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Friday, August 5, 2011

The Initial Agreement

On April 8th, something happened that somewhat justified my nervousness just driving around town.  I had the kids in the car in the middle of the day for a doctor’s appointment or something.  Here is an excerpt of the email I sent to my lawyer.

….Brad happened to see me in a parking lot yesterday when we were both driving. He proceeded to follow me around the parking lot until I stopped. He says it was because he needed to give me the letter I indicated above and that he had been unable to find your office. He was not threatening at all when he got out of the car, but I told him I considered his following me threatening and that he should not have done it. I probably should have called the police, but I was a bit flustered. I would like to request, through his attorney, that if he happens to see me in public in the future that he walk or drive away and not make contact with me or my children……

This does not begin to described my emotions as all of this was happening, he sees me, I see him, I clearly try to drive away but he keeps following me, and I am panicked, unsure what to do.  The kids are in the car and I’m a little bit scared of what he might say or do.  I finally stop and he comes up to the window to give me some paperwork.  The conversation starts to get heated and I get out of the car.   We proceed to have a mild argument as he indicates that following me was not threatening and was not a violation of the protective order, yet it clearly was.  It’s like he has no clue.  He also takes this and every opportunity he gets to try to influence my decisions on matters of the divorce and visitation; as well as asking me if I have a boyfriend yet, or trying to make agreements with me on how I’ll deal with future boyfriends and the kids.  This second theme about the boyfriend continues to this day – almost eighteen months after I left.
In late May and June we complete the full scale preparation for the hearing on temporary orders.  We put the finishing touches on our version of  the temporary agreement.  This includes making an inventory of all bank accounts, monthly expenses, furniture and household items, vehicles, etc.  It is a very time consuming task and I have to drudge through years of paperwork.   One of the things that annoys me about this whole process is that he is basically sitting in hotel somewhere, going to outpatient rehab, not working, not doing any of this administrative stuff and waiting for this to all come together.   His behavior is the reason we are getting divorced and I’m doing all of the work in addition to working full time, and taking care of the kids.  It still makes me mad when I think about it.

So we go to court on June 17th and I’m there with my lawyer waiting, I finally see Brad and his lawyer.   His lawyer does not look very professional.  The lawyers check in with the court bailiff and the lawyers agree to try to come to some sort of agreement to present to the judge for her approval.  There is a lot of back and forth because we are pretty far apart.  Brad wants unsupervised access to the children.  He wants unlimited access to his Amex card, which I am paying the bill on.  He wants a debit card in his name, even though his name is not on the bank account, he doesn't want to pay his own car insurance. 

During the time when the lawyers are hammering out the agreement, he comes up to me to talk.  I try to ignore him, but it does not work.  He says “Have you moved on?” He says “I’m not out for all your money.”   He says "It’s all about the kids."   He wants to see the kids on Father’s day and since we cannot get the professional supervisors in time, I agree to let his AA sponsor be the supervisor, one time only, at small restaurant.   I agree to give him a stipend in the bank account monthly and he relinquishes the Amex card.    He will see the kids on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Saturdays of each month for four hours with a supervisor present.

Brad agrees to get a job and a place of his own, instead of a hotel, by the middle of July.  He agrees to get a cell phone account for himself, so I can cancel him off my account.  He does none of this on time based on what was written in the agreement.  He has various excuses, but the bottom line is I don’t think he really had any intention of doing them on time.   He told me later “I would have said anything to get through the paperwork” and “I was prepared to lie to the judge to see the kids.”    Hmmm.  I don’t know whether it’s more disturbing that he was actually planning to do this, or that he did not see anything wrong with telling me about it later.  

The Father’s Day visit goes reasonably well and I am pleased for the kids.  Of course, Brad cannot resist the opportunity to talk to me.   I don’t keep the journal much anymore, but I do have a few entries of significant events and here is the one from that day.
06/19/10 Sunday -  at visitation – said we would keep ‘gifts’ we gave each other, said he would not negotiate openly about custody if I would not be open, said he called the attorney general to audit the divorce because my lawyers where cheating me, asked me about bumps and bruises on Luke and Cassie, said he asked me if I had moved on because of kids, not him

He’s mad at my lawyer because on March 9th, he indicated Brad would get to see the kids soon - when we had the temporary orders settled.  Once the date got moved by two months from April to June, Brad was furious. In an angry voice mail he accused my lawyer of lying, accused me of trying to keep him from the kids and made various threats about custody and finances.  These types of threats will continue until the final agreement is reached and even afterwords.

In the grand scheme of things, however, I was relieved.  We had the visits arranged, I had some sort of stop-gap on his spending and hopefully we’d have things finalized by September or October. 

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