Archive for November, 2012

So many suits

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Anger, Divorce, Finances

There are so many new things you get to experience as you get divorced.   You get to see what it is like to be on your own, again, or maybe for the first time.  You get to see what it’s like to cover many of the same bills you had but without the same level of income and usually with additional child care or debt levels than before.  By far, the most fun has got to be how familiar you get with the legal profession.

In our case we’ve had a lot of fun with law suits this year, not all of them resulting directly from the divorces, but the ties are there even for the one that could have occurred regardless.  The issue for me has really been the drain on the bank accounts which I would certainly prefer to use for fun things for our family rather than just to provide them to an attorney to represent us on something stupid that should be decided in a much simpler way than with all the legal maneuvers needed in the US justice system.

A simple case of getting the kids to change school systems this summer ended up being billed out at $3,000 but happily the attorney discounted it to $1,100.  Then we have the case of removing alimony when all conditions are met and they even admit to them in their initial response from their attorney, but we still need to file all kinds of motions and fun things and then it is less costly to settle even though it is for a longer period than the evidence or anyone rational will understand, but because the legal system requires all this maneuvering it takes so long that you are better off doing irrational things.

Most recently I just got served with a suit on the house I sold after the divorce to down size and be able to afford my housing costs.  Turns out after they bought the house, they had a lot of things go wrong so now they feel I did not disclose something. When I was there none of the issues they are experiencing were there not did my inspector nor there’s find them in two different inspections within a year of each other, yet somehow I am supposed to know about them?  So we need to provide an answer, submit interrogatories, go through depositions and file a motion for summary judgment.  If somehow the fact that there are no facts in dispute as I disclosed everything I knew and we need to go to trial there will be document exchange, expert witness gathering, and who knows what else.  As I talked with my attorney, I have worked with a different one for each suit, he explained that these cases can take a year, but he does not expect this to go that way as it is a pretty frivolous suit.  It all sounds great until you understand frivolous is true in every way except one, the money spent on attorneys to work through the frivolity.  Can’t you hear me belly laughing already? 

So you could say that the house suit is not divorce related, yet it is because if I had not been divorced I probably would not have sold the house and therefore no one would have purchased it to sue me. 

The frustrating part of all this really becomes the system.  As I found out, the is really no way to get my attorney fees back if this proves to be what I know it is, a wild goose chase.  When I sold them the house it was in the condition their inspector found it in; aged but certainly not with any latent problems I was intentionally hiding or lying about as they contend.  Even if I prove that though, because we would have to prove that their attorney filed suit knowing that the case was bogus, I am out whatever thousands I need to pay this attorney to go through the fifty steps needed to simply tell the judge “this is a bogus law suit and I disclosed everything I knew”.  The complexity is astounding.

One can argue about the problems in time past but when Jesus stood in front of Pilate and was judged it was just him and Pilate in the room asking and answering questions.  In 10 minutes he had his answer and he went out and told the people “I find no fault with this man”.  Jesus did not have to pay a retainer, file a motion and ask for summary judgment.  He did not have to spend money to file a lot of paperwork with the right margins or get charged $20 for each page because the margin was off ¼”.  Sure, he was put to death but that was a result of mob rule and not the legal process.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I was on the other side of the coin and want the legal system to be slow and plodding and ineffective at determining I was a vicious criminal that should rot away for life or be put to death.  During those times you don’t want the traveling magistrate who rides into your town listens to the evidence for two hours and sentences you to death by hanging for strangling your neighbor’s daughter.  You want the interrogatories and expert witnesses and sitting around on death row for endless appeals for years on end.  But when you are living life as you should and being honest and doing the right things, having to pay someone thousands of dollars to settle a simple question is frustrating and a drain on family finances that makes no sense.  I’m not spending money on a life saving drug to keep a child alive.  I’m not donating money to a charity that is feeding starving people.  I am paying money to a system that is convoluted, bloated and very ineffective in doing anything other than enriching the people who work in it. 

