Thursday, September 30, 2010

Round one......

I was extremely lonely through the week. I looked forward to Wednesdays and the weekends. When I didn't have the boys for that weekend, I would leave work on Friday, hop on the bus from work to the downtown depot and take the train into the city. Then, once I was in the city, I would walk 6 blocks to the Randolph station and take that train to University Park where Brian would be waiting for me. Then we would spend the weekend together. Sometimes, we would spend Sunday in Chicago, that way all I would have to do is catch the train from Union Station to go home. This became a regular routine for us. A routine that I was enjoying and looking forward too. I did this every other weekend from the time I moved in my apartment until I moved out.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was already without a job. I was also about to loose my apartment if I couldn’t pay the rent, and I was about to loose my attorney. Since the Verizon job was only temporary, I was let go. I struggled to find another job. It was becoming more and more difficult to use the bus as a means of transportation to look for jobs. It would pretty much take me all day just swapping buses to get to my destination. I would walk to most of the local places. The store, bank, McDonald's, and even the movie theater. I was becoming quit the independent gal. It was a whole new world for me. After all, this is what I wanted, right? Yes, but with the kids.
During that first hearing, my attorney set up a date and time that let me go back to my old house and write down all things that I wanted from there. Things that were very important to me. Memories that I had made throughout the 7 years of blissful marriage. NOT! Just all the important things like, books my mom gave the boys. The outfits they came home in. Pictures and my baby books. And things that I had received as a child from grandparents, and my dad.
Well, when the day arrived, it was so cold, wet and rainy that I didn't go. It was also dark, and I didn’t want to walk there in the dark. Needless to say, I never did get those important things back. All of it, gone. It still bothers me to this day that I never got back those baby books. I had every milestone written down in those books. First word, first haircut, first smile. All the milestones of a baby's life. Of my babies lives.

During Thanksgiving of 2000, my parents came to visit me. They were also bringing me their van to borrow until I was able to get my own car. I was scheduled to have the boys that year for the holiday. But once again, T didn't “understand” how to follow the order. My parents came in on a Wednesday, and I was scheduled to have the boys for Wednesday night starting at 6 and through the entire holiday weekend. Well, since he didn't exactly know or “understand” what I was entitled too, he decided to interpret it the way he wanted. Therefore my Thanksgiving went like this:
Wednesday November 22 – T dropped off boys at 6pm. Picked them up at 8pm (should havestayed the night)
Thursday November 23 – Thanksgiving Day – he dropped them off at 8am and picked them up at 8pm
*Friday (day) wasn't on “his” schedule, so he dropped them off at 6pm that night. They stayed the night with me Friday night and he picked them up at noon on Saturday.
(how do I remember all of this? I kept a journal. Remember?)

When I was able to finally talk to my attorney about what had happened, and asked her if what he did was wrong, she said absolutely he was wrong. The boys should 've stayed with me for the entire Thanksgiving weekend starting with Wednesday night and actually ending on Sunday at 6pm, my normal visitation schedule. She went on to say “when the parent who has the kids for the holiday, they have them for the entire weekend of that holiday, regardless of who's regular visitation weekend it falls on.” She also wanted to point out that, the order does state “not limited too” just those hours that is on the order. Which means, that I am “not limited” too just the 6pm drop off time on Wednesday and the pick up time on Sunday at 6pm. The phrase “not limited too” would be a phrase that I would use for the next 6 years when explaining to T that I am not just limited too the times on the order.
My attorney said that she would make sure that his attorney would know what happened, and to please make sure that he is told how to follow an order. But, that conversation, as far as I am concerned N E V E R took place. If it had, I wouldn’t have had to deal with the same crap for the next 7 years.

After my parents left, I pretty much packed up my things and moved in with Brian. I don't know why I didn't stay, look for a job and make things work in Dundee. I don't know, I can't answer that. Maybe, at the time I just needed a new start. A fresh start. I needed to be in a different place. I couldn't bare the thought of me being in the same town as my kids, within walking distance of them and not be able to see them everyday. Not have a relationship with them. It was hard for me. I had been pretty much abandoned by my family. My parents were driving me crazy, and I had other family that thought I was an alcoholic and drug addict..and pretty much believed everything that T told them. Eventually, he turned them against me. It would be years before I would be able to repair what he had done. Even to this day, I still think they believe him and think that I was the worst mother in the world. But more on that “family issue” later.

