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Is there any help for this person? pregnant and STBX is getting the baby?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

There is someone on my local playgroup/expecting board. Anyway, her dh is quite controlling. She is pregnant and they have decided to divorce. She will be staying with him until the baby is born, but from the hospital will go to a shelter and he will be taking the baby. She does not have any money for legal bills or to even support the baby. She is a SAHM (so she will be leaving from the other children too). I called the shelter myself (I used to volunteer there) but already knew the answer which was that she could go to legal aid and they would point her in that direction, but that legal aid does not do divorces. 

 

She won't be seeing the baby again once born. Her husband's family is wealthy. She said she can legally still name the baby, but since she won't be seeing the baby again, she is not going to. With no lawyer at all, and with her going to live in a shelter and trying to build a life, and no way to pay for anything, she is on her own she says. Apparently, she tried to leave him before but could not pay the rent with their 2 children and had been on waiting list for housing assistance until she gave up and went back to him. So she says she already knows there is nothing she can do. She says she has researched it and this is how it is. She is not asking for help at all. She has given up.

 

This seems so wrong. It makes sense, from what I know of Texas, that she would not be able to get some sort of social program to help her. But does anyone know anything about this? I know she has legal rights, but only as far as she can pay a lawyer to get those rights for her. Are there any links that will actually help and not further frustrate her? She has completely given up and accepted that her baby is essentually as if she is going up for adoption, since she won't hold or see her baby once her baby is born. Her husband is planning to get a court order for custody as soon as the baby is born and she does not have money to contest it. Both cars and their house are in his name so she cannot even just take a car. Since she has no job or money (bank accounts in his name too) she would not be able to maintain a car. I think she would have the legal right to stuff, but from talking to Friends of the Family (a local shelter here) she would need a lawyer to get her rights, which brings us back to where she does not have a penny to her name. 

 

Does anyone know anything about this? I don't know her well other than that she lives in an upscale area and her family comes off as being so great, even her husband seems fine. But I guess this is what is going on inside. Her husband is always very quiet when I see him, but I have only visited her a couple times. 

post #2 of 26

Any lawyer worth his salt will tell her to leave with all the children and they will get spousal and childs support. She will end up paying her aattorney, but I pay a bit each week from alimony and my attorney was awarded money from my soon to be ex. She has a lot more power than she thinks she has, she just needs to find an attorney who will guide her through this.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

How does she find a lawyer who won't require money up front? Should I tell her to call around? Would I be "too helpful" if I called around for her to give her some names? She seems quite sick from the pregnancy and not dealing well so I would like to help, but don't want to step on her toes.

post #4 of 26

Does she not still have a joint account with her husband or is he that controling? If she doesn't then she should go to as many atternies until she finds a sympathetic one. Sitting back and giving up her children is going to drive her over the edge. She needs and deserves help.

post #5 of 26

I think she needs all the help she can get! Including talking about this too her doctors or midwives!

post #6 of 26

This sounds absurd. Why is she leaving the family home and her children? She could stay in the home and file divorce and request spousal support and child support. If she needs to leave due to abuse then she needs to go to the shelter with her kids. Often shelters will find ways to help find cheaper housing, or get a family moved to the top of housing lists once they are homeless. A shelter here actually has low cost apartments affiliated with the shelter for abused and homeless families. If the father is wealthy and she has been a stay at home mom then she should be able to get plenty of support. I would never leave my kids behind. As far as lawyers go I would call every lawyer in the book until I found one willing to help out.

post #7 of 26
This sounds very troll like to me.I see that you're a long time member though with a lot of posts so I'm sure you're not making this up,but is the woman who posted this on your other forum/group you visit making it up? Or is she credible? I can't imagine any woman giving up just like that.

If she isn't a troll and really does need help can she she stay with friends family at all while she applies for houseing or welfare or something?
post #8 of 26

Does her DH control each and every penny that comes into the house?  It sounds like it - that's economic abuse.  She needs to get her, her children, and her pregnant belly to a DV shelter.  She should take with her any evidence of abuse, any and all evidence of her financial situation (aka, evidence that she has no money b/c her ex won't share any with her - bank statements that only show his name.

 

She also needs to purchase a tape-recorder (or, you can purchase one for her) that is small enough that she can put it in her purse/pocket/whatever so that she can tape-record every single interaction she has with him.  Texas law only requires that one party to the conversation consent to it being taped (that would be HER - she does NOT need his consent - I just looked it up for you, but she can't just leave the tape-recorder in his office so that she can listen to stuff he said later).

 

Then she needs to find an attorney, and go to their office.  An attorney probably won't talk to you about her case, but if you get some reccomendations from friends, or call the bar association for some recomendations, there are attorneys who don't require money up front - especially if she can provide some evidence that he's preventing her from accessing any of the marital money.  You can also get some recommendations, and offer to give her a ride, or to watch her other children while she meets with them. 

 

She DOES have rights - HALF of the money he is keeping from her, is HERS.  HALF of it (depending on the divorce laws in Texas).

 

Where is her family?  would other people in the play group or whatever be willing to put a few $$ in a pot to help her raise a retainer?  Get creative, you might be able to help her find a way.

