Once again I have read of some poor sod being dragged into the quagmire of family court. For the sake of men who have been through it, I will spare the painful details. Rest assured it is a classic case. To the question, “What do you think he can do about it?” I can only answer “Probably not a damn thing. He’s more than likely screwed.”
Welcome to Amerika. I only wish the Men’s Movement’s best recruiting target wasn’t men who realized that it could indeed happen to them after all.
Before I begin with the meat, I need to take a swipe at some people. Namely, men. That’s right. Why the hell is it I can surf the net, find all manner of newsgroup, website, chat parlor, and web ring devoted to women helping women to work the system, and not hardly a damned one for men? Huh? And how come ninety-nine percent of the ones I do find are some mercenary SOB trying to make a buck off of his brother’s tragedy? And how come most of them are offering a “What you should have done” approach?
While it’s no doubt that the game is rigged, in many instances men walk into the battlefield unprepared for what they face, convinced in the rightness of their cause, and wind up getting bushwhacked. And what absolutely disgusts me to the point where I hope these schmucks are sharing their pit in Hell with Gloria Allred and Andrea Dworkin in the life to come is that men who have been through this, and hosed by the system are profiteering over it. Want to know why the feminists won that, gents? Because they helped each other. And any of you who doesn’t lend a hand, share your experience, and help the next poor slob better his lot even if you couldn’t better yours is worthless beyond description. By the power vested in me, I hereby revoke your testicles for high treason.
There. Okay, Divorce Self Defense 101, I am your instructor, Mr. Jensen. I am not a lawyer, consult one. Anything I say here may have its mileage vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. My qualifications are two divorces, one in which I did everything wrong and got raped, and one in which I did everything right and came out with my skin relatively intact. Let’s start with the fundamentals.
First. Decide right now if you want to be a winner or a loser. You are about to enter the Lion Pit, and whatever your religious persuasion before, you are now a Christian. Get used to it, grow up and accept it. Any misconceptions you had about morality, right and wrong, and justice in the Justice System are bunk. All such things are absolutely irrelevant. Your sole concern is legal, and illegal. If it goes to a judge, you are not facing Solomon who will try to establish something fair. That is the job of a mediator. The judge will decide who is the winner, and who is the loser. If you don’t want to be a winner, take their offer right now, and get out of my class. I guarantee it will be far more generous that what the judge decides. The court is NOT your friend.
Number two. I want you to say something right now: “She will never do that to me, she would never be like that.” If you wish to paraphrase, be my guest. I’ll wait.
Good. Now, let that be the last time you ever say that. This is not the nice, sweet girl you married. This is the bitch that is divorcing you. Grow up. Accept it. Right now she is plotting how to get you. And probably has been. Either be prepared to treat her as your mortal enemy, or confess that you really didn’t want to be a winner after all. She will treat you as such, I guarantee you. Don’t let anyone shame you with words like “Not sinking to her level.” While you should avoid illegal and unethical behavior which will be punished or looked on with a jaundiced eye, I grant, you should absolutely sink to her level otherwise. There is no such thing as a moral victory here. Any people who say this to you want to see you put your club down so they can see her clobber you with hers. These people are NOT your friends.
With me so far? Number three. You cannot stop this divorce. You can only delay it, at best, and you will be punished for doing so. The judge and the court doesn’t want to see you any more then necessary. Why? Yes, you in the back –uh huh – that’s right! Because they are NOT your friend! No fault divorce is the law in every state of the Union, and every province in Canada. And she decided she wanted out long ago. If she wanted to work it out, she would have suggested counseling. Your marriage is over, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, as the saying goes. Grow up. Accept it. She does NOT want to be your friend anymore.
Allrighty, those are the ground rules. Questions? No? Part two then.
Some things you should have. First, despite what you may have heard about “Planning for divorce only assures divorce” I am here to tell you that it is unvarnished crap. You should have incriminating papers, financial records, valuable identification, and a certain amount of cash secured somewhere. This location should be a place you know, and have ready access to. Duplicate keys for many things should be there as well. If you keep such things in your home, you are an idiot.
If you have a lick of sense, you will have copies of cancelled checks, money orders, and such with your signature to show you are paying the bills. I don’t care if it is coming out of a joint account, if you sign it, you pay it. If she signs it, she pays it. It’s that simple, and it’s amazing how many men get nailed by this piece of chicanery.
Next, have the name of a good, man friendly attorney. You can find these out by listening to men who have gotten a reasonable deal in a divorce, or by listening to women who have lost in a case. While rare, these people exist. Make sure they still practice. You need to call them, right now, and make an appointment. Again, I will wait.
At the risk of indulging in 20/20 hindsight, you should have seen the signs. She has stopped having sex with you, she is not talking to you, she won’t tell you what is wrong, and if she does speak to you it is a litany of grievances and past offenses, whether real or imagined. Your job is not to argue here. You will not convince her. No matter what you do, you can do no right. She has already steeled herself to dispose of you, and is working up a good mad so she can treat you like her mortal enemy, and not feel guilty. She is erasing every good memory of you from her head.
Her habits have changed. Women are creatures who love habit, routine, and the familiar. Is she showing a persistent interest in finances? Does she hang up the phone quickly? Does she disappear for hours on end? Does she have mysterious appointments? Chances are she is consulting an attorney, and quite likely having an affair. This doesn’t matter if she is, but it is a hint and a half for you.
There is no sense in getting angry or confronting her, such will only give her the excuse she is looking for. If you are in this state, rejoice. You have hope to get out with your skin intact.
