For those of you who have been following along in my divorce/custody battle, you may remember that yesterday was our third pretrial. This time we were seen by the judge.
First of all, I would like to point out that at each pretrial, W. has stylishly arrived in dirty pants and a greasy work jacket. I know he thinks he is making the statement, "Look at me! I'm a workin' man!" But mostly he is stating, "Look at me! I forgot to shower this morning!"
Once again, W. was unrepresented. I'm not sure if it is due to inability to pay, lack of family support, or just plain stupidity. Whatever the matter, he has chosen to represent himself in this battle. (The judge even quoted Abraham Lincoln, "A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.") So instead of understanding the proper protocol, i.e. when to stand, when to say "Your Honor" and when to shut the hell up, W. just wings it. Believe me, there is no greater cure for my anxiety than watching him make an ass out of himself.
Upon entering the courtroom unshowered and unrepresented, W. starts the pretrial off right by interrupting my lawyer while she was making statement of the fact that he never filed an answer. "I did too file an answer!" That kind of thing tends to piss off a judge. He allowed my lawyer to finish her statement and then asked W., "Mr. ____, you claim that you did file an answer?"
"And when did you file this answer?"
"...You filed it just this morning??"
"Yes. I have the papers right here."
The judge stared at W. so hard, I thought daggers might actually shoot from his eyes. "Mr. ____, you had 28 days after October 7 to file an answer. I think you're a little late."
This isn't the first time that W. has delayed things by waiting until (quite literally) the last minute to complete court orders. While I understand that doing so only makes him look worse, it still frustrates me to no end.
However, there was a bit of relieving news that managed to shine through the bullshit. The judge clarified with W. that this is not a battle over custody, only a battle regarding visitation. W. concurred. You see, in the State of Ohio, custody and visitation are two wholly separate issues. Whether his lawyer-less ass realizes it or not, if he is only fighting for unsupervised visitation then I will be rewarded with sole legal custody.
The judge appointed a guardian ad litem to the case and ordered her to bring her full report to the next pretrial on May 26.
At the last minute, a representative from the Safe House (where W. and Jellybean have participated in supervised visitation since November) stood up an announced that although cases are only supposed to go through Safe House for 90 days, our case has been there for five months. The judge said that he would take that into advisory. Later, my lawyer explained to me that this simply means that he didn't feel like making a decision on that so he is going to pretend like he is considering it but really his mind is made up until the next pretrial.
So once again, we are left waiting. Waiting for the guardian ad litem to examine our households. Waiting for court on May 26. And waiting for W. to screw up in between. That is the one way in which W. has never let me down. He always screws up.
For those of you who haven't been following along with me for the past six months and might think that I am being a bit vindictive here, you can see why here, here, and especially here. I am not trying to remove him from her life, I am simply trying to make sure that I keep my little Jellybean safe. That, my friends, is the #1 goal of a 22-year-old-full-time-working mom with a precious little girl.