December 2000 was very hard for me. I can't explain what happened, all I know is that was the first year that I didn't spend Christmas with my kids. Not only did I miss celebrating birthday's in November with 3 of the boys, I was going to miss Christmas too. A holiday that is suppose to be happy, full of Christmas cheer, and family. Basically, what I believed happens was the same crap that happen with Thanksgiving. T always celebrated Christmas on the “Eve of” with his parents. And since Christmas Day didn't fall on “my” schedule day/time/week/ on the order, he didn't let me have them. This would be a repeat of Thanksgiving basically, except I wouldn't get them at all.
This was the month, I believe that left a nasty message on his answering machine using some not-so-nice words. Which would be used in court to show my “character.” Give me a freaking break would ya!

I didn’t let this incident slip by without writing it down in my journal.
Brian and I celebrated Christmas and New Year with his family. It was nice. They made me feel very welcome. I never felt out of place with them. Which I loved. Not to mention, it was a good distraction. But, it was still sad. I missed my boys.

I wrote in my journal that night;

December 2000

Dear Cody, Brandon, Austin and Dalton,
Merry Christmas! I miss you so much. I hope that you had a nice Christmas. I hope that Santa brought you everything that you wished for this year. I know that it has been a hard year for you, but I hope that with the new year, it will bring better times for us.
Always remember, no matter how far away I am, no matter what you hear, I love you always and forever.
Happy New Year....and welcome 2001
Love Mommy

I also sent them a Christmas card, which contently was returned “no such address.” This would also be something that I would get use to seeing over the years. And yes, if your wondering, I still have that card too.

The new year would hopefully be a much better one for me and for my kids. Or so I hoped.
Brian and I were doing well. Things progressed with us quickly. I guess it had to, we now lived together, and I wasn't going anywhere this time. I was on a mission this time too, I was looking for a job. It would take me 6 months before I landed a job. I needed a job really bad. I wasn't able to pay the child support that my attorney volunteers me for with my “temporary” job. So I was in arrears’s with that. I also lost my attorney because I couldn't keep up the payments with her. So I needed a job like yesterday.

I was on a pretty good schedule with visitation by now. We were still on the every other weekend schedule, but since I lived to far away, I decided I would forfeit my Wednesday nights. I would try and call during our separation time, but I would just get the answering machine. I would leave a message and never return my calls. Anyway, I looked forward to my visits with my kids. And they looked forward to them too, so they said. I knew by some of things they would say, and the attitudes I would get, they their dad was putting things in the little heads. This was all part of his sinister plan to sabotage my visits with the kids. Which worked for a little while. Until I finally caught on to it. But after I would take the boys home early on Sundays because one or the other would cry and say they hated me and wanted to go home. Or, “well dad said if I wanted to go home you have to take me.” I didn't want to keep them against there will, but I also didn't want to take them home early and miss my time with them. But, after so many tears, cries and sneaky calls to their dad, and whispers and secrets I started taking them home earlier than my “drop off time.” Again, his plan to sabotage me in court. I should've known. He made it sound like it was my fault. That I just couldn't handle the kids for that long. That I decided to bring them home all the time, was my idea. I didn't catch on to this game.

I made sure that all their needs were met while with us. I bought clothes, shoes toys and books. I wanted them to have a place of their own.
Brian's house was only a 3 bedroom, with one bath. I made one room all for the boys. But most of the time, they just wanted to “camp out” in the family room. I let them do whatever made them comfortable. They enjoyed coming to our house. Well, sometimes they did. As long as they didn't focus on what their dad planted in their heads before they left. It went something like this.. “don't have fun at mom's, make sure you act like you are not having fun.” “If you have fun, it will hurt my feelings and I will think that you want to live with your mom.”
Do I know this for sure? No. But, knowing what I have learned about Parental Alienation, this is how it works. And looking back at those tough times with the boys, its a textbook case. I just didn't know that at that time.
The boys played in the pool all the time. That is what kept them busy. Brian would swim all the time with them. They played ball, went for walks in the woods. Hiked, road bikes. I just didn't understand, at that time, why they didn't want to be there with us?

