Questions regarding taking things out of the home...very long! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 06-22-2013, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I planned to move out this weekend from STBX's and my house (house is only in his name, we are not married, I did live there with him for ~7+ years) He freaked out the day before I was going to get the rest of my things and nearly all of the children's things (toys, clothes, etc.) because he feels like I took things without his permission (apparently he thought we agreed to go room by room so he could approve every single item I took, whereas I thought we agreed to go through the kids room together so we could divvy up the books, clothes, toys fairly)

 

Friday night, he called his oldest daughter's (my stepdaughter) mom to come pick her up early from what was supposed to be his weekend because things were going to be "so bad" at our house because he was so angry.  (he has never been physically violent, but is a pro at toying with me emotionally) I refused to return to the house and was able to move into my new place a couple of days early, where I did already have beds set up for the kids, plus some basic supplies, but again no toys or clothes for kid besides the backup outfit and a couple of things laying around in the car. 

 

He told me he called the cops to get me arrested for stealing from the house and "filed" something, never heard from the cops obviously.  He claims he changed the locks that night and then took off for the weekend.  I have had to go out and buy literally underwear for my daughter, plus PJs and clothes, toothpaste, etc. ,all of which I could not at all afford, because he is refusing to give me any of our things until I provide him with a list of everything I took out of the house. 

 

Essentially, he is holding our things hostage because he didn't have complete control of the situation.  He doesn't care that the kids don't have their things, doesn't care that they don't understand why we can't go get our things.  He actually told me that I was the one who would look bad in this situation (in court, to the kids,) because I "broke our agreement"  and continues to blame the whole situation on me. 

 

What can I do if he refuses to let me get our things? Is there any legal recourse? As I said, the house is solely in his name, but it has been my permanent address for 7 years (and still is, I haven't changed it yet officially.)  I don't want to give him any ammunition by going into the house behind his back, but I also need to get our possessions. I do not at all have the financial ability to replace everything, or even some of it really.

 

And how will this affect custody? Am I going to look bad if I don't let him have the kids alone while he is acting this way (not as a way to make him return my things, but because I am seriously concerned about his mental state right now-if he is unwilling to let me have the kids things, is he planning on keeping the kids themselves should he get them in his sole care? I never thought I had to worry about that, but I seriously don't know right now given the way he is acting.

 

I'm worried-the kids and I are doing fine overall, but this is obviously confusing for them and stressful for me and I just can't believe it has come to this.  I will be calling legal aid first thing Monday to get help filing for custody of course, but until then I wondered if anybody had any experience in a situation like this...?


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#2 of 17 Old 06-22-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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I would be tempted to actually call the local police station and ask them what your rights are. I think they would sympathize with you for sure. I dealt with someone like that recently who thought every little thing needed us both to agree before it was packed. He spent an hour or so going through things with me and felt much better. It was recommended to me to keep a detailed list because people get advised of taking things they did not. So you could give him what he is asking for if you think it would help. I think it is terrible he is keeping you from getting things you and the kids need to live. Be strong and know things will get better everyday. Check out the private lounge here too if you want more privacy. Good luck!
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#3 of 17 Old 06-22-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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I also calling local law enforcement and explain the situation to them. I am pretty sure you have every right to remove your belongings and the belongings of your children. I also know that sometimes you can have a sheriff/ police officer escort someone who is removing belongings from a property to be sure they aren't taking anything that isn't theirs, so you can offer to do that. You know you aren't doing anything illegal, and that way you have someone making sure that your ex stays in line while you're doing it.


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#4 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks guys.  I will call the police tomorrow if he doesn't give me the things, and I'm going to try to make sure there is someone with me when I go retrieve the things (definitely if I need to go in the house to do so) so there is a witness. 

 

I'm so frustrated-obviously I will make sure my kids have what they need, but I'm burning through money purchasing things I was supposed to take with me. 


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#5 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He claims he is bringing the kids' things over to my house tonight (sometime in the middle of the night apparently?!) Any guesses as to whether he cares about banging on the door and waking the kids?

 

But my clothes, toiletries, and everything else, he is planning to leave at the end of his driveway.  In trash bags.  On trash day.  So now apparently I have to wake the kids up early, throw them in the car, and rush over to get my things out of the trash while somehow explaining to them why I am doing this without badmouthing their father. 

 

I just have no freaking words right now....
 


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#6 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 12:10 AM
 
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Oh hugs, mama.  So sorry this is happening.  I followed your thread in PAP.  And I am sadly, not at all surprised by his vindictiveness.

 

From here on in, it's do what you can to fake soothing his ego to try to calm him down, while quietly never trusting him - not for one minute.  And try to keep all communication in writing.  I hope you have good legal advice on visitation.  

 

Take photos of everything - the trash bags. Take a video and explain it all.  Maybe he'll even come out and make an appearance and you can then have a witness to whatever weird story he has about why he held onto the kids things for so long.   Great idea to take someone with you to witness if you can.  I hope you got something about him withholding the kids things....that is really really sad.  Maybe it will help you to get an urgent sole custody order in place (to establish an immediate legal status quo)

 

Did you check to see if he actually did change the locks...or is he just bluffing?

