I'm Kitten, a Neutral Good pansexual poly pagan geek mom living in Seattle, actively searching for new ideas and new connections. I'm a strange mix of experienced and n00b when it comes to poly; I've been actively living the poly lifestyle since 1997, but have lived in mostly small towns, and have kindof stumbled into partners by accident. I have never experienced a poly community...until very recently. This has opened up a whole new world to me, as well as new pitfalls that I'd never been aware of. Join me as I chronicle my journey into this incredibly rewarding lifestyle.
Note: Nicknames or initials will always be used in this blog. If you think you know who I'm referring to, DO NOT call them out by name or use identifying characteristics.
"A slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you." -Dossie Easton
For those who might be even slightly skeptical: I’ve provided all public court documents to several organizations, including the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund…and they are now fundraising on my behalf. Unfortunately, the donations coming in, while certainly appreciated, are limited, and aren’t reaching the threshold of what I need to hire an attorney. This is real, and it’s happening, and I need help if I’m going to be able to have any real presence in my child’s life.
February 2013: SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR AN UPDATE!
If you’ve found this post through Twitter or G+, welcome.
When last I posted about my poly lifestyle, my husband Drake and I were having issues.
Sadly, those issues have blown up into a nasty clusterfuck that has destroyed our family.
Drake has filed for divorce, and he and Jewel are using poly against me in an attempt to win custody of Ripley, my three-year-old son. They have publicly, and in divorce papers, declared that they are now monogamous and are therefore the better parents and the more wholesome living situation for a child. In their papers, they also state that my being poly and queer could result in me sexually abusing my son.
They have also stated, both in their papers and in court, that my being welcoming of LGBTQ persons as a possible roommate means that my home is unfit. Paraphrased quote from the initial hearing: “Not that we have anything against ‘those people,’ but it’s not a wholesome or appropriate household for a child.”
This in spite of the fact that Drake is bisexual, and Jewel is bisexual, queer and kinky.
Drake was married and poly when I met him seven years ago. Jewel has been poly her entire adult life, openly identified as a poly activist when I met her, and volunteered on the staff of our local sex-positivity activist group. She had a blog called PracticingPolyamory.com that she has since hidden from public view. Note: a whois query on the domain name shows that the blog is still active, just hidden. This seems to be pretty clear evidence that she intends to reopen it once this court case is decided…otherwise, why not just delete it and cancel the domain?
It’s plain that this is merely a tactic to prejudice the court against me, imply that I’m immoral and that my private sex life somehow has something to do with my fitness as a parent.
I am highly skeptical of such a convenient paradigm and philosophy shift. I also doubt they’re going to stick with it in the long term after YEARS of living in polyamory. I would not be at all surprised if they return to the poly lifestyle after the divorce is settled. In fact, Jewel has done this before: gone mono for a relationship, regretted it, and returned to poly.
But their tactic worked. The court was sufficiently concerned about the statements they made and the lies they told that I now only am allowed to see my son one evening a week and every other weekend.
I stress that there is no reason based on my parenting that this should have occurred. I don’t do drugs, I’m not an alcoholic, I have a stable job, I have a clean home, I do not abuse or neglect my son (I don’t even spank him), I don’t have a criminal record, I have excellent credit, etc. I submitted 13 declarations to the court from people who have seen me parent, some of whom have known me for many years, stating what an awesome mom I am…and I still lost.
I emphasize: all I want is shared 50-50 custody. I am not trying to exclude my husband from our son’s life, I am only attempting to prevent him from doing that to me, as he has done and is continuing to do.
In addition, my family, who are extreme religious conservatives, and who have never approved of my lifestyle, are supporting my husband’s court battle financially. My guess is that they disapprove of me and my lifestyle so much that they’re willing to help pay to take my son from me. And since my husband claims that he’s now mono, that makes them feel better.
My family are very, very wealthy, and can finance this without even blinking. This frightens me greatly, as my husband has no financial incentive to settle this, and seems to be bent on dragging this all the way to trial.
I am struggling financially, as my husband is refusing to pay on most of our joint debts until the courts split them up. Not only am I paying these to keep them from going into default, I am now also paying child support. I had to get a roommate just to help make ends meet, and there is nothing extra for an attorney.
