Thursday

divorce is hell

Kevin Federline is an ass. He's filed for sole custody of the two BABIES HE FATHERED WITH BRITNEY SPEARS.

Nothing is more frightening and upsetting to a mother than being threatened with loss of custody. It is so frightening -- even if it's highly unlikely that it will actually happen - that it often cows the mother into making financial or other legal concessions not in her best interest in order to placate the man suing her for custody.

Men know this. Men's lawyers know this.

Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.

39 comments:

newscoma said...

Doesn't he already have like a couple of other kids that he didn't seem to be so bent out of shape to get sole custody of?
Jeez.

Anonymous said...

He only wants custody to keep the money flowing in.

Anonymous said...

Britney is far from being mother of the year material though.

Anonymous said...

Britney isn't exactly a competent mother. Loving, perhaps. Competent...

But, yes, men suck in these situations. And men's lawyers even more so.


Marta from Lisbon

Laura Linger said...

A friend of mine is a divorce lawyer, and his strategy when men pull this little stunt is to CONCEDE.

Now, of course, that calls the man's bluff and outs his true intetntions for suing the mother of his children for sole custody. None of these men really want sole custody. What they do want to do is manipulate the situation so that they come out smelling like a rose (and usually at the expense of the children).

The man always backs off in a hurry. And if the man's attorney attempts to make an issue of the concession in court, my friend makes an even bigger issue that the man backed off with the original request.

And, as always, it's the children who wind up screwed. Divorcing parents, you loved each other enough once to make those babies. They need to come FIRST and FOREMOST in divorce proceedings.

As for K-Puke, I think that Britney's tacky tank top that she wore when she was pregnant was prophetic: "I've Got The Golden Ticket."

Anonymous said...

Apparently his concert was cancelled here in nyc due to a lack of ticket sales.What a loser.What was she thinking when she hooked up with him?Wasn't he already in a so-called committed relationship with a child when she started hanging out with him?(To make things worse she started popping out babies like a breeding machine-knowing his history)Does this girl not have a brain between those famous little ears?Very,very sad situation.It's a good thing that she has a big bank account to back up her mistakes.I hope that she likes to share because he is going to take her for every penny that he can get his slimy hands on.It's just too bad that her babies have his genetic loading...

spiney said...

"Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE."


Does the same hold true for "Suing competent, loving fathers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE"?

Clisby said...

To Spiney: Yes, it is. The presumption *should* be for 50-50 joint custody. Unfortunately, that's not the way it is in a lot of states.

katie allison granju said...

I disagree entirely that the presumption should be for 50/50. In many (possibly most) cases, one parent has been FAR more involved with the children. Simply giving birth to or being the sperm dnor of shouldn't entitle you to presumptive anything.

The standard should be the best interest of the child. That standard is going to vary from situation to situation and family to family. In many cases, men who want a 50/50 custody split only want that so they won't have to pay any child support. These are the same men who sure as hell weren't doing 50% of the day to day parenting BEFORE the divorce.

Clisby said...

"Simply giving birth to or being the sperm donor of shouldn't entitle you to presumptive anything" ? Really? You appear to be taking the position that only loving, competent *mothers* should be immume from being sued for sole custody.

Every loving, competent parent should be safe from suits for sole custody.

And if one parent hasn't done 50% of the day-to-day parenting, what relevance does that have? Is the parent willing and able to do 50%? That's what matters. Otherwise, in any family with a stay-at-home and work-outside-the-home parent, we're telling the WOH parent: "Hope you don't really care about those kids, because in a divorce you're screwed."

katie allison granju said...

Clisby-

In no way am I taking the position that one or the other parent should be or should not be sued for sole custody. I'm not quite sure where you got that idea.

A stated willingness to NOW do 50% of parenting after years of NOT doing a fair share of parenting (or even showing much interest in the children) should be a big red flag when a couple is divorcing. If one parent has been significantly absent or uninvolved but suddenly announces at time of divorce that they are ready to pull their weight, this should set bells off for all involved.

Sadly, when that pronouncement is made, it too often means the parent now suddenly wanting more time with the kids than he/she ever spent before the split actually doesn't want to pay child supporT. Or it may be a way to hurt or punish the other, more involved parenmt.

Being a working parent in no way compromises a parent's ability to be a fully involved, loving parent doing his/her fair share.

Also, if young children are significantly more used to one parent's care, they shouldn't suddenly be forced to spend large chunks of time away from that parent. This is very traumatic and upsetting for little kids.

