Chapter 16

The Spiritual Warrior vs the Ultimate Fighter

In the red corner, weighing in at (insert Jane’s weight) and fighting out of the former family home is the unreasonable one. Weighing in and trying to negotiate their way out of the blue corner is the one who wants a fight. If this is how you see things, even if you have a dozen Golden Gloves and a couple of world titles under your belt, going toe to toe won’t help your cause. It doesn’t matter how much Jane sledged you in the pre-match press conference, the reality is it takes two to fight. If you’re able to resist being goaded into one, you may be surprised by the result. Swinging punches, throwing objects, slandering and bickering may well be traits of Jane, but if you’re to have a chance of gaining care of your children, adopting this sort of behaviour will not help your case.

Despite all the pain and hardship Jane may be inflicting on you, taking up your parenting cause as if it was a heavyweight decider is a big no-no. Regardless of all the name calling and threats that ‘you’ll never see your kids again’, do not don the gloves. No matter how much you think you have lost or have been hurt, stop entertaining ideas of staging a rematch, because fighting doesn’t solve anything. It simply perpetuates problems. Jane may not be willing to split the family assets down the middle and share the care, but you don’t need to fight with her to be a parent. Fighting is likely to a major reason why you are separated, and carrying on like a prize-fighter could further alienate you from your kids, which is not what you want to achieve.

Understand this: fighting with Jane will not work; it will only create a bigger, more expensive mess for everyone involved. The truth is, as much as you might like this to be a ding-dong battle, it isn’t. As much as you might see Jane as public enemy number one, she isn’t. Again, the truth is there is actually no one to contest with and the only fight you’re likely to have is with yourself. You’ll want to think you’re fighting for your kids, but it may be your sanity that’s really on the line. Muhammad Ali was full of great oneliners, but none of them will help you in this situation. And Rocky is not the role model you’re looking for. Somewhere between lover and fighter is the pragmatic peacemaker, and although this may not sound like a glamorous role, it could produce a far better result for you and your children……….

Chapter 19

Thank you

Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, Fonzie to his mates, was cool. He was so cool his only flaw was his inability to admit he was ever wrong. At times he tried to admit his faults but often struggled to pronounce the word, offering little more than a slurring of sounds. For most of a sitcom that ran and re-ran for decades, Fonzie was never wrong, partly because he was a bloke and partly because he was the personification of cool. Like many Australian single fathers you may have a leather jacket in the closet, but a black coat alone won’t help you keep your cool during these times.

Conceding that some of your past actions may have been wrong is being honest. It might be an admission on your part that you’re fallible, but it may also be something that Jane believes and knows is true. Recognising in your court affidavits that you’re not the Fonz but just a man is not going to hurt you or your case. It could simply show that you recognise where things went wrong and point towards the more conciliatory road you are seeking to travel. You can’t change the past, but you can change your ways now………..

Chapter 27

Madonna and your kids

The image of the Madonna and Child is an iconic representation of motherhood. All the great thinkers, from Darwin to Freud to Piaget and the rest of them, have recognised the significant, if not inseparable, bond that exists between a mother and her child. Unfortunately for fathers today, the courts recognise this too. Give a bloke some credit: it is our wrigglers that give life to the egg. But it’s women who grow them, and then remind us of the torture of childbirth and the eternal debt we owe them. The problem is that although they give us children, these days they are also prone to taking them away.

It’s critical that you understand this early on: that it really is Mt Everest that rises before you. As ominous as this may sound, if you stage your journey and pace yourself, reaching the summit of resolution may not require breathing apparatus. Adopt this biological understanding and Jane, who will also need to agree to some terms and conditions, may prove to be a lesser evil than expected……….