What should she do?

@SViswan (12072)
India
April 19, 2011 12:06am CST
A very very close friend of mine (we've known each other since our school days) is in a bad relationship for the last 10 years. It's not working out and all these years she has been trying everything she could to make it work. Her husband is manipulative and a control freak. Now that she finds that this relationship is taking a toll on her mental and emotional state, she is ready to get out. She has her family's support. Now here's the problem. Despite complaining and bad mouthing her family, this husband has been benefitting from my friend's family (financially and emotionally).He says he is in this marriage for the sake of their 2 kids. He has seen this coming and been manipulating the older child for a year now. The husband will not give my friend the divorce and will ask for custody of the kids if he does. The younger child is very young and she will definitely get custody of the younger one. But the older one..will be an issue. She is all confused. She doesn't want to lose custody of her kids and neither does she want to stay in this relationship for the sake of the kids. She also doesn't want to subject the kids (esp. the older one) to all the arguments in court (I have a feeling that the husband knows that and will use it to his advantage). I don't know what advice to give her. On the one hand, I know she needs to get out of the relationship (knowing her for so many years, I know how she has changed and she doesn't even like the person that she is becoming). But I'm not sure I'm hard hearted enough to tell her to forgo custody of the older child for the sake of her sanity. What's the best option for her?
4 people like this
19 responses
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
19 Apr 11
If I'm not mistaking here, the courts will assign the older child a lawyer of her own as well as a psychologist to see what she has to say and what her mental state is. Now the mother may have to go through Legal Aid for help however, regardless if she goes for Legal Aid or gets her own lawyer, she needs to tell them everything that's been going on in order to get the right legal advice. If she leaves that child behind, she could suffer some serious repercussions such as her daughter may turn totally against her for leaving her behind with an abusive father. She should always tell both children that that their dad and they're to love and respect him. That's it. Nothing more and nothing less. Don't talk badly about him within ear shot of the kids because it only makes them more angry and more confused. She needs to see her lawyer first and foremost before moving out to find out what her options are then move out. Seek the lawyer first!! Find out what her rights are before doing anything.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
Thank you! She has been to a lawyer...and they are discussing the matter. Her older son doesn't want to choose between the parents...and she doesn't say anything bad about their dad but the dad has been manipulating the child for more than a year now. I think this is what has got her to feel that 'enough is enough'. Though she doesn't have an income of her own, her family is rich enough and are ready to support her (atleast till things settle down). I'm not sure how Indian laws work in these matters. My sister got a divorce 2 years back...but she didn't have children and though it was her husband who wanted a divorce, she had enough proof to show that he wasn't doing his duties...and the lawyer managed to get him to sign a 'mutual' agreement.
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
19 Apr 11
Is this friend of yours the only child of ehr parents? If there are are unfriendly siblings the story may take a dirtier turn later if she is totally dependent on her parents' finacial support. If she is alos able to earn then it should be ok.Is this the same friend SV?
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
@kalav...She is not an only child....but I don't think she has any problems financially or otherwise. I know her family on a superficial level and things seem to be fine there and she hasn't said anything to me about not getting along with her family. From what she has told me, she is planning to work and stand on her own feet. She has her family to fall back on...but doesn't intend to 'USE' them. Which same friend?
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
19 Apr 11
I tend to think that your friend should get away from her husband. In Australia a judge will rarely take custody away from the mother unless she is proven to be unfit and I wonder if it is like that where you live. I would get out, hire a lawyer if she can afford one and fight like crazy for my children. As a good fit mother I don’t see why she should lose custody, she may have to put with shared but I don’t see why he would be awarded the older child instead of her. I will keep your friends in my prayers and wish her all the best.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
21 Apr 11
Thank you,Paula. I have been trying to convince her of the same. In India too, child custody favours the mother unless she is proved unfit. But my friend is scared that her husband might try to 'fight' it out in court and she doesn't want to subject the older child to that.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
21 Apr 11
I understand...I hope things work out for your friend, it sounds like a very stressful situation to be in...I pray it will all work out.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
21 Apr 11
Paula!