Forewarned is forearmed, and if at all possible (And legal) you should put a tap on the phone and record calls. This is NOT for evidence. This is to give you a heads up, and let you know what she is planning. It will not be admitted in any evidence, and you should make this tap removeable and secure the tapes elsewhere. In any event, be your own detective. In addition, if you have a firearm, your bong from High school, or any recreational pharmaceuticals at all, get rid of them from your residence. Cupcake will, I promise, point out that you have an old roach clip hanging from your rear view mirror, and have you busted for residue from 1986.
Now here is where most men self destruct. Do not confront her. Do not beg, plead, argue, or cry to her. Pretend that everything is fine. Pretend you are the ignorant sucker she is counting on you to be. What you do is this – armed with the knowledge of her plans, pre-empt them. If she talks about getting the restraining order next Monday, you do so on Friday. If she talks about moving, stay home that day. Do not allow her to put her plan into action first. She is counting on the element of surprise, and if you remove that, all will fall apart on her. On that day will be the confrontation, and it is certain, if you have played your cards correctly, she will flip her lid. This is what you want.
One thing you need to remember is to stay absolutely, one-hundred percent calm at all times. The police are NOT your friends, and have been trained to look for any excuse to jail you. It doesn’t matter if you are a 140 pound accountant, and she is an Olympic weightlifter with four black belts. You are the male. You are the batterer, or the potential one. She is the poor dear who must be protected. No matter how it flies in the face of reason, all she has to do is claim being “afraid” and you are sunk. Utterly doomed. In addition, if you are calm, she will more than likely go from flipping out to absolutely berserk. This is NOT how it was supposed to be!
If the police must be called, you call them. Do not meet them outside. If you are outside, it is easier to make you be the one to leave. Do not cower inside. If they have to coax you out, you will piss them off. Be in the doorway, with your hands visible. Ask them in, and ask them to remove her, and if at all possible, have your attorney there or on the way. Cops will not screw with attorneys or step one inch out of line while they are present. The only thing a cop fears or respects is an attorney, acting in their official capacity.
Under no circumstances do you ever admit to yelling, threatening, raising your voice, raising your hand, or hitting her – and here, I don’t care if you lie. Admit nothing, find a simple story, and stick to it. Under no circumstances do you agree to leave. Don’t fight if they remove you – BUT DO NOT – I repeat - *DO* *NOT* leave. Do not surrender the house or your children If you leave, you have abandoned the home. The court will view this as black and white, anything else as an excuse, and you will never, ever get them back.
Do not let her take the kids. Do not let her take jewelry or papers. Do agree to allow her to take clothes, and only clothes, under, in order of preference, 1) You will get them for her, 2) Your attorney can supervise, 3) The officer can supervise. This will make you look good and reasonable. Let her take toiletries. Let her take nothing else. If you have more than one car, give up the one you do not want to see again. Do not let her take credit or bank cards. Make sure she has enough money for a hotel room for two nights, and about $50 for food if she has money, or write her a check for it. This will make you seem like a generous prince. Do not, however, at this point be alone with her. Have a cop with you at all times.
Upon her leaving, change the locks and notify your attorney that you want a restraining order. At this point, I want you to understand one thing, and one thing only, if you realize nothing else at all”: You are paying that attorney for their expertise. If they suggest a course of action, especially if they have a proven track record of success, do what they say. This is why you are paying them. Let them have the wheel, and you be the passenger.
Do not talk to you wife after that except as directed by your attorney.
Do not call her, or try to contact her. You have no idea how swiftly this can be twisted into stalking and harassment.
Do not let her take the kids until you have a solid parenting agreement that has the court’s blessing. Courts get real pissed off when they are disobeyed. If they haven’t ruled, they can’t be disobeyed now, can they? Congratulations sucker. You just surrendered your kids to her custody. Look them real hard in the face and hug them tight. You might not see them for a spell.
If she asks for anything, your answer should be – yes, you in the hat? No! Nimrod! Give her nothing because she asks! Yes, you in St. Louis – correct! “I’ll run that by my attorney” is the correct answer. Follow your attorney’s advice. If he says, “Screw her!” then don’t be moved by tears or begging. If he says, “Go ahead, that’ll make you look good” do it with a smile. Your attorney, and your attorney alone is your friend, because you have PAID for that friendship.
Do not sleep with her. This is begging for a rape charge. What is fundamental number two? Yes, she will do it.
Do not bring “loose women” home. Swear off drinking, your Friday night poker parties, the dope, and any vice which might be brought up against you. While it is irrelevant for you to bring it up, she will be heard. Give her no excuse that you aren’t feeding the kids right, that you are letting them stay up, that you are leaving them alone. Don’t even smoke in your house. Keep it clean, even if you have to hire a service. If DCFS shows up, you want to be Little Sammy Homemaker.
Above all, do not tip your hand. Do not show your cards to her mother, her brother, her best friend, to the girl you are banging. Two people can keep a secret, but only if one is dead. It will get back to her, and you will regret it. Yes, her Best Friend thinks she always treated you so bad, and does this feel good, and how are you going to get her, here let me undo that, and I’ll never tell a soul – yeah, right. And how many times have we heard a woman tell us a secret she promised never to tell? Especially when she has probably been sent on a dirt-collecting mission to begin with. Stay alert, and trust no friend except the ones bought and paid for.
Now, in closing, as I said, I am no attorney, and the mileage on this may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You will still be playing on her turf, and with people disposed to favor her, if not outright biased against you. But you use this as a guideline, after running it by your attorney, and you will stand one heck of a lot better chance than the last poor slob. How do I know this? I lifted a lot of the ideas from a the postings of feminist attornies on “wimmin’s” sites while I was trolling as a woman. It pays to know your enemies.
Okay. Class dismissed. I’ll pray there won’t be a test for you.