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Old 08-16-2010, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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really help hold up a case in court?

h and i are pretty much on the outs. he left last week for a 30 day trial separation. 3 days into it, he tells me to have dd call him before bed, that he would answer his phone for sure, etc... well he didn't answer his phone that night bc he was out getting drunk, getting kicked out of a bar, getting into an altercation with a police officer and then arrested and thrown in jail.

i have obtained documentation of his arrest and will be getting the police report when it becomes available.

after this, h claims he "woke up" and wanted to come back home. i disagreed, but he came home anyhow and now we are in a "co-parenting" situation, but not really working on the marriage.

i've begun documenting everything. the verbal abuse, him leaving, his arrest, etc., and i want to know, how good is this info to have? i do believe he his mentally unstable, possibly bi polar, and he refuses to get help. in a custody agreement, i would like him to be ordered to get evaluated before he is permitted to take dc overnight. i don't know if that is possible, but i feel like documenting the behaviors which are unstable could help...maybe?

anyone btdt? what was good for you to have? what wasn't? what do you wish you did have to strengthen your argument?
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anybody wanting to weigh in on this?
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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i haven't gone through court yet so i don't know the simple answer to your question (whether it's helpful). i have heard the concern, however, that if you think it's really bad for dc to be around him, then why did you allow it to continue? basically that you are also responsible for exposing them to his instability and verbal abuse. i get that you couldn't prevent him from coming home, but what steps are you taking to either remove yourself and your kids from the home or (legally) have him removed?

not trying to sound harsh. i was in a similar position.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Yes its good to have. If only b/c it helps you to put it together and testify on it when/if you have to. It's good to be able to give the documentation to a custody evaluator, in case you need to, b/c its really hard to recall every single incident of abuse when just speaking off the cuff.

It also makes it more believable b/c you wrote things down as soon as they happened.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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I don't have experience with this, but I don't see it looking good to a judge that you took him back (or allowed him back into the house after the arrest.) If you have been documenting stuff and he was abusive and you let him back in I could see a judge thinking things aren't that bad or that you are exaggerating.

I'm not saying that is so, I am just saying how it could appear.

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Old 08-17-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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I also have not gone to court yet... but have been documenting away for quite some time.

My lawyer is very excited that I have done this and supports me continuing to do so, because she beleives we will be taking STBX to court if he keeps up being a UAV.

I agree with Thyra too. It's so hard to recall everything if you didn't write it down. Heck, even when you do! Sometimes I go back and revisit my list and sometimes am still surprised at what I put up with and how I've "forgotten" (more like blocked out) some of it. Abuse can make your mind very very foggy when trying to look back and grab onto it. So when and if you have a chance to write it down, it really really helps to remind yourself, yes this did happen.

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Old 08-17-2010, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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you are right on in thinking that documenting will help you see patterns and triggers more clearly, so that is helpful for you personally whether you need to use it in court or not. it sounds like you are taking steps to leave and ave done some good thoughtful planning. he may be a really good dad in terms of his direct interaction with the kids but being verbally abusive to you will be damaging to the kids and as you said it gets harder to shield them from it as they get older. besides that, isn't it so whacked that you are not only coping with these episodes yourself but also having to cover up his bad behavior for him? it sounds like you two living apart would be much better for you and your kids.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:21 AM
 
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Yes, it really does matter. A log can be submitted to a custodial evaluator, a guardian ad litem and/or a judge (as a Statement of Issues, a Report to the Court, or a supplemental submission at a trial). It gives people a succinct, organized presentation of the facts (your version of them), as they consider your situation after they've spoken with you or heard your testimony. Plus, people tend to feel that your story is more truthful if it appears that you jotted down each fact as it happened, when it was fresh in your mind (even though of course people can lie in writing just as they lie in speech).

But how much attention people will pay to your log is, of course, subjective. So it matters that you:
- Persevere: request a change of judge, if you're entitled to one and you're getting nowhere with the current one; appeal bad rulings.
- Keep your log factual (not distorted with your emotions or complaining);
- Keep it truthful (so you don't get caught in a lie or an exaggeration);
- Keep it simple (the more succinct you are, the easier it will be to follow);
- Make reasonable requests based on what you log (for example, if all you really had to document were each time STBX irritated you, or was 5-10 minutes late for things with the kids... and then you used that log in requesting supervised visits... eventually someone would expose that you're just out to get him and he'd wind up looking like the sympathetic party);
- Each time you log something, think about whether there's a receipt, phone record, etc. that could prove your accuracy, if it's called into question - and tuck that proof into your folder, if you can.

Here are some personal examples, if you want them:

During their custody battle, DH's ex got a P.O., expecting to use it to keep DH away from their son. However - here, at least - P.O.s are very easy to get and you don't have to prove the accused person did anything. Therefore, courts are very reluctant to let P.O.s affect the accused person's access to their kids. However, if a man is convicted of violating a P.O., it's a different story. He could serve up to a year in jail and would likely suffer diminished parental rights. So the very day the P.O. was issued, the ex began a log she titled "Protective Order Violations". She gave it to police once it reached several pages and 30+ entries. The officer who received it wrote a scathing Affidavit of Probable Cause (a recommendation that the Prosecutor press charges), expressing serious concern about the ex's safety, due to so many alleged violations. The prosecutor pursued DH with a passion, culminating in a full-day jury trial.

