Custody Battles Are A Special Version Of Hell..

One of the biggest challenges in my life was a nasty custody battle that the Other Half and I went through. I’m nt going to write very much about that here on the blog.. I can’t go into details for obvious reasons. I don’t want her googling things specific to the case and ending up here.

Custody battles by their very definition set people against each other. It is a “battle” – and the only people who profit are the lawyers. I think there’s been enough of that in this world. If you are engaged to be married, consider making a “parenting pre-nup” – people do that for money but not for any kids who might arrive? I think that’s very unfair to the kids.

If you have children and you are currently happily married, here is what you should do. Sit down now, while you are still together, and make a plan that puts the children’s needs ahead of yours. Kids need access to both parents. Kids need to be put first. Kids need as little disruption to their life as possible. Consider making the Childrens Bill Of Rights your guide to how both parents should act if the worst happens and you end up seeking a divorce.

If you get divorced – that is between you and your partner. The kids are often damaged beyond repair because their parents are angry, just furious with each other. They cannot see past their rage. There is parental alienation, there is asking the kids to choose sides, there are things said in the presence of the children which can never be unsaid.


No matter how mad you might be, no matter how terribly the other person might act, no matter what one party does to the other party. Yes, it is abusive – emotionally. It can scar a child for life. It can change how they relate in their own relationships. It can create fears and make it impossible for them to have a marriage of their own that works.

In a situation like divorce, you have to choose to take the high road, 100% of the time. If both parents did that, things would be simple and easy. But there is often one party who refuses to behave in an acceptable manner. Sometimes one party believes their needs trump everyone else’s needs. To those people I say – Karma is going to get you eventually. Trust me on that. I’ve seen it happen.

I screwed up myself. I was young. I was idealistic. I saw how that woman treated the child I adored and it made me so angry. I made mistakes because of it. I did not like how she treated me or the other half, either. I allowed my anger to dictate my actions. I eventually learnt there was another way to deal with things, a better way. By then the damage was done.

I’d do things very differently now but when you’re in the moment, and this woman is calling you after she’s sat down and interrogated the child for two hours about everything that happened over the weekend and she’s on the phone to bitch about something insignificant that happened on the weekend, it is hard to keep your cool.

An example – she called to admonish us because we “exposed” her child to the wrong brand of soap. He’s a delicate child and can only use a certain brand, according to her. She has no proof of this, the child does not have a rash of any kind, but she wants to make sure that in future you adhere to her soap standards, or else. I wanted to throw the phone. I kid you not. But I was pleasant and polite, and I agreed to do what she wanted, to keep the peace.

But the demands kept coming. It was only a matter of time before the word No was said in response to a ridiculous demand. I can’t even remember now which one it was. There was so many of them. Saying no to her was the worst thing we ever did because it enraged her – we should have just kept saying yes and then doing what we wanted anyway.

So what if you are taking the high road and the other party is not? It is difficult. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes taking the high road is no fun at all. You still have to do it. Write “Sometimes taking the high road is no fun at all” down. Put it on your fridge. I have it written on a piece of paper in front of my computer. It has kept me going through struggles I cannot write about here on the blog.

If you’re a Dr Phil watcher like I am, you may be aware of the case of Sam and Lindsey Porter, two children who were picked up by their father for visitation and then never seen again. Ya’all in the States need to know we in Australia tend to get shows a lot later than you do, and also a lot of shows are repeated over and over on Cable.

A lot of people are anti Dr Phil and anti Oprah. I like Dr Phil and his approach to things. I don’t always agree with him but that’s not the point. I like Oprah’s lipstick lately, it is sparkly, and she always wears great shoes. Both Dr Phil and Oprah inspire people. We need more inspirational people in this world..

More importantly, I believe you can learn a lot about yourself from watching other people and both these shows give all of us an opportunity to do that.

When I first saw the show where Dr Phil was talking to Tina Porter I went to the Sam and Lindsey website mentioned on the show to see if there was any news about the kids, and there was not. I honestly hoped that the father had taken them and left them with someone else. The father was being held in jail because he would not say where the kids were.

The other night my parents were here for dinner (both of them are huge Dr Phil fans lately) and they mentioned that the kids had been found – and they were not alive as I’d hoped they would be. As soon as they left I got online to find out more. This article seems to have the most info – Porter children’s bodies identified. They were found on September the 9th.

How does something like this happen? It is simple. One parent puts their needs ahead of the needs of their children. One parent puts their anger, hurt, and other emotions ahead of the needs of their children. One parent puts their need to win ahead of the needs of their children.