@whyaskq (7532)
• Singapore
21 Apr 11
I am no expert in this area but one suggestion I can offer is to seek help of a counseller. They are trained to handle the conflicting emotions of a derangled. Perhaps things will change for the better.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Apr 11
Husband isn't ready to go in for counselling :( That was my friend's first option. As you can understand, she doesn't really WANT a separation...but the situation is affecting her in a negative way and she is unable to be the kind of person she is and that doesn't work in favour of the kids either.
@Sreekala (22879)
• India
19 Apr 11
Hello SV, Your friend wants a divorce but she can’t think about leaving the kids and that is the issue here, am I right? She is a mother and naturally her first priority goes for kids. To be very honest, I am thinking about the kids, if the divorce takes place what will be the fate of those innocent kids, they will lose one parent, either mother or father. How they tolerate this lose in this young age. Is there any possibility for compromising? Why can’t they think about some counseling for the sake of kids? I read that she is jobless at present, and looking after two kids, their education etc are very costly. How long her family can support for her. Since the second child is too young she needs somebody’s help if she finds a job. The Court will consider the financial position of the mother too when taking decision about kids on divorce. In conclusion there are so many issues will follow on. In my opinion, they can think about how to solve the issues in between instead of divorce. If there is any possibility, they should utilize the same for their kids. I sincerely hope the things will turn in favour of kids. I reiterate, I am thinking about the kids only.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
I agree the kids are the priority. My friend is open to counselling if her husband is willing to go into it whole heartedly (which from what I hear is not the case). As far as finances go,her husband works and earns but has no assets to his name. He makes enough money for them to live comfortably....but her family has more money....and if the financial status is compared, her family has more (it's another matter that she and the kids live within the husband's income with not any extra demands...it is the husband who indirectly suggests getting financial support from her family). As you said...(and I'm sure my friend will agree) the best option would be for them to come to an understanding and work on their relationship first. Everything else will fall in place. Though she hasn't told me (and this opinion of mine is based on how she has changed as a person in the many years I've known her), I feel that there's a lot of pent up resentment inside her and it probably does show in her body language with her husband. It's also a possibility that all this negativity in their relationship is a cycle based on all the past years.
1 person likes this
@Sreekala (22879)
• India
19 Apr 11
If I understand rightly, a good fight can clear all issues in between them. I mean, she should vent up all the anger she keeps inside her mind, she should tell whatever she wants and once her mind is clear she will be ready to compromise… on the other side, he can understand what she is keeping in her mind and what is her expectations etc.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
20 Apr 11
I'm not sure a fight is all that it will take. My friend doesn't always burst out....but she does when she can't take it anymore. If you meet the husband, you will also realize that he's not the kind who likes any opinion or backchat from ANYONE...let alone his wife. He is definitely not one of those 'understanding' husbands.
@allknowing (65047)
• India
19 Apr 11
"this husband has been benefitting from my friend's family (financially and emotionally)." What emotional support does this husband get from your friend's family? I think your friend could use this 'whip' to sort out matters to some extent atleast. How can the family give him emotional support when their daughter is in agony on account of him?
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
21 Apr 11
Initially, the family considered the husband like a son and would talk to him. Even when their daughter was hurt in the process, they felt HE was the one who needed more help and would try to make him understand how his behaviour was affecting his wife (their daughter) and how it wasn't the right thing in the long run.This man doesn't get along with his dad though they are on talking terms and my friend's family thought that his behaviour was on account of that. But it's been more than a decade and they now realize that their 'talks' aren't working and they don't want their daughter to suffer anymore. Remember this is India...divorce is still frowned upon...especially if there are children involved....and most families will try anything to avoid it. But now my friend's family is backing her and all that's needed is for HER to take the decision.
@allknowing (65047)
• India
21 Apr 11
With the withdrawal of financial and emotional support by her family to the husband the situation will change and it will be easier for the wife to take custody of both the children and walk out.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Apr 11
Yes, that's the way I see it too. Her family is pretty mad at the husband...despite their support towards him, if this is the way he treats their daughter, how can they trust him to take care of her once they are gone?
