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Saturday January 26th 2019

Divorced woman feeling the pain of child alienation

Dear Gilbert,
 
I thank God that I found  this website and I hope that you  can  help me here.

Presently, my ex and I are in the midst of  a divorce and we are  settling our  anxilliary matters and custody of children.

I am very concerned  for  my children. I have a  10-year-old old girl and a 14- year- old boy (boy is from my previous marriage. His biological father had passed away)

This is the second marriage for both of us.
 
We are still staying under the same roof for the time being but my ex has been alienating me from my children since the early part of  2010 till now.

I am a housewife and have been taking care of my children since birth. When my ex and I decided to¬† divorce, he¬† has ¬†brainwash my son to go against me ¬†when I was caring for my young daughter. I was totally devastated at my son’s attitude towards me.

Both my children now have turn against me by saying that I have beaten them frequently to support their father which is not true.

Apparently, I can’t see my children at home whenever I am back. My ex would bring them  out and disallowed me to have any interaction with them. He has a maid to inform him whether I am at home or not.

 Thus,  I have no chance at all to see my children. He has also  stopped me from eating and cooking at home. I have no choice but to eat out daily.

My ex would also switch off my electricity for my room and air con usage. I try to bear with it hoping that would minimise our conflicts but it seems to get  worse.

 He had started to sneak into my room, destroyed my belongings and searched my  documents.

 However, my concern now is primarily for my children Р I have lost all  bonding  with them and it is a very painful feeling for a mother!
 
I have now got a court order for our counselling (both children and me) when I applied for the interim care and control for 6 sessions of 2 hours each. It was costly Р$200 each time we attended Рbut it was worth it as at least I got to see my children all by  myself.

I was happy during the first session. My daughter was responding to me. I told her that we should  have steamboat on the next session and she agreed. I asked for a hug and she gave me one! It was the happiest day of my life.

However, my son was asking me  for $500  from our joint bank account. He also told me he wanted to keep the bank book for himself.

 I have asked him why out of sudden he wanted such a big sum of money   and he responded that his father had asked him to take it from me. 

  I refused to give him as he wanted to use the money to  pay  for his Maple games in the computer.

 I told him that he could have $100 during school holidays  and  that he could not keep the bank book for himself.  

 He was unhappy and even  threaten  that he would not see  or talk to me at all if I refuse to give him the bank book!

  He had thought that I would use up all his money as my ex had mentioned in the affidivit that I have used up all their ang pow monies. 
 
After  the second counselling session, both of my children sadly refused to eat out with me. I was crestfallen.

 I have brought along  some old photo albums to show them but they did  not even take a look at it.

 My daughter also  refused to hug me this time.
 
Sir, how could I help myself in this situation? It seems to me that the counselling session did not  help much although I do not  give up hope.

 My questions are:-

1. Do you think the psychiatrist’s evaluation report¬†would help the children?

 I always treasure input from various sources to help me make a decision. Of course, one should not base our decision on just one input. You also have to be comfortable with him as a person as he is in regular close contact with your kids РGilbert

2.How can the psychiatrist help in opening up their minds?

 A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specialising in the study of human personality and is someone to be respected. It may be wise also to find someone who specialises in assisting children and I am sure that in Singapore there will be many psychiatrists specialising in helping children in a divorce situation.

3. How to help the children to have an open mind that they deserve both their parents’ ¬†love?

 I am still unsure why you are still living in the hostile matrimonial home environment while undergoing a divorce proceeding unless you have nowhere to turn to. Hopefully, once the auxiliary issues are sorted out you can have better access to your children.

 It is true that children often suffer when one parent hits out at the other. All parties lose out here and there is no clear winner. It also takes two parents to come to a compromise here but we are know that sometimes this is not possible as shown clearly in your case.

 I always believe that once a family is broken, much has to be done to compensate for the lost love suffer by  our kids  in a dysfunctional family. Nothing beats having two parents instead of one. If the other parent is still in regular contact with his kids when the marriage is broken, much can be salvaged. Nevertheless, the sad story nowadays is kids  often lose contact with their  other parent when there is a divorce due to various reasons.

