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Anatomy of a Disaster Part 1: Not Your Average Divorce (Scene 1)

Welcome to my first blog series,

Anatomy of a Disaster.”

This series will examine the horrors of the Divorce Industrial Complex as illustrated through one “perfect storm” case. I will be posting new series segments intermittently while continuing my advice blog and random musings.

Of course, we can’t talk about the Morris divorce until we talk about the Morris marriage.

These first blogs will serve as the emotional story background for later works that will delve into the mechanics of one of the worst divorces I’ve studied – and considering how many I’ve looked into that is really saying something.

Sarah’s Story

Sarah Morris sits on my living room couch, tucks her feet under her, and sighs as I pour her a drink.

She’s earned this drink, so I give her a country club pour.

This has not been an easy time for Sarah and her family.  Her divorce from her husband Samantha has been long, ugly, and heart-wrenching.

As the title says, this is no average divorce, which you probably gathered when you read, “her husband Samantha” above.

I pour a drink for myself, because of course I do, and light a fire.  It’s dark, windy, and raining heavily.  The scene could look romantic if you peered in from the outside.

Unfortunately, romance for Sarah is dead, as are her dreams of growing old with the man she chose to marry – a man who is no longer a man named Sam but now a woman named Samantha.

Archie the Drunken Chihuahua paws at Sarah’s hands incessantly, trying to score a hit from her tumbler.  I shoo my little alcoholic rescue dog away and ask Sarah to tell me her story.

Sarah and Sam: A Love Story with a Twist 

The couple met through friends on a ski trip in Sunriver, Oregon almost 20 years ago.

Sarah wasn’t like many of her friends who raced to the altar after college. At the age of 29 and with a good career, Sarah was waiting for the right guy to come along before she made the leap to marriage.

Sam was that guy.

Handsome and smart, confident and focused, Sam made a big impression on Sarah during that ski trip.

They began dating and married within a year.  Sarah’s doctor warned her getting pregnant could take a long time yet she conceived their first child, a son they named Chris, on their honeymoon.  

Less than three years later daughter Katie was born, and Sarah felt her life was pretty damn good.  

Not perfect, but good.  Sure, Sam had a tendency to brag about himself and a very real spending problem, but overall Sarah was happy and she settled into the family life.  

In 2004, she quit working to focus full-time on her kids, her husband, and their home.

“Dumbass,” I interject, and quickly apologize.

“I’m sorry to be so blunt but that was not a good move.  It pains me every time I see a woman in your situation because now you are financially dependent on a man and a divorce could ruin you.  I also hate the concept of long-term alimony and I feel deeply sympathetic towards men who have to pay it to women who refuse to support themselves after a divorce.”

Sarah looks at me, exasperated.  

“Aren’t you financially dependent on your husband right now?”

“This isn’t about me,” I quickly reply in a chiding and defensive tone.

“Let’s leave what looks like my hypocrisy aside for a moment and focus on why you abandoned your lucrative career.  What the hell were you thinking?”

Sarah frowns and shakes her empty glass in my direction.

She hasn’t drained the cocktail, mind you.  Archie made his move when she turned her head and now he is stumbling around the living room. He’s such an asshole, that dog.

“We moved a lot for Sam’s job,” she reminds me, “and he was never home.  Somebody had to be there for the kids.”

That’s true.

Sam had a very successful long-term career with a multi-billion dollar manufacturing company. He rose through the ranks from auditor to become head of the Auditing Department.

“You must have had a sense of what was going on,” I pressed.  

“Were there any signs before you finally found out for certain that Sam identified as a woman?”

“None,” she said, shaking her head in protest.

“None.  Until I found that box of women’s clothing hidden in our home, I had no idea.  In fact, I accused him of having an affair when I found that stuff.”

I wondered at why she would think he’d stash his lover’s clothes in the family home, and then realized that Sarah’s assumption there was another woman was highly preferable to admitting the unthinkable:

The other woman was her husband.

Coming up in the next installment of Anatomy of a Disaster:

The Box, the Lies, and the Unraveling

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In case you missed it, click below for a description of the players in this series:

Cast of Characters

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. I Love Your Blog

    This is a great change from your usual style and I really like it. Don’t get me wrong because I love your blog but this approach is very interesting. I think you’d be great at writing biographies or maybe true crime if you ever go that route. Keep it up because I can’t wait to read more about this family and what happens to them in what is obviously a very tough situation.

