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Child Custody, abuse, basically everything that is my worst nightmare.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My STBXH, who since our separation in September said over and over again that he did not want physical custody and at MOST wanted one overnight a week, has now completely spun around and is demanding 50/50 custody. We have been in mediation for months and it looks like he's about to walk away from it. The closest he would come to a compromise was saying he would take 6 overnights in a 2 wk period. 


I'm just so terrified of this whole process. I'm in shock over the man he has become--this person bears no resemblance to the man I married and I feel like our children are pawns that he is using to control and punish me. I'm fairly certain that his only reasons for wanting this custody arrangement are a) he wants to pay as little child support as possible and b) he wants to punish me. Up until literally days ago he said things like "I don't care if I have no contact or relationship with them." He refused to care for our children on his agreed upon day when our son had stomach flu and I had to call off work, he will never take them when I need a babysitter for something and has told me not to even ask him. He's spoken with a lawyer and now everything he's saying has changed. He's done lots of things over the last few months that have been controlling, abusive, stalking, etc. He is alleging that I've been having affairs throughout our marriage, which is absolutely untrue. I spent one evening (not an overnight) with an old friend of mine (and was intimate with him), a month after STBXH and I agreed to divorce, and STBXH burst in on us at 1am, after apparently driving by our house after he got off work and seeing a car in the driveway. He has used this one incident (which I am kicking myself for bc, while I don't really think I did anything wrong, it has escalated him so much) to try and make me look like the town whore who exposes our children to strange men (they were both sleeping on another floor of the house the whole time, I had a monitor in the room). 


A couple of weeks ago he came over to our house, where I still live with our two children, and after having a very hostile conversation with me he ended up restraining me twice and physically blocking me from going up the stairs to go to bed, when i said that I wanted the conversation to end since he was being so verbally abusive. I fought him and yelled and even bit him for several minutes before he let me go, the first time, and then he did it again in the kitchen a few minutes later. No hitting though, and no bruises, and no proof of anything. I didn't call the police, I had no idea what to think and honestly didn't get it together enough until a few days ago to really realize that that is behavior that he needs to be held responsible for. 


Our mediator has indicated that our chances of getting what we want in terms of custody basically depend on which judge we get. One judge who gets 50% of cases almost always awards 50/50 if one parent asks for it. The others would likely be more sympathetic to my requested schedule, but that's a 50/50 chance of getting one of them. I just can't wrap my brain around how horrible this all is, and that judges wouldn't think that all of this indicates that his motives for demanding this many overnights with our kids are not genuine. Our daughter is 3.5 and our son is 1 and he has NEVER done overnight parenting with my son. He has barely slept in the same room with us since he was born and has had no solo overnights with them at all (ever, but also) since we've been separated. How could a judge rule that 50/50 is in the best interests of our very young, still breastfeeding children who have never spent more than 12 hours away from me? I'm hoping this is not true.


I've contacted our local DV Safehouse, am moving out of our home into my sister's house (our house is on the market and XH lives in a rented room downtown). I've also contacted a lawyer and will speak with her tomorrow.


I keep thinking that I don't want to try to take away his time with them, I don't want to be unfair to him, I don't want to "fight dirty" or do any of this. I want us to agree that equal parenting doesn't have to mean equal overnights and come to an agreement--I want us to remember that we made a commitment to parent these children and to honor and respect each other that we should really uphold. 


But he doesn't seem to care about any of that. He's not playing fair, he's not being rational, he's not being truthful or kind or respectful. He's not thinking about their emotional or cognitive ability to cope with and understand what he's asking for. He's just enraged. And that totally and completely freaks me out. 


