Saturday, June 8, 2013

Contempt

Yesterday was the wasband's arraignment for the Contempt of Court charges, for not following some of the terms of the divorce decree and failing to pay support.

I was prepared for a simple hearing where he would plead "not guilty" and we'd set the date for trial.

Well...those things did happen...but so did a few things that I didn't see coming...

Firstly, he didn't dress for court. He showed up in stained jeans, old tennis shoes, and a faded "2nd Amendment" t-shirt. While this really isn't a big deal to the judge we were appearing before, it struck me as odd. In all the time that we were together & all the court hearings that we had attended, he had never dressed so inappropriately. So, it just struck me as uncharacteristic for the guy that I had been married to.

Secondly, his attitude in court was appalling. In all the years that we were together, I had rarely heard him be so disrespectful...and never in a situation where it was so unwarranted & inappropriate. When the judge asked his how he plead, he couldn't leave it with "not guilty". Instead, he had to add, "I know I'm behind, but that's two sided. Part of that is spousal support & she's got a baby by another man, so I just don't think it's right that I should have to pay her." This, my friends, is why I always tell clients to say the least amount possible in court. In any event, Her Honor took it in relative stride & just raised her eyebrows at him & told him "well, that's why you file something in court."

So, we get through that part & get the trial date set...then the judge asks a question that I hadn't anticipated. She asked my attorney if there was any reason to be concerned that Respondent wouldn't appear for trial. When I heard that, it sorta jolted me. I had never been involved in an arraignment in a civil contempt citation, only in criminal court. So, it hadn't occurred to me that there would be a request for bond. This matters because Wasband asked me, the day before, if I thought he'd be arrested when he came to court. I answered honestly and told him,  "I don't see any reason that you would be...". Oops! I had completely forgotten about the possibility of a bond being required to help ensure his appearance.

So...I listened as my attorney, who I have complete confidence in & had granted the authority to make these decisions (after all, what I've been trying, on my own, hasn't been too successful), explained that we have trouble even knowing where he is to serve him, that he works mostly out of state & how much he is behind in support...and requesting a $2500 bond. That really isn't a large bond, considering how much he owes. And, if he gets a bail bondsman, he only has to come up with $250 to get out.

When Her Honor explained to Wasband that a $2500 bond was being requested, instead of calmly explaining that he assured the court that he would appear, & explaining why a bond wasn't necessary, he took a different approach. His exact words to the judge were "Where I supposed to come up with $2500?". Clearly annoyed with the tone that he was using towards her, Her Honor looked at him, over her glasses and said "I can't tell you that." Then, he sealed her decision...he looked at my attorney and said, "I've got a $100 bill in my wallet & your welcome to it, Buddy, but that's all I got." Without another word, the judge wrote her order, then turned to the bailiff & said that she was remanding him to the custody of the Sheriff until bond is made.

Had Wasband handled it more appropriately, I believe, just from previous experience with this judge, that she probably would have let him by with no bond. Instead, he was taken away in pretty pink handcuffs.

As an attorney, I know that my council made the right call. However, I wasn't mentally prepared for the father of my children to be arrested. But, it is what it is & I just keep reminding myself that this is the consequences of his actions.

My primary concern, at this point, is what, if anything, he might say to the kids about this. I'm completely aware that, in his mind, this is all my fault. And he'd entitled to feel however he pleases. However, I am careful to not say negative things about him to, or in front of, our children. He, on the other hand, has blurred that boundary more than once. I'm concerned that he may tell the kids that I had him thrown in jail. I'm accustomed to them blaming me for not seeing him much. However, I think that this issue might require a bit more explanation...and I'm not sure how to go about that. Who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky & he won't tell them...

4 comments:

  1. Your kids are clever. If not now, then someday, they will put the pieces together. I'm pretty sure they understand actions and consequences, they just need a little more life experience to know how things like this work.

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  2. WOW, that is quite the turn of unexpected events. I hope that he keeps his head and doesn't involve the kids.

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  3. He did this to himself. It is sad, but maybe a short age-apropos explanation can head some of the fallout toward you off? Obviously, you can't count on the Wasband to be mature and respectful. :(

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  4. I agree that this is a challenging situation. I think based on the wasbands past track record its a safe bet that inappropriate comments will be made either directly to the kids, or at least in ear shot of them. Therefore since this is his normal course of action I think a very simple, age appropriate conversation is in order. If done correctly it should not only give them some accurate knowledge in the event that he does comment in front of them. But it should also give them a good lesson about responsibility.

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