregnancy.
The moral of the story for women – If you decide to have a child against the will of their father, take responsibility for the child, since you already know that Karma is a bitch.
2. A father from hell
They married for love despite the differences between them, believing that their mutual determination and love will win every obstacle in the way. Shortly after the wedding, she noticed something was not right about him but hoped everything would work out in the end. When their daughter was born, she realized she had to escape. He did not make life easy for her and forced her to sign a divorce agreement that had her caving in on most issues. She thought she was buying peace and he thought she did not cave in enough.
As soon as the agreement was signed and approved and the divorce was issued, he began to make her life miserable, first with threats and violence but over time he became more sophisticated and started to use the law as a weapon. He did not allow her to quietly raise the child for even a single day. Using his parental rights as a weapon, he threatened to sue anyone who took care of the child and terrorized her doctors, teachers and therapists, making life very difficult and forcing her to take care of the child – who needed special treatment – through judicial orders.
However, that was not enough for him and he promised her a new suit every year. He promised and delivered on it. Every year he found new grounds for prosecution. The doors of the courts are wide open and he was entitled to conduct legal proceedings even if he was sure to lose. In the last round, two claims of his were dismissed and he was ordered to pay high court costs. In the appeal hearing this week, he was advised to withdraw his motion for appeal so as to save on the additional expenses that he was expected to incur. He refused, of course, smiling at her with a seemingly innocent smile and whispering in her ear a promise that there will be a next round.
If it were up to her, she would have given up everything to buy peace of mind and raise the child in peace and tranquility. She knows however that he keeps his promises and implements his threats, and he has already promised that he would not let her live in peace.
The moral of the story – If you detect that something is wrong about your spouse, think hard before bringing children with that spouse into the world, as parenthood, unlike marriage, cannot be terminated.
3. A stepfather from hell
They divorced five years ago and reached a divorce agreement fairly quickly. Since then, they have been respectful towards each other in their parenting of their two daughters, respecting each other’s space as well.
She remarried and gave birth to twin boys, and from afar they looked like a happy family. Little by little the girls mentioned that her new husband was very tough on them. At first, they tried to hide what was going on in the house from their father, but in the end they broke down and told their father that her husband was setting strict rules and punished them for not obeying him. A month without a cell phone for the older daughter, two weeks without friends for the younger one.
I sympathized with him when he said that he felt like beating her husband, but that was not his style, and like a civilized man he invited his ex-wife to coffee and talked to her about the situation. Although she defended her husband and claimed that the girls were difficult and needed someone to set limits for them, the tears that covered her eyes indicated that she too had a very hard time with her husband.
When the older daughter sent him a message on Facebook pleading for him to come pick her up after a fight during which her phone was confiscated and she was sent to her room, he could not bear it anymore and drove to their house. When her husband opened the door, he turned pale when he saw the girls’ father. He informed his ex’s husband that he forbade him to punish the girls, and that if he continued to punish them, he would act against him legally. Then he asked for his daughter to be brought out.
The mother was there, she heard everything and was silent when the two girls asked to go to their father. Since then, they have not returned home. The mother did not ask for them and they did not want to go back, there was an unspoken agreement that this was in their best interest. They would come to their mother's house and stayed with her and the twins, but when her husband came home they would avoid eye contact with him and return to their father.
After three months their father stopped paying her child support. Her husband did not like that and sent her to fight for the girls to return back home, as he was mistaken to think that the girls would return along with the payments of child support.
A social worker appointed by the court spoke to the girls alone. No one knows what they told her, but the result was harsh – not only did they not return to their mom, but also they were given a permanent restraining order against her husband.
The moral of the story – In cases of chapter 2 relationships, before you bring more children into the world, look carefully at how your current children are treated by your new spouse.