I am a mother of four children. Three of them reside in Texas with my ex-husband. I feel your pain and understand the sense of loss and frustration courteousy of the lovely judicial system that is corrupt in my eyes. I was the primary caretaker of my children and the only one employeed while in my marriage to their father. He sat at home and played on the computer and watched tv and got stoned all day while I was at work and his children were being cared for at a daycare. He had repeatedly cheated on me through our marriage and I always ended up taking him back. He beat me repeatedly through our 8 year marriage and has been found guilty of this along with attempted murder.
Amazingly, he was found guilty of child abuse against one of our children but the 2 year statute of limitations passed 2 months before he filed for divorce. That means that the judge didn't have to take his previous violent temper into account when determining custody.
To make matters worse I never even got served because his lawyer put an incorrect home address on my paperwork so I was not allowed to be served by the county so they put it into the hands of a private server to serve me for a temporary orders hearing. I was at home full time during this period where I was supposed to be served and not once did anyone knock on my door. I put my job at risk so that I could stay home and care for my kids. My ex-husband and I had not lived as husband in wife for about 2 years at this point but I didn't proceed with my earlier attempt to file for divorce from him. I was too nice (as usual) and stayed married to him on paper so that he could continue to stay on my insurance at work. What a stupid mistake that was on my part so shame on me for that. The day I was finally attempted to be served on was when the private server went to my job and asked to see me less than 24 hours before the temporary hearing was to take place. I did not even know that he had filed for divorce so had to no clue.
If you have no clue then how on earth can you dodge being served? Anywho, I was on a business trip in FL so my boyfriend was helping me by watching the kids. I receive an email from my receptionist telling me that someone tried to come and talk to me. The person told them that they needed to speak to me directly and gave their name to the receiptionist. After all my meetings were done for the day I hit the internet and looked this guys name up. I assumed he was a third party vendor who was wanting to chat me up to see if I would find any interst in their services. Through this search I found out that the guy was a private server in the state of TX. I then went to the Denton County website to look through their records and found out that the next day was a court date for temporary orders. I called my father-in-law to ask what was going on and he told me he would not take sides on this matter and I told him that I had to look all this information up and that I didn't know how on earth I was going to make it to court in time since I was on a business trip.
This information was used against me in court and I was called a dodger the next day and they never told the judge that I was never made aware of this situation in time and made it look like I knew that my ex filed for divorce and I was just trying to keep the temporary order from happening by being out of town. I didn't choose to be out of town nor did I request the dates which they wanted me in FL.
He ended up getting custody of the children and called me a drunk and drug abuser in court so that they added to the temporary order that I was not allowed to have drugs or alcohol consumed so many hours prior to my possession of my children or the duration of possession. What a low blow but I can't say that I am surprised since I passed drug test given to me by the CPS everytime that they were called in regarding my ex-husband. Did he pass his drug test every time....NO.
I finally got a lawyer who ate through his retainer without ever even stepping a foot into the court room. From other lawyers who looked at what he did with my case they told me that he made my situation worse. Whenever we would try and appear for the hearings set in court the judge would push it back stating that he was either sick or the court house was closing down just as my court hearing was to happen due to inclimate weather. By the time I was able to have my day in court is was pro se because I was unemployeed and unable to afford a lawyer and more than a year after the temporary orders hearing happened. At this time my ex and I had not lived with each as husband and wife for more than 3 years and both of us were in new relationships. I even had an infant daughter at the time who I had to care for who happens to be disabled. (Honestly, I think that is was all the stress from dealing with my ex-husband and lies that helped in my daughter turning out to be permanently disabled because I did not drink, smoke, or do drugs and still don't.) I tried to get the judge to listen to all that I had to say regarding not being served to not having a job all this time and the abuse that my children and I endured at the hands of their father and it was like I was talking to a wall. At least with a wall I wouldn't be hit so hard with a bunch of punishment as I was dealt that day from a judge who seemed to already have his mind made up. Of course why would he want to admit that his previous ruling in the temporary order hearing was wrong. He may as well stick to his guns and back himself up regardless of who gets hurt in the process. I was honest and told the truth and let them know that I was to be employeed by a company and gave them my actual income that I would be earning. The judge denied me my children and gave me a ruling on my child support and the arrears that accrued from the TO hearing. I couldn't even get that changed even though I was unemployeed and unable to find employment at the time.
Here I am forced to move to the state of WA because I could no longer afford to live in TX and I am unable to get my children even during the times I should be allowed possession because I can't afford the flights for 3 children round-trip from TX to WA. I have only been able to talk to my children a handful of times since I left TX a year ago. It isn't that I am not trying for I call every single day (with the exception of 12 days total out of more than 365) and leave a VM or I am told by my ex-husband that they don't want to talk to me.
I have tried to get my child support lowered and that hasn't happened yet but my diligence of calling the child support office I must work with has paid off in me at least getting a day in court to try and modify my child support. This day is to be in November and I am scared to death because who knows what will come of my returning to TX in an attempt to have wrong-doing changed to right. FYI - I still haven't been served and the only reason that I received a court date is because I called every day until they put me on the docket. I have called repeatedly now to try and get a copy of the papers that were supposed to be served to me almost a month ago. I still haven't received anything. It is as if there is something that the courts don't want me to know. I would have never even known that I got a hearing date if I didn't persistently call the child support office.
Some of the twisted humor in this whole situation is that I am a religious woman who believes in Christ as my Lord and Saviour. My ex-husband does not believe in God and has made it quite clear to me that he has made this the same in my children even though they used to attend church with me and my daughter was even baptized. I am a Sunday school teacher who also does alot of volunteer work at my church (such as cleaning the church and their school building)and I am also the sole caretaker of my disabled daughter. I am learning braille and how to teach her while at home and still trying to find a job which is a serious struggle. I am a woman who is involved with the Mother of Pre-Schoolers group at the church as well. My ex-husband is a musician with an income other than my child-support that is usually given via cash so he doesn't necessarily have to claim all that he earns and that allows him to receive government assistance. This and the fact that the house he lives in with my children is provided by his father (Mr. Moneybags and Enabler of Convicted Family Violence Offender my ex.)
Do I sound bitter? Well, I am a little shocked at how things have turned out in my situation but I still keep the faith that God will provide.
Best of luck to all of you out there in this horrible, hard-to-believe real-life drama.