“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”
Henry VI, Part 2. Act 4, Scene 2.
This quote from Shakespeare is often misinterpreted. Tonight, I am adopting the more popular, more literal and incorrect meaning of this line.
After not being able to arrange a trip for The Kid to come up during The Old Man’s funeral this past February, I decided to retain another attorney to get certain aspects of my divorce decree more clearly defined. Around that same time, I began talks with Jabba to make arrangements for summer visitation. (I knew with The New Guy being born in July, she would have dragged her knuckles through the process, so locking down a firm schedule for summer visitation was paramount). She expressed reservations about The Kid flying alone – both for The Old Man’s funeral and for summer visitation. In fact, Jabba’s reluctance to allow The Kid to fly up for the funeral resulted in him missing it altogether. She wanted me to pay to fly/drive her up with The Kid. I refused. I told her that I would never again foot such a bill for her.
At the time of The Kid’s birthday, we could not agree on a time for him to come visit me for the summer. Jabba argued that his summertime activities were more important than seeing me. At that point, I retained an attorney with the hopes of possibly seeking mediation.
Six months have passed and I have yet to see The Kid. Jabba and I haven’t verbally spoken to each other since my father’s funeral. And my lawyer has done nothing.
To say that I am livid is a gross understatement.
I need to fire this guy, I know that. I need to retain another lawyer, I know that. I have to get this stuff with visitation – and dealing with Jabba – locked down once and for all.
I have to see my son.
After my actual divorce phoning in my case, then dying; and my second lawyer basically playing dead, I am shell-shocked at the thought of putting my faith in another lawyer again. At the same time, things CANNOT continue the way they are.
I wish the law was different. I wish I could retain a lawyer here in Michigan. I’d settle for a lawyer down South just taking my case seriously.
I used to love watching the Olympic Games.
I still love the athletic competition, don’t get me wrong. i think over the last few years, I’ve gotten really frustrated over NBC‘s coverage of the games. I swear, they don’t show anything unless its an event in which the US is winning a medal. If that’s not total propaganda, I don’t know what is. To NBC’s defense, I’ve noticed that they tend to show all the pro-American events on the main network; with their cable and satellite stations airing everything else. Also their coverage on NBC Olympics.com is pretty kick ass.
Hearing all of the controversy surrounding Russia’s anti-gay laws heading into these games makes me think of the scandal surrounding the 2002 Salt Lake City games – when Salt Lake City officials basically bribed the IOC into hosting the games. In turn, the Salt Lake scandal reminded me of the 2004 games in Athens which basically took Greece’s economy from the toilet to the sewer.
People talk about whether or not athletes should stage some sort of protest against Russian’s anti-gay policies. I doubt we’ll see anything so controversial this year. I was stunned when nobody boycotted the Salt Lake City games in protest of the US occupation of Iraq.
People like to say how the Olympics are not political; but rather they about about international cooperation and athletic competition. The Olympics are entirely political. If they weren’t, athletes would not enter by country, wear their country’s colors or stand underneath their flag while their national anthem plays on the medal stand.
One more thing before I get off of my soapbox: I think that any sport in which an Olympic Gold Medal is not the ultimate prize has no place in the Olympics whatsoever: no baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis or golf.
I’m glad to see that CBC is showing the Olympics again in Canada. Maybe I’ll watch some of their coverage again.
I got an e-mail from Jabba on Sunday night. Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to talk about it, let alone share it; but a phone conversation I had with her last night has prompted me to finally open up.
The Kid had a meltdown last night. He said some really frightening things and some that I will spare you. It was a gut wrenching night. The issue was his trip to Michigan.
He told me that “I wish my daddy didn’t have a girlfriend because then he’d love me.” He never mentioned The Auteur’s name as he likes her. He doesn’t like the idea of her. He is afraid that you are going to marry her and have a baby and forget about him and not love him. His biggest complaint was that he isn’t get to see Mother, The Old Man and Phred enough while he was in Michigan. He has asked me to speak with you about this. He has asked me to ask you that when he comes to Michigan that he wants to stay at Mother and The Old Man’s with you. It is much the same as what he said while he was up there. He told me that he tried to speak with you about it and that you wouldn’t listen to him so he thinks “he needs help from an adult.”
