Randy's Suicide

I received the following article in a very fine Canadian Men's Journal titled, Everyman which I subscribe to. Subscription information can be found at the end of this letter and I recommend it highly.

I cannot attest to the authenticity of this letter as I was unable to contact the lawyer who wrote it. I am unable to balance the story with personal knowledge of what else might have happened to effect the outcome or justify the actions taken by the parties involved. However, given the number of times I have listened to stories of other men who have experienced similar treatment, I do not doubt it's validity or its appropriateness. For the truth is, as I have unfortunately seen too many times, if it did not in fact happen to Randy, it did happen to many other men whose story we have not heard. This is a story that goes to many different issues, each deserving of a few moments of our time to reflect on. We need to reflect and consider our part in changing the ways in which men's lives are considered disposable by the laws, the courts and in particular by the lawyers who represent custody cases as though humans were not involved. You may want to sit with this one a while.

Randy s Suicide

"I was the second attorney for Randall Couch, a Phoenix architectural consultant. In his long-ago divorce, he had been poorly advised by his first attorney to stipulate to sole custody to the wife, and to a peculiar stepped-increase child support arrangement. A few years later, his first lawyer helped him work out an order in which he and his wife agreed to stop the child support because of the large percentage of time he had each week with his son. Unbeknownst to Randy, that first lawyer didn't file the agreement with the court.

Years later (last year), the ex-wife decided to go after him by claiming that he owed huge child support arrears ($28,000), and alleging that the never-filed agreement was void. He hired me as his second lawyer, and after a heavily contested trial, a judge ruled against us and found that he owed the $28,000, plus his wile s attorney fees. With the $28,000 judgment in hand, the wife s lawyer seized all of Randy s money from bank accounts, garnished receivable's from his architectural clients, had his car taken from him, and most recently, dragged him into court for contempt proceedings. Randy was ordered to pay $1,500 by noon today, or go to jail.

Last night, Randy blew his brains out.

There's a little kid somewhere in Phoenix who will never again spend the majority of the week with his Dad. There is an ex-wife who is never going to get the rest of her $28,000 pound of flesh, There is a wife's attorney and a judge in Phoenix who will have to live for the rest of their lives with the weight of this tragedy on their heads.

I was in a hearing this afternoon when I learned of the suicide. I'm not ashamed to say I cried. I've been through, and survived some pretty gut-wrenching events in my life as a lawyer. But nothing like this. A good man has been sacrificed on the altar of the "deadbeat dad" mentality. A little bit of all of us died with Randy."

You can subscribe to "Everyman - A Men's Journal" by contacting David Shackleton at or

© 2008, Kenneth F. Byers

Other Transition Issues, Books

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A permanent state of transition is man's most noble condition. - Juan Ramon Jimenez

Ken Byers holds a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in Men's Studies, one of the few ever awarded in the U.S. Ken is a full time Certified Professional Life Coach specializing in working with men in any form of transition and an instructor of design at San Francisco State University.

His books, "Man In Transition" and "Who Was That Masked man Anyway" are widely acknowledged as primers for men seeking deeper knowledge of creating awareness and understanding of the masculine way. More information on Ken, his work and/or subscription information to the weekly "Spirit Coach" newsletter which deals with elements of the human spirit in short commentary, check the box at or or or E-Mail You are welcome to share any of Ken's columns with anyone without fee from or to him but please credit to the author. Ken can be reached at: 415.239.6929.

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