Let's start with the good news. I'm doing a victory dance here - a Jig of Joy, maybe even a little Hula of Happiness! I went to court yesterday, and it really went about as well as could be expected! The judge saw right through all the lies, and excuses. She did not believe for one second that my X is a victim in any way.
She told my X that he doesn't get to disappear from the children's life for two years, and then just expect to walk back into it without any sort of gradual reintroduction. She agrees with my insistence that he needs a mental health evaluation by a clinical therapist with a PhD and experience in Domestic Violence treatment. She mandated that he have therapy, parenting classes, and a batterers treatment program BEFORE he even gets to the point where he can have monitored visitation. She expressed concern that he doesn't seem to understand that what he did was wrong, that he commited domestic violence, and that he has damaged my children. She seemed to understand that as of yesterday he still wasn't accepting any responsibility for his actions, and until he got some help he wasn't going to get access to my children.
The X asked for the following things:
* Residential visitation in his home - DENIED
* Visitation, In his mothers home. Monitored by his Mother - DENIED
* No post conviction requirements, such as therapy or parenting classes - DENIED
* The right to have our phone numbers, address, emails and other contact information - DENIED
* The right to claim the kids as deductions on his taxes (even though he has yet to pay a penny in child support for two years!) - DENIED
* Removal of the Order of Protection on the children - DENIED
*Shared decision making for the children - DENIED
What he did get is the following:
* The ability to start writing his children letters - sent to their therapist for her review, and potential editing before they read them.
* A reduction in child support. She reduced the payment by 14.00 per month. He's paying a pittance as it is - only 100.00 more per month than Ethel's brother pays for his single child, and we have four children! For a man so desperate to see his kids he's sure doing everything within his power to avoid supporting them.
* The judge is making me pay 1/2 of the fee for the Guardian ad Lidem and for 1/2 of his monitored visitation! Why the hell I have to pay half of the fee for HIS visitation and monitoring...when he's the dangerous one who screwed up and went to jail is beyond me!
So that's the long and the short of it. For the most part I got everything I wanted. The kids are safe, the re-introduction will be slow and gradual, and monitored in a professional facility by trained personnel. He will have to pass a Psych evaluation and take some much needed classes. And most importantly, a Guardian ad Lidem is appointed to help investigate and determine what is in the best interest of my kids.
It REALLY sucks that I have to come up with money to pay for half of the GAL and monitoring... especially when I didn't do anything wrong, but if it keeps the kids safe then I don't care if I have to do bikini car washes, scrub toilets, or scoop dog crap in the park to make the 3,000.00 bucks to pay for it. I'll figure it out.
BLT and I decided to scale way back on the wedding plans and use that money instead to help pay for the GAL. It means no fancy triple cheesecakes (we will likely do a simple home made cake), no full plated dinner (appetizers and cocktails instead) and sorry family, but no open bar! I'm going to wait until Easter time and hopefully get the 3 little girls discounted Easter Dresses instead of fancy flower girl dresses. I am considering taking back my wedding dress too... it's a silly expense, and I don't need to spend money on a dress. I'll make my invites, and we won't have a photographer. I'll ask our guests to bring their digital cameras and just email us all the photos they take.
We've also decided that a honeymoon isn't an option. Maybe later in the year we can get away for a day or two once the kids are out of school for the summer. I was thinking that we could keep an eye out for some kind of airline / hotel deal someplace close by for just a weekend, or even drive out of town and find a lovely little bed and breakfast to snuggle into for a few days. Either way... we're patient!
Speaking of money - when it rains it pours it seems. Yesterday when I woke up we found that someone smashed out the window in my car and stole a purse I didn't realize got left inside. Add to that, the dentist just called me. They apparently mis-quoted and billed me incorrectly and I owe them an additional 383.00 for some dental work I had done last week.
LOL...could anyone else possibly need money from me right now? Likely... but they'll just have to stand in line and wait their turn! I remember a saying I once heard someone say about money. "Spend it on what brings you joy, because you can't take it with you when you die!" Nothing gives me more joy and peace than knowing my kids are safe.
BLT and I will still get our happily ever after - it will just be on a smaller scale. This will leave us some money to put towards making sure we get the best GAL possible and make sure the kids are taken care of. I have faith that it will all work out in the end. I mean honestly... we've made it this far. The rest of this should be smooth sailing!