Handling the outcome of a custody battle

Single mom Felicia Dewar on the disappointment that came with her recent custody hearing

By Felicia Dewar
Handling the outcome of a custody battle

Photo Kuzma/

If you follow me on any of my online platforms, you will know that Friday's court date did NOT go well. The judge gave my ex 50% custody and is forcing co-parenting on us, regardless of the past abusive behavior. Although I have spent much time praying for peace, focusing on the positive and reading recent parental judgments, nothing could have prepared me for such a quick and all-encompassing negative outcome. There was no deliberation, no assessments called, no witnesses for my side of the story — just a quick, massive life change that had me collapse to the floor in sobbing, hysterical disbelief. I spent the next 24 hours in shock, unable to process what happened, unable to focus on anything other than my heartbreak — unable to eat, sleep or even pray. I wrote a quick, broken-hearted post on my blog and updated my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Sunday dawned and the shock finally began to wear off. Feeling a little mortified, I realized that I had poured out my heartbreak to the world at large online and that I was no longer that "positive single parent" I had so endeavored to be. Further saddened by this revelation I actually considered not writing for Today's Parent this week. I couldn't imagine writing about some frivolous adventure we had experienced or some light-hearted conversation we had — my heart was too heavy. As always, I turned to my online community for advice and what I received both surprised and honoured me. Unanimously my friends asked me to share my heartbreak, share the process and, yes, share the negativity of single parenting. They felt that there were others going through a similar process or considering going through a similar process that could use my story — my hurt, my heartbreak, to help yours. So here I am. Reaching out through the wonderful opportunity that Today's Parent has given me to share, not just the great in our life, but the hurt too.

It is too early for me to determine whether I can continue this war the way I started it. I most definitely took the high road, I did not slander my ex, did not push for child support (thousands in arrears) and co-operated as much (or more) than I should have over the past four years that he has been out of my sons' lives. Although financially I was unable to hire a lawyer, I truly believed I could self-represent from my mama's heart and that I would be heard. I now feel that such was not the case. I won't go further into the actual proceedings but they were definitely a lesson in why the courtroom is made for lawyers, not parents.

Although I advocate for ambassadorship with the other "country", once hostile actions have commenced, I now recommend fully arming yourself for the war.

This article was originally published on Mar 20, 2012

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