@vandana7 (64839)
• India
19 Apr 11
He can have the custody of both children...no issues, as long as he doesnt remarry..no man would want to be without a wife for long...so there you are..cant she impose a condition like that? Divorced women in general do not remarry, until the kids are grown up, and well settled in life, why should it be any different for a man who wants to keep the custody of the child..
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
19 Apr 11
Vandana! Initially I thought it is a good idea but you cannot be sure of that; there may be men who would want ther children but do not need their wives.And what prevents them from having some affairs without getting married?
@vandana7 (64839)
• India
19 Apr 11
Kala sweetie...very few men would be ok with that deal. If he was indeed that type he would be the one to bend backwards to keep the younger one as well. Now, affairs. Risky proposition. Moreover, which girl would like to spend her life time in an affair without getting any social acceptance, and financial and emotional security... please remember we are considering from Indian context.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
19 Apr 11
Well, even if it is one child, he can still insist on custody because without remarriage he may be confident of taking care of this grown-up. If he is a male child it becomes easier.
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
19 Apr 11
First of all, does she have a job? THen if she is sure that she can take care of both the kids and their emotional and educational needs , she must go ahead with the divorce. But, what happens if the court decides in his favour? She must mentally be prepared to let go of the first child at least because considering it fair play the judge may decide like that with two children around .
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
She doesn't have a job at the moment....but she is qualified and and also mentally prepared to find a job. Right now she is isn't working because her husband doesn't want her to. It will take some talking (on my part or her family's part) to get her to be mentally prepared in case she doesn't get custody of the children.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64839)
• India
19 Apr 11
Actually Kala is right. It simply doesnt make sense thinking of custody without finances..
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
@Vandana....though her family has more money and assets compared to the husband....as Kala pointed out, problems can arise later (I have to admit that didn't cross my mind).She has a brother whose wife might feel that the money belongs equally to her kids too. Even if she had a sister, the same thing can arise. But in our state, the daughter has more right than the son to the family money. Of course, the brother can contest that.
@dpk262006 (56170)
• Delhi, India
19 Apr 11
Hi SV! It is a complex situation. Frankly speaking, I am not able to find any headway into this issue, after scratching my brain. It is a difficult situation or say a dilemma – ‘to be’ or ‘not to be’. I find if she chooses either of the paths, she will feel uncomfortable. Separation from her kids would be difficult and she will find hard to tolerate it. Taking along her children and managing the affairs alone (in case she gets divorce) will also be an uphill task, as she is not a working woman. She needs to ponder on each and every scenario, which she could think of or which could emerge and then will have to see herself which scenario could be like lesser evil. If her husband has not been behaving decently and cordially for years together then it is also difficult to get along. It is like choosing between devil and the deep see. I am at sea to hear this situation and my mind goes blank and unable to suggest any appropriate suggestion.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
21 Apr 11
Well, she thinks if she gets custody of the kids, she will get a job and stay closer to her parents (not with them)...so that she will have the support but not be dependent on them. I think that's a good idea. Initially (for a year or so) she might need more help from her family...but sooner she will settle down to a comfortable life ..I feel.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
21 Apr 11
What you say seems to be good SV.
@dpk262006 (56170)
• Delhi, India
25 Apr 11
I think she is banking on 'ifs' and 'buts'. Firstly she should get custody of both the kids, which is not an easy task. And secondly, it is not easy to find a suitable job and even if she gets a decent job, who will look after the kids? She will have to shoulder double the responsibility.
