Musgrove v. Musgrove

People have often asked me how I can remain so calm in the face of what is obviously a disaster, conflict, a fight being put in my face(which has been done by my ex-wife AND her husband, wherever he may be, and a few other choice people over the years) or a serious crisis.

I’m so put out right now that I must preserve this moment in writing for reference and posterity. I’m not ranting, arguing, upset, or laying this out in writing for other than point than it being cathartic, informative, and helps me retain a sense of stoicism about my life and may possibly help another poor soul out there. We all have our own private battles. Sometimes, after good deliberation and “sleeping on it” I’ll decide to share some of what goes on in my life more publicly. The pros seem to outweigh the cons and I can always retract and edit what I post if needed. So here we go.

It’s because I’ve been faced with so many crises and tantrums. I’ve learned to recognize what it is in life and in situations I can and cannot control and try to be wise enough to know the difference, which is key and takes intelligence, self-discipline, self-control, and experience. I always work on building self-discipline and control. If I can’t manage myself, how can I possibly manage situations and others, which is necessary, both in a professional setting and a personal one, whether it’s my daughter or even a dog? The answer is either I cannot, or poorly. It’s something I intend to teach my daughter as well. And it for sure is something that must be learned and practiced over years.

Stoicism is important to me, as I don’t have a support system I can rely on always. I have no friend or family to speak of (my 5, about to be 6-year-old daughter) in the state I’ve lived in for 10 years. It’s not for a lack of serious attempt, I assure you.

I have hundreds of lifelong friends, if not thousands in various states and countries, mostly in South Carolina where I’m from. And among those, I have a dozen or two that I consider very close friends that I trust, am loyal to, and they are of me as well. There’s a mutual bond between us that’s been created over the decades that we’ve recognized and I do my best to preserve, even being states apart and haven’t seen them for 10+ years because I compromised that possibility for a woman who vowed to stay with me forever, then breaking that vow 7 years later with no reasonable or true explanation provided.

So I’m stuck now and trying my best to change that. There’s nothing to keep me, my daughter, or my ex-wife in Louisville other than the fact she has a teaching job which she should be able to conduct anywhere if she has any capability and transferrable skills with that job at all. A Ph.D. surely would help you get a job of your choice if you have any talent and skill, right? Right. But I’m having to fight because it’s seeming she doesn’t have that opportunity or capability, and won’t move to advance our child’s opportunities in life or to benefit anyone but herself, only. That isn’t a disparaging statement, it’s the reality of the situation she’s created despite the glaring realities of life.

I’ve seen my daughter 6 hours over the past 2-1/2 months under close supervision and camera and a controlled environment prohibiting us from talking about “hope” “the future” “the past” “our relationship” or anything but the color of the paint on the walls. And this past visit I was presented with the fact our daughter is being manipulated to think and see me as a bad person who she told me to my face she “still doesn’t trust” and told the supervisor she doesn’t “trust me.” When the supervisor asked her why not her reply was “I don’t know.” Think about that. The biggest thing I’ve spent almost 6 years instilling in her is a sense of trust between me and her. And it’s been successful. She’ll allow me to look at her boo-boos and tell me anything with NO fear of punishment or me being angry. We have/had a strong bond of trust which I successfully, carefully, and deliberately built over 6 years.

And as she was being led down the hallway by the supervisor she shouted over her shoulder ” I still don’t trust you!” It was like being shot in the forehead with an arrow.

I know exactly why she all of a sudden told me, and the supervisor that, as she was leaving our visitation hour to go away with her mother for another week.

And this Monday, Cecelia will turn 6. It’s my year to have her for her birthday, and I won’t be able to see her, speak to her or wish her Happy Birthday because of her mother. Just like last year for her 5th birthday. Why was that? Her mother wouldn’t allow me to tell her Happy Birthday over the phone, face time, or send her a present to her house after asking repeatedly over email and text. If you want to know why that wasn’t allowed, you’ll have to ask her, because she had no good reason to tell me. She just didn’t want to. This is what’s happening in my and my daughter’s lives, with no recourse.

So this year, since I can’t see her or communicate with her without supervision, This is how I’m having to handle her birthday:

I’m putting her presents in a box and mailing them to her mother’s house. I can’t put a card in it or wish her Happy Birthday in any way because technically that would be communicating with her, and her mother would hold me in contempt of court for wishing our 5-year-old daughter Happy Birthday. So she’s just getting a box of presents mailed to her by a mystery person who loves her more than life itself. Her own father.

