Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage, Division 49, 7th Judicial Circuit Court, Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell, Fla., prepared by C. Michael Barnette, Esq., with The Law Office of C. Michael Barnette, Daytona Beach, Fla.
“(q) The court finds that both parents have a demonstrated capacity and disposition to maintain an environment for the children which is free from substance abuse.
The mother indicated that the father was a marijuana user. The father was tested when the allegation of substance abuse was made to DCF in the time period just after the May 8, 2010, incident. The father tested negative for the presence of controlled substances. There was no evidence presented that either the father or mother were unable to provide a substance abuse free environment for the children.
The court notes that the father had a DUI arrest and conviction in 2000 in Georgia and an arrest for DUI in Florida in 2010 which resulted in a conviction on the amended charge of reckless driving. The father testified that he has not consumed alcohol since the 2010 arrest. The 200 arrest and conviction for DUI in Georgia predated the birth of both children. The 2010 DUI arrest in Florida occurred after the mother had unilaterally removed the children from Florida to Missouri. The court expects the father to maintain a lifestyle free of alcohol abuse.
This factor is weighed evenly between the father and mother.” (pg. 11)
That’s clever wording in the second paragraph, or terrible grammar. Either way, it misconstrues the truth.
“The father was tested when the allegation of substance abuse was made to DCF in the time period just after the May 8, 2010, incident. The father tested negative for the presence of controlled substances.” More accurately: The mother indicated that the father was a marijuana user and the father was tested. The allegation of substance abuse was made to DCF in the time period just after the May 8, 2010, incident. The father tested negative for the presence of controlled substances on or about July 12, 2010 when tested by J. Smith, DCF, at a pre-scheduled in-home visit.
Here my lawyer could have helped with some assertiveness. I told him the time difference between the allegation and the testing, but he didn’t ask. He didn’t push the issue of the DUI being excused because “the mother had unilaterally removed the children from Florida to Missouri,” or question if he really had not had anything to drink since the 2010 arrest, or if he just hasn’t drove after drinking or just haven’t been caught yet.
We did find out, though, that Donkey refused to blow, thus the reduction of charge, and Donkey lost his conceal-carry permit. Interesting information, but that’s all it was.
Plus, it was only 2 DUIs. That’s ok because the first was before the kids were born and the second was because I “removed the children from Florida to Missouri.” The DUI happened in December 2010, four months after we escaped.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The DUIs were not a part of the hearing because Donkey was owning up to a mistake, but simply spin. Donkey’s attorney asked it that way: Let’s just go ahead and get this out in the open…yada yada yada…essentially, Judge’s first impression was the DUIs were a reasonable past: one fresh out of the Marines, and the other fresh out of family. The opposition was going to bring it in, and they knew it from discovery, so they did it.
His attorney, my attorney, and, ultimately, Judge allowed Donkey’s indiscretions to be excused as excusable. His attorney represented him for the charge, defending Donkey twice. My attorney didn’t press the issue, make an issue, revisit the issue, or remind Judge regularly of the irresponsibility.
Ultimately, Judge considered the DUI charges, the timeframe, and the excuses, and decided that 2 DUIs vs 0 DUIs and 1 allegation of substance abuse vs 0 allegations of substance abuse “weighed evenly between the father and mother.”