the restraining order against me was dropped today. as much as i would like to, i can't call it a vindication because the court commissioner asked Loren's mother if she'd like to continue to pursue the matter, before passing judgment, and Loren's mother declined; ultimately the court never ruled on it.

the court commissioner, having been personally involved in the training of the people who train the mediators at the dispute resolution center she referred us to, was interested in both Loren's mother's and my opinion of the mediation. Loren's mother and i seem to agree that Loren benefitted somewhat from the process. i think Loren appreciated the venue for discussing things he might not feel able to in other circumstances. Loren's benefit notwithstanding, the mediation was a wash. too many topics opened for discussion and no real results.

i waited until this morning before the hearing to fill out the blank parenting plan (visitation schedule, etc.) the dispute resolution center provided. as i suspected, this court room wasn't the place for discussing modifications to the existing court-ordered plan on record, or to enter modifications, so i wasn't surprised when that wasn't brought up. however, filling out the form gave me a chance to think about what the modifications to the existing order should be. it also answered the one question i'd planned on asking in this hearing today before i had the opportunity to ask. that question is: if the court has ordered mediation and/or arbitration as the primary means of dispute resolution between parties, and one of the parties determines the other isn't fulfilling their obligations as defined by the court, what does the other party do? the answer is: notify the other party in writing, by certified mail or other provable means, that mediation or arbitration is necessary to address some conflict, and if that party refuses to participate, a motion of contempt of court is to be filed with the court clerks office.

a lawyer could likely have told me that- but the paperwork the dispute resolution center provided me with for devising a new parenting plan states it clearly, while the actual process for addressing related grievances doesn't appear in the paperwork i received in my divorce. score one for the court for improving their forms in the last 8 years.

so the next question is when i'll get to see Loren. his mother informed me today that he didn't want to come to my place this weekend, but next....but i think since it's already been more than seven weeks since i've seen him, it's past due. i intend to see him before then. i called him today an hour or so after he got out of school, but didn't get through to anyone. a couple calls later i got his mom, and she told me he was in the bathroom. sounds like the same run-around i was getting before all this started. i had her inform him that just "seeing me next weekend" wasn't good enough and i would be calling him back, which i did a couple more times, though no one answered.

well, about 9:00 or so he called me "to tell me goodnight", when he didn't have much time to talk. he may have planned it that way. i asked him how he was and told him i thought next weekend was too far away for seeing him. i asked him if he knew that not calling me had hurt my feelings and he got pretty quiet. i asked him if he knew that not calling me had hurt my feelings, and if this was his intention, and he said it wasn't. i asked him when we'd talk again, and he said tomorrow before school was out, so he'd think about it in school. i told him if we hadn't seen each other in a couple of days i was going to come and see him. he didn't seem overly thrilled with the prospect.

but at least he called me- i'll consider it a step in the right direction.

however, the issue of visitation is still unresolved. as far as the court's concerned, the original parenting plan they put in place is still in force, which in my mind means enforcable. my gut feeling is to make the decisions for him for the moment, and deal with reinstating the visitation schedule with his mom, at least until the ice gets broken. once i've had an opportunity to talk to Loren alone for a while i'll try to get all three of us to sit down and work out the arrangements for the future- which will get submitted to the court this time.

i think it might be a good idea to find out if this restraining order, granted temporarily but ultimately "dismissed without prejudice", goes on my record.

but all this is going to have to wait until after work tomorrow.

thanks to Dad and Melissa for coming out, and everyone that's been in my corner for the last two months- much appreciated.

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