My beef with Collaborative Divorce Toronto explained
I’m going to tell you my story of the last three years. I don’t want to tell it. I could give you a list the length of my arm why I shouldn’t.
In some ways, it’s complicated and overwhelming to try to tell simply. Like so many things, the devil is in the details. Over the next few months, I’ll try to break apart some of those details and the extrapolated insights that have fundamentally changed me.
In other ways, it’s quite simple. It comes down to one sentence. Something I now wish I’d never heard, and undoubtedly, the person who said it wishes they hadn’t. The whole story haunts me to this day. If not for this one sentence, I would have been oblivious to what really happened, and I’d probably be in great psychological form. Ready for it?:
“You know, Jane and I have this bet that whoever gets to the draft first wins.”
That’s what my lawyer in the Collaborative Divorce process once said to me (Jane being the opposing counsel and the draft being that of my separation agreement). She said it in the context of remaining issues she previously claimed I had nothing to worry about because the law was on my side.
Let me be clear; whatever comes of this, that quote is precise. I do not need to entertain the possibility that I misheard or misunderstood. On this, I will swear on any holy book, the life of my child and mother, the graves of my grandparents and their memorials at Yad Vashem.
For now, I’ll summarize what eventually became abundantly clear but unprovable. My lawyer forgot about the bet and forgot she told me about it. Up to that point, we had very candid communication, clearly. But after she lost the bet, my attempts to arrive at some semblance of truth or justice have been met with lies, manipulations and bullying. Not just by my lawyer but the entire collaborative team.
After months of therapy, I resolved to take my claim to the Ontario Law Society. Not because I thought it would achieve justice or arrive at the truth but because it would force my lawyer to articulate her lie, which it did. She told them she “might have said something about a race.”. Before this she would respond to my inquires with deflections or filibuster responses like “I remember things differently”.
Fast forward to last week: Collaborative Divorce Toronto hosted an event at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. The title of this event was “Burnout, Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue.“. One of the four speakers was none other than the family expert involved in my case. A woman who once told me: “There was no bet, and it was tongue-in-cheek.”. So I purchased a ticket online and walked into the lion’s den. I had resolved not to talk about my story unless it was contextually relevant and not to use any names, but that didn’t matter. Shortly after I arrived, she saw me. Our eyes never met, but I watched her face turn panic-stricken and remarkably red. She pulled another woman aside, pointed me out, and this other woman then started recruiting men to remove me (I’m 5’6″ and emaciated, for the record).
Yesterday, my Father’s Day gift from CDT was a call from the Metropolitan Toronto Police. I haven’t been charged with any crimes (because I haven’t committed any), but I have been warned not to attend any more CDT events in the future and not to communicate with anyone from CDT. Apparently, calling the cops was more urgent than reimbursing my ticket.
Let me conclude with my reasoning for opening up about this. It isn’t about revenge. That’s God’s. It has nothing to do with any particular detail of my separation agreement or its overall fairness. I don’t care about that.
What I do care about is broader societal issues which I can’t help but see reflected in my experience. Every honest person I know is exhausted by institutions and people lying to us blatantly and with impunity. Furthermore, my story reflects a rising hostility and indifference towards men that has become all too common. And this is a trajectory I intend to fight tooth and nail for my son.