Kicked in the gut. That’s the only way I can describe how it felt to sit in family court again today.
My ex did not even show up. I sat there while my ex husband, his girlfriend, and one of our five boys vacations on the shore, and I listened to a junior attorney explain that he couldn’t be there because of prior plans. Yep, kicked in the gut.
I sat there with stacks of evidence almost 8 inches high documenting events since February. I sat there and listened as the judge said the trial would be held at a later date, that this was just a preliminary appearance or something, and I wondered about all the working single women who are forced to take time off from their jobs to fight for the little child support they get.
The judge then went ahead and set the date for one of three days I know I am working teaching a class that I cannot change without a major blow to my finances and, more importantly, to the new business I am working hard to establish.
When I asked the judge for a different date, he too kicked me in the gut by harshly telling me I should change my plans.
I thought of my husband and his girlfriend on the beach instead of in court now. I thought of my eleven year old who wanted so badly to be with his brothers at our family reunion but who felt sorry for his father and went with him.
I thought of how my ex refuses to tell me where my son is or when he will return. I thought of how I haven’t heard from him since he left and how he is probably unaware of the fact that I have sent messages asking to speak with him, but they have been replied to unkindly or ignored completely.
I entered family court shaking, and only God gave me the courage to stand up when I began feeling kicked in the gut by the system I had thought would help me. I again asked the judge for the dates to be changed and about what to do about not being able to reach my son.
The judge reluctantly rescheduled the court date and sent me downstairs to fill out yet more baffling paperwork in order to request information about the location of my son.
Before leaving the courtroom, I asked the judge about the tax returns and the sale of the house, both of which had previously been ordered and agreed upon in the and worth a lot of money for me. I was told the court had no jurisdiction over these matters and that I would have to hire an attorney to look into it. After almost $30,000 in three years of attorney fees (I still owe about $8,000) and few memorable results, I can no longer afford an attorney and am forced to represent myself as my credit rating is at rock bottom and I struggle financially. Again, kicked in the gut by the system.
There is so much that was unfair about family court today, and I know that kicked in the gut feeling will last awhile.
I try to find comfort in the fact, that I can feel proud of myself and thankful to God for giving me this opportunity to learn to speak up for myself, to be assertive and learn confidence even while getting angrier at a system which is broken, rewards the guilty party, and punishes women and children.
I will continue to pray and find the good.