Divorce: Clarence Maloney and Sharon


Clarence Maloney, raised in missionary family in India, college teacher of social sciences, married Sharon in 1966. Son born 1967, daughter born 1968. Marriage was good, functional, but cold. In 1976 when I returned from assignment in India, Sharon said she wanted divorce, had everything planned, arranged with lawyer, pastor etc. I asked why. She said "I don't love you and never did love you." I ultimately agreed to divorce but wanted joint custody. She said she "won't discuss it." Six times I tried, same answer (she had been influenced by NOW women's meetings held in our house). She agreed for me to take children to Bangladesh and India (to see their grandmother) for summer (as she had a new male friend). At end of summer I didn't send them back in time but wrote her that because I have no chance of getting joint custody in New Jersey courts, and refuse to be just a VISITOR to my children, I am not sending them back till she agrees to joint custody-- and assured her that I am not trying to keep them from her or influence them against her.

But she came with a detective and snatched them from Bangladesh. My job was in Bangladesh with a USAID project (I had been unemployed in NJ for a long time and at last had a job)- but I flew to USA 12 times in the next few years and could never see the children until spending many days (away from my job!) waiting for court order- many times I came to the house door and she would not let me in and would call the police- I had to kiss the children through the glass door. On 3 trips I could see them only in government building dingy basement, one time by paying a policeman to follow us, etc. and on one trip I could not see them at all. She changed her phone, censored my letters, began to make false accusations against me, etc.

After 2 years divorce case came up. I came from Bangladesh especially for that appointed hour, and had 3 witnesses who came considerable distance to attest to my good fathering. But her lawyer said he was "busy" and the judge allowed the postponement!! So I sadly returned to Bangladesh. The next date was 3 months later and I could not come from Bangladesh and call witnesses again. She got all she wanted- convinced court that it was in children's "best interest" to have school only in NJ, location of father was undesirable, mother was better parent, etc.

          She continually tried every way to avoid and delay my time with the children, and when they were with me tried to cut off every hour. Yet she neglected them- teaching all day and going to law school at night. So the children were left alone in their early teen years and were in bad company- my daughter still smokes terribly, and has herself divorced; my son married wrongly and divorced twice, and has a child by each marriage. I believe their lives would have been different if they had had their father during the critical teen years. Effects of a divorce like this is likely to be felt for several generations.

 

Main complaints against the New Jersey courts:

       No recognition of EQUAL RIGHTS of both parents and need for children to have both parents; no hope to get joint custody (then) especially if one parent lived far, resulting in (unsuccessful) effort on my part to force joint custody so retain my parental rights

       No recognition that "best interest" of child is to have two parents REGARDLESS OF WHERE IN THE WORLD THEY LIVE, or advantages to child of international travel and experience

       Court LISTENING TO WIFE ONLY about her fear the children would be re-abducted (though I and my lawyer repeatedly gave assurance otherwise) in order to prevent and delay all contact with the children, so made it almost impossible to spend time with them even though I came around the world 10-12 times for them

       Court acceding to her lawyer's trick excuse that he was "busy" on the appointed hour for which I had traveled around the world for the divorce hearing- court disrespect of father's role