The court date was December 1, and we were not expecting any problems at that time. But when we got there, my brother Bill (the youngest in the family) was there with his wife. Bill was dressed like a pimp... Grey patent leather shoes, pin-striped suit, and the pimp fedora. OHhhhhh, Yeahhhh!
The judge happened to be one that had had dealings with Bill previously (I believe he was the judge in the foreclosure proceedings against Bill - he'd lost his house back in 2007). Bill told the court that he'd just gotten hold of his lawyer that morning, and said his lawyer told Bill to ask for a continuance. The judge asked who his lawyer was and then tried to get hold of the lawyer to check on Bill's story, and only got an answering machine. (Sounds like a one man show to me.)
The judge asked if there was any reason to stop the proceedings at that point, but my lawyer asked that the witnesses be allowed to testify at that time. We started with our witnesses, and the minute one of them stated something Bill didn't like, he made an audible gasp as though he had just caught her in a lie (Oh, the drama of it all!) and the judge came down on him and told him that this was not an informal setting, and that he was to purport himself in a manner appropriate to the court proceedings.
This isn't one of the TV versions of small claims court. This was a genuine court proceeding and loud noises are out of order.
Each witness testified that I had been the one who was caring for mother all those years that she needed help. Bill questioned one witness about whether she remembered how Bill used to go to her house and mow her lawn and help her around the house. She said yes. I whispered to my lawyer that she should ask how much he charged to mow her lawn. She did, and the witness stated that mom had told her Bill was charging her $50 each time he did it. Yeah, he such a great son. Bill never did anything for mom without having a dollar sign attached to it.
Then I got up on the stand. I was asked several questions by my attorney... and then Bill asked some questions. He brought up the time when I filed for a protective order. Neither my lawyer nor the judge stopped the questioning, so I answered that yes, I had filed for a protective order against Richard. I explained why as well.... Richard's apparent instability, prior history, and that I had a child to protect against any possibility that he might try to harm me, and in doing so, would possibly harm my daughter.
I also told Bill that the date for either him or Richard to have said anything about either me or mom lying about what Richard had said, which lead up to my filing for the order of protection, was the court date back in 2006. They could have come then and plead their side of the case at that time. I hate to tell them, but the "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" charges at this time are not appropriate for these proceedings and have nothing to do with guardianship for mother.
Bill was given a chance to voice anything he wanted to after that. He yammered on for a while. The judge asked him if he had any objection to my being mom's guardian... to which he stuttered and talked incoherently, and then said, "I don't care. Make her guardian." I'm sure Richard would have had a hissy fit if he could have heard Bill say that.
Then he began to yammer on some more, rambling on about things that I was not given a chance to answer (and there was a logical explanation for everything he brought up) but I really didn't want to get into the He said/She said scenario - it would just show a lack of maturity. If my attorney or the judge want to ask about anything, I'll answer it. Otherwise, I'm staying out of the pettiness.
I will say I know in my gut it was Richard who told Bill to show up and contest it. I'm looking forward to the next court date. In the meantime, the judge granted me temporary guardianship. I'm busy preparing a six month listing of her income and expenses, so the judge can see I am capable of doing what it takes for the court's requirements. I'd also like to have an inventory of her property and its value ready for the judge by the next court date. Might as well get as much of that done as soon as possible.
Wish me luck. I honestly think I should be writing a book and trying to sell rights to the story for a TV movie. But usually, someone has to be killed or injured horribly in order to qualify for that... and I'm not wishing that on anyone. Especially not my daughters.