The Hearing

Had me filled with anxiety.  Not that I didn’t feel qualified, but over the fact I would have to testify in front of him (and his mother as it turns out) about all the goings on in the last eight months.

It felt good though to be sitting there by myself (with my lawyer of course) and stating the facts and my intentions.

The judge was not thrilled that he was in no way prepared.  In fact he asked for a last minute postponement which was why I was in such a dither yesterday.  He got a sincere tongue lashing from her for not doing anything the court requested which set the tone that I might be okay.

I have to thank my excellent lawyer because really he did the work, that court stuff I don’t understand, and it felt good to be sitting there next to him who has been advocating for me all this time.  

So in a nutshell I was awarded sole legal custody.  The judge did not see that he was currently fit to warrant joint custody, but in a manner that I was quite proud of, she reminded him that this does not mean this decision cannot be revised in the future if he pulls himself together.

I won my request for supervised visitation with my own or supervised transportation.

I got child support made retro to our filing date of July 2008.

I also won alimony and court costs, though I doubt I will see these.

In addition, the judge requested that he comply with the requested drug testing today.

He has 10 days to file an exception to the judge’s ruling.  Which he will probably do and will then postpone the officialness of all of this another couple of months.

I’m a bevy of emotions right now and there are things I wish to say to him, that I know I can’t and so many other things to drag out this post.

The man that sat across from me today in the judge’s chambers is a shell of the man I was once married too.  Though I know he puts me to blame, he needs to know that he is the one accountable for the actions he takes.  He is the one who has lied. He is the one making judgements that impose criminal penalties.  He is the one who doesn’t show up, doesn’t call.  This was the message that was given to him.

I hope the loss of legal custody will be enough to set him in a new direction.  That maybe one day he will have it together enough to make wise choices and make the effort to make the most of the time he has with these girls.  Somehow, I doubt this.  In all honesty, I would much rather see a healthy relationship between us all (even apart) where I felt confident in a joint arrangement than the pain we have all been subjected to.

I stared at the man who lied to me for years.  Who told me he loved me long past the time when the manipulations had been growing.  Who said that the girls were the most important thing on earth to him.  Who I pleaded with on the phone time and again that he  needed to get it together for our girl’s sakes and who fails to do so at every turn.  Who recently disappointed someone from his own family who I know loves him but like me, cannot afford the betrayals.

The sounds of his words to me at the end…..you’re crazy, you’re weak, you’ll never make it on your own, it’s all your fault, they have softened to a whisper in the back of my head.

Today I am filled with the  three phone calls and fourteen emails this morning wishing me well.  Not luck, they said, justice.  You are strong, you are a good mother, you deserve this.

I am the woman who sat nervously in the courtroom hallway chatting To Kill A Mockingbird with her lawyer.  Who sat in front of this man  and stood strong.  Who raised her voice though not probably loud enough, loud enough to be heard that she will not stand for her or her children to be hurt any longer and that he must do what is right.

I am the woman who while struggling to make time, dollars, love and support stretch to fill what is asked of me will always manage to find enough to fill these beautiful young girls that I came home to today.

Today, I put him in my past.  That today, it would no longer be about him.  Though he may always be a significant part of my children’s lives, he is no longer a significant part of mine.

To my family, Mommy, Daddy, Steve, Grandmom, Grandpa, Karen, Kevin, Calum who saw me through panic and tears to get to this point, I would not be here without you.  If not for the fact that when I thought you would be ashamed or disappointed in the turn my life had taken, you instead picked me up and gave me confidence back.  Your physical, financial and emotional support is what gets me through everyday.

To my friend Lisa.  Other than my family, you are the one person who got me to this point.  You were the one who assured me that there would be a right time to leave.  That it would be hard, but I would be better on the other side of it.  That I could and would manage to do it even if it seemed impossible.  Now that you are facing your own share of tragedy, I want you to know I will always be here (if a bit far away, but never too far away) for you should you need me in return.

To my brother and sister in law.  Though in a few short months we will no longer officially be family,  you will always be close to my heart and I hope will remain there.  I am so sorry for the drama and the pain that this relationship has caused your family.  You stood by me and believed in me when no one else in your family did.  To that I will always be grateful.  And though you face your own obstacles right now I want only happiness and peace for all four of you and for you to know my door is always open for conversation, or a cup of tea or a bottle of wine.

To my little group of online friends, you have no idea how far your encouragement has brought me. When I felt I had no one, you were always here waiting.  You listen to me whine and never failed to respond to my despair with words of support.  

