"Beware, beware a woman scorned in marriage and in the throes of revenge as she prepares to attend her divorce petition. For when the marriage fails to meet the expectations she once held so high, pity the lowly man who remains prostrate at her feet as she drags him through the courts of British Justice.
From the start of the divorce petition to its end, the wife and mother before the British Court will be treated more favourably and far differently than the husband and father. Statistics show that she will obtain legal aid while the man, who is more often the respondent, will still be paying his solicitor's bill ten years later. If there are any children to the marriage, whatever their individual merits of parenthood, the mother will be granted custody and the father will receive an Access Order of a few hours at weekend.
There is unlikely to be little chance of the children sleeping over on access weekends as when assessing the maintenance payments for the man to pay for the next fifteen years, the weekly amount ordered will usually be set around £100 per week more than the chap earns with overtime (unless of course he is one of those feckless parents who hasn't worked for ten years and has fathered eight children to six different women; in which case the maintenance level could be set at a nominal few pounds).
Consequently, the man will often be left without a place to live or possess the means to occupy more than a dinky flat which couldn't accommodate his children staying over, even were such staying access granted. Dad may not have the money to take his children to the cinema and will probably join the ranks of other Sunday access dads to be seen at the parks around the land on cold and windy weekends.
When the wail of a scorned woman is heard on the night of a full moon before the hearing of your divorce petition, beware of the wolf at your door who wants to eat away the inside of your heart and once you enter the court arena, prepare to fight for your life.
As a Probation Officer who also acted as Divorce Court Welfare Officer in my early career, all of my insider knowledge to the Court system didn't prevent me getting screwed over when my first marriage ended acrimoniously and my ex-wife and her solicitor took me to the cleaners.
Years later, I heard of one solicitor who dealt with his male clients accordingly whenever he represented a man contesting a divorce settlement. He always advised them to chose between being true to one's word or true to oneself. At the very beginning of the process when he first interviewed the man he would ask only one question: 'Are you prepared to go into the witness box and foreswear?'
If the answer to come back was, 'No, I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth', the solicitor would reply, 'Then be prepared to give her the house, the dog and every penny you will earn for the next fifteen years, because when her turn comes to enter the witness box, she will lie to high heaven and stuff you good and proper! As for seeing your children, the postman will get to see them more often than you during the years ahead. "
Just in case any of you think today's thought to be the rantings of a bitter man, I assure you that it isn't. My first marriage breakup was acrimonious and my second couldn't have been more agreeable to all parties. However, my 25 year's of court experience could never have prepared me for the gross sexual inequalities that still exists in the British Courts today where the dissolution of marriage, access to children and the establishment of maintenance is concerned." William Forde: March 7th, 2014.