Friday was the Wasband's contempt trial, as well as a hearing about modifying child support. His excuse for being over $33k behind in support & not having paid any of the debts that he agreed to take in the divorce decree was that he has another family to support, so can't afford it (he's got a gf & her two kids). Needless to say, he was found guilty of contempt, but he got lucky. The courthouse was shutdown early because of a winter storm (Oklahoma isn't used to real winter weather so the smallest amount of snow or sleet & they roll up the streets), so there wasn't time for his sentencing hearing. The declaration of an emergency also meant that the deputies didn't take him into custody on the bench warrant that he already has from another legal matter. However, sentencing has been scheduled for January & the judge made it clear that he has to make a significant showing of trying to correct these issues prior to that date is he wants to avoid going to jail.
So, let me pause for a moment to give some legal/life advice:
When you already have children, your choice to support your new significant other's children is not an excuse to stop supporting yours.
I want to shake people every time I hear the "but I have a new family to support" excuse (and I've had to set clients straight on this). Using your money to take care of them is not the same thing as being unable to afford your child support. Those children have parents & their parents are responsible for providing for them. Your responsibility is to support yours. So, if you choose to help support your new partner & their family, you need to remember that your first obligation is to your children & your other priorities need to be arranged around & balanced with that. Also, having more children still doesn't excuse you from responsibility of the ones you already had. You knew they existed before you chose to have more.
So, to all the people out there that do this foolishness: knock it off. The courts won't buy it & neither will any thinking person.
That said I, don't understand being with someone that chooses not to support their children, either. Whenever I've dated a man with kids, if he wasn't doing everything he could to be as involved as he possibly could as a father, he was not the type of man I wanted & I moved on very quickly. There's no way I can stay with a man who wasn't even trying or was making such ridiculous excuses because it reveals something about their character & who they are at their core. Idk...maybe they believe the excuses...or maybe they think the good balances that out...we all have different standards, I suppose.
In any event, it was shown that I did NOT unreasonable keep the children from him, as I was being accused of. I believe that there is no excuse for refusing visitation or interfering in that relationship, unless the person is a danger. He had, by his own choice, not completed the requirements the court had placed on him to have visitation. So, he actually didn't have any visitation rights.
Even so, I have never refused him a visit. In fact, there were times when I did without so that I could use what little money I had to drive the kids down to see him. I used to call & beg & cry for him to spend time with them, with mixed results. So, I finally acknowledged that I couldn't force him to do the right thing & I told him to just let me know when he wanted them. My request is to give me some advanced notice so that we can coordinate schedules, because some prior obligations can't be cancelled for a last second promise of a visit (especially given the history of no-shows).
In any event, the judge is saying that a schedule needs to be constructed, which makes me deliriously happy. I have tried for a schedule for so long because it's shown that the predictability goes such a long way for kids. He also has to formulate some sort of safety plan to submit to show how supervision, sleeping arrangements, etc. will work, since there is a 13 y/o girl & a 10 y/o boy already in the house. So, wish me luck, as we (well, mostly the attorneys) will be figuring the details of how all of this is going to work, in the days to come.
That evening, the kids got to visit their dad, which was good. He hasn't been asking for visits, even when he was in town for court or to see his attorney, so I was kind of surprised. But, I was happy to take them & let them have time with him. This was also the first time for them to meet his gf, but it seems to have gone pretty well. Thankfully, I had told them that their dad has a gf, because he had never told them, so they weren't blindsided when she was there.
Overall, the visit seemed to have gone well. My only concern was the Beautiful ended up (according to her) spending most of the time with his gf "looking at girl stuff", while her Dad was looking at stuff with the boys. I'm glad his gf (I really need to think of a name for her, because I hate having too keep just calling her his gf, like she's just a title, not a person) & she were getting along & things were going well in that respect, but I worry about the fact that he wasn't as engaged with her. This, of course, is from her 7 y/o perspective & he may not have realized how it appeared to her. Unfortunately, he does not wish to communicate with me (I haven't even had a working phone number for him in months) so I can't convey it to him. So, I hope she eventually feels comfortable enough to tell him that she needs more connection from him.
After the visit, the two oldest boys (10 & 12) went home with my parents, so that they can go hunting. So, I'll miss them while they're gone, but I'm glad they are getting to have fun. I'm grateful that my parents are so involved with my kids. That has been invaluable during the time that The Bigs' father was disconnected (assuming he's really going to follow through with getting back in their lives, as he says). I will be traveling the three hours to my parents' house for Thanksgiving & will get my boys back then. Their baby brother will be so happy to see them again. He spent an hour walking around, calling their names last night.