Nasty Divorce: Husband paid wife's lover to take intimate pictures of her
Divorcee Pang C.C. admits that the spark died not long after the wedding.
"We already fell out of love in the second year of our marriage, but I didn't want a divorce because I was pregnant," says the 33-year-old general manager, whose marriage officially ended last year.
What she did not anticipate, however, was the "monster" she claims her 37-year-old ex-husband, who runs an IT services company, turned into.
"We were both having affairs. My husband found out and forced my then-lover, who was still an undergraduate, to take photos of us being intimate," she says.
"He told my ex-lover that if he did not comply, he would reveal the relationship to my ex-lover's school's dean and parents."
Ms Pang and her ex-husband had dated for six years before they got married. They had met at a job fair where she was handling some logistics for his company.
Eventually, it was his philandering ways that drove them apart, she claims.
In the incident involving her ex-husband and her ex-lover, the younger man eventually caved in and handed over photos that were later used to arm-twist Ms Pang over custody of their six-year-old son.
"I found out about what my then-lover did when my ex-husband showed me the photos. I later found out that he was also paid $5,000 for the deed," she says.
She broke up with her lover immediately after finding out that he had cashed the cheque given by her ex-husband.
Despite his threats to expose her affair, Ms Pang refused to grant her ex-husband custody of their son.
In retaliation, he took the boy to China, where he had a mistress.
"He took my son to Guangzhou during the December school holidays in 2012," she says, recalling the four painful months she had no contact with their son.
"I begged my mother-in-law to tell me where they were. He changed his handphone number. I made a police report."
The boy, who was then too young to have a mobile phone, was not allowed to call home.
She gives him a taste of his own medicine
Ms Pang also claims that her ex-husband told the boy that his mother had been posted to New York for work.
When her ex-husband returned to Singapore in April without their son, she felt rage, shock, helplessness and frustration.
"He told me that if I made a police report about him taking my son away, he would show everyone the photographs of my lover and me being intimate," she says.
Forced into a corner, she decided to go on the offensive. Ms Pang hired a private investigator who tailed him when he next visited China.
"He took videos of my husband, his mistress and my son. The PI found out that when my husband was not in China, there were two other men who also visited the mistress.
"The PI also discovered that those men were also married," says Ms Pang, who shelled out $10,000 for the PI's services, which included the cost of air tickets and accommodation.
The tables were turned when the two met at the lawyer's office, where Ms Pang's PI presented his findings.
"I was very happy when I saw how angry he was. He even cried. I told him that crying was of no use," she says.
"I told him to simply give my son back."
Ms Pang says he eventually gave up the fight for custody. A week later, she was reunited with her only child, and soon after, was awarded custody.
Despite the ordeal, Ms Pang claims that she no longer feels hate for her ex-husband and has forgiven him.
"I really hated him for taking my son away, and for making my lover betray me. He really made my heart break.
"But I have forgiven him because I think he has suffered enough," she says, adding that her son sees her ex-husband every other weekend.
He also pays $50 in maintenance to her. She says she does not need his money as she is financially independent.
When asked about re-marriage, her answer is a firm "no". But that has not stopped her from finding love again.
"Now I have a boyfriend and we are living together. He loves my son very much and my son loves him, too," she says.
"He told me that if I made a police report about him taking my son away, he would show everyone the photographs of my lover and I being intimate."
- Divorcee Pang C.C.
When parents split, he felt betrayed yet relieved
TNP PICTURE ILLUSTRATION
"(Kids) can become rebellious, fall into depression or become introverted, depending on the child."- Counsellor John Vasavan
When Kyle was 13, and his mother divorced his father, he felt a strange mix of abandonment, betrayal and relief.
"I felt relieved because it was simply a matter of time before she left," he explains.
The articulate man, who asked that we do not use his real name, says his father was difficult to live with, kept secrets from his mother and occasionally hit her.
