It’s been a long couple of days. Every time I am confronted with him, especially when judges are involved, it dredges up a lot of the past. If he would leave me alone, stop trying to always, at minimum, mind fuck, I’d be okay. Instead, twenty-five years of learning to hate. I have it down now. I hate him. He won. He changed me. I never knew how to hate before.
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It pisses me off that I have given this last bit of myself over to him. I gave him my heart and my dreams, which he stepped on and shattered. I picked myself up, and gave him my friendship and commitment. He used those with no return investment. Instead, I was chattel. Chattel that seemed less significant than the family dog, unless there was a reason to pull me out; show me off. The dog wasn’t treated very well either.
Finally I left. I gave up my house and all I owned in order to get custody of the kids. He gave up the kids to keep our stuff. That’s the way joint custody states work.
He has made his life’s mission to make me miserable. I don’t know what his excuse was while we were married, but now it seems to be because I left him, and I bought a house.
That really sent him over the top. How dare I be okay without him. He’d be damned if he was going to buy me a house. The fact that we have two children who like to eat and be clothed and safe has always seemed to escape him.
Our children are 18 and 13 now. They have seen him in action with their own eyes for years.We were divorced in ‘96, after fifteen miserable years. My ex-husband thought we had a ‘good’ marriage. He also thinks he is a ‘good’ father. He is the most deluded person I know. I admit my share of faults and flaws, but I am not a sociopath.
Court went my way for a change. Usually he has legal advice, and I have truth and righteous love. Legal advice, I have found, goes much farther in the courtroom.
Roman, as always, has underestimated me. There is a very logical reason that I live where I do. I am much more astute than he has ever given me credit for. My first and foremost reason has always, will always, be the kids. Sam was in Governor’s school and will enter UVA as a sophomore next fall. She graduates from high-school in June. A small town county has made many more doors open with opportunities for such bright, cultured children. To be one of 200 as opposed to 2000, greatly increases odds. That’s the reason I live in a county that is about 350,000 acres and has a population of approximately 15,000. There are only two stop-lights in the entire county. I usually have good motive behind my madness.
It’s an interesting place to live. (thank God for the internet.) Almost everyone owns at least one ‘deer’ dog. Everyone owns some sort of four-wheel drive vehicle; many of these can accommodate the ‘deer’ dog cage in the back and the gun rack in the front. Confederate flag decals are not unseen, but not as common as the little boy pissing on “FORD”, or whatever the brand. I look away and roll my eyes before I take in the brand name.
In November the woods, which are everywhere, are awash with orange hats floating amid dead trees. The dogs bark. A gunshot. Happy hunters take their trophies. At least the deer here still have someplace to run to. I actually know people named “Bubba”.
A side benefit I have derived from living in an “Andy-of-Mayberry” kind of county is folks here ain’t stupid, and they ain’t blind. They might use a lot of quaint expressions and look at me kind of sideways as I talk the talk I am used to speaking. Truth is that’s all syntax. The language in a small place like this is still integrity.
The day started out badly. I had given myself plenty of time to get to the courthouse, forty-five minutes away. As I was headed out the door, I went to grab, -my keys were missing. My daughter had used them the night before. I frantically searched everywhere. Did she not find her keys, and forget I had court? I had no one to call who could help me with this. I called the school and said it was an emergency. They quickly got my daughter to the phone.
“Sam, do you have my keys?”
“No, mom, they’re on the counter.”
“ No, they aren’t. I have court, Sam! Where are the KEYS?”
“Oh! Oh- I think James has them!”
“WHY DOES JAMES HAVE MY KEYS?! I HAVE TO GET TO COURT! Okay, you have to drive like hell and get here with your keys. I’ll call the court so at least they know I’m on my way-“
When I got to the courthouse, I stopped in the little side-room where all the lawyers and social workers hang out. I found the woman from ‘support-enforcement’ and let her know I had arrived. Then I went into the waiting room, which was full. I hoped I wasn’t called last, though only a few minutes ago, I was sure we would be called first. Within minutes they called us into the courtroom.
I have lived in very overburdened counties where judges are either corrupt, burnt out or both. The dockets there are so overwhelmed that each case is a blur to the judge and the participant’s merely numbers to be crossed off in the course of the day. This county is not like that. Here, they remember your name. The fact that he is a Yankee has not only worked against him, but has reinforced how northerners are viewed and propagated the stereotypical. If there weren’t some truth to it, could it become a stereotype? Roman was an ugly northerner -lewd, crude, and slick. Unlike the large city, here we get the same judge every time he drags me into court. This time he was trying to reduce his child support(again), and was asking the court to give me jail time for interfering with his visitation.
The courthouse is a longer distance for him, about ten hours of drive time. He lives in Connecticut. He was sadly disappointed when the judge continued my trial until June, and appointed a lawyer to represent me.
As to the support reduction, the judge would not hear that one until June as well. Our daughter will graduate in June, when her support will be eliminated. Roman tried, over and over, to get the judge to rule on what might be the situation after her graduation. Becoming increasingly annoyed with each repeated, slightly differing request for this ruling, the judge finally glared at him and said,
“I will not rule on events that have not yet occurred. What if, God forbid, some terrible accident should befall your daughter and she was to become disabled before her graduation. Do you understand why I cannot rule on future events, presuming they will occur?”
Roman continued to insist that the judge was wrong. At one point I timidly raised my hand. The judge quickly said,
“You’re winning, don’t say anything, or I will have to weigh that in here.”
I withdrew my hand from the air and replaced it in my lap.
When the judge had dismissed us, but still remained on the bench, we began to collect our papers and tie up the loose ends. I got up and went to speak with the two women from support enforcement. These same two always show up and it’s obvious they see through this bastard’s tricks and manipulations. They again today pointed out to the judge that while he makes sixty thousand, and I eleven, he remains more than three thousand dollars behind in child support. I pointed out to them the timing of this latest circus.
After months of searching for his employer, one day I received a new insurance card for the kids. It had his employer’s name listed and I quickly passed the information onto the support people. His garnishment went through on March 9th. This latest attempt to use the court to mess with me was dated March 10th. Coincidence?
To turn attention from this revelation the asshole then said, “I want to see the kids today.” I responded, “They told me they were meeting you at ‘Subway’ after school. Isn’t that what you arranged with them at dinner last night?.... I will not force them to pick up the phone when you call.” There lies my sole guilt in visitation interference. I say, thank God for caller i.d.!
I then continued my conversation with the support women, inquiring of them how to go about enforcing the settlement agreement whereby he is responsible for half of college expenses. The judge’s voice boomed,
“That issue will never see my courtroom!” he continued, “That is not a child support issue. It is however a civil matter, and if the settlement states his responsibility and he doesn’t adhere to it, it is cause for contempt.”
The judge was giving me free legal advice, from his bench!
My case is continued until June 27th, at which time I will be tried for my interference. The support issue will be addressed then as well. Sam will be emancipated, and so his support will automatically be cut in half. I don’t think he’ll be able to lower it more. Instead, I’m rather certain the judge will want to speak to the arrearage.
Roman will have to drive down here again for the court date. Moron that he is, he never considered that. I wonder if he’s yet realized that with the graduation ceremony on June 10th, he’s going to be doing a lot of driving that month.
Country justice can be a little sweet for a southern girl with an idiot ex from the north.