October 1, 2002
To whom it may concern,
I have been married to Michele Davis for three years as well as Simon and Miriam’s step-father. During this time I have had numerous interactions with the Respondent. The Respondent does not make eye contact with me but instead looks down at the ground when we talk in person.
The Respondent seems very angry and agitated when I talk with him. He sweats, shakes, and stutters. Respondent has called me creepy and weird to my face, asking me why he has to talk to me, and trying to argue with me in front of our home. Respondent has told my wife that I make him uncomfortable, yet when Michele and I were engaged, after their divorce, I helped the Respondent install a master brake cylinder in his car. He also asked me to hook up the dishwasher in his house that we gave him. I said, “No,” because he treated me badly after I helped him with his car. I’ve been civil and outgoing towards the Respondent and the thanks I get is being called names.
When I speak with the Respondent he often insists that he speak with Michele instead. It is a simple fact that as Petitioner’s spouse I sometimes need to communicate information with the Respondent. In addition, sometimes Michele and David have had a particularly grueling conflict, and I then deal with him because Michele doesn’t want to. Her father has advised her to stay as far away from his as possible because he is volatile.
I have witnessed the Respondent treat everyone poorly and sometimes hostilely. On one occasion Respondent did not come up to my car or say goodbye to the Simon and Miriam because he was too busy tending the lawn. On another occasion Brad, his step-son, picked up the kids and the Respondent did not introduce Brad. When asked about why Brad wasn’t introduced, the Respondent said it is because they are “all scared” of Michele and that “nobody likes her at their house, what do you expect with your attitude?” Clearly, there exists hostility toward us at the Respondent’s house which certainly doesn’t help us to communicate and cooperate. Nor do I understand where this comes from, unless the Respondent and his wife are divulging personal information to Jeanna’s children. Jeanna’s children, as far as I’m concerned should not be allowed to know the conflict that exists between Respondent and Michele.
I try to communicate with David to reduce the level of conflict between him and Michele, because David doesn’t know how to upset me, or as one of our friends said, “He doesn’t know which buttons to push with you, and that’s why he doesn’t like talking to you.” I also do not have a complicated history with the Respondent as Michele does, having been with him from 1989 to 1999. However, the Respondent resists speaking with me and does his best to make this more difficult. He has been on the phone with me, attempting to engage me in a fight, and I just won’t let him. I tell him I won’t argue, and when he continues to do so, I tell him I’m hanging up.
On one occasion Respondent became so angry that he pushed my solar plexus repeatedly with his two fingers, which left a bruise. On another occasion the Respondent refused to speak with me and I had to communicate with his wife. She is pleasant, but has her own agenda and the conversation did not go smoothly, with her continually interrupting me and treating me disrespectfully.
In the Respondent’s Affidavit he makes a claim that he believes the current parenting schedule is “…harmful to the children. In part, this is due to Petitioner’s financial situation as well as physical problems she has experienced.” Currently, I have a stable job at a national company and make a sufficient income to provide for Michele, myself and Zack. I also have consistently provided for Simon and Miriam because the Respondent’s child support was insufficient and not the State mandated minimum. Michele has requested reimbursement for uncovered medical costs and the Respondent has refused to respond to her letter. Yes, indeed Michele’s income has gone down from what it was when we got married, but she has had employment from December 2000 to April 2001, erratic book editing during the summer of 2001, she answered phones at an office while the kids were at Summer School at St. Paul Academy. Then she was unemployed from September to December 2001, worked steadily at a contract and co-authored a book up until May 2002. She started advertising her Web design services and computer expertise and has been working part time all summer, and still is. I don’t see the relevancy of “our” financial situation, does Michele working part time because the economy is slow make her a bad or unfit mother? On the contrary, this gives her more time to play with Simon and Miriam. Just the other afternoon she played Scrabble with both of them. Neither child goes without. We buy organic meat, feed them well, buy them the clothes they want, get their hair professionally cut, and buy things like a computer for Simon and Miriam’s use, a skateboard for Simon and expensive bikes for both kids. Frankly, our whole family does not go without.
As far as I can tell the only difference in the Respondent’s home and ours is: cable television, an X-Box and a trampoline. We live in a nice house, each child has their own room, and we do not have cable television because we believe in limited television access.
In addition, Michele being home for the children every day after school was wonderful when we belonged to Calhoun Beach Club, which closed in March for renovation, every Tuesday and Thursday she took Simon and Miriam swimming in the indoor pool.
After 11 years of nonsmoking, I’ve watched my wife, because of the stress of this Motion for Custody on the Respondent’s part take up smoking. I do not allow Michele to smoke in the house. I understand her need for an outlet since she doesn’t drink much, and exercises just enough to not re-injure her leg. But it is distressing as her ex-husband is vindictive and nasty, to see her smoking after an 11 year hiatus. I also want to add that Simon and Miriam have told us that BOTH the Respondent and his wife smoke cigars quite frequently, and that the Respondent polishes off a bottle of wine every night.
Michele and I have an established network of friends that we often do things with, this always includes the children. We rarely go out alone without the children. We enjoy the children, they are our precious treasures. I, personally, volunteer my computer skills to both Hale and Field, Miriam and Simon’s respective schools, and have volunteered at the Barnes & Noble book fair that Hale/Field sponsor, for two years in a row. I believe that it would literally destroy the children to be uprooted from their primary home, school, Church, friends, biological brother, as well as Michele and I. In addition, I believe that David cannot do fifth or sixth grade Math, or at the very least doesn’t pay attention and adequately check over Simon’s problems. Simon and I have to re-do Math homework after he has been at his father’s because the answers are consistently wrong.
In conclusion, I find it ironic that six weeks after David and Michele agreed to a new child support motion that he is now suing Michele for custody of their minor children. This appears to me as a play for him to get money out of Michele, and hurt her deeply by taking away the pleasure she derives in seeing her children every day. In addition, it would hurt Zack and myself because we have put an enormous amount of time and energy in to Simon and Miriam. Everything I’ve read states that most parents spend no more than 30 minutes per day with their children, yet we exceed that because we spend the great majority of our time with them.