Bodhan Zelechiwsky and his cronies at the Northampton County, Pennsylvania courthouse are about as predictable — and interesting — as a bus route. I appeared there for a hearing July 22, 2016, a week ago today. As expected, the narcissistic Zelechiwsky flitted about the courtroom like a peacock, so desperate for attention, I thought he might trip over his own feet. As the presiding judge was clearly working by his own clock, we peons waiting for hearings scheduled for as early as 9:00 AM had to endure a 2-hour delay before he appeared. That a person so inconsiderate of the time of others could be either fair or impartial was a dubious prospect. When His Honor at last deigned to grace us with his magnificent presence, I could tell by the way he walked out of chambers how the day would go for me. I was prepared.

When I was finally called to stand before the judge, things went as I knew they would with two notable exceptions: (1) though I was visibly trembling with revulsion at having to play a role in that farce, I was able to make valid and coherent arguments (which were, of course, dismissed out of hand by His Honor) and (2) I was awarded an all-expenses-paid, all-inclusive weekend getaway to commence immediately!

It was all so convenient: A deputy opened a side door in the courtroom and escorted me through a labyrinth leading to the spa. At the front desk, I was asked to check in my street clothes and issued a fashionable jumpsuit of the finest fabric. I wish I had pictures, but possession or use of electronic devices by guests was against resort policy. Fortunately, there was a photographer on duty. She took three pictures of me, forward facing and both profiles. Apparently, the shots were so good, the resort elected to keep them.

Once settled in, I took a group tour of the grounds. There wasn’t much to see and the food wasn’t fit for sale at a truck stop, but the conversation was fantastic! I was enthralled with the backgrounds of and tales told by my tour mates. The last time I learned so much, I was in a classroom. The most important lessons were that the challenges I face dealing with Northampton County’s courts are staggeringly common and that short-sighted, desensitized divorce attorneys are merely a symptom of larger, systemic problems.

The prevailing sentiment among my tour mates is that the laws governing divorce and child support in the state of Pennsylvania are needlessly punitive and unfavorable to working class men inexorably dragged into the system by thoughtless, vindictive and/or self-centered spouses. As hostile as these laws are, those charged with enforcing them apparently do so with a heavy hand, destroying the quality of life for men who had the temerity to marry and father children.

Then, there were discussions of certain lawyers and judges so high off their own vapors that they seem to think themselves above the law. I heard many stories of men gifted vacation packages like mine, but for longer durations and under more absurd circumstances.

When my sojourn was over, any doubts I may have had about the course of action I’m taking were gone. Families are being demolished and the lives of hard-working, dedicated fathers are being ruined. How is this beneficial to the innocent kids caught up in post-divorce dystopia?

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