I never considered myself to have high flying and exciting kind of life. I had a great life. I had everything I needed in my life with my two little girls. When my wife filed for divorce, my life took a drastic turn. I understand why people are terrified by the family court system because it doesn’t make sense. It’s a system that allows people to use their children to barter for dining room furniture. A system where you have to be careful not to upset the judges because they could take away your furniture and your kids if they are having a bad day. You are put into a position to trust lawyers just because they are lawyers. When things go wrong, they say “that’s just the way it is.” I made it a point to ask why it had to be that way.
My name is Dan Brewington. I grew up in Norwood, Ohio with my mom and dad (Sue and Dan Sr) and my younger brother Matt. I was a fairly normal child; never really got into trouble and was a good student. I was lucky to grow up in a city with a small town feel like Norwood because I still have many close friends that I have known for many years. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time going out to our farm outside of Milan, Indiana. Dad grew up in the Milan/Versailles area and he and Mom began buying farmland in December 1974, when I was only a month old. Through the years we spent time with family in Indiana and spent a lot of time working on the farm. We cleared old fence rows and built new fences. We laid drain tile and cleared trees. We helped with planting and harvesting and everything in between. Eventually, Mom and Dad had purchased 241 acres in all and two farm houses. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into maintaining the property but it was necessary to keep the farm going.
Growing up, my brother and I didn’t really have very many “real” jobs. Dad always wanted us to be available to work on the farm. It made good financial sense but it’s not a very good resume builder. Sometimes it is hard to explain what our responsibility to the farm was because we just did what we had to do to keep it going. We didn’t farm the land ourselves, but we always worked with family or friends who farmed our property. If trees fell into the field, we cleared them out. We tore out old fence lines to help the crops. I’ve had poison ivy in every crack and crevice imaginable. I have scars on my hand from when a 50lb spoil of barbed wire fell on it. There were times that I could barely see or breath because my allergies were so bad. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved working on the farm but it was emotionally trying at times because Dad was a person who believed you could build Hoover Dam in a day if you woke up early enough. Dad worked hard growing up on a farm and he wanted us to do the same. The problem was there were no cows in Norwood to milk on a daily basis. Dad also forgot that kids like to play around and be kids. We took the good with the bad as a family and worked to keep the real estate. Then at the age of 54, Dad decided to get cancer.
If a parent is going to die, have them let you know at least a year in advance
Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Dad found out he had cancer on April 10, 1998 and died on May 19, 1998. We always smiled about how Dad died four days after Frank Sinatra because Dad always “did it his way” too. If a parent who takes care of the majority of the things associated with running a farm is going to die, it would be nice to have at least a year to begin transitioning the responsibilities elsewhere. Unfortunately it wasn’t an option. There wasn’t a for dummies book on what to do with managing farm property when your dad finds out he is going to die in a month. Dad was a character. He loved us and obviously felt bad about leaving us but the thing he feared the most was Matt and me having to pay taxes on the farmland when Mom died. Before Dad died, Mom signed her interest in the farm over to Dad for a few dollars so the property could be put in a trust that became non-revocable upon his death. This would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes Dad ever made in his life; only because I got divorced in the state of Indiana.
Roll up your sleeves and get to work
I quit working just before Dad died so I could help out. Dad died on May 19, 1998 and we began rehabbing one of our farmhouses the following month. We had to hit the ground running. I was 24 and my brother was 21 and we were ripping the roof off an old farm house not long after our dad died. Mom had to go on to cope with the loss of a spouse and learn how to speculate on commodity prices so she could sell soybeans and corn at the best price possible. No one can prepare you for the death of a family member especially when they play a major role in a family business. We had to learn everything.
I moved to Milan
When we started working on the farmhouse, I just stayed. I always wanted to live in the country and mom let me live in the family farmhouse. Actually, I lived on a couch in the garage next to the family farmhouse until October 1998. It was fun for me. I lived with my dogs Copper and Cosmo. My dad died and I was living in a garage with two dogs and I was happy. I didn’t have a television on the farm for the first year that I lived there. If I was awake, I was outdoors. The house was an ongoing project. There are probably a few do it yourselfers out there that can relate to living in rooms with unfinished drywall, rooms full of tools, and general disarray due to in house construction. There are also a few people who can relate to having a week or two or ten that passes by without getting back to the construction. As I said, an ongoing project.
I met my future Ex-Wife
I met my Ex at bar in Cincinnati, Ohio in the spring of 1999. Looking back, it’s rather ironic that Dr. Connor reported that she had relatively no alcohol history yet we met at a bar. We started dating and we had quite a bit of fun. We had a lot of common interests though our personalities were somewhat opposite of one another; maybe like a Felix and Oscar combination. Her family enjoyed being able to come out to the farm and they helped work on the house. Her dad enjoyed fishing so I set him up with some good ponds around the area. He even bought a boat and stored it on the farm. We used to have a big party in the summer where we would have about 200 family and friends come out. It was a fun time. We got married on August 10, 2002 and we continued to live rent and utility free in the house. The house was still an ongoing project but we continued to work on it. When I say “we” I mean a lot of friends and family. I would have friends from the city come out and help out on the house. You’d be surprised how far good food, four wheelers, and country fresh air can go when you’re trying to entice your city friends to come out to help work on your house. As my brother and I got older, we found some people wanted to help because they figured out it was a good way to learn how to do things. But we kept plugging away at that old farm house.
It wasn’t too long after we were married that my Ex wanted to have children so on October 30, 2003 our first daughter was born. Like most parents it was the greatest day of my life. On February 6, 2006 we had our second little girl. People always asked if I wanted a boy and the answer was always no. Of course I would have loved a son as much as anything in the world but I loved my little girls. It seemed like we had it made in the shade. Two beautiful daughters, a free place to live, horses, gardens, a big yard, etc… On November 6, 2006 she told me she wanted a divorce.
She said she divorced me because I had ADHD
Dr. Connor’s evaluation stated, “[Ex] stated that she simply could not tolerate Dan’s erratic behavior and lack of attention, which caused significant conflict in the marriage.” This was in response to the question of why the marriage ended. I have been treated for ADHD since 2002. (For more information, click ADHD) I met my Ex in 1999. She married me. She wanted children. We lived in a house that was finally finished. My mom let us live for free in the newly renovated farmhouse. She was willing to subject our 10 month old and 3 year old daughters to divorce because I had ADHD. With that being said, she didn’t tell the evaluator that I abused her or the children. There were no allegations of adultery or substance abuse. No reports of child neglect or injuries to the children. On August 29, 2007 Dr. Connor wrote that my Ex couldn’t take being married to me because of my ADHD.
Why do I have to be the less than part time parent?
Why does the person who arbitrarily decides that they can’t stay married to a person with ADHD have the right to decide that it would be better for the kids if they didn’t see that person as much because of the driving distance. “I want a divorce. I’m taking the kids. You can only have them on Wednesday evenings and maybe half of the weekends because I am moving far away.” That’s the way it goes. I had always played an equal role in raising the girls. My wife worked nights so I was the only parent around for at least three nights a week. When she decided that it was over, she got out and didn’t have to compromise anything. She got nearly everything in the house, $122,280 from my “future interest” in my parents’ farm, $40,000 out of $50,000 dollars of her legal fees, and the children all to herself. If I would have just agreed to being a less than part time dad, this never would have happened. Do I have any regrets? No. I stood up for what is right and one day my girls will understand how hard daddy fought for them and that’s a lesson about integrity they can carry for the rest of their lives. That, in a nutshell, is Dan.