No Thanks

October 28, 2013

I have a court date the day before Thanksgiving. The day before my whole family comes to my house to celebrate Thanksgiving and my father’s 90th birthday. This is typical. Not quite as ironic as my Valentine’s Day in divorce court, but still… Did I mention that I have to be deposed on Election Day? This deposition will not get in the way of my voting, but it does get in the way of my plans to spend the day with my kids, who happen to have a day off from school on a day I am not working. My plan was to either visit colleges or simply spend some time with my kids, whom I miss terribly. You see, I’m exhausted, and when I come home from a day of work, I am sometimes too tired to eat, and my kids are busy with homework, and the house has golden retriever tumbleweeds floating down the hallways, and there is no milk. And none of that is really what is exhausting me. I’m exhausted because I know that ex-man will never stop trying to break me. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of a man who destroyed his own life and now wants to take down the very people who tried to help him. I’ve stopped trying to understand how a man can deliberately and methodically try to take everything away from his own children, and then turn around and buy them dinner. What I want to understand is how our court system can allow this to go on, and on, and on. 

I hate resentment and I am full of it. It eats away at me, does nothing to the object of my resentment (ex-man and the legal system), and makes me less available to the people I love and who love me, and less available to myself. So what’s a girl to do? How can I not feel angry when ex-man is now dragging me back to court because he wants to have his support obligations reduced? This is the man who has not paid one on-time support check without court intervention, despite having millions of dollars of assets. This is the man whose support obligations for the children end when they each will still have two more years of college. Does anyone imagine that when my kids complete their sophomore year of college, I will say to them, “Adios, fare thee well. Good luck out there in the world, being on your own.” Of course not. 

On Thanksgiving, I will have to clear off my dining room table which has been littered for years with legal and financial documents related to my never-ending court dates. Because ex-man wants his financial obligations reduced, I have to provide every bank statement, credit card statement, tax return, paycheck, life insurance policy, loan application, etc… since the 2011 date of our divorce decision and order, the one with which he has never complied. But wait there’s more: a list of all gifts I have received, including giftor’s name and address, value, and date received. Forgive me if I call to ask how much you spent on that sweater you gave me for my birthday 2 years ago. I have to provide a list of my furniture; my latest purchases from Ikea are sure to impress. I’m supposed to provide a copy of my parents’ wills, or wills of anyone else who might be leaving me something, so you might want to write me out of yours, if you’d like to keep it private. And they want my passport., which is fine because I’m not going anywhere. And there’s more but I’m too tired to tell you about it.

My blood pressure is rising right at this very moment. And I want to cry. I have no secrets. Truly. Except perhaps the true depth of my sorrow. Having to take the time to dig up, gather, and reproduce copies of every piece of paper related to my life since 2011 makes me want to weep. I would rather have the FBI come into my house and raid it, take my computer, turn my underwear drawer upside down and dump it on the floor, sweep everything off my desk and dining room table, shake out my cereal boxes and flour bin, and rifle through my file cabinet in search of evidence. Evidence of what? Evidence that I need less? They will not find it. I need more but I accept less. I accepted the binding arbitration decision. I accepted that it was unappealable. I accepted that my children’s father’s financial obligation to them would end before their childhood was over. I accepted that I would be the only parent that would love and care for our children, the only one there for the challenges and  joys of raising them. What I cannot accept is that ex-man’s actions take me away from my children, make me less available, make me less of a person, and less of a parent when they still need me oh so very much.  




29 Responses to “No Thanks”

  1. You must be so very strong. I can only imagine how difficult this must be. I watched a step-mother do this very thing to my father. I’m guessing your kids understand. One day they will look back and see a woman who stood up for them, protected them, loved them as best she could. And that’s what they will remember.

  2. I feel your rage and I do not know what to say. I do not understand men like your ex-man. My father was like this. I am so sorry.

  3. Through tears I read this post of yours …. so very sad. I have to hope that at the end of the day, the times recorded will resonate so deeply with your children … that they will remember for ever more that you were their rock … and he was merely the dust beneath.

