I keep crayons and colouring books in my legal briefcase, tucked up beside my laptop.
Courthouses are no place for children but they often end up there because a) parents have no one to mind them and/or b) parents have no clue how long they’ll actually be. Ppl think they’ll just “pop in and quickly file the papers”. It’s not like that *at all* – Toronto and Brampton are examples of courthouses that see a phenomenal amount of traffic so you can count on being there an hour, at the very least.
They are not at all family-friendly. There’s no TV, there’s no toys, the chairs are dreadfully uncomfortable, and every two seconds, it’s “Shh! People are trying to get their stuff done!”
Inevitably, a kid will start wailing. Then we have the parent panicking and getting angry because the kid won’t make like a statue and stfu and, at the same time, trying to impress the court clerk and judicial bodies walking about that they’re actually very good parents, while simultaneously filling out court papers.
It’s not a good mix.
So I give the kid a colouring book and crayons. It’s no skin off my butt, the kid is happy, the parent is happy, and, most importantly, I don’t have to listen to it! (Word to the wise: not every moment is a Teaching Moment!)
The other day, I was giving an Indian woman who had twins who wouldn’t stop bickering, a colouring book and crayons when this big white guy sneers “Don’t they get given enough?”
I have to maintain a professional appearance, so even though the woman was humiliated enough to try and refuse $2 worth of fucking sanity, I left it at smiling thinly and saying “I don’t buy them to keep in my bag” and walking away with a smile and “Namaste” to the lady.
This is what I really wanted to tell that pompous sack of shit:
Dude, when I saw you in your fancy suit climbing out of the fancy black car in the parking lot, I thought you were a visiting lawyer. I did raise my eyebrows when I stood behind you in line at the vetting desk listening to you bluster and bombast the clerk how the amount of arrears being “extorted” from you was “blackmail”, since you weren’t being allowed to see your kids until you paid it off. My jaw dropped when I heard exactly how much you were in arrears – six digits is not unheard of in my line of work, but it’s uncommon.
This is my job – I know how these things go. You are not being denied access to your kids because you can’t be bothered to pay child support. You are being denied because a) the kids are old enough to put their feet down and not want to see you, or b) the court has determined that you’re a danger to them.
If you have money to drive that kind of car (AND keep it sparkling clean during a warm Canadian winter when the rest of us plebes are driving around in vehicles covered in a ghostly layer of salt), then you have money to pay your child support. The fact that you’re whining and moaning about it probably explains why your kids don’t want to see you.
Oh… that lady? She was at the court trying to learn how to collect child and spousal support off the guy who married her back in India, brought her to Canada, kept her confined in the house doing housework without letting her leave to meet ppl, work, or take English classes; got her pregnant; then dumped her for a woman who brought a better dowry.
No doubt we’ll be seeing the new wife before long. Maybe she’ll be in the line behind your ex.