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Sunsetnan 02-03-2011 06:52 AM

Ending an abusive marriage
Was married for 19 years to an emotionally abusive man with ADHD/ OCD and possibly bipolar. I am chronically ill. Have two teenage boys. In the middle of a nasty divorce. Just went to mediation. Would like your thoughts about this.

I came out of child custody mediation feeling that I was emotionally abused by the court system. I tried to summarize the last 19 years of increasing emotional abuse, cheating, lying, stealing, controlling, name- calling, anger issues, and mind games, etc. When a problem occurred that escalated to potentially causing harm to my children, I had finally had enough. A criminal court hearing is pending about this incident. I had to get a restraining order, and have had to deal with retaliation from my STBX and his family who are fighting tooth and nail to get things that are not rightfully theres and custody.

The concern I have is that during the child custody mediation for the divorce, the mediator really came down hard on me for not doing something sooner. I was so sleep deprived and stressed out, I don't think I conveyed well my position in all this. I do blame myself for not leaving the marriage earlier, and yes I have been the typical victim, staying in the marriage for what I thought was for the kids and because of my religious beliefs. Add on that I am chronically ill and was very sick last year with a medical problem, and my STBX's lies, I felt that I did everything could do at the time with the information I had. It isn't easy to get out of something like this.

But, now there is a whole can of worms opened up. She is recommending to the court to have Child Protective Services involved- and I can understand this for my STBX, and she wants a psych evaluation for every one, including me.

I am seeing a counselor. I am just seeing my part in this as the victim who has good intentions, but stays in the relationship way too long. We can't change the past, and I finally wake up to the reality of the situation and am divorcing the guy. I wanted to be congratulated for finally waking up and smelling the coffee. You really don't see it when you are in the middle of it. And if she deals with this sort of thing all the time, she should understand that it isn't black and white and easy.

I understand her position, but she made it seem as if I was a terrible mother. She admitted that I was not a terrible mother, but her affect was so flat, without any compassion. Maybe she just tries not to get emotionally involved or tries not to favor one side over the other. But, I am a victim here just as much as the children, and I felt she could have been more sympathetic to my situation.

The answer is obvious that my husband should not have custody of these children and that was her job to determine and recommend to the judge. The kids are out of the situation with the restraining order. I am planning to have counseling for me and the kids. What more does she want? Now, I am going to have to go through all the stress of the system as well as dealing with a STBX who violates the restraining order on a regular basis, who hasn't paid a dime of child support in the last 4 months, and who still finds a way to cause problems for me.

I told her that I wanted to move away, and of course she said that I couldn't do that until all of this was finished. I was going to wait until the kids got out of school if I could. Now I am stuck in the system- its as bad as being stuck in a bad marriage- help!

Was I treated fairly? Is this typical of the system? Am I just being too sensitive? Anyone with a similar situation have an opinion or comment?

YaYagirl 02-03-2011 10:01 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi Sunsetnan,

First let me say CONGRATULATIONS for removing your children and yourself from that situation!

I am so sorry you have suffered, and that you have this distress to go through while ill, or at all! I stayed 34 years, myself, but my kids are grown now and I only answer to myself. It did damage to my children that they are dealing with as adults.

All we can do now is take care of ourselves and take responsibility for our mistakes. We can't fix the past. I hope you can start seeing that you [U]aren't[/U] a 'victim', that you made choices to stay, though yes you were treated badly. That you are a strong, viable person that can take care of herself and her children. That is the picture you need to get in your mind about yourself and that the mediator needs to see, regardless the past.

You didn't know you needed to or could get away before but you do now, and that is what matters. The mediator needs to see this in you, but won't if you want her to take care of you and congratulate you. We are here to congratulate you. [U]The mediator must be impartial or your case is sullied[/U].

Be glad the mediator is not showing partiality or setimental bias. She could have just as easily looked at your problems and felt sorry for your husband for what he went through. It's true, but she is instead equally taking a hard look at both of you to determine her recommendations. Really, for court proceedings you have to let go of the victim role. Your husband is not being judged whether he abused you or not but whether without you in the picture would he be the best parent to have custody. Do you see what I am saying?

If you don't have a good attorney, you need one. The court is here to determine who would be the fit parent, you, him or both, and if both you will have to share custody and get along with each other. They have to question why you waited so long to leave and protect the children. The law makes the hard decisions. The mediator (the law) is not your friend, except in getting to the facts. That's just the hard reality of life. People make mistakes, which is why the law is involved at times like this.

The law cuts to the chase and does damage control and the children come first no matter what we went through. Being subjected to the law is painful since someone wins and someone loses. The children are the ones that lose the most: they lose having the stability of both parents. They always feel divorce is their fault because they are stuck in the middle of the struggle and one parent (or both) is forced to leave the family.

