Tipping The Scales

Filed under: Direct Answers |

I was with my husband for 11 years, happily married for four. We have been separated for a little over a year and I have filed for divorce. We’ve come to an agreement on everything except one thing: our tortoise.

This is going to sound strange, but Herbert, the tortoise, has always been our “child.” I love him so much I think of him as my kid, and I completely believe my husband when he says he loves him that much, too.

We got Herbert when he was a baby and fit into the palm of my hand. He is now nine, very large, and lives in the backyard in a doghouse. The problem is my husband still wants to see Herbert.

He agrees he will come over when I am not at home, because I don’t want to see him, and go around to the backyard. I don’t distrust him or think he will try to take Herbert. I just don’t want him there.

I know if Herbert is legally mine, I don’t need to let anyone see him, and my husband knows once the divorce is through I don’t want anything to do with him. I just feel horrible about telling him he can’t see Herbert. It’s like telling someone they can never see their kid again.


Blair, at first this sounds like the case of Solomon’s baby, but it isn’t. You concede both you and your husband love Herbert, and the tortoise is a joint creation of your marriage.

It’s more like this. When we go to a doctor’s office, we are asked to step on a balance beam scale. On that scale there is only one point of balance. At that point an arrow sits in perfect equilibrium, as if caught between the ground and the sky.

Only at one point does the arrow float in the air. But very few dilemmas have that perfection.

You haven’t said anything bad about yourself or your husband, and you have lots of wants. You want a divorce, you don’t want to see your husband again and you want Herbert. Do your wants outweigh his?

Stand on the scale and adjust the weights. Does your desire not to see your husband outweigh your desire for Herbert? Or does your desire for Herbert outweigh your desire not to see your husband? If the former, give Herbert to your husband. If the latter, find a way to share your “child.”

Wayne & Tamara

Wayne and Tamara

About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com

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