Help Me Fight for My Kids

Hi everyone, my name is Josh Pichette. My story starts in 2009 while I as a Border Patrol Agent at the Wilcox Station near Tucson, Arizona from 06/2009-12/2012. I was married to my ex wife for 3 years and we were together for 3 and a half years before that. We moved to Arizona in 11/2009 after I graduated from the academy and everything seemed to be going well. Eleven short months later, I came home to hear that my wife wanted a divorce and wanted to move back to San Diego.
We both decided to fight for our marriage for the kids, and for each other. We agreed that she and the kids would stay in San Diego while we attended counseling and worked things out. Unfortunately, we were unable to work things out and we
filed for divorce here in San Diego.
Because I had to remain in Arizona for my job, we decided I would have a smaller percentage of physical custody until I could get a transfer out to San Diego. However, I would visit as often as I could. I was also told that once I made it back to San Diego, we could change the custody percent to give me more time with the boys.
I felt that things were not going well with the distance between us. I was set to resign from the Border Patrol in 06/2011 when I was granted multiple details to try and work things out.
I got a lawyer in 09/2011 and began my journey to have more time with my children. I was only granted 10% more custody because I still was technically living in Arizona.
Once my details were up and I had to return to Arizona, I was determined to make it work with the Border Patrol and see my kids as much as possible. I worked 10 days straight in order to have 4 day weekends every other weekend. On my 4 day weekends I drove to San Diego to spend time with my kids. Eventually we began to meet halfway so the boys could spend time in Arizona as well. This back and forth went on from about 2/2012-12/2012. I decided that my relationship with the children was becoming too strained and the space between us, made it hard to build a solid relationship between my kids. I made several requests to be transferred to the San Diego Border Patrol station. Unfortunately, the requests were denied. The only way to transfer within the Border Patrol is to be married to someone stationed in San Diego or have a deathly ill family member who relies solely on me financially and physically. I needed to find another way to get back to San Diego to be with my kids. So, I began studies to become a personal trainer and I earned two personal training certifications. Once I was able to secure a job at a gym here in San Diego, I resigned from the Border Patrol. This was my chance to be a bigger part of my kids' lives. This was in 12/2012.
After 3 months of living in San Diego, I was only granted 10% more custody, 30% total. I was also imputed income of $5,200/month because I once was a Border Patrol Agent and that was around my base pay. This means I pay $1,143 a month which is more than half of what I make as a personal trainer. The judge acknowledged that I resigned from my job in order to be closer to my kids, but ignored that and decided that I was capable of earning around 60K/year without a degree or any other experience other than my time as a Border Patrol Agent.
About 2 months after being granted the increased custody, I received an email from my ex stating that her and her husband were moving to Florida because he got military orders and was stationed there. We talked about a schedule that would work with the boys if I agreed to let them leave San Diego. However, I couldn't bring myself go through with it. I had already agreed to let her come to San Diego and that turned out terribly for me. The mediator once again agreed in my exes favor and suggested that they move to Florida.
It is extremely important to me to keep the boys here in San Diego with me, my family, their extended family as well as all of their cousins on both sides of the family. So, in my last desperate attempt to do so, I took my ex back to court petitioning for full custody to keep the kids here with me and their family. The court ordered to have a professional psychological evaluation of myself, my ex and her husband as well as the kids. Also, it was ordered that I pay for the evaluations. The evaluations took about 4 weeks to complete, which involved thorough personality testing of all parties and investigating/speaking with both sides of the family.
This evaluation alone was a huge strain financially. I have already paid $15,000 in lawyer fees. On top of what I have already paid, I have had to rely on my family to help me pay around $10,000 in lawyer fees, plus $7,750 for the court appointed psychologist for the evaluations. I still have about 3 more court dates which will increase the lawyer fees. The bill is high and only growing; my family and I are running out of resources just to keep my lawyer paid and continuing to represent me. This 3 year battle has taken its toll on me, as well as my loving family. I am afraid that I will no longer be able to afford to have my lawyer to help me fight without the help of friends, and those that care about a father desperately trying to keep his kids in his, and his family's lives.
Please help me to continue to fight for my kids to stay in San Diego so they will be able to grow up with their family, cousin's, friends and their father. I only want what is best for them. Thank you for your time and any donations you are able to contribute.
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Organizer

Lori Pichette 
Organizer
Santee, CA
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