Mommy, Grandma, and Grandpa had me arrested for calling my girls on the phone. -Updated 4/13/2010

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How to “Steal”, Legally

My Ex appraised my mom’s TV, my cousin’s lawn mower, and the antique cider press my father bought a month before he married mom in 1969

The Family Court System encourages people to get mean during a divorce.  Strategically, it seems to be a good idea to throw everything against the wall to see what sticks.  From the standpoint of being a responsible parent, it’s never a good thing to add unnecessary fuel to the fire that is already burning in the divorce.  Unfortunately, Judge James Humphrey punishes civil behavior. 

At Least My Ex Left the Kitchen Sink

You think I’m joking?  My Ex left the house after the Provisional Hearing that took place on February 9, 2007.  A few months later she came back to the house to pick up some of her personal possessions and half of the children’s items that we agreed on.  A year after the provisional hearing, she had an appraiser named Nelson Elliot come into the house and appraise everything.  Everything I purchased in the year after she filed for divorce.  Everything that my parents stored on the property to maintain their property.  Nelson Elliot appraised property that belonged to family and friends.  My Ex even tried to hold me in contempt of court for not making items we never owned available for her appraiser.

If you let me have the kids, I'll let your mom keep her farm

On November 21, 2007 my Ex sent a settlement proposal for custody and property settlement.  In her settlement proposal, she listed nearly everything in the house; including the custom cut window blinds from Home Depot.  I rejected the offer largely because she proposed that I got less than the minimum parenting time than the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines recommended.  The November 21, 2007 proposal was the first time my Ex made me aware of the $25,000 of credit card debt she obtained during the marriage.  Her proposal made no mention of assets belonging to other people and the farmland in the trust.  She was going to give me unsupervised parenting time, hold me harmless for her credit card debt, not go after the family farm, and have me pay $73.83 a week in child support.  After I rejected the offer, she wanted: $176.65 a week in child support, $122,280.00 from my “future vested interest” from my parents’ farmland, supervised visitation with the children by someone other than my mom, and she listed nearly every item that has been on the property as a marital asset.  She refused private settlement meetings and mediation.  It was all or nothing.  She got it all and I got nothing.

If you get shot while walking through a bad neighborhood people will say that it is your own fault

That’s one of the problems here.  People sometimes excuse bad behavior because the victim should have known better.  The same holds true for divorce.  I should have known better than to conduct myself like a responsible parent.  I did not leverage her 403B for time with the children.  She kept placing the “intimidating” and “manipulating” tag on me yet she was the one who kept pushing for supervised parenting time when we were in court and then using unsupervised parenting time as leverage for property distribution in her settlement proposals.  This is great legal strategy because you cannot submit proposals as evidence.  I could not make the argument that she said that I could have unsupervised parenting time with the girls if I gave her the custom cut window blinds, yet in Court she claims that I am a dangerous parent. 

My Ex listed everything as marital assets.  We lived in one of the rental houses my parents owned.  My parents always rented property with appliances.  She listed the refrigerator and the stove as marital assets.

“...and give me a box of those naked lady tees”

If you are not a Caddyshack fan, the above is a quote from Rodney Dangerfield’s character, Al Czervik.  Near the beginning of the movie, Al goes into the pro shop at Bushwood Country Club and just starts announcing “I’ll take two of those, six of those… and give me a box of those naked lady tees.”  That’s what my Ex sounded like when she was listing what she thought was marital property.  She listed my mom’s TV, my cousin’s lawnmower, another cousin’s lawn roller, a fuel tank owned by a local fuel company, an antique cider press my father bought a month before he married my mom, the gun safe I bought after she filed for divorce, a gun I purchased after she filed for divorce, and my mattress that I bought before we were engaged that she hadn’t slept on for 2.5 years.

“Dan there’s a moving truck across the road and they are taking things out of the house.”

The guy who lives across the road from me called me on the morning of Tuesday, September 15, 2009 to tell me that people were taking things out of my house.  My Ex just let movers in the house without my knowledge or permission and they began taking things.  At that point of time, I had been spending nearly all of my at my mother’s house in Cincinnati, Ohio because she was helping me work on strategies to get the girls back and my house was in a rural area that lacked common conveniences such as Office Depot and Kinko's.  When I got to my house, I saw my former father-in-law taking video of the operation.  He recorded my Ex stealing my mother’s 50” LCD TV.

“Mom’s TV”

I know it’s just a TV and it is insignificant when compared to the loss of your children.  The fact that my mom had property stolen from her isn’t so much of an issue as the fact that someone could be so mean and dishonest to take something that she knows isn’t hers.  My Ex filed for divorce on January 8, 2007.  Mom had a former tenant that lived across the road and he fell behind on his rent by a couple thousand dollars.  To get caught up on rent, the guy offered to give mom his 50” Hitachi LCD TV.  My mom took the TV and the glass stand in trade for $1000.00 worth of rent.  This took place on June 21, 2007, about six months after she filed for divorce.  The reason it was at my house was a friend and I just moved it across the road.  Mom did not need the TV but she was trying to make sure that she get as much of the delinquent rent as she could.  A year after my Ex filed for divorce, she got a court order to allow an appraiser to enter the house and she claimed the TV though she had never seen the TV.  My mother testified that she acquired the television in lieu of rent but Judge Humphrey still gave it to my EX.  On September 15, 2009, her dad took video of my Ex stealing my mom’s TV.  These are the values of the people that Judge Humphrey chose to raise my daughters.

These are some of the words that someone who just lost all parenting time with his children may use when he is told that his ex wife just entered the former marital residence for the first time in over two and a half years, without my knowledge, and began removing things.  She got to choose which half of everything she wanted.  I’m sure that she took pictures of a house that hadn’t seen any normal occupancy in many months that will be used against me in court the next time.  The only occupant of the house was the girls’ cat. 

Roughly two months before my Ex decided that she wanted to get a divorce, she bought a housecat.  When she left, she left the cat.  I had to spend nearly all of my time in Cincinnati, Ohio to work on trying to get the girls back and I had to worry about the cat.  What’s a dad supposed to do?  Give my daughters’ cat away?  Take it to the pound?  What do I tell the girls when they asked what happened to Pawnsy-Boy?  Daddy lost the cat?  Pawnsy-Boy died?  Daddy couldn’t take care if Pawnsy-Boy because Mommy lied about Daddy not being a responsible parent and helped take away your ability to see Daddy?  I didn’t want to say any of these things so I periodically made a 2 hour round trip to my house in Indiana just to take care of the cat that my Ex bought two months before she decided to get divorced.

All of this is running through my mind when I got the call she was in my house and I was an hour away.  When I arrived at the house, I parked at mom’s rental house across the road to access what to do.  The hour drive was enough to cool my head to the point where I could make light of the situation.  If I would have known that she was coming out, I would have cleaned the cat hair off of everything so she wouldn’t have the opportunity to say that the children were living in a “dirty environment.”  When I remembered that my Ex testified that I the girls and I spent all of our time at mom’s house, I realized that she had already presented an argument against me subjecting the children to “dirty environment” so I wasn’t as concerned about any videos her father took of the house when they entered without my permission.