Mr Porter was very selfish. It seems to me from what I have read –

– He wanted to stop paying child support.
– He wanted to win.
– He was angry at his ex-wife.
– He wanted to take those children away from his ex-wife – if he couldn’t have them all the time, then she couldn’t either.
– I firmly believe he intended to kill Tina Porter as well. She is extremely lucky to be alive. She was within moments of being murdered.

You hear people give parents who kill their kids labels – like monster,for example. He is not a monster. He is a pathetic, stupid, horrible, crappy person. That’s all there is to it. I see people also try to blame this on the “drugs”. The “drugs” had nothing to do with it. I don’t believe what people will say to remove responsibility from the people who do these things.

If he was mentally ill, I might be willing to have a little compassion. I saw an Oprah show where this guy who was depressed killed both his kids.

He was having thoughts which he never told anyone about because he thought his kids would be taken away. Because he never told anyone, he couldn’t get help with it. He was in therapy and could easily have got help. They would not have taken his kids away, they would have just made certain he wasn’t left alone with them. But his wife left him with the kids while she went to get her hair done, and when she came back they were both dead.

As much as I wanted to judge him and say how horrible what he did was – and it is a horrible thing – etc, I was remembering the irrational thoughts I had when I was depressed – all of them towards hurting myself, thankfully, and not someone else.

However this Porter father? I hope he never gets out of jail. He tortured Tina for years refusing to say where the kids were. He *enjoyed* doing that. That’s before we even get into the murders of two innocent children who more than likely, loved their father.

In fact I wish we could create a special kind of hell for him, where Mothers get to torture him back. Each Mother would approach the tied up man, and choose from a long list of painful yet not life threatening options – everything from slapping him hard across the face to pricking him with sharp needles to hot wax torture, *and* each Mother gets to kick him hard in the nuts. All day long, every day. The Death Penalty is too quick and easy for him. He deserves to be in pain. He has caused everyone who loved those kids such pain.

Please, if you are a parent, don’t ever do these harmful things to your kids. Take the high road – and ask your partner to commit to doing the same long before you consider a divorce.

Are you looking for the Hump Day Hmmm’s? This week they are at Emily’s blog so head on over to check it out.

Similar Posts:

Hump Day Hmmm, mistakes I made

13 thoughts on “Custody Battles Are A Special Version Of Hell..

  1. These parents who harm their children after a marriage breakup are just sad , selfish losers. To choose to destroy your children just because you can’t get your own way in life, is so evil, and those who do it should never see freedom again. And, using drugs or a bad childhood as an excuse, as seems to be the case with Porter, is nothing short of a cop out. If you are an evil selfish prick who thinks his/her kids are better off dead than with their ex-partner, take responsibility for your actions. Better still, these people should elect to kill themselves before killing their children.

  2. I guess cultures vary. Here in India, there are a lot less divorces, but not always because our family traditions are strong, but also because parents so often stay together to compromise for the children.

    But all that is changing thanks to the Western influence – rates of divorce are increasing here as well. :-(

  3. I agree with everything you said, except I am not sure that mother feels very lucky to be alive after what happened.

    I have linked from today’s post. Can you please link to mine so people know where the rest of the posts are today? Things are all a little topsy turvey with Julie laying low…

  4. Having done time in the Child Support Agency, I long ago developed the opinion that it’s all caused by nothing other than immaturity on the part of all parties.

  5. This is such a complicated subject.. I’m largely in agreement with the commenter from India. There’s something to be said for compromise and commitment. Marriage shouldn’t be based on gushy feelings but true compatibility.

    And it’s horribly unfortunate when two basically immature people use their kids as power tools against each other.

    So.. on a peripheral topic, are there some Australians you find inspirational? :)



  6. I am divorced. It is such a hard thing to be without your kids!Even when they go for weekend visits it hurts.
    My ex and I have inflicted and suffered a lot of pain since we parted over 10 years ago. I think most people have honest and good intentions not to hurt their kids, but they are hurt anyway, cause their parents aren’t together. No kid wants that. We are managing well now, civil and caring even towards each other. The kids as 17 and 18 year olds can even see it would have been hell if we’d stayed together. This present reality is great, but I remember there was a lot of pain for each of us, as well as my exes partner at times.
    I think that those people who go to such extremes in inflicting pain, really are not sane. As a co-worker or neighbour, friend, relative, we should all look out for people who are going through family breakdown as the pain can send you insane, especially if you’re on your own.

