Divorced dad who signed away custody of children writes heart-wrenching letter to 2 sons
He unknowingly signed away his visitation rights to his children.
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Sometimes, the happiness of a man depends on the wellbeing of his children.
That’s the case for Matthew Lim, a divorced father of two boys.
At a loss for options, Lim posted an open letter on Wednesday, Feb. 28, to his sons, sharing his story of how his marriage dissolved as well as the regrets he has harboured as a result of the divorce.
Differences since 2013
With successful businesses in tow, Lim wrote that he was living a happy, comfortable life.
But things slowly went downhill, he said, including his marriage.
“This is also the times where differences start to show and being brought up constantly. The change in treatment from then spouse was hard to bear but I know I have the two of you to push me to bear it through hoping it was just temporary.”
Worked overseas for children’s wellbeing
Two years later, Lim said decided to work overseas so his sons would not have to witness the negativity between him and his then-spouse.
Despite the distance, he made it a point to video-call them often and flew home to his family here regularly.
“While I’m overseas, I still came back regularly for visits on major festive periods and holidays. Video calls in between the trips at least let you know I am not further than a click away.”
Lim said he eventually found a job that allowed him to return to Singapore frequently, thinking it would be better for the family.
Instead, he said it became worse, feeling unwelcome in his own home and having to sleep separately from his then-wife.
Suspected wife was cheating on him
Lim’s situation reached the point of no return when he said his friends had told him they saw his wife with another man, which Lim said he “pretty much” verified with the help of a hired investigator.
The couple filed for divorce, but he said he decided not to bring up his wife’s alleged cheating to make the process as painless as possible for his sons.
“Divorce is imminent and I only want the best for the two of you and decided not to bring the affair up during the divorce discussions. I only wanted the best for the two of you and kept mentioning throughout the whole process that I wish to be part of the solution anytime there might be a need for me.”
In Aug. 2017, Lim said he was told to sign some documents to finalise his divorce.
When he asked for time to have a better understanding of the clauses involved, Lim said he was threatened with a lawsuit of a contested divorce if he did not sign them immediately.
He booked a ticket back to Singapore the following day and went to the lawyer’s office, rushing through and not really reading the details of the documents in order to get out and celebrate one of his sons’ birthday.
Little did he know that it was the last time he would get to spend time with them freely.
“There was a clause that I do not have the right to visit you two at any point of time without consent. I did not know this until the final judgment is over. I had no one to blame but myself for having too much trust in someone I never thought or feel that would harm me or you two kids. That trip was the last time I had an awesome outing with the two of you alone.”
Heartbreaking video call
In Nov. 2017, Lim’s son allegedly used his foreign caregiver’s phone to give him a video call just to tell him that he had missed his father.
Heartened by his son’s call, he booked the next flight to Singapore and left a message to his ex-wife, informing her that he will be visiting their children.
His ex-wife, however, allegedly refused to allow him to visit them, as per the clause in the divorce documents he had signed.
According to Lim, from then on, he could no longer contact his sons or their caregiver:
“I am denied visit and later found out that your grandmother is having huge difficulties visiting you as well. All I had was a reply to refer to the final judgment where I had no access to. All communications to you and your employed foreign caregiver was cut off the next day.”
Planned meeting with sons, time cut from 12 hours to 30 minutes
Lim said he continued to persevere, as he flew to Singapore frequently in hopes of getting his hands on the divorce documents.
He said he got a lawyer’s letter just so he could meet his sons on Feb. 25, after his ex-wife told him to apply for visitations through a lawyer.
“I was also told by your custodian to apply for visit through lawyer if I want any visit. Did not want to create anymore unnecessary conflicts, I obliged to the request and gotten my lawyer’s letter stating I can have a visit of 12hours on 25th Feb 2018 from 10am to 10pm. Patiently I waited, looking forward to the day I can see you again.”
Except that he didn’t get to spend a fruitful day with his sons.
Regrettably, and this part wasn’t clear, Lim said the police got involved, resulting in him spending more time explaining his situation to the police instead of catching up with his sons:
“Even with 30mins sitting roadside, out of which 20mins explaining & proving to the police the lawyer’s letter why am I there for (Yes, I was being called police upon). I had a good 10mins to have a good conversation with my two beloved sons. “
Despite the short time he spent with them, Lim said it brought him peace knowing that his sons were well and able to recognise him as their father:
“I might not have the whole 12 hours, I thought I would feel terrible to see you being forcefully pulled away from your father, actually I feel more peaceful than sad at that moment I saw the black shiny European continental car pulled away. It is because now at least I knew you are both fine and still remember me as your dad.”
He finished his letter expressing his wish and a glint of hope of getting to someday meet his sons again:
“I hope you are happy throughout your life and always know that daddy is here for you no matter what happens. I promise you I will not stop fighting for your right to have me by your side whenever you need me.”
A sad story that concludes with a really, really important lesson: always, always read the fine print before signing anything.
Read Lim’s open letter here:
Top image via Matthew Lim’s Facebook page