And I don’t even want to discuss my ex because largely she’s immaterial, except for being a hostile obstruction to any betterment of our child’s life, and is doing anything possible to prevent me from helping that become possible. Anything.

Back to friends and something more positive.

I keep those 2 dozen or friends as close at hand as I can, not only because I cherish them as lifelong friends and they and their families are incredible people I admire and respect, but because it’s said we represent the people closest to us.

Ideally, you’d have the 5 closest people to you around you physically as much as possible. That isn’t realistic or possible in many circumstances. So I do the next best thing, which is to stay in touch with and communicate my feelings, life and what I’m doing, plans, and of course Cecelia’s life to them as much as they can tolerate, without overwhelming them with details. And I sincerely believe they have a mutual interest as I do with them and their families. But they all have beautiful families and jobs and hobbies and themselves to think of and allocate time to as well which I try to respect.

And I’ve realized the reason I respect these dozens of people/friends so much is because of their parents. They all have a strong family they belong to that shares and exemplify the exact same values I hold dear: trust, loyalty, integrity, honor, humility, gratitude, and good over bad. I often look at their parents as mentors and as examples I want to emulate for my daughter, because it turned out so successfully for them with their children, being my friends. I’m not going to name names because anyone who knows me knows the people I’m talking about. It’s that evident, and I’m proud to still have them as close friends and always will. And their parts for that matter. Many of them are still alive and doing better than ever and are getting to be longtime grandparents of kids my daughter’s age. Which is a BIG reason I want to return to South Carolina with my daughter. She’ll have amazing people and friends there, which she’ll never have in Louisville, which is where her mother demands she stay because of her job.

And THAT is what I’m about to relay, which is the disappointment I have in our ability as citizens of this country to preserve and protect what’s best for our children individually and as a generation.

If you believe the family courts and family court judges and lawyers in this country exist to help the children and families they belong to, you are wrong. They are there to move cases through an overfilled, messy unorganized system of archaic overwrought law and procedure, as quickly as possible on the court and judges’ side, and as slowly and profitably as possible on the attorneys’ side. The attorneys will tell you they’re” just doing their jobs” which is right. Nothing more. And they’ll delay cases in perpetuity as long as there’s a bank account to drain. I’ve now been involved and behind the curtain and on the stage enough and paid my dues and know exactly what’s going on. It’s largely a huge, lucrative charade.

I’ve had my 6th opportunity to speak to the judge handling my custody case today. I was the very last person she called, once again, after patiently waiting 4 hours, once again, and was rushed, and hastily ushered out of the courtroom after being given less than 10 minutes to even try to speak with our judge about anything. It’s the 5th time she’s sent me packing with nothing but another court date set for 3 weeks later. And the bailiff is all too happy to physically move me out of there. I’ve never had someone act like I’m wasting their time any more than our judge, who, the last time I was in court before her, complained IN COURT, being recorded, over and over again up until 12:30, for an 11:30 motion hour that it had been SUCH a long day and that she’d been there since 8:30! 8:30!!!! What these judges have to do to be put in their position and seat up there on a platform behind a “bar” and then complain about being there after 4 hours confused me and will always. I haven’t walked a mile in our judge’s expensive shoes, so I’m not judging the judge, of course. That’s her job. Just explaining I’m confused about the exasperation that’s publicly displayed while on the bench, which was a plea for understanding and patience, I guess?

Today she sent me packing empty-handed AGAIN, because the petitioner didn’t show up, again, nor did her lawyer. I included with my motion a copy of evidence I sent the filed paperwork to him electronically, by using a tracking app I paid $60 to track the email sent to him because the Clerk of Court told me when I filed it, and asked explicitly, that would be OK. The judge today said no. It must be mailed. But that doesn’t prove they got it or read it of course.