Anonymous said...

yes, but when you have a work away from home parent if you are simply looking at caretaking and time spent with the kids guess who comes out smelling like a rose and guess who comes out smelling like, well, shit??? Never mind that the paycheck they were pulling in was for said kiddos. I would hope the courts can tell the difference between a truly caring parent and one who didnt give a crap regardless of the clock hours spent with the kids. Unfortunately the facts on paper quite often do not tell the real story which leaves it to human being to twist those facts to their advantage and other human beings to discern what is really going on. And I dont think for a second that mothers are any more immune from doing this than fathers. A lot of dads get screwed.

Clisby said...

You're not sure where I got that idea? I got it from your posting. You said:

"Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE."

Now you're saying: "In no way am I taking the position that one or the other parent should be or should not be sued for sole custody."

Those two statements are logically inconsistent. Which one do you agree with?

In my opinion, no parent should have the opportunity for sole custody without proving the other parent unfit in some way (or absent, if one parent chooses to move away, for example). The default situation should be that sole custody for either party is off the table - it's not going to happen except in extreme circumstances. Then you won't have people using it as a weapon, because the chance of getting it will be so slim.

Anonymous said...

What the mother and father did before the divorce is not always what they will do after the divorce. One staying at home while one works may be a logical division of labor during a marriage but has not indication of commitment, care, or willingness if the marriage ends. What exactly ARE you saying?

Anonymous said...

what Katie is saying is that men should get shafted if the marriage ends.

katie allison granju said...

Incorrect.

I am not saying "fathers should get shafted if the marriage ends."

No one should get "shafted" if the marriage ends.

I don't, however, happen to agree with the "father's rights" agenda that is pushing default 50-50 custody in all divorces. I believe that instead, many factors have to be considered in coming up with the custody arrangement that works best for each individual family. One parent having sole custody is almost never the best arrangement. Very occasionally it is.

One parent suing the other for SOLE custody is an aggressive, nasty legal manuever often designed to bully and frighten the other parent into giving in on financial matters related to the divorce.

I do believe it raises big, red flags when a parent (be that father or mother) who has shown little interest in caring for his/her children during the course of the marriage suddenly announces at the time of divorce that he/she wants 50-50 custody or even sues the other parent for sole custody (which is apparently what Kevin Federline is doing). To me, that says that the parent either wants to frighten and bully the other parent or the other parent wants to start with an extreme position (sole custody) in order to eventually negotiate 50-50 custody, where neither parent pays the other any child support.

Your mileage may vary.

My best advice is to be very, very, VERY careful whom you have babies with. Divorce is hard enough; divorce with kids is much harder; divorcing with kids from someone with certain aggressive or bullying tendencies can literally turn your life into a living hell, and it's a hell that will not end until your children are grown.

Clisby said...

As best I can tell, both Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are seeking sole custody of their children.

So, are you saying they both are guilty of an "an aggressive, nasty legal manuever"?

katie allison granju said...

If -- as it appears -- Britney Spears has done 99% of the parenting of their two young children while K-Fed has mostly been absent, then I believe her custody proposal basically mirrors what they already have (by his tacit agreement as long as he gets to continue to be Mr Britney Spears and keep spending her money). His custody proposal appears to me to be an obvious attempt to frighten and upset her into giving him more money than he agreed to in his pre-nup.

If you want to be a 50/50 parent, then don't wait until you are getting divorced to start - or propose to start.

Also, I will add that when two parents have such a high level of acrimony that they cannot make decisions together, sometimes it makes more sense for one parent to have legal decision making authority. Obviously, this is far from ideal and should be avoided whenever possible.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Every custody arrangement has to be worked out individually, taking into account all the various factors involved.

jehu said...

I don't know the first thing about Brit & FedEx. But when a mostly absentee parent sues for full custody from the person who had been doing all the parenting, and who the kids are more attached to, it's obvious the motivation is torture to get what he/she wants.

And with that being said, if someone sued me for full custody, I would think the only option would be to turn around and do the same thing.

And certainly if KFed were a terrible parent, Brit should sue him for full custody.

So really, I'm not sure what your point is.

My guess is you just like trolling and being mean to people. Must make you feel great when you go to sleep at night.

jehu said...

"There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Every custody arrangement has to be worked out individually, taking into account all the various factors involved."

You can keep saying that, but the trolls won't hear it because they don't want to. It's easier to attack someone when you don't listen to what she says.

Anonymous said...

