1. First Chapter

They married young and waited a few years until they brought three children into the world, one by one. She saw herself as a very dedicated mother, who raises her kids with totality and whose life was revolving around them. The volume of her motherhood left little room for his fatherhood in the family space and he found himself pushed into an out-of-site corner, irrelevant as a parent.

She learned that totality from her mother who was her role model for motherhood and who was still managing her life to this day. Naturally, her mother was also the only person she trusted, the only one who helped care for the children and the one that was always there for her. It was her mother who encouraged her to exclude her husband, repeatedly commenting on the way he was carrying the children, or, heaven forbid, trying to change their diapers and soon he was completely excluded from any role in raising his children. That was how things were until he became fed up with his marriage, which was transformed from a pleasant relationship into a battlefield against her and her mother, who shielded the children with great fervor and were busy blocking any of his attempts to get close to his children.

When he arrived at our meeting, it turned out that, apart from three children, they had managed to accumulate quite a lot of property thanks to his sharp business skills and honest character. Although I initially thought that most of the dispute would revolve around the companies he owned and their valuation, he made it clear that the biggest achievement for him would be if I could give him back his children – That is, help him reach a settlement that would allow him to be a real father.

As soon as she realized that they were heading for divorce she started painting him as “dangerous” and every day she became more and more creative about it. One day he came home hungry but when he tried to make himself dinner he was surprised to discover that all the kitchen knives had disappeared. A thorough search revealed that they were wrapped in a towel and placed in one of the high cabinets, with his wife explaining to him that the knives were hidden from him because of his dangerousness.

At this point he read the map correctly, hired a private investigator and got a little camera he was carrying at all times on the lapel of his shirt. A few hours after an argument between them had escalated and he called her a liar for suddenly denying the knives incident, he got a call summoning him for a police investigation. She had filed a complaint due to his “threats” and had also quickly filed a motion with Family Court asking to issue a protection order.

The hearing took place this week. The judge allowed us only ten questions for her examination. That was enough. When we showed her the recording of their argument she had to admit that the “threat” was merely him calling her a liar and when we showed her the picture of the hidden knives she had to admit that she had hidden them. At that time, the judge explained to her that she should withdraw the motion or suffer heavy costs.

That was what I was waiting for.

Even before she could answer, I suggested that he leave home of his own accord, provided that visitation arrangements would be set at once. She objected vehemently, but it was clear that her claims of his dangerousness were baseless and so we left the court with a decision that enabled him to have significant fatherhood and to leave a home that had long since become a madhouse.

The moral of the story –

For men – if you are being accused of dangerousness or getting threats of calling the police in anticipation of a divorce – you should record everything to protect yourself against a false complaint.

For women – False police complaints will not usually help keep the father away from the children … On the contrary, they will cause you serious damage even if at first the police believed you.

2. second chapter

They met 10 years ago, both divorced and parents of relatively big kids. He loved her with all his heart and knew she would be his second wife within a week of meeting her. Their quick falling in love made them believe this time was forever and they eloped in Cyprus two months after they met.

Shortly after the wedding it turned out that she did not like his daughter. The 17-year-old girl who was very close with her father and stayed with him once or twice a week and on weekends began to feel unwanted in her father’s home. The new wife was ignoring her, making sarcastic comments and generally doing everything she could to express her distaste. The lovely girl told her father that she wanted him to be happy in his second marriage and therefore she would meet him outside his home from then on. He wanted peace in his life and therefore accepted the situation.

When his eldest son came from abroad with his wife and children to stay at his spacious home during the Passover holiday last year, after two years without setting foot in his father’s home, he asked her to try to make his son and his family feel at home. It lasted merely half a day, after which she became closed off, ignored his son and family, did not leave her room and made them feel unwanted. The next day the son packed his belongings and moved with his family to stay at a hotel.

He was very frustrated and it was then that he had his first thought of divorce, but she reminded him that their love was eternal, that she loved him as she had never loved before and that she did not have to love his family. When he continued to be attached to her after all, she was convinced that he would never leave her.

A year later, when his father, who he had been very attached to since childhood, fell ill, she did not agree to go visit or host him in their home and she was not there by the father’s side on his last couple of days.

Equipped with the deep inner conviction that she was everything to him, especially now that his father has died and the relationship with his children has been reduced to a minimum following her treatment of them, she has allowed herself not to go to the shiv’ah. At all. “Not even for a short visit?” I asked. “No,” She said and explained that she could not stand his sister and “did not want to see her face.”

To her astonishment, he did not come home from the shiv’ah. He continued to live in his father’s apartment and informed her that he wanted a divorce. At this point, she did everything in her power to get him to come back, including pleading, sending messengers, phone calls to his children (!) and filing a procedure with the Rabbinical Court aimed at aiding marriage rehabilitation.

He did not come back.

The moral of the story –

Loving someone means loving their family too, or at least respecting them. Never try to separate your spouse from their family because at the end everything will turn against you.

(related video will be posted next week)

3. The inheritance

Even when she was a child, Rona was the favorite and most beloved granddaughter of her grandmother. As she grew older, her grandmother paid for her art studies in New York, rented an apartment for her there and arranged for a substantial monthly stipend that enabled her to make the most of her time in New York.

In New York, Rona met Amir, a tall handsome guy who used his developed muscles to work for a moving company and aspired to live the American dream.

When Rona finished studying, it was clear that she was returning home, to Haifa, Israel. Her amazing grandmother provided her with a new apartment with a sea view. It was an apartment she had bought a few years before as an investment property and it was clear that she had secretly saved it for her beloved granddaughter. After two months without her, Amir bought a plane ticket, landed in Israel and stood with his suitcases on her doorstep on the morning of a wintery day, promising that this time it would be forever and that he would never let her leave him again.

A year later they married and soon after had a baby. The bachelorette pad needed to be adapted to the new family status and they made use of the money that Amir had saved during his time in New York to renovate the apartment from top to bottom and turn it into a dream apartment. The fact that the apartment still belonged to the grandmother did not bother any of them, because it was clear that one day this apartment would be hers.

The years passed, the grandmother passed away and left Rona in her will the apartment and also considerable sums of money. The grandmother’s will, which was opened only after her death, left precise instructions regarding her estate, which included depositing the monies in a separate account and requiring Amir to sign a financial agreement as a condition for receiving the inheritance.

Amir was very surprised by the will because while she was alive, the wise grandmother did not intervene or demand anything from them and particularly showered her granddaughter with great love that grew stronger when her great granddaughter was born. He agreed to sign a financial agreement but raised a condition – getting back the funds he saved in New York and invested in the apartment.

Rona, who was raised as a spoiled princess, was deeply offended by the demand and soon their relationship began to deteriorate, so much so that he informed her that instead of signing a financial agreement, he would sign a divorce agreement under his terms.

When Rona came to me in tears, I advised her to try and turn back the clock – To give him back the renovation money, despite the fact that it had been years since it was used and have him sign the financial agreement. Rona was very surprised and refused to accept the recommendation. “I will not give him a dime,” she said and left.

This week she called to say that she had received an envelope with a motion for a declaratory judgment on the apartment.

What would you do in her place?