We are supposed to be planning for a vacation in about a year and a half.  Instead all the money we have saved up so far is tied up in $5,000 of retainers on two law suits that both should never have happened.  In the house case I can at least understand that the people on the other end may not yet understand that I really knew nothing about all the terrible things that have befallen them and their house, but in the one it is only legalized extortion to allow my ex to get paid by a system that makes it ridiculous to prove what even my 9 year old child knows.  Mom is living with another person and they are paying bills together.  Mom can laugh about it openly knowing that the system will allow her to collect for months more even though she should have been cut off months ago.  In the house case, even though the people might soon understand that the unfortunate truth is that I knew nothing and these repairs are theirs to bear, the complex system will still drain our family of money we could certainly use for more useful things like clothing and food.

Sadly, I have few words of wisdom to offer on this topic.  It is just a reality of society today that legal wrangling takes center stage all too often.

Name calling

Posted: November 28, 2012 in Blending, Christian, Family, God, Love, Parenting

I recently came across a story of a man who made it into the big leagues.  When he was a child some of his greatest supporters were his grandparents.  They came to many of his game, encouraged him when he was down and worked with him to get better.  Over the years his baseball skills increased and as I mentioned above he finally got promoted to the Majors.  Of course, to thank them he told his grandparents he would leave them some tickets for his first game, just show up at the box office and ask for them.

The big day arrived and the grandparents had driven several hours to get to the city where the game was at.  They went up to the box office and asked for tickets for Mr. and Mrs. Hart.  The ticket agent looked through the stack and came back and said she could not find them.  The excitement of seeing their grandson in his first big league game began to turn to despair.  The agent saw their sadness and said she’d check again just to be sure.  She came back with the same sad news.  No tickets.  The grandparents looked at each other and started talking about how unlike their grandson it would be to not follow through on a promise he had made.  As they talked the wife suddenly came to a realization.  “Can you please check under Grammie and Grampie”?  The agent went off and returned smiling with a pair of tickets in hand. 

As parents we have a similar situation.  We will forever be known, even as our children grow into adults, as Mom and Dad.  In a blended family there is another dynamic and we went through the process around or wedding of trying to determine what we would be called by our kids.  They already had a mom and dad, and we knew some families choose to have the new step parents be hung with that same moniker, but for various reasons we felt we wanted something else.  My wife came up with a great solution when she asked my parents what another word for mom and dad was in Polish, which is one of the major nationalities my side of the family is from.  We ended up with Mamusia and Tatush and that has been the names we have used in our new family unit.  All of the kids have taken to it including each of our kids now not calling us Mom or Dad but the new names. 

As Christians we have a similar model to work from.  God told us that his name is “I AM” yet we also call him by many others: God, Jesus, Lord etc.  Just as we as loving parents understand to respond when we hear “Mamusia” or “Tatush”, a loving God also respond to other names.  We respond to the names that those we love call us.  That’s an important lesson to learn.  As we get older and relationships morph those names will not always change, as shown in the example I opened with.  To that grown man, those two people were still Grammie and Grampie.  If they had forgotten that they would have not just lost tickets, they would have lost a connection with their grandson.  Our exes both think the names we have created are stupid, dumb or whatever.  Because we understand they are names for us used by those who love us, to us those names are precious, special and wonderful.  So if you pass me on the street and call out my actual name, I might not realize you are talking about me and might just keep on walking, but if you happen to yell out “Tatush!”, you can bet I’ll turn around with an expectant look knowing I’ll see someone who knows and loves me well.

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted: November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yes, I am here.  I know it has been a long time since you’ve heard from me and just thought I’d pop on today and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I have been very busy at work and just been too focused on keeping things together there to find time to write as I normally did for Blenddeddad.  I think I’m finally coming out of the worst of it and will try to get back to some regular posts at least weekly.  I certainly have plenty of things that have happened that bounced around in my head with the thought “I need to write about this!”

So have a Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll post soon!