When I moved to Utah as a single mom, I had to completely start over. I found a full time job working retail and had family watch my little girl while I was gone. It was so hard to give up being a stay at home mom, but I now had the responsibility of providing for myself and my daughter. Eventually I found a job at a baby boutique where I was able to bring her to work with me every day and it was absolutely perfect.

At first, I couldn’t afford my own apartment so I moved into my grandparent’s basement. They had just moved into a quiet neighborhood in Farmington that turned out to be *fate.

I started attending the local church, meeting other new moms, and quickly making friends. It felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I had no interest in getting into a relationship and dating was far from my mind.

One weekend, I asked to borrow a crockpot from a nice lady in the neighborhood and when I knocked on her door to pick it up, Matt answered. I think we were both just as surprised to see each other on the doorstep that day but we both had the same initial reaction. We somehow knew we were meant to be together. 

A few weeks later, we were both asked so speak on the same Sunday at church. That opened up the opportunity for us to start connecting and we quickly realized that it was no coincidence that we both happened to be in the same place at the same time.  

It wasn’t your typical boyfriend/girlfriend relationship because we couldn’t even date each other. We just started to get to know each other by going for walks and hanging out with our families. We took my little girl to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and went on picnics at the park. 

At some point we had the conversation that had become so obvious to both of us- that we eventually wanted to move forward with our relationship when the time was right and that he would be there for as long as it would take.

When I was forced to move across the country, I was devastated. I didn’t know what that would mean for us. But Matt had faith and we wrote letters back and forth while he finished his undergrad degree in Utah. Once he graduated he moved to Georgia and started studying for the LSAT. We both felt like this would be temporary we would be able to move back to Utah eventually. That was always the plan. 

As soon as my divorce was finalized, we got married in the Outer Banks. It was absolutely perfect. 

Matt could only apply to law schools within a 150 mile radius of Greenville South Carolina (due to the current custody agreement) and the only one accepting applications at the time was a private school in Atlanta. We felt like once he was accepted, we would have a compelling reason to go back to court and amend our agreement to accommodate our future plans. 

Once he graduated, he applied for jobs across the country but we were in the middle of the great recession and the job market at the time was scarce. He was out in Utah meeting with potential employers when he received a call from one of his mentors asking if at some point they could get together and chat. It was divine intervention that he was in town and could meet up. He was presented with an amazing opportunity to work for a few years at a law firm in Utah and then open up a new practice in Idaho with their financial backing. We felt so incredibly lucky for such a great job when so many of his classmates didn’t have the same fortune.

And this whole time we had been planning for this possibility. We were specific in our custody agreement of exactly what would happen if we decided to move anywhere. We could move wherever we wanted as long as we paid for all travel expenses and they would be allowed one weekend per month that they got to choose and they would pay $100 per month in child support. 

I honestly felt like things would be so much easier once we moved and got settled into our new normal.

In reality, things just became so much more difficult. There were certain ambiguities in our paperwork that they took advantage of. They got her for every holiday. They wouldn’t let her fly by herself. So we were paying over $1000 per month just for plane tickets and I would have to fly across the country with her, leaving my other kids and husband alone for every holiday. It was so hard but we did it.

It even got to the point where they said she couldn’t miss any school but we had to have her there by 6pm on Friday when their weekend began- which was physically impossible. I would fly 3,000 miles across the country and they wouldn’t even meet me at the airport. 

The situation was unsustainable because they made things incredibly difficult. They weren’t easy to work with and they were wearing me down.

It finally got so bad that I called my attorney to discuss options going forward to address the issues we were facing. He drafted a letter to send to their attorney and we prepared to go back to court again. I have so much distrust for the system and post traumatic stress associated with the process but I couldn’t see any other way. Something had to change.