But here’s the thing: After I filed that motion which was refiling of another motion to redocket the case a MONTH ago, just to keep things from not proceeding and she remanded me for no good reason again, I sent the petitioner’s lawyer an email telling him I had filed a bunch of stuff. And before I sent him the paperwork, he responded that there is a rule MANDATING I send him all filings electronically. I asked him to cite that rule. He sent me an email saying he couldn’t provide legal advice. I explained citing a rule he himself was using was not legal advice, it was an elaboration of his point. So he sent me the rule, which I read. And he was wrong. It does not state I must send anything to him electronically, and that he has to elect that option, so I sent that tidbit to him and explained he was wrong. I asked him if that meant he was opting to get it electronically.

And he never replied again. Ever.

So today, I had the paperwork filed, along with proof I sent him the paperwork and that the email address – his email address, jhelmers@hermerslaw.com, had received it and it had been opened 47 times at last count.

So after finally getting to see the judge today to hopefully have this whole idiotic case dismissed, she said no. Electronic wasn’t good enough still. And rescheduled another hearing for Just 29. Today is July 8. I’ve been waiting a month for today to speak with her.

And she rushed me out of the courtroom as fast as possible, less than 10 minutes with no one else to hear or waiting on us, and told me to hire an attorney, again. I explained the notion of hiring a layer had crossed my mind already and I had many reasons compelling me not to since obviously, this fact has escaped her every time I’ve shown up without an attorney.

Here’s the thing about an attorney. I don’t need one. I have a brain. I have time to work on this case. I don’t have $275/hr for someone to file the same paperwork I can for free and yak on the phone about golf and cufflinks and push hearings out as far as possible about their schedule. I had to already wait an extra week because the judge just took an extended vacation.

The way a judge and her staff say “hire an attorney” means they’ve given no consideration to the realities of what they’re saying. So here they are:

Hiring an attorney means facing and hiring a GOOD attorney. Anyone can hire a BAD attorney, which will only make matters worse. I’ve hired bad attorneys. And as should be predicted, things went south for the case, the people involved, and in the relationship, I had with my attorney as well as his credibility in the city of Louisville as a “good” lawyer.

GOOD attorneys, pretending there is such a thing(meaning having no scruples and win-at-any-cost, and is that really who you REPRESENTING you?), have their schedules full already. Everyone wants them. And they cost, dearly. $5000 retainer and up to $375 an hour to do nothing. I’ve already had a family law attorney drain me dry. I have nothing left for them to eat. My daughter and I must eat, too. If I’m ever allowed to see her again, and sensing what this judge is about I may not because she’s too busy to bother with us in Family Court as a Family Court Judge, being paid handsomely to handle our case.

Another reason I don’t want an attorney is I don’t need defense. I have nothing to hide. The people that need attorneys have something to hide. They don’t get an attorney because they’re proud of what they’ve done or are doing. They want to hide it. That’s not me. I offer everything I do on the table to inspect, always. That’s why my ex-wife has a lawyer. To protect her. I don’t need protection from anything because I’ve done nothing working, and on top of that, I’m proud of the parenting job I do. And welcome auditing so I may improve where I can. Not her. That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in. She wants me as far away as possible from being able to evaluate anything that goes on with her and our daughter, for good reason. Or bad reason, depending on how you look at it. To these ends, my ex has explicitly told me she’d “go broke” on attorneys fees, which I alerted her lawyer to that willingness. To defend herself, I must assume. Why else would anyone preposterously say that?

I’d also like to explain here, for anyone that’s actually read this far: I don’t put deeply personal matters and thoughts and family situations online for everyone to read to air dirty laundry, cause problems, disparage anyone, or complain.

I write out these things as they happen to go back and read over because I tend to put these painful days out of my mind. I don’t dwell on the past and don’t make myself miserable about “what could have been.” There’s no use other than learning from the events and building positively upon them and moving on.

So I place these types of things here for that reason. To come back and see what I could and should have done differently for a better outcome. There are things today I could and should have done better. I know that for next time. And I can refer to this if needed with details fresh in my mind as I write it down.

But I also put them here for others to learn from as well. Because this is real. It’s actual elements in my life, shaping what is my and my daughter’s future and her life, indelibly and irretractable which only I seem to understand.

This is a set of disclaimers I’m going to put at the top of the “Personal” category. I don’t make all my thoughts public. In fact, at last count, I have 56 “Drafts” 8 “pending” 2 “Private” and 146 “Published” posts on this site. Those pending, private, and draft posts are ones that won’t be public for good reasons, or I’m still working on for a later time. They represent some crazy stuff, though.