I finally landed at job at Kankakee Community College. I had the interview in April, the same week that Good Friday fell on. The lady who interviewed me said that they would call on Friday to let me know when I would start. Well, since Friday was a holiday, I never got that call. So first thing Monday, I called her. We played this phone tag game for a while. We also played this, “I haven't got all your paperwork together yet” game too. After about a month of the games, I called this lady up and asked her, “do I have this job or not?” She said “you have the job, I just need to turn your paperwork in to HR.” Well, I said “I’m starting Monday and I will be there at 9am.” The rest is history. I was there for 6 years.
It was good job. I would be working as a Home Visitor, working with teen moms during their pregnancy. Making sure they have signed up with WIC. Teaching them about pregnancy, etc. I would be going through all sorts of training, including training with DCFS. Which I was very happy about. I thought, if I had this training under my belt, T wouldn't get Sole custody of the kids. What judge would do that to me with all this training? “Ahhhh, ya right!!!”

Soon after I started my job, we had another court date. But this time I was going in without my attorney. I decided that I couldn't afford another one so I was going to represent myself. Yep, all the schooling that attorneys go to, the tests they have to take to pass the BAR...yep, they had nothing on me. I didn't need to pass the BAR, this was simple common sense stuff.
I went to the library, I sat in the courtroom in Kankakee to watch and listen. I did research, I started to enjoy all of it. This was easy. I was even able to talk to T's attorney. Which didn't last long, T fired him after he found out he was giving me “inside” information. It wasn't so much inside information, his attorney didn't understand why T was out to nail me to the wall. I wasn't the one who had committed adultery 2x, or accused of rape. His attorney and I talked, and we tried to figure it out. He was a super nice guy, he didn't need to be an attorney. I believe in my heart that he wanted to do the right thing by me and the kids and T wasn't going to have any of it. He wanted me wiped out and I didn't know why.
After he fired his “nice” attorney, he hired a very cocky, hard assed attorney that had a reputation like the devil. He was Italian, stocky guy with and an arrogant attitude. He would chew you up and spit you out like it was nothing. I didn't like him at all. But thought, he's a cutie! No, really I did. Not only did I think that, but I also thought I might be able to use that to my advantage. If I tried to flirt with him in a not so noticeable way........ya forget about it! This guy was smooth! I think that’s what I liked about him though. He chewed gum with an attitude, propped his leg up on the chair with the confidence of
dictator. He walked with a swagger....he was one good looking guy! I grew to hate him very quickly. And I knew he was getting paid to make me look like the bad guy. When I wasn't the bad guy at all.
When I found out that my Uncle (yes the one I stayed with, the one that gave me that contract to sign)
that he was going to testify against me, I was livid. I didn't understand how he could do such a thing.
What had I done so bad that he felt he would benefit from. I have had my suspicions all along about that whole situation. T had been chummy with them after I left. Filling them with lies and telling them all these bad things. I hadn't talked to them since I moved out of their house. We were not exactly on speaking terms. But, anyway, my theory behind his rush to testify against me, is that T's mom paid him a nice amount of money to make her son look good. But, that is just what I think happened. This had never been confirmed. But sure is a coincidence don't ya think?
He had no right do to what he did. Even though T had him served with a supeona, he could've pleaded the 5th and refused to say anything derogatory about me. But he choose not too.
Since I was my own attorney, I was able to question him on the stand. First I asked him, “have yo ever been to my home and observed me with my children?” He said “no.” I then asked him “have you ever been to T's house and observed him with the children?” He said “no.” Then I said “why then are you being asked to testify on behalf of our parenting skills if you have never observed either one of us?”
Pretty good right? That was a good time. I was on a roll!! My uncle didn't have much to say after that. I even questioned him about money that T was suppose to be sending me while we all lived in Florida. He said he was aware that I had some difficulty obtaining money from T....but knew that it was resolved. I asked him if he was aware that T cheated on me 2x and the 2nd time he was being accused of rape? His attorney objected....he said “the plaintiff's adultery isn't in question and should be stricken from the record.” I needed to somehow get that in there. It was. And that made him mad.
I didn't stop there though, I finished my questioning and asked my uncle, “ were you aware that T was court martialedfrom the Marine Corp?” “Objection, your honor, defendant need to stop, plaintiff's military history isn't on trial.” But once again, it was out there.
Dang it, I shoud've been an attorney!!! I pretty much did the same questioning when I was able to cross examine T on the stand. It was good times. Once again, it was out there. If he hadn't told his attorney about his adultery and the rape accusation, then I just opened up a whole can of worms for that boy. But, none of that mattered. NONE!!!

