Welcome to my blog and the reference point in my fight against an archaic, unjust family court system in Marshall County, Alabama. I plan on posting my thoughts, items of interest, and resources I find helpful in hopes that it can be helpful to someone else. Now take a deep breath. Here I go...

Please visit http://www.alfra.org for the only organization in Alabama that promotes the concept that children need each of their fit parents.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Clarity

Saturday was an amazing day. My oldest daughter has a birthday this week, and we celebrated her 8th birthday on that day. She decided that she wanted a winter wonderland themed birthday. To me that is a funny concept being from the South where it seems it is almost never winter. I suppose maybe due to the absence of snow, my daughter decided everyone should wear white and silver. She also apparently only made dress code requirements known to just a few of us. I wore a white button up shirt and an old black and silver tie that I actually got when her mother and I were together. The birthday girl was beautiful of course wearing her boots covered with silver sequins (she loves those boots), and her mom did a great job with the decorations. Had a full house of people, and I think every person there enjoyed themselves. I know my daughter did.  

It was the first time in her life that both of her parents were at the same birthday party, at the same time. She has always had one party with Mom and another with Dad. This time, Mom and Dad were both there and everything was fine. Such a simple concept, and eye opening that we've never got that one right before. As it dawned on me, I realized that there has never been a good reason for this to be the first time. Her mother's side of the family are good people, and have always been very nice to me despite the tension in my relationship with my daughter's mother. Yesterday, that tension was finally gone. 

Another lesson was learned, and it is probably the best advice I can give any parent going through this ordeal. If it is at all possible, eliminate the conflict between you and your child's other parent. This conflict is being used against you. Plus, it is not good for the kids. They deserve to have Mom AND Dad at their birthday party, not two different ones. You do not have a choice, you have to talk and work together. This is especially true when going through a divorce. I have learned that a lot of the conflict is fabricated. It's not real, it is perceived. Every situation is different to be sure, and no one size fits all approach will ever work. However, one truth remains, it is in your child's best interest for you two to get along someway somehow. 

I found out that these last few years of conflict have been more or less self-imposed, because of a lack of communication, which it honestly sounds to me like that lack of communication was exploited by DHR caseworkers. They helped foment the conflict and fuel the fire, and it raged because the mother and I did not talk at all, except through short text messages which focused mainly on the when and where about picking my daughter up for visitation. I have been learned, however, that the caseworkers have more or less been playing us off of one another. 

No more. I am ending this conflict now, once and for all. There is no good reason for my daughter's mother and I to be at odds like we have been, and it was a mistake on my part to allow it to happen as it has. However, it is a trap many fall into. As a friend pointed out tonight, when you get divorced what is the first thing most attorneys tell you to do? Do not speak to your spouse. There's a reason they tell you that and it is because they make money if you let them talk for you. The more conflict, the higher the attorneys' fees. In my experience, that is the worst thing you could do. 

What happened on Saturday is possibly the best. Both parents, being there - at the same time - for their child as it is suppose to be. A moment of clarity, that moment was life changing, and I thank God for that day and that time with her. I also know surely more is in store, and I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Time to make the most of it, that's the least I owe my daughter.  



  

Monday, December 3, 2012

What in the world is going on in Chilton County?

Simply astonishing. That is really all I can say about the story I wrote recently on Chilton County Judge Sibley G. Reynolds and his incarceration of Bonnie Sue Wyatt in a simple - and unlawful - debtors' prison. [see the article: "Tyranny and Corruption, Alabama style: Judge Sibley G. Reynolds"]

I could not believe that it was occurring originally, but I confirmed the veracity of the facts for myself. The plight of Bonnie Sue was first reported on Examiner.com on October 1, [see the article: "Are Alabama courts out of control?"] a few days after I first read about it on the blog Legal Schnauzer. Over the past couple of months, the matter has continually been brought to my attention. People in Chilton County are certainly talking about what has happened to Bonnie Sue though in whispered tones, and now that talk is spilling over into other parts of the State and its getting louder. 

I had an interesting talk today with Angie Collins, Ms. Wyatt's most recent attorney of record. She was openly unhappy with my reporting and made several threatening statements. I responded that I strive to ensure the accuracy of my reporting and if she would tell me what part was inaccurate, I'd be glad to further confirm my information. However, she would not name one specific misstatement or falsehood in my article despite claiming my facts "are wrong" short of saying "anything with her name on it" is untrue. She also refused to answer any questions relating to Ms. Wyatt's case. We made progress though, she actually returned a phone call relating to Ms. Wyatt. It is unfortunate though, that again she has refused to protect the interests of her client.

If Ms. Collins is upset about what I printed, she should be appreciative of what I did not publish. I take great lengths to verify information given to me before it is reported on, especially items of a sensitive nature like those associated with Ms. Wyatt's case. There has been an avalanche of information pouring out of Chilton County since the article was published. If I were to make a mistake and report something inaccurate, I would be the first to step forward and issue a retraction once it is discovered to be false or misleading. This whole situation makes my State look bad, and it is an embarrassment that I would even have to report on a story such a this. After weeks of investigation, and unsuccessfully trying to get them to act on the matter, it leaves me with no choice but to report on it.

The story of Bonnie Sue's suffering must be told so long as it continues. There is an easy way to make this all go away. Bonnie Sue Wyatt should be released from jail immediately and quickly restored her natural right of liberty. There is certainly no justification or reason to continue holding her captive. It is immoral and unjust, not to mention unlawful and unconstitutional. Every day that Ms. Wyatt remains incarcerated exasperates the situation, and continues this travesty against the principles of justice.

Why would an attorney threaten a reporter who is trying to shed light on this atrocious injustice? When have you EVER heard of an attorney that did not love press coverage in support of their clients?

Three words eliminate this as a news story: FREE BONNIE SUE.