Lawyer up now.
Even if you part amicably, get a lawyer. You must do this for several reasons.
Even if your ex and you are on friendly terms, the law is on her side and sees you as a bad person. The law does not care for your rights and will
screw you over massively. Only a lawyer can adequately defend your rights.
If she is taking the kids with her. It is time for you to start paying child support. Do not wait on this, start paying it now. The court does not
care how much you see them during the separation period and will assess arrears based on the time you are apart.
He who files first wins. It is imperative that you file for divorce first. You are going to go through the most sexually biased system of justice in
the universe. Even if you and your wife can agree on everything the court sees you as the bad person in this. File for divorce first.
You must do this for several reasons. You must do this to preserve your rights as a father. It doesn't matter if you two can work everything out
between yourselves. This step helps you protect your rights against what the court deems fit. Believe me, the court sees dad as having absolutely 0
rights as a human being.
Honestly the best you can hope for is shared parental responsibility. This way both you and her are 50/50 responsible for your kids. Filing first and
filing for shared parental responsibility helps ensure that you have more of a fighting chance to have your children in your life more.
WARNING WARNING WARNING
DO NOT DATE ANYONE UNTIL THE DIVORCE IS FINAL! WARNING WARNING
The court sees you two as still married until they decide to dissolve the marriage. If you are dating someone the court will
automatically see this as infidelity and will award your ex accordingly. REPEAT DO NOT DATE ANYONE UNTIL THE DIVORCE IS FINAL!
I am sorry you have to go through this. It is a terrible thing for a family to have to split up. Please take my advice, your children are the most
important thing in the world. You have to protect yourself so that you can have as much time with them as possible.
Also discuss with your ex on what behavior is appropriate in front of your children. They must understand that you two are not divorcing each other
because of them. You and her must reinforce the fact that both of you love them and care about them the same as before. The difference is now mommy
and daddy aren't living together.
Children get confused and they worry that a divorce is their fault. They must be reassured that it is not their fault that mommy and daddy don't live
together. Also, please refrain from saying anything bad about their mother to them, or around them. They still love their mother and they deserve to.
Please, Parental Alienation Syndrome
is not fair, and both you and her must safeguard against this at all costs.
Both of you I assume love your children and even though you cannot deal with living together you must for the children's sake work together for their
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?
This is the definition of PAS as described by R.A. Gardner who discovered the syndrome and has become an expert in dealing with the issue.
Gardner's definition of PAS is:
"The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation
is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming
(brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent."
(Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.)
Basically, this means that through verbal and non verbal thoughts, actions and mannerisms, a child is emotionally abused (brainwashed) into thinking
the other parent is the enemy. This ranges from bad mouthing the other parent infront of the children, to withholding visits, to pre-arranging the
activities for the children while visiting with the other parent.
This comes back to my original point. LAWYER UP. Whether you like it or not you are in a war now. This is an emotional war. One that you must for your
children's sake win. Depending on how you and your ex feel about each other is irrelevant. It is the courts you must defend yourself against.
Take my advice or not, but it is there for you to use.
I am sorry your children have to go through this. Please in no way put them in the middle. You know it would be unfair. Working with your ex to the
benefit of your children is paramount. Above all that is the most important goal of any divorce. No matter what you are tied to this woman through
your children and they need you both in their lives.