I am a divorce lawyer and I can tell you that the first thing most men tell me when they come in my office is that they want to sue the mother of their children for custody. When I ask them why, it usually becomes clear quickly that they A- Do not want to pay child support and B - Believe that this is a bargaining position that will serve them well in all matters related to the divorce. Men who are angry about the divorce are even more likey to tell me that they want to get custody. When mothers come into my office they are far more likely to be in defensive mode because the father is threatening to take the children or expose the mother as a "bad mother" both things that are primal fears for most mothers anyway. Divorce is an ugly business and no one should sue for full custody unless there is an extreme situation. I also believe that 50.50 custody arrangements really only work well when the divorced parents get along and cooperate pretty well. When they do not, these arrangements are just like continuations of the bad marriage and are not good for the children post divorce. I don't think Katie is bashing fathers. She is bashing bad decisions by parents of either gender during divorce. I know nothing about Britney Spears but when both parents are suing the other for sole custody, at least one of them is being vindictive and wants money (or to pay less money).

Anonymous said...

My ex-husband sued me for sole custody for one reason only, to terrorize me. He sucked as a father while we were married which was a mane reason I wanted a divorce. But hes a very jealous guy and when I asked for the divorce he became convinced I had been cheating on him which was stupid because I would never do that plus I was too busy caring for our kids to have time to cheat on anybody. He told me he would not sue me for sole custody if I would agree to stay married but would ruin me if I went ahead with the divorce. I did go ahead and he did try to take the kids. His parents gave him money for the lawyer. I spent all my money defending myself and now he has them half the time and pays no child support. He leaves them with his girlfriend most of the time when they are with him but there is nothing I can do because I cant afford another court fight.

Clisby said...

I don't think anyone in this discussion has said there's a one-size-fits-all answer in divorce cases.

What some of us are saying is that automatically dismissing fathers is not the right way to go.

And Katie - I know you've made later attempts to explain your position as not being anti-father. However, I think your initial post speaks volumes in demonstrating where your bias is.

katie allison granju said...

Clisby - I do not deny a bias against the "father's rights movement." I believe it is anti-mother, anti-family and anti-child. It is based on faulty science ("parental alienation syndrome") and is driven by angry men.

I do also have a bias against default 50-50 custody laws. And I have a bias against any parent suing the other for SOLE custody unless that other parent is clearly unfit in the truest sense of that word.

And oh yes, I have a bias against Kevin Federline, the actual topic of my blog post. All evidence indicates he's a money-grubbing loser and a piss-poor father who is suing his wife and the mother of his two INFANTS for sole custody to leverage more cash out of her.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think anyone in this discussion has said there's a one-size-fits-all answer in divorce cases."

When you suggest that Katie is advocating the automatic dismissal of fathers, you're suggesting there's a "one-size-fits-all answer" that she believes in.

"What some of us are saying is that automatically dismissing fathers is not the right way to go."

That is what no one is suggesting.

"And Katie - I know you've made later attempts to explain your position as not being anti-father. However, I think your initial post speaks volumes in demonstrating where your bias is."

I know Katie. It's amazing how your statement isn't true.

jehu said...

What Katie is saying, and what other people have tried to restate, is that KFed is suing Brit for sole custody to torture her, get more leverage, and get more money. That is legalized domestic abuse. The idea that she is an unfit mother is ridiculous, at least in comparison to him. KFed is torturing her and the system is helping him.

Furthermore, I think Katie is saying that this happens a lot, although certainly not all of the time.

That doesn't mean she's anti father. That means she's anti domestic abuse.

Go back and read what the divorce attorney a few posts up said. Really, it's quite incisive.

Clisby said...

I don't have clue one what's going through the minds of Britney or Kevin - and neither does anyone else here. I have no idea whether either is a loving, competent parent.

What Katie said is:

"Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE."
No hint at all that suing loving, competent fathers (yes, they do exist) for sole custody might be a bad thing.

If what she really means is, "Kevin Federline suing Britney Spears for sole custody is a legally sanctioned form of domestic abuse" - that's something else. I mean, I'd laugh at the notion - but it's not the same.

I have read what the divorce attorney posted, including:

"Divorce is an ugly business and no one should sue for full custody unless there is an extreme situation." I absolutely agree.

Having seen any number of men devastated by being cut off from their children by divorce, I am EXTREMELY skeptical about the rest of that post. For example, this statement:

"I am a divorce lawyer and I can tell you that the first thing most men tell me when they come in my office is that they want to sue the mother of their children for custody. When I ask them why, ..."
I wonder, would it occur to this lawyer to ask why a mother wanted custody? If not, why not? Could the answer possibly be that they want ... CHILD SUPPORT MONEY?

How does this lawyer think men and women would respond to the answer: "Well, in all probability you'll each get the kids half the time and nobody pays child support?"

