I just got out of court. Nothing of substance was decided.
On the way to court, I got my ex-wife's status statement in the mail. I think that I was supposed to get it five days in advance.
The first case was a lawyer who was trying to serve a summons to a husband in Mexico. The Mexican was refusing papers from his wife, so they managed to trick him into signing for another package that really contained the summons. The judge said that he'd accept that if the wife vouches for the signature.
The second case was a divorcing couple that was fighting over the division of their home and cars. She was there, along with lawyers for each. Her lawyer said that they had a settlement, but they got into a fight and now she needs a restraining order because he has guns. The judge started to fill out some paperwork for the restraining order, and asked them if 100 yards separation is sufficient. After another question, his lawyer revealed that they were still living together in the same house! The judge scrapped the restraining order, and scheduled a hearing in a couple of weeks.
Then my case came up. I came forward and identified myself as representing myself. My ex-wife put her new baby down, and also came forward, with no lawyer. But there there was this other guy there who identified himself as the lawyer for our kids! The judge suggested that he introduce himself to us. I never heard of a case where the parents do not have lawyers, but the kids do.
The judge ordered us each to pay the lawyer a $1000 retainer. He said that the lawyer should not have to be burdened by having to bill us. It is amazing how meticulous the judge is about making sure that lawyers get paid, and at the same time so unconcerned about whether I get to see my own kids.
The judge then listed the remaining issues, and started setting court dates for hearing them. There will be a hearing on the child custody order next week. There will be a hearing in January to change the child support order to conform to the appellate court reversal of it. My ex-wife asked for a trial on some other financial issues in April. She said that she will be able to leave her new baby alone at home then.
I voiced my objections to the court taking my kids, and asked for visitation. The judge gave me a list of court-approved visitation supervisors. My ex-wife complained that she has had trouble finding a visitation supervisor of her choice because people don't want to have anything to do with me after they hear about my blog. The judge said that he can't do anything about that.
Afterwards, I chatted briefly with the kids' lawyer in the court hallway. He said that he knew absolutely nothing about the case, and that he just got the order appointing him counsel that that's all. Then he told me that he wanted to meet me, my ex-wife, and the kids in his office. All separately, I assume. He said that the case was very unusual. Two things made the case unusual: the extreme action taken by CPS and the court, and the lack of any physical evidence of harm. He said that the CPS case worker was likely to testify in court next week, and that I would get a copy of her report when she completes it.
I gave the lawyer a copy of the papers I had given the court and my ex-wife. He suggested that I get counseling. I am not sure what to make of him yet. He is probably looking up this blog right now, and forming an opinion of me.