The only thing that cheers you up when you go to Manhattan Family Court on Lafayette street is the one-dollar coffee you buy from the nice Afghani man outside this newly redone, ugly building. Once you step in, you cannot not see Lincoln’s sentence, something like “We shall put our confidence in the justice of the people.” You better believe in it; Family court will take its time to deliver “the justice of the people”, if ever.
You will not feel like going for a beer with the security cops in the lobby although, compared with security guards at New York airports, they are angels come on earth. In the fourth floor, that’s it, you are in the hell made of a crowd of divorced parents, sometimes with children in strollers, which avoid eye contact and cannot wait to tear each other apart once in front of support magistrates. You wonder why gays and lesbians would be so eager to experience the felicity of marriage…
Don’t arrive on time, it is a total waste. On average, I check in with the officer — you have to– an hour after I arrive. Bring a captivating book. On May 22, 2008 I was inspired enough to have with me Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. Around 12:30 pm, I had just finished the last chapter, where Jean Valjean, the redeemed convict passes away surrounded by Cosette, her adoptive daughter and his newly married husband, Marius; the officer informed me that my case was adjourned to September 10, 2008: my ex-wife’s attorney , Cheryl Solomon, was feeling sick. Yet I saw her at the elevators on the way down, busy discussing with another client of hers.
Such adjournments already happened twice in 2007: either Solange Grey, the Support Magistrate, or Solomon, my ex-wife’s attorney, were not feeling good. God forbid that you would be told that when you arrived. However when you are summoned to appear, you are always reminded that on your failure to do so, “a warrant may be issued for your arrest.” Shut up fathers and pay child support and un-reimbursed medical expenses!