It has just dawned on me that as of yesterday, it’s been six months since my ex was granted what was supposed to be temporary custody, and he took our kids and moved out. Six months of seeing them only every other weekend, and six months of nightly phone calls.

It hurts even typing that out.

When the order was originally put in place, my then-lawyer assured me that this was only until we got my hospital records, and then everything would go back to how it was. 3 weeks of back and forth with the hospital to get my records, only to be told they didn’t use the specific wording he thought we needed to be done with this in one go. Nothing wrong with what was said, but he wanted specific phrases before he would even try to get this in front of a judge. Fuck me.

“Go get a psych evaluation done” he tells me, so off I go to be questioned and analyzed. The result? Same thing we knew all along- I was under extreme stress from my divorce, and made an impulsive decision that the psychiatrist does not feel I will repeat.

Great! Let’s take this back to court!

“Too close” he tells me, “Wait until the divorce hearing in a couple of weeks. This will all be over then.”

Frustration, anger, confusion. I just want my kids back home.

Then the day before court, he takes himself off my case. A solid year of telling me ‘do not go back to work’, a year of me pushing him to get the Status Quo order enforced (and him not doing it), and he drops me because I can’t pay him. There is some kind of serious irony there I think.

The day he is notified I have no lawyer, the ex files to have me kicked out of our house, and a hearing date is set for that. Job-hunting proves unsuccessful, and it very quickly becomes obvious a new lawyer is out of the question and I am going to have to defend myself.

Which I did, successfully.

Months of emails from the ex telling me that I was a shitty mother, calling me an unfit parent, and threatening to not let me see the kids for whatever reason he felt like that day had taken their toll on my confidence, but it was that small victory that made me realize that I wasn’t as helpless as I felt in all this.

A couple of weeks ago, with the help and support of Paul, I went to the courthouse and filed two motions with the court. One asking the temporary custody order be dissolved, the other asking the ex be held in contempt for his refusal to follow the Status Quo order that had been put in place a year before.

A solid year I have been locked out of the bank accounts, had no access to the credit cards, and since he moved out of the house, have been given only money for gas, $20 a week in personal spending, and $30 a week for groceries, which has to cover all meals, cleaning supplies and personal items like razors and tampons. Let’s not forget the extra meals for 3 kids and a supervisor 2 days every other week as well, which also has to come out of my $30 a week. No extra money for that.

For all my previous lawyer’s hemming and hawing and talking about how he was ‘trying to get a court date’ for months, within two weeks I heard back from the court with a date.

On October 2nd we go back to court, specifically for the purpose of dealing with these two issues. With any luck at all, my kids will be back with me when it’s over.

The last bit of advice my previous lawyer gave me when I left his office was not to do this on my own, under any circumstances. The person who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Maybe I’m wrong, but all things considered I have a lot more faith in my therapist, who says I’ve come a long way in learning to take control and stand up for myself.

This clearly isn’t going to change unless I take action, and if looking foolish is the worst that can happen I’ll gladly take that risk to have my kids back with me where they belong.

23 Comments on Why We Are Going Back to Court Sooner Than Expected

  1. Jasmine
    September 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm (8 years ago)

    Good for you. I agree that looking like a fool in court is the least of your worries. I hope everyhting works out.

    Reply
  2. Laurie
    September 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm (8 years ago)

    I will be thinking of you and hoping your court experience has a wonderful result. Usually it is best to have a lawyer for something like you are going through, but you definitely got screwed the first time and I hope that representing yourself works out well!

    Reply
  3. Paul OFlaherty
    September 14, 2009 at 9:22 pm (8 years ago)

    I didn't do much to help. I know that this will all work out for you. Things certainly can't get any worse. You're realizing how capable you are and that is an amazing thing. Just don't lose faith in yourself again. You are way better, far more intelligent and more capable than you or others give you credit for.

    Believe me, I've watched you grow from little or no confidence to who you are today since we first crossed paths… Nobody can take that away from you again, except you. And I know you won't let that happen 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jen
    September 14, 2009 at 9:47 pm (8 years ago)

    The phrase "The person who represents himself has a fool for a client." was not ONLY invented BEFORE the advent of the Interwebs (where you can learn stuff) – not ONLY was it invented by lawyers (ostensibly to get more business LOL) … it was also referring to NORMAL, AVERAGE folk. You're far too smart and awesome to be considered normal or average, babe.

