Letter to the Family Court

April 2, 2017

Please help me understand why my Rights afforded to me by the Constitution do not apply in your courtroom. Please explain to me further, how a point cannot be brought up if it was not included in the original complaints? If I misunderstood that, please tell me why, at $300 an hour you omitted many points I asked you to include. I also asked you to correct my name on the legal documents you submitted to the court. Not only did you contact me yourself, by telephone to scold me for that request, when I expressed my frustration you told me everyone was working very hard on my case for me. Do you realize your firm charges $300 an hour? You are damn right everybody better be working very hard on my case! Yet, my name still appears incorrect on the documents.

Why don’t the details matter in family court? Why is it impossible to get through one scenario on the stand or during a hearing that would reveal the core issues in the case? Divert and distract. Is that a course required to obtain a law degree?

A father remarries. Naturally there is an emotional upheaval for all involved. The couple vowing to spend the rest of their lives together, for some this is the second chance at forever. Children, if there are any – learning to blend with an existing family structure, adjust to parental principles and household rules. Then the former partners. How will they handle the ex, moving on? For me, curiosity plagued me. How big is her diamond? What is their wedding going to be like? Where are they going on their honeymoon? Is he more involved in the planning this time around? Fortunately, as far as home ownership, I didn’t want the $300,000 house or rather the $300,000 mortgage. They could have that and live happily ever after.

When we decided to married, to elope…I never expected the daughter, my future step-daughter to play that role. The role of the jaded ex. She said to her father, “Why do you want to get married you have me?” This was slightly disturbing to me. I would have gotten my daughter into therapy or had an in-depth conversation about the birds & the bees. At 9 years old a child should understand that adults have other adult companions. The ex included in her counter claim how my husband did not have his daughter at our wedding. Is this cause for concern? Should the court be privy to this information? Does it hold any bearing on the character of a father and his ability to parent his child?

I do not understand, why am I not allowed to speak on my own behalf? I am not named a defendant or plaintiff in the case though I am mentioned quite a bit? My husband is not with me 24/7, never mind with his daughter and me at all times. The man needs to use the bathroom on occasion. It was at that time that the word condom was mentioned on Family Feud. It was at that time she asked me what that was. Is it really that harmful to answer the kid’s question? Her mother though so. Grace and I are usually not alone with each other for more than 2 hours. On maybe 3 occasions my husband worked approximately 4 hours. We planned ahead with surprise activities for Grace which in the end were altered into radical calamities. Grace was good at setting her parents off with a random text. “Mommy, I’m sad. I want to come home.” “Daddy, I’m sad. Can you come home.”

If I ever had the opportunity to explain what the hell is going on with my step-daughter, this is what I would tell you;

She was upset. She was always upset as soon as she saw me. Whether I was in the car picking her up or when she arrived at our house. Always the look of disappointment. She would come over Friday evenings usually after dinner. We would still be sitting at the kitchen table either talking or playing a game. She would either sit in the living room alone or wonder upstairs into their bedroom. The three girls shared a large 20×25 square foot bedroom. We eventually bought a three bed bunk bed to save space. That didn’t work out so well because she didn’t like sleeping alone when my kids were with their father. She had shared a bedroom with her mother most of her life. She didn’t understand the concept of privacy or personal space and boundaries.

At first we made a point of including her anyway we could. We invited her to play whatever game we were playing or asked her to pick a game for all of us to play. If she made her way to the table, we would make every effort to include her in the conversation. “How was your week?” “How was school today?” There was no apparent rhyme or reason for her moods. She had just arrived so it couldn’t have been something I said. I never knew what the conversations were with her dad on the ride home. Eventually, it got old. She would act up in the form of a pout then separate herself wanting to be chased. She wanted her father to come get her. She wanted his full undivided attention at all times.

My daughter and Grace’s birthdays are 2 days apart. That first year, my family went out to a restaurant to celebrate. Due to an ever-changing parenting schedule and inconvenient last minute plans that always seem to pop up when her mother knew we had plans we did not anticipate celebrating Grace’s birthday with Hannah’s. For dessert Hannah was sung to and Grace was not included. Although she is a child, how can anyone expect to be celebrated when they make no effort to become a part of a new family? She walked away claiming she had a headache and sat outside the restroom. I asked my daughter to get her and asked the waitress to bring another dessert for her. This appeased her.