 For the sake of the kids, always try to allow them easy access to their other parent. Many children grow up not knowing their other parent Рnormally their dad and regretted that for the rest of their life. This also creates a sense of guilt in their absent parent  and no one is the wiser here.

 Never criticise their other parent openly and always remind them that it’s not their fault that the family breaks up.  Kids often  have the guilt complexion that they are the ones to be blamed when the family breaks up and many suffer for the rest of their life with this myth.

 Of course, many children grow up to be confident normal people in a dysfunctional family setting so I guess nothing is set in stone here.

4. What can I do to be creative to show care and concern towards the children?

 a. Allow them easy access to their other parent however difficult it is for you.

 b. Assure them that it is not their fault that the family breaks up.

c.  Always assure them that you will never leave them Рthey already have that abandonment feeling when the other parent  is not living with them.

 d. Show love whenever you can Рchildren will respond to love however difficult the situation is.

¬†e. Seek support for yourself ‚Äď go for ¬†counselling or seek¬† friends’ support so that you can hang on and do the necessary stuff when you are strengthened.

5. Are there any suggestions on how  children can  have  counselling  with me  through  the court order?

 I can’t comment on this and will leave this portion to the legal counsel recommended in my earlier mail.
 
6. I know that if the family court gives¬†¬† custody of the children to me, it would¬† help me alot and at the same time, the father’s love will not be deprived. But again, this is not how it works in the family court it seems.

¬†I will leave this part to the legal counsel’s ¬†input.
 
Gilbert, I hope you can answer my enquiries  and if required I do not mind to meet up to discuss on these issues.

 I can refer you to a volunteer counsellor if you want. Just let me know and stay strong! Never give up.
 
Thank you and have a great day!
 
Regards

June (not her real name)
 
 ****************

The Legal Counsel’s View

Dear Gilbert and June,

 I am not clear whether the counselling that you are going through is counselling provided by the court or other forms of counselling. I suspect it may not be court counselling because court counselling is free.

 I am afraid what June  is asking is more a psychological issue rather than a legal one.

 On the legal front, the issues regarding children are custody, care and control and access.

 As for custody, it could be ordered by the court for both husband and wife to have joint custody of the children. This means both husband and wife would have to make decisions on major issues and these major issues are usually on education, religion, health, national service and change of name.

¬†The next issue is care and control. The parent who has care and control of the children is¬†the parent whom the children will live with after a divorce. The court would usually not advocate the care and control of the children to be split i.e each parent takes one child unless there is very good reasons. I understand that the son is from June’s previous marriage. Rightfully, custody of the son and care¬†and control of the son should go to Vicky as the husband has no connection with the son, unless of course throughout the marriage, the husband has¬†treated the son like his own and cared and maintained the son like his own he may have rights to visit the son upon divorce.¬†

 As for the daughter, she is the child of both the husband and June. In respect of the daughter, custody may be joint and care and control may be either to husband or June. Given the fact the child is still young and below 10 years old, the court may not ask the daughter who she prefers to live with. If June has been looking after the daughter since birth she would have a better chance to have the care and control of the daughter.

 If the two children live with June, the husband has a right to visit the children. This is call access. Access of the children to the husband could be made flexible or fixed. This would depend on both June  and her husband. If flexible access could create problems, it would be better to fix the access of the children to the husband.

 If June and her husband are going through a divorce, the issues on the children can be fixed for mediation or counselling and the court would assist both parties to achieve an amicable resolution. If mediation and counselling fail, the only alternative to resolve the issues on the children trial. The court usually would not look at any psychiatric report that either the husband or the wife avails to the court. Any psychiatric or psychological report would have to be ordered by the court and not obtained unilaterally by either husband or wife.

 Regards
 Tom (not his real name)

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One Response to “Divorced woman feeling the pain of child alienation”

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