unsent letter – a family breaking up

A couple I have known for quite a few years are at the early stage of separating. He’s furious, jealous and out to take her down. He’s making it feel it’s all her fault and she should suffer. She’s being made a victim and she’s feeling exposed for her weaknesses . He’s highlighting and exaggerating her faults and she’s scared. I wrote a letter to them both that I will not send. I tried to make it polite but at the end of the day they’re potentially going to ruin having any easy dynamic as a split family.

From the outside looking in it seems clear to find a common ground, but there’s too much passion & hurt for him to take a step back and breath. Here’s the unsent letter.

To you both, 

I feel you two are about to embark on a difficult journey. My knowledge, that I have learnt through my separation is potentially valuable to you both.  

All I ask is that you read this and consider my words. Ideally you can both reach some resolve sooner rather than later, to save yourselves anguish, pain, sadness, time and money. Then one day you’ll both be able to attend your children’s special events throughout their lives and look at them proudly without being uncomfortable in each other’s space. .

As you both know, over the last four years the children and I have experienced a very complicated separation. It took four years to reach an outcome that should have been resolved in a more timely manner without the horrendous experiences. Resulting in the involvement of many professionals who ultimately steer two parents into making decisions based on what is best for the children.

Speaking from my experience. I understand you may have concerns, anger and frustrations about how each of you are dealing with the separation. At the end of the day this intensity should pass and the sooner the better that you’ll come to an agreement. Then the children will take security in knowing you two have made a decision about what is best for them.

Throughout this process, be it mediation or ‘lawyer for child’ meetings then onto court hearings standing in front of the judge to hear each other criticise the other one, via your lawyers, to hear things that can’t be forgotten or unsaid. Each time you come together, the lawyers and the judge will encourage you to make a parenting plan that’s suitable for the children’s wants and needs. If you can’t decide a court psychologist will be appointed and months of interviews and more time, costs and sadness while a stranger analyses your lives. They will then recommend to the court what you two should have figured out at the beginning. This process will cost potentially $40 – $70 K each.

During my time, my safety, my children’s safety and our lives as we knew it completely changed and I did everything to protect my children. I know my experience was extreme.

I realised that my relationship with my ex had good parts and he was abusively complicated. Because he behaved so badly I will not be able to be in his company, ever. I have learnt so much about the family court process. Eventually you will still come out with a parenting plan or parenting order. It’s just how much you destroy each other, and in the process you’ll spend thousands of dollars fighting about it.

My advice would be to figure out a parenting plan for the next 6 months. Note down your concerns in clauses to adhere to, then there is accountability within the document. The parenting plan is what will give your children structure. Plus reduce your interaction and conflict.

At the end of January, meet up again and figure out what’s best for that year. A plan that works with their schooling, your work commitments and holidays etc. Keep your personal lives private, when you have the children make it about them. Smile, in four years or so they will have grown up and you two could still be paying off the lawyers.

Best left unsaid, but I felt better to put pen to paper.

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