Once upon a time, I spent a fortune for some clerk at the county courthouse to photocopy everything they had from my parents’ divorce and mail it to me.
At 50 cents a page. The stack is over an inch high. The worthwhile stuff is about a dozen pages out of all that. But it was worth it.
I believe I am the only kid in the family who has actually read these documents. Everyone else “knows” what happened and has their own story all neatly packaged. I chose to go after physical evidence.
There were three lawyers involved: my parents each had one of course, and then they had a third one to represent us minor kids. He interviewed us and we each were supposed to choose which parent we wanted to go live with. Family lore says the older brother picked Dad, the younger brother picked Mom, and I picked Dad.
Thus I was the tiebreaker. The unassailable hierarchy of age that exists in my FOO always puts me last. And of course if you are looking for a place to put the blame, and already have a habit of doing so on a certain young child, whose fault it was that Mom got sick in the first place, whose birth was the “beginning” of all the bad things that happened later on — well, obviously it becomes my fault that Mom lost the kids.
In reality, it appears that younger brother couldn’t actually bring himself to make that choice. NONE of us actually picked Mom. What does that tell you?
My older siblings insist that there must be some nefarious reason that Mom lost the kids. One believes that her lawyer was bribed to “throw the case”. Another conspiracy theory is that Dad was so valuable to his employer — a family of some repute in that town — that one of them must have “had a word with the judge” to ensure that Dad didn’t lose custody and then simply leave town.
One of them quotes Mom’s lawyer as saying that “she wasn’t going out to the bar and leaving the kids in the car — THAT’S neglect.” They believe that is what she’d have had to be doing in order to lose custody of her children.
To me, this viewpoint has in it the very seeds of narcissism: that “her” kids are something that she “owns” or has some kind of sovereign right to, and that she’d have to behave very badly indeed to have them taken out of her custody. The idea that Dad has some similar right to his own children just isn’t even in there.
Fortunately for me, anyway, the lawyers and the judge were looking at it from the viewpoint of, “Which parent is best able to care for these children?” I think the legally filed statements speak for themselves.
Respondent prefers to minimize her responsibilities in the rearing of the three minor children involved
The interview was devoid of any expressed desire to have custody beyond visitation rights
I find it particularly telling that Mom apparently found it more important to badmouth Dad, than to express any wish for custody. Again, it is as if she assumes the children are hers by right — something she already “owns”.
The interviews with us:
The interviews with our parents: