I know many of you were praying on August 13th, when we were scheduled for trial, but it was unexpectedly delayed once again. I was so disappointed. But once September 8th rolled around I felt ready. Totally at peace, which I am sure, was absolutely a direct result of so many people praying for me, because feeling at peace or calm when you head into court is a miracle by itself. I was asking God for 3 miracles…
- The Judge would make a same-day ruling. (Very uncommon here in Arizona…usually a Judge takes 4-6 weeks to rule on this kind of matter.)
- Mr. X would walk away with zero parenting time. (Basically no visitation)
- Mr. X would be stripped of his legal decision-making authority so I could be free to make all the medical, educational and religious decisions regarding the girls.
Court started with some possible setbacks. The judge informed us that we would each have only an hour instead of the original hour and fifteen minutes. This worried me because I was already stressed about needing MORE time since I had two witnesses and almost 20 pieces of evidence to get into the record. Also, Mr. X brought his current girlfriend (even though he has a current wife as well) and convinced the Judge to let her sit at the table with him as his Occupational Therapist. Lastly, Mr. X had been required to show proof regarding the earlier delay he caused in August and the Judge ended up accepting his extremely weak proof. Normally, this would cause me to feel sucker-punched and get me worried about the rest of the case, but this time I felt a supernatural peace, and took it all in stride. “Whatevs…”
Mr. X took the stand first. He wasn’t prepared and had NO pieces of evidence. He was also prevented from admitting any evidence since he had missed the original deadline. His testimony included a fabricated disability and misleading information about a past job. I was able to cross-examine him, but it was extremely difficult because…surprise, surprise…he just so happens to be a belligerent witness…refusing to answer any question directly and sucking up all my time with talking around the issues.
One of the things I was able to corner him about was his dog. Our youngest daughter is deathly allergic to ALL dogs…and no…there is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog for her. She is allergic to dog dander or skin…which all dogs have. I have had to epi pen her before for dogs, and her allergist said she has the highest allergy of anyone she has ever treated for a dog allergy. So…Mr. X having a dog is a big no no if he wants to be able to see his daughter. He claimed his Maltese was a service dog…for his undocumented and unverified eye-sight disability. Sure appeared he chose a dog over a future with his daughter…not a good strategic move, right?
Once he was off the stand, my daughters’ therapist went on. She did an excellent job conveying the extent of previous abuse and communicating the desires of the girls to the judge. The ironic thing was that after I finished questioning her and as we waited for him to begin the cross-examination, I thought of a few clarifications I still needed to ask her. Well…Mr. X unwittingly did it for me. His last question was what kind of training she had, which allowed her to end her testimony mentioning her multiple master degrees and that she was only three classes away from completing her PhD. Perfect! I couldn’t have planned it better.
I was next on the stand. Unfortunately, I only had twelve minutes in which to give my entire testimony. Twelve. Minutes. Ackk!
I took my notes up to the stand and basically read them at break-neck speed. Now, all of you who know me and have heard me speak, know I can talk fast….really fast. The awesome thing was that the Judge never told me to slow down, he just took furiously fast notes. I was able to get my most important pieces of evidence in…including a letter from a psychiatrist in favor of removing Mr. X’s parenting due to the abuse of another child (not one of ours), four of my Orders of Protection, and past Department of Child Safety reports.
Mr. X then cross-examined me. Whenever he asked a question, he yelled at me to only say Yes or No. It was especially ridiculous because he had bloviated on all the questions during his testimony, but didn’t want me to be able to elaborate at all. He just came off as a jerk (or should I say psychopath). The Judge told me to just stick to yes or no. This normally would concern me, but I still had such a peace I didn’t worry about it.
Mr. X only had a few questions for me since he obviously hadn’t prepared any ahead of time. Then we were done. The Judge said he wanted to take 15 minutes to deliberate and then he would return with a ruling. (MIRACLE #1) Within a minute or two of him leaving the courtroom all of a sudden two armed guards appeared. It was the first time I actually felt hope take flight. If he wanted two armed guards…maybe it was because he was about to lay down a ruling he knew Mr. X would not like.
After about 20 minutes, the Judge returned. Our case included about 25 different statutes/conditions the Judge would need to consider. He went through EACH one. He would read it and then elaborate, basically EVERY SINGLE TIME stating how Mr. X had failed in the area. Whenever one would come up that would include me, the Judge supported my parenting…even saying from the bench that I was a good mother out to protect my children. He told Mr. X he didn’t find him to be a credible witness and used his testimony against him. He told him he found him to be the perpetrator of “significant” domestic violence. He had also done his research about all my Orders of Protection and seemed amazed that FIVE separate commissioners had approved my previous orders, basically telling Mr. X it “doesn’t matter who she gets in front of” they see the need for protection. Which was AWESOME because it meant the Judge had seen through all the lies and landed on the truth. Praise Jesus!!
At the very end, he pronounced NO parenting time and NO legal decision-making. MIRACLE #2 AND #3!!!
I was also able to serve Mr. X while he was in court since he refuses to give us a current address regarding how delinquent he is in child support…around $30K. So, it looks like I will be in court again soon about that but PRAISE GOD everything else besides my girls safety is just secondary. We have what we need….each other and peace for our future.
I can’t thank you all enough for the way so many of you went to your knees in prayer for us. I will surely be in your “Thank You” line in heaven. Like I said in my Facebook post…I see this as a kingdom victory. We had an army of prayer warriors.
I am currently writing a book on courtroom victories, so if you know of anyone who wants to give God all the glory for what He has done for them in court, send them my way.