Tag Archives: divorce

Injunction against a seruv

Montreal – a religious woman is civilly divorced since 1997. She is still waiting for a Get, her Jewish divorce. Her ex is going to civil court to say that no Beit Din can force him to give his wife a Get – he just filed an injunction against the Beit Din.

Please click here to watch.

Hat Tip DBG.

Blended Family Rant

I’m cranky these days. Must be the steroids that I am taking that are not doing diddly squat for this back pain. But people, some people, lately are really ticking me off.

I am always trying to figure out the best way to introduce myself, especially in an environment where being a mom is respected and applauded. Most people don’t really want to hear more than a short sound bite, so I generally say – I am a mom, my husband and I have seven kids. (It’s true. I have 4, he has 3, together that is seven). When asked the age range, I give it – 8-15. Yes, sometimes people look at me and wonder, but 9 times out of ten, they just wish me luck and we move on.

I am not interested in telling everyone my life story. That’s why I have a blog! But recently I was talking with a new acquaintance and she asked me if there were any multiples amongst this gigantic group of children that we have. I said no, in fact we are a blended family. There was a distinct change in attitude from the person I was conversing with. Oh well, it isn’t so amazing then that you have seven kids. Three of them aren’t even yours.

Them’s fighting words!! Life would probably be much easier if they were all “mine”. The blended family dynamic, especially when there are other parents involved and other homes where children live some of the time, is much much harder than the biological family dynamic. Just because they are not “mine” biologically doesn’t mean they are not “mine” emotionally. I love the KoD’s kids so very much – they are a part of him, how could I not? They are part of our family, just like mine are. I have a place in my heart for each and every one of our children. Whether they were born of my womb or not, they are OUR children…

Look, I don’t need kudos or awards or anything like that, I love being a mom and a step-mom and that’s reward enough for me. But don’t dismiss my mothering as “less than” because I only birthed four of the seven of our offspring. I am sure this person would not have dreamed of saying something similar to an adoptive parent – that would just be wrong, correct?

I dunno, it just sticks in my craw. Pass the grumpitol….

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Co-parenting after Divorce. It can be done.

There was a time, soon after we became a one-parent family, that I thought I would never be able to have a civil conversation with my ex, let alone be in the same building as him. There was a time that it hurt just sharing the same planet with him, breathing the same air – I was in so much pain that I couldn’t see past it.

We may no longer be married, but whether we like it or not, we are co-parents for life. We have four most awesome sons together who are our souls, our lives. Both of us are 100% invested in doing everything in the children’s best interests. Truthfully, occasionally our perception of the kids’ best interests differs, but we are always able to come to a peaceful resolution.

Time healed. Time allowed us both to work through our own issues and get past them. But that’s only because we were BOTH invested in doing so for the sake of the kids and for our own sakes too.

2 months post separation, when he was 11, our eldest asked about his barmitzvah. I can still taste the bile that rose in my throat at the thought of celebrating this momentous occasion with the “other side” of the family. It scared me. It frightened me. There was no way that I saw that it could possibly happen.

You know what? We made the barmitzvah together and it was awesome. It showed the children that their parents are willing to put them first. It showed the kids that they are our number one priority (or as they say, numbers 1 thru 4) and we would do anything for them. Sharing the simcha hall with my ex was fine – there are awesome benefits to mechitzahs!! We’ve since made another barmitzvah and have one coming up in 8 months. (We had three sons within 31 months!!). We have celebrated graduations and birthdays together, and sat holding our broken-legged child in the ER together.

Today we are able to pick up the phone and talk to each other like grown-ups. We don’t talk about anything other than the kids, and that’s ok. But I am so thankful that I am able to have this kind of “relationship” with him – that we have left the past in the past. Accepted that it is over. We have moved on with our lives. We are both remarried with stepkids. Our lives are an amalgamation of families and in-laws and relatives on four sides. As my kids say – so many more people to love them (and give them presents!!).

I just wish that all divorced couples were able to do the same. That at some point they come to the realization that they need to move on with their lives, and leave the nastiness and bitterness in the dust. It is even more important when there are children involved. I wish the divorce court could mandate some kind of co-parenting class for divorcing parents. Make them sign some kind of agreement that forces them to do what’s best for the child. There have been many things I have had to just accept, because being angry and bitter would not change them.

Had I not accepted my lot in life, the fact that I was getting a divorce – had I allowed myself to be consumed daily with anger and resentment and every negative emotion known to womankind – I would never have been able to move on with my life. I would never have been in a position to meet the KoD and realize his true value. I would have cheated myself out of this fairytale that the KoD and I have recurrent starring roles in.

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Yikes!

Woman goes to jail for alienating the kids from their dad and making false accusations. Again – this type of behaviour just does not pay. I think all divorced and divorcing spouses must read this, and understand that there comes a point that they need to sit back and take stock of their behaviour towards their ex, and make the necessary modifications.

As requested by Lady Lock and Load I am throwing up the link here to the Victim of a Parentectomy – an account from a young woman whose mother behaved in a similar manner as the mother in the first story, and who now has re-established a relationship with her father based on truth.

Edited June 9th 2010. A follow up post was printed today. Read it here.

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Gratitude

As I wrote the other day, the boys are spending some time with their dad. I miss them more than I thought possible, but I am so thankful and grateful that they have this opportunity to spend a good amount of quality time with him. Ever since he and I split we have both made it a priority to encourage the relationship between each parent and the children. There has never been any trashing of the other parent in front of the kids, nor has there ever been anything negative said or even hinted at about the new spouses and step-siblings that entered the picture.