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#7 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 04:35 AM
 
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See what the police say. You could also contacts local domestic violence shelter for advice.

I wouldn't let him in your new house. Given his state of mind he would probably takea whole bunch of your stuff!

I am sorry you are going through this but aren't you glad you finally left him!
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#8 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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Call the cops! He can't just throw your stuff away and he can't keep the kids stuff from them. Get a cop to escort you to the house to get your stuff *before* trash day!

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#9 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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hope you were able to get all your belongings with minimal hassle from him. big hugs that you have to go through any of this


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#10 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone...he is just playing games, this is all a game to him.  He later said he would "be nice" and not put my things out with the trash, even though I deserved it-sweet right?

 

After going back and forth all night and day, threatening me, telling me I'm out of control, I need to apologize, my new house isn't safe, I've been flirting behind his back, pretty much every excuse in the book, none of them at all related to caring that the kids didn't have their clothes or toys, he finally brought at some of it over, enough so that they have some clothes and things to play with.  There is still more at the house, but he seems like he is going to give it up at this point and there are only a couple things left that I absolutely need/want.

 

  At this point, I think he knows he screwed himself by acting this way and keeping the kids things from them...to whomever asked, 99% of our conversations have been over text message, so I do have a record of what happened.  He is now trying to throw in at every opportunity that he won't deal with me until I "calm down" that I need to "get control" of myself, etc. He called and left a message saying he was "scared" to come to my house to drop the things off because I was so "out of control" and so he was dumping them in a public parking lot in the rain.  So I go over there (with the kids, of course, who naturally wondered why daddy would leave their toys in a parking lot) and  of course he is not there, he took the things to my house in my absence so he didn't have to see me (or his children!).  Wouldn't you think that if I was so out of control and scary he would want to make sure the kids were safe instead of sending them off on a wild goose chase with me?!! 

 

I did call the police, BTW, and they said it was a civil matter and they couldn't really do anything.  I got the impression that if I knew he was at home, they might at least go over and try to talk sense into him, but that they could not enter the house or let me take anything.  So...not very helpful. 

 

I missed the legal aid hours this morning, but am calling first thing tomorrow to see how quickly I can file something, to at least get primary custody and a temporary schedule so he can't try to keep them.  I don't know what to do about them going over this week-they were supposed to go Thursday, but I am very uneasy about the whole situation at this point.  Hopefully I can get some legal advice tomorrow on how to handle that.  It just about killed me to put a smile on my face and act like I was happy to see him for the kids' sake. 


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#11 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh hugs, mama.  So sorry this is happening.  I followed your thread in PAP.  And I am sadly, not at all surprised by his vindictiveness.

 

From here on in, it's do what you can to fake soothing his ego to try to calm him down, while quietly never trusting him - not for one minute.  And try to keep all communication in writing.  I hope you have good legal advice on visitation.  

 

Take photos of everything - the trash bags. Take a video and explain it all.  Maybe he'll even come out and make an appearance and you can then have a witness to whatever weird story he has about why he held onto the kids things for so long.   Great idea to take someone with you to witness if you can.  I hope you got something about him withholding the kids things....that is really really sad.  Maybe it will help you to get an urgent sole custody order in place (to establish an immediate legal status quo)

 

Did you check to see if he actually did change the locks...or is he just bluffing?

Sadly, I'm not that surprised either :(  I am torn between soothing his ego to get what we want/need and saying forget it and doing what I need to do.  I've spent so many years trying to soothe his ego that I just can't stomach it anymore, KWIM? 

 

I did not check the locks myself-at that point, I did not want to aggravate the situation and cause a scene by showing up there.  He was probably bluffing.  He also claimed he called the cops on me for theft, that they were waiting at my house to arrest me, that I better "watch out" having the kids in the car because they were going to pull me over to arrest me, that he "filed" mysterious papers, and then today admitted that, surprise surprise, he lied about it (gosh, I kind of figured that out already)

 

His reason for holding onto the kids things for so long varies....it was because I "stole" things from the house, because he was out of town, because he had to do their laundry, because I wouldn't let him bring things over, because the house was "so dirty" he had to clean it, because he didn't have the right boxes, because I am a liar, because I don't deserve anything...you get the idea.  This is all via text message.   

 

I wrote a text message basically pointing out that he was punishing the kids because he was mad at me and to please stop playing games and resent it every time he had a new accusation, so about 10 times in an hour-maybe he got the point :)


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#12 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sorry you are going through this but aren't you glad you finally left him!

Yes!


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#13 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 10:28 PM
 
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OP...  Consider filing a restraining order against him for you and the children due to his erratic, controlling and destructive behavior.  File for emergency custody.  Don't let him alone with the children.  Document everything.  Keep receipts of everything you've had to buy.

