Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.
by Defendant Rising
Part Two: The Legal Aftermath
I fled to the farm where I grew up and spent several weeks just trying to get the fuzz out of my head. I went to the doctor, who diagnosed Abi with failure to thrive. I supplemented her with formula but continued to breastfeed, because for once I had the luxury of breastfeeding by my own lights, and I intended to enjoy it. I moved six kids, 9 years old and under, in with my mom and dad, who were absolute angels about it. I do not remember either of them complaining even once.
What were Tess’s long-term plans? Did I want separation? Divorce? Neither? Was God angry with me? Could I ever go back? I just stumbled through the days, utterly numb. I could not feel the presence of God, which struck terror into my heart. I could not pray, and opening a Bible freaked me out. Where had my faith gone? What did I believe? My thoughts were like muddy water that must be filtered through normality until the water runs clear. It took a long time to get clear, and in the meantime, I made a very costly mistake.
I filed for legal separation but then withdrew my action. Here is how this went down:
Nate called four or five times a day. He also sent multiple long emails every day. A few highlights:
- “I will counter-sue for divorce on fault-grounds of desertion.”
- “Venue (where the divorce will be held) is where the marital home is. You will have to travel back and forth repeatedly.”
- “I will avail myself in good faith of every legal procedure available. This means massive expense to your father. I will appeal any and all negative decisions.”
- “As I am living in the marital home, you will lose the [custody] fight. And of course, if I have the kids you will be paying me child support.”
In every email and phone call, Nate demanded that I come home immediately. In one email he made a condition: “Because of your hart [sic] heartedness and manifold sins against me, I will require that you sign an oath before God that you will submit to my authority completely, without question or dissention, and joyfully.”