jackassLast week on Facebook I held a “pin the tail on the donkey” type of contest with a twist. I have been struggling to come up with a name for Seth’s attorney.  The name that I gave him in my new book was much too nice because I was still giving him the benefit of the doubt and  didn’t know his tactics.  There were lots of great ideas from people on our Facebook page so I took two of the ideas and merged them.

Vinnie Slaromon – Vinnie because he is a weaselly little man and the name fits.  Slaromon is actually, “No Morals” spelled backwards.

A little background on Mr. Slaromon — I came across a cheesy on-line ad (craigslist or something similar) where Vinnie was offering his services regardless of how much the client could pay.  With Seth’s history of financial fraud, bounced checks and other financial deceptions– this ad was obviously music to his ears.  The ad said something along the lines of, “as long as you are paying something, I am happy”.  This gave me tremendous insight into his practice from the get-go.  He also lives three hours south of our court (and two counties over) so his practice obviously isn’t very busy.  A local attorney watched him at one of the last hearings and told me weeks later that he comes across as an idiot in court and that my presentation is better than his.

Our last court date was the 5th of this month and it was for contempt of court.  Seth missed nine child support payments in a twelve month period of time.  Vinnie asked to continue the hearing to our next court date in April and I declined as this has already been dragged out since last August.  Because I didn’t have a tremendous amount of faith in the system to actually do something, I wanted to get this chapter over with.  It isn’t about money to me– it’s about the principal of the matter.

What I did not know going into the hearing was that my ex parte from Seth grabbing and squeezing Piper had been continued to the 5th also.  Even the Commissioner and Seth’s attorney seemed to be unaware of this.  It was brought up by minor’s counsel just minutes before we were to go forward for the contempt hearing.  I panicked.  I was not prepared for this portion of the case and was under the impression that my ex parte concerns were being rolled into the parenting evaluation.

To make matters worse, the court decided to hear the ex parte before the contempt hearing so that Minor’s Counsel didn’t have to wait any longer.  Mr. Vinnie Slaromon then stated that he has seen videos of the children with their father and its his opinion that the custody order should be completely reversed — that the children’s anxiety surrounding their father is my doing.  Our current custody order allows Seth approximately 5 days per month of parenting time with 6 hours per visit.  Vinnie suggested that if the order was reversed, the children would probably begin to express the same anxiety going back to my house from their father’s (staged) home.

While this is obviously a tactic reserved for attorney’s with the least amount of morals, I felt like laughing out loud.  I’m sure that even the Commissioner probably laughed on the inside.  Vinnie claimed that he saw videos and photos of Seth with the children.   I agree- on camera, Seth is a magnificent father.  I’ve also seen videos of them laughing, playing, rough housing and then dive bombing off his couch. That is the father that I wish my children had.  That is the father that they deserve.  Sadly, the videos and photos are posed and usually taken by Cleo, the Queen of Denial.  Seth is on his best behavior when his family is watching or when there is risk of a camera shutter flashing.  Its the dark, scary Seth that I know and fear.  That side of Seth is reserved for when the door closes and my children are alone with him.  The outside world finds it difficult to see past the facade and into the darkness.  I know that darkness– I lived this darkness and now my children are living it.  The Commissioner opted to leave the visitation schedule “as is” despite the current police and DA investigation and despite the open case with Child Welfare Services.  He did not grant my request for supervised visits.

To date, I have acted as my own attorney in this divorce and custody fight.  This is not by choice, I simply can’t afford the services of an attorney.  By most accounts, I have done pretty well on my own but the criminal proceedings for contempt was not something that I was prepared for.  Everything was different and I flopped- big time.  During the first three words of the opening statement, Vinnie moved to strike my statement.  I was flustered.  I had plenty of evidence such as his payment history to an elite health club (by subpoenaed), information about his luxury condo with 24-hour concierge service and even an email that Seth sent to a girlfriend bragging about his income and suggesting that they move into a home that would cost over $4,000 per month.  The evidence was not submitted properly so Vinnie Slaromon motioned to strike everything.  It was granted.  The case was dismissed.  Now Vinnie Slaromon is going to ask the court to make me pay Seth’s attorney fees for the contempt hearing.

After his perceived “win”, it was obvious by his reaction that he doesn’t win very many things.  I was fully prepared to watch the weaselly little man bust out an end-zone dance in the hallway.  This system is incredibly frustrating to me.  I will never understand how an attorney can place money above the well-being of a child.  He doesn’t even have the benefit of saying that he fell prey to Seth’s charm– anyone who spends one hour reviewing our court file and then can defend this man is as ill as Seth.

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