1st week down

Today is the end of the 1st week since my son moved in full time. Honestly it’s felt much longer than a week. He was suppose to start school on Monday but due to some bad snow and ice in our area he didn’t start until Wednesday. So far all of the kids have been very welcoming and kind. He really is liking this change. He is being more challenged here at this school than the last two he was in. He also thinks it’s pretty cool that they use laptops all day.

Our routine is starting to form. Not only is it a change for him it is for me, my husband and our youngest son.  But we all seem to be settling in quite nicely.

He’s starting to hug me and tell me he loves me without me having to be the initiator. This transition has really been a lot smoother than I anticipated. But it is just the beginning.

~ A

The big day is almost here!

Finally after a looooong month Monday my son will be officially living in my home full time! I finally got to see him last weekend and had such a awesome conversation. He is really excited to move. He’s sad to be leaving some of his friends but knows he will make new ones quick. We talked about his classes and what some of his concerns are. We also looked into some wrestling programs in the area and he is eager to join one so next week he is attending practice at both to see which one he should join.

This is such a change in attitude! My son wouldn’t talk to me for weeks after the verdict and now he’s asking to move sooner than planned. I do feel bad for him though, this is is last week in NJ with his Dad took the new girlfriend to Florida for the week instead of spending the last week with our son. My son is really upset by that. Also when I dropped him to his Dad last Sunday after our visit I gave his Dad the school calendar to which he crumpled up and threw out the car window.

We are still taking it one day at a time. Just because today is a good day doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. We (my son and I) are both committed to working on our relationship which just makes me so happy!

I am eager to have my baby boy back! ‚̧

One step closer…

All registered for school! Starts in 2 weeks. Can’t wait to have my boy here with us full time. He finally talked to me on the phone the other day while he was at his Dad’s. (1st time in over 2 weeks) Small victories mean one step closer to repairing our broken relationship.

I finally get to see him next Friday for the 1st time since the decision was made. Very nervous but also excited. Taking it one day at a time ūüôā

 

Part 3 – The decision

Our son was interviewed for the 2nd time 3 days before Christmas. This time the wait before he saw the Judge was different. He wasn’t angry with me like last time. He came ran over to me hugged me, played a game on my phone with me and was ignoring his Dad a little bit. He was finally called back and was back in less than 10 minutes.

Three weeks later I received a phone call from my lawyers office saying the Judge made her decision and was putting it on the record the next day. Since this was last minute I was unable to take off from work so my lawyer went on my behalf. My lawyer said the hearing was at 3:45pm and he would call me as soon as he left.

The night before I was restless. I felt like I was going to be sick. I was preparing myself for the worst, my son remain where he was. My husband and I were convinced the order was going to remain the same. We knew now at least mt ex knows the court is watching what he was doing and that I would have a better order to protect my rights and my sons rights to a relationship with me.

It’s now 4:30pm, the day of the verdict. My cell phone rings at work. I recognize the number as my lawyers office. I feel sick to my stomach. I answer. It’s my lawyers secretary she explains my lawyer was late for a appointment but he wanted her to at least call me to update me on what happened. My heart is pounding. I walk outside so I don’t make a scene in my office. Then she says; Congratulations; we won.

I never understood how some people you see on TV react in such an extreme way to situations. I always criticized about how they would yell and carry on. I now understood.¬†All the emotion of the past year and a half left my body¬†at that moment. I screamed. I cried. I was elated. One of my employees saw me and came running to me to console me thinking something horrible happened. I could’t believe it. The secretary advised me not to reach out to my son that night, his Dad did not take the verdict well.

The next day I finally talked to my lawyer about what happened the day before in court. My ex was supposed to call into the court at 3:45pm but didn’t. The Judge had to call him. She then went back to the beginning and presented the evidence she found to impact her decision. She found it disturbing how my ex felt I should not be an important part of our sons life. How he continues to disregard the custody order. And how she feels he does not make his decisions based on what is in the best interest of our son. She then said with all the obstacles I faced during the past year and a half that she was impressed that I always found a way to see my sons grades, work with his teachers to help him improve his grades, and how I never gave up trying to see him or talk to him no matter how hard my ex made it. She then made her ruling. She grated my motion of changing primary custody and relocation to PA. His Dad would have visitations every other weekend, during the summer it would be a week on week off and for holiday’s we need to follow the court’s schedule unless the change is agreed upon in writing.¬†The Judge asked my ex if he understood her ruling, he replied, “Yes but it’s bullshit.” And hung up on the Judge.