That court date didn't go well at all either. Even though, I did what I practiced, and tried to remember all the episodes of “The Practice” how could I go wrong? Before the court date, I would receive more accusations from stating that I “contumaciously, willfully and knowingly” failed to pay child support (the first round from the attorney that volunteered me with a temp job) and now I was in arrears’s $7000.00 and that jail time was possible because it was considered “contempt of court.”
Okay, those words “jail time” scared me to death and “contempt...” Holy crap!
So I went back to the library and did some research to defend myself. I was able to find some sort of defense with that, since I wasn't working and I didn't know, at that time, to contact the Child Support division about my joblessness. NOT that it would've done any good.
I was able to establish a better visitation schedule with the boys. Being awarded summer visitation, and the times were more clear. FOR HIM to understand. However, they screwed that up too. Which worked in my favor, just one time. When his new attorney gave the “new” orders to his secretary to write up, she conventleywrote that I can pick up the kids at 6am on Friday and drop them off on Sunday at 6pm. Boy, you better believe I took full advantage of that. I went to pick the kids up at school one day, with order in hand, it clearly says my time starts at 6am, therefore it was now on my clock....T of course threw a fit. He showed up at the school with a cop, and the cop told him that if the court order says 6am, then she has them starting at that time. I was able to leave with the boys that day from school. Ha-ha, sucker!!!!
It didn't take long before I receive another notice of motion in mail to correct the times on a previous court order....the times were back from Friday at 6pm to Sunday at 6pm. Grrrrrr.......!!!!
He said we can leave it at 6am if you would like to come pick up the kids and take them to school then...of course that wasn't going to work since I live 1 ½ hrs away, and he knew that.
During that court date, they established new child support for me. It went something like this:

  1. On the charge of contempt, we find the defendant, (which was me) guilty. But the Plaintiff doesn't seek jail time. The defendant will pay back the arrears’s in the amount of $50.00 per pay period. Which will be set up through the courts.

  2. The defendant has been found to be willful and contumacious and without regard to the child support order that was entered September 2000.....bla bla bla..

  3. No jail time is being sought at this time

  4. defendant has secured a full time job with Kankakee Community College, the amount of her net pay....bla bla bla....therefore defendant will pay the sum of $645 per month which will be $322.50 per pay period with the amount of the arrears’s is a total of $347.50 per pay period. This will also be set up through the courts and automatically taken from her check each pay period.
T was also asking that I pay for child care for the twins too.....which was ludicrous, since I was already paying child support. But, wouldn't ya know it, I was ordered to pay ½ of the day care expenses too.
Oh, this just keeps getting better. Remember the car that was repoed? Well I was also ordered to pay ½ of that too. But the court didn't have the “right” to say how much a month I was to pay, but that ½ was my responsibility. I would have to call the credit union where it was financed and get the ½ that I owed and make arrangements with them. I only paid $5.00 a month on that. He couldn't do a dang thing about that. In the end I would end up paying close to $800 per month in child support. I would be working 40 hours a week to bring home $400 a month.
I didn't get any sympathy. I had moved away, and I lived with my boyfriend. Which for some reason the judge didn't like. “Well, at least I didn't rape anyone.”

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