Whenever we went out to dinner she cried she either had a stomachache or a migraine. She would sit out in the car, again waiting for her father to come after her. It’s funny though, when I was eventually able to break through to her and get her to express her emotions the aches and pains stopped never to be heard of again. How could her mother not be available to address this with her? How could she listen to her daughter do nothing but complain yet not see through it for what it really was…a broken heart? My husband did the best he could, maintaining his relationship with his daughter while adapting to his new relationship with me. Many people would accuse us of moving too fast however you never know what life will through at you on any given day in any given moment. When two people decide they want to be together after having known one another for a couple years who is to say what the timeline should be? If we were to wait until the children were ready, we would still be waiting.

Right now I hate my step-daughter’s mother. I hate her because the court believes every word she says. She has no validated truth and lives in a delusional reality of her own. She is always insulting my husband. Every criticism she has of him she herself presents in her own behavior and character. It’s maddening. I have never heard her say, “I’m sorry.” Or “opps, I was wrong.” The one time she thanked me for something she turned it into an insult toward my husband. I had helped Grace with her homework. She said, “thanks…because John couldn’t do it.” She has never thanked me for the ride given her in my car or the birthday party thrown for her daughter at my house. She never thanked me for the gifts I purchased for her granddaughter. Instead, she condemned Grace’s version of the conversation we had while driving to pick out those presents. This was one of those surprise activities John and I had planned. Before we could get to the surprise Grace had already started with the, “Mommy, I’m sad.” texts which set off her mother on a rampage. She left voicemails for John demanding he bring Grace home to her house since he was working and my children we with their father. I drove to John’s worksite to bring him lunch. After Grace and I bought the baby gifts then met up with John again for dinner. In fact, Grace had the choice of driving with her dad or me from the restaurant home. She chose to drive with me. Did she text her mom that? This is why I hate her mother. This is why I hate the fucking court. This is why I would to tell the judges to go fuck themselves. They do not know what really happened.

Shortly after we were married John received a message from a mutual acquaintance of his and Kerri’s. The woman described a brief encounter she had with Grace at a store. Apparently she thought Grace looked sad and asked her what was the matter. The child supposedly tells her that she is sad because her dad got married and didn’t tell her. Why would you send the message to the father when the mother is right there? I just had to remind myself that Kerri included in her complaint that John didn’t invite his daughter when we eloped. Some women will accuse a father of using their children as pawns or that the court’s continued involvement is somehow financially motivated. Does it make sense to pay a lawyer $300 an hour to gain $5 more a week in child support? In what universe is that economical? Stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Jackass. Kerri doesn’t use Grace as a pawn per se. She makes every aspect of John’s life that doesn’t include Grace grounds for neglect. When I asked Kerri for help in explaining to Grace that she cannot sleep in my bed or barge into my bedroom, Kerri’s response was, “Well, I blame John for that.” You do? You share a bedroom with your tween with a trundle bed no less and it is John’s fault that Grace doesn’t understand boundaries? She is always looking to point blame. Rather than solutions to ordinary problems she wants to establish fault. Yet, when she is proven at fault because she was wrong, nothing. Nothing.
It took me all this time to realize that those last minute plans that altered John’s parenting time were lies Kerri made up because Grace didn’t want him to pick her up. In Kerri’s mind she can deny every refusing to allow John to see Grace because she was catering to her daughter’s wishes. Instead of someone teaching Grace to identify her emotion and express herself or explaining on her behalf that she didn’t want to visit with her father because of me so much aggravation could have been avoided. Instead of simply talking about her feelings she constantly complained about me to her extended family. Her emotional turmoil has never been addressed by her mother. Instead of helping her cope with this change in her life they wanted to undo it. It wasn’t that she had hurt feelings about her father having another woman in his life it was because her step-mother was wicked.

When my daughter Hannah went through her complaining phase I nipped that in the bud immediately. “Get to the heart of the matter. No good can come of you repeatedly complaining about these things. What is the problem?” “I want you and daddy to get back together.” “Sorry Hannah, that’s never going to happen.” She went into counseling.
Let me give you two scenarios of what chaos Grace creates in her head. My older daughter had a school trip to see Wicked on Broadway. I purchased 3 tickets for both girls and myself. I asked my husband if he would get himself and Grace a ticket for the same show. He didn’t want to. Fast forward…court. John is ordered to keep Grace and me apart. I then sold my younger daughter’s ticket to another theater mom. I felt it the right thing to do since Grace could not be included. Plus, only theater students and parents could ride the bus. I would have to drive Hannah and myself in. I would have drove in with both Grace and Hannah.

On the ride home I was texting with my husband. He and Grace were cooking. He precedes to tell me that Grace is upset with me. She said, “Jen went to go see Wicked because she knew I couldn’t go.” I wasn’t supposed to see her. On that day schedules overlapped and she was still at my house when I arrived home. Remember, the judge ordered John keep us apart. The lawsuit her mother initiated because I was so horribly mean to her was made up of Grace facts. Stories and segments of conversations that either never happened, weren’t said to her or completely misconstrued by her because she has a learning disability. I went to see Wicked because she couldn’t go. I went just to spite her. How important does this kid think she is?

