I've been thinking long and hard about which client I should post about, considering it's my first time to talk about my clients on the internet. I came to the conclusion that y'all may enjoy meeting Mr. Tom Thompson*.
Mr. Thompson came to my office seeking custody of his daughter, Melody. He has been divorced for roughly 10 years, and sole physical custody of Melody was given to his ex-wife. Mr. Thompson enjoyed parenting time with his daughter every other weekend, every holiday, and all summer long. Melody is about 13 years old.
In Michigan, in order to change custody from one parent to another the party requesting the custody change has the burden to prove that it is not only in the best interest of the child(ren) to change the custody, but that there exists a very good reason to change custody. And I mean, it has to be A VERY GOOD REASON. Because the courts don't look at changing custody arrangements very lightly.
So, what you may be wondering is what could be the very good reason Mr. Thompson gave me that made me want to help him?
Well, in layman's terms...his ex-wife is bat-shit crazy. Literally. Like she needs to be institutionalized.
Mr. Thompson then told me one of the most fucked up stories ever:
On or about April 25, his daughter calls him in a panic. She has locked herself in the bathroom and asks him to come over to her mother's house to come get her. She tells her father that her mother just tried to perform some religious ritualistic exorcism or something on her, where she held down Melody, sat on her chest and put a satin cloth over her head. Mom then sprinkled some ashes or something over her, was doing some sort of chanting, and wouldn't let Melody up. When she finally broke free, Melody ran and locked herself in the bathroom and called her dad. Mr. Thompson went to get Melody right away, but also called the local police, who then in turn called Child Protective Services (CPS). After arriving on the scene, the police did an investigation, made a report, and then Mr. Thompson and Melody had to go to the police station to meet with CPS. Mom didn't go because she doesn't drive and apparently, no one would give her a ride.
CPS does their investigation and found there to be a sufficient emergency situation where Melody was to be removed from her mother's home and could go home with Mr. Thompson. A day or two later, they did a full investigation and recommended to Mr. Thompson that he hire a lawyer and try to get full physical custody of Melody.
The story doesn't end there though. A few days after that, another police report was made regarding Mom. Mom was out walking her dogs and was walking around her condo complex. Apparently, she also was carrying a loaded gun in each hand while she was doing this. Luckily, her sister found her and called the police and no one was hurt. At that time, the police arrested Mom and had her committed to a mental hospital for "evaluation".
NOW is where I entered the scene. Mr. Thompson also told me that his ex-wife hasn't paid any of her bills in over a year, her home is in foreclosure, she burns all of her mail out in the backyard, wanders around the backyard and often kneels with arms outstretched and prays, and that the walls in her home are covered in Bible scriptures that Mom has written all over the walls. She also had pictures of Melody in a circle she had drawn in her living room, with a pentagram inside the circle.
Do you hear the "Twilight Zone" theme song yet?
Now, I'm not trying to make fun of mental illness. Really. I feel very sympathetic toward Mr. Thompson's ex-wife, and even asked him if she was getting help (he told me her sister is trying to get guardianship over her so that they can get her some help).
But daaaaaamn. This story is fucked in so many ways.
And in case you're wondering how it ends -- it hasn't yet. I tried to file an emergency order to get Mr. Thompson custody of Melody but was informed today that the Judge assigned to the case wants me to file a Motion and that I need to somehow get the CPS worker to show up at the hearing. I haven't quite figured out how to work that out, but I will. I figure Mom won't show to the hearing since she burns all the mail, and never attended any of the CPS hearings. It's obvious the woman is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I just need to get a final order in place with the court system.
On the bright side -- during all of this, Melody is safe at home with her father. By choice, she has no contact with her mother and she is trying to work through a very scary experience. I can't imagine how she must feel, considering your parents are the two people in your life that you should trust to keep you safe, and here her mother is acting all whacked-out. I can only wonder at what she experienced in the months prior to making that call that night. Mr. Thompson tells me Mom has been mental for about a year now.
I'll keep you posted on the case, and also introduce you to more of my clients in future blog posts. Hope you enjoyed Mr. Thompson's story, because, seriously -- I did. Just goes to show you that real life is so much more jakked than anything anyone could think up.
*Names and dates have been changed to protect the innocent, and more importantly, to protect my ass!