I ask you to hear him out and follow his lead. This is not about you. This is not about The Auteur. This is about The Kid not being emotionally it psychologically prepared to deal with this right now and you respecting his feelings. The way you handle this can help him accept The Auteur’s role in his life or reject it. Similarly, it will do the same for his feelings for you.
Please speak with him and more importantly listen to him
I was tempted to ignore it altogether; not even dignify it with a response. Fast forward to last night: The Kid and I are talking on the phone when he tells me that Jabba wants to talk to me. He apparently misunderstood her as she just wanted to know if I got the e-mail. I confirmed for The Kid – and Jabba – that I did.
Obviously, this is a topic that Jabba and I needed, and need, to discuss. At the behest of The Auteur, I decided to give Jabba a call Thursday night so we could stop tip-toeing through this. As I mentioned in an earlier entry HERE, I don’t believe that The Kid truly feels the way that Jabba claims he does. As the old saying goes: I haven’t seen it myself; therefore I don’t believe it.
The Hutt reached an absolute new low last night: She told me that The Kid has been seeing a child psychologist and said that he wanted to kill himself. Upon hearing this, I immediately asked for the name and number for this child psychiatrist. She refused to give it to me, stating that she is reluctant to take that “safe place” away from The Kid. Needless to say, I am now exploring my legal rights on this matter.
What was most striking to me was that this alleged bombshell she dropped did not change the course of our discussion. She did not set aside any animosity she has for me in an attempt to get to the heart of this matter. No; instead she reverted to her typical name call and cursing at me. So I took a page out of her book: after warning her several times to stop the name-calling, I told her that I would continue this conversation when she was ready to talk like an adult. I told her “have a good night” and I hung up on her.
Of course, if my son is feeling like this, then I will do everything in my power to help him. But the fact of the matter is that it is highly unusual for a six-year-old to even have suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, there is absolutely no indication in any other aspect of his life that he is anything other than a happy little boy. I have spoken with his school teacher and she has said repeatedly that he is a both happy and precocious. In fact, when she e-mailed The Kid’s report card, she even said he talked about how much fun he had with me over Christmas break. At the time, the comment made me feel really good. Little did I realize just how important that remark would become in just a few short weeks.
This is the second part of a two-part entry. When I originally wrote part one, I had a decidedly different article in mind for part two. Given today’s events, it seemed entirely appropriate to re-visit this entry. Click HERE to read part one.
The Auteur and I were up late last night and in turn, slept in late today. When i first checked my e-mail today I saw an e-mail from my attorney’s office. The attachments on said e-mail included the final settlement to my divorce proceedings.
Maybe I should provide a little back-story before I go on my rant here:
One of the biggest hang-ups during these settlement negotiations – at least on my side thus far – has been a “personal loan” that Jabba had included and insisted that I pay back to her. Now, admittedly, near the end of our marriage, there were a few bills that i asked her for assistance in paying. These were utility payments – not credit cards or other personal bills that I had; household bills that we, as a married couple, were both getting use of.
Fast forward to Summer 2013 as we were inching toward an eventual court date. Greenie asks me about this “personal loan”. I explain to him that the amount Jabba and I agreed to was $583.00. Again, I wasn’t crazy about it, but I was willing to cut my losses to move things along. Greenie seemed surprised at the amount. He told me that Jabba’s lawyer told her in was approximately $2000.00 – which, coincidentally, sounds to me like the amount of Jabba’s legal fees. At this point, Greenie assured me that he would insist on paperwork to back up Jabba’s claim.
September 2013: Our day in court. I had planned on visiting and taking The Kid to Myrtle Beach when I received a summons to appear in court just before said visit. The day I arrive in South Carolina, I get a call from Greenie claiming that he and Jabba’s lawyer have reached a settlement and our court appearance will now be for a final hearing. He gives me a rough summary of the settlement over the phone. I ask to see a copy of the settlement before going into court. He gives me a story about how it hasn’t been written up yet, but it will be drawn up by Jabba’s lawyer.
We go into court, and I , essentially, lie under oath – telling the judge that I have read and agree to the terms of the settlement even though I have not seen the final agreement. The judge declares the divorce to be official. It is, literally, all over except for the paperwork.
