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Rant Over My Shit Luck With Southern Courts


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I just got back from the deep south (Alabama) where I had to attend a court hearing to try to get more visitation with my children. I have a son and a daughter who are seven and four respectively.

 

My current visitation schedule is for three weeks in the summer , two consecutive and one separate. Since I am now living across the country from them, I really can't afford to bring them out here twice for the summer. I tried to get my ex-wife to let me have them for three weeks consecutively and she said no.

 

I took her to court to get my visitation schedule modified. I had an emergency hearing in July to try to get my three consecutive weeks, but since it was so late in the summer and my bringing them back after three weeks would only give them a couple of days time to get ready for school, the judge offered a compromise of two and a half weeks. I couldn't do that because I already had the plane tickets and changing them so late would cost a fortune. I also couldn't take the days off work to bring them back in the middle of a week. Due to the result of a conservative southern judge's opinion, I lost time with my kids.

 

There was some hope though. He told my ex's attorney that we should try to work things out before bringing it back to court. He said that if it came back, I WOULD get more time.

 

So this past November 30th was the date for the hearing. I had sent my ex an email telling her exactly what I wanted and would accept as a compromise. She had replied in one word. "NO." So I was feeling pretty confident because of what I had heard at the emergency hearing. However, I had nagging doubts because of this taking place in Alabama. The mother ALWAYS wins in small town Alabama. But I had it from the judge's mouth last time that I'd get more time. It couldn't get much worse.

 

I sat across the table from my smug and smarmy ex-wife and gave my testimony and request to the judge. My attorney had advised me to ask for the whole summer since if I asked for less, I'd get less than what I wanted. So I did. My ex gave her testimony (lots of lies mixed with half-truths). She even had the gall to bring my seven year old to court to try to have him testify against me. The judge refused to hear his testimony ( he's seven and of course would parrot what he'd been told to say by his mother) and had us leave. He then gave his order to the attornies.

 

When my attorney came out and told me, I could have just puked right there. The judge did not even give me my current three weeks consecutively. He did give me every Spring Break where the current schedule allowed for alternating with my ex. My ex and I had previously agreed that she would have every Christmas and I would have Thanksgiving, but now I get every other Thanksgiving and every other Christmas. I get one week every year at Christmas, which is again more time, but I can't really afford to bring them out twice during the holidays on the years I get them for Thanksgiving.

 

The judge's reasoning behind not giving me the time I requested? The fact that my daughter is four years old. He said that the case could and should be revisited when the children are older. BULLSHIT. Number one, My daughter will be five before the next summer visitation and even legally able to fly alone (though I would never let her fly alone at that age, nor even my seven year old son). Two, she is the one of the two children that never even has a problem while out here. She never says she wants to go home. She never even asks to call home. She's been disappointed that she has to go home every time.

 

I heard from my attorney that the judge had been voted out of office in the interim between the last hearing and this one. This may have affected his decision. Maybe he just didn't give a shit and went with the path of least resistance (me being out of state and not likely to raise much of a stink).

 

It just infuriates me that my ex (uber-xian) now of course thinks that Jesus has won another battle for her. She doesn't realize what she's getting into. She isn't deterring me. She is making me more resolute to fight her with every step. I know she's banking on the fact that I can't afford to take the extra vacation time with them over the holidays and I can't take the third week in the summer because of work. I have become more determined now to do everything possible to take every single minute of visitation I have been given with them despite the cost to me. I'm also going to go back to court every year if it takes it to get more time with them. I can always find a way to get out of debt. I will never find a way to reclaim lost time with my children during their childhoods.

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Good on you for not giving up, ABAP! You're a very good father for wanting to fight for them like this. I hope your kids appreciate that.

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There are things worth going into terrible debt for. Time with your kids is one of them.

 

Keep fighting. Don't let your fundy ex win, or the backasswards small-town Alabama judges. They're *your* kids too.

 

Hang in there, good on ya for fighting, keep it up - add my voice to your support. I'm rooting for you. :woohoo: <---- used this one cuz there isn't really a cheerleader smiley

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