It’s 2:30 p.m., and I’m back where I started out at 11 o’clock this morning. Back where I sat for two and a half hours yesterday before I had to leave so I could check on a job lead. Back at the place where I’ve probably spent more time during the last nine years than any other, besides home. The one place more than any other I’d rather not be: Family court.
At 1 p.m. today, they told most of us to leave and come back again at two. I was back on time, but couldn’t get upstairs. More than 100 people stood in line in front of me, all of us waiting our turn for the metal detector. Moms, dads, children in strollers. A true New York melting pot.
To our right, suited, tied court officers and attorneys flashed credentials and breezed past the barricades. I used to be one of them. In the days before I became a stay-at-home mom. Before my ex-husband abandoned me, broke up our home, and wrongfully sued me for divorce. In the days when money, security and health insurance flowed freely. Before I ever dreamed I’d end up here. In this line.
In the queue I now belong in. My resources and law school pedigree probably still make me a candidate for that other line. The one where you can breeze in and out more easily. But I’m more comfortable in this one. I know about the pain in this line because it is also mine.
To my right, on the polished white marble, I see these words: “Justice for the family is justice for the community.”
The last time I reached out to the halls of justice for help, they let me down. The time before that they weren’t here for me either. And the one before. I smile at the mom holding her baby who’s in front of me. She returns the smile. She’s probably been here before, too. And yet she’s still hopeful, like me, even though we both know the truth about what goes on inside.
Wow! I’m very humbled to have just been nominated for Babble’s “Moms Who Are Changing Your World Contest.” Voting ends soon so if you’d like to cast your vote, here’s the link: http://mom.babble.com/mom/mominations/mominees/activism/beverly-willett
Mostly, I’m hoping this brings some awareness to the need for divorce reform and my volunteer work at the Coalition for Divorce Reform.
With all the other difficulties that parents face in divorce court when wrongfully sued for divorce (not to the mention all the harm unnecessary divorce causes to spouses and their children), did you also know that parents who literally can’t pay their child support sometimes get thrown in jail? And that the Supreme Court says they’re not entitled to counsel? Divorce advocate Bai Macfarlane reported on this story recently carried by MSNBC and interviewed me about my take. http://www.speroforum.com/a/60458/Unable-to-pay-child-support-some-parents-are-wrongfully-jailed
Yes, recent research indicates that cohabitation is up and divorce down in certain segments of the population. Marriage is also down. And divorce remains a problem if not the major problem facing families today in our country, especially the repercussions to our nation’s children. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i930bUsct3s
Thanks to Lori Lowe and her top marriage blog for recently interviewing me about my work for divorce reform. http://lifegems4marriage.com/tag/saving-marriage/
Thanks to Psychology Today and Rachel Clark for profiling me about my divorce and efforts to work for divorce reform! You can also read more there about the Coalition for Divorce Reform! http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/marry-divorce-reconcile/201106/can-story-inspire-divorce-reform
Thanks to my new (very talented) writer friend Eve Gaal for telling me I was the inspiration for her article in The Lead Press about the declining value of our oaths in America. There’s a tremendous amount to think about in her thoughtful piece: http://theleadpress.com/culture/oath.html
Thanks to the Smart Divorce Weblog for writing about my fight to save my marriage:
More news about the Coalition for Divorce Reform!
Pairs Foundation says Coalition “Speedbump” will help slow down divorce rates: http://fatherhoodchannel.com/2011/05/19/coalition-pitches-speed-bumps-to-slow-divorce-pace-519/
Marriage Gems announces Launch of Coalition:
Reading this makes me feel like Foreman on last night’s episode of “House,” strapped to his blood pressure gauge. This sounds all too-familiar, except I didn’t opt for the divorce or the blended family bit. The real lesson we should all take away from this is to figure out how to keep marriages and families together in the first place, not continue to shatter them into a million pieces. Sure, in the meantime, we have to make the best of the huge messes we’ve created. But there simply are no silver linings and continuing to wag that dog is, to me, what Elizabeth Marquardt so eloquently calls in her book “Between Two Worlds” — “happy talk.” A better description of what all this boils down to can be summed up in one word used in the author’s post — “nightmare.” Let’s start doing something about it.
Come join me and other writers at the 4th annual Memoirathon on February 17 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. There will also be a photography exhibition. See you there!http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.com/2011/01/22/feb-17-the-memoirathon-experience-and-expression/