August 31

The Great Paradox of Family Court

There are so many paradox in family court, that it might be hard to single one out as the great one. Perhaps my view is skewed, because this is the one that is used to beat me about the head and chest until I submit, well at least get pushed back. Every man might have a different idea of what qualifies as the “Great Paradox” in their case, but this is my bog, so fuck them. You get to hear my story. If you have your own ideas, I would love to hear them. Put them in the comments.

The paradox that I m talking about is that you aren’t supposed to talk to the kids about what happens in court. The majority of decisions made in family court dramatically effect everything about their lives, but we aren’t supposed to talk to them about these things. We aren’t supposed to tell the kids that mom and dad don’t agree on things, and that they are fighting over things in this mysterious court somewhere. Decisions are made that change their lives, sometimes dramatically, but we as parents are supposed to not talk to them about these things. We are simply supposed to say that the court decided that they are no longer allowed to see their dad regularly, or you are now going to stay with your dad full time who is moving 800 miles away, so you won’t see your mom very often. These are the things that we are not supposed to talk to your children about.

On top of the fact you are not supposed to talk to your kids about these things, their are “professionals” who do talk to your kids about these things. The GAL, therapists, and custody evaluators all are allowed to use their judgement to talk to your kids about these things in your stead. They can say whatever they want, so long as the court is willing to listen to what they are peddling.

I can understand this position if divorces and custody were determined within a couple months, but the truth is that most cases stay in court until the last child is 18 years old. This makes parenting your children difficult at best and impossible in some cases. Courts like to pretend that kids are somehow too naive to understand what is going on around them, and too stupid to understand. They often worry about the harm done to children by understanding that their parents are not in total agreement about things, while not realizing the kids knew that long before the divorce proceedings started.

In the “Land of the free, and home of the brave,” we are supposed to parent as the family court likes or risk losing the right to parent. We are not to exercise our constitutionally protected rights or we risk losing the right to parent. The battle cry of those who are conquering our rights is “in the best interest of the children” said in calm tones before or after each statement they make. All it takes is some time in family court to realize that your rights don’t matter at all. They don’t matter, because we have built a system the requires great means to protect your rights.

I am left with the options of parent my kids as I see fit when I have time with them, and potentially lose my time with them, or to be a father in name only. I can choose to not parent my kids, but have time with them(maybe). That isn’t even a given. The core argument is that me and their mother are not supposed to disagree, and if we do, then the court needs to pick who is right even on issues where there isn’t a right person. They will choose the same person almost every time, because that is the most likely way to get the other person out of court.

I finally watched Divorce Corp. a few weeks ago. The statement that stood out to me as absolute truth is that it doesn’t matter how good the parents are. They could be two of the worst parents who together can hardly care for their children or two of the best parents who would both excel at parenting alone or together. When they walk into court, the court will decide which one it judges better by standards that are not always obvious. Gender bias plays a role here, but this isn’t always the case. All too often you have one parent who has no problem trashing the other parent, and by doing so, they end up looking better to the court, especially if they are clever about it. Once the court judges the parents and decides which it will support, from that moment on the chosen parent might as well be in the top percentile of parents and the other parent might as well be in the bottom percentile of parents. The reality doesn’t matter. This is why in court the most aggressive parent wins.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 27

I didn’t really get time

pocket watches

I thought that I had at least won some time with my kids. I haven’t had a weekend with my kids in the month of May. My first weekend is the weekend of 6/6-8. My middle schoolers will be leaving for a missions trip on 6/7. I won’t get them back until the Friday for Father’s Day. The following weekend is mine, but their mother is leaving for vacation with them for 9 or 10 days, and then she has the 4th of July Holiday. I lose a day off of that weekend. I don’t get a full weekend with my kids until July 18th. Thankfully I get 3 in a row then, but I haven’t figure out how their mother will take some of that away from me. My youngest will get at least one more full weekend with me in that time, but that is it. I suspect the alienation will be in full swing when I get them back for any period of time. I already see differences in how they react to me. I am not sure what I will do if this continues. I will not leave them in a protracted battle for custody. When people ask how fathers can check out, they haven’t been through this. They haven’t seen their children tormented. They haven’t had the thoughts that it is better for their kids to believe they are a loser who left them, than for them to be continually subjected to the active hate of their father from their mother. I am not finished, but there has to come a time when I am done. The lesson learned is that the parent who is most aggressive, and the most likely abusive is going to win custody. They have no boundaries to stop them from doing whatever it takes to win. Winning wasn’t even what I wanted. I just wanted to spend time with my kids, and have money when I have them to enjoy things with them. If I can’t have that, then I may be best served by moving away and petitioning the court for extended visitations over the summer. Of course that won’t be easy to win while she has the school job, and has summers off herself.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 6

