Friday, November 09, 2007

K-Fed and Me

My divorce is coming to a head. It started about 6 months ago when the Qualifier hit me with a county child support suit -- from the agency that is designed to establish paternity and go after deadbeat and runaway dads. I coaxed her into dropping the suit and going to mediation. She bolted from mediation and reinstated the county suit when she discovered it wasn't all stacked to give her everything she wanted.

So I hired an attorney and filed for divorce. The Qualifier went ballistic when she was served. She really thought I would hold still while the county gouged my eyes out. She didn't really want to resolve anything -- she wanted child support as a single mom, and health benefits as a spouse. Every which way.

She hired the most expensive lawyer in town -- and this town is LA. She has the same attorney as Britney Spears is using right now in her custody case with Kevin Federline. But trust me, not nearly as much money. The attorney burned through her retainer on a response that basically argued that she's really, really pissed, she doesn't like me at all, and therefore I should have no access to my son. Then we went to the court's custody "conciliator" and the Qualifier agreed to everything I wanted -- which threw out everything her attorney did. Next week we will go to court to determine child support and property settlement. This is the property settlement equation: (0+0)/2. Meanwhile, my attorney got the county to drop their suit since it's all being handled in divorce court. Since she's out of money, the Qualifier is talking about going to court without an attorney.

It's kind of sad. Granted, next week is a long time away and anything can happen, but right now it looks like, three months and thousands of dollars in attorney fees later, she's going to end up with a much worse deal than I was ready to make with her when she walked out of mediation.

From what I'm hearing, Britney isn't making out much better than my Qualifier, either. Yo, K-Fed, you and me, dog! (Of course, Britney is the only one who can make this decision, but it looks to this alcoholic like the girl could use a program.)

I'll see how it all falls out, but I will feel bad if the Qualifier gets screwed. I have an idea of what a fair outcome would be, and I think my attorney may be good enough to produce an outcome more favorable to me than a fair outcome. Once I make allowance for my attorney fees, I would consider giving my son a gift, care of the Qualifier, in the form of a gift card to Target, or something like that. Just to make up some of the ground I think the Qualifier should, in fairness, get. Is that codependent? Cross-talk invited, please.


Every now and then I hear someone taking a birthday token talk about the rough year they had, staying sober through divorce, illness, deaths of loved ones, and financial crisis. I'm always pretty impressed with that, wondering how they do it. Now, I'm a couple months from my third birthday, and if I stay sober each of those days between now and then, I'll be talking about staying sober through divorce, ongoing financial crisis, and job insecurity. I guess the other folks do it the same way I have: one day at a time.

What it shows me is that, these big life events are not enough to make me relapse. To take this alcoholic out, it will take something truly, momentously, insanely trivial. Divorce? Serene and calm. Financial crisis? Happy, joyous and free. My truck overheats? Look out below.


My hit rate is going to skyrocket with all this (relevant and on-topic) blogging about Britney Spears and K-Fed. I bet I come out near the top of searches for "recovery blog life verse romans britney spears k-fed." It would increase even more if I brought up that other poor kid, Lindsay Lohan. Early 20's, on the slippery slope of substance abuse, keeps leaving rehabs, seems to want to stop, but not really. How many of us in the rooms don't have a story a lot like hers?? I wonder how I would have handled my early runs if I was famous and had way too much money. I pray that she -- and all the millions of other kids just like her, except they're broke and unknown -- will find her way in from the storm.

UPDATE-----UPDATE----- November 30, 2007 -----UPDATE-----UPDATE

Divorce court went as well as can be expected. The Qualifier showed up with TWO attorneys in tow. But the five of us sat in the courthouse cafeteria and hammered out an agreement acceptable to everyone. There are still a few loose ends to tie out in the next couple months, but custody and child support are settled. I'm delighted to have 50% custody. As I expected, financially the deal is much more favorable to me than what I was ready to agree to in mediation.

It's a HUGE relief. I've had a lot of anxiety the past few months. Having some resolution and reducing the uncertainty and chaos makes a big difference.