After weeks of receiving the silent treatment from my husband, I cornered him and forced him
to talk to me. He then told me that he “didn’t want to be with me anymore” and he asked me to
leave. I was devastated.
Two days later, I took our nine-month-old daughter and our three-year-old son and moved into a
small apartment. I was shell-shocked, but not nearly as astounded as I was when I found out the
truth: He had been cheating on me.
Had I been on an episode of Jerry Springer, I would have busted him over the head with my
chair. The initial hurt I felt quickly turned into something else: Rage. I hastily filed for divorce
and requested sole custody of our children. I wanted to make him pay for what he did to our
Our temporary child custody order gave him the minimum amount of time with our kids.
Keeping the kids from him was a method of retaliation. If I could have kept my children from
him for good, I would have.
It was miserable. My kids were miserable. They did not understand why their daddy was gone.
My son would cry for him. The baby would cry for me when she was with him.
Things got ugly. I would leave with the kids and keep them all weekend if he was late
picking them up. When I refused to let him keep them a little longer on Christmas Eve, I
discovered “someone” had (conveniently) let the air out of my tires so I was unable to pick them
up. It was constant drama.
A year passed, our divorce was still pending, and I was tired of living with hatred and playing
Then he begged for forgiveness and another chance. He said he still loved me, he wanted to be
a family, and he was sorry. I blame the exhaustion, for I agreed to take him back. I retracted the
divorce and he moved in with us.
Living as a married couple again was awkward at first, then it was fine, then I grew tired
of “fine” and realized we really were better off apart. I filed for divorce again two years later but
took a different approach.
I realized that no matter how I felt toward him, he was the father of my children and they
deserved better than what I gave them the first time around. My “babies” were now six and four
years old and they had developed a good relationship with their father. I wanted to make sure I
created a child custody agreement that allowed our kids to continue to have close relationships
with both of us.
Prior to filing for divorce, I sat down with my ex, had a serious, business-like discussion about
custody. We reached an agreement that would allow our children to spend the right amount of
time with each of us. It works. We do not fight anymore or play games. I am much more patient
and flexible. Our kids are happy.
As a divorced mother who has experienced the custody process twice, I strongly urge divorcing
or divorced mothers to take the high road and create custody agreements for their children, not
for themselves, and certainly not as a weapon to hurt their ex. It is the right thing to do and you
and your children will be much happier if you get it right the first time.
Kelly Turner is a divorced mother of two. She works from her Nashville home as a freelance
writer and is an advocate for children’s custody rights. Kelly has written extensively on
the topics of parenting, divorce, and custody. More information (including how to create
a custody plan) Kelly has written regarding child custody agreements can be found at http://