When I arrived home she immediately asked if she could look through my shopping bags. I halted and said No. She was taken aback as she usually was because I can count on one hand how many times she’s been told No and all those times were by me. I said “wait a minute…, did you tell your father you were upset because you couldn’t go see Wicked?” She said yes. Then I clarified, “were your words, ‘Jen went to see Wicked because she knew I couldn’t go.’?” She thought about if for a minute and admitted yes. I explained to her that she needs to think about how she explains herself. Although my husband should have never told me what she said and handled it himself, I took great joy in telling this brat how I sold my daughter’s Hannah’s ticket because she couldn’t go. It infuriates me that this kid hates me 99% of the time yet still wants. She still has expectations that I should serve her.

The second scenario describing her knack at creating unnecessary angst starts while I was facetiming Hannah. Allison and I were at Stewart airport waiting to board a plane to Kentucky. We were going to visit my Uncle who happens to be a monk. Hannah couldn’t come because she at that time was incapable of respecting the vows of silence. While I was facetiming Hannah, I told her I had to be quick because the plane was coming and my phone battery was low. John, Grace and Hannah were at a nail salon. I’m explaining to Hannah that we will be staying at a monastery. In the background, for a nano-second I see Grace and she asks, “what’s a monastery?” I say, “ask your father.” This is still while the judge’s order is in effect for Grace and I to be separated, and she knows this. I responded to her question so as not to be accused of ignoring her. Instead, she accuses me of giving her a dirty look. She took the complaint one step further and said, “nothing is ever good enough for her.” She must not have wasted any time telling her father because every time I called home to say hello, he argued with me. Finally, I told him I am getting my own place and do not want you and Grace to move in with us. She finally gets to have her dad to herself for the entire weekend yet she still finds the need to have me around in the form of her complaints. She was sabotaging my marriage.

In the months prior she had begun bad mouthing her mother. Subtle little grips that eventually turned into full on insults of her mother. “Do you think I’m smarter than my mother?” Really? That’s a double-edged sword if I ever saw one. My God will this kid just stop talking? Stop. The endless verbal diarrhea from her mouth. The negative energy that she brought into my life has to be exorcised. She had patched up her relationship with her father by criticizing her mother to him. Now was her chance to start picking away at me. When he wasn’t looking or within earshot she would say or do something just to piss me off. In the mornings on a school day if I did not have to work John would remind her to be quiet because I was still sleeping. When he went outside to warm up his car she would get in my face and yell my name asking for something so unnecessary like a brush she used 100 times before. My husband was so afraid of losing her that he didn’t know what to do. That is not the case anymore.

So that is the truth. My truth, so help me God. I have no reason to lie. There have been enough lies told. When Grace got her way, answers to questions her mother refused to give her whether by her father or me, her mother would literally flip out contacting DYFS or the court. Grace would tell her mother I said it to protect her father. She knew her mom wouldn’t let them talk on the phone if she told her her dad explained what her mother thought was inappropriate – such as what a gynecologist does. When Grace did not get her way, she would make up stories or have constant complaints about how she was treated to set her mom off. When Grace was given a consequence for misbehavior, her mother would undermine her father and on occasion, call him to scold him for the way he treated ‘their’ daughter. It’s always, ‘our’ daughter. “She’s mine too, not just yours.” So why can’t he raise her as he sees fit? He left you so as not to have to be with you in any capacity. I dislike the term controlling when referring to human beings. I think it’s a mechanical term but, she tries to control her daughter’s world to the point of insanity. Fucking insanity. The more we attempt to control external events, the more out of control we are internally.

I cannot, in good conscience, contribute to this ridiculous delusion that has been presented to the court thus far. It is a travesty and I just can no longer be a part of it. My husband is now separated from his daughter, in part by choice – legally as well. It’s for the best. He knew his limits and wanted to decrease his parenting time due to his daughter’s defiance. Defiance and disrespect to the point of, “Give me my fucking phone back!” after having it taken away. He gets accused of abandoning her so he placates his daughter and her extended family with a visit. At this visit, disciplinary action led to the law intervening prohibiting contact between them. Why couldn’t everyone, including myself, just let the man make his own decision in the first place? The disciplinary action was well called for, within non-abusive limits and completely blown out of proportion, as per usual. Legally, she’s at-risk of harm by her father because when making his own decision of less contact he was labeled as abandoning.

If anything within the human race needed reform, the family court, the systems and processes within are in desperate need.

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