She so crazy!

this is my favorite photo i've ever taken.

No really, she is. I try to convince myself all the time that I have the normal crap, and it feels crazy to me, but every time I do, she proves me wrong. There are a couple good ones going on right now. The things she is or has done recently are 1) She has my kids spying on me, and is trying to convince them that my life is harming them. 2) She is telling me what I can and can’t do with my girlfriend around the kids. 3) She has stolen things from my home without remorse.

Spying

This was one that I expected, but not so overtly. I expected that she would question them about what goes on at my house. What surprised me is that she got my middle boy to actually call and text her what was going on. Nothing bad was going on, but it was none of her business, and of course she wants to twist it into something bad. She has been waging a campaign on my oldest boy to convince him that I am harming him. She will go to his counseling sessions, and sit there and bad mouth me for as long as the counselor will let it go on. There are plenty of people who want to tell me how to behave, but none of them really understand what this woman is. She is a border line personality. This means that she projects her own problems on others. She manipulates without remorse, because she has no empathy. Only her end goal is what matters to her. Anyone who has their own opinion is doing it to assault, punish, etc. her

I had a long talk with the kids. Letting them know that it is not okay to do this. I tried not to point out the primary offender. I made it clear that choosing not to talk to me about things at my house, and talking to her instead would be met with consequences. I really hated having to do this. Its what I have avoided, but there is no alternative, but to make them choose who they wanted to piss off. I don’t want them in the middle, but if their mother will put them there, I have to inform them of the boundaries and that crossing them is going to be an issue. My little spy asked me how much trouble he will get into, so I suspect it won’t stop until he is met with consequences. I also told my oldest that he can ask to leave his counseling session and sit in the lobby if his mother needs some therapy regarding me, and that if he needed to talk about me, then it could be done without her in the room, or he can request that I come along instead.

Girlfriend

Yes, I have a girlfriend who has met the children. We have been separated for what amounts to about two years at this point. The kids already see us as divorced. She is a nice woman, who really is about as opposite of my ex as a woman can be. She is thin, brunette, thoughtful, and unselfish. She is a single mom. Meaning her kids father lives in another state, and chooses to participate very little in their lives. The reasons why, I do not know, I do know that she actively gives him chances and always leaves frustrated. It was fairly natural for her to meet my kids, because it was nearly unavoidable that I would meet hers.

One evening she was over. She was working on homework, and her kids were going to stay the night, because there wasn’t any school the next day and she had to work. I went to play soccer for about an hour and a half. The boys biological half sister was there. She stayed working on homework and looking after things. At one point she snapped at my oldest and sent him to another room to play video games. I got the same story from both, so I am fairly certain it really was as simple as that. He called his mom crying. The next day I saw her, she went off on me. She told me that she isn’t allowed to babysit the kids. She wasn’t supposed to be emotionally involved with the kids, and a list of other things. Now the kids in question don’t need a babysitter for 90 minutes. She also said she had the right of first refusal as if that were an edict. It was not included in the temporary orders she filed, and I would not have had a baby sitter for such a short period of time. If I did, it would have been a family member of mine. I will not call her and haul the kids to her, and all the other issues that would come with that. I don’t think she understands that its my parenting time, and if she was sitting for the kids, I could make her stay at my house with them.