  4. My brother no longer speaks to his ex (or me, for that matter) because despite his bad behavior in his 27 yr marriage & his desire for a divorce, he doesn’t want to share his significant assets with her, the mother of his child. When you’re the target in the thick of it, it’s hard to feel any compassion for such a man. I am so so sorry that you must deal with this. What a sad and infuriating man. Blessings and courage to you. You will come out on the other side one day, but oh-so painful.

  5. Beth Ann said

    Coming over from Gen Fab. I simply cannot “like” this ….what a horrible ordeal that continues. I have no words and am so sorry that you have to deal with this–especially at a time when there is so much going on. You words touched my heart and I am saying a prayer for strength for you —blessings to you.

  6. I feel sad for you, having seen my own sister go through this for year after year after year. How can someone be so loving as to make you spend years with him, then turn around and be hurtful and hateful to children? I wish I could send strength (and a copy machine) through the ‘net.

  7. Sadly, the length of the marriage was not determined by his being loving, but by my hope that things would change and a commitment to try to keep the family together. What I finally realized was that he had left our family long ago.

  8. Beth Schwartz said

    beautifully written, Karen. You are as strong as a rock. I will say a prayer for you.

  9. You are a rock. You just don’t see it. Yet.

  10. I just want to give you a hug.

  11. Krister said

    Let one more man express his support and admiration for you – wonder what hurt he carries to make such a warped figure – I may not want to know.

  12. StrongerMe said

    I think I comment every time about your writing skills, but dangit, you have the ability to weave the way I am feeling into words. I so get the exhaustion, and I have the dog hair tumbleweeds that sometimes make me hate the world because they represent so much.
    Now that the kids don’t see my ex anymore, people encourage me to fight to increase the child support. One day when I felt I was particularly close to financial ruin (probably a Thursday, since it seems to be a recurring feeling on Thursdays), I looked up the procedures. You just have to fill out a form. A form that asks you to list your entire financial picture now vs the picture on the date of your divorce. Assets, income, blood-type…
    I do deserve an increase. I provide 100% of the support and I was still a sap when we got a divorce and agreed to child support based on a salary that was no where close to as much as he was making. (I still wanted to be the perfect ex-wife.)
    Here’s the thing. I’m exhausted. The court date last year took everything out of me. It consumed me. I will say that it helped me get over him. Completely. I no longer love him, but I don’t hate him (most of the time). I feel nothing for him.
    But I’m still too tired to fight him…

    • I’ve been in court so many times that I usually have no expectation that anything will happen. Two court dates ago I got a new judge who seems like she likes to get things done, so we’ll see… I still get the shakes when I’m in court. I shiver like it’s 10 below. It’s really annoying!
      The legal process is so draining. I understand why you don’t want to go back. I can’t go back, because I never left!

  13. magpie said

    speechless. how is it possible that you would need to provide documentation for gifts received, or copies of other people’s wills. that just seems wrong and invasive and – god awful.

    here’s hoping for better days.

    • I told them that I was not going to provide it unless they could make an argument why they needed it, (like they suspect someone gave me a million bucks?). I actually was prepared for them to ask if I received any gifts of value. I was going to take out a photo of a plaque my kids made me that is full of their love and gratitude for me. That’s the most valuable gift of all! I will be deposed in a few weeks, so we shall see what happens.

  14. Val said

    Followed you over from Stronger Me, reading your archives – all I can express is admiration for your writing, w/simultaneous outrage on your behalf! I know where you’re coming from sistah…

    • Thanks, Val. The update is that ex-man’s motion for downward modification was dismissed, after thousands was spent on defending myself and kids, but of course, he is appealing, along with the other case he lost. Will this ever end?

  15. splitpease said

    I accepted that I would be the only parent that would love and care for our children, the only one there for the challenges and joys of raising them. What I cannot accept is that ex-man’s actions take me away from my children, make me less available, make me less of a person, and less of a parent when they still need me oh so very much.

    you have entered my mind and heart tonight and written so perfectly what I am struggling with at this very moment. Thanks for the validation.

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