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post

Does she not still have a joint account with her husband or is he that controling? If she doesn't then she should go to as many atternies until she finds a sympathetic one. Sitting back and giving up her children is going to drive her over the edge. She needs and deserves help.



I don't know her well. I only met her through this board for local area expecting/playgroup and she lives not far from me, in the general area. And I have only "known" her for a few months.  I supposed it is possible she is just having mental problems related to her pregnancy? But I don't want to be the sort who just assumes it is her and not real problems. 

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Actually, I am frustrated by her situation. Maybe I should disconnect. I thought maybe I could help, but maybe I am thinking about it too much. I don't know her well enough to know much other than that she seems nice. But reality is, I don't really know her. I don't want to be someone who turns her back, but I don't think I can actually help her. Know what I mean? It is hard when she thinks there is nothing for her, and then I turn and walk too. She posted it to the general group though, not like she contacted me personally. But I did email her personally to give her number to FOF and such. 

post #11 of 26

I think she sounds like she has a doormat/pleaser personality, how else would she end up with someone so controlling?  You or someone else could try and hold her hand through this process, but I'm inclined to think that if she doesn't discover the power she has to do this herself she's likely to end up in the same problem again, either going back to her current husband, or with someone else.  I think I would email her one more time with some advice about calling around to find a lawyer that didn't require money up front, or proving economic abuse to a shelter and maybe add a few words of encouragement that she can do it, and then disengage.  If she takes the advice and gets her kids out, great!  If not, you just have to accept that you can't fix it for her.

post #12 of 26

Not a regular poster here but this caught my attention. Not a troll I sware. If he dosnt have sole phisical custody then why is she giving her children to him? I have been down the divorce road and I filed and did my current dp's divorce. You dont need a lawyer even if he has the greatest one in the state. The thing is all of this has to go through friend of the court and then you go through mediation and agree to parenting time, child support etc. An order is writen. In my state if you have children there is a 180 day waiting period before you are granted the divorce. If you cant agree on parenting time then the judge will look for the friend of the court recemendation. If nothing has been filed they both have equal custody. The only way she would have to give her unborn child up is with a court order and that is so hard to do. You have to be a drug addict or really unfit parent with proof. This situation is not correct and these are not things that happen. There is always a leagal process. This sounds like she has been liedto and beleives it. I would pack them kids up and run to a shelter he cant touch her  there. 

post #13 of 26

Print this thread (it's all anonymous, no reason she should feel violated). Give it to her. Tell her that abandoning the kids would be her CHOICE, and that you can help her solely in the context of NOT doing that. IE: Drive her to a shelter, offer to show up while she packs up kids to get them out the door FAST while he's at work, etc.

 

Then disengage. Do not become her endless free therapist, it won't help her kids and will drain you til you're as bad off as her. Don't callh lawyers, she has to accept her role as a grown-up. Just my opinion/experience. Maybe, if you truly can do it w/o draining your own family, attend the first session with an attorney WITH her, to sit in or to watch her kids in the hall. But if she is just really getting off on the victim/addiction angle of her life, do NOT get involved. It's hard to know what a person is up to in these situations, sometimes it comes down to an intuitive call. I say you have to keep your own family's wellness at the forefront.

 

P.S., a digital recorder is not too insanely priced, and much more helpful than tape-can transfer files onto laptop/finger drive at library, etc.

post #14 of 26

I've been in a similiar boat.... no resources to leave EX.  Went to shelters, etc. and I was in the "fall through the cracks" category of making too much for help, even though there is no way I can afford housing and groceries with what rates are in this area added to the insane childcare costs. 

 

Does she have no family nearby?  Quite honestly, if I did not have family to live with... I'd likely still be with my UAV EX, or dead...  *shrugs*  Some states have crap aide for people in this type of situation.  I was told flat out by the DV shelter that I didn't even qualify to get shelter there because my EX doesn't do drugs and has never hit me.

 

So, combined with pregnancy hormones... it's very easy to get super depressed and want to just give up because you have no idea what else to do...  I wanted to die.  So many days I just wanted to write a note and call my Mom so I knew DD would be taken care of, and die. 

 

If I didn't have the support here, or support in RL from my counselor and loving MW and friends... I wouldn't be here.  You may not know her very well... but it sounds like she could really use a friend.

 

I'm actually quite appalled by some of the responses on here that are telling you to not help this woman and "let her be an adult".  I suppose those remarks come from people who never got to experience the joy of life sucking abuse.  *shrugs*

 

If you are able to reach out to this woman... do so.  It could save her life.... by leaving her kids, right after delivery... it sounds like she is in that mind set to take her own life, totally defeated.  I was in that mind set.  The only thing that got me out was love and understanding from people... and some of those people I didn't know well and that made even more of an impact on me, quite honestly.  Started to make me feel maybe I did deserve to get out and live...

 

And here I am.  Living, and gloriously happy.  If I knew anything about TX law or aide there, I'd help this woman.  The best I can do is give you my story and hope it shines some new persepective on how important it is to to love your fellow human (sorry couldn't think of a great word choice there. lol)...

