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.
I swear the divorce drama never ends. The minute I think things will calm down, and he’s finally acting like a human being again, the ex throws me a curve ball.
This past weekend was supposed to be my weekend with the kids. Still under supervised visitation, my friend Ashley came and spent the day with us Saturday. Ashley has an adorable 2 year old daughter named Alexis that Damian took quite a liking to, and a good time was had by all. I hadn’t been able to get someone for Sunday, so Ashley, bless this woman, volunteered to spend the day with us Sunday as well. (Have I mentioned I have amazingly wonderful friends? I do, and they have seriously been awesome through all of this.)
Sunday morning I am getting ready for Ashley to get here, and during this am back and forth over email with the ex about my pet rats. He freaked out when I got them, threatening to deny my visitation with the kids, because he seems to think domestic rats who have spent their entire lives indoor in a cage are the same danger to people as wild rats. Umm, yeah, that’s why they sell them in pet stores, because they are so dangerous, right? Whatever dude. Anyhow, we are back and forth over it, and he is once again telling me he will refuse to let me have the kids if the rat cage is in any room the kids have access to. (He insists the rats need to be taken to a vet and certified disease-free, but refuses to pay for said unnecessary vet visits. Maybe I would have the $300 to do that if he’d pony up the $700 in car repairs he owes me among other things…) Total control issue, and I just wasn’t in the mood for his games.
It was at the end of this back and forth email exchange I looked up and realized it was getting close to 8am and Ashley hadn’t gotten there yet. Damnit! I went to get my phone out of the bedroom and saw she had texted me saying she’d picked up her daughter from her mom’s and the poor thing was sick, apparently puking everywhere. She wouldn’t be able to make it.
I was pretty upset at not being able to see my own kids, but hers was sick, and I understood. I called and explained to the kids what was going on.
Not content to accept the fact that this was out of my control, the ex once again he had to try to find SOME way to make me look bad. After all, I suggested he bring the kids over himself so I could see them and that was shot down. But if he let everyone know that, there’s the slightest chance he might look like an asshole for not putting the kids first.
So what does he do?
He actually came over to the house, by himself, and after seeing a bunch of paper cups/plates/napkins in the corner of the kitchen, declares that I am having people over, and that’s why I gave up seeing the kids that day. (And I know damn well he went back and told his family this.) Oh, and apparently took pictures of the stuff, for ‘proof’.
Little problem with this theory? The paper products had been in that same corner of the kitchen since August 21st. How do I know the date? I had them out for a get-together I had with friends here that night.
A get-together where, naturally, there were pictures taken.
(Click on the picture to see the full-sized version.)
It wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t been to the house probably 4 times since then, and was well aware the stuff has been sitting there the whole time. No, he didn’t want to look bad, so why let a little thing like the truth stop him? Too bad I had this and other dated pictures of the stuff sitting in the corner after that to show just how much of a liar he is.
That would have been funny enough on it’s own. The best part is when fate decided to step in.
That stomach bug that Alexis had that the ex is trying to claim I made up?
Damian went home from school sick with it today.
Guess I wasn’t making it up after all huh?
(And unfortunately for him, a tantrum on a balding, morbidly obese 42 year old is not nearly as cute as it is on a 4 year old.)
So this has not been a fabulous week. I got a broken tooth, which very quickly became infected and started giving me the kind of pain one would expect from I dunno, say, having a screwdriver rammed into the gums. Not good. Went to the dentist and was given antibiotics to take before they can do (OMG A FUCKING ROOT CANAL) a repair on the tooth. I hate going to the dentist, so this all had me a little stressed. They did give me painkillers, which they said would keep me from killing anyone comfortable until the antibiotics kick in. I have VERY low tolerance for things like that, so Paul (and I’m sure everyone in my Twitter stream) has been getting a good giggle at my expense.
Aside from the tooth thing, I was not able to find anyone to supervise this weekends visitation with the kids. I have awesome friends who are very quick to help where they can, but it was just a bad combination of people being busy or out of town. It happens, but unfortunately it means I will not be able to see the kids this weekend.
Totally sucks, but Brendan’s birthday is Tuesday, so I figured at least I’ll be able to see them for an hour or so then. I’ll pick up a cake, and it will be just like Gabrielle’s birthday in June, which fell on a Monday. Same story, right?
When the ex emailed asking what the deal with the weekend was, I told him I wasn’t able to get anyone for this weekend, but asked what the story is with Tuesday. This was his reply-
There is no story
with Tuesday. It is not a visitation day for you, this weekend is. Brendan’s
birthday is close enough to your visitation weekend for you to celebrate it
during your scheduled visitation time. I have no plans on making a special
trip over with them on Tuesday. If your recent behavior was more appropriate
lately I would have considered it, but I am not comfortable spending time
around you with your recent actions.
Considering our only contact in the last two weeks has been in regards to him locking me out of the master bedroom and my subsequent removal of that door, it’s pretty safe to say he’s decided to retaliate by not allowing me to see my son on his birthday. This was driven home to me when I emailed back and said that if he was ‘uncomfortable being around me’ then there should be no problem with me having a supervisor with me and picking up the kids for an hour or so Tuesday night so I could spend part of Brendan’s birthday with him, to which he replied-
You have your scheduled weekends. The schedule of every other weekend has not changed since it was imposed. So you have had more than enough time to plan and arrange for supervision. If you have alienated yourself so much from actual friends and family to the point they are not willing to help you then that is the situation you have created, not me. Have a nice weekend and I would suggest you start arranging now for the next visitation weekend so you can celebrate with Brendan at that time. If you wish to drop off his birthday present from you this weekend I am fine with that as long as I have sufficient advance notice and as long as you understand you would not be staying.
Real sweetheart, ain’t he? Got to love a man who so clearly puts his kids above all else.