Many men get tossed into the deadbeat dad category by their wives who are looking to score the package, regardless of the dad's parenting skills, their loving availability for their kids, and often discounting the dads even if they are the ones who hold down the emotional and logistical side of the household.
In some twisted way, my ex-wife assumed that she was the better parent and thus more entitled to the child support, the house, and the kids' care and feeding. As a good dad, this was just her assumption. Today, her assumption wound probably be supported by state family law. But, I believe times are changing.
It was not fair what happened, and in many ways, my ex-wife was the architect and builder of the divorce.
Love your kids with everything you've got. Let go of your ex, as best you can, and focus on the impact your love is having on your kids. Stay true to that value and you will always choose the high road.
My ex knew I would not sue her for 50/50 custody. She didn't want to lose 50% of the time with her kids. 30% sounded almost palatable. Painful, but well worth the freedom she imagined just ahead, as she headed towards becoming a single mom.
We need our dads to show up for us, as well as our moms. And when the dad is removed from a family, with the SPO, the balance is shifted dramatically in favor of the "mom as the emotional center" of everyone's lives.
She is motivated by money. She divorced me when my earning power seemed unable to support her stay-at-home mom fantasy. She was a 10 - 20 hour a week worker. But she wanted me to return to the corporate machine, and I wanted to negotiate an alternate route.
Divorce should start at 50/50. Shared custody. Shared bills. Shared hardships if one or more of the parents lose a job. Let the individual couples negotiate in Texas from that position, rather than the inequitable position we are presented with today.