But although the sheer length of the ex's list was definitely compelling to authorities, once it was actually picked apart at trial, it had no substance. The vast majority of it was just the dates and times DH had picked up or dropped off DSS for his court-ordered visitation, in the court-ordered manner - with many complaints from the ex about him being a few minutes early or late, or DSS' clothes being wet after sledding, or her assumption that the company car DH drove belonged to him and proved he had more disposable income than he'd reported... none of which were relevant to the P.O. The only legitimately worrisome accusation was that DH had stalked his ex in a parking lot. She had carelessly assumed he'd never be able to prove he didn't do that. But luckily, he'd been in a meeting out of state at that exact hour, with federal contractors, so there was an official, certifiedlog, proving he was not in the same parking lot as his ex!

So in that case, her effort to detail every complaint about him backfired, because she was trying to create a log to further an agenda, rather than keeping a log because there was a legitimate problem.

On the other hand, when the ex later took their kid and moved across the country, DH had the hardest time in the world getting a judge to care about how little parenting time (if any at all) his ex gave him, when he flew out to visit. It was so frustrating! He would report this to the court. She would lie and say he'd had plenty of parenting time. The court - and even the custodial evaluator - concluded there was no way to tell who was telling the truth...and in the absence of a specific visitation schedule, who could say how much parenting time was "enough", anyway???

What ended up being absolutely critical was making a chart showing when he'd visited (supported by his plane tix), exactly how much P/T he'd received (supported by the ex's email telling him when he could see DSS) - and comparing that to how much time DSS had spent in daycare while DH had been in town (supported by the daycare sign-out sheets) . Then DH's atty. put the ex on the stand and painstakingly proved that my chart was accurate, by having her confirm that yes, she had written each e-mail and no, there were no other emails she could show the court, where she had changed her mind and offered DH more P/T. FINALLY, the judge realized Wow! In the last school year, this man had spent the equivalent of 2 months trying to visit his kid out of state and had been given the equivalent of less than 2 days of P/T, while the kid had spent maybe 10 times that in daycare, from which the ex refused to let DH pick him up. The judge gave DH sole custody!

Again, the keys were that the chart had no emotions or complaints (like the verbal testimony); it was supportable (eliminating the he said/she said); it was simple to follow; and it gave the judge something to look at, to keep DH's version of the facts fresh in her mind, even after he left the stand.

Good luck!

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Old 08-18-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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I never went to court and custody etc were not contested so I don't know if documenting would help.

For what its worth, my xh was emotionally abusive to me (tried to make me think i was crazy every time I suspected he was having an affair. He was having an affair for the last 6 years of our marriage, not counting his porn addiction) and just a total UAV. But when he is with the kids he has always been kind to them. He neglected them up until we got the divorce but I the way he treated me had to do with me and nothing else. he doesn't have those same feelings towards the kids and has never treated them the same way. So I don't think you have to worry about your kids with him.

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Old 08-18-2010, 08:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by groovynaturemama View Post
thank you for the input, mamas.

i am not sure that i can legally have him removed from our house unless he does something to me that is worthy of having the police involved, and he's never even come close to any sort of physical violence (no breaking things, no hitting, no gesturing or expression of violent thoughts, etc.). his name and my name are on the lease, and from what i understand, he has the right to be here so long as he doesn't pose a threat to the kids and myself, which he doesn't (except maybe to me emotionally when he gets like this). i am trying to save money and i should be able to get my old job back, and there is a day care next door that takes state funded payment. i'm going tomorrow to ask if my old job can hire me again.

he's a great dad. i just question if the verbal abuse will shift to the kids if i'm not around and he has an "episode". it's a worry of mine. i notice the verbal abuse happens when he appears to be cycling (i think he may be bi polar), hence the reason i'd like him to be evaluated. i'm not thinking he's dangerous around the kids, but i do believe he needs some help. he flat out refuses any third party involvement in our relationship or for himself. i want him to be around our kids; my kids think he hung the moon. there is just this really ugly side that comes out every 6 months or so, and it's getting really hard to cover it up from my 3 year old.

right now, he's acting "normal" and pleasant again, and probably will do so until february or march, when he seems to go back into this depression/manic episode (i'm not even sure what to call it). i'm just super confused right now and am thinking that perhaps documenting all of this will help me establish more of a pattern, but also indicate the need for evaluation on his part. i just don't know.
No, you can't remove him from the home under the cirucumstances you have dscribed. Yes, it would be a good idea to get your ducks in a row and prepare to support yourself and your kids just in case. Yes, it would be a good idea to document things that you are uncomfortable with. DoubleDutch's last post is an eccellent explaination of why. No, you can't force him to counselling or to be evaluated. He has to want to go or it's all for naught.

Much good thoughts to you and yours.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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in my state, one can request that the court order an evaluation and/or counseling for the other party for a problem such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anger management or other (where you can state what you think the person's need is). doesn't mean the court will order it, but if you have a documented pattern of behavior, then i'd think that would be helpful in making the case that he does need a mental health assessment and probably treatment of some kind.
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