I know that every situation and judge are different. I'm not looking for advice. I just have talked ad nauseum about this and can't stop thinking about it and needed to get it out in a forum with other empathic souls. I appreciate your eyes and ears.

post #2 of 14

oh mama, i'm so, so sorry.  i don't have any words of advice to offer, but i couldn't read and not post.grouphug.gif

post #3 of 14

Oh I am so sorry, that is a horrible situation! I hope it goes well for you in court and maybe he is just saying this stuff now but will back out when it comes down to actually doing the overnights.   hug.gif

post #4 of 14

I hope and pray that you get a reasonable judge who will see right through his request for 50/50. They're supposed to put the kids first, not the wishes of one of the parents, but as others on this board can prove, that's not always the case. You absolutely should open your eyes and not try to deal with him like he's acting in the best interest of the kids. But you have to look like you would bend over backwards to nurture your kids' relationship with their father. You have specific concerns about 50/50 visitation that don't have anything to do with your ex suddenly turning into a fire breathing monster: so come up with a parenting plan that addresses those concerns. "Since ex has never cared for the kids on his own, since they are little and breast fed, you feel it would benefit the children, and their long term bonding with their father, to implement a schedule that increases their time with him incrementally. You have such a plan all mapped out. Your concerns are based on x,y, and z documented occurrences, plus dr x, teacher y, and close family friend z's written statements in support." You have a lawyer, which is good, but these are the basics that I have gleaned from the wise women on this board who've been there. Hopefully others with more experience can offer more.


Meanwhile, I'm sending you strength and good mama bear vibes goodvibes.gif

post #5 of 14

it's not too late to make a police report of what happened.  i would do that, so that if anything else happens in the future (hopefully not, but . . . ) you will have documentation.  i believe you can get a restraining order.  just be completely honest - it's okay that you fought back, and it's okay that you were too shaken up to report it immediately.

post #6 of 14

I think it's good that you're moving out of the house and that you've contacted a lawyer. I would have suggested you change the locks on your house if he feels the need to just barge in on you, but that is solved with you moving. Honestly, it sounds like a very scary situation to me and if the behaviors continue to escalate, I would encourage you to contact law enforcement and possibly to seek a restraining order against him. He is the father of your children, but he has no right to threaten you. And while he is being hostile and threatening, then he probably doesn't have the capability to parent the kids in a rational, loving manner.


Be honest with your lawyer about everything. Show her that you've tried to work with him on a parenting plan and what the problems you see with 50/50 custody are. My ex tried to talk me into that, also, only to get out of having to pay child support but it wouldn't work because he is a contractor who works all over the country as a civilian and is currently deployed to Iraq with the national guard. I've agreed to have a flexible parenting plan and to allow him to see the kids as much as possible without them having to be pulled from school, etc. But, we're pretty much on the same page as far as parenting goes so it wasn't difficult for us.


Lots of hugs, mama. I really hope everything works out. I think right now a lawyer is your best defense, and you need to let her know everytime he threatens you or tells you he doesn't have any interest in custody. Every. Single. Time. Also don't be afraid of filing a police report, even if you think it's not that big a deal.

post #7 of 14
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

it's not too late to make a police report of what happened.  i would do that, so that if anything else happens in the future (hopefully not, but . . . ) you will have documentation.  i believe you can get a restraining order.  just be completely honest - it's okay that you fought back, and it's okay that you were too shaken up to report it immediately.

Yes, please get one asap.  I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Do any of you know what will happen if I file a police report for the incidence of violence? I'm not interested in pressing charges, but I wouldn't mind there being a record on file in case anything else happens. He is also a permanent resident and not a US citizen...would it have any effect on his status? 

post #9 of 14

I suggest that you stop trying to play nice and fair, and do what's best to protect your children from an uninvolved, (currently) vindictive and abusive parent. File the police report and get information on the effect it would have on your STBX's resident status. I would wager that a police report for a past event would have little effect if any. Perhaps consult with your lawyer aboout this.


When you do go before a judge, please make certain that you emphasize your efforts to foster a healthy relationship between your children and their father, and impress upon him/her the fact that you want to give STBX every opportunity to parent his children. If you haven't done it already, I would document every instance of abuse, mention his lack of parental involvement (no getting up at night), and include summaries of his information in your sworn affidavit. Even if you are dubious about your STBX actually parenting the children adequately, it's important to go into court with the attitude that you want him to have a relationship with them. Perhaps propose a custody schedule that increased incrementally with time, as the children get older, gradually working towards overnights and whatnot. That would show that you are flexible and willing to work with him.


