Divorce Troubles

Lisa writes:

Hi Kris,

I was divorced in Hennepin County in December 2009. My Ex husband did not follow ANY of the orders. He was hiding my then 7 year old from visitation. The judge did nothing. He sold or burned all of my property. The judge did NOTHING. He stole and spend my middle childs education fund stolen from Social Security. He has successfully evaded court service for contempt. Nothing. He has not paid alimoney. Not a thing. I find where he is living. He moves. He was supposed to sell a motorcycle and give me half. This was in 2009. He still has it. He was supposed to take my name off the house and the truck. Nope.
I ended up with a fold up chair, my piano and a dresser not even a vehicle. He had the house rent free for over a year all the TV’s Tools, Nordic track, kichen appliances dining room set, couches, dishes pots cookware. plates, 4 Bedrooms of furniture. I didn’t even get a bed or a tv. Oh yea I still can’t afford a vehicle and he has 3. I contributed as much or more to the marriage than him. My parents gave me tens of thousands of dollars over the years and I made excellent money as a sales rep.

I have been trying to enforce the MTA since we were divorced. Family court in Hennepin county is a joke. I did finally get my child. They would not listen to me when I told them that he was a cocaine addict. Even after they caught him by a hair follicle test, they still left my daughter with him for 5 more months. Driving around all coked up and drunk.

I just got an email from the DMV regarding adding my name to the motorcycle title because it is in the court order. They told me because it was worded wrong I couldn’t do it.

Once, I did get a chance to tell the judge that he hadn’t paid the judgment for alimony. She asked him and he boldface lied and told the judge that he paid it and I should take the judgment off his record. She didn’t even ask for proof. I certainly don’t have proof for something I never recieved. It isn’t on my bank deposits. A simple request would have showed that he owes me over 4000.00 dollars, plus the Harley.

He is now underemployed and works under the table for a man I know. So he has not paid any child support. What a JOKE.

Either the judge is a complete idiot or the court doesn’t allow her to do her job. Either way there is NO justice at all in Hennepin county Family court. But not for friends and family I would literally be on the street. Really, I have nothing of value even to sell.

They are horrible. I should be moving on with my life yet I still have bad credit and no recourse or resources to tap into to get out of the hole I was thown in. My ex is the violator of the laws. He is a cocaine addict and abused all of my girls. CPS told me that I would have to have a picture of him snorting cocaine with my little girl in the picture in order for them to act. They are just as bad.

Judge Laurie Miller is the presiding judge.

Have any advice, Ill listen.


Kris Responds:

Hello, Lisa,

     It reads as though you have been experiencing tremendous personal pain in trying to move forward post – divorce.  Most of the problems cited in your letter are, at this point, legal matters, and your perspective is that the justice system has failed miserably in abating any of these struggles.  You state, you now have your daughter, (a relief I am sure), but you are not getting child support.  Finally, you hail from Hennepin County—with no state referenced.  Could this be Minnesota? 

Regardless, wherever the county is, getting some first rate legal advice for the legal issues cited is primary due to the extensive history and seriousness of the charges alleged within the cited issues.  In Texas (where our DRC is located), the Attorney General’s Office is quite dogmatic about child support and takes on that legal battle relieving warring post-divorce parents of the “ burden of the fight”.  Your child’s health, safety and general welfare are the most important issues here.  The reason you want to seek help in your home state is that there are variances from state to state regarding Family Law, and answers/help that you seek must adhere to those rules.

Once  the legal issues have subsided somewhat, then you, as parents, have the opportunity to look at how you can provide a stable, predictable and (ideally)  more cooperative parentingteam in the eyes of this child.  This is the most important gift parents can bestow upon a child—the security that they will be loved and cared for by their parents.  If parents are distracted with their own disputes, it is difficult if not impossible to send a believable message.  If both parents can commit to this vision of a functional, post-divorce parenting team, the child gets a double chance of hearing that message of love.  But one parent can do it, if the other is unwilling or unable to make and keep that promise.—either way, help will be needed.

That’s where mediation comes in.  Mediation is about helping parents take the first steps toward making good parents out of marginal ones—or excellent parents out of average ones.  Assuming we love our children and want the best for them, mediation is about how to commit to maximizing our abilities within our resources to do provide that love.  It is not about giving and taking advice, or therapeutic counseling, though those may be ultimate outcomes of a mediated session.  It is about taking that first step to stop giving our power to the fight and instead, redirect our power toward collaboration and problem solving. 

There are two sources in Minnesota that I will alert you to in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  They can refer you to the resources closer to you for any legal issues, and/or provide the services for any family mediation issues. 

These are:

Mediation Center
Dispute Resolution Institute
Hamline University
St. Paul. MM
Aimee Gourlay, Director


Conflict Resolution Center (a community mediation center like ours here in Texas)
Karmit Bulman, Executive Director


If you hail from a state other than MN, please note, and I’ll research similar resources for you there.  Luckily, most states including Hawaii and Alaska have community mediation services now…which allows most citizens, regardless of income to receive mediation services.

I hope these references will help you in your search for peace of mind.  It sounds like you and your daughter are definitely due for some.

Kind regards,