@SHAMRACK (8384)
• India
5 May 11
Dear friend, One of my friend is facing his family case in the court, after he got married they lived for about 2 years the wife left him during her 7 month of pregnancy period. After several compressions from her husband and his family member wife is not returning back. In between his wife's father brother a police man words are given importance. Also the the child which was born was not allowed for the father to even to touch of see. In the court the lady bring other people of her family who have the freedom to take the child in their hand and the father who even got a single day custody from court order is not even allowed to touch the child. I feel the child needs the affection from both sides which is most essential for the mental development. There are women who live with their husband even worse conditions than this and also there are husbands who live with their wife who is intolerable. But if they love child life it would be better to give the child the affection of both. I do not know why the child is being used as a weapon in the quarrels between wife and husband. Moreover not hurt any, personally I feel now tolerating and patience has become much lesser than before especially in the family matter. Divorce has become a common issue, as long as there is no talented mediator. Those who are with the wife keeps telling and projects the better side of wife and those on the husbands side also do the same. But the child, may be their quarrel is also diverted to that innocent one too. If the mother love the child she will make sure that child get its fathers affection and if the father love his child he too will do that mother give right affection to his child. If both do not love the child is just turns to be an instrument in their quarrel. Wished their quarrel is compromised peacefully.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
5 May 11
This is exactly what my friend does NOT want to do. She is definitely not using the children in between and she doesn't want to either. In fact, she now thinks that she would rather let the father have the older child (if he insists) than drag the child in between. Joint custody also she is willing to consider....or a counsellor to help(her first choice is to get a counsellor to help them with their marital problems but her husband is not willing).
@SHAMRACK (8384)
• India
5 May 11
As much of family cases I had seen about 13 cases I had been seen and in that about 5 cases where amicably solved. All these cases did get a better side from court. Even the rest 8 cases it is still going in the court in that one case is still going even after 9 years. Going to court could make things more worse, moreover a part of compromising amount or compensations is received by the lawyer too.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
15 May 11
Going to court for a compromise will work only if both parties are looking for a solution. I doubt in this case, if her husband is.
• United States
19 Apr 11
With the help of her family , she should break with him. She Should Still go for custody of both. If she stays , she will do more harm, Her kids will get the wrong idea that wives Are suppose to be this miserable. And that husbands are suppose to belittle their wives. Here in the States most of the time the kids go with the mom.It is the dad who has a uphill battle to get the kids. Is it the same where you are?
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
It's the same case here (as far as I know)...and I feel that she shouldn't have a problem that way...since her family is financially sound. The only thing is she doesn't want to be fighting in court over custody since the older child is old enough to understand what's happening. A thought just crossed my mind....if she puts this point to her lawyer, she might be able to help with an out-of-court ruling and not subject the kids to the nonsense that usually goes on...but that is provided the husband agrees. Her family is ready to support her whatever her decision is. But it's her call..and they can't make a decision for her.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Apr 11
Then tell her top leave him and take the kids. With the support of her family and a Damn Good lawyer she should be able to keep the kids.Tell her it is better to leave and be happy in time , than remain and remain miserable. She has friends and most importantly her family's support.
@drannhh (15226)
• United States
27 May 11
I cannot say what is best for your friend, especially in a culture different from my own, but I do have the experience of having had parents who were vicious toward one another and argued constantly and then also the experience of having been a child going through the custody battles in court and then having to live with one parent who denied me and the other parent of getting to see one another. The custodial parent was always belittling and trying to alienate my affections from the absent parent. I think in retrospect that it was worse for me after my parents split up, but for my parents it was better for one and far worse for the other. Of course, I thought they should have stayed together for my sake, but that might not have been a reasonable expectation under the circumstances. I guess when the children have grown up they will understand...but maybe not. It is a hard thing.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
27 May 11
It is hard...and I can understand her confusion and frustration. I'm sorry that you had to go through this situation. And that is exactly what she doesn't want for her children. I know that she will be willing to have joint custody...will not stop the children from meeting their father or relatives....but if he gets custody, she is not so sure that will happen. He is already manipulating, belittling and trying to alienate the older child's affections from the mother and her family (while they are staying together)...I can imagine how it would be if they separate and he gets custody of the older child. I've had lots of incidents in my childhood where I've felt at the time that my parents could have handled differently...but as a grown up, I now realize that they did the best they could. Even if it did affect me in a negative way, that was not their intention and I do not resent it anymore. I guess depending on the people and situations, the children (my friend's) might grown to understand or not.