I'm sorry he's being such a jerk. It's not uncommon for people to change their tune once they've got a lawyer whispering in their ear. Suddenly they realize the impact of their desire to walk away, in terms of high child support rates, and then, as if by magic, they become aggressive and intractable. It is however just a tactic...

post #10 of 14

What you are saying here terrifies me for you.  My ex was abusive before we seperated, but he attempted and did suceed on pushing his way into the house several times, sometimes using the excuse that he wanted to talk to my son, but instead pushed the door open, blocked me from walking away, threatened to kill us all, holding my dd1 in his arms, and so much. 


Document, document, document!  Everything.  Write down the dates and times he calls to speak to your children, how long the phone call was.  Your child's temperament afterwards. 

Don't say anything negative about your child's dad to your children.  Do not allow him into the house where you are staying.  Do file a police report.  Just because you do this doesn't mean that he will be arrested or go to jail, but it details what happened and when.   It may result in an investigation.  It could possibly result in jail time.  He agressed on you and that is wrong. 


Your out of marriage relationship after seperation was not the best thing to do, but it did happen.  Make sure that it doesn't happen with the children in your house.  Change the locks if you stay in the house any longer.


My ex was and can be very agressive. Fortunately I rarely see him, and never alone now.  He can't come to my front door now, and I would not go to his.  I stay away from him while making sure that my kids go (if they don't, I let them chose).  In other words, I don't prevent my kids from going. 


You are at the best place to do something to help your children.  Don't settle suddenly to get away from his threats.  They will not stop, but you can stop phone contact and only have email contact and certified mail contact with him now.  Your kids still have to talk to him, so have them ready to answer the phone.


Hugs to you.  I want you to know that you have a wealth of information here on this forum with difficult and dangerous stbx's that I didn't have when I was going through my divorce 5 years ago. Ask for help and advice.  We will help you, but you need a very good attorney, with experience with men like your stbx.

post #11 of 14

So sorry for what you're going through. You should sit down with your date book and try to remember when everything happened...write it down and keep a journal from now on...good luck!

post #12 of 14

great advice!

post #13 of 14

How are things going?

post #14 of 14

I know i'm a million years late, but i went thru a custody battle with an exboyfriend who I was with for 7 yrs and my, at that time, only daughter.  The case lasted from 2004 to 2010.  He and his family used every lie and every tactic they could to take my child from me.  As you stated, he had never been alone with her at any point.  She was always with me.  It started when she was 15 months and by the age of 23 months she was with him by interim judgment.  By the end of it all, with all the his lies, deceit, his clearly more than clever attorney and his academy award winning mother and sisters who shed so many tears and made it seem as if i was a crack head mother who left her child in a ditch somewhere, sole custody was awarded to him. I died....I - just- died...


My daughter is now eight and i only see her every other saturday and sunday from 12 to 6.  No overnights, no holidays unless it lands on my day...nothing.  


I'll tell you this, never underestimate what he says.  Never think he can't pull it off and ABSOLUTELY NEVER EVER THINK that you will get what you want from the judge because you're the mother.  Don't think just because y'all were in love at one point that he won't try and hurt you.  Don't think that there won't be mud slinging and hurtful things being said.  Don't think that private conversations that y'all had when y'all were happy won't turn up in court as something used against you.  Think the worst because it is the worst.


That was my ONLY BABY. MY FIRST BABY.  I missed her 2nd birthday thru her 8th birthday and she makes 9 in March.  I missed talking, singing, laughing, dancing, falls, coloring, first holiday cards, EVERYTHING.  I will NEVER get that back.  NEVER! 


If you're gonna fight him, if you haven't started already, PULL NO PUNCHES, cuz trust me, he WILL NOT withhold them from you.


I pray all goes well and you don't suffer my pains.


-Her Best Interest.....

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