#5 Abandonment

R hadn’t seen or contacted Beau in over a year. I knew he would come back for holidays to see his family, who live about 5 minutes away. It was a constant worry of mine that he would choose this fathers day, this christmas, this birthday to contact the supervisor for a visit. I had never received any child support payments, any birthday cards, presents, nothing. So I met with my attorney to move forward with filing abandonment. In California you can file for abandonment if there has been a period of 12 months with no contact from the other parent. Now came the hard part-tracking R down. Legally I was supposed to have his address, which is a complete joke in my mind. When has he ever done anything by the law? He never followed ANY of the court ordered instructions. Never did any drug/alcohol screenings, didn’t do any of his counseling, didn’t go to any batterer intervention programs. NOTHING. His family never even contacted me to see Beau. But I had to somehow find an address and serve him 10 days prior to the hearing? I had to have my process server serve his mother and father. Then it became their legal responsibility to get it to R.

We went to court. I had the same judge that we have had this whole hearing, which terrified me. He is a very blunt, no bullshit kind of guy. He will talk over attorneys, tell them to shut their mouths, tell you that you are wasting his time. I had no idea whether or not R, his mom, or his step mother and dad would be attending the hearing. My attorney told me this will be a quick case, since he has literally abandoned Beau it wouldn’t be hard to prove it. Shockingly the judge told me I needed to hire an attorney for Beau, prove that Beau would be financially supported if anything were to happen to me, prove that he was in a better financial position with me than he ever would be with is father, I needed to show where Beau lives, go through extensive background checks, and have an interview with a court investigator. I honestly thought I was going to walk out stress free and the case would be closed. I was so angry. I felt as though we are just giving this monster more time to change his mind, more time to get his shit together, and more time to take Beau away from me.

I had the phone interview with the court investigator. She was very sweet. She asked me every detail of the case, including the domestic violence history. I went though it all step by step, the threats, abuse, how I almost died. She also needed to talk to R then would get back with me once she made contact, I wished her luck. R reportedly sounded irritated and confused as to “why so many people were calling him” She explained to him what was going on, he said “I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I walked away.” He stated “I made visitation impossible for him”. The worst comment he made that broke my heart for Beau was he said “I have no fatherly ties to the child.” Let me just make this clear, HE served me with custody papers, HE got awarded visitation, which HE canceled after 2 visits, so how did I ever make him walk away? Playing the victim as usual. The court investigator recommended that R’s parental rights be terminated since he wasn’t fighting for Beau, never paid child support, and didn’t want to come to court. I was extremely relieved, one battle was won. Next up meeting with Beaus attorney.

I met with Beau’s attorney. She seemed very blunt and almost irritated to be meeting with me. She had asked me to bring Beau so that she could see that he is healthy and happy. She kept commenting on how cute he is, saying I should get him modeling. She also said how happy he is, and  said “who wouldn’t want to be a part of that little boys life.” We went into her office. She grilled me for about an hour, asking me all about my relationship with R, his past, my past, and the abuse. She actually got teary eyed when I described the abuse, my delivery, and the trauma R caused. I got emotional talking about all of the details and saying how much I love Beau and just want what is best for him and his safety. After the hour long session she said she had talked to R. I was anxious as hell thinking about what he said. She stated that R isn’t going to fight my petition and said he doesn’t want any parental rights to Beau-“He just wanted it over with”. THANK GOD that was over with, now we just needed to go back to court to make the ruling final, but R could still change his mind.

We went back to court AGAIN. Same judge, same court reporter, even the same sheriff. My attorney said he would probably call me first or save me for last since it is an easy case. Of course we went last. I don’t think my heart has ever pounded so loudly since the very first court date. I have never prayed like I prayed that day. Next to Beau being born, this is the most important day of my life. At the end of the whole day the judge finally called my case. He asked everyone to leave the court room, at first it was just my attorney, Beaus attorney, the judge, court reporter, and sheriff. I honestly thought that R had changed his mind and that the judge wasn’t going to rule in my favor. He then said “I saved the easiest case for last” My attorney went over all the evidence, Beau’s attorney went over her conversation with myself and R. We asked my family to come in for the final ruling. The judge said he was going to grant my petition to strip R of his parental rights.  I was teary eyed I was so happy. My family was emotional. It was finally over. Beau is all mine forever. The judge said he didn’t even know where to file the paper work because in his whole career he has never made the ruling of  taking someones parental rights away. I thanked him so much! Beau’s attorney walked out with us, she actually shook my hand saying how I was a great mom and she was very pleased with the ruling. I didn’t realize how much stress I was under. It felt like I could finally breathe again.

We called all of our family, friends, and had a big dinner following the court proceedings to  celebrate.

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