His mother had tried to leave his father when Kyle was just four years old, but she had a change of heart. He had always felt that was a mistake, Kyle says.
The final separation was a gradual process, which included his parents living apart for a few years before the divorce was final.
When it happened, however, Kyle struggled with feelings of resentment as his mother did not fight for custody of him and his two younger siblings.
This meant that he was left in the care of his father, with whom he did not get along.
"(His mother) explained that she did not want to take us away from my father because it would absolutely ruin him. She said that I would understand when I grew older."
As a teenager, the explanation seemed insufficient to Kyle. Their relationship was so strained that they did not even exchange greetings.
"I did not really care about what happened to my dad. I simply wanted out. Looking back, I do see her point of view now,' he says.
When children are left in the care of a parent they do not have a good relationship with, they sometimes develop attachment issues, says counsellor John Vasavan.
"This may manifest itself in the child seeking affection from authority figures of the same gender as the absent parent," he states.
Divorce has the most impact on children aged seven and above, he adds. "That is when they start understanding situations around them, and realising the absence of one parent.
"They can become rebellious, fall into depression or become introverted, depending on the child," he says.
For Kyle, his parents' testy relationship made him painfully aware of his father's flaws.
"I consciously check myself to make sure that I don't follow in his footsteps," he says.
But the one hardest hit by the split was his youngest brother, who was only six when his parents separated.
"I was independent from a young age, but he was rather sheltered and my mother doted on him.
"When she left, it was hard for him to adjust and he often cried," he adds.
When Kyle's mother remarried, he felt happy for her, he says this about his stepfather: "He is a good man. I don't know him at all but I trust him."
These days, Kyle's relationship with his mother is "better than ever". The two keep in contact regularly.
His parents are also on speaking terms.
"I would say I don't really feel any more resentment towards them," he adds.
Tactics feuding spouses resort to during divorce
TNP PICTURE ILLUSTRATION: ARIFFIN JAMAR
1 Set honey trap
Private investigator David Ng says he gets occasional requests from wives to "engineer a situation" to trap the husband into cheating.
This is despite knowing the husband has not been unfaithful.
"In such cases, the woman is usually desperate and has tried other methods of ending the marriage," says Mr Ng, who runs DP Quest Investigation Consultancy.
"But I turn them down because it is unethical and there are easier ways of ending a marriage."
2 Measure scratches
They are supposed to spend quality time with the children during the time allotted to them by their ex-spouses.
But matrimonial lawyer Raymond Yeo says he has seen parents who are so bent on proving that the ex-spouse is neglectful that they spend the allotted time scrutinising any marks - from mosquito bites to innocent scratches - on the children's body.
"They want to gather evidence to use as ammunition against the other party," he says.
"Custody decisions are ever-changing and never set in stone, so allegations of abuse can affect outcomes.
"I always advise my clients against taking such a measure, as access to a child is meant for the parent to enjoy the bond, not embark on such a tactic."
3 Tail child and ex-spouse
To prove neglect, some parents hire PIs to keep tabs on their ex-spouses when they are with the children.
"I have been hired to take videos of a parent spending time with the child during his or her allotted time," says PI Davy Chan.
"In some cases, the child is left with a maid, who may be on her mobile phone, distracted, while the child is playing at a playground.
"Such evidence is used by the other parent to show that the ex-spouse is neglecting the child."
4 Quit job
Mr Yeo says he has seen parents jeopardise their careers to win custody.
"I have come across cases where one parent intentionally resigns from her job to show that she can be a better parent, since she can now look after the child full-time," he says.
"In other instances, people deliberately remain jobless so that they don't have to pay maintenance."
5 Disseminate incriminating evidence
For some spiteful ex-spouses, getting evidence of their other half's infidelity is not enough.
Says Mr Yeo: "I have had clients who want to send the evidence that their spouse has been cheating (supplied by the PI) to friends and relatives, to show that their unfaithful spouse was the cause of the marriage breakdown."