“So that happened.”

“Certainly not!” replied Toad emphatically. “On the contrary, I faithfully promise that the very first motor-car I see, poop- poop! off I go in it!”
The Wind in the Willows

I went to court this morning. I didn’t realize how much I’d forgotten about the whole thing, since it’s been something like seven years. There was the very large digital clock up front with GIANT red numerals ticking off the time down to the second. There was a crackling in the air of anticipation and adrenaline.

Three cases were heard before me, and then it was our turn. As promised, SeaFed’s lawyer spoke for five minutes, and then my lawyer replied. My lawyer told me the judge was a substitute and she had seen him before, but she wasn’t thrilled about it, since he wasn’t a regular family law commissioner.

The judge opined that it spoke poorly for the father that this matter was being opened three years in to the current residential schedule and shortly after I had filed for child support, and that it did not seem to be in her best interest to commute for school daily. He also said that what the courts like to maintain is the status quo in these cases, which is what we expected. Then he said that he would be ruling for the father, and on a temporary basis until our next hearing we will go back to the parenting plan of 2005.

I got the feeling that it looked dodgy to the judge, but that his hands were tied. My lawyer said she thought that a regular family law judge would have not caused this “upheaval” in Franny’s schedule, but it’s really impossible to say what anyone else would have done.

Our next hearing to determine if there is adequate cause to change the parenting plan is in early December. In the meanwhile Franny will be commuting to his house 30 miles away, through traffic and on a ferry, 5 days a week on his weeks twice daily, and we are going to be exchanging her on Sundays in accordance with the 2005 plan from when we lived three miles apart.

I don’t think she’s going to love this, to say the least. But, optimistically speaking, at least she will really get a taste of what 50/50 is really like with him that way and can speak to the guardian ad litem with that knowledge.

Ultimately it’s up to the courts, now, of course, if we go back to 50/50 like in 2005 or if the schedule will look like it has for the past three years. I’m not upset, really. Court does not feel like the salt in my wounds that it did seven years ago. I don’t feel like I “lost” anything in this. I feel secure in my relationship with her. She trusts me and knows I am pulling for her. I mostly feel sad about any stress this will cause her and I’m fervently hoping her grades don’t slip in the meantime.

Do I regret filing for child support? No, I do not. The situation changed and evolved over time and it seemed like the right thing to do last spring.

Thank you for all the kind words you have left in comments, in Twitter DMs (all of which I hope I have replied to), and emails. And to my close friends here who have called me and emailed. This is one of those mini-tragedies that we all experience every day, I think. But I have learned one thing from this…there will always be forks in the road. When I ran out of money in 2005 and settled, it looked like he won, but then he moved away, which has been a really good thing on balance. My fear is that we will have an outcome where everyone loses.

Anyway…I am on a ramble at this point. I will get Halloween pictures up this weekend. Trick-or-treating went very well.

Your humble sherbet,
I, Asshole

The gaoler nodded grimly, laying his withered hand on the shoulder of the miserable Toad. The rusty key creaked in the lock, the great door clanged behind them; and Toad was a helpless prisoner in the remotest dungeon of the best-guarded keep of the stoutest castle in all the length and breadth of Merry England.

Edit 5 p.m.: Well, I didn’t cry until I told Franny how the next month was going to go and she started bawling. My heart feels smooshed.

22 thoughts on ““So that happened.”

  1. Fuck. Being a grown up sucks, and in Frannie’s case, being SeaFed’s kid sucks too. Sorry that things weren’t settled the way you wanted. I hope the next step in ruled in your favor.
    Thanks for letting us know so quickly

  2. Aw I am sorry that today did not result in the occasion for you to jump and shout ecstatically with Franny afterward. I sure hope she will be okay with this and I hope it really is just temporary. I was thinking about you guys all day today.

  3. So, in an ideal world, would you guys have gotten a new agreement after SeaFed moved? Would that have prevented this whole “herp derp father of the YEAR” thing? Just wondering.

    Sorry this worked out to be so stressful and foolish. I hope you get better results down the road. Ugh!

  4. oh, SJ. i’m sorry the world isn’t doing right by you. it makes my heart ache to think of the parental heart smoosh.

  5. Will SeaFed be doing the pick up and drop off at school? That is a hideous commute, not to mention expensive. At least Franny is old enough that she can think about the situation and give her opinion.

  6. Making a ruling that is not in the best interests of the child… I can’t fathom what that judge was thinking. Guess he was just afraid to stick his neck out because he was a substitute. I can see NO reason to maintain the status quo under such drastically altered circumstances. I hope that Franny’s guardian ad litem as well as her teachers will be keeping a close eye on how she copes over the next month. Strength to you!

  7. Christ, I’m so sorry. My mom’s a family lawyer (in a different state), and when I asked her about the decision (because I was curious if there was any logical/legal reason why a judge would do such a fucking stupid thing), she basically said it sounds like the judge is an idiot.

    Even though I’m sure that this next month will be really awful and stressful for Franny, I hope that it proves that 50/50 WILL NOT WORK. Is there any chance that after having to deal with the stupid commute for a week (or a day), SeaFed will decide it’s not worth it and give up, thus making him look even more like the asshole he is?

  8. Crap on a cracker, SJ. I’m sorry that it went down like this, I hope that the December appeal shows more reason, and hopefully Franny can present her side of it, which is: zomg this commute suxxorz. Hugs and love to you and your fambly.

  9. Arg… asking a kid to do a commute like that is just stupid. Hopefully she won’t have to do it for long if she finds it burdensome.

    ::virtual hugs::

  10. Two things:
    1. WTF?! Sometimes judges just stymie me…like…really. I hope Franny fares OK through this “test month”, so to speak, and I hope she gets a chance to contribute HER opinion on the situation next time as well.
    2. Favorite book EVAR.

  11. Christ on a pogo stick, that sucks. I have a feeling that soon after the massive commute bullshit starts, SeaFed will do something that will cause the regular judge to go “oh, HELL no,” or will call you and surrender. At least, that’s my hope.

    Also, that the regular judge, upon his/her return, will do the “oh, HELL no” thing and make a better decision. I just don’t get how the sub judge can make all those statements about how it looks suspicious, how the status quo is best, etc., and then rule for SeaFed.

    Poor Franny. And poor you. I’m glad the return to court didn’t trigg.er anything too terrible for you

  12. Words fail me. I do not understand this level of selfishness from SeaFed and idiocy from the judge– I guess I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while so it should not be a surprise. It’s pretty nauseating. I do get the ‘hands are tied’ thing as a possibility for the judge. I’m glad you see the long view.

    Frannie is lucky to have you. I do hope it gets resolved in a better way soon. It has to. I’m sorry you guys have to go through this, I’m sorry you had to hear Frannie cry. Poor kid. Hugs to both of you.

  13. Oh, I am so sorry for Franny. Hopefully the fact that she hates it will sway the judge at the next go-round. She’s lucky she has you to fight for her.

  14. Snozma: No worries, it’s a handle, which I have tried to communicate by spelling it both ways in the past. I have been defaulting to “Franny” lately out of laziness.

    Thank you everyone who commented. I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but I really mean it. It’s nice to know I’m not just shouting into the void. I am also happy I am not banished off in silence. I need to write more soon. Surprisingly I have more to say, ho ho.

  15. I am so late with this, but know that Frannie does know where her anchor is. She is a smart young lady with the coolest mom on the planet.

  16. Still annoyed! Of the many (MANY) things I want to bitch about regarding this decision, I have one (probably stupid) question: If memory serves, Franny came back from a not-too-long-ago visit basically told by her Step-Boobs that she would no longer have a room cus they can’t stop spawning. Or something. And that overall both she and SeaFed don’t appear to be that much in love with the whole parenting of Franny “thing”. So yes, I get that the selfish idj. ran to the courthouse for 50/50 the second you asked for a dime, BUT by getting 50/50 he has to…um…parent this child. Which he doesn’t appear to want to do. So in the end, isn’t he screwing himself over? And if the only possible answer is that he’d rather screw himself with this commute and parenting that he doesn’t want to do simply b/c keepingmoney from you and your child from you fills him with diabolical gigles, well then DUH. I should have known. Here’s hoping that the second Franny speaks up this gets reversed! He’s just asking that she never speak to him again from 18 yeras old on if he continues this path for her.

  17. Oh dear. Had a little cry for Franny and you. I wish there was something constructive I could do….I don’t know… like cook you a meal, buy you a drink or reform family law in your state. It’s the same where I live, the decisions made just beggar belief sometimes. Hope this next stage goes quickly.

  18. It’s going to rebound horribly on That Poor Woman, who (if my memory serves me correctly) is about to spawn again. Following his paper victory, SeaFed will (if my long distance impressions are correct) not be terribly good at the keeping track of / organising / coordinating Franny’s home and school life, besides all the washing of uniforms and packing of lunches etc. With a new baby on the way, I foresee a life of domestic servitude and work, work, work both mental and physical for this particular bit player in the whole mess.

  19. Helen, I had that thought myself. She delivered two weeks ago. I think about her a fair amount, because as I’ve mentioned before I feel she was the unlucky person who took my ferry pole over, so to speak. I think she’s 40 now–3 little ones 5 and under…in this economy I wonder if she’s ever going to be employed in her field again. I think she is going to take the brunt of this crap, since he does need an organizing force behind him.

  20. Gah, how frustrating and crazy-making. I’m sorry. I hope December brings a better arrangement. You’re a good mom.

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