In family court decisions it is hoped that the children will win, and both parents can be kicked aside if they aren't careful to prove themselves capable and responsible. Family court is not a place to be a victim. A victim or invalid could be deemed unable to stand up and take care of her children. It's up to you to prove yourself stable and that you can and will do right by your kids. They do need their father in their lives as long as he acts responsible toward them, which only a court of law will decide. You will likely have to keep going to court unless you can cooperate with him as the other parent.

All this to say that right now [U]all[/U] that matters is whether you are strong enough to take a stand and protect your children even from yourself. That is what the mediator cares about and is required by law to care about.

About mediation, a mediator is not your attorney or on your side and can't feel sorry for you. And you need your doctors and councelors to be willing to state that you are stable now. The mediator's job is to make decisons on both sides of the story, not feel sorry for you or build up your self esteem. The court requires that the children comes first, period. That you were abused has nothing to do with this. All that matters right now is whether you are a fit parent.

This is just a hard fact of life: the court mediator may decide that since you are indeed possibly BP and are still thinking of yourself as the victim (I don't judge you about it), and you didn't protect your children from chaos with your husband by leaving sooner, then the court wonders if you are fit and you stand a chance to lose your children. So psyche evaluation is necessary to determine if you can and will take care of the children now. A mediator can't side with you just because you suffered or ar suffering. Most that leave bad situations step right back into them and the kids keep suffering this poor parenting (I did it myself, so I am not blaming you. Until we get serious psycological help that's what victims do). The mediator [U]has[/U] to find out if you are responsible and stable enough to parent. If you don't seem to be, then someone else will be awarded guardianship or custody.

[U]Please[/U] know that I am sharing the hard cold facts. It doesn't mean I don't empathize. I totally do. This is very hard. However, it was hard cold facts that snapped me out of my old victim thinking so I could take care of myself and my kids. This is what the mediator seems to not see in you: that you simply state that you were irresponsible in not leaving sooner, but your eyes are open now. That you see what the kids were put through by staying in the chaos, and that is not going to happen again or any more. But if you want warm fuzzies from the law, you see, you aren't going to get it. The law is the judge. It is on you to show yourself stronger (stronger than you feel) for your kid's sake.

I hope this helps you see the big picture. I think you are strong and will get through this.

Sunsetnan 02-03-2011 09:17 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Thank you for your lengthy reply. I appreciate all the effort you made to answer. I am sorry that you went through a similar situation. It is very stressful and I hope things have resolved and you are in a good place now.

I fully understand what you are saying, but my point was that in trying to find out about our home life to make sure that they are awarding custody to a satisfactory parent, the mediator made an already stressed person even more stressed.

I also understand that part of her job is to protect the children, but it shouldn't be at the cost of the parent. Both the potential custodial parent and the children should be treated with care, especially if they are still dealing with the effects of the abuse.

Just like with Big Government, I think that the "system" can sometimes cause more grief than help. I didn't get the impression from this woman that she was wanting to help the children and me get some counseling help, but that she wanted to stir up trouble where there wasn't any.

Part of the problem was that she may have been told lies by the boy's father and since there was so much of a difference from my description, she didn't know who to believe. I'm sure that would make things confusing for her. I just hope that the testing that my children and I may have to go through are not stressful and make a bad situation worse.

I wish you the best.
Best Regards,

shisslak 02-05-2011 01:29 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi Sunsetnan,

Sorry to hear that your lastest court appearance was so bad. Did you attorney do anything while this mediator making orders which I believe are beyond the scope of her powers? Last time I checked only a Judge can issue a Court Order--Mediators can only listen to both sides and suggest a recommendation. Your attorney should be requested a prompt hearing with the judge to review the mediators actions. I also question what type of experience this mediator has when she is questioning you as to why you waiting so long to take action....does this mediator have any experience when it comes to spousal abuse, I also again inquire What was your Attorney doing while this mediator was questioning your mothering skills???

I thought Massachusetts was bad for Probate Matters, but California certainly sounds worse.
Hang in there and start asking your attorney some hard questions as to Why you seem to be getting the short end of the stick and your STBX who has a restraining order that has been violated on several occasions is able to obtain whatever he wishes from the the Court System? If this attorney is unable to give you some good answers, than I hate to say but you may have to start looking for a more experienced probate attorney.

Life here on the east coast has not been so happy either--between all the snow and now my STBX practically killing the cat. ( I know it is just a cat, however, this cat has been around for 15 years and he is really a great cat) Well I will try to give you the short version---the cat stopped eating, drinking, peeing and popping. (when I do not know), well I went and took the cat because STBX claims to have no money (remember he gets $2600.00 a month and using only $1,000 for his monthly expenses) to find out what was wrong with the cat, he just wanted to put the cat to sleep. (do not know anyplace that puts cats to sleep without some form of payment). Brought the cat to vets, told her what was wrong with the cat, she drew blood and we discussed putting the cat to sleep is the bloods showed major problem. All the blood work came back negative for anything physically wrong with the cat. So the diagnoses was STRESS. I can only imagine what this man did to the Cat he supposely loved. $600.00 later, the cat is now living with me and eating and drinking but very quiet and still very scared. STBX claims he has no idea why the cat was Stressed.

