Question #76: I physically, emotionally and verbally abused my wife six months ago. She left the marital residence three months ago, took out an Order of Protection from me (for six months), found a job, moved into an apartment, and rematriculated our son into another school district. Since, she has been awarded temporary custody of our six year old son and child support. (I have been “indicated” for child abuse, but deny emphatically these allegations my wife has made, which are the only bases for the “indication” – it’s a pretty corrupt process.) I understand her concern about our marriage, her anger at me, and her fear of me (I suffered an Adjustment Disorder six months ago after she stabbed me with a pair of butcher knives). (Although claim that she fears for the life of her and our children is excessive in response to being slapped a few times after “extreme” provocation and instigation – I am not proud of my behavior, but her portrayal of me is ridiculous to the point of comedy.) That being said, after three months, several hearings in family court, support hearings, almost a nervous breakdown on my part, etc… she still has not served me with papers or even purchased an index number with the Clerk’s Office. Is it normal to proceed with a divorce this way, humiliate your spouse in Family Court indefinitely, lie about his parental abilities, grossly exaggerate abuse to the point of delusion, etc… without serving papers and without anything really to gain as custody is not an issue and financial matters are independent of the reasons for divorce (to the extent we are getting divorced yet). Concerning custody, even after my attorney advised my wife’s attorney that I have no reservations about her having custody, she still proceeded to allege child abuse (completely untrue – I am practically father of the decade). So, there is no reason to do what she has as I have no reservations about yielding permanent custody to her. She also has alleged violations of the Order of Protection (interpreting “violation” very liberally). Even after being indicated for child abuse (which has emotionally crippled me as my relationship prior to three months ago was extraordinarily good), being arrested twice and jailed once for “violating” the Order (which also has emotionally crippled me as I have never even had so much as a speeding or parking ticket in my life), yielding custody, and giving in to practically every demand of her and her attorney, my wife still has not served papers. (Although I have rehabilitated my emotional state since she first left me, I was suicidal early on and no-one seems to appreciate the impact of these kind of extreme and false accusations on a person.) Is there a name for this process? Again, I understand her state of mind as I would be pretty pissed off at me too, but I confess to being a little annoyed by the false allegations and the extreme claims like “fearing for her life” and having those entered into public record. Also, the failure to be served yet is puzzling. It seems we could have avoided all the problems of the past few months (at least the problems for me as my wife has been pretty much in Xanadu) if she had just filed for divorce with grounds (that she can prove and to which I have confessed) in Supreme Court. Heck, we could have been divorced by now and although I do not want to get divorced, it would have been easier on me as I would not have to be humiliated and falsely “indicated,” etc… Anyway, my question is what is going on and what should I expect in the future. I’m pretty stressed out, miss my wife and my son (I have only seen him in a limited capacity during supervised visitation). I love my wife passionately and don’t think the problems we have are irreconcilable (although I will always feel pretty ashamed of my behavior), but I also don’t want to confine her to a marriage she does not want (as neither of us will be happy then).

Without having spoken to your spouse, it seems clear from your description of the situation that there are serious problems with your family relationship and that divorce may be unfortunately, the only solution at this point. The question now is whether you are going to enter into a litigated adversarial battle in court or will you both choose to go a more civilized way and resolve your divorce matters through mediation. I cannot overemphasize the benefits of mediating with an experienced, divorce attorney- mediator. These are matters that require experienced counsel , and should not be left to self-help.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, I suggest you call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting between all of us to see if we can mediate your divorce and allow you both to reach some type of understanding to improve your relationship with your son, to work together for the best interests of the child, and to get on with your lives and regain your self-esteem and respect.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution