i had a very nasty divorce from my children's father. it didn't start out that way, but that's the way it ended up. i planned to be fair and mature about things, and he was pretty good with it until he figured out that we weren't going to be working things out and getting back together. then he started to be a real pain in the ass about almost everything. i'm not sure if he did it just to get back at me for leaving him or if he really felt that way on those issues; regardless, he was willing to hurt his children to get back at me for whatever sins he was sure i was guilty of, and that is not a way to earn points with a mother.
i honestly felt like what happened between us should be just between us. i didn't tell his parents anything. i didn't communicate with his family or any of our friends. i never even told our own children why we were divorced. when they asked, i just said, "we just can't live together anymore." and left it at that. i didn't figure they needed a real long explanation that would make them feel like they had to choose who was right and who was wrong. "we just couldn't live together anymore" was enough information for them at 6 and 8 years old.
i had $20 in the ash tray of my car when i left to visit my parents that weekend, not knowing that i was leaving him yet, but knowing that if i could just get home, my parents would help me with what i needed or help me to get back. while i was at my parents for the weekend, he threatened to kill me when i returned, so i decided that i was no longer staying in that relationship. when i left him, i only took my personal possessions, those items that my family had given to us, and the children's belongings. i left him all of his personal possessions, all of the things that his family had given to us, and half of the furniture that wasn't mine personally before we married. i thought that seemed fair and reasonable. i wasn't out to get him on anything -- i just wanted what belonged to myself and the children. i didn't take the money out of the bank account, but just took my name off of it so he could continue to use it.
well, it wasn't long before the divorce turned really nasty. probably about the same time he found out that he was to pay $600 a month in child support and provide the children with medical insurance. then he started doing some really underhanded things to keep the kids and me from "getting anything" of his. seems weird, though, when i wasn't wanting anything of his other than the assigned child support. i even offered to take all the debts and practically none of the property if he would just walk away. no such luck, though. eventually, he just gave up his job and made no money. that way, he didn't have to pay child support. yeah, they assigned an amount to him -- but they couldn't make him pay if.
the divorce drug out for 10 months. during that time, we were in court 5 times before the actual divorce finalization. none of these trips would count as pleasant and none of these trips would count as cheap. well, i guess they were cheaper for him than for me, as he never paid his attorney fees afterward. he fought every step of the way -- didn't want to pay child support, didn't want to provide insurance, refused to provide documentation that the children had insurance, didn't want to agree on visitation, refused to pay child support, was held in contempt of court for not following court orders, offered to settle and then backed out at the last minute, lied about his finances, lied about his possessions, accused me of stealing his valuable property, and told his whole family some far out stories about the reasons we were separated. it was awful, and i wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy.
i felt so bad for the kids because they wanted their dad to be a father, not a vindictive jerk who was willing to hurt them to get at me. for a while it was good when they went to visit, but that didn't last but just a few months. he knew that the best and easiest way to hurt me was to hurt my kids. i knew that the best and easiest way to hurt him was in his checkbook. every time he tried to get to me through the kids, i would sock it to him in the checkbook -- or try to.
it didn't take me long to see the error of my ways, though. soon i realized that the court wasn't really making him do anything that he was supposed to. i was following the rules because i thought it was the right thing to do, and he wasn't. there was no way for that situation to be fair unless both people are willing to be fair and do what's right. i was in a "no win situation". he wasn't going to behave maturely, he wasn't going to follow the rules, and the court wasn't going to make him. oh yeah, they ordered him to, but that doesn't really make him do it. that just puts the order in the books -- "on this 3rd day of june, 1992, scott docherty appears before this court and is ordered to pay his child support for the last 3 months. mr. docherty has until july 1 to get caught up on his child support. once he has paid the arrears on child support, he shall pay 1/2 of his monthly child support on the 1st of the month and 1/2 on the 15th of the month." this was now a court order. he had until july 1 to defy the court again, and he did. at that point, if i took him back to court (and paid the fees), about the same thing would happen. nothing scary or harmful or damaging, really. he would just smile and agree to do whatever the court told him to do and then not do it.
my children were the victims in this situation, and there was nothing i could do to protect them. he denied doing anything to them or anything wrong to the court. he made them cry, he made them afraid, he made them sick, he made them sad -- and there was nothing i could do. if i didn't make them go, i was in contempt of court. the court system didn't care what the problem was, the kids had to go see their dad. after all, if they could just force them to spend some time together, they would probably end up liking each other. wrong!
well, i didn't think very nice thoughts about him during this time, and the thoughts got worse in connection to his actions. i would've done just about anything to make sure my kids were safe and happy. this included eliminating the reason(s) for their unhappiness and distress. i had already tried working w/ him and being cooperative. next, i tried to cut down on the amount of time that the kids went there and the interaction that they had with him. or trying to re-arrange the schedule a little bit to be more accommodating to the kids' social schedule. i finally took him to court requesting that visitation be cut down to once a month instead of twice a month. that didn't work, though, as the judge just split the difference and then gave him 6 weeks in the summer to make up for the time he was losing. the judge also refused to listen to the kids and/or let them speak out in court. they were barred from the courtroom.
he became more vicious, doing outrageous things to pay me back for trying to "run his life". the problem was, i didn't want to run his life -- i just didn't want him to run mine! and i definitely didn't want him to ruin my kids' lives just because he was trying to get back at me. i began to think of how nice life would be without him in it. i wasn't imagining his death, but just his non-existance. how nice things would be if he would just "not be". the kids didn't care for him, and i had very strong negative feelings about the man who caused so much pain to my children. yeah, he did mean things to me, but i didn't really let those bother me because he just hated me (in reality, it just killed him to admit he had no control over me). but when he was mean to OUR children because he hated me, that was crossing the line.
these ridiculous actions continued. he wouldn't bring the kids back at the time he was supposed to, but 3 hours late and just leave me sitting at the meeting point (johnson's general store in fredonia). he refused to let the kids bring their personal possessions that they took to his house back home with them. he threw rocks and screamed filthy names at me as i loaded the kids up in the car -- so bad that some truckers restrained him so we could leave. he blocked my car door so that i couldn't shut it to leave while he yelled at me and called me names. he parked where he blocked my car in and then refused to leave. he threatened to fight me for custody of the kids. he accused me of being an unfit mother and threatened to lie in court and have his friends lie in court for him to have the children taken away from me.
finally, in the summer of 1997, he took the kids for his 6 week visit. this is the first time he had ever done that, and i'm sure he did it this time to pay me back for requesting less visitation for him. he did his best to cut the kids off from me totally -- not letting me talk to them on the phone, intercepting any letters/cards i sent to them, not returning them when he was supposed to, demanding to meet at different times and places. during the last 2-week stint of the 6 weeks visitation, he moved away and took the kids with him == kidnapping. fortunately for me, my kids had been trained on what to do if this happened, but that didn't make it any less serious. the whole situation was miserable.
i was sick with fear for my children's safety and well-being. i couldn't eat. i couldn't sleep. i would fall asleep where i had dropped from exhaustion. i had been this way the whole 6 weeks they were gone, but it was worse now that i knew he was attempting to hide them and keep them from me. i couldn't think of anything other than the situation that my kids were in and the jackass that was causing it. i began to think of ways to take care of it myself, but i couldn't come up w/ a method that was definite success without drawing obvious attention to myself. trust me, i had a 100 or more possibilities, but no definite choice. it was no secret about how i felt. i had even discussed the plausibility with my attorney. people knew and had heard me say that i wished he was dead. i never said i was going to kill him, but if he showed up dead -- it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. in fact, i probably would've been happy because it would've spared my children the pain they were going through by dealing with him. but, i wasn't willing to spend my life as a sacrifice to the legal system because he was a jackass.
i wished him dead. i didn't broadcast it, but anyone who knew me well knew that. unfortunately for me, no one obliged me by taking care of him. i always thought it was such a shame when a partner/father was killed in one of those perfect little families and this awful person was still walking around. after the kidnapping, the kids refused to go back to see him. by an unusual chain of events, it worked out just that way. the last time they saw him for visitation was august 9, 1997, when the police removed the kids from his care and turned them over to me.