    Reply
  5. Momma Sunshine
    September 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm (8 years ago)

    Good luck to you! I'm sorry that you've been going through such hell.

    Reply
  6. Nikki
    September 14, 2009 at 11:12 pm (8 years ago)

    This is good Sara! I have every bit of faith that you can successfully defend yourself and get this crap taken care of much faster than your lawyer has been. You'll be awesome.

    Reply
  7. Lala
    September 15, 2009 at 12:11 am (8 years ago)

    i hope for a positive resolution for you and your children really soon. You can do this.

    Reply
  8. Jamie E
    September 15, 2009 at 12:19 am (8 years ago)

    I think you will do fine. You know the facts of the case and really, all you have to do is present them. The judge will not be harder on you b/c you are representing yourself. In fact, he/she may be more patient with you. Good luck.

    Reply
  9. bejewell
    September 15, 2009 at 2:09 am (8 years ago)

    That attorney should be punched in the nads.

    Reply
  10. melissa
    September 15, 2009 at 2:09 am (8 years ago)

    i can't imagine what you must be going through. what a fucking nightmare. i hope that those children come home to you, where they belong, SOON!!
    xo

    Reply
  11. pgoodness
    September 15, 2009 at 2:09 am (8 years ago)

    Good for you!

    Reply
  12. liv
    September 15, 2009 at 2:09 am (8 years ago)

    The phrase actually was intended for lawyers who choose to represent themselves—that they have a law license and untapped resources, and their heads get clouded in their abject narcissism. You keep on, and be strong, woman. Also, consider a complaint to the state bar board of ethics for your previous lawyer's behavior.

    Reply
  13. mom, again
    September 15, 2009 at 7:38 am (8 years ago)

    good luck, I hope the tide is turning in your favor.

    Reply
  14. dmovelle
    September 15, 2009 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    Good luck Sara

    Reply
  15. Christine
    September 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm (8 years ago)

    You are one awesome woman. As long as you use the correct form and terminology and certify you have sent copies to the ex of any paperwork you file, you can do this all by yourself. We had to represent ourselves to keep custody of my husband's daughter after their mother signed two of them over to us and then changed her mind about one when she realized she couldn't count her as a deduction (didn't want the other little girl because she has autism). While we eventually got a lawyer (my wonderful one from my divorce) to make the process go faster, representing ourselves bought us the time to save up for (in my opinion) the best lawyer in the world. We also managed to keep custody of the little girl throughout the entire process. Best of luck to you, you are and will be great!

    Reply
  16. Lara
    September 15, 2009 at 10:56 pm (8 years ago)

    I am rooting for you!

    Reply
  17. Sarah
    September 17, 2009 at 3:43 am (8 years ago)

    Sara,

    I hope this nightmare ends for you and your children soon. You'll be just fine, you know. The truth will out, as I've often heard.

    Reply
  18. Pando
    September 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm (8 years ago)

    You can do this. As someone who has been in this boat for ohh… 6 YEARS, if you ever need to talk, you know where to find me.

    Reply
  19. Paula
    October 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm (8 years ago)

    You can't leave us hanging, what happened on Oct 2?

    Reply
  20. truthseeker72
    October 12, 2009 at 12:36 am (8 years ago)

    Do what you feel you must do. Do what you can live with best. Personally, I commend you. I am living out a very, VERY similar story as the one you just described! The difference, I stayed with my attorney. He called off my witnesses the morning OF court and did so completely without my knowledge or consent. I hadn't seen or heard of any "settlement." I found out from my stunned witness who "thought I knew." I'm not sure how this happened to a squeaky clean woman like me. But, feel certain my role as primarily stay at home mom (lack of money) and naive ("let's all play nice and think of the kids" ways) was a huge role in this. Good for you for the choices you have made to take control rather than BE controlled. I don't know you, but I'm proud of you. While in general, I think it probably best to have professional representation, in our case we've certainly seen that it isn't ALWAYS best. I basically have no custody. I have little more than visitation. I have no " final say" which means he doesn't have to listen to anything I say, ever. Stand up for yourself and fight for your children. Best of luck and all the strength to you.

    Reply

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