Monday, February 16, 2009

Sybil Saga (part V)

So, WWII actually consisted of a series of small battles- most which we won. First and foremost- and most critical was to ensure that the Custody Evaluator from WWI was reassigned to the case. This woman was pretty much on the fence the last time around put felt compelled to leave things in the hands of the therapists in hopes that they would keep the best interest of the girls in mind. Unfortunately, she was mistaken and the therapist had only themselves in mind. This time around…by golly she was going to make it right (and maybe save face a bit too) and make sure the girls were not left behind.

Victory number 2 was GAL (Guardian ad Litem) selection. Our attorney made a recommendation as to a very experienced GAL who would do it at a discount. Her atty made a recommendation as to someone that favored mothers…and the judge went with our recommendation. He ended up being very down to earth and relied a lot on the Custody Evaluator’s recommendation given her familiarity with the case. He was older and not overly impressed with Sybil and her antics unlike the green, pompous, jack ass we had the first time around who thought Sybil was mother of the year.

Battle number 3 was to get a temporary order in place. It had been years since we had had an increase in placement and it was long overdue. Sybil was adamant that the girls couldn’t handle an increase in their ‘fragile’ state and they would regress and it would do nothing but damage. Unfortunately due to the bullshit involved with legal antics and Sybil’s antics she was able to stall any temporary orders by “willingly” negotiating toward a settlement. During this timeframe, her attorney (and friend) withdrew and filed a judgment against her so she ended up representing herself.

The settlement was reached –of course on the morning of the first day of trial (a.k.a. at the very last possible moment so as not to allow us any additional time with the girls prior.) It basically came down to money for Sybil. The fact that she had no representation and had no money for a new attorney and that the Judge was not going to postpone trial any longer backed her into a corner and forced her hand. That was almost exactly a year ago today.

The stipulation consisted of incremental placement increases in a stepwise manner (that I basically wrote up) to be increase to shared placement within 3 months time. At that time, child support was to be adjusted according to the state guidelines. That- the GAL wrote up, was way too f-ing vague. At that time I think it was safe enough to put a set amount in place but hindsight is 20/20. 3 months later Sybil was less than cooperative to settle on the child support adjustment so it was off to court yet again. To add insult to injury, her and Mark’s divorce was well underway and she was raking him across the coals financially. She ended up getting a ton from him and still getting a ton from us when we had the girls half the time.

She could of course afford to hire an attorney again so she lawyered up to battle the child support issue (which was more important to her anyway.) The biggest argument was of course whether or not income could or should be imputed. Sybil had agreed to an imputed wage during her settlement with Mark so we felt it was safe to use it with our calculation- She and her atty of course didn’t think so. Add to it that she was getting alimony –which is considered income. She and her attorney argued that it could not. At the end of the day, we had an overly sympathetic judge to Sybil’s cause. She did retro the modification so we calculated what she owed us and she’s still in the process of paying us back and child support was cut in half. What amazed me about this last trial were some of the last words I heard Sybil speak. When asked why she had not gotten another job, she actually got on the stand and under oath stated as sadly as possible to the judge and to my attorney “I…sniff sniff, have no potential.” My jaw dropped as it registered in my brain and proved to me as to the lengths she would go and levels she would stoop, to be totally and completely financially supported by someone else. How could my husband ever have found this woman attractive? I will never know.

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