Where to begin???
If judges gave high-fives I woulda been all over that! Instead I reserved myself to handshakes outside the courtroom with the defendant's (that's Aspen's mom) parents, sister, ex-husband as well as my boss along with Miguel. All whom were there on my behalf.
I acted pro-se (meaning I was my own lawyer) so it was important that everything be done right. Judges have little patience for those acting as their own layers. And my judge was no exception. That was evident from the very beginning. Which is a good place to start I guess...
The defendant was a no-show. I don't know if the traveling judge I had knew this, didn't care, or had the power to override that statute. At any rate, the judge realized the defendant was not present yet but told me to proceed anyway. Whew! I was greatly relieved.
That was one huge hurdle I just cleared.
I gave my testimony as to why I should have full custody of Aspen. I was hoping to be able to read it but I was not. So I had to resort to memory. Fortunately, I did okay and didn't forget too many key facts.
I then stepped down and called to the stand the defendant's ex husband (Aspen's stepdad). He went over some character testimony of the defendant but the judge seemed only interested in hearing what he had to say about the defendant's earning potential seeing that he also used to be her boss (cliche right?).
I should have viewed the fact that he was focusing on money as a good sign. Instead I was a bit flustered that he wasn't wanting to hear any of my witnesses. You see, he had already decided in my favor while I was on the stand (perhaps before). All he wanted was to figure out how much was reasonable child support. To figure that, he needed to know her income potential. And that's where her ex (husband and boss) came in handy.
When I motioned to have other witnesses speak on my behalf he shot me down saying that whatever they were going to attest to was not being contested so it was unnecessary. I finally said "Well Your Honor, since the defendant isn't here I suppose nothing is being contested. So I guess I have no more witnesses."
He smiled "Excellent, then we can move on."
He spent the next ten minutes with his calculator explaining (way too fast for me to understand) that the amount I was requesting for support was appropriate when considering her earning potential. Apparently I could have asked for a bit more but he was not allowed to grant more than what was requested. It's all a mute point really. You can't milk a stone.

Two other sidenotes:
1. I had encouraged the defendant to show up. I told her what I considered 'reasonable visitation' might not be what the judge considered it to be. As I predicted, based on the defendant's no show, the judge stated that the definition of 'reasonable visitation' would be left up to me. If the defendant had a problem with how I interpreted it then she was free to file her own complaint whenever it suited her. I don't have to follow the visitation guidelines I had described to her now if I don't feel like it. mwah ha ha ha ha!
Apparently the only thing his honor likes less than pro-se litigants are litigants who don't show up period.
2. The defendant is engaged as of this week. The man with whom she was unfaithful in her relationship to proposed the other day. She is 37 and this will be her 5th marriage. Yep (looking at watch), right on schedule! lol

Bottom line: The important thing is that Aspen is going nowhere without me from here on out.

Thanks to anyone who ever left a comment on this subject over the last year. The support was helpful! I think we're done with this topic now.