I thought I’d give everyone an update on my situation. For those of you that like to take a best case / worst case approach to things (as I do), I can say in advance that it was beyond the worst case scenario.
Like I said before – my attorney submitted a lot of solid evidence showing a relationship between my ex and her boyfriend. My ex moved out of state to stay with her mom and her mother’s boyfriend about four and a half years ago, then a week later got arrested for assault when she stole the mother’s boyfriend away. She’s been living with the mother’s former boyfriend since.
Boyfriend submits affidavit that they are not in a relationship and that he does not buy things for her. We requested information about a tanning bed and a laptop computer that were gifts from the guy to my ex, but my ex and her attorney simply ignored the request (which would have obviously disproven the boyfriend’s affidavit about buying her gifts). I know now they chose to just ignore this request because they knew the judge would allow them to do so.
I knew things were going south when the judge opened by asking about our son. A bit of background: I’ve had full physical custody of our son since my ex moved away in 2012, and there was nothing in either motion related to custody or < parenting time > or anything related to our son. In the past my ex was allowed to demand and then terminate three different family therapists at will after she refused to follow their recommendations.
The judge asks how things are between my ex and our son and my ex says she doesn’t feel that they are very close. The judge asks my opinion and I tell her that I have suggested ideas in the past such as scheduling phone calls at a specific time each week (trying to build a routine between them), and that I have also pushed for her to keep our son overnight when she comes to town instead of just seeing him a few hours on Saturday and a few more on Sunday four times a year. Prior to the court date my ex hadn’t talked to our son on the phone for almost four months and she hadn’t agreed to even one overnight visit since moving away in 2012.
The judge suggests our son spend half of his summer in Missouri and asks my thoughts. Being completely unprepared to respond on this topic a lot races through my mind. My ex hasn’t even had an overnight with our son in four and a half years. She is living in Missouri with the man my son used to think of as his grandfather (and who my son now despises and wants absolutely NO relationship with). The man she lives with has a son and a brother that are both on the national sex offender registry (one for incest, and the other for molesting a young boy). And truthfully, since my ex only spends about 50 hours a year with our son he is not very close to her, and things have gotten worse since my ex decided to end therapy sessions. So I truthfully just answer “To be honest, your Honor, all three therapists we had sessions with were strongly opposed to our son having < parenting time > out of state” to which the judge responds “Well, we don’t really care what the therapists said, do we?” Of course we don’t. I am much more comfortable having someone that has never met my son make decisions for him than respected professionals that have spent many hours with our family.
From there we argue the items that we actually came there to discuss, and my attorney does a good job of pointing out all of the evidence I mentioned previously.
The ruling: My motion for dismissal / suspension / reduction of spousal maintenance is denied, and my ex’s counter-motion for a retroactive increase to spousal maintenance is granted. Yep, that’s right. Despite me being the parent with full time care of our son I am now paying MORE spousal maintenance than before. And even though there was no motion filed by either party related to our son the judge rules for weekly phone calls (specifying a night and time each week) and for the next visit between my ex and our son to be an overnight visit.
The system is a complete joke. My ex moves out of state to live with another man, takes a job a high school kid could get, has minimal interaction with our son and has been rewarded for each one of these choices.
I retained a new attorney that is very well respected and often recommended by people on this forum and he filed my appeal yesterday. So off for Round 2. It will be interesting since while I’ve heard others are also having no luck with the new cohabitation law I will be the first one to actually appeal my case.
And a final interesting sidenote: Despite the ruling my ex again chose not to have my son overnight when she visited with him last month, and she has not once followed the phone schedule ordered by the judge. She didn’t even find time to call or text him “Merry Christmas” over five days from December 22-26. Since January 1 she has talked to him three times on the phone. Each call was around her schedule, and each one only lasted about five minutes. But I know if she does actually call even one time at the appointed day and time and my son isn’t waiting for her call I will be pulled in for contempt of court, so every week I have to remind him to put aside time and wait for a call that never comes through. It would be nice if court rulings applied to both my ex and I instead of just me, but past experience has taught me otherwise.
I am wondering if “Family Court” in Minnesota should just be renamed “Ex-Wive’s Court” instead. It seems more appropriate.
I’ll let everyone know how the appeal goes. I know it’s probably a long shot, but at least I’ve got the right guy in my corner representing me.