Pretty simple actually…this post is about the lessons I’ve learned from going back to court with my ex over a vacation.
1. Don’t go to court. My kids were going on that vacation no matter what, so my family and I decided that we would fight it because it was a poor decision on my ex-husbands behalf. I knew I wouldn’t win, but I wanted to set a precedent that if he would make bad decisions, I would fight them to protect my children. This was a [relatively speaking] inexpensive lesson that I never need to revisit. Letting a complete stranger make a decision for your family however, not worth it.
2. Judges are humans who don’t know you from Adam. They don’t know your story. They don’t know what poor decisions your ex will make, or that he doesn’t parent well, or that he doesn’t have positive role models in parenting. They will say “50-50 custody order- he can take them on vacation.”
3. Learn to get along. It took 3 years but we have finally figured out how to get along. We don’t see eye to eye- but my ex and I know how to come to the same decision. It takes compromise and manipulation. For example, it is very important to me that my children continue at the private school they go to… he doesn’t want to pay for it. We have compromised over money to keep us both happy. I don’t need his money- it’s my children’s right to receive support as I’ve mentioned before. I cannot rely on support because my ex will do anything to keep it from us. Currently he’s completely hiding his income because I have a wage withholding order and when he gets paid, I receive support. If he was getting paid, I’d be receiving support. (I’m not- yet he has money to make private payments to the state to us). That is a whole other story that deserves exposure of his despicable Mormon-run company…for another post. Just trust me on this. He hides money from us, puts his girlfriend and car payments before his children… but we still have to get along. The alternative is a complete stranger making a decision for your family.
4. When you have children with someone, you never have complete control over their lives. We never have complete control, but I mean more like, where they are, where they live, where they stay etc. There are two parents; in the eyes of the law, both have equal rights. A father can require you send your small children on a plane to Minnesota if that’s where he moved for work. You can fight him in court, but the judge will probably say the kids can go- and that’s on you if you let a stranger decide. For example, my new(er) attorney laid it out very clear to me that there are 4 judges in Cecil County and some of them sent their kids to private school and some did not… so if I left that decision up to one of them, who knows what they would decide.
This was definitely a moment of change for me. My kids were allowed to go to Hawaii despite my telling the judge that Dad has a drinking problem and doesn’t always require seat belts and life jackets. She ordered he use them but there wasn’t someone in Hawaii to monitor that! I had to let it go and I decided to spend this difficult time in Boston with my best friend of 20 years. She made sure we were happy and relaxed, and I survived. Without control. It was good for me. All of the lessons were good for me and will change the way I go about things in the future.
Here’s me with my God-daughter when I arrived in Boston. Blessed.