When I write of my own experience, I present my side of the story and interpretation of what occurred. As all divorce litigants should eventually realize, attacking the other party is not in anyone's interest, especially when children are involved. It does no good for a parent to bury their ex-spouse on the pages of a book, so I reserve my attacks for the family law system, specifically the Los Angeles county system where my own case was adjudicated.
Most importantly, this book is not an attempt to escape responsibility for my own actions. I do not ask anyone to believe that this is all someone else's fault. Much of the trouble I found myself in came about as the result of a series of mistakes and bad judgments I made throughout both my marriage and divorce.
Knowing what I do now about myself and my ex-wife, about our approaches to life, our personalities, what makes us happy, even something as simple as where we wanted to live, I am convinced that it might have been in everyone's best interest if we'd never married. But that kind of thinking is pointless. We did marry and in the process we, like so many others, ignored signs of what lay ahead. I made choices that led to the place where I am now. In the pages that follow I accept full responsibility for them.
Because of the scope of the problem this book explores, the issues raised could never be fully articulated through my own case alone. Therefore I have chosen three men to share their own stories and perspectives. All of them have changed their names and the specifics of their identities. One of the subjects is an amalgam of different individuals' stories, including my own.
Although I believe that to omit the particulars of my own case would be counterproductive to the book's purpose, it has never been my goal to embarrass anyone in the process. Adding some of my own experiences to those of my contributors proved to be the most effective way to explore key issues while leaving everyone's dignity largely intact.
Many readers, especially the attorneys and other professionals who play integral roles in the family law system, will automatically dismiss this book as nothing more than the grumblings of a bitter and angry man. Rather than falling prey to a corrupt system, they will say I am the victim of my own poor choices who brought all this on myself by marrying the wrong woman, hiring the wrong lawyer or through my own boorish behavior.
After all, I should have known I stood a good chance of ending up inside a divorce court. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and Hollywood marriages fare even worse. My time of being chained behind the pick-up truck of the legal system was my own bad luck. Everyone knows little good ever comes out of our legal system, only varying degrees of bad. I should have had the good sense to avoid it at all costs.
Besides, my situation is, in these critics' eyes, an anomaly. It is the exception, not the rule. I could have chosen a course that would have shortened the legal process and lessened my pain. I could have given up. Caved. Others have. I should have, as well. Instead, my persistence only made things worse for myself.