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The Difference Between Being Prepared vs. Unprepared
You win some, you lose some is really all I can think about since the judge ruled in favor of my ex in a really bizarre turn of events custody decision. I cannot call it a custody evaluation because there was no evaluation. There really was no review of the history of the case and no determination based on the 13 factors, which are to be taken into account entirely, without using one factor to the exclusion of all others. Further the rules say, the primary caretaker factor may not be used as a presumption in determining the best interests of the child. The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the factors led to its conclusions and to the determination of the best interests of the child. There was no best interest findings. Unlike my 2006 trial in which the 26 page order explained every aspect of the judge’s decision, this recent decision is a 1 page order with nothing to explain any of the decisions.
This all went awry due to the age of my child. The judge did not think that I should have brought this to court and I would not have, if it had not been for the fact that the doctor’s office interfered with my rights as a parent. I have been punished because I made known the fact that I had sole custody. Judges don’t like sole custody. This judge did not even examine the reasons that I won sole custody in 2006. Mine was a domestic abuse case and the other parent was found to have issues of excessive alcohol abuse and a mixed personality disorder. I proved my case back then and the judge didn’t even care to hear about how that happened. I know he could not possibly have read the previous order.
As is usual in the high conflict divorce case, the mother is blamed. Had she not chosen this particular man to have a child with, none of them would be there. That is what many judges think. That seemed to be what the judge told me at the 10 minute hearing, not in so many words, mind you. He basically told me that because I had a high conflict divorce, this was what I get. He was not looking at my ex when he said it, just at me.
To look at it now, I realize that I was not as prepared for this as I was the last time. Even though I was bringing this case this time, too, it came up very quickly and I was not given the time or consideration to be heard. That is what is so important in these situations. You have to be prepared and you have to tell the story in a way that allows you to be heard. Never go to court without putting all your ducks in a row. That is one of my mistakes in this. I also trusted my child to not be manipulated by his father at this late date in life. Surely he would remember what the history was? Apparently he didn’t.
The other thing I was not prepared for and should have been is how some judges are so lackadaisical about the laws. This one certainly did not rule based on any law. Shouldn’t they have to? Isn’t that what they are there for?
It was all a good reminder to me of how lucky I was to have peace for 6 years, and now I will miss my child’s last year of childhood. The court didn’t take that into account. Custody for my ex is based on him making sure I get to see my son regularly, but who will do anything about it when it does not happen? For two months, I was not allowed to see my son so why the judge thought that would change is beyond me.
Unfortunately for my son, this has changed the way many of the people who know and love him feel about him. They would have never expected the kind of behavior and game playing that occurred. Lucky for him that I still care about this system and the people who get trapped in it because one day, it may be him who the judge is belittling about his own child. What would my son do if one day, one of his children decided to go live at the mother’s house or even my house since I will then be the Grandmother? What would he do if the judge said, “I’m sorry sir, but this is what you get because of the things in your past that you cannot change.” I would not wish that on him, of course. I would not wish this on anyone. I just hope that he had enough love from me in the first 17 years that some will have stuck with him when his front brain is fully developed at age 26. You did know that our brains are not fully developed until age 26, right? This is why teens and young adults seem so dumb sometimes. The area of logic and reason is not complete.
My ex is still a jerk. This was a game to him and this time, he controlled the game and my son. I do know that had my son and I been allowed to talk during the first week or two of our conflict, we would have patched things up. That was why it was not allowed. I do wish the judge would have thought about what good fathers do when their child has a disagreement with their mother. Good fathers I know would not have seen this as an opportunity to screw over the mom. They would have told their son to stop being disrespectful, go clean up your room and apologize to your mother. Why? Because they are trying to raise good men.
It would have been nice for a judge to say, “Get back home and clean up your room. We all have things we have to do that we don’t want to do.” Instead, the judge send a message to my son, I can’t tell you what to do or enforce laws. Laws are very unimportant. So that is a message given to a teen by a family court judge. I certainly hope that judge doesn’t have any children.
So, the reality is that this was a bizarre outcome to a dispute between a mom and a kid about the kid cleaning their filthy room. In essence, I was punished because I wanted my son to act responsibly. hmmmm. Also real, is the fact that at some point, my son and his dad will butt heads. Have you ever stood up to an abuser? It doesn’t go very well and last time my son did it, he was thrown across the room, injuring is shoulder. He seems to have forgotten that or blocked it out. Hopefully, he will be safe. Hopefully he knows that he has places he can go.
I was well prepared for my custody trial in 2006. I had all my ducks in a row. I had the best lawyer available, we presented a lot of evidence. This time, I was not prepared to even have the court hear the matter. My attorney and I acted in haste and the clinic kept information from me so that I could not use it in court. I didn’t have what I needed when it mattered. The good news is that I will be able to help you prepare for your day in court. Hopefully, you can achieve the outcome that I did in 2006.
This song came to mind when I realized that I was not prepared for this situation. I have posted it before, but it is a great song to post again. Enjoy:
About lifesdoorsmediationI am a mediator, Life and Divorce Coach and an Instructor of a High Conflict Divorce Program.
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