I would do anything for my kids, including bribe their father. The thing is, I don’t feel badly about it. Not even a tiny bit.
Mediators, attorneys and judges may frown upon exchanging custody for marital assets but I think that anyone with their OWN kids in play would do anything in their power to make a better life for them. This week I put the bribe forward. The offer was if you let me keep the children, you can have all the assets, including any future child support.
The offer was refused.
Here’s what led up to the bribe. My baby daddy grew up in a household obsessed with money, or the fearful impression that everyone was trying to get at theirs. This had always made me laugh for two reasons: firstly, because, as far as I could see, no one was impressed by their money except for themselves and, secondly, because they were rich only by local farmer standards. They didn’t even break a million if you added up the entire family’s fortune. Being a big city girl, I was charmed by the old world quaintness of these rural french people. Hihi haha charming. It made me feel like gardening then, but not anymore!
The girls’ father carried on the proud family tradition of financial scheming and paranoia which notably increased as our family business grew. For the last few years of our marriage, nine out of 10 conversations instigated by him were money and business related. I said nine out of 10 to sound more reasonable. But if I were truly honest, it would be 9.8 out of 10. As soon as we decided that divorce would be best, he proceeded to cut me out of the totality of our financial and business assets. Within two months he had a bank account in Hong Kong where he transferred all of our family business revenue. Within several more months I had access to nothing; not one computer, not one file, not one cent. But wait! I DID have full access to the children 24/7 since he did not find them his responsibility financially or physically. Ah, how I look back on those days with longing.
And then the real drama begins. Two years later, when baby daddy heard that I had a new boyfriend, he moved back into the country and appealed for full custody immediately. Coincidence? I think not. A girlfriend who has a few baby daddies says it’s the classic scenario. Man leaves woman with kids. Woman gets a boyfriend. Man comes back like a gorilla pounding his chest to reclaim his children and leave his urine scent in the house. Boyfriend sticks around, gorilla man gets bored of making beds and making lunch. Gorilla man decides he’s needed elsewhere.
I hope she’s right and I have good reason to believe she’s right. I befriended two lady judges who told me just to hang in there, “He’ll drop out of the race soon. They usually do.” Our family judge had already decided that I was to have custody and child support as well as spousal maintenance. It was only about 1k a month, but it was better than the nothing I had for 18 months! We were living life peacefully and happily until… Baby daddy drops the bomb. I was being accused of prostitution, mental illness, sexualization of my children in court. He wanted custody. Obviously I was freaking out. How do you respond to such accusations? You really can’t. You can’t prove a negative.
This is where the crazy goes into hyper-drive. His personality disorder found a collaborator in the court system. Wild accusations have their place in court because they cannot be proven or disproved, and therefore, the accusers go unpunished. It’s a no lose situation for liars. The doubt has been cast, the stain left, and the accused is thrown into a frenzied state of ghost evidence gathering. The accuser sits back and watches the dice roll. If this accusation doesn’t work, the next one will. And the next one did.
Two weeks before our appeal hearing, he filed a police report against me saying that I was creating falsified documents to kidnap the children. The police completed their investigation eight weeks AFTER our hearing. The police said I was found not guilty and that baby daddy had fabricated the story. Too bad. Too late. The judges had already transferred custody of the girls to him based on the police report. They couldn’t “take the chance” of having me take the children away from their father. It didn’t matter that their father had lived in Asia until the appeal. Their father is French. The children are French. They belong with their French father in France. Thus declares the French judge. Kelly Rutherford and I are now soul sisters with the same amount of money in the bank from what I read.
Now I’m not only freaking out, I am mad. Really mad. I said to myself and to Baby Daddy, “Alright, no more Mrs. Nice Mommy!”
I borrow money from my long suffering boyfriend and pull out all guns. I file an appeal at the high court of Paris. I fly to Asia to hire an attorney there for a business theft charge again him. I change attorneys (that’s another story). I join an association for the rights of bi-national children. I file for an emergency hearing to bring the false accusations to light. That’s a hell of a lot of court. That was seven months ago. He stalled and stalled and stalled the emergency hearing. Finally, two weeks ago we get the judges decision back. The girls seem to be stabilized and surviving at their father’s house for the last seven months, so he will keep them. They have not been physically or sexually abused. They have passing grades in school. They stay at their father’s regardless of how he got them there. The judge doesn’t bat an eye at all the false accusations. The children are surviving and that’s all that matters.
Now we are in mediation and the only cards I have left to play are the litigation and assets cards. You had better believe I’m going to use them to get my girls back. Call it bribery, call it monetization of children, threats, whatever. I am not playing the business ethics game. I am playing the role of a mother who wants her children to grow up in a peaceful sane home by any means necessary.
Hopefully, one day I will.