To those single mothers out there reading this, or blogging about your own struggles, thank you for your posts, as hard as they are, as difficult as the days and the emotions are, it is nice to know you are not alone.  For those of you waiting on your own resolutions and scared about the outcome of your own futures, I hope you too, find a resolution that can bring you peace.

Lest this become a book , or a really bad awards speech, I finish by saying I know there are still difficult times and frustrations ahead, but right here, right now, I am content with this bit of victory. 

and you know the nonsense and whining will be back tomorrow right?

p.s. it’s snowing again.img_0321

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13 Comments

Filed under single parenthood

13 responses to “The Hearing

  1. Oh, I’m so happy! How wonderful that the legal system worked the way it is meant to.

  2. Whew… What a big day! Glad for you that it’s over. You need a big hug!

  3. syd

    Wow, momma. To many more victories and good days.

  4. How awesome for you!!!

    Well done!!!

  5. Congrats! It’s nice to see the system work like it should. My parents divorced when I was 12, and my dad never asked for custody. He was forced into visitation, which he ducked at every opportunity until my mom grew tired of asking him if he wanted to see his kids.

    There are some sad cases where it might just be better if a child doesn’t get to know his father.

  6. Lisa

    Jenn,
    I will always be there for you! Thanks for the mention! It was all you though, you just had to find the strength to believe in yourself! I was just there for the push you needed every once in a while.

    Things will still be hard, don’t get me wrong. There is a whole to fill in the girls lives. You standing up for yourself just gave them the strength they will need to grow into strong young women someday.

    Call or write if you need to talk, vent, cry, or hopefully laugh!

    Love you and am sooooooooo proud of you.

    Lisa

  7. I really couldn’t be happier for you. This is such a well written post. Your thoughts and intentions clear.

    I applaud you for continuing to see and hope for the relationship he can have with the girls moving forward. I’m thrilled that you have not made this about you (though you had every reason too) and made it instead about the kids and their future. This alone speaks to the courage and tenacity only a loving mother can truly possess.

    I know you know this, but it can never hurt to be reminded. You m’lady are going to be just fine. Congratulations!

  8. Liz

    urgh….I couldn’t wait to get in here today and read this as we STILL have no internet at home. damn snow made me late. I am sooooooo happy for you, but you know what, it was karma. all the good you have done and put out in the world and done for your kids…it’s all coming around.

    I was going to call last night and figured you were probably overwhelmed. let’s get together soon though.

  9. underthebigbluesky

    Miranda-yes, thank you, sometimes it does, I had a really good judge, but as my lawyer said, it depends on who you get.

    Frazierbaz-yes, i got lots of them, thanks!

    syd-thank you for hanging with me, you were my first online single mom friend.

    laura-thanks, though i think really the only thing i did was have good documentation which really helped. i’m wishing good things for you too!

    Idaho Dad-am sorry to hear that this was your experience and I have to agree with you.

    Lisa- you know i love you right back.

    Chuck-your support has meant the world to me and as I have said before you have restored my faith in dadkind.

    liz-as my oldest friend (timewise not age), it means a lot to know you were thinking of me, yes, i was quite busy last night and would love to get together, and am quite happy to see your life taking a new direction! it gives me hope.

  10. Congratulations. I am so so happy that everything worked out the way it was meant to. 🙂

  11. Calum

    Hey Jen,
    I will wait to talk to you in person to get into a conversation, but I wanted to say how happy I am for you and that you have been in my thoughts every day. We all would have been shocked if it had gone another way, but you had already received so much unfair treatment from the universe that I was still nervous. Congratulations on FULL CUSTODY, Finally! Also, on a lighter note…Congratulations on your writing, you’re good at it!
    Love,
    Calum

  12. Wow. Well done. I’m so happy for you. A big hug from 5,000 miles away!

  13. go Jen, go Jen, go Jen!!! I knew you could do it! That defensive mommy lioness in all of us shows when it’s needed. Reading this brought tears to my eyes knowing I was in the same boat as your daughters years ago when my scared mom did the same thing. it took so much for her to put her foot down and shout “That is ENOUGH!” and my dad sounds a lot like your ex… he still has many addiction problems and never did figure it all out, now he doesn’t really have anyone. but, what I loved about reading your post today is being able to look back at my own mom, my best friend, as a strong warrior who did so much for me. your daughters will (if they don’t already) see this in you. you have made your home a safe loving place for them to grow up. you did good mama 🙂

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