Almost immediately upon leaving court, I begin pestering Greenie about seeing the final agreement. He tells me that he doesn’t have it – as Jabba’s lawyer has to write up the actual language of it.
October 2013: When I once again ask Greenie for the final agreement, he explains to me that it was sent on to the judge; but not to worry because we’ll have 10 days to review it once it comes back from him.
December 2, 2013: I receive an a-mailed copy of the Final Order. It makes no mention of the few concessions I have asked for from Team Jabba. Neither Greenie nor his paralegals will return my phone calls.
I am absolutely beside myself. Jabba is about to get everything she wanted – and then some. I’m about to get hosed. I walked away with and am now getting nothing. I’m not sure if I even have a leg to stand on, but I am considering filing a grievance with the state bar association for how ineffectively he has handled my divorce since day one.
I’ll save my rant on Christmas visitation for another post.
- Divorce – Financial Affidavits and Knowing Your Current Financial Situation (thinkingaboutgettingdivorced.com)
If you are married, live in the North (and I’m referring to the same North that people think of when they think of the Civil War) and are thinking about moving down South, my advice to you is: DON’T.
Jabba and I were married in 2000 here in Michigan. We moved down South in 2004. We separated in 2012; and since we were South Carolina residents for 8 years, we had to file for our divorce in South Carolina.
There is no such thing as a “no fault divorce” in South Carolina – at least not in the same sense that there is in Michigan. I’ve heard of some people in Michigan having divorces go from start to finish in as little as 6 months. Unless it’s something severe – substance abuse, physical abuse, criminal activity – it takes a minimum of one year to get a divorce in the Palmetto State.
And I get it. I really do. The state really wants people to try and save their marriages and I respect that – as long as there is even an chance of saving said marriage. As my lawyer, Greenie, pointed out to me “If there is a Bible belt in this country, South Carolina is the buckle of that belt”.
I bring all of this up now because it has been nearly 18 months since Jabba and I separated and I have absolutely no proof that we’re any closer our divorce being finalized that we were the day I moved out. According to Greenie, the judge has our papers and we’re all just waiting for him to sign off on them, which should just be a formality. The only reason I even believe that is because I actually saw the judge when I appeared in court and he essentially rubber-stamped everything there.
It’s not as if Jabba and I are fighting over some multi-million dollar estate, or we’re locked in some bitter custody dispute over The Kid. In the grand scheme of things, we’ve agreed on almost everything – although some of my previous blog entries may seem to suggest otherwise.
I just want this thing to be done by the end of the year. That would be a great Christmas present and a great way to end 2013.
The beacons have been lit.
As of this posting, Rebuilding Rob is now public.
What hath God wrought?
Wednesday started out like any other day under the current status quo of The New Normal: I got in from work, talked / Facebook Messaged The Auteur, slept a bit, tried to enjoy some daylight.
In the evening, I called The Boy. And since the STBX refused to take my calls or answer my e-mails, I asked The Boy to put her on the phone.
I reminded her of our rough plans for me to visit The Boy while she was on a work-related trip. I was planning to turn this into a little vacation of my own with The Auteur and 1B in tow.
After some stuttering and stalling, she tells me that I am not allowed to see The Boy until there’s a settlement in place.
I wasn’t really surprised by this course of action on Jabba’s behalf, but to be told you cannot see your child by anyone is truly shocking.
Amazingly enough, I kept my cool. I didn’t go nearly as ballistic as I did the day of the cable bill calamity although this is clearly much, much worse.
I called my lawyer the next day, and had a phone meeting with him on Friday. He’s going to call Jabba’s lawyer before proceeding any further.
What the hell have I become? The Me From One Year Ago would not even recognize the me of today. I’m not saying this to condemn the current me; rather, I’m just stunned sometimes at how much my life, my perspective and my attitude has changed.
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I will not be.
If I am lucky, I will be working tonight.
Last night, she invited me to go get a drink with them after the premiere. She knows damn well that I’ve been sober for the last 6 weeks.
I am sick to death of living a lie, “living in sin” if you will. I am tired of being a “secret boyfriend”. I’m sick to death of having a “secret girlfriend”.