I tried reaching my son later in the week. he wouldn’t answer his phone. I texted his Dad and asked him to have our son call me, he said no. I let it go for the weekend to let them cool off. I started to receive nasty text messages from my sons phone. Things my ex would say to me almost verbatim. He still wouldn’t answer his phone and my ex still refused to let me talk to him.

I then tried to get the information I needed to begin transferring my son out to PA. My ex ignored my requests. After 4 days my lawyer sent him a letter saying he either needs to cooperate or we would file for contempt. He finally sent the information I needed.

This past weekend I was suppose to see my son ¬†for the first time since the verdict (we are continuing the old schedule until the transfer, mid Feb). Winter storm Jonas hit and dumped 30 inches of snow here. Before the storm happened I told my ex it would be safer if our son stayed there for the weekend, I didn’t want any of us driving in this.

At this point I still have not talked to my son in 2 weeks. He ended up staying the weekend over a friends house. He called my step son while they played a Xbox One game online together. He was talking to me like he always had. He told me he loves me and missed me. The opposite of how he was acting before. I didn’t press for him to discuss what was going on or the big changes coming. Just being able to tell him I love him and ¬†hearing him say I love you too was all we needed right now.

After talking with him I knew I needed to do more for him. I needed to educate myself about how to handle his transition to PA. I started with Google. I kept getting information pop up about Parental Alienation. I have heard of it before but didn’t know a lot about it. I started to read all the information I could about it. It was like someone was telling my story. I could relate to it all.

I found two books to purchase, “How to co-parent with a toxic ex” and “Alienated”. I wanted to reinforce the high conflict parenting class I took last year and feel the info in¬†“How to co-parent with a toxic ex” will help me expand on what I already learned. I need to learn how to cope with the ways he tries to destroys my relationship with my son. I need to find ways to repair it. “Alienated” is a book written by someone who suffered from Parental Alienation. I found this book to be important for me to understand how my son may be feeling. I want to know ways I can relate to him and be emphatic to the situation. I want him to heal not hurt any longer. I want him to have a healthy relationship with me and his Dad.

So why did I start this blog. 2 reasons; 1 Р I needed an outlet to vent about my situation. Writing has always been therapeutic. 2 Рafter doing some research about Parental Alienation I saw most information was about how the Mother alienates the Father from their children. I want others to see that is not always the case. It can happen to either parent.

Well only a few short weeks until my son is in PA with us full time. We are preparing our home and our minds to help him in every way we can. I will continue to update our progress as we start this new chapter.

 

Part 2 -The Trial

It’s now April, the Judge decided he wanted to interview our son. After another Judge change and several postponements made by the court and he was finally interviewed August 19th. Which also happens to be my birthday.

We finished out the rest of the summer waiting to hear back from the court for our next hearing. My son started his 8th grade year in September. I tried to call him to see how his first day went but his phone went straight to voicemail. I text his Dad asking to have him call me I wanted to hear how his first day back went. My ex texts me back saying he didn’t start school until the following day. I was very confused because I had the school calendar printed out in front of me saying otherwise. I questioned him. He answers saying he moved our son AGAIN! He got back with the girl he broke up with that past winter, moved back into her house and changed our sons school again. If you’re keeping track that’s 3 moves and 3 school changes in less than a year. It took ever fiber in my being not to blow a gasket. I let it go, I didn’t respond.

Mid September we finally received another court date. We go back in and the Judge reviews the interview she had with our son. She explained how he was happy living at his Grandmother’s house and liked the kids and school there. He also said he like my house too but rather go to school where his Grandmother lives. He also told the Judge how much he hated the school he went to before and his Dad’s girlfriend. He said the kids were mean to him and he never really felt like where he was living was his home. He didn’t feel like he belongs. I could tell the judge was going to keep our custody order as it is until she asked my lawyer if there was any reason to move forward (to trial). My lawyer informed the Judge that my ex moved our son back into the home he said he hates and back to the school with the mean kids. The look on the Judges face was PRICELESS. Needless to say the Judge granted our request for trial.

November 30th, trial day. I don’t think I slept at all that weekend leading up to our trial. We (me and my husband) got there a little early and met with my lawyer just to review our initial certification and all the things that have happened after. After what felt like hours we finally go in front of the Judge.

Since I had a lawyer and my ex did not the Judge had us present our case first. My lawyer asked me about what has happened in the past year and half since my initial filing. I told the Judge about all the missed weekends my ex wouldn’t show up for me to see our son. How I wasn’t included on any of the school forms either time he changed our sons school. How he bad mouthed me to our son. Everything. I had text messages to prove my accusations and emails from teacher about our sons slipping grades.

