Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Visitation Review Hearing 6-1-11

So, as always, I was super anxious about the review hearing this morning. I have been lucky that the Judge lets me appear via telephone so I can call on my cell phone from the comfort of my bed. I had my laptop open to the court website. I had a pile of legal paperwork on the bed. I called in about 5 minutes prior to the hearing and got stuck in the automated phone system on hold for over 11 minutes ! I called back, got patched through and then had to wait on Judge. An angel must have been watching out for me !!

My (soon-to-be-ex) husband was in the courtroom. The Judge swore both of us in and then started asking questions. He wanted to know what had happened to our communication and "getting along" since the last review hearing on April 19th. My (soon-to-be-ex) said I was a sham, manipulative, faking, etc... The judge said he didn't want his opinions ! LOL  I told the Judge that we had tried to get together and work for what was best for the twins that weekend but that a few days after the hearing - it fell apart. I told the Judge that I wanted specific dates set for visitation so there was no argument as to what/when/where/how. The judge agreed with me.

He let my (soon-to-be-ex) husband speak first. When he started talking bad about me, the Judge cut him off. Judge said he didn't want opinion or an editorial - just the facts - and to stick to the visitation/twins. Judge asked him the question again - and then asked me for my input. It actually seemed like I was going to have my side of the issues heard - I was so happy. The Judge got tired of his blah, blah, blah real quick. So he said "What do you want Sir ?" My (soon-to-be-ex) husband said "2 weeks on - 2 weeks off.". The Judge said NO without me even having to say a word. He said that might be something to discuss in the future but that the twins were not old enough to do that. So then he asked for 1 week ! Judge asked me if I was okay with that and I said, "NO, I don't think the twins could handle a week away." Before the Judge could respond, my (s-t-b-e) husband piped up with "...or you couldn't handle it?" In such a sarcastic tone I could hardly believe it. He was making the judge see what I had to deal with all the time !!! The Judge told him to direct all comments to him and to refrain from talking to me directly. The Judge then asked me what I wanted. I told him I would agree to one overnight and that I wanted everything to be super specific. I wanted the visitation orders to say 9AM Sunday until 4PM Sunday (or whatever day we agreed upon). Their father said he had specific dates because he wasn't able to do every other weekend. He offered every 3 weeks for 6 days/nights and....

Sammy is having a hard time switching from bottle to sippy. LOL
Jason can't believe he will be without his Mama !
The Judge end up granting 2 nights (48 hours total) to their father on a monthly basis. He gets two visits in June but only one visit in July, August and Spetember. It will be hard for me to have the boys gone for two nights but... I think it will be harder for them. Plus they will probably give their father HELL !! LOL I know I shouldn't laugh but this is what he asked for. The Judge said I am allowed to call his cell phone twice a day while he has the children so they can hear my voice and I can check on them. He told my (s-t-b-e) husband that he had to answer, talk to me and be civil. The Judge actually said "You will answer the phone civilly and you can't say 'What do you want ? Shut up ! Don't call my phone !' Understand ?" I really think his sarcasm was heard loud and clear today by the Judge. 

I felt really vindicated. I felt that every time my (s-t-b-e) husband had anything to say that I was able to counteract it with some truth. His attitude didn't help him either. I wasn't physically in the courtroom but I can imagine the looks coming off the Judge's face ! He said there would be an evidentiary trial set and that the final trial would be in mid-to-late September. Part of this was after I mentioned child support. I had been told by the mediator that I could not ask for child support until everything was finalized but the Judge told me to enter the Motion. He did not like the way that my (s-t-b-e) husband was avoiding his questions about income. 

Don't get stuck !

The only sticky part to the whole thing : I have to pick the boys up in Phoenix. 

Their father will travel up to Flagstaff to pick up the boys here. We are to meet at the Amtrak station in Flag at 12 noon on the pickup day. Their father tried to get the Judge to order me to pick up the boys in Phoenix on my own money knowing I could not afford it and maybe he would get to keep the boys longer. The Judge said he would not order something that he knew I could not do - so my (s-t-b-e) husband could enter a motion and try to hold me on contempt. (Do you see how the Judge is figuring out how my (s-t-b-e) works ?) The Judge asked me about income and I told him that we were living off of government welfare benefits. That I was struggling to make ends meet each month. I also told him that not only was their father working, but that his parents had money and supported him financially. So the S-T-B-E (is that what I should call him ?) piped up that I should get a job !!!!!!!! I almost laughed out loud ! The Judge said that he could postpone proceedings until I had a job, figured out daycare and got my first check... S-T-B-E said "Fine". The Judge then ordered him to pay 80% of all travel costs. So it stinks - but he will be footing most of the bill.

I will have to travel down the mountain to pick up the boys in Phoenix.

Side Note: The Judge asked why he didn't have a job when S-T-B-E said he didn't have any money either... and he said he was going to school ! I don't really believe that since I heard from close family friends that he finished and took his licensing tests (and failed some). His school is online and at your own pace. He does have to clock some in-person hours but only 2 or 3 days a week. His mother told me he was earning money and was able to finally pay his own rent in April. Can you believe it ? I have been supporting the boys officially since 7-29-10 and he wasn't working before I left him so I have been doing it for much longer than that !

I am reading back over what I wrote and I sorta feel bad... This blog post seems like it is really bashing my S-T-B-E but I am really not embellishing. It was nice to be so dis-connected from him today. I didn't feel hurt when he said horrible things about me. I know those things aren't true ! I bust my butt to take care of my kids. They are smart and happy. They read books, do baby sign language, and are loving ! That is one of the most important things - for them to be loving. That means I am doing it RIGHT !

See how he loves Elmo ?