So, last week I wrote about how the court appointed DNA test proved that Cydney was in fact my daughter and how I was headed to Virginia to file for custody down there. I left Monday afternoon and got into Virginia Beach around midnight. I remember that bus ride because while I was awake the whole time the girl next to me thought I was asleep and tried to sleep on my shoulder. I was getting in midnight and heading back on a 3:30PM bus.
I met up with Timile’s cousin who I spent the night with and was going to take me to Hampton’s courthouse the next day. We got there at about 9. I filed the petition for custody and had a seat to wait for further instructions. Everything seemed fine at that point.
About five minutes later a clerk came from the back and called out loud for “Chad Milner.” I raised my hand and they asked me to come in the back. Timile’s cousin came in the back too. We both looked at each other and thought “Uh oh!” because going in the back to talk in private is NEVER good.
We got to the back and the clerk said to me that she was reviewing my petition for custody for my daughter. I said “Yes.” Her exact words were “Did you know that there’s a hearing for custody tomorrow?” I replied “No, I didn’t. I just happened to come down to Virginia today to fill out paperwork.” The clerk then said “Yes, its filled by Timile’s father under the grounds that they don’t know where you are.”
I went into my bag and pulled out all of my paperwork and proved otherwise. I gave phone records showing the last time they called me in November as well as pictures of them holding Cydney at the hospital in New York that I took. There was even a picture at my house in New York. I showed documentation from court in New York as well as copies that they had been served by the Hampton Sheriff’s Department which proved that their whole premise was false. She said well, “I’m going to add you to the docket and the hearing is tomorrow at 8 AM.”
I guess I’m not getting on this 3:30PM bus. They really were expecting to waltz into court that next day and walk out with custody thinking their plan would work. Timile’s cousin was RIGHT. They were up to something. We laughed thinking how unpleasantly surprised they will be that I just happened to be in court that day. That was God working. Had I not been there that day, they could have had custody and I be tied up in red tape for years trying to get my daughter back.
I went to Burlington and bought a cheap shirt, tie, and pants because all I came with was my paperwork and the clothes on my back. That felt like such a long day since we were out of there at 10AM and I had nothing to do until the next morning.
That morning on our way to court, we prayed that everything just worked out in my favor. I walked in there with no fear and by myself. Standing outside of the courtroom I sat to the side because I didn’t want to be seen. I saw them walk up the stairs all dressed up and walking in confidently. Their lawyer met up with them and they talked for a minute. Still no one saw me. A little later Timile’s father saw me. He walked by like he was going to the bathroom trying to psyche me out and said with a smile “How ya doin’?!” I didn’t respond because I didn’t have jack shit to say. Of course when he came back, they reconvened with their lawyer. The brief look of panic on Timile’s mother’s face: PRICELESS!
We got together in the courtroom before seeing the judge to get the docket together. As the father I got to speak first saying I’m filing for full custody and no visitation on the grounds that I do not trust them and I have written words from Timile herself about how their questionable parenting that lead to her lifelong bout with depression (A published piece called Drawn Out Of Dejection). I had the ten pages of detail that wasn’t published but was handed in to her professor as part of class because she wrote it on my computer that went into details about things she didn’t want published. Trying to not show a response to what I said, I know they were wondering what I was talking about. They too were filing for full custody but with visitation. I laughed in my head because that was the DUMBEST shit I’d ever heard in life. And they’ve said and done plenty of dumb things before.
We went before the judge. She stated that she had received the DNA results from the magistrate in New York. She then said that because there are two separate petitions that we would resume May 21, 2012. She would assign Cydney her own lawyer to decide in her best interest and that we would need to both meet with them.
Before we adjourned the judge stated that she didn’t renew Timile’s parents’ temporary custody past February 1 because she already knew that I was Cydney’s father and that I was around. However, they asked the judge for temporary legal custody until May 21. The judge asked me if I was ok with that. I said “No, I haven’t seen my daughter in four months.” The then said “We would grant liberal visitation.” The judge asked if I was okay with that. “No. The last time I was over there it was a hostile situation in which cops were involved.” The judge’s eyebrows raised as if saying “Oh really?!”
Their lawyer then requested to speak to me on the side to try to negotiate with me for temporary custody. I listened but I was keeping my stance. I knew the law in Virginia was that as long as I have proof that Cydney is my daughter I could take her whenever I pleased.
I left court and let Cydney stay IN their custody because I wanted to lawyer up and have all questions answered. I knew that they had no legal rights to her. I just wanted to talk to the Cydney’s lawyer first, let that be on the record, and then prepare for Cydney coming back to New York. I had already had it made up in my mind I was coming back for Cydney in a couple of weeks. I wouldn’t tell them when. I was just coming.