What Not To Do During the Divorce: Rudy Giuliani, a Case Study

In an interesting piece on the Huffington Post, Stacy Schneider opines that Rudy Giuliani’s “Nasty Divorce” reveals why he may be unfit to be president. Politics aside, the former mayor’s divorce is a primer on what not to do during a divorce.

The divorce was a vicious, go-for-the-jugular, corrosive slugfest, with Rudy seemingly pulling the sharpest punches of the pair. His ongoing public display of his mistress's affections was certainly unbecoming of an elected official. But watching an uncaring father of two young children consistently display his contempt for his own family on the television news was both shocking and heartbreaking.

Schneider highlights the mistakes made by Giuliani, to which I add my thoughts.

  • Rudy publicly humiliates his wife by announcing his divorce plans to the media, before privately informing her and their children. He then openly admitted having a romance with Judy Nathan, now his third wife, while he was still married.

Is it no surprise that Rudy is estranged from his children? When asked how I tell my children that I am getting divorced, I doubt anyone would suggest holding a press conference. The children should have been privately told that their parents were divorcing.

  • Next the mayor's attorney, famed celebrity divorce lawyer, Raoul Felder viciously attacked Donna Hanover with Rudy's approval, publicly describing her as "howling like a stuck pig."

There really is no place for name calling or finger pointing. This child- like behavior may sell newspapers, but, it only adds to the animosity, without any tangible or economic benefit.

  • Further, it seemed to be a big priority of Rudy's to maintain his own comfort in carrying on his liaison with Judy Nathan at the expense of his children. This was evident when a judge barred her from continuing her frequent visits to the mayor's mansion, ostensibly because of its effect on the children, who were living there with their mother. At one point during divorce proceedings, Rudy was denied joint custody of his son because he insisted on having Judy present during the children's overnight visits at his home.

This is a clear case of not acting in the best interests of the children. Giuliani put his desire to be with his girlfriend over and above the needs of the children. The Mayor would have been better advised to spend alone time with his children to re-establish their bonds.

I can only imagine the loss of trust and sense of betrayal his children felt after learning that their father left their mother for another woman. The feelings had to be transformed to frustration and anger when the children, while visiting their father, were forced to spend time with his new girlfriend.

Since we learn from our leaders, Giuliani’s divorce is a case book example of how to alienate your children as part of a divorce. This is a lesson not to be followed.

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