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
14 May 11
Forgo the custody of the older child. Too many times, we think the best thing is for us to be involved. Sometimes that isn't the case. How many people can a sinking ship save? Answer of course is none. Right now this lady is tied to the titanic, and it's going done, and she's going with it. She can't save anyone, when she's about to drown herself. She needs to leave. And immediately. I would pack up her stuff, and be out of the house by the end of the week. Now what to do about the older child. How old is he? How manipulated is he? If we're talking about a teenage, then you need to ask him who he wishes to be with, and let it be. If he wishes to be with the father, then let him. Eventually he'll determine for himself who is manipulating or not. Like I said before, sometimes it's best to not be involved. If a life guard tries to save someone who doesn't wish to be saved, they'll both sink in the waves and drown. When this lady gets her life back together, gets the leaks in the boat fixed, and the water bailed out, then with a stable ship to stand on, she can throw a life vest to someone sinking in the wave. Once her life is together, she can be there when the son figures out father is nutz. Alternatively, if she fights and fights with the father, while he is manipulating the son, nothing good will come of it. If she wins, the child will blame, and resent mother for stealing him away from his father the rest of his life. If she loses, then dear old daddy saved me from evil mother, and she'll have inadvertently made screwball dad into a hero. I would leave the child with the father, unless he's 5 or 6 years old. Somewhere around there, where mom can undo the damage. Much older than that, you pretty much have to let it play out. Sometimes by removing yourself, you actually make things better. By letting the son do what he wants, and loving on him every chance you get, at some point the son looks around and says "you know, mother isn't as bad as daddy seems to think". But you can never talk bad about father in front of the child... EVER.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
15 May 11
That sounds very sensible. I will talk to her. [b]"Alternatively, if she fights and fights with the father, while he is manipulating the son, nothing good will come of it. If she wins, the child will blame, and resent mother for stealing him away from his father the rest of his life. If she loses, then dear old daddy saved me from evil mother, and she'll have inadvertently made screwball dad into a hero."[/b] This was one of the fears she had when I last spoke to her and she didn't know what to do.
@arunadas (111)
• India
23 Apr 11
Hello SViswan this is really beyond my scope but i got the discussion in my mail so i thought will drop by :) But i do understand it must be the toughest decision of your friend's life and you said the child is 10 years is old so i am sure she is at the age where she can understand what is going on so all i can do is pray that everything works out in the child's favor. The adults can work things out on their own specially the husband.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Apr 11
I hope they can work it out too...especially the husband. The 10 year old son is old enough to understand what is happening...but not old enough to understand he is being manipulated.
@bunnybon7 (36480)
• Holiday, Florida
19 Apr 11
thats a really hard one. Why would she loose the kids? my youngest daughter had to get away and had no family there to help her. he had lots of family. so, she ended up leaving and loosing the kids because of no money to fight in court. My youngest son stays in a relationship because they are not married and he dont want to loose his kids, so he lets her abuse him and run the house. everthing her way. now, i dont know what to advise. seems these are her only options.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
21 Apr 11
The way I see it...she WILL get custody. Financially, her family is more sound than the husband...whose family will not support him emotionally. He earns enough money but she is from a rich family...and right now her family is ready to support her financially and emotionally though she plans to work and support herself and the kids as soon as possible.
@ellie333 (21029)
19 Apr 11
Hi SViswan, This is such a difficult situation for your friend to be in but these days the courts tend to keep the children together and do favour the mother rather than the father, I think it is a risk she must take, bearing in mind the mental cruelty she has endured the courts will see that he is a manipulative person and bear that in mind also. He may not divorce her but she can up and leave with the kids as another option and then he will have to take proceedings, and he also won't have her family to support him financially either. He will lose. I wish your friend good luck and hope she makes the decision to leave before he causes anymore emotional damage to her and the children because they get affected by their mothers state of mind too eh! Huggles. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
21 Apr 11
Thank you,Ellie. I think she needs to leave too. He doesn't have his family to back him...and I think that the court will favour her without too much of a problem. She just isn't sure and doesn't want to fight for custody in court because the older child will understand and it might affect him.
