Saturday, December 16, 2006

Legal: The Protective Order

The protective order filing alleges that I was told not to have contact with my estranged wife, Tara Ray or Tara Lynn Ray or Tara Stelly or Tara Lynn Stelly or Tara Ray Stelly or Tara Scott or Tara Lynn Scott or Tara Ray Scott. That's factually inaccurate.

When we originally separated, my wife demanded that I leave and I insisted that I could not leave in a matter of a few hours like she was insisting. She called the police and the police insisted that I leave right away. The warning that I received from the police was that she no longer wanted me there and since I did not own the property I should not return without a police escort.

I called that officer later in the day and asked to arrange a time to pick up more belongings. He asked me to call my wife and set it up. I had to insist that he call her and explained that she was very mad at me and not likely to accept my phone calls. He set it up for that evening and told me to call dispatch when I was on my way. When I called dispath, they also asked me to call my wife. I had to insist that they caller her.

The next day my wife called me and spoke with me by phone. We exchanged text messages and talked by phone a few times after that as well. She responded to a few of my e-mails and I was writing letters that I was mailing through traditional mail. None of these letters were threatening and none of the calls or text messages were meant to be harassing.

When I arranged again later to exchange some goods with my wife, she insisted that I be escorted by police. When I called the police department to arrange it, I spoke to the chief of police and the chief asked me to call my wife and verify. Later when I was arriving, I again called the police department and the chief answered and asked me to call my wife and have her call just to let them know it was okay for me to go.

I spoke to the police one more time in a desire to retrieve my final remaining personal property at the house. He told me that he had heard from my wife that day they did not want me on the property and so he could not assist. During that phone call, the assistance chief said to me that he was officially notifying me not to go on the property without a police escort. That's all he said. Nothing about not contacting my wife.

So why is this so important? Because now, my wife is claiming that I was told not to contact her and the police officers statement says that the told me the day we separated and again when I spoke to him recently not to have contact with her. That's simply factually wrong. He told me not to return to the property without a police escort.

I used to be a Sheriff's Deputy and if I had been told not to contact her by law enforcement, I would not have. In fact, if she had insisted that I not contact her, I would not have. Granted, I was persistent with letters and e-mails and she did not respond very frequently. But when I did want to call her, I'd often send a text message and ask if it was okay for me to call. If she would respond no, I would not call. These simply aren't the actions of someone who is wanting to ignore police notification to stop contacting someone or who is wanting to harass someone.

And the letters? They were mostly me pouring my heart out to my wife. When I wasn't telling her how much I missed her, I was asking her to work with me to settle the divorce and property settlement peacefully. When I wasn't asking about that, I was asking how she and the kids were doing and asking if my kids could still talk to them. Nothing threatening, nothing voilent certainly and nothing that would lead any reasonable person to believe violent physical abuse is likely to occur.

And that's the purpose of restraining orders. Its rediculous that I am having to go through this. I spoke with a retained an attorney today. I asked her to file a divorce and asked her to fight the protective order. I did offer however to voluntarily submit to a mutual stipulation before the court that we would not have contact with each other. I have never intended to harass my wife. In fact, near the end, my attempts were to move things forward in our separation. If she wants nothing to do with me, I'm very disappointed, but there's no need to seek an abuse prevention order.

So as much as I hate to acknowledge that things are really over, I have set the ball in motion to file divorce. It doesn't help me any to fight this. I love this woman dearly but I cannot make her return the feelings for me. Its a difficult road, but its one I need to begin down. No doubt, my wife will waive the papers around and say that it was my doing and what I wanted. Nothing could be further from the truth.