I agree with you (about your kids). The legal system is freaking horrible at dealing with these domestic disputes, child custody issues, it holds children hostage and no one suffers as much as the children.
Let me offer this (as I was once a child who lived through a bitter, horrible divorce) children cannot choose. They really can’t. That was one of the smartest things my father said to me, when I accused him of trying to make me choose. I said, “you and mom, you want us to choose!” He said, “No I don’t, because I know you can’t.” When I thought about it, it was true, the pressure to choose mainly came from my mom, it was exhausting.
No matter how daunting the odds seem to be, you must try to stay in your child’s life. Children need the love and support of both their parents and even though the legal system devalues male parent contribution to just money, that system is wrong for doing that. Don’t buy into that fallacy. Change your thinking about it entirely. Love is the most lasting and precious thing you can give to your children. No one can take your ability to love from you, and no one can take that love away from your children. No one. Remember that always.
Please don’t be like everyone else, and make this whole thing about the beef between you and your ex. Your kids deserve better than that. But in order to be there for them, you are going to have to change the way you THINK. Stop telling yourself you have already lost! Stop telling yourself you have nothing to give except money! Start telling yourself the opposite of all that, and I don’t care if it feels like a lie. If that’s the way it feels, then so what? Lie to yourself! They are at least good lies. Tell yourself you are a winner who will be there for his kids until you make it true.