I just want this entire day and night to pass in a flash; have the time slip through my proverbial fingers, wake up and it be Thursday already.
I’m trying so hard to be the better person, let this just slide off of me and move on, but today is the day and it’s hard to ignore right now.
I get a call from my attorney Thursday afternoon. Not one of the paralegals, mind you, but the actual lawyer. I’ve been calling his office for the last 2 weeks trying to get my summer visitation with The Boy to get put on the proverbial front-burner, since his last day of school was TODAY.
Anyway, he calls to tell me that the STBX’s team refuses to budge on only allowing me 4 weeks over the summer with The Boy (I wanted 6 weeks during the summer). he goes on to explain to me that he had spoken not only with other lawyers, but also some judges who all seemed to think that no judge would give me 6 wee ks and any attempts to pursue it would be, in his words, “throwing good money after bad money”. Seriously, why the hell did I even hire this guy? This first battle was the only one I even gave a fuck about. I could have saved a hell of a lot of money and just allowed the STBX’s attorney to fuck me in the ass this badly without any legal representation of my own.
I spoke with the Old Man Friday and we laid out a game plan for getting down to Charleston and getting The Boy. I still haven’t spoke with the STBX, but I did e-mail her about my intentions this afternoon.
UPDATE: Saturday June 1 8:57 PM
I got an e-mail from the STBX last night. Now she’s apparently saying she wants The Boy back in South Carolina on June 30th. Once again, I’m feeling like Lando Calrissian in that “this deal keeps getting worse all the time”. Shortly thereafter, I spoke with The Auteur and told her what was going on. she was totally sympathetic to Team Rob, of course; but then she proceeds to “uninvite” to the local Emmy awards show in which she was nominated for a student Emmy. I understand what she was trying to do – relieve me of the guilt of telling her that I can’t afford the ticket to the show, but her timing could not have been worse.
The Old Man and I reconvened today (Saturday) and decided to leave on Wednesday after my dental appointment. This most likely means that i wont be able to see The Auteur on her birthday (this Friday) but she already made plans to go to a concert that night anyway, so I already felt like I was playing second-fiddle anyway. She’s disappointed, and rightfully so, but I too was disappointed when I couldn’t see her on my birthday. It sucks, but we’ll both live.
I need to find a new way to cope with my impending divorce. I feel like i’m getting butt-surfed by the STBX and both of our attorneys and I’m not handling it well at all. The Auteur really called me out on it today, saying that I lay into her too much about it. In a lot of ways, I think I do. She puts up with me talking about it far more than she should have to.
Ben Franklin once said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. On this Tax Day 2013, I would humbly submit a third absolute to be added to this list: getting financially fucked up the ass during divorce proceedings.
For the first time since actually leaving South Carolina, I am truly beginning to feel the financial ramifications of the dissolution of my marriage. As some of you may have guessed, I am talking about my income taxes for 2012. I had gotten used to kick-back i would receive from the IRS for the living, breathing write-off that is my son. Despite the fact that he lived in my home for one-half of the calendar year – I fed him, clothed him, paid for his day care and health care expenses – the STBX is the only one who is reaping the financial windfall of this endeavor called parenthood in 2012.
I don’t want to come across like I’m all about the money. I’m not. I would gladly let the STBX reap the financial benefits of our Son if it meant I had sole custody of him. Hell, now I would settle for joint custody. I really would. My income tax returns are just another example from taking it up the wazoo from the Wicked Witch of the Southeast.
To make matters worse, this has probably been the worst year of my professional life. I didn’t work much this past year, and I made even less money. That and I apparently fucked up my with- holdings during my last teaching gig.
I’m really not trying to be all “the glass is half-empty and there’s a hole in it”. Really, I’m not. I’m cautiously optimistic that this tax thing is the final dark cloud bordering on my silver lining. Things are going extraordinarily well with The Auteur. She and I just had what I consider to be the best weekend of my life so far. If taking my lumps with tax season is the price i have to pay for this remarkable relationship with The Auteur, then so be it.
Wow. it’s true. All I have to do is think of her and I feel better about things.
Perhaps I should reconsider that third certainty.
I really shouldn’t even be complaining. Not today anyway. Not when a great celebration turned into this earlier today…