So now that I got you all caught up with how things kinda transpired when I met Trudy, we can continue on with how the legal system worked in our situation, and hopefully shed some light on a few things.
Living in the same city as the kids was supposed to help my case. It was supposed to show that I was committed to being a dad. I loved my kids with all my heart, and I knew that I had screwed up in the past, but I also knew that everyone makes mistakes, and I wanted to make things right.
My lovely ex, and our legal system made that very hard.
After a failed few case conferences, where absolutely nothing was accomplished, the judge and our lawyers had decided that the next thing we needed to do to move forward, was go to trial and get this figured out. The judge flat out told me that I didn’t have a very good case because of the way the past has went.
So now here I am facing trial, and thousands more dollars. I wasn’t making very good money living in the city. I was an uneducated dad that relied on my industry. Living in the city, that industry was non existent.
I had a gut check moment and realized that I cant afford rent, pay child support, half of all expenses, annnd afford to live myself..
I decided to give her what she wanted.
Ill give her the “every third weekend” Ill agree to hyphenate their names, ill agree to the child support arrears.. but i’m moving 4 hours away. Back home.
I knew this was going to affect my kids, but I also knew that If I continued to live the way I was. I wasn’t going to make it.
So our arrangement went something like this. I would have the kids every third weekend. I would drive to pick 4 hours to pick them up, then drive 4 hours home to my hometown, then drive them 4 hours back to their moms on Sunday, and then drive 4 hours back home to be ready for work the next morning. I wouldn’t pay half of expenses for the kids because of the cost i’m incurring to drive to have my kids.
I know you are all going to be thinking im stupid and how is that gonna be cheaper. Well !. My industry pays a hell of a lot better. No money issues. 2. With my company truck, Ill have a fuel card and its not going to cost me to drive.
We would avoid trial, she would get pretty much what she wanted, and I would just have to settle. Mainly because I couldn’t afford to keep fighting. Which is where my issues with our legal system begins and ends.
I think its morbidly disgusting how we have to pay so much money to spend time with our own kids. The fathers that want to be involved cant be involved because of the cost of lawyers. In my case, her family has very deep pockets. My parents helped when I asked.. but this was my fight. My cost…. not theirs. And like so many other fathers, we are forced to bend over and take it up the tail pipe, because we cant afford to keep fighting.
Women and men are so quick to label a father as a dead beat. Or someone that didn’t want their kids….but maybe next time you are about to say that,or think that, think of what the father might have been through. Maybe he isnt a deadbeat. Maybe he couldn’t afford to do it.
Anyways. I had a plan.
My plan was simple. Remember how I preach looking like snow white? Well my plan was to move back home, make amazing money for the next 3 years, pay my child support, never miss a payment. Never miss a visitation. And when I’m financially better off, and in a better place, I’ll move back to the city to be with my kids an ask for 50/50. How could a judge not give me 50/50 after showing for 3 years that I am the perfect dad.
Most importantly I was going to be consistent with being a father, being there for my kids, and make sure that I grow that relationship.
For the next three years, it was tough.. Not going to lie. Driving back and forth was horrible, but I didn’t care, I got to see my kids.
I didnt miss a visitation, I even came in on weekends that I didn’t have my kids to catch activities that they were involved in.
Things were going great in my eyes.
I had dated a few girls, but nothing serious. I did meet one girl that I thought might have been the one, we had a great relationship, never fought, seemingly very into each other… but it ended abruptly. To this day i’m not sure why it didn’t.. she left my house one afternoon after spending the weekend together, and then didn’t return. I haven’t seen her since.
Things were going well. I found an amazing home, work was going really well… I just didn’t have my kids enough. Maybe it was time to move back.. my plan had taken its course, things went as planned.
Then… I got laid off.
Nothing more than a kick in the gut. Everything that I had worked so hard for, and it seemed to be slipping away.
I remember sitting on my couch, and I cried.. I was lost again.
I took the weekend trying to figure out what to do. And I decided I needed a change.. I needed to go back to an industry that I had worked in a lot of years ago.. I needed a paycheck..
I wasnt going to fold…. I was going to fight.