Anonymous said...

In a world where men truly did 50 percent of the parenting and childcare and sacrifices to career to raise the children, then maybe default 50-50 custody should be the norm.

But most of the time, it's the mother who quits her career or scales it back to do the childcare. It's the mother who misses work when a child is sick and sews the halloween costumes and does the christmas shopping.

It's the mother who changes most of the diapers and fixes most of the meals.

Lots of major socialogical studies show that women continue to do the vast majority of childcare, even as women now earn a greater percentage of families' incomes.

Now if there is a family where the father is truly the main parent or where the children are truly more attached to the father, then maybe giving him more custody makes sense, but most young children are just not as bonded to their fathers as their mothers because lets face it fathers ususally are not as involved.

Why would a good, loving father want to upset his children by taking them away from their main parent? No, instead a good father would want to be a full parent to his children but still respect the fact that when a child is unhappy or sick or frightened or needy he wants his mama.

Anonymous said...

"What Katie said is:

"Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE."
No hint at all that suing loving, competent fathers (yes, they do exist) for sole custody might be a bad thing."

She wasn't talking about fathers. She was talking about mothers and the common bullying tactic of suing them for full custody. It's the bullying tactic at question here, and it's far, far, far more common for men to try it than women.

Do you not think it's cruel for the father to sue for full custody when the mother is a good mother? When it's obvious he will fail and even he knows it, because he should fail?

That doesn't have anything to do with a father in any other cases. That's not what we're talking about, I don't think.

" 'Divorce is an ugly business and no one should sue for full custody unless there is an extreme situation.' I absolutely agree."

Why are you disagreeing so vehemently with Katie, then?

"I wonder, would it occur to this lawyer to ask why a mother wanted custody? If not, why not? Could the answer possibly be that they want ... CHILD SUPPORT MONEY?"

Get your head out of your ass. You're full of shit and you know it. To generalize that mothers are out for money instead of thinking about their children is pig-headed and ridiculous.

Um, with the exception of Brit, I guess, who apparently filed for divorce now so that she can save money. But that seems like an extreme case to me (prenups are very rare, after all).

Anonymous said...

I think the most important thing ANYONE has said in this thread, it's Katie when she said be careful who you have babies with!

If it's someone you would not trust to treat you and your kids right in a divorce then don't marry 'em or don't have kids!

jehu said...

"No, instead a good father would want to be a full parent to his children but still respect the fact that when a child is unhappy or sick or frightened or needy he wants his mama."

I think this is the crux of it, Clisby. You seem to be suggesting that women are only in it for the money (denying that men might be filing for sole custody just for the money).

When I was a child, if you would've asked me which parent I'd rather go with, it would've been my mother. Absolutely. Almost everyone would say they wanted to be with mama. When you cried, you went to your mama.

As a guy, as much as I'd hate to see my wife get our kids more than me, and as much as I'd hate to pay her for that privilege, I'd still have to say that the mother should have more custody than the father. Kids rarely cry because it's time to go back to mom's house. They cry because it's time to go to dad's. It's sad for the selfish person in me, but it's true.

And it's also true that the divorced mothers I know pay far, far more for their children in daily expenses (while earning smaller salaries than their ex-husbands) than they receive in child support and than the ex-husband pays combined.

Clisby said...

No, I'm not suggesting women are just in it for the money.

I'm saying it's peculiar that people would assume men want custody for financial reasons but dismiss the idea that women might do the same. It's peculiar that people would assume women want custody because they love their children but that men want custody because they're bullying their wives.

I have serious doubts that men or women commonly sue for custody for the money. For one thing, I don't see how it's at all likely you'd come out ahead financially with custody vs. child support.

Anonymous said...

no what women do is fabricate some story about molestation. this sucks on multiple fronts among them being that people get skeptical when the real thing rears its ugly head. dont kid yourself: a LOT of women pull this abuse card.
as for the whiner whose husband threatened her to take his kids...well you know..when you threaten to leave someone what do you think? that they will just lay down and play dead???? It is YOUR word that he was a bad father: what, did he not do as much work as you thought he should? I am sorry..not being the greatest father, unless its truly abusive, is not a reason to leave someone. a lot of people do this and they just get into a different nest of trouble than they had before, usually worse.
maybe it was a dirty trick but people like you think you can just file for divorce and the other person should just not even react at all. you tell someone you are leaving them and guess what, they will most likely get revengeful. even nice people.

Anonymous said...

