Sperm Donor takes custody of my son and the Courts won't stop it.
I arrived in Hawaii a little more than five years ago with high expectations and nave dreams. The father of my newborn son had promised to marry me and start a new life together in his hometown of Punaluu, but little did I know at the time it was all a sham. We dated for two years on the mainland, but Peter fled Washington State to his parents' house in Punaluu when he learned I was pregnant with our son.
When DNA tests proved he was the father, Peter's parents persuaded him to return to Washington and convince me to sell my possessions, close my business and move to Hawaii where we were married a few months later.
Immediately after the backyard ceremony it was clear that the marriage was nothing more than a means to have my son and I become residents of this state, but I wouldn't realize the implications until I had my first taste of the Family Court.
By the time I filed for divorce it was too late. My financial resources were drained, I was forced onto welfare, and as far as receiving any Ohana assistance that is so renowned there was nothing. Ohana is a term applied selectively by the Mattoon's and as far as they were concerned I was nothing more than the birthing machine of their grandson.
With $25,000 and a slew of attorneys, Peter's family tried desperately in Family Court to take custody of my son from me. Little did I know of the Mattoon's influence in court always believing, naively, that the system was fair and would resolve disputes objectively.
The outcome of the divorce trial? I was given sole physical custody of my son, but with one restriction: if I were to move to the mainland Peter would automatically have all rights and custody of our son and I would have nothing not even visitation. How can a judge make such an order? I later found out that this kind of Hawaii restriction is commonplace in divorce cases involving mainlanders, children and locals. The misguided judge, Judge Uale who handed over custody of my son, and destroyed our family.
The thing that bothers me the most about such a decision is this: What if Peter is serving prison time or accused of molestation at the time I move? The court has decided that under ANY circumstances my son would be better off living with his father if I decided to return to the mainland. The decision amounted to a seventeen-year sentence on the rock for my son and I.
As hard has it has been to survive as an outsider here, I have made it. Oftentimes I have worked as many as four part-time jobs just to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads, but never would I consider giving up my son.
In August of this year my landlord sent me an eviction notice citing major termite damage and lengthy repairs to restore the home I had rented for the past four years. I searched desperately for another rental on Oahu, but there was nothing I could afford. Abiding by the court's restriction to remain in the state, I found a home I could afford to purchase in the Puna district on the Big Island. I thought that this would be a step forward. A chance to show that I was a good, and responsible mother moving from Welfare a few years ago to becoming a homeowner.
When I returned to court to have visitation revised to reflect my new residence, I received the second blow from the Family Court.
In complete disregard of the former divorce decree Judge Bode Uale stripped me of all parental and legal rights to my son and ordered me to return my son to Oahu citing that I had broken the Spirit of the decision which now meant close proximity.
I have single-handedly raised my son for six years. I've never been arrested nor accused of being a bad mother, but Judge Uale flippantly and without regard for my son's welfare, has taken him from a loving household (where he had his own room, his cat, his sister, his mother) and placed him with his bachelor father. The same father who was fired by his family's business for serious attendance problems and now works temporary jobs and lives in a studio apartment.
Instead of being with his loving family, my son spends the majority of his time at before- and after-school day care. The Family Court has permanently scarred my son and unfairly punished me for nothing more than being a loving mother.
I know that I will never be able to have a fair trial in this state. My son's grandfather worked as a Family Court psychologist until his retirement in 1996, and he is too well known and interconnected in the Family Court system for an objective ruling in any case his son Peter is involved in.
I now see my son a mere two weekends per month and as I put him on an inter-island flight back to Oahu on Sundays he always tearfully pleads with me to let him stay at his home. It tears my heart out to tell him that this is what the judge has decided, and he always asks when we will find another judge, but at the age of six he can't comprehend the workings of the judicial system. At the age of thirty-seven neither can I. My children and I in happier times.