Friday, August 29, 2008

Custody Battles

I love reading about custody schedules that work for everyone involved. I adore families who get along for the sake of their children and appreciate stories of divorced couples who remain friends.

Let's face it, though, this is not always the case and for every story that includes a happy ending, there are those that are sadly dysfunctional and even harmful.

My situation is no exception. When my husband filed for a divorce in 2006, I was mad. I was angry, hurt, confused, depressed, guilty, and pretty much in denial until he moved out two months later. It was a long two months. I don't think I slept at all during that time, nor did I have a pleasant word to say to or about him.

Needless to say, I've learned to put my feelings aside to focus on the needs of our son. It certainly hasn't been easy and we battled it out in court for quite some time since I tried to seek the court's approval to move - with my son - back to Minnesota where my family lives, and where I grew up.

I wanted to raise my son near family; my sister's family and my parents ,in particular. The fact that my ex-husband's family lives on the East Coast played a major role in my decision as well since I argued that we'd be closer to them once we moved. I had fully anticipated that the court would grant this request and that my husband would eventually get over his feelings so we could focus on the needs of our son.

I was not expecting the court to deny my request but they - at that time - felt that my son was too young to be "taken away" from his father. Those were the words my ex used to describe what I was trying to do. He felt that I was trying to deny his right to be in our son's life and was upset with me for trying to take our son away from him.

Last week, I was in Minnesota, without my son. It was hard for me - extremely difficult - to think about what life would be like if my son and I lived there. He would be able to grow up with his cousins (dozens of them) and run around outside and, most likely, I would be able to buy a house with a yard and provide him with a childhood filled with happy memories like I have from growing up there.

The judge did mention that I could come back to court when our son was older to make this request again - to move to Minnesota - away from his father. I think about this every day and have even questioned whether or not I could move to Minnesota on my own and leave my son behind. I come to the same conclusion every time.

You can imagine how difficult it would be for me to live somewhere without my son. What he is "missing out on" is only in my mind since he knows nothing other than California as home and his mom and dad as family.

As he gets older, I have a feeling he will want to be with his father more often which is understandable. I am much closer to my mom and have been since I was young - another reason why it's so hard to live thousands of miles away.

My sister and I spent last week together with her two young boys. I miss them all. My friends and family mean the world to me and it's a difficult decision I've made to live here until my son is old enough to understand my desire to be closer to the rest of my family. That doesn't make it any easier but it does provide me with more reason to share with my loved ones just how much they mean to me, no matter where I call home.

1 comment:

Sincere said...

What's even worse is in certain states where the woman can move away and take the child while the two parties are technically still married and file for divorce knowing you have no way to make it to that court, so they win by default. For every mother willing to do things the right way, there are 5 who do the above mentioned out of spite or anger.