My core problem here is the idea that there are rules that we have to follow on these things leads to deceit. Probably by her. It is a way to assert authority into your ex’s life through the kids. I know it is. When I challenged her that she had no say in my personal life, her answer was I do when it involves the kids. I know that my oldest has met boyfriends of hers. They weren’t introduced as such, but that is what they were. This happened early. I had to process all of this then. I made the decision that I wouldn’t say or do anything, because I didn’t want her to think she had a say in my life. Its really that simple. I chose to have kids with her, so I chose her as their mother. Whether that was a good choice or not, I have to live with the fact she is going to make decisions I won’t agree with. Not a lot different than being married in that respect. I have to trust that anything short of being dangerous is not my business, and ultimately is not harmful. That is the environment created through divorce. I don’t agree that its best, but it is what I have to live with. She will probably never accept this, but I will enforce it in my life.

Stealing

I have very few things from our wedding. Maybe nothing now. I don’t care much, because as this blog catalogs, it was largely a farce. I had three trivets I used in the kitchen. They were nice, and were wedding gifts. She saw them when she was dropping off the kids one day. The next day she was picking up my sons for a game while I was already gone with the girls for another game. She took the trivets. I noticed a day or so later when I went to use them.

Since we are in this temporary order stage of divorce, I notified my lawyer, who sent an email to hers. Her response to me was incredible. She told me that it was my bad communication like that scenario is why our marriage didn’t work. She was furious I would dare tattle on her to my lawyer. I let her know that taking things without asking was not communicating, and that she filed the orders that said we were not to remove things from each others property. She apologized angrily, but never returned the items. She threatened to take all my tools in the divorce, and other things. All of which is very unlikely. Our property is essentially divided, and I am sure she doesn’t want to give up the numerous things she took from our marital home along the way without any conversation.

What I find amazing is she thought that this action was acceptable. Even defensible. I know lots of women have done things like this, but most realize that they are doing something wrong, but are also know that they will probably get away with it.


I have a fun decade in my future dealing with this woman. I don’t know what she will do. I kind of hope she does something crazy for everyone to see, so I can just get the kids and let her fade away. I feel sorry for my kids having her as a mom, and even sorrier that I played a part in that. I do hope that things get better, but I doubt she will do anything the easy way. I think that much of what she is doing is an initial salvo in a parental alienation campaign, so I have to be on my toes.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

April 16

Observations over the weekend

White Knight

This weekend was a busy one. One of those crazy run all over town my kids are doing too much kind of weekends. I had 3 kids in 4 tournaments in 3 different places. This presented some time to take in the world. As I ran around, I spent a lot of time with different people in different situations. So here are three things that struck me over this weekend.

I was chatting with a mom at the batting cages. I didn’t know much about her situation. I know that the STBEW had been talking to her the day before. She opened the non-baseball talk with something along the lines of “Its great how you and her can work things out for the kids sake.” Now understand that was referring to us getting along well enough to get the 4 kids to their activities. She then went on to explain that she has been a single mom since her youngest was four and a half months old, and how their Dad wouldn’t always take the kids to everything on the weekends he had them. I listened as she finished with “Its all about them isn’t it” meaning the kids. First if it was all about them, I would meet far fewer women like her, because they would have figured out a way to stay with the Dad. Most of the time men are easy to keep. There was a time not long ago, I may not have judged the man harshly, but I would not understand why he wouldn’t take his daughter to both a softball game and a soccer game on the same day. Now I see it with a different set of eyes. This man has his kids every other weekend, that’s it. She moved from a town 30 minutes away, leaving him there. He chose not to pick up and leave. This happened to me, and I made a different choice, but I can understand not following her around. Mine wants to move again, and I will probably stay where I am at, so my kids can have some stability. Now if I only had my kids 4 days a month, I think that I might choose to filter their activities such that I got to spend more time with them. Now she painted this picture without saying the words that made him seem like a dead beat of sorts. She told me I would see him at the game. I found this woman attractive before she started talking. I lost some of that shimmer for her as she spoke. I found myself saying “that’s too bad” a lot during the conversation. She probably thought I was agreeing with her sentiment, but the truth is I meant that its too bad that this man was missing out on his kids life for whatever reason. I watched this man at the game. Not hard for me to do at a baseball game. I don’t like baseball much. He came with a daughter from another woman. He obviously had her full time or close to it. He interacted with her and his other daughter as a very genuine father, who knew that people had already judged him. He talked to no one else at the game except one of the coaches. I also watched that he multiple times gave this woman a chance to engage him, and she chose not to. I feel this man’s pain. I am forever changed by my experience, and I know what torture he must go through knowing that he does not have the right to protect his children as a father should.

