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went to court yesterday

Started by longship, Mar 04, 2004, 02:57:03 AM

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Last Summer, we filed a motion to reallocate parental rights and responsibilities.  We had our day in court yesterday.  Originally, we wanted shared parenting, but our lawyer said that was near impossible, so we just tried to get some specific issues handled.  We wanted more time with the children which was guaranteed since Greene Co has a new standard order of visitaiton.  We also wanted telephone access and mail access to the children.  Well, here's what happened:

It went ok, but I still feel disappointed. No one had to give testimony. The lawyers fought it out until they couldn't get any further and then the lawyers met with the judge. The judge told them how he would rule on the remaining issues and that's the way it was put in the agreement.

1. DH got it written that he gets 1 phone call a week to the boys. The sticking point on this was that BM didn't want me to be able to talk to the boys. The judge said it was ok for me to talk to the boys on the phone as long as I kept it short. Well, her lawyer wrote it that any non-parent could only talk specifically for 1 minute to the boys on the phone. I feel kind of let down on that. She is also allowed (and we are allowed) to record the phone calls between child and other parent.

2. We get to send the boys cards and/or letters signed however we want and she cannot intercept them.

3. We get to keep both boys for tax exemption.

4. We are keeping the meeting place the same, but I am not allowed to be at the exchange. What we are going to do is that I am going to go, but DH will drop me off at a nearby Taco Bell and do the exchange and then come to get me afterwards. I feel really let down by this. It was either this or we would have to drive all the way to her house to pickup and dropoff, which is about an hour and a half.

5. The judge refused to rule on the name issue. He said that he would rule on what the children's full names were, but he would not say what their last name specifically was.

6. We get the full Christmas break every other year, and 2 more weeks in the Summer.

7. She gets 16 consecutive days either in the Summer (in odd years) or at Christmas (in even years) to take the children out of the country, which could mean us missing up to 2 weekends in the Summer with the kids.

Some funny things that happened are that the mediator that BM and DH went to popped into the courthouse on other business and just said hi to our lawyer. The mediator asked how it was going. Lawyer said that they were trying to work things out. Them mediator said, "not getting anywhere, are you?" They both laughed.

Then at the very end, we all went into the court room to have the final order signed. When we came in, BM stared at me with this evil smile. Then she stared at DH and his lawyer with the same evil smile (kind of like, "I hate you with the very fiber of my being" smile). After we walked out of the court, DH's lawyer said, "Crazy bi*ch! Is she like 5 years old or something?"

DH's lawyer also got the vibe that BM's lawyer was not happy with BM because BM felt like she didn't fight hard enough for her. I don't think that they will be working together after this much longer. Either the lawyer will refuse to represent her or BM will fire her.

DH feels like we had a major victory. We got more time and phone/mail rights and got to keep the tax exemption. But I guess my more competative nature is leaving me feeling like it's a hollow victory. Especially since she got to exculde me from dropoffs and pickups and limited my interaction with the children on the phone to 1 stinkin' minute.


That's the crap about court... you never really know what to expect.

I'm glad that your DH is happy.  I can understand your feelings.  Is the BM married?  Because if she is, I'm sure her husband gets to spend more than one minute with the kids, which is totally unfair.

I really hated being the stepmom, because I totally became a second-class citizen where the kids were concerned.  EVERYONE had more rights than me... the mother, the step-dad, and yes, even my hubby.  I was permitted to provide health insurance for the kids, but god forbid I be permitted to pick them up or drop them off, take them to do fun things, spend time with them, etc.  On the other hand, the step-dad was "more of a father to the kids than my husband could ever be" according to BM.  She just moved him right in and allowed him to take over as their father, but I wasn't to be involved in their lives in ANY way.  I was hosed from the get-go and didn't even know it.

Personally, I would forget about spending your one minute on the phone with the kids.  You will get much more quality when they are with you.  Do your best to spend lots of time with them and do fun things while they're at your house.  I really don't understand how the judge can order you not to be there during the exchange.  See if your DH can take someone else with him just to witness things.  The last several times we went to court, the BM smiled like the cheshire cat, even though she was not getting all she wanted.  It was infuriating, because you wonder what crap they have up their sleeve next.  

I don't have to deal with this anymore, thank GOD, but good luck to you!