The Fight Begins
We got home and I read through the papers. It seems that Liam changed his mind and decided to stay with Bubba. He’d signed a paper stating his preference. He was old enough to do this and he’d done it.
I felt sick. I’d told Liam that I’d take care of it and fix it so that he could live with his dad. I knew it would be a fight but it wouldn’t have been this level of fight. Bubba was fighting for custody of both boys and the charges he brought against me were unbelievable. He claimed that I didn’t provide adequate supervision for the kids, that I never had food in my house, and that I don’t allow my kids to have a relationship with my side of the family.
I was dumbfounded. What the hell?
First, Serenity is an adult and Liam is well past the age to be a legal babysitter in my state. It makes no sense to say I don’t provide adequate supervision. It’s just something to try and make me look bad.
Second, according to my children, I never have food in the house only because their definition of food consists of junk food and soda, which I buy very little of. Not only do I not have the budget to afford such items (thanks to Bubba being thousands behind on child support), but I also strive to have my family eat healthily. I’ve had to let the ideal of not using convenience foods go because of my work schedule, but my fridge, freezer, and pantry are always full of food. The simple fact is that the older two kids don’t want to have to pull something out of the fridge and cook themselves something to eat. They want to binge on potato chips and soda and candy.
Third, I do not choose to have a relationship with my family. Not once have I ever told my kids that they weren’t allowed to have a relationship with my family. Both of the older two have their own cell phones and can initiate contact with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins as they see fit. They’ve also been instructed over and over to let Shane use their phones for such contacts if he wants. I reminded them of family members’ birthdays for the first two years after I left Bubba. None of the children ever wanted to call so I stopped reminding them. I also figured that it was no longer my place since my family had embraced Bubba. It was his responsibility to maintain contact between the kids and the people who chose him. They were his family now and his responsibility.
Treun immediately called the lawyer he’d used for his divorce. He said she was a shark and a shark is exactly what we needed. We set up an appointment and went to talk to her. I printed off some of the emails that Bubba had sent me over the years that showed exactly how verbally abusive he continued to be toward me. I printed off my accounting sheet of child support arrears, detailing what was due, what was paid, and what was owed. I got my original court documents together. And I got the retainer together. Thankfully, I’d gotten a good tax return just a few months before this and I’d saved it. I knew that with the two year mark having passed that Bubba would be taking me back to court as soon as he could find a reason to and I was right. My nest egg would be utterly depleted but the fact that I had it was a miracle to me.
Treun assured me that this time would be different. This time I had a shark lawyer and the support of a loving husband. I was no longer that traumatized woman just trying to escape with her kids. I was in a strong position this time and Bubba was in for a fight.
All those assurances did nothing to stop the PTSD from roaring back to the forefront. The panic attacks started viciously and intensely.
It was time to find a new counselor.