On this day, the court ordered my ex-wife to specific days for visitation, as she had been denying me visitation repeatedly in the past. I flew from Arizona to Utah to attend this important court hearing. Because my body had become accustomed to the warm climate of Arizona, I wasn’t prepared for just how bitterly cold it gets in Utah, even though I’d grown up there. I arrived the night before the court hearing and checked into a hotel. I got a bit hungry. So, I walked across the street to a convenience store, in order to buy some snacks. Even though it was a short walk there, I thought I was going to die. It was so cold! From seeing how me shiver so much and hearing my teeth chatter, one would have thought I’d never experienced all those bitter Utah winters I did while growing up. In reality, the temperature was about 35 degrees. I’d seen a lot colder temperatures while growing up.
The next day, I wore a dark blue suit and tie to court. Throughout all the months going to various court hearings through the divorce process, both Tara and I had multiple lawyers. I went through three lawyers, while I think Tara went through two. She ended up with the better lawyer, a real snake-like soulless wretch that stopped at nothing to get everything possible for the client. In other words, a perfect lawyer. I, on the other hand, had nothing but un-snakelike lawyers. Just my luck.
As I sat in the courthouse, awaiting the hearing, Tara came in with her lawyer and her husband, Scott. Upon first glance, the sight of Tara made me almost vomit. Seriously. All the ill-feelings came to mind immediately, as I saw this hateful woman approach. I had to immediately look down, and not a word was spoken by either of us. I mean, here was a woman who had once been the most beautiful female in the world to me, a true angelic vision of beauty, now viewed by me as the most disgusting sight I had ever laid eyes upon. She made me nauseous. Both she and her husband were dressed in overcoats and wreaked of tobacco smoke.
The court appearance went well. Tara’s lawyer tried to raise accusations that I was not paying child support and that I was abusive toward my son, Cameron, but the judge saw through the malarkey and continued forth with the real problem, denial of visitation. Tara had no valid excuse for denying the visitation, so the judge ordered a schedule to be set forth, which was signed by both Tara and me. According to the court order, I was to have visitation:
- The period of December 27 through January 1 of each year.
- Alternate Thanksgivings and other school holidays.
- A period of two consecutive weeks each summer.
- One weekend in alternate months.
- The weekend of Father’s Day, a weekend on or about my birthday, and a weekend before or after Cameron’s birthday.
- Further times as the parties may agree upon consistent with 30-3-33 UCA.
- In addition, the order stipulated that I should be awarded telephone visitation with Cameron one evening each week at 7:00 p.m.
I was very happy with getting those things agreed upon in court, given the nightmare I had gone through to try and see my son. However, those orders didn’t come without a cost. Tara threatened to not agree to any of it, to draw out a long and costly custody battle, if I didn’t pay her money.
She came up with the sum of $650 for past child support. In reality, there was no past due child support. She had been lying that I hadn’t given her any money for child support. When I came up with the canceled checks she had cashed, she changed her story. Because there was a lot of cash given to her in the initial months of our separation, I had not proof for the entire amount I paid her. That’s where she got the $650 from.
Then, Tara came up with another $4,000 dollars that I owed her for “marital debts” she had been ordered to pay. The truth is that debt came mainly from charges she had rung up on credit card bills. Yes, we both had a problem with credit. However, Tara didn’t know when to quit. Shortly before our separation, we got a Visa gold in the mail. Within two weeks, Tara had charged it to its $6,000 limit by buying clothes. Because we were married at the time, I was legally responsible for half of the debt, so I agreed to pay it so that I could see my son. Eventually, I was forced to file for bankruptcy because I couldn’t pay all the other “marital debt” that had built up.
My elation over the court proceedings was short-lived. I gave Tara the “ransom money” as she had requested, but I didn’t get to see Cameron. It was back to the old visitation denying routine for her. Every time I called to speak with Cameron, she said he wasn’t there. I tried at various times on different days, and Tara still always told me that he wasn’t home. She told me that he was involved with various things, from swimming lessons to baseball and basketball camps. She even told me he was attending karate school. Though I was happy to hear Cameron was involved in so much, I was disappointed that I couldn’t at least speak to him for a few minutes.
It was around this same time that Tara’s husband, Scott Dendy, called me and started yelling at me about an unpaid phone bill. He claimed that there was an outstanding phone bill from the time Tara and I were married. The truth is that the phone bill had been paid when we separated. The outstanding part of it was due to the phone calls Tara made after we were apart. I tried to explain this to him, but he wouldn’t stop yelling at me. I remember my mother was in the room at the time and could hear him spout out profanities from clear across the room. I held the phone away at arm’s length and he continued to yell. Then, he yelled, “Listen, I’m gonna fly down there and kick your mother fuckin’ ass!” Well, my mother had never heard me swear before, but she did that day. I got back on the phone and yelled back at Scott, “Well, you’ve got the easy part done just talkin’ about it. So, why don’t you get your fuckin’ ass down here and we can settle this, you piece of shit!” My mother’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe I had said those terrible words. However, it did make an impact talking that way to Scott, on his own level. He immediately changed his tune and said, “Well, we were just wondering what to do with this phone bill.” I said, “I suggest you pay it.” Then, he said calmly, “Okay.” And that was the first and only time I spoke to the man.
Actually, I felt sorry for Tara’s husband; because I knew the hell he was going through. I knew that she would try and push his buttons the way she did mine. Sadly, she got to him, too, as I learned that he beat her up in a bar one day. Also, he and Tara were suspects in a burglary at Shopko. I’m certain that Tara’s spending spree habits led to that little late night adventure.
When I tried to arrange visitation, it was the same. According to Tara, Cameron simply couldn’t come at the times the court mandated. She said it was more important for him to attend all those activities he was involved in than spending time with me. I went a year without seeing him. Then, I finally got to spend some time with him, but just two days. Tara wouldn’t allow any more. Even though we spent just two days together, we crammed as much father-son experiences as we could in that timeframe.
I get extremely emotional when I think of that time. How much I loved that little guy and how distraught I became when his mother played me like a fiddle. I didn’t know it then. I thought I was doing the right thing by not interfering in Cameron’s many projects and activities. Hindsight being 20/20, I now know that I should have gone for the custody battle. He would have been a lot better off with me than he was with Tara. What terrible things she must have taught him, I can only imagine!