We settled yesterday but I'm still not happy with the final outcome. Mostly because I promised the kids no overnites during the week, so I feel like I failed them. :( But the reasons I settled are:
1) I want to stop fighting. I'm tired of the strain it has put on my family.
2) If we went to court it would be probably another $10-15,000 in fees and we have already maxed out our credit card, owe Dad money, and still owe close to $10k in lawyer bills.
3) I really didn't want the kids to be in the middle. As much as I'd love to say "IN YOUR FACE!" after the kids tell the judge they don't want this- it still puts them in a high pressure position- and I would be the one putting them there.
4) The judge is a fairly new judge and is known as a "loose canon" so as awesome as our case was, we just never know. I didn't want to risk totally having no control over the situation.
So, basically the new schedule is:
1st, 3rd and 5th weekends he has them from after school Friday until 8pm on Sunday. BUT I get to pick them up for my church on those Sundays- which was my biggest concern. So they will still be at church with me.
The Thursdays before those weekends he gets them from after school and they spend the nite. Tristan doesn't have seminary the 1st Friday so hopefully he'll only miss once a month.
The Thursday NOT before his weekends he gets them after school until 8pm.
On my Sundays they go to church with me, but to "make up" for the time I take them on his Sundays, I take them to him at his church before or after my church and he brings them home 3 hours later.
He gets 35 days in the summer instead of 42. And I still get to pick the dates. This is HUGE because if he was picking the dates they'd always miss scout camp and any other dates that are important to them. Now I have that control. And although 7 days doesn't seem like a huge change- it's a big deal. I'm stoked about that.
Also, the Thursday nites are ONLY during the school year. And it may seem easy to him THIS school year, but next year when football season starts and the boys have after school practice everyday and late games on Thursdays... he'll realize it's not as easy as he thinks and the kids are gonna be like, "I don't wanna drive out to your house I just wanna go home." I am confident in that. And I will totally have their backs.
My child support will go up $200 a month. And he's behind $1200 which he's paying out over 2 years at $50 a month. I was bugged by that because I wanted a lump sum to pay my attorney with. :( But whatever.
The worst thing about it is when I told the kids I was, of course, upset. I felt like I let them down. All 3 of them cried and Isabel got so upset she threw up. They don't want him picking them up from school because they want to see us 1st. They don't want to spend the nite on the Thursdays either. They were, however, thrilled about less time in the summer. Surprising. Not.
I think it'll be tough to adjust at first, but then it'll be the summer and then the next school year is gonna be a huge shock to him and it's not gonna work. The kids are also bugged because they see how it has affected our family and I think they'll speak up a little more because they know I fought as hard as I could. So... I guess just continue to pray.
The best part is when the mediator said Mike was willing to offer an apology for "how the marriage ended." I laughed. Hard. I told him that the affair is so NOT why he pisses me off. I have tons of reasons that aren't 9 years old. Starting with this whole friggin' lawsuit. I said, "Tell him to come apologize for this and pay for it and then we're good." What a total prick to think that my actions had anything to do with crap he did 9 years ago. It was a blessing- look how awesome my life is now! (Other than all the crap due to exes....) I will be giving him a piece of my mind. Oh and his attorney said that she was having to "talk him down from the ledge" because he feels that "no one appreciates him as the father." I told my attorney "I know I don't, because he's not. I'll never see him as the dad and neither will the kids. That's what happens when you walk out."
So, anyway... that's the jist of it. We talked to the kids and just said that when they are here it's gonna be "Hardcore Gordon Family Time." I just love my family so much. I have the raddest kids. I'm blessed.