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Depressed father seeking advice on divorce proceedings

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Dear Gilbert,

My wife and I have being living in the same house but slept separately for more than 5 years due to some reasons.

My wife bought a new house (I was not aware at all) about 2 years ago. In late 2016, she shifted with the children to the new house. And not long after CNY, she called me that she wanted a divorce for some “reasons”.  I refused and tried to talk to her but she always turned aggressive on the phone and refused to talk and asked me to talk her lawyer.

I don’t want a divorce as I still have feelings for her but she said she has no feeling for me anymore. That makes me very very sad.  A few days ago, my two teenage daughters texted me something about my wife’s behavior with a man.  This man has been very close with my wife since 5 years ago. As a matter of fact, it is because of him, I confronted my wife and she wanted a divorce then.  After the incident, we started to sleep separately and never talked. I blame myself for the high pride and I regretted it today. I did not try to reconcile with her but she rejected it.

Pressurized by her persistence to divorce so that she could settle her new house matters, I finally told her about my terms – I keep the house wholly and the custody of my two daughters.  She could have the custody of my son.  My reason is that her relationship with that man would have a very negative impact on the girls since she keeps bringing the man back to the new private house and having a behavior which perceived by the girls as unacceptable.

The negative impact would affect the girls’ growing up in the future.  If the girls stay with me, they wouldn’t be able to see all this nonense.  My son is still not aware about this yet.  She refused and (again) asked me to talk to her lawyer.

She even told me that the mother would get all the custody of the children.  She claimed that it is always the case in Singapore.

I am very emotionally stressed and depressed now.  I worry about my daughters’ feelings and the impact on them.  She is earning much higher than me and would have no problem to fight on.  But, I couldn’t and the legal case would eat into my savings.

My questions are :-

1) Should I fight for the custody of my two daughters?

2) Would the Judge splits the children’s custody and give it to the parents differently? eg My wife -> Son, me -> daughters.

3) I can see that she would want to marry that man after the divorce.  What can I do to help my daughters?

4) Can I request for counselling? If yes, how to get her to agree to go counselling? I feel that our marriage could be saved if we go for counselling.

Desperate for help

Rgds

Steve

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Hi Steve

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear of your predicament.

Separation from our family is always painful and hurting and tend to generate alot of negative feelings.

I am not a lawyer but a counsellor so its good to direct your enquiries to a lawyer. It also looks like your wife is adamant on ending the marriage due to various reasons.

Unfortunately, it only takes one person to end the marriage and your refusal may be futile.

Its quite true also that most Family Court judges will hand over the care and control to the mother unless she is mentally unstable or physically abuse the children with a police report before.

Fathers usually have a limited access time like once or twice a week but its good to fight for more access time with your kids as they grow up too fast.

You can also plan for a regular children sleep-over at your place as you have your own house and all this can be arranged with your lawyer.

Most judges I feel also do not want to break up the family further by dividing the children with the 2 divorcing parents as this will hurt the siblings’ relationship in the future.

As counsellors, we also feel that a better way is to place the children together and the father regularly visit them. If the kids are splitted up, chances are there will be minimal contact with the other set of children.

Yes if you can talk to your wife, we can arrange for a counsellor to speak with both of you. We can also speak with you alone first to support you.

Divorce is very emotionally crippling and I am glad that you seek support so early.

Take care and stay strong.

Thanks & Warmest Regards,

Gilbert Goh

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