The Truth Series: Part 3- Court: What Planet Is This?
Dad’s Turn for the judge’s “insightful” questions.
As a reminder: this is PART 3 of a 4 Part Series: Part 1 is an unadulterated overview of the last 30 minutes of a divorce hearing. Part 2 is what “Mom” thought and felt during her interrogation of the last 30 minutes. Part 3 is what “Mom” thought and felt during “Dad’s” interrogation of the last 30 minutes. Part 4 is what “Mom” thought during the Judge’s recommendations.
Let me set the stage:
This is the last 30 minutes (thus the time referrals- it begins at 1:38pm in the afternoon) of a 2 day divorce hearing.
The judge is speaking to the wife (Mom) first, and then the husband (Dad) “equally” to review what the judge believes are the core issues in their relationship and offering his advice on what they can do moving forward
Mom’s thoughts are in BLUE.
TIME 1:48 pm Judge: Mr. Smith. Dad: Yes. Judge: Is it a fair statement that this may well be the most emotional experience you’ve ever been through in your life? (What? What kind of question is that? Why didn’t I get that question? The most emotional experience I’ve ever been through was the day I learned my entire life was a lie. Just sayin’)) Dad: Quite, sir. Judge: It leaves you wondering about the financial end of everything, right? (OH. MY. GOSH. Really? Here we go with the leading questions. You didn’t ask me that question either and I’m the one begging for him to pay for a doctor appointment. You asked me about respect…) Dad: Yes, sir. Judge: It leaves you wondering about what’s going to be happening with respect to the care and the upbringing of your children? (Because he’s been such a wonderful role model so far…) Dad: Yes, sir. Judge: And you have to suffer from the loss of your marriage? (I’m seriously having trouble controlling my eye rolls. Did you miss the affairs we chatted about yesterday?) Dad: Yes, sir. Judge: So, when I ask the questions about a certain emotion of having Mrs. Smith file this action, that is true? Correct? (You know, I’m curious, Mr. Judge. What would you have done in my situation?) Dad: Yes, sir. Judge: That was not a positive emotion, was it? (Nope. It sucks when you get caught and find out there are consequences.) Dad: No sir. Judge: You didn’t say, “oh, thank goodness, I was hoping to do this next week?” (What is your problem, Mr. Judge? I didn’t do anything wrong. Why don’t you have compassion for the consequences of infidelity or lying?) Dad: No, sir. Judge: And the term “temporary residential parent status” gave her an element of control over your children that you did not like? (Sorry, I thought I was actively protecting my children. Shame on me.) Dad: Yes, I agree. Speak up? Yes. Judge: You felt like you were on the outside looking in? (Again, did you forget he chose the outside for 20 years?) Dad: Yes. Judge: You didn’t feel like a full, full, you didn’t feel like a full, active participant in the future care and upbringing of your children? (I’m trying not to throw up. What planet is this?) Dad: I agree. Judge: Which creates worry, frustration, anger. (Frustration. He lost control of his secret life.) Dad: Frustration. Judge: Mr. Smith, you agree with me, you have been the one during the term of this family’s existence who makes the money? (Here we go. Duh, duh, duh.) Dad: Yes, yes. Judge: And so therefore, nothing can get paid for unless you provide it? (You might have to skip a ski trip for them… I really don’t like the way my brain is working right now. All I feel is bitter. This is not fair. I did not do anything wrong.) Dad: Yes. Judge: And, so, therefore if Ms. Smith, needs the roof over her head, the car that she drives, the gas in the car, the food, anything, she has to look to you for the assistance for that to get done. Correct? (Money to pay for doctors, money to pay for food, money to pay for clothes, money to pay for counseling…) Dad: Correct. Judge: Can you appreciate that that gives her a feeling that you have a huge element of control in this situation? (Oh, wait! Score for me! Maybe Mr. Judge, you get it.) Dad: Yes. Judge: That’s not a fun position to be in, is it? (Ooooh. Let’s see where he goes with this one.) Dad: No sir. Judge: Do you agree with me, sir, that anybody who puts together a budget, probably could add something to their budget because there’s always stuff happening that is beyond what the budget is? (I have been accused for years that I didn’t know how to budget. Yes, I didn’t budget for his “indiscretions”. My bad.) Dad: Yes. Judge: And so, did her budget include buying birthday gifts on behalf of the children whenever they went to birthday parties? (Yup.) Dad: I don’t recall. Judge: My point being that you leave room for the possibility that when somebody sits down and puts in a budget, there are things that they did not contemplate. (Well, I did forget to take into account your secret life. I’ll agree. I forgot to budget that one… I’ve really got to stop. Triggers everywhere. Just smile. I can do this.) Dad: Yes, sorry. Judge: Would you agree or disagree that she does not feel as independent as somebody who makes $200,000 a year might? (I feel like a beggar. Less than a person. Desperate. Don’t cry. Don’t do it. Be strong. Breathe.) Dad: I would agree. Judge: So, whenever there was a request for you to pay something, and if you have reasons for saying no, then don’t you anticipate it’s going to evoke a certain response from her? (I do not understand that question. Are you implying my requests are irresponsible or unnecessary?) Dad: Yes. Judge: He’s keeping me in my place. He is punishing me for what I’ve done. Do you agree she would like to feel respected that even though you earn more money, she did things to help you go off to make the money and so therefore she’d like to be a joint participant in the financial end as much as she possibly can? (I seriously want to believe you understand, Mr. Judge. But you’re not consistent.) Dad: Yes. Judge: That’s what respect is. Do you feel your relationship with her now is better than it was 2 years ago? (Do you know how many years I spent trying to be a respectful wife while he treated me with disrespect?) Dad: No. Judge: The inability to talk to her in an ineffective way, has that helped the 2 of you or hurt you? (HIS inability…) Dad: (sigh) Judge: It’s still a source of frustration. (Uh oh. I’m feeling like I’m gonna get blamed for something.) Dad: Yeah. …it’s been little communication to give a good answer to that, your honor. Judge: Do you think this is the most complicated case that we have of the thousands we get a year, the thousand that we get a year? Do you believe this should be one of the most complicated? Dad: I think there are some aspects of this are different, yes sir, I do. (Really? I’m dumbfounded. There are cases of babies being burned, children being beaten, women being tortured and you think this is worse?) Judge: Is there anything you won’t do for your children? (Here we go with the weird question again.) Dad: Nothing. Judge: Is there a particular reason you got this Guardian report over a year ago, you didn’t pick up the phone to call “the therapist” to get that started? (If you only knew how many hours and hours we have spent with therapists “learning to communicate.”) Dad: Uh, it, no good reason, your honor. I, I no good reason. Judge: Be that as it may, you agree now is the time? (“Be that as it may?” What the heck does that mean? Are you giving him a free ride? I told you I was afraid of him and you tell him, “be that as it may?”) Dad: Yes, sir. Judge: And is that gonna be easy to do? Dad: I think it will be a great start to improving our communication. I’m willing and ready to do it, sir. I don’t know if it will be easy, but. (I will not throw up. I will not throw up. Just smile. Smile. I am so tired. My head hurts. The ringing in my ears won’t stop…) Time 1:56 pm Judge asks if attorneys have more questions. Both state no. Stay tuned next time for the indelible advice from the Judge concerning this case and how Mom responded.
“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” Michelle Rosenthal
The goal of my “Truth Series” is to educate with truth and infuse that truth with hope. If you have a story you would like to share, please reach out at: email@example.com.