Thanks for the feedback. Grisandole, I'm trying to be more discreet about life details, since we're headed back to court. I'd hate to risk taking up our time there, picking apart what I say on Mothering. But it's good to know that in CA and PA, it would be unusual to wait several months to even get assigned a hearing date.
DH visited his atty today and apparently the court HAS given a panel of three mediators, but we can't proceed past that point until Mom is served notice so she can strike one; and she has repeatedly refused to sign for any certified mail. Evidently, we can pay a sheriff in her state to serve her - perhaps at work, which sounds awful but may be necessary. I have not yet heard a good answer about why DH had to take time off work to go down and see his atty, to find out about this, when it's been going on for months?
At this point, mediation sounds less feasible, if Mom's unwilling to participate. (I guess you can't have an ex parte mediation...although it sounds gratifying, doesn't it? To get your whole story off your chest, with no one who wants it in for you there, to argue and accuse you of things you haven't done? Heaven!) I'm discouraged, because I had looked forward to participating in mediation. During hearings, Mom's atty always finds a reason to send me out of the room, because I make Mom uncomfortable. But sometimes I'm better than DH about recalling details...or where in the file to find past statements of Mom's that conflict with what she's saying on the stand right now... I had kind of hoped to be DH's legal assistant, during mediation. That'll never happen, if they go to court instead.
Listening to DH, I'm not sure he's clear what happens next. He's telling me what he discussed with his atty and some of it sounds contradictory. How much of what he's saying is directly from his atty and how much is the way DH thinks things should work? My father (an atty) never had much regard for dads who dragged along their girlfriends or new wives into his office. He wondered how much the dads cared about pursuing their parental rights and how much of it was the new woman wanting to cat-fight with the old one. My DH is passionate about being a good father and I don't want his atty or anyone else to be confused about who's at the helm of his custody battle, so I don't go to appts with him. But it can be REALLY frustrating, that my only outlet for getting questions answered is listening to a re-hash of conversations I wasn't part of.
Football season has started at my older kids' high school, where we plan to send DSS next year. It's a small, private school with a champion football team, so ALL the students AND parents go to EVERY game. I could care less about football, but the sense of community is really fun. Last year, DSS loved going to games and running into all his school friends, whose older siblings also went there (or whose parents are graduates). His "girlfriend" and two other super-close friends who went to school with him last year are freshmen at this school now, so he should be even more excited about running into them at games. Instead, he's become mopey and demands to stay home. He finally told DH that he's trying not to get too wrapped up in friends this year, because Mom told him it's his last year here; he'll being going to high school where she lives. And he seems to feel certain this is going to happen, regardless what DH says.
DSS also said Mom is putting astronomical pressure on him about what he'll need to say to the judge when she goes back for custody at the end of the school year. So I have to assume his sense of resignation about moving back is because he has decided he's going to say what she wants. Or maybe he WANTS what she wants and he seems dejected because he knows it would hurt us, if he were honest about it. And because it just sucks to have to leave all his friends and brothers and Dad, to spend any time at all with his mom.
DH's atty says there's nothing we can do, to keep DSS from having to testify, because of his age. We won't be able to get a counselor or GAL to testify on his behalf. The atty does not get what the big deal is, why we're so worried about it. He asked if something was wrong with DSS? Doesn't he like his brothers? In other words, why would we think he would say he doesn't want to live with us? If our own atty doesn't get it, how can we expect a judge to? Just because DSS lives with us now doesn't mean his mother has ceased to have any influence over him. In ways, she has more, because he idealizes her and feels sorry and responsible for her. Especially now that she doesn't visit him, he is always on vacation when he's with her. WE know that his life with us is healthier and more stable...but that only makes it easier for him to take us for granted. Teenagers are SUPPOSED to be able to take their families for granted.
Anyway, I'd like to talk about this with DSS, but he is feeling defensive of his mom and doesn't want to talk to his step-mom about her. It's good that he opens up so much to DH. But I have a different voice, that I think could be useful.
I know this is not my fight. This is not my kid. I'm "part of the problem" if I feel competitive with or hostile toward his mother. I'm just the woman who has packed his lunches, read to him, checked his homework, scheduled his playdates, volunteered in his class, washed his laundry, brought down his fevers and cheered at his sports since he was a little, baby-faced third grader. I don't count. And the woman who does has slowly stopped visiting him, all but stopped writing to him, never shown interest in his school, friends or activities if she didn't choose them; and she's just sitting back and waiting for him to dump all of us and return to her...because she'll be damned if she'll sacrifice ANYthing, to come be near him!
She is good... she. is. better. than. I. am...at saying things that sound super-loving and gushy. But so little of what she DOES seems loving, at all. And she wants DSS to believe anything his Dad or I do for him means nothing, next to her words and the things she buys him and the places she takes him.
And what do I want? I want this 13-year-old kid to be able to see the ugly truth about his mom... maybe so he won't copy her patterns and have her miserable life...but maybe it's just so he can also see the truth about me, and love me. What kind of #*^ing selfish thing is that, to want?
Edited by VocalMinority - 8/20/12 at 5:59pm