Timeline: from shocking deceit to finally getting some time with my sonNews, Baby ·Wednesday November 4, 2020 @ 13:37 EST (link)
This is the timeline of events wherein my wife Honey Robins decided to destroy our family, for reasons unknown, but maybe in part because she wants to live with her parents in West Virginia (and I didn't want to do that); postpartum depression/conditions may also have been involved; just not known at this point, and of course if it's something that would negatively affect her in court, that would explain why she's not talking.
September 6, 2017: Son David Geoffrey Robins is born.
March 28, 2018: Honey runs off with our son to West Virginia, after claiming to go to a "girl's night" with friends (taking David since she was breastfeeding him). I'm not sure if that ever actually occurred; she also claimed that people there convinced her to run off. The next day she takes $60,000 out of our joint account, and removes her name from the account.
April-October, 2018: I try to reason with Honey on the phone, get counseling for the shock, ask various relatives or counselors to help, and (May?) drive to West Virginia to see Honey and David and try to find out what's going on. I'm given the runaround (later I find out she was stringing me along claiming to be "thinking and praying" about things, etc., until she had better chances for getting custody there). She mostly wants money, as she has no intention of working, with the clear implication that if I don't pay her I won't be able to see David. I end up paying/she charges an additional $15,000 as part of that scheme, even though she had plenty to support David.
Eventually I arrange with work to visit WV every other week so I can see the two of them (really I was visiting David and a stone wall, since she was likely following legal advice to say nothing, but figured a complete silent treatment would be too suspicious). I spent as much time as she would let me during the day, going out to eat, parks, etc., working remotely after and into the evenings when she withheld him from me. She did not let me see him overnight, and although there was no court order and I could have done so, I didn't want to cause upset by keeping him or bringing him home against her wishes. When it was warm enough I camped (at an electrical site in Twin Falls State Park, and I had a 4G modem for Internet), and other times stayed in the lodge at the park.
David took his first steps to me at a Kroger in Beckley, WV, when he was about a year old. He had been standing (a bit precariously) or pulling himself along, and I had the sense he was ready, so I set him down a few steps back and sat down and held out my hands for him to walk to me, and he did.
November 2018: She files for divorce in West Virginia. She texts me to tell me about it when I get home for the week, and then begins a silent treatment that will go on until present day.
At this point I can't go back to West Virginia to see David even if she would allow it, because they could serve me there and get jurisdiction (and her attorney, who is not overburdened with scruples per past history, would, and she wouldn't do anything without consulting her attorney). She refused to either meet in Ohio (where she had previously, while still stringing me along, but her lawyer had probably advised her to keep David as bait in West Virginia) or grant any sort of immunity (which had been held up in other states) for me seeing him.
She ended up withholding my boy from me completely (not that I was getting much time with him anyway) for over a year and a half (over two and a half years and counting generally); I only finally got limited time with him when the court ordered it. What kind of evil person does that?
December 2018: I go to Canada for the Christmas holidays for most of the month.
February 2019: They serve me, "constructively" (that's what it's called when they don't serve in-person within the state where the court is, and means that the court doesn't have personal jurisdiction over me, which will be important), by publication in a newspaper, because the server couldn't find me at home in December when I was in Canada, or the gate was closed, or something like that.
They send a bunch of invasive discovery requests to work, etc., to get information toward helping her take more of my savings later.
March 2019: The "family" court in West Virginia issues a temporary order (doesn't matter so much what's in it, it's done without personal jurisdiction and is all going away; it's not the judge's fault, he's not supposed to raise personal jurisdiction issues sua sponte, or on his own).
June 2019: I hire an attorney to address jurisdiction issues, and he determines we need to petition the next higher court, the Wyoming County Circuit Court, for a "Writ of Prohibition" against the lower court, which we do.
October 2019: We are granted the Writ of Prohibition (this is how long it takes to do things in court) over their strenuous but empty objections. In particular, they try to claim that H. ran off "impoverished"; apparently she hid the money she took and received from her attorney, and when mine brought it up that line of attack quickly disappeared.
January 2020: They try for a final hearing (set for May, but COVID ends up pushing it back).
March-May 2020: I "release" my divorce lawyer (I had a different one for the Writ, and had only hired him for that purpose, which was successful) for, among other things, poor communication (maybe he had too many cases?) and not doing anything toward getting me time with David again. They file a pile of frivolous and harassing motions to try to get jurisdiction and money, which I object to (because of lack of jurisdiction, citing the Writ).
July 2020: Hearing is set. I'm not as prepared as I should be and the judge gives himself personal jurisdiction; but I do ask for and get time with David: 3 hours a day for a week, every other week, but I have to be exiled to West Virginia for it; the judge won't send David home yet, because she has kept him from me for so long ("fruit of the poisonous tree"). Her lawyer is asked to write up the order.
August 2020: I file a long and detailed objection, which is ignored because it's not complaining about transcription errors (the rules don't require it to; and in fact, it does mention a significant and probably intentional omission from the written order, something missed out which is confirmed by the recording of the hearing). (Per precedent, and given that I am pro se, it would have been reasonable for it to have been interpreted also as a motion to reconsider.)
I also finally get to see David again. For the first three weeks it is supervised—I don't know how I had the presence of mind to get it unsupervised after that, but since there was no reason for it in the first place, I did.
So I get permission from work to be remote again, travel there, and spend time with my son, finally. We walk, I bring a ball and teach him to throw and catch it (and later bring the basketball net I've had waiting for him for so long), and read some books; one week I bring a guitar; we go places to eat and I feed him; I change him; we go to the playground and ride the swings and climb into the little wooden house and he identifies the numbers and plays with the steering wheel. And I get him some trucks and a big rig to put them in, and various other toys, and we watch some movies like The Jungle Book and try to make up for time that was stolen from us as best we can.
October 2020: They've filed some more harassing motions, and then claimed they can't make their own hearing, which was scheduled for November 30. I had also had consideration of a motion to modify wherein I would seek more time with my son added—to follow a reunification plan from a psychologist after she had alienated him from me, such as adding overnights and eventually bringing him home. It is in his best interest to come home to his father, not stay with someone who treats him as a pawn and a meal ticket in a county that's visibly falling apart, and give her a chance to develop job skills with the degree I bought her and perhaps make something of herself.
Seems the hearing is now set for February 2021. If I had an attorney he would have been consulted about the scheduling, apparently, but since I don't, they just ignored me, in clear violation of the state supreme court's directives to treat pro se litigants fairly.
Present: There are a couple different ways to proceed, and I don't want to reveal everything here yet; but it is going to be an drawn-out, wasteful, and expensive process, and there is strong bias against fathers, pro se litigants, people from out of town, education, etc.; why she prefers to just waste what I worked hard for I don't know—sheer bloodymindedness? being led along by the lawyer?—but she could end the harm she is doing at any point, but she will not.
This is the great evil I have had to deal with these past nearly three years; pray that God will replace her heart of stone with a heart of flesh, and turn her from the evil she has chosen; pray that my son will be able to come home without undue delay.