I am currently unrepresented. I had an attorney, but she let me go because I couldn’t pay her enough each month.
Please, PLEASE don’t let these hypocrites use poly and LGBTQ against me. I’ve already lost the first round, and I need your help in order to be able to continue the fight. Any donation helps…and if you can’t afford to donate anything, please spread the word of my story.
For more details, and to help donate to my legal costs, please visit my Chip In page here (http://ladyrainne.chipin.com/legal-fees). All money will be used towards the attorney’s fees, the Guardian ad Litem, mediation costs, or other court fees.
UPDATE: As of Jan. 10, 2012, I officially have an attorney! I have raised enough through donations and by pinching and saving that I was able to come up with the money for a retainer. It’s such a relief to have legal representation! However, I still still need help in KEEPING her paid, until, hopefully, my husband will just begin to negotiate so we can settle this and move on. So please, keep spreading the news of my story, and donating what you can. It was honestly the small donations of just a few dollars that tipped me over the edge!
We are still waiting on the report from the Guardian ad Litem; once that’s in, I think we’ll know better how this is going to proceed. With any luck at all, it will be favorable towards me and go a long ways towards negating what my husband has said about polyamory. I would love to handle this as no more than a standard divorce from this point on.
Keep checking back here for updates! And THANK YOU!!!!!!!
UPDATE: My divorce became final in July of 2012. I’m still paying off debt from attorney’s fees, but that particular battle is over with. In the end, I didn’t get the 50-50 custody that I was asking for, but thankfully, all the poly mudslinging ended up not being a factor. What DID affect the final recommendation from the Guardian ad Litem was that I was now a single parent, while my ex and his now-wife were a two-parent household in which one of them could be a stay-at-home parent. If my son was with me, he would have to go to daycare while I worked. So…I don’t get to see my boy as much as I would like to, but I have been able to forge a semblance of peace with Drake and Jewel. We can communicate easily about Ripley, and Jewel texts me pictures nearly daily of what they’re doing, so I don’t feel quite so left out. And I get to talk to him on the phone every day.
It’s not what I wanted, but it could be a hell of a lot worse.
However, my life took a turn for the OMGWTFBBQ less than a month after my divorce from Drake was final. I am once again embroiled right in the center of a nasty custody battle, but this time it’s Raven and Chickadee.
Shortly after I moved in with Raven, Chickadee’s mother decided to go off the deep end, and began a vicious campaign to have Raven permanently barred from his daughter’s life. Her statements to the court were vile, the accusations deeply personal and horrific. It was crystal clear that she could and would use absolutely anything she thought would give her case weight. She went way past mud-slinging into pure fabrication.
(For the record, though I believe her actions were in retaliation for Raven’s involvement with me, he and his ex had not been involved romantically for more than a decade at that point.)
Her attempts have not only dramatically failed, but we ended up with far more custody than he’d had previously, and the mother’s mental health has been called into question.
So, once again, I’m back in the round of home visits, interviews with a Guardian ad Litem, court dates…and the constant, very real fear that Chickadee is going to vanish. Thankfully, the financial situation between Raven and I is MUCH better than mine was during my legal battle, and we’ve been able to afford a good lawyer right from the beginning. It’s cost us a great deal to simply defend him against her accusations, and will cost even more to see this through to fruition…and then more to get Chickadee the counseling she needs to get past what her mother has done to her in this process.
I do not feel able to be as open about my life as I would like to be during this process, so I’ve been laying fairly low until it’s over.
Wish us luck!
I’m pansexual. I’ve loved women.
The only reason that I’m not married/in a partnership with a woman is simply because I haven’t found that relationship with one. I found it with a man, and I am so incredibly privileged because of that. I have rights with him that are a matter of course, simply because he is male and I am female and we are married. I had no idea just how privileged I am.
I thought I was pretty aware of the plight of couples who don’t fit the traditional male-female heterosexual mold and their lack of rights…but watching “For My Wife,” a documentary about Charlene Strong, a gay woman who was denied access to her dying partner, right here in Seattle, just a few years ago, my eyes are being opened with a vengeance.
Same-sex couples really are second-class citizens in this country AND IT’S NOT OK.
I want to help change that. What can I do?