 

I'm sorry.  Your story reminds me of someone I used to know, a very bad situation I was once in.  Take no chances.  Behavior like that... anything can happen, and you can't guarantee he'll be thinking about anyone but himself, least of all the children.  :-(

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I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#14 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 10:30 PM
 
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Sadly, I'm not that surprised either :(  I am torn between soothing his ego to get what we want/need and saying forget it and doing what I need to do.  I've spent so many years trying to soothe his ego that I just can't stomach it anymore, KWIM? 

 

Oh wow, do I ever know this feeling!  It's a fine line between trying to make him feel good so he is less likely to resort to vindictive actions....but not giving him any "evidence" he can use against you.  For example, if you tell him (via text or otherwise) that you think he is a good father (just an example....it doesn't sound like he is at all!), then he can try to use that to show that he really is a good father and deserves custody.  The walking on eggshells continues after separation....except the beauty of it now is that you actually have space to not have to walk on eggshells.  It's 5% of the time or less hopefully, instead of the previous 99%.

 

He is a doozy for manipulation (I sensed that).  Those texts with all of the contradicting explanations are precious gems.  Get them downloaded or backed up asap in case you need them for evidence. Maybe transcribe them in a journal so you have them in case you lose your phone?   Every time he hands you something like that, you can actually be grateful....because now he is doing the work for you and letting himself tell the story of who he is through his own documentation!   I personally prefer email.  You shouldn't have to deal with a constant stream of texts.  Even if you ignore them, they're always there, beeping instrusively.

 

I think you are very wise to get a written temporary agreement in place on an urgent basis, and a restraining order if you think it will actually keep him in line.  Lundy Bancroft (author of Why Does He Do That) doesn't always recommend doing that in circumstances where it could incite a rage and where the police are less than supportive in DV situations.  Nevertheless, a very good question for the lawyer and I am hoping you are able to get a consultation asap.  Beware that he may even attempt to file a restraining order against you!  (in which case you should beat him to it....)

 

Calm, strong, polite and businesslike. And no need to respond to anything unless it is strictly factual and about the kids.  The less contact with a crazymaker, the stronger you will feel.  The more you point out anything bad he is doing, the more he may just try to keep doing that (knowing it pushes his buttons).  You will soon be able to tell what works and doesn't.  You're doing great!

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#15 of 17 Old 06-25-2013, 05:42 PM
 
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How are things going greenemami? We are all pulling for you.
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#16 of 17 Old 06-27-2013, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone...quick update:

 

I spoke to the legal aid lawyer on the phone (or maybe a paralegal?) and got that process started to file..however, it is going to take awhile! They pretty much said there was not grounds for an emergency order, he's not physically going to harm the kids, and if he would try to keep them, I could take them back as soon as he left them with a third party.  I'm not so worried that he will keep them now-I think I was mostly panicking because he wouldn't give me their things and I was thinking that maybe he intended to keep it because he planned to keep them?!

 

Lawyer also said that she wouldn't recommend I keep them from their dad either, unless they were in physical danger, of course, as it would look bad for me later on.  So, I told him to text me about seeing them today (this is the day his oldest daughter is usually over there), he never did.  I found out that his other daughter wasn't going because of a family obligation at her mom's, and, surprise surprise, he ended up cancelling on our kids after promising them they could come over. He had all sorts of excuses, naturally, and none of it is his fault. 

 

My poor daughter had a little bag packed and everything because daddy had told her she would go over there on Thursday, it was so sad.  He wouldn't even say hello to them on the phone when he cancelled because he was "too upset", though he finally called them later.  One of his excuses was car trouble, plus the house was too dirty, plus etc. etc...I even offered to drive the kids to a park or library to meet for an hour so they could see him and he said no!   This is the man who weeks ago was saying he should have full custody because all he's ever wanted to be is a stay at home dad and I took that away from him-yeah right.  I would be beating the door down if I'd only seen my kids for 15 minutes in a week like he has. 

 

So, that's where we are.  Obviously I'm not in any hurry to send my kids away to dad's house, but I feel so bad for them that he did that :( I'm not going to refuse him visitation should he ever ask for it, but I'm not going to track him down either at this point.  I imagine he'll ask for them next weekend if his oldest is there, since that is more *convenient* for him, but I'm going to stick with only one overnight for now, if that. 

 

Maybe I'll eventually get the rest of my stuff back at some point too....!

 

On a good note, we are settling into the house nicely and the kids are doing really well-a few hiccups, but mostly very go with the flow.  We have been doing a lot more ice cream and movies than usual, and I'm sure that helps :)


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#17 of 17 Old 07-01-2013, 07:40 PM
 
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WOw, he sounds like a real winner! Have you been advised that sticking to email and recording all conversations is a good idea? Saying his house is too unclean for his daughters to be there is a really dumb thing to say on his part,! Also, send him an email whenever he misses his time with the kids, and tell him they were upset especially as it was a last minute cancelation. Evidence like that builds up to paint a true picture of his pattern of behaviour.
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