When I first got separated in 2011 I had what I would like to think was foresight into what I hoped my future would hold. My children were so small, just babies. At 21 months apart my son was an infant while my daughter was barely 2. Their father and I had many years ahead of us to co-parent. I had this dreamy idea that we would join forces and raise our children with the concept that our family while not traditional was still a family and we could be more then just angry, bitter ex spouses using our children against one another. I was adamant about going to mediation and not dragging ourselves through the court system with lawyers and scarring our already broken union.
Mediation proved to be easy and relatively smooth. We owned nothing and the only thing I cared about was getting my babies with me full time. He all but jumped at the chance to tell the mediator, she can have the kids. So everything after that was gravy. I wanted nothing from him except child support. Done.
Or so I thought. Fast forward 3 relocations, school aged children,extra-curricular activities, an ex husband who decided he would change the amount of child support at his will, add in a new boyfriend for me and girlfriend for him, homes that are too small, children having social lives with new found friends, child care expenses and the relative normal that comes with growing up and that agreement that held all the new hopes and fantastical dreams of what divorce
could look like is transformed into a bad sitcom with very few laughs.
After begging my ex husband to go back to mediation and address these new things that were not even a thought or concern when my elementary children were just barely walking and still nursing, he refused. He decided that he would make the rules and not abide by the original agreement. I walked on eggshells because I didn’t want to rock the boat and no way I could afford an attorney. It became unbearable. The resentment and anger that I had mounting was becoming explosive with nasty text wars and an enormous amount of stress.
My son, desperately wants his father and I together. He is torn emotionally and mentally. He asks if daddy can please come live with us. He misses one when he is with the other, always missing someone. Its a horrible feeling. Its worse by the prospect that because the agreements made in good faith by a mediator with the hope to heal and move forward seems to have back fired.
I made the choice to take my ex husband to court. In many ways it was like getting divorced all over again. My reams were crushed a second time as I navigated through the roller coaster of emotions of how we could come out of this and actually raise our children together. While the process is still going I can say for certain that although the law is on my side, the reality is that you can only control your self. I can only be the best mom I can be the best mom I can be. I had high expectations because I love my children with every ounce of me. I somehow can rise above a million times over for the hurts past and present that act their way out in interactions with their father. I need to be a woman and a mom of integrity, strength and courage and that’s what going to court is all about. Its about doing whats right and fair for my children. I am pro se , which means I represent myself, I am having a hard time navigating the law, court system and the general way things are run in the court system. I am learning a lot and I am blessed to have a friend who is a lawyer who has been so patient and kind as she answers all my questions and helps me find my way. I realize that now we are here in the court system there are some things that only time, a lot of time, may heal. It seems for me that it actually postponed the process of moving forward in some ways because this could have been done 4 years ago by an attorney that would have hashed out every nitty gritty detail. Instead we are doing it all again now. Maybe this is all usual, typical and normal. Maybe this is what its like being divorced, maybe it doesn’t ever really end until the children become adults and child support and splitting expenses is no longer an issue.
Whatever it is I know that for me I would have chosen court over mediation anyway of the week if I had it to do all over again.