  2. CMM

    I lost everything that mattered to me when my divorce became entertainment for the lawyers and a constant revenue stream. I consider the lawyers who view divorce as a blood sport to be the lowest form of garbage on earth. They thrive on conflict because without it there can be no resolution and resolution means an end to their billing cycle.

    This has to be tough work and I for one am very glad you are doing it.

  3. Robin DesCamp

    I would like to clarify one thing for all the readers:

    The reason I am writing this series is because this case is such a perfect crystallization of all the bad things that can go on in “family” court. This case personifies divorce at its worst and my series will serve as a warning to others about mistakes they can avoid so as not to become grist for the divorce mill.

    I am not using real names of family members even though I have received several emails from people urging me to do so. The point of some of them has been that concealing the identity of the family is tantamount to saying Samantha should be in the closet.

    I disagree. I do not need to use their real names to tell this story and will not do so.

    My use of real names for the rest of the cast of characters is twofold:
    1. I am providing a valuable service to legal consumers who would otherwise not know what some folks are up to; and
    2. I have lost count of how many people have contacted me with horror stories about these attorneys. This is no “personal vendetta,” as certain folks think it is, but a “calling.”

    I feel as compelled to protect people and avenge wrongdoings committed in the name of family advocacy as Lady Godiva was to ride around naked on her horse to protest onerous taxation.

    Then again, she may have been a loon. So there’s that.

    1. Bud

      Good on you for NOT using the real names as that could be detrimental to the children involved. Their friends may not be aware of the situation, and being outted like that is not in their best interest, IMO.

  4. Cliff - liberated former employee

    Not only was this a divorce from hell with the head DICKS at the helm, but they also made fun of Samantha, when she was not around of course. No matter your opinion of the client’s lifestyle, that was some, (just some I remind you), of the most unclassy and unprofessional conduct I have witnessed at that DICK firm. This was between two of the attorneys actually representing Samantha! Remember, I have 18 months of no-class unprofessional stories of this crumbling disaster of a firm, this just happens to pertain to your story. I find it so hard to believe that people with that much money are stupid enough to dump it into a firm like that. It baffles me, they have no idea what is going on. They do have you though Robin. Will they listen?

    1. Robin DesCamp

      I heard this from two other sources and it was one of the reasons I wanted to write this series. The client has no idea what happened to her and suffers from Stockholm Syndrome to such a degree that she is blind to what is right in front of her.

      This firm, which purports to be very LGBTQ-friendly, has long been rumored to harbor some of the biggest bigots in town. In fact, a certain “out” judge was asked over and over again to speak at this firm, probably at some bullshit “Child Centered Solutions” affair.

      He refused all requests, because he knows what time it is over there, and he would not be used as a pawn by desperate money-grubbers anxious to land LGBTQ business.

  5. Cliff - liberated former employee

    Child centered solutions??? Don’t make me laugh so hard!! That concept of theirs went bye-bye long ago, because they can’t keep any staff around long enough to facilitate that program. They gave up on doing anything constructive with that long ago, but probably did not stop bringing in $$ for it!

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Indeed. More on that subject in the future.

  6. Michael Cox

    What a cliff hanger. Hurry hurry, can’t hardly stand the wait!

  7. Robin DesCamp

    If anyone would like to discuss this series with me, or anything else, please email me at robin@robindescamp.com. For example, if you think anyone besides me has the power to put these words on this blog, you are mistaken and should speak with me for clarification.

    1. Isaac Laquedem

      As your writing style is inimitable, no one but you could put words on this blog without being immediately detected as a base impostor.

      1. Robin DesCamp

        That comment was intended for anyone who would believe that a third party could convince me to drop this series or that a third party is currently giving me any information on this case. Once I decide to write about something, especially something as important as this, only the Grim Reaper has editorial power.

        1. Isaac Laquedem

          “No power on earth, Mr. Fabian, not even the kind of primitive power you rely on, will keep me from telling this properly.” — Nero Wolfe, in Rex Stout’s novella “Before I Die.”
          I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

          1. May

            I would like to hear both sides not just one, this seems very one sided

          2. Robin DesCamp

            Both sides are free to comment. I encourage anyone to reach out who has a differing perspective.

        2. Patrick J

          “…only the Grim Reaper has editorial power.”
          – I admire your tenacity Robin!!

  8. Stan

    What a juicy teaser! More please.

  9. Patrick J

    Cliff hanger indeed! What a well crafted blog entry – I shudder at what must have transpired given what’s telegraphed in the title. The pain and destruction of it all — Yikes! If only every divorcee had a compassion-centered guide to help them navigate the process to minimize damage to everyone involved. What a difference that would make!

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