Sure, there have been fights and arguments and lawyers – we DID get divorced after all – but we kept all of that away from the children. We may have chosen to no longer be married to each other – but that divorce does not include the children. They did not ask for this. As the primary care giver for my children, it is my responsibility and my role to encourage and foster a good relationship between my kids and their dad. I cannot force it, but thankfully he is more than willing and loves his sons unconditionally.

I guess when both parents are on the same page – putting the children’s needs first – there can be a civil relationship, an entente cordiale. It is so tragic and sad to read about and hear stories of divorces where parental alienation is happening – where one parent does all s/he can to trash the relationship of the kids with the other parent. I just wish all divorced parents (maybe even all parents) could put their kids’ needs first at all times.

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Give Her a Get

@kvetchingeditor pointed me to this “interesting” video and I thought I would share it with you. I am interested in your thoughts….

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Looking for first hand stories

I have written a few times about the sad plight of the Agunah, the chained woman. I know there is another side to this coin, that of a chained man. The ex-husband whose ex-wife refuses to accept a Get. You don’t hear many of their stories as it is mistakenly assumed that they are few and far between.

If you are a man, who is chained and wish to share you story so that others can learn important lessons about both sides of the Get please email me at InThePinkBlog at gmail dot com. All names will be held in the strictest of confidence.

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Divorce – Men Hold All the Cards

I saw this post somewhere else, and thought it was a good question.

I’m FFB [frum from birth], and lately have been analyzing Judaism’s approach and views of men and women. I used to believe that male vs female was just that we have DIFFERENT roles, not that men are placed more on a pedestal. However, recently, my friend went through a divorce and there were many issues where the [soon to be ex-husband] flexed his male muscles regarding holding back a Get [religious divorce]. It took her over 2 years to get it. Why is it that a man can keep a wife chained but not the other way around? Can someone please really explain this to me??

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Loyalty and step-parents

I remember the weekend after my ex remarried. The kids had spent Shabbat with him and his new wife and her kids. They came home, and we sat together talking. The little one, who was five at the time, said to me, “I am so lucky, I have two mommies now”. I understood his sentiment, and was glad that his new stepmom was someone he liked, but boy did it hurt to hear him say that. It felt like a knife in my heart, even though he totally had not intended it that way. I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes, even though I tried to smile through them. I had to leave the table to get busy with something so I wouldn’t break down.

Squiggy, who was all of ten then, decided to take his youngest brother to task. He reminded him, none too gently, “THIS is your mother, Ima is the one that carried you in her belly for nine months, this is the woman that gave birth to you, this is the woman that has raised you. Don’t you dare forget that!!!” So many emotions coursed through my mind at that moment. Pride in Squiggy that he defended my honour, so to speak. But I felt bad for the little ChatterBox – his intent was not to hurt me. He was just telling me he was happy – what more does a mother want for her child?

Once I had regained control of myself – it was a rough time emotionally as I am sure you can understand – I sat down with the both of them. I explained to the older one that he doesn’t have to choose sides or show more loyalty or anything like that. He can like his step mom without it hurting me. I explained to the little one that I am glad that he likes her and she is nice to him, because that’s very important. I explained to all the kids that there is no choosing one over the other. They live with me, they know who their mother is, but that does not mean there is no space in their lives to like or love their step mom. She is now a part of their family, and as such they have to at least respect her and treat her right. It was tough to explain to small children, who have a fierce love for their mother, that liking their step mom doesn’t discredit me in any way, shape or form.

In the years since then, the kids have learned a balance that has stood them in good stead. They adore the KoD, their step dad, and are not conflicted about loyalties. They understand that they can love him AND their own father at the same time. My children are so fortunate in having so many people to love and who love them. At the end of the day, they know who has raised them, they know from whom they learned their values and principles. But I also know that each of us who spend time with the children have had a hand in forming them into who they are, whether it’s a big hand or a small one, we have all contributed.

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Heinous or Harmless – marital possessions

This stems from an interesting discussion I had with the KoD last night. We started off talking about my numerous crystal serving platters that I unearthed during yesterday’s marathon declutterfication. Most of them I probably received as wedding presents first time around, and have never really been used or seen the light of day. We were discussing whether I needed to bring them with me when we move, or if they should be passed on to someone who will use them. (I said bring, he said pass. (OK I actually mentioned I should hold onto them because please God soon in a few years we will be making Sheva Brachot for the kids….)).

So this got us thinking. When folks get divorced, do most throw out or get rid off EVERYTHING that they shared together, do they buy all new stuff, do they keep some things and not others. What worked for you?

My point was, that generally, the wife / mother gets to stay in the marital home with the children (even if, like me, they eventually have to move). In order for the kids to have some familiarity and comfort at a tough time, I am of the opinion that the mother should more or less keep everything – at least dishes and stuff like that. The one that leaves is the one that usually has to buy everything new.

I immediately got rid of our beds and the linens and everything like that that I associated with the togetherness of being married. But that’s where I stopped. I still have the dishes we used, the candlesticks I got as a wedding present (I don’t use them any more), the challah board, the dining room set and the sofas etc. My Shabbat dishes are gorgeous, but I used them during my first marriage – is it cruel and unusual punishment to use them in my new marriage? (Do you know how much one pays for a Noritake place setting these days??!!)

Is it heinous to hold onto this stuff, especially going into a new marriage, or is it harmless, and ridiculous to expect someone to make a totally clean slate and get rid of everything they owned during their marriage?

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