My ex didn’t realize we were going to a for real trial. I don’t know what he thought but he was completely unprepared. His attitude was as if this was all a waste of his time and there was no need for us to be there. It’s now his turn to question me. Almost every thing he tried to ask my lawyer objected. On record he told the court that when I use to live in NJ he use to follow me during my time with our son to see what we did. I had no idea that he did that. I was pretty upset and felt violated that I quickly snapped at him say “So your saying you use to stalk me!” After that he just gave up trying to think of things to ask me in his defense.

My lawyer then called my husband to testify. He asked him about his relationship with my son and what he thought about him living full time with us. He asked my husband about a comment he made to my son. My son told the judge my husband threatened to hit him. A few months before my son was interviewed he was over for a weekend. He was being nasty, disrespectful, talking back and just defiant. My husband said to him, you’re lucky your Mom lets you get away with talking to her like that if I acting like that toward my Mom I’d get my butt beat.

My ex then got to question him. He asked him if he ever threatened to hit our son. My husband again said no and stated what happened. My ex then asked him about a joke he told our son to try to make him look like a bad guy. My husband said an adult oriented joke in front of my son once. Apologized right away and even texted my ex apologizing about it. It happens we are far from perfect but we can admit when we are in the wrong. After trying to show the judge a partial screen shot of the text messages my husband sent my ex explaining what happened the Judge stopped the questioning because none of it was really relevant.

My ex now got to testify on his own behalf. He basically agreed with what I testified about how our relationship began up, after I moved to PA, until he left his wife. He was telling the court about the time he filed for full custody when our son was 5. The court had us complete a custody neutral assessment. In the finding the court appointed psychologist suggested our son live with me full time and to see his Dad every other week (less than our current order at the time). He then dropped his petition with the court and left our order as it was before he filed. He told the court I won that battle but later when I decided to take a job in PA and move that he was finally starting to win the war. I found that wording odd, like this was a game of winning and losing. To me no matter the out come of all of this we all loose.

My lawyer now questioned my ex. Asked him if he thinks its important for our son to see me. He said no. He gives him the choice. If our son says he doesn’t want to he doesn’t take him to meet me like the court order states. My lawyer asked if he thinks its important for me to be on school lists, doctors forms, and involved in deciding what activities our son is involved in, again he answered no. That was the end of the trial.

The Judge decided right then she wanted to interview our son for a 2nd time since there was yet another change in circumstance. We quickly hashed out a Christmas schedule to put on record for both of us to follow. We were dismissed.

My husband and I are out in the lobby talking with my lawyer about today’s events when my ex came up to us saying he can’t meet at our court ordered time any longer that this week his work schedule was changing. He went back into the court and had the bailiff summons the Judge back into the courtroom. She told him our meet time was already set in the order and that he needs to abide by it. He told the Judge that he can’t and no one else can met me for him at that time so if I wanted to see my son I would have to pick him up in NJ, (a 6 hour round trip). The Judge said no unless I agreed to the change, I said no but was willing to push our meet time out an hour and a half instead. The Judge agreed and put it on record.

Now we wait for a new interview date.

 

Part 1 – Filing for custody

After talking with my husband and a counselor about the situation I thought it was in my son’s best interest to file for change of custody and relocation. I retained a lawyer. The chances of the courts to change custody were very slim, my lawyer advised. Even with the little chances I knew I had to do this.

The first hearing wasn’t set until the end of September. After my son’s father got the notice he with held my son from me until we went to court. That was the longest 33 days ever. That was also when the alienation began.

At September’s hearing the judge put a temporary order in place outlining our visitation schedule to include meeting place and time. The venue was also changed to a different county since he moved after I filed.

While waiting for the case to transfer and a new hearing date my ex refused to meet me several times for my weekends with our son. Each time was documented at the local police station. When trying to get the school log in info to follow our sons grades I learned I was not on any of the enrollment information.

November we received our first hearing in the new county. The Judge found there was a change in circumstance and allowed the case to move forward. Another hearing was set in the new year. He also issued a amendment to our temporary order to allow me access to our sons grades and to be listed as an emergency contact.

After several postponements and a change in Judges we finally had our next hearing in April. Before the hearing my ex left his new girlfriend, pulled our son out of school for a week, then finally registered him in the school district his mother lives in. Again not including me on any of the school registration paperwork. Several weekends, again, he refused to meet for my scheduled visitation time.

The text messages from him were becoming unbearable. I was quickly getting to my breaking point.¬†I started to see the counselor regularly to learn how to cope with everything that was going on. I also took a 40 hour online “How to deal with conflict” parenting class. This was a huge help for me. I learned not to react to anything my ex did or to respond to any of his nasty text messages.