he didn't see the kids again after that, partially because the kids refused to go and partially because he didn't make arrangements on time to meet them and partially because i refused to take his phone calls. thank God for caller id, which came to our town that summer. i no longer put out any effort to communicate with him or to cooperate in any way on the children. he didn't treat them well and was often abusive (physically or mentally or verbally), he had never put their needs/wants before his own, and he didn't pay child support. in my mind, he was an unfit parent and didn't deserve parental rights. i felt no sympathy for him that his children no longer wanted a relationship with him.
it was probably a couple years before i no longer wished him dead. not that it matters, though, because he's still alive and well today. i'm convinced that he won't make it to heaven and hell probably doesn't want him either. but that's just my opinion. the bad thing is when someone can look at another person's life and say "you know, (s)he is worth much more dead than alive." and be totally honest and sincere -- without malice (and it's not just me thinking that!). not that i'm saying i didn't have malice, because i did for a long time. in fact, at the time of the kidnapping (5 years after i left him and filed for divorce), i told my attorney that if i had just taken care of it differently the first time, i could've been on parole by then instead of trying to find my kidnapped and abused children. the bad thing -- he totally agreed and wasn't joking. so, had the opportunity presented itself, i'm not sure i would've turned it down.
we healed and recovered from the kidnapping incident. it was a terrible thing to have to live through, and this summer of events has affected my family forever. it's odd, too, that those feelings and memories come over me at weird times, too. like one night when we were watching one of those crime scene shows, explaining how to kill someone and get away with it . . . or not. in this particular show, the person who officials were certain had committed the crime was actually innocent and spent several years in prison before being exonerated.
that really hit home with me -- for obvious reasons. IF scott had been killed or had died under suspicious circumstances, i would've been the obvious suspect. i had motive, and plenty of it. i had opportunity, ability, attitude, access to weapons, and the intelligence to plan out the situation. on top of that, there were witnesses who could testify that i had said i wished he was dead. uh-oh, this could be real trouble.
i really began to worry about what would happen to me if something happened to him. it really could create a problem. i didn't have a alibi all of the time. it's not reasonable, but people would think i had done it if i couldn't account for all of my time. what happened if he got robbed? what happened if he made someone else mad? what happened if he committed suicide? i was really worried. this could negatively affect my life for a very long time, even though i didn't have anything to do with it.
i began to pray for his continued well-being, even though it irked me so bad i couldn't hardly keep from gagging. i now was concerned that the person i most despised might not live a long life. rather ironic, don't you think? what's even more comical -- this man had so much hatred for me that if he realized the situation, he probably would've commited suicide just to make me prove i didn't kill him. fortunately for me, he didn't realize the trouble he could create in my life!
i no longer waste any time thinking or wondering what my children's father is doing in life. there will be weeks or more go by that i never even think of him. his existence is not noticeable to me, nor does it collide with my existence -- ever. we live over 200 miles apart, which is probably a large part of the reason we're both still alive. our social circles are not connected, even though we know many of the same people. we have different associations with these people. every now and then, someone will mention him to me and i'll be reminded that he still exists. but that thought doesn't last for long. now that the children are both over 18, there is nothing he can do to me that would matter.
the more i thought of the difficulty his death or disappearance would cause me, the more my ornery and rebellious nature came out. if the situation were reversed and i knew someone had openly stated that he or she wished me dead -- what would i do? i guess that would depend upon how much malice i harbored for that person. or maybe it would depend upon how much time i had on my hands. or maybe it would depend upon whether i felt like having an adventure.
but let's suppose it was my ex-husband, though. that certainly offers some promising scenarios, as i did carry quite a large amount of ill-will toward him for a long time. so, how could i use that situation to my advantage? well, if i had thought it through far enough and knew what would happen, i would've realized the difficulty i could have caused him in life. that would've been a real problem, too, because once i realized it -- i would've wanted to make it happen. something to provide the perfect payback for all the things that he did to the children and to me. and it would've been the perfect revenge.