@thesids (22358)
• Bhubaneswar, India
19 Apr 11
Hi SViswan The best as I see for the entire family is that she first opts and files the divorce. And the Kids custody too. Today's laws in India are pro-women and if she can manage a better lawyer, I am quite sure that she gets out of this relationship, and also gets the custody. Recently the trend has been better with such divorce cases unlike the past where it was a really long and unhealthy battle and the kids were the worst affected. Anyways, another point that Kalaji mentioned above was the "rivalry in her family due to property etc." Quite true that is happening. But I am sure someone who has undergone all so much of pain (the divorce, mental torture etc) she will not care much about this and look forward to find some job or start a business. That would be her real worth and real assets after the divorce... no need to ask anyone for support. The only thing important right now is to find a better lawyer who can put up the case and is aware of the recent rulings from Supreme Court - Kind of well versed in this profession.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
Yes, she just got in touch with a lawyer. But the lawyer is in a different state (the state where she was married and her family is based). She has spoken over the phone and plans to meet in person. Her husband doesn't allow her to visit her family unless they travel as a family together and even then she is only allowed to 'visit' with them and return to his family. He does not allow her to go home on vacation unless he is able to make it along with her. I've said this so that you may understand how much planning she needs to do to get some support. And it's practically impossible for her to get out and find her own lawyer and do anything in the city she is at present.
@dreamy1 (3815)
• United States
19 Apr 11
How big is their house? I was going to say if he's going to be an a$$ about it maybe she could move all her things in the basement or attic or spare room if they have one and live there. Heck move into the laundry room if she has to. She can divorce herself of the situation somewhat other than going it legally. Just pretend he is a roommate. She doesn't need to talk to him unless it's about the kids. She doesn't need to cook for him or clean up after him. She just needs to do for herself and her kids and let him fend for himself. That way she can somewhat keep the household in tact without having to deal with a long and ugly custody battle. Just divorce herself from him in all areas. They will still be living in the same house but she doesn't not have to put up with his drama. She doesn't have to stay in the relationship to stay in the same house. It's worth a try. And if they have joint accounts and joint credit cards she needs to get her name taken off of those accounts asap.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
19 Apr 11
They live in an apartment and she can't practically move to one room. Oh I forget, the apartment they stay in has been purchased by her dad and it's in her parents' name. When my friend was working, she paid the maintenance but now the husband does. As long as she lives with him, she is financially dependent on him (she is too proud to ask him for stuff for herself when she is 'emotionally divorced' from him - as she puts it). And I feel that she decided she had enough when she has no right over decisions concerning the kids.Whereas she is open to discussions when it comes to decisions pertaining to the kids....he takes arbitary decisions even major ones without consulting with her...and even if he does....he doesn't even consider (or give it a thought) if her opinion differs. They do not have joint accounts and all the money she had in hers was used up for the 'family'. He is a control freak...and definitely not going to take this 'fending for himself' lying down.
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
25 Apr 11
I think it depends on the age of the child. If the older child is above a certain age, 11 in some states, 13 or 14 in others, that child can decide. And if the child changes their mind, the court has to change custody. I would tell her to let that older child decide and know that she may very well get custody when the child discovers what "dad" is really like!
@SViswan (12072)
• India
27 Apr 11
I'm not sure if there is such a set up in India - where the child gets to decide depending on the age. Both the kids are younger than 11 (the older one will be 11 in a few months from now).
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
27 Apr 11
she needs to investigate it then...
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
22 Apr 11
Take kids abd go to a safe house might work. BUt sh does ned to do something and sounds like she needs to fast
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Apr 11
Yes, she has consulted a lawyer and her parents are doing all they can. Plans to move closer to her parents....her parents are helping out on that front.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
24 Apr 11
good for them and her hope she gets all settled soon