I have been in this custody battle for around 3 years now. It is ridiculous to hear the government tell you over and over again ‘What’s important here is the well being of the children’. How is the well being of the children being served when it takes more than 3 years to solve a custody battle? When we finally went to court, we presented our case in front of a judge who heard from school principals, teachers, psychologists, employers, and even had a private, closed-door session with both children. The final decree after those two days of court was ‘Awarding Joint Custody with the Father being the custodial parent’. For those who don’t know what joint custody means, it means that the mother has the right to talk to teachers, doctors, or anyone regarding the children, and help make decisions that affect the children.
When a decision cannot be agreed upon, the custodial parent has the final word. Of course, I went to get my children to take them home with me; however, I was stopped before I could get them because she filed for a new trial and the law in Georgia states that ‘if you file for a new trial, the decision is reverted back to the original decree’, so the children went back to her and we were back to square one. We had her new trial hearing, her lawyer presented her case, mine argued it, and once again, the Judge gave custody to the Father and denied her motion for a new trial. I finally had my children living with me for about two weeks until she filed a petition for an appeal to the Supreme Court in Atlanta. Once again that wonderful law in Georgia that looks out for the best interest of the children, allowed her to take custody once again of the children until the final appeals court decision.
I guess this back and forth is good for the children. She did her petition for an appeal and wrote pretty much anything she wanted there. She lied and twisted things around, and even had the guts to indirectly imply that the Judge was my friend, or I paid him off, and so the Judge was against her from the beginning and never gave her a chance. By the way, this Judge is probably one of, if not the most, honest and respected judge in his district. I assumed that because of her lies on the petition for an appeal, the Supreme Court decided to grant her the right to appeal. Now since the appeals court is backlogged, we have no idea how long this will take. As it is right now, my son will turn 14 this year and he has already expressed that he will be moving in at that time if there is no decision yet. Which brings me to my frustration with the Elian Gonzalez case.
I wish the best for this child and I hope the decisions that will be made are truly the best for him. However, I cannot believe the hypocrisy of politicians, state, federal and other representatives. Again, I understand that the Elian Gonzalez case has a sensitive political situation tied to it, but what an insult to ‘American Fathers and Children‘ who have to wait over three years to get their case heard and decided. How dare this government tell us that the most important thing to them is ‘What is best for the children’. If you look at my case as a sample, and I am sure there are hundreds if not thousands of similar situations throughout the nation, how can we even believe in the system? (Continued Page 3)