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.