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Article ID: 2171

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Age Group: Adult

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Pagan Divorce: Child Custody Wren Story

Author: Wren
Posted: July 26th. 1998
Times Viewed: 17,225

Some Moral Support From One Who Has been There.

"Wherefore, the Plaintiff respectfully requests that pending a temporary hearing and final hearing on this matter that the Court enter the following ex parte temporary orders:

The Plaintiff is in fear of his personal safety and wellbeing
in that the Defendant has joined a satanic religious cult and her behavior
has been erratic and of concern to the Plaintiff...

That is what I was served while sitting with a customer in my office. At the bank. On my birthday.

I know just how you feel.

When I received this complaint, I was simply speechless. (Well, at least at first.) You see, I was a Witch when we got married. I was a Witch throughout the marriage. I was always a Witch and he knew it. Nothing had changed except that I had left him. So don't think that because your spouse went along with your religious choice while you were living with him/her, that there will not be a problem. They can try to make it a problem if they want to hurt you badly enough.

Hurt and disbelief quickly turned into anger and outrage. I used this energy to find a good lawyer. The Goddess was with me on this one because I found an Amazon Warrior to represent me. She was stunningly brilliant, clever, open-minded and the best possible choice for my situation.

She told me at the first meeting that the courts really, really do not want to get into religious issues and to not worry about this part of the complaint. Given that I was a professional manager, a vegetarian and a member of many civil rights and charitable organizations, it was very unlikely that this avenue of attack would be taken seriously.

She was right.

I needn't go into the details of my divorce. It's over. But I will tell you what happened regarding the above statement in the complaint and how this desire to "vent" worked against him and for me.

It was laughed out of Court. Both the Plaintiff (ex-husband) and his lawyer were reprimanded and told to "stop reading so much science fiction." He did not get the restraining order that he was asking for against me.

I was granted one against him.

My own daughter was grown and married when this happened, so I did not have to suffer sleepless nights worrying about what would happen to my child. (But then again, she is a Witch, too.) But I do know how it feels when you are first served with those papers or are subjected to the threats or receive the phone calls from his friends or hear the rumors that are being spread about you-all because you are a Witch/Wiccan or Pagan.

I won't say it is easy to keep your equilibrium. I won't tell you that you will never shed a tear over this. Or that there won't be nights when you will wake up in a cold sweat wondering if you are doing the right thing. I won't tell you that you will never be angry and sad and weak and strong all at the same time and that you won't hate yourself for feeling this way.

But I will tell you that you can get through it. I have talked with many Pagans about child custody cases over the last three years. Most of them have made it, too. The few that didn't had other issues not relating to Witchcraft that affected the decision.

But that's the point. The courts have generally been ruling that religion cannot be a factor in awarding custody unless the child is being harmed and this harm cannot just be alleged-it has to be PROVEN.

So if your children are healthy, happy and well adjusted, just listen to what your lawyer tells you. Read over all documents. If you don't understand something, ask. It's your nickel.

Treat yourself kindly. Take the kids out for ice cream. Rent movies. Throw vases (but not in front of the kids.) Reorganize the kitchen. Paint your toenails an absolutely outrageous color. Cut your hair. Join a group. Take a walk. Read your favorite book again. Plan the rest of your life...

Because you will get through this. And then one day something will happen. You'll be halfway through your day and suddenly realize that you have not even thought about this whole thing even once. You'll be free.

Free to begin again. Free to hug your children without worrying if this will be last time. Free to be open to possibilities that you never dreamed of before.

Free to love again. I know, I know! This may be the last thing on your mind right now. I certainly wasn't out there looking to get married again. No way! Uh-uh! Not gonna do it! But then Fritz came along (Sorry, gals. He's taken!) and now my life is happier and more satisfying than I ever dreamed it could be.

You are not alone. I know just how you feel.

Wren Walker
July '98

Do YOU Have A Support Story That You Would Be Willing To Share?

We would be interested in printing your story. Anyone who has been-or still is-in the middle of divorce/child custody hearings which are impacted by their Pagan religion knows how lonely and frustrating this process can be. There are few who understand this better than those who have been there themselves.

All of the cases that TWV have handled are held strictly confidential. No one will hear about it from us. But others need to hear it from you.

Information, educational resources, lawyer reactions, legal tactics and coping mechanisms that you found useful can all be extremely helpful to someone else. Just knowing that they are not alone can be a lifeline and a source of strength.

So send us your story. Please be careful with identifying information about the other parties. We can only published those stories where you are willing to be contacted by others by email. (Hint: You may want to consider getting another email account-many free ones are available-just for this. )We don't want to start another round of litigation. Tell us how your pagan religion impacted your case, what you did about it, how it was handled, what the final outcome was and how you have managed to hang in there.



Location: Tampa, Florida

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