  7. My mind is being stretched and perplexed by a lot of the comments. Re: staying together “for the children”: it would seem based on what I’ve seen that this is terrible. To live in a prison of hate and pain just so you could paint a picture of domestic respectability is IMO ridiculous.

    I also don’t know how much I believe maturity has to do with the way adults behave following divorce. I believe that people can “snap” and do things that they never would have done under other circumstances. I see a lot of mental illness gone undiagnosed as a key reason for divorce.

    Regardless of all of our ponderings, children must be protected. They must have their own space to feel what they feel about divorce and transition safely. Naturally, their process is complicated by the fact that they people who they are counting on to comfort them are doubtless, hurting a lot too.

  8. It’s so sad, isn’t it? I feel so much for the kids that are involved in any family dispute, because there really is nothing they can do about it.

    Happy delurking day, even though I’m not a lurker anyway. ;)

  9. I appreciate your candid post, that was cool.

    I am fortunate enough to have not been divorced, but I can understand how it would be tough to deal with the kids. Here is a small constant reminder of the problems you had with your ex. In no way do I think this excuses any harm or abuse to the children.

    I am not sure if I agree with some of the commentors mentioning ‘stay together for the children.’ Kids know when things are right, and they aren’t fooled. I propose a better model for them, is that you as a person stand up for yourself, and say I am worth enough to have a happy life. This relationship is no longer good and healthy and I am willing to end it. This also needs to be followed up with talks with the kids at the appropriate level so they understand the situation, and then demonstrate through words and deeds how much both parents love them, even though the are no longer together. This needs to be followed through by both parents.

    I understand that this is kind of a niave perception, but it is what I hope.

  10. Ian – I completely agree.

    Hari – I think there is a decline in family traditions all over the world and I am not sure what the cause is. However, staying together for the children is never a good idea, I think. I just think people should be less inclined to have kids at a young age because when you’re young you really don’t know yourself yet, let alone know someone else.

    Jen – Me too. It’s no fun to be on the receiving end of it, I can tell you.

    Emily – That’s a difficult one, the not feeling lucky to be alive. In fact I think she might end up feeling what plane crash survivors feel – survivor guilt.

    Aurelius – yes, I agree, that ties in with not having kids until you’re older I think.

    Chani – People change as they grow older. What someone wants at age 20 is not what they want at age 30. If two people are committed to staying together they have to truly be very committed to not growing apart from each other, and changing their wants and needs together instead of on their own.

    What happens instead a lot of the time, is people stay together but go their separate ways mentally. Then someone has an affair because they meet someone more mentally where they are at.

    I’ll have a think about inspirational Australians. ;) a future post..

    Joh – I am also divorced, but without any kids. ;) I have not heard from my ex in about 7 years. What makes it difficult for people with kids is they have to be in contact. It would be a lot easier if they could just burn their bridges and walk away. So divorced people with kids have to do that mentally, I think.

    Simon – thanks for commenting for the first time and I hope it’s the first of many! ;) I saw your blog, looks great, I thought about using that theme myself.. :)

    Liv – I think maturity has a lot to do with it in many cases but every situation is different. So many people get together young when they don’t know who they really are yet.

    I do also think people can snap, too – and I agree there is a lot of undiagnosed mental illness – a lot of Narcissistic Personality Disorder especially in the worst cases I think. My sister would almost fit the description of someone suffering from NPD.

    AlyndaBear – Yeah, it is really sad. It’s difficult to watch people you love go through it, too. Especially when they act in ways you don’t approve of. ;(

    Thomas – Absolutely! Amen to – I propose a better model for them, is that you as a person stand up for yourself, and say I am worth enough to have a happy life.

    Thanks for the comments all!

  11. I married very young (18) and we grew apart in the years after finally settling back in Adelaide. when we agreed to get divorced all the kids said well it’s about time. They had all known K had a girlfriend long before I did. I’d suspected but when I asked he’d always said no, there wasn’t anyone. I’m very trusting and can’t tell when people are lying to me . I finally met this non-existent girlfriend at our daughter’s engagement party and she was 7 months pregnant!!. That’s when our divorce was only 4 months old. The kids and I discussed asking for child support for the youngest and they convinced me that it wouldn’t be worth all the fighting that would ensue and we could manage without so that’s what we did. K was told he could visit with the kids anytime he wanted especially the youngest boy who loved his father. He almost never came around and the boy was devastated to the point he began skipping school. When I finally found out about this, I arranged a meeting with the school counsellor and we decide he should leave school. 12 years later we still never see K although my oldest keeps in touch as his daughter is close in age to her own son.

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