Broken…and sucking the life out of you….

October 20, 2011

The family court system in Ontario is so broken,
it’s not even funny.

It boggles my mind that the court system can give
you a date and a time and you show up, having
done hours of work, getting prepared mentally and
physically with the paper, and then you never even
get in front of the judge. And to have  it happen the
next time you attend court as well… just how does
that happen?  The system is broken.

I recently read a book by Carla Collins called
“Angels, Vampires, & Douche Bags.” Carla is a
world-class comedian, who went to high school in
Guelph, and now lives in California. I first met Carla
when she moved with her family from the Ontario Far
North to Guelph. She moved in down the street from
me and we became friends. It has been so interesting
to watch her rise to fame. And she is funnnnny!

I had the pleasure of seeing her perform when she came
back to Guelph this past summer.  What a night of laughter
that was! I got caught up with her and read her book.
More laughter and a lot of wisdom.

Her premise is that there are three types of people in the
world: the angels that appear out of nowhere, and give you
the love and helping hand you need – maybe for a day, maybe
for the rest of your life; the vampires that suck everything they
can from you and never give you anything back; and then, as
she puts it, there are the douche bags…those people that might
appear sexy or trendy and quite seductive, but are actually
intent on focusing on themselves and bringing others down,
sabotaging our progress and making our day-to-day lives more
stressful, painful, negative and less fulfilling.

In between laughs, I realized there was so much truth to what
she had written. I could immediately think of various people that
fell into each of those profiles. And then I thought this is what
the court system feels like: a giant vampire sucking everything it
can out of you. It takes energy and determination and perseverance
to stick with it and see your case through. And it slowly sucks the
soul right out of you.

And wow! Are there ever the douche bags just ready to rip your
heart out! Hmm…the vampires and the douche bags kind of blend
together after a while.

So, what do you do to protect yourself? You be as honest, open
and forthcoming as you can right from the start. You cross your t’s
and dot your i’s and make sure your credibility is established at the
start and continues all the way through.  You work with your lawyer
and other experts and get them the information they need as quickly
as you can. You don’t delay things needlessly and drag things out
unnecessarily. You don’t descend into the lion pit and try and be as
dignified and classy as you can be through the process in the hopes
that’s what you will receive in return.

It doesn’t matter what you think as you start your separation and
divorce process, you quickly come to some realizations: no matter
how civilized you thought you and partner were going to be, it doesn’t
stay that way; even when you seem to have no money or assets, it still
isn‘t easy; even when everyone tells you to “stay in the house”, that is one
of biggest soul-sucking exercises that exists—really; and this process is
not a fast one. So be prepared for the ride. And I highly recommend
finding ways to laugh…really laugh…as you deal with it all. It will help
to keep you sane. Take care of you.

Carla Collins and I, catching up