Clisby said:
In my opinion, no parent should have the opportunity for sole custody without proving the other parent unfit in some way (or absent, if one parent chooses to move away, for example). The default situation should be that sole custody for either party is off the table - it's not going to happen except in extreme circumstances. Then you won't have people using it as a weapon, because the chance of getting it will be so slim.


I respond: I agree with that. I know nothing about the people in the article (well, I know that Britney Spears is a singer, but didn't know she was married, had kids, or is divorcing) but when I read the article I see that she sued for divorce, seeking sole custody and her husband countersued, seeking sole custody.

I think the best assumption is one that both parents will be actively involved in the children's lives post-divorce and will share custody.

It doesn't make sense to me to say that "Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE" but the mother suing for sole custody first is not comment-worthy.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who says her young daughter complained the other day, calling from the playroom, "Mom! Make ::insert brother's name:: stop hitting me back." If divorcing couples would recognize that it's in everyone's interest - particularly the kids' - to foster an ongoing relationship with both parents, all would go much better.

DR

Anonymous said...

however if the people had those kind of mediating skills then chances are they would not be divorcing. it always cracks me up when I read this advice for divorcing parents about how to work together. I wind up thinking, uh, whats wrong here: if they could master this skill then they would still be married.
K fed and Britney are both a couple of losers and they are behaving according to script. I just feel sorry for the poor kids.

katie allison granju said...

DR-
Let's say for the sake of argument that it's a woman in this case who decides to divorce. He's a far less involved parent than she is. During the marriage, the division of parenting labor and time spent has been 85% mom and 15% Dad.

Should that mother immediately offer the father a 50-50 time split when she files for divorce? Does this make sense? Is this in the kids' best interest?

I will say again that I believe it raises big, red flags when either parent sues for SOLE custody. It's often - perhaps most often - a bullying tactic. However there are situations where one parent retaining sole custody with the other parent having visitation is the best of bad options for a variety of very good reasons.

Obviously, the best option is both parents remaining equally involved in every way. But very few marriages have a true 50-50 division of parenting effort, so I am not sure why everyone assumes this can be so easily achieved post-marriage.

And I agree with whomever opined that women falsely claiming sex abuse against the fathers of their children is incredibly wicked and terrible.

-Katie

Clisby said...

Are you aware that not all states encourage any amount of joint custody? Mine (S.C.) explicitly DISCOURAGES it. This is not my imagining; I'll quote here from a 2003 decision by the S.C. Court of Appeals:

'This Court has stated that “[d]ivided custody [7] is usually harmful to and not conducive to the best interest and welfare of the children.” Mixson v. Mixson, 253 S.C. 436, 446, 171 S.E.2d 581, 586 (1969). Therefore, only under “exceptional circumstances” should joint custody be ordered. Id. at 447, 171 S.E.2d at 586; see also Courie v. Courie, 288 S.C. 163, 168, 341 S.E.2d 646, 649 (Ct. App. 1986) (“Divided custody is avoided if at all possible, and will be approved only under exceptional circumstances.”).
(My note: footnote 7 says that the court is using the term "divided custody" to mean what is often called joint custody.)

Interestingly enough, in this case the Court of Appeals upheld the unusual grant of joint custody because the parents were so at odds the court believed joint custody was the only way to prevent the custodial parent (regardless of which one had custody) from alienating the child from the noncustodial parent.

Unless the parents agree on custody arrangements, the default here is that one will get custody, and the other will get what I consider to be incredibly minimal visitation (alternate weekends, alternate holidays, 4 weeks in the summer is pretty typical.)

It would not at all surprise me if some (many?) people sue for sole custody in an attempt to force a more equitable custody agreement, or in desperation because they don't want to be relegated to the background of the child's life. They know if they propose joint custody without the agreement of the other party, it's not gonna happen except under very unusual circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Katie said, in part:

I will say again that I believe it raises big, red flags when either parent sues for SOLE custody.


DR: I agree. In the case you alluded to, they both did, according to the article you linked to. The mother filed for divorce, seeking sole custody and the father counter-filed, seeking sole custody. You complained that the father counterfiling for sole custody was committing legal child abuse. That's why I quoted the little girl who cries to her mother to tell her brother to stop hitting her back.

Anonymous said...

"I have serious doubts that men or women commonly sue for custody for the money. For one thing, I don't see how it's at all likely you'd come out ahead financially with custody vs. child support."

It's not about spending the money, it's about not sending it to the ex. While I understand that that may be very irksome, the money is going toward an adult, it's going to shelter, clothe, and feed children. (Or should be. If it isn't, as does happen some times, I would think that would be neglect and grounds for going back to court.)