People always shake their head in amazement and skepticism at made for TV movies on Lifetime based on real stories and say “How can things in real life be that horrible?” The short answer is you would be amazed.
In December, 2010 a really dear friend of mine from high school got engaged. I was so very happy for him. I did not know much about his intended other than a rather rocky past and quite a few children, but figured she looked nice enough even if she seemed to have a hard time in photos smiling and my friend Scott, well, he was so over the moon happy with this woman.
We’re not teenagers any more and this woman brought kids into her relationship with my friend. My friend Scott is a very emotionally generous person and had been doing the single dude thing for so long I thought it was terrific. And I knew those kids were lucky to get someone like Scott in their lives. After all, some people don’t want to be step-parents to the children of others.
Now Scott and I grew up minutes from each other and he went to one of the private schools many of my friends came from. But for years now he had been out on the west coast. So a lot of our communication over the years was by phone, e-mail, letters, and Facebook. So I had watched from afar as my friend fell in love with this woman. He was so happy. They were creating their own family unit and he loved her kids. Then came the news she was expecting.
Scott was going to be a father. He was, quite simply put, over the moon. Then on Tuesday, June 28th his daughter was born in sunny Petaluma, CA. Scott was a dad.
Scott took to fatherhood like a duck to water. We as his friends shared their joys and Baby Girl’s every step. Baby Girl is a magically beautiful child and there is no doubt whose genes were dominant – she is a mini me to her devoted dad. The only thing at this point that gave me pause was the fact this woman seemed to be dragging my friend deeper and deeper into this church which seemed a little too California cult-like to me. Sorry, but I am who I am and I come from a traditional religion.
Time passed and this past September Scott’s friends received the jolt of a lifetime: he was out of the house and this woman was trying to get a restraining order out on him to keep him that way. He was barred from seeing his daughter, the now ex had all his stuff, and there he was wondering why he just got run over by an 18 wheeler.
Skeptics out there might say he must have done something wrong, and to them I say he might be many things but my friend Scott is not an abuser of anything or anyone. He is not perfect, he is human complete with all the dents life gives you by your late 40s but he is honorable.
Besides, this is ironically the third case I know about where exes (women) are using the legal system to their advantage. For example, I know another man in NJ who dates one of my very close friends and he is going through a version of this. His case is even stranger because his now soon to be ex wife wanted the divorce. He acquiesced and became accustomed to the idea and started to move on with his life with someone else (my friend), and whammo, all of a sudden he is an abuser. He has been fighting these charges brought on by his soon to be ex-wife for months and in his case his soon to be ex-wife continues to contact him when she should be speaking through her lawyers (After all one would expect a woman in fear for her safety would not seek constant, direct contact for minutia the attorneys are supposed to handle, right?)
I have a HUGE problem with women who work the system like this. I have zero respect for women who work the system to merely keep a home court advantage. It’s like women who cry rape and later it is proven rape did not occur. Women who work the system to their own selfish ends make it that much harder for women actually in need. After all it takes two to make a relationship, get pregnant, and break a relationship.
So now my friend Scott has to scramble to pick up the pieces of his life. He has not seen his daughter in over 110 days by my count. I mean what kind of judicial system is it that doesn’t allow a father to see his daughter on Christmas or puts a dad who was the primary caregiver for more than a year in the position where he can only see his child two hours a week? And because of the bogus restraining order it kind of makes it hard and down right dangerous for Scott to even attempt court supervised visits. Why? Because this woman has already exercised the order on him for coincidentally somehow being in a store too close to her in the same SMALL town they were both living in until recently….and isn’t that crazy? He wasn’t attempting to see her and was getting a cup of coffee or something innocuous and whammo he gets a police visit?
What is wrong with the judicial system in California? I am kind of surprised that a state that is often more forward thinking because of its Trendy Wendyiness for lack of a better description wouldn’t be more fair. What happened to a father’s rights?
Nowhere have I heard my friend speak of taking primary physical custody, let alone taking his daughter anywhere. He just wants his parental rights. He was not some anonymous sperm donor and he’s not some impregnating baby daddy who bolts at conception and/or birth. He wanted this child, he loves this child, he wants to see and spend time with his child. Real time, not pizza time.
Of course now that this is all unfolding there are many sad details of his ex-fiancee’s life coming to light. I will spare my readers the details as I think this is a woman with deep-seeded issues and we’ll leave it at that. But I am of the opinion that the California legal system needs to take off the protect-the-woman- at- all- costs blinders and look to this woman’s life before she was in Scott’s life. And then these esteeemed professionals in California’s system have to ask is this the first time she has worked the system? Is it possible for one woman to have so many issues with her multiple prior baby daddies or is there something else not being seen clearly or fairly?
And a little shout out to this “church” that this woman dragged my friend into. You see, when this all began, like a good Christian my friend went to their pastor and kind of said “what do I do?” I hear this pastor person gave some solid counsel at the outset. But soon the tides turned. Behind the scenes, and inspired by his ex fiancee, church members traded accusations — one of them went so far as to threaten Scott with physical violence on his Facebook page. Right there in black and white for all to see. Whoa. There’s Christianity at its best, right? So why is it all these good Christians have turned their back on him? It was all ducky and peach preserves until someone cried wolf, so what up with that? To these God-fearing hypocrites I suggest they brush up on their Matthew – Judge not, that ye be not judged.
A little shout out to Scott’s ex: I spared writing about a lot of details his friends and family are privy to. I did that not for your delicate sensibilities, but for Scott and his daughter. Which is also why I did not name you or her by name. What you are doing is wrong, and you know it is wrong. Am I wrong in thinking you have a very destructive pattern? Am I wrong in thinking you need to stop popping out kids from different baby daddies and get to the root of your issues? Girl, you need a shrink and birth control. Relationships end, but fathers have rights too. Moving from man to man and leaving a litter of children with various fathers isn’t going to fix what is wrong, is it?
I am so sad about this. I might never get to meet my friend’s daughter. And the thing that makes me the most sad is somewhere there is a little girl not quite old enough to get what is going on, but old enough to miss and ask where her daddy is. And Baby Girl is a daddy’s girl so I know she’s asking.
Lifetime TV? If you need story ideas, here’s your next moment of truth movie. It is all very sad, and all very true.