Hello all my friends and family who have been praying for us and sending good thoughts our way....and all of my blogger friends as well. I am sorry I have not updated you all, but I have been completely DRAINED and DEPLETED. As most of you know, leading up to this court hearing (scheduled for Monday, Jan. 31st), I was having a hard time sleeping, was struggling with constant worries and thoughts of possibly losing my kids, was dealing with anxiety and the stress was at times a bit more than I thought I could handle. SO, needless to say now....I AM SO TIRED I feel like I could sleep for days...but I can't. But a HUGE burden has been lifted, and my body, mind, soul and spirit not only have peace, but are settled and at rest. So, to provide a long awaited update on how the court proceedings went:
1) They went WAY LONGER than expected
2) I believe my attorney represented me very well (as I knew that she would) and I believe she is worth every penny I pay her (and it's A LOT of pennies!!)
3) I had many family members and friends present to support me and that meant the world to me.
4) The judge was fair and I believe, very direct and honest about what she felt was in the best interest of the children.
5) It was one of the hardest things I've had to participate in - thus far.
6) We are not done, but I am happy with the outcome of this first phase.
1) We have been ordered to partake in a 730 evaluation. This is a psychological evaluation that is completed by a court appointed Psychologist who will evaluate me individually, Tracy individually and then will evaluate me as I interact with the kids, and then also evaluate Tracy as she interacts with the kids. Due to the age of the kids, most likely he will not speak directly to the children. This type of evaluation is typical - especially in a "move away" case which is what our case has become since Tracy submitted her desire for full custody and to move the children to Minnesota.
2) The 730 eval will take approx. 3 months for the Doctor to complete. Once it has been completed, we will return to court for a full trial.
3) During this temporary period while the 730 evaluation is being conducted, I have been ordered to pay child support. During this temporary time they do not impute income to those who have none (as in Tracy's case) even if the person is capable of working, the judge does not impute income or look at that until trial - during this temporary period she only looks at what the current situation is right now and then orders support. SO, this is ONLY temporary until we return to trial after the 730 eval has been completed. (so approx 3 months). When we return to trial, typically the judge WILL THEN impute income to those who are not working, but who are eligible to work and the numbers (regarding the amount of money I will pay for child support going forward) will drastically decrease. So for now, for the next 3 months, I will be paying A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY! BUT, it could be worse. Believe it or not, she was asking for alimony to be paid on top of child support during this temporary period and at the end of the day, (Thank you God) we walked away without having to pay alimony during this time. When we return to trial, if that issue is revisited, of course each party will take their position on the issue.
4) The new court mandated 50/50 custody and the schedule of days are as follows:
- Every Monday & Tuesday - Every week - kids are with my ex Tracy
- Every Wednesday & Thursday - Every week - kids are with me & Missy
- We alternate weekends
So, for example, it's my weekend this upcoming weekend which means that we will have the kids from Wed. - Monday morning (Little T does not have school Wednesday and C gets out 1/2 day) so then our Wed/Thurs will take place (like every week) and because it's my weekend, we will continue to have them through the weekend and return them as we drop them at school Monday morning.
The same goes for Tracy when it's her weekend, she'll have them Friday after school - complete her weekend and then also continue with her Monday/Tuesday. This is called a 2-2-5-5 schedule and is common and considered very consistent and stable for children, especially for a child who has autism. As the judge said "If you asked Caleb where he was going to be tomorrow, could he tell you?" With the old arrangement....I believe that he could not....geez, as most of know it was hard for us adults to keep track of who had them when. Now, he'll know that every single Monday and Tuesday he is with Mama & every single Wed and Thurs he is with Mommy, etc...
I believe this new schedule will be a good change and I am hopeful that the kids will adjust easily, and I believe they will.
Now, because there is a 5 day period where one parent will not see the children and Tracy and I both agreed that was a long time, the court appointed the idea of a dinner visit 1/2 way through the 5 day period....so the following was agreed upon. When I have them on my 5 days (Wed-Mon morning) Tracy will come over on Friday for a dinner visit from 5-7 pm. When Tracy has the kids for her 5 days, I will go for a dinner visit on Monday from 5-7 pm. This allows the kids and the other parent to have a little time during the 5 days apart from one another.
SO..........That is our current status. Again, we have the psych eval now to participate in......and of course there is a huge cost for these types of evals; which are split between both parties. Then once the psych eval is complete, we'll revisit everything when we return to trial in late May/early June.
Thank you ALL for your prayers and good thoughts. I am SO grateful for each and every one of you. Much Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ally & Missy, C & Little T