 

Do the shelters off free counseling there?  It's a start for her.

post #15 of 26

It's very bizarre!  "She won't see the baby again once it's born"?  Even if she had no lawyer at all, she could contest that in court.  Even if a judge was stupid enough to give the father custody, judges DO like for both parents to be involved in some way, shape or form, and she certainly would get at least visitation.  It sounds like she's given up, doesn't want to try.  She may be depressed (and it surely is a depressing situation), but darned if mom after mom with not a cent to her name, who've been with financially controlling men, have made their way out.  The key is to NOT leave these kids.  That would be the worst thing she could do, period.

 

The husband may not give her money NOW, but if she files for divorce (and if worse comes to worse, can't she fill out the papers herself? as she has NOTHING to lose if she's giving up anyway!) she WILL get child support, perhaps maintenance/alimony and at least half of her husband's assets, house, etc!  Maybe she wants to give up, I don't know.  But with even a modicum of fighting this she will at least have visitation.  I've have NEVER heard of the mother not even being able to see her child after it's born (?!) and no court, no matter how crooked, is going to order THAT.  It sounds like she's just believing everything her husband tells her and it just certainly is too bad for those children that she's taking his information at face value. 

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix~Mama View Post

 

I'm actually quite appalled by some of the responses on here that are telling you to not help this woman and "let her be an adult".  I suppose those remarks come from people who never got to experience the joy of life sucking abuse.  *shrugs*

 

 

I hear you, I do. In my post, I advocated for a measured, rational approach. Be conscious about what help can really be given, and what is just enabling. In this world, it happens that people get saved by caring folks. In this world, it also happens that caring folks get vampired by privileged folks who could easily-enough fix their problems with a little perspective and desire.

 

Not knowing which situation OP is in, it sounds more like the latter TO ME. And yes, I've been abused up and down from early, early on. One of the ways I've been abused is by abusing MYSELF, endlessly showing up to save other people from their own, optional situations. It's not fun. I advise the OP not to go there.

post #17 of 26

i was in a very controling situation where I had access to money but was so programed that I wouldn'ty spend anything on myself and if I had to I felt dreadful. I still can not work due to immigration status and so am still totally dependent on sbx paying support as ordered. This woman is not anywhere near as powerless as she seems to think she is. Quite honestly she should apply for a protective order and kick her husband out!!

post #18 of 26

It sounds like a complex situation that likely involves elements of abuse, depression and/or mental illness. It may be true that she needs help desperately. But it could also be a lot more complicated that that. If you do decide to get involved, I would proceed with your eyes open. 

I find it really difficult to buy that anyone would truly believe that their husband could demand that they hand over the baby and they would never get to see the child again. To me that sounds like some pretty deeply disordered thinking. I've experienced abuse and I do understand those dynamics and how deeply women can be/feel trapped, but that's pretty extreme.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post

i was in a very controling situation where I had access to money but was so programed that I wouldn'ty spend anything on myself and if I had to I felt dreadful. I still can not work due to immigration status and so am still totally dependent on sbx paying support as ordered. This woman is not anywhere near as powerless as she seems to think she is. Quite honestly she should apply for a protective order and kick her husband out!!



YUP!!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post

I find it really difficult to buy that anyone would truly believe that their husband could demand that they hand over the baby and they would never get to see the child again. To me that sounds like some pretty deeply disordered thinking. I've experienced abuse and I do understand those dynamics and how deeply women can be/feel trapped, but that's pretty extreme.


I believed this when I was starting to pull away from my abuser.  There was a huge amount of emotional and psychological abuse going on, and I had no idea.  I was so confused, and so disoriented I didn't know which way was up!  And, to top it off, I was a law student at the time.  I've also never had self esteem issues, never had any mental illness, never had any problems emotionally - it was ALL his doing.  All of it.  As soon as we split, I saw everything much clearer, and it all made sense to me.

 

OP - since you don't know this woman very well, I would say to offer encouragement on the discussion board, and offer to help in ways that you feel comfortable.  Tell her that she DOES have rights, no matter what her husband says, and recommend she read the book "Why does he DO that?" by Lundy Bancroft (this book allowed me to see through the abuse).  Also tell her NOT to show the book to her husband, and to keep it hidden if she can - her local library should have it, she might be able to place it on hold and read it there over a few weeks.

 

post #20 of 26

Sorry to crash in, but this was on the main page and it does sound like a terrible situation.  The idea that the other parent is entitled to sole custody with no access, just because he says so, cannot be correct.  Even without a lawyer, she could surely turn up at court by herself, looking not too flaky, and on the information that she has given you there is no reason for a court to make such an order. 

 

http://www.texaslawhelp.org/TX/index.cfm looks like a reasonably reputable site and it refers to people appearing unrepresented or with limited representation, as is common in other jurisdictions.  Whether she is personally able to do this is another question, of course, because clearly the issues go beyond this limited point.

 

Better still she should do as PPs have suggested - seek assistance from a DV organisation, apply for a restraining order and on no account leave the children, and if possible, don't leave the family home either.

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