With Timile’s mother not asking but telling me that they’re taking Cydney to visit from December 26th-January 5th per our visitation agreement in Virginia, I filed in New York a motion to amend the visitation agreement that was in place by the State of Virginia. I strategically waited until Cydney’s grandparents decided to make a move that I didn’t like before I filed. The point was for a significant amount of time to pass to stack the deck in my favor and get what I wanted from the judge here. Cydney wasn’t then and never was a Virginia resident. They lied in court in 2012 stating that Cydney had been in Virginia since approximately September 2011. That was false. Cydney wasn’t with Timile or I in Buffalo for most of the month of September; she was in Long Island with my family and she moved to Buffalo October 17th 2011. They tried to claim that she was a resident so that the Virginia court would have jurisdiction on the case. It’s all good.
After I filed, I received another text message or so with Timile’s mother saying that they were excising their right per the visitation agreement. I laughed when I read that last one and was praying that they would get the letter from Nassau County Family Court the next day. I’m not sure when they got it, but sometime within that next week the letter was in my mail basket. I read it happily. I was ecstatic when I saw that the court date was November 19-two years to the day since the last time I saw Timile and things really got ugly between Timile’s immediate family and me. Poetic Justice. Needless to say I didn’t get anymore text messages after that.
Tuesday rolled around and that morning seemed incredibly slow. I got Cydney dressed and took her to court with me on purpose. If her grandparents had actually shown up, then they could have seen her in her ‘Mommy’s Sweetheart’ shirt and all of her splendor. If they didn’t show up, then they could hear her in the background as we were negotiating with the judge. This whole thing has been mental warfare and I have been okay with playing that game.
When I got there I looked around the parking lot for Timile’s parents’ car and didn’t see it. I knew they wouldn’t show up, but just in case I had to check. If they were there, they would see me pulling up in my mother’s not sure whether its mine or not blaring A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Stir it Up’ (I was getting ready for the Kanye West and ATCQ concert the next day) with Cydney in tow. When I saw the judge, she told me that her computer was down, so she was having a hard time pulling up the docket. I gave her as brief of a rundown as possible. She asked me when was the last time that the respondents had seen Cydney. I told her April 4, 2012. She told me that since the first case was filed in Virginia, she would have to speak to the judge and ask if they would relinquish the case to the State of New York. We started a half hour late, and waited for the Virginia Judge for forty-five minutes. At 1:16 the Virginia Judge had finally said that she remembered the case, that it was really sad, and that she would in fact hand the case over the the judge in New York and let them preside over the hearings from now on. Win no. 1 for me.
After waiting around in silence other than Cydney coloring and saying that doing so of her Disney Princesses was her job, we finally got to it. The judge told Timile’s parents that I was asking for the agreement to be modified to supervised visitation based on the grounds that Cydney does not know who these people are anymore. The judge was basically saying that since Cydney hadn’t seen them since April 2012 she more or less was going to grant this. Their response started off with Timile’s father saying that they had been going through a lot between illnesses, family affairs, and deaths in the family and that I knew this (Which is true). He said that had reached out to me (which is true and we did speak), he offered for times for Cydney to visit and I made excuses (Half-true: they weren’t excuses). Timile’s mother then said that she sent me emails saying what’s going on with her and text messages as well. I raised my hand and told the judge I don’t know what email address she sent them to because I didn’t get them (Which is true: I have maybe ten email addresses and five of them I use on a daily basis). Timile’s mother who was beginning to raise her voice getting a little emotional (I don’t mean that negatively, you could tell how she was feeling by the tone of her voice) saying that I could have visited them. She then told the judge that I could have visited them because I have visited other family members and I recently did in Washignton DC which is a few hours away from them and didn’t do so. (Editor’s note: so what?)
Timile’s father then chimed in and said that once his wife sent these text messages then I pop up out of nowhere with this amendment. Yes. I. Did. I would be a terrible parent if I let my child go off with some strangers to her. I damn sure am not going to Virginia and I damn sure have no intentions of ever setting foot in that house every again. I just took a page from the Parenting 101 Textbook: Protect Your Child.
The judge went on to say that regardless of what, why, or how, Cydney doesn’t know who these people are anymore and them taking her with them without someone she is familiar with would be a traumatizing experience. At this point, the judge was thirty minutes into her recess period and had more cases on the docket starting at 2 PM, she was ready to shut this one down and rightfully so. She let them know that she was about the adjourn this and grant supervised visitation in the State of New York based on the grounds of unfamiliarity. Timile’s parents didn’t like that one bit. They kept asking for different things like a court appointed supervisor during visitation and the judge who was starting to get annoyed said that the whole point of doing this is for someone who Cydney is familiar with being present. Doing that would negate that and there would be no one that she knows in the room. The judge said that they are a grandparent and know this to be true, deep down they know this, and should know better that what they wanted wouldn’t happen. I shrugged and looked at the judge with a facial expression that shows “You see what I’ve been dealing with?!”
That right there has been my issue with them the whole time. Everything has been about what they want. Not what’s best for anyone else. They wanted Timlie and Cydney to themselves so they broke up my family. They then wanted Cydney all to themselves so as opposed to doing the decent thing and telling me my daughter’s mother died (If they didn’t want to recognize me as anything else), come and get your kid, and this is when the funeral is. Nope. They want to see Cydney but on their terms’ and are not thinking about what is necessarily best for Cydney; but what is for them. There’s no human element. If there was, then Timile’s parents would be adamant about coming to New York, getting reacquainted with Cydney, and then seeing where things go from there first as opposed to just taking her to Virginia like she knows who they are or is old enough to have an elevated level of understanding.
The judge told Timile’s parents that she’s granting the supervised visitation with me present. It’s what’s best for the child. We could all go to McDonald’s or something or even to my house. I told the judge I’m okay with that. Visitation starts on the 26th of December until January 5th. I told the judge if they want to they can come on the 25th, just to show that I don’t want to keep Cydney away from them. The judge also said that we would be coming back to court on January 6th to hammer our the rest of the agreement because I gave many reasons for why this is how visitation needs to go down. The judge stated that they should be in town so they are not expecting any phone-ins either. We closed with the judge suggesting that they and Cydney do face time on the phone or something in which I obliged and said that I have Skype. I’ll send them my email address and the judge said that Timile’s parents can start off by reading stories to her.
So as of now, that’s where we stand. So as of now, guess who’s coming for Christmas?
One thought on “The Last Chapter: Back to Court Pt. 2”
i am all kinds of happy that you were able to get the virginia ruling amended. reading your story for the last two days sounds as if the grandparents have not grieved their daughter’s death and were looking for their granddaughter to be a fill in. that is and would not have been healthy for them or cydney. continued prayers for you, cydney and your current chapter.
you’re a grown a– man so my only words to you are please don’t let the grandparents push your buttons where things go south for you in court…..
merry christmas *snicker*