The next one happened on Facebook. A girl I went to high school with posted one of those “support me, I have been wronged” posts I find that mostly single mothers post about the “son of a bitch” they chose to have kids with. She had sent her child to another city on an airplane to see their father. The father missed getting the child back on the plane in the morning, and she was incensed that not only did she go to the airport and not get her child, but didn’t get a phone call. She called and asked what the hell happened. He explained he thought the flight was in the evening not the morning. Now I saw the comments. Most from similar women saying OMG, and other trite things. They all called this man a pig. How dare he, blah, blah, blah. A few white knights stepped in saying they would kick his ass if they ever saw him. I am thinking to myself, why would this man call if he didn’t realize that the flight was at 5AM instead of 5PM. It would be hours before he realized the mistake. He acted completely reasonably, but everyone wanted to kill him. This again was a woman I once found attractive, but the shimmer was lost with posts like these. My new eyes made me see that this was the continuation of parental alienation. She would now have a reason and the support to deny the father of her children access to the kids they had together. He will probably now see them even less than he already does. I know from her posts that she moves around the country freely, which probably also complicates things for this man. I feel this man’s pain. I am forever changed by my experience, and I know the torture he must go through knowing that he does not have the right to protect his children like a father should.

The third is more personal. After my son won his soccer tournament. It was late, and I was ready to get my kids home. The youngest was tired and ready for bed. The oldest was just hanging out. The middle girl was at a friends and I needed to pick her up, and get some stuff she left in her mom’s car. The one who one who won needed to get his stuff from the car of his team mate’s grandma who had taken care of getting him from game to game over the weekend. I left with the three I had. Shortly after leaving I get an annoyed phone call from my STBEW. She had parked across the park in another lot. Something I would have no idea about, since she was there before I was. She was annoyed I hadn’t sent the boys or a boy with her to escort her to her car. She didn’t ask them to go. Somehow I was not doing my job as a man to think of her, and send a boy, and was also failing to train the boys how to properly treat their mother. If we were together, I would have known, and would have sent a boy with her, and we would have been going to the same home, so he would stay with her. Instead we are not together. My thoughtlessness should have been expected, because when she left my home and asked for a divorce, she also gave up my protection. I don’t understand how she believes that she should have my protection by proxy through the boys. I wasn’t going to argue the point with her. I also wasn’t going to agree to have a chat with the boys, because as I wrote before, chivalry is dead in Chivalry Lost. I see no reason to train my sons to treat women with deference, and their mother in particular. This is different than respecting her as a parent. Had she asked, I would have sent one, even though to get to her I would have had to make multiple u-turns and drive about 3 extra miles to get to the other parking lot. I struggle with how to handle this. I used to think that chivalry was something I should teach my sons. I used to believe that it was important, and it was my job to teach them that women were precious and deserved special care. The problem is the deal is broken. The social contract that was in place that chivalry was a part of him meant that women treated men with a certain respect for being men, and that her men were treated with even more deference. Now that she has left, she no longer has my protection. Our contract is broken. Why then should I train my sons to treat her in a way that I myself would not treat her any longer. Chivalry was taught from father to son mostly through interactions with their mother. Once you are separate that just isn’t going to happen. Now the other problem is that chivalry is something enforced by men for men. It is completely disrespectful for a woman to demand it, and to demand that I a man would teach it in the way she believes it should be done. Feminism has changed chivalry, something they were the beneficiary of but had no part in, into yet another female privileged they believe they deserve. I am sorry, but my sons will not be taught by me to treat women as princesses. They will get the respect they have earned and no more. They will get the protection and service my sons desire to give and no more. I will also teach my daughters that they do not deserve these things for just existing. Its sad the world is here, but surviving requires a new understanding of the social contract. It is time that the women in each of our lives understand that we know the social contract is broken, and they don’t get to write the rules all by themselves.

Ten-Foured,

JeD