What a day this has been. I finalized my paperwork last night and it was slightly overwhelming to sort through the forms required for an ex parte hearing…sometimes I think that I should just go to law school and then I am reminded that I hate the paperwork process. Then in dawned on me that I would have a paralegal and it sounded more appealing.
This morning I was in a rush—school drop offs and then straight to Kinkos to make the necessary copies for the court and the attorneys. Everything had to be copied, filed and served by 10am this morning which was no small feat. I felt like that little kid sliding into home plate as I made it in and out of the court house with three minutes to spare. I needed those three minutes to breathe because breathing had taken a spot on the low end of the totem pole this morning. Seriously. Crazy. Morning.
I have come to know the process at the court house. Some of the women at the intake counter are extremely sweet and helpful and others are just there to punch the time clock ‘in’ and ‘out’. I always hold my breath—hoping and praying that I got the right number of copies and the correct forms. As the main clerk flipped through my stack of papers examining everything carefully, she confirmed that everything was perfect. I asked for my “gold star” and went on my merry way.
I drove 30 miles back home and received a call shortly after from the clerk who stated that my fee waiver was no longer valid. It seems that it expired when our permanent support order was made. I explained to her that I don’t receive regular support to which she stated, “Mr. X pays for his filings when he comes in”. My response: “Mr. X can afford to pay for his filings because he rarely pays child support.” I knew it was useless to argue so I asked her how much I owed for today and the grand total was $105. She then explained that she could not take my ex parte to the courtroom until I paid $105. I told her that I would drive the one-hour round trip to pay it by 3:30pm.
A half an hour later: Riiiiiiing (that’s the phone—trying to maintain my humor so bear with me).
Court Clerk: Ms. Swithin, I’ve been going back through your file and it seems that you actually owe $275 for prior filings.
Me: Okay—Can I pay half of that today and half next week.
Court Clerk: No. Unfortunately we can’t add you to tomorrow’s calendar until you pay $275. It needs to be paid by 3:30pm today.
Me: So, let me see if I hear you correctly. I can’t fight to protect my children unless I give you $275. Is that what you are saying.
Court Clerk: No—there are policies in place and we didn’t catch your fees until now. I am unable to give your file to the judge until your fees are paid.
Me: I am just about to get on a conference call. I will be there in less than two hours with checkbook in hand.
Knock-Knock….Ms. Swithin? I am here from Child Protective Services to interview your daughters and discuss a swimming pool incident.
Ex Parte paperwork filed and served- check!
Interview with Child Protective Services complete- check!
Work and Conference Call- check!
Writing a check which will impact the next two weeks of my life- check!
Fighting for my daughters- MAJOR CHECK!
All in a day’s work…..
Tomorrow’s work: Ex Parte hearing to protect the girls. Accepting prayers, pixie dust, positive thoughts. Getting the Big Girl Panties and Tiara ready!