Father worries about bonding with son after divorce

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Dear Gilbert

I chanced upon your website when I was searching online for help for my situation.

My marriage is on the rocks since perhaps 4 years ago and despite what I feel as best efforts on my part, yesterday my wife says with renewed determination she wants a divorce.

The strongest reason why I have avoided the path of separation/divorce is because of my son.

Without going into details, may I ask:-

1) How is it possible for a non-custodial father to be able to “be there” for my son and still be able to build bonds and relationship with my son even though I am not living with him? What can I do to mitigate the possible negative effects of my son growing up without his father living with him?

2) Is it possible to be separated but still living under one roof and not render the separation void? What are the dos and donts? Eg. Can my son still go out with me and my wife on weekends together while we are being separated?

I want to avoid letting my son feel like anything is out of norm and let him feel as if we are still a family.

Also, I wish to live with him because I still want to be there for him, be involved in his day to day life and don’t wish him to grow up without a father figure.

3) How do I go about making a formal deed of separation? Can you recommend me a lawyer and how much will it cost?

I hope you can help me and if possible, can I talk to somebody on the phone for advice please?
Thank you.



Dear Mr Ang

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

Divorce can be devastating for the adults but equally hard-hitting on the children as well.

Some react silently feeling the pain underneath whereas some suddenly turn rebellious and bad overnight.

However, manage properly, our kids can handle the family breakup better and hopefully they can live life without much disruption.

Learn to talk to your kids about the divorce and if possible be transparent and vulnerable – the more we hide the more they will turn away from us and towards their friends for support and comfort.

Spare them the details if they are still in their teens but those in their late teens prefer a little bit more from their parents.

It builds trust and commitment on your part to salvage whatever is left of the child-parent relationship.

From what you have written, it seems that you are trying to foster a strong bond with your kid which is admirable.

Many children from broken families live on to become strong and matured and they learn to treasure whatever that is left of their family.

In fact, studies have shown that many fathers have become closer with their kids after a divorce as the time spent now is limited and valuable.

Do let us know if we can assist you further.

Gilbert Goh

One comment

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