Saturday, October 16, 2010

And Justice Was Served

We arrived in court Monday morning, expecting it to be a short hearing in front of the judge to report on the status of our mediation. It was scheduled just prior to lunch; thus, my attorney shot down my expectation of a ruling. She said we should expect around 15 minutes.

For over an hour, the Honorable Judge Linda Van de Water sat and listened while simultaneously pouring over the fifty plus pages of copiously detailed documentation. She questioned Mr. Sunshine as to each specific area of expense and why he thought he didn't need to pay for it.  She listened to his excuses, his outright lies and his impenetrable fortress known as Troyland, the world in which he lives.

This particular judge has recently transferred to family court after a career spent in the criminal court system. She has a very low tolerance for people who do not accept responsibilities for their actions, people who refuse to see how their decisions affect others and people who are, well let's just say it like it is, criminals.

She finally broke when she noticed on his notes, he had written that he refused to pay for our son's broken retainer because it was not specifically broken at his home, but rather at school.  She interrupted his per se arguments to let him know exactly what she thought of  him. She told him she had heard enough of his excuses as it was abundantly clear he had an excuse for everything. The only excuse she bought was that he is a sorry excuse for a man who had "obviously caused nothing but heartache for me and for his children over the past five years" and she ruled in a way that said to the world, "your actions, your choices, do not diminish the responsibilities you have for your children".  Here sir, may I present to you your ass, on a silver platter.

She not only awarded me every cent of his share of past medical bills, counseling bills, hospital bills, orthodontic treatment and school fees but she went on to require him to pay 100% of the legal fees I had to incur in pursuing him. As if that wasn't enough, she asked my attorney how much she would be billing me for her services that very morning so she could add that in. She noted that he had never paid me the $5,000 he owed me from the sale of our home. I'm certain she took into account the fact that he had stolen $1.3 million dollars and still didn't pay me when he was out buying Cadillacs and taking three week cruises with his fiance around the Mediterranean.

Yes, Judge Van de Water did not like Mr. Sunshine. He now owes me approximately $16,000, which must be paid in thirty days or he goes to jail.  But wait, he will already be in jail.  Hmmmm.  How does THAT work? If he doesn't pay it by the time he gets out of jail, he goes right back in, except this time it won't be a federal prison "camp". It will be Waukesha County jail.  I hope he hones his prison skills before he faces county lock-up.

He further embarrassed himself in court by mentioning the handwritten counter-suit he had filed that very morning, asking me to appear in court to have our arrangement amended for me to be responsible for 100% of the kids expenses while he is up the river for the next 30 months. The judge would not hear his argument as this filing was not before her court; however, I'm certain she used that as one more weapon in her arsenal when she rendered her judgment.

I have a friend who graduated from MIT with a masters in mathematics. He is a veritable math savant, making him a high income earner. Yet, when he went through a divorce here in the state of Wisconsin, he had temporarily lost his job (through no fault of his own). He proposed to the court his intent on becoming a high school math teacher. He had always dreamed of using his talents to teach others. He spent hours volunteering at his son's school to facilitate this passion. He envisioned a life where he could teach during the school year and spend all summer with his two boys, being with them full time during their days with him. Noble right?

The court ruled that he was not allowed to pursue this most benevolent of ventures because he had proven his earning potential in the corporate world and his ex wife was accustomed to that level of living.  Therefore, he would be required to jump back on the corporate treadmill, denying countless high school children his gift, denying his children the precious time he could have given them, and denying himself of the dream he had carried throughout his lifetime. He ended up being a guest on the Dr. Phil show in an episode about men losing their rights in a divorce.

Contrast that to a man who lost his job during our divorce but chose not to look for another job, starting what was the second or third of many failed business ventures. He needed to do that in order to allow him the freedom to run for the state Assembly position he was pursuing. He lost that race of course, and stayed true to his pattern of ending up broke and without resources yet again.  That's when he went to work for the employer he would eventually steal from and well, the rest of the story you know.

The court system denied a man wanting to downgrade his earning potential for the benefit of thousands. What do you think they (the former criminal court judge) thought of Mr. Sunshine and his excuse that he would no longer be able to earn at the rate commensurate with his history due to the fact that he chose to commit a felony crime? She ruled that he would be responsible to pay child support to me based on his full earning potential for each and every month he is away, I am to receive $1,500.

What? You mean I won't have to deny the kids their orthodontic treatment or rip them out of their schools because I can't afford to hire someone to pick them up everyday?  You mean I will be able to pay for full time child care during the summers and perhaps even take them on a family vacation? You mean I won't have to explain away Christmas presents and birthday parties and dinners out and new video games because I won't be struggling to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads for the next two and a half years?

What a relief that is. What a blessing that is. Yes, it appears justice was served.

Those of you who have read the annuls of Mr. Sunshine know he will find a way to avoid paying me this money.  He acknowledges most of what he owes, yet he came to mediation with a settlement offer of $300 for half of our son's orthodontic down payment and another $300 to pay for his school lunches for the remainder of the year. It was a gesture of yes, I know I didn't pay you for half of our daughter's hospital bills but oh well, guess I just don't have the money, sorry. It's $600, take it or leave it.

Bite me.  Try $16,000 on for size.

His is in the process of selling his cars and his furniture, he will receive a security deposit back on his rental, he will continue to have meetings to keep his business generating revenue, he will drain his mother for legal fees and cell phones and probably even channel money to his church but will he, they (he and his mother who travels the world on extravagant summer vacations) give one thought to providing for his children? Well, you be the judge.

I'm done Mr. Sunshine. Your new home away from home, Waukesha County jail, awaits.

(To see all posts related to Mr. Sunshine, click on the "Mr. Sunshine with a Chance of Pain", link below.)


  1. Here's hoping Mr. Sunshine has a room mate named Bubba!

  2. While it is doubtful that He Whom the Earth Orbits did not her the Judge's words, I amglad you heard them. You and your children needed a champion that he can never become.

  3. He better be looking over his shoulder, karma's a bitch!

  4. Missy - I like that. Big Bubba would be better!

    Robin - I am the champion my kids and I need. I carry your words with me always, I am enough.

    Diva - Yes, karma is a bitch but I wonder if he has the capacity to see it when it strikes. Oh well, not important. I have to let the universe take care of those things.

  5. Finally! I'm so happy to read the good news and thankful you happened to get Judge Van de Water. Exactly how long does it take to work off $16,000 in county? I'm sure things will be tough at times, but your kids are lucky to have such a strong, loving, and amazing mother.

  6. Thanks Megan. I will make my own fortune time and time over before I see one penny of that $16,000. It was justice just to hear the judge holding the same opinion of him. We will prevail, because I will have it no other way.

  7. A- I told you to trust the system. Denial is a lot harder to ignore when all you have is time. Lets hope he comes out a better man and steps up to be the father his children deserve.

  8. Wow. Bad karma is right. I'm gonna hit that link and get the back story.

    I've had my own experience in family court. I had a judge who saw things clearly as well.

    At least it's on paper and may be more enforceable if he continues to be a punk.

  9. Teri - yes, you did tell me to trust it. I do hope he finally breaks down to see that he wasn't the father he should have been and can come out with a new commitment to them.

    Michelle - So happy to hear from you. It's all about the paper. I will likely see no money or get no help or support from his family but for five years he has told me I was wrong. It is good to have somebody tell me I wasn't crazy all those years. My hope is that prison will take away his punkiness.


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