I woke up at 2:00 am and left for the hearing in Oklahoma City. I live in Arlington, Texas so that will be a 4 hour drive, hopefully less. The drive went smooth and it gave me a chance to think more on the timeline I put together last night (see the last blog).
By the time I reached Oklahoma City, it was 5:00 am. Not much traffic at this time and feeling hungry, I stopped off at Denny’s on I-240, grabbed my laptop and found a booth with an outlet close by as my laptop’s battery will last around 30 second unplugged.
My list has been modified so that every point we make will have a supportive document. No time for hearsay arguments. the short list looked something like this: Deceit, Greed, Inability to Parent Effectively, and Custodial Interference. Under each heading was my list of documents to be used as evidence. We will present these to opposing counsel before court begins. He will probably argue thee needed to be submitted back on July 8, but most of this his client has anyway and even if denied, it will come up in the course of discussion. Anyway, I just hired counsel so that will be a moot point. The main items to be used as evidence were already hand delivered back on July 1 at the hearing on the Writ o Habeas Corpus. Maybe this time the court will look at them.
As usual, in my haste, I left documents behind on my home PC. Remembering I tend to do that, I had the foresight to install TeamViewer which gave me remote access. Software for the chronically absent minded.
I sent an e-mail to Mr. Tillotson that I really had made it and went to his office at 8:00 am. The hearing was at at 9:00 am. We hadn’t met yet except for our e-mail and occasional telephone conversations so I hope I have what we need.
After going over what I had, luckily it looked as if everything was in place. The “that was then, this is now” approach looks like that will be the way to go.
When the hearing began, the discussion centered around the issue of appointing a Guardian Ad Litem. at my insistence, Mr. Tillotson had filed our own motion on this 2 weeks ago. Her attorney argued that decided against it because of the cost. As I felt that an appointed guardian would be in our favor, and would clearly give the message I had nothing to hide, we held on to our request. The next discussion was around my previously filed Motion to Change Custody with respect to my daughter. This then, expectedly, prompted her attorney to say there was nothing filed as to that motion and that it shouldn’t be heard anyway as he was improperly served. I pointed out that he was served by US mail with certificate of service, and the file stamped copy was shown to him. There is nothing in the rules of the court that say he must be served by certified mail. He simply hadn’t noticed that, under his Motion to Change Custody on the docket mine was there (Motion to Modify).
So much for keeping up with the daily dockets. The judge then stated both Motions would be heard today after my ex-wife and I would meet with a mediator.She also said it was her opinion that in the best interest of the children, there would be no split. Where custody would be granted, there shall both the children go. After we finalized our initial arguments, we stated that because I hadn’t had the opportunity to have equitable time with the children because of my ex-wife’s reluctance to allow contact and due to the temporary order that prevented me from initiating any contact with the children, moving forward on the main issue of preference would be prejudicial. The judge then decided that both the children would be brought back to court for a private conference with her. This was about 11:00 am.
About a half hour later, it was announced the mediator was unavailable. My ex-wife’s attorney offered that she would allow visitation with me if I would be willing to let her keep both children until which time a guardian could complete the evaluation and they would in turn drop the false allegations. I told my attorney to tell them no, in that all the arguments and false accusations have been successfully answered and put to rest, and that he was trying to lay foundation for a later court case to show that the new custodial relationship was successful. We were in a sense, now back to the Writ Argument without their argument. Done.
About 12:30, my children walked into the room outside the court. Immediately, my son came up to me and said, “Dad, I’m ready to go back with you.” My daughter also told me she wanted to come. I looked at my attorney and said, “Go get the judge!” What a turn around! I can’t remember when I cried so hard.
The turning point was the night before. As suspected, there was more going on behind their doors that I wasn’t supposed to know until after the hearing.I told them to tell the judge what they had just told me, not to hold back, and be honest.
An hour later, we were summoned to the court as the judge had finished talking with both my kids. She informed us that both of my children had expressed their preference to live with me. Without the details, of course. We were then allowed to proceed with our arguments. Needless to say, we now had the advantage. When it came to my statement, I decided that it would be unnecessary to present all my data as my ex-wife and I were going to have to talk again. If I presented what I had, if front of the court, I really don’t see us ever being civil to each other again. There are somethings that are better left in the past. So, in the end, all I had to say was, “Your honor, I have more than enough information here that, frankly, I don’t want to bring up. That would not be in anyone’s best interest. I will say though, after looking at our homes and lifestyle before my son came to live with me and now, there is one common variable as to the proximate cause why my ex-wife and I can’t seem to get along and to explain the degree of custodial interference that has transpired since custody was initially granted to me in December. . And he is not here at the bench. You see, one thing I remember at that hearing was the judge commenting on how well my ex-wife and I were able to work through problems with the children. Why that has changed seems quite obvious. And so, your honor, since my ex-wife appears to have made her decision and choice between my children and her friend, I will happily bring them with me should the court agree.”
The judge then asked my ex-wife a question as to what the bible says (my ex-wife has become a bit of a fundamentalist) regarding a parents relationship with their children. After my ex-wife answered the judge suggested she go back and read it again.
The judge then announced that custody of both my children would be with me. Other arrangements were madeis is the case in custody changes. We will be back in December to see how it works.
My son happily came back home with me and I agreed for my daughter to remain behind to visit with her mother until the 16th.
And I’m going to get some needed sleep before I figure out a way to pay back all these payday loans.
I now owe $2,500.00. Anyone who would like to donate anything, I would be eternally grateful.!!!!!
Thank you, Mr. Tillotson.