Keep writing and venting--I am told that in the end, everything does work out.

Sunsetnan 02-06-2011 07:51 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi, Brenda,
Nice to hear from you. I was wondering how things were going. I'm sorry to hear about your cat, and hope she is well on her way to recovering. I know what you mean about really great animals. We have a chihuahua that is the smartest, sweetest thing, and is loved almost like a member of the family. I have the animals protected under the restraining order. I didn't know that they did that, but they asked me if my STBX ever harmed the animals, and I told them the truth. I thought she was just going to use those incidents to show that he had a history of harming things in anger, neglect, and poor judgement, and was relieved to know that the animals were protected.

The mediator asked me about this, most likely because STBX made up some lies to defend his actions, and I couldn't remember what he had done to the dog that I had told my attorney. Remember, I had to get to the court house at 8, which means I had to leave at 6, which means I had to get up at 4:30, and didn't get much sleep. So, I'm wracking my brain and can't think, and finally I say that I can't remember, and she says "Well, it says right here that you claim that he harmed the animals." I said that he did harm the bird in anger- in fact he dislocated her beak, but I couldn't remember the dog. So I am so sleep deprived, I say, I guess he didn't harm the dog. But, of course, once the pressure was off, I remembered the incidences that led me to say that. So she says," you better read these things before you sign them."

She sounded so jaded and one sided after hearing from my STBX. (He went first and must have told her some whoppers.) He can really lie well. He can swindle the best. That was why I ended up marrying him. And, that was why he wanted to get married quickly, before I found out the "real him."

I asked that my sister come with me during mediation. The papers said that I could have someone with me because of the domestic violence. She asked my why I thought that I needed someone with me, and I said, well, I guess I can come by myself. I wasn't expecting to be interrogated.

The attorney could not come with me. And, you are right, the mediator can only give recommendations. But, she said that she was required by law to contact Child Protective Services if there was suspected child abuse. And, what my STBX did was child abuse. I'm surprised the police didn't report it before. And then she asked me if I reported the child abuse, again putting me on the defensive. No, I got a restraining order and filed for divorce. I thought that would protect my children! And, the law was going to handle protecting the other children by providing evidence in the court case that is pending.

I talked to a friend of my sisters who we've known for a long time. We talked for two hours about her divorce nightmares. She really made me feel good when she explained that the truth comes out in the end. She said that the judge will see through all of his lies and tactics to gain control. She told me not to concentrate on all the little things, but to concentrate on the goal- which is protecting my children.

Don't get me wrong, she said that I should pile up the evidence on my STBX- with every thing I can think of, and he's given me a lot. She also acknowledged the fact that I was abused as well, and that keeps you from seeing the whole picture. And, when someone lies so well, then you are not seeing the real picture.

My STBX just had his mother call me on his behalf on Friday, once again going against the restraining order. I think this is four times, now. My friend told me to never answer the phone. She said to just let it go to the answering machine or monitor it. She said that her attorney told her that it would make the harasser have to leave a message that could be recorded. I had got caller ID, but the number just showed it was a private caller. I was worried that it might be from the school and made the mistake of answering it. Then, I got the earful of baloney and then yelling when I told my STBX mother-in-law that my STBX could not chaperone my son's field trip- there was a restraining order from the court that prevented that- and that she was violating it by calling me. What are they thinking?

I told my attorney, and she said that she would contact the other attorney about this and also have the judge admonish him in court. I thought that would be just a slap on the wrist, but my friend said that the judges do not appreciate it when their orders are not followed, and it could lead him to going to jail. For one thing, what good is a restraining order if it isn't enforced? We know that my STBX won't quit harassing me, that is why I have it.

And, about the property taking, my attorney said that we haven't had our day in court because of all the continuances, but that he may have to return everything. My friend said that the judge will see his tactics to take property and it will only go against him. I hope that is what happens. My attorney thinks that their attorney is less than honest, but I don't want to go that route. So, I'm glad that my attorney is doing everything by the law, and hopefully it will pay off in the end.

I just want to get on with this, divide up the belongings, and take my kids out of Dodge and get on with my life! Dragging this all on is the most unhealthy thing anyone could do for my children. It is legal abuse! The quicker the kids and I get away from this situation, the better for all of us.

My friend said that her daughter is graduating from college, and is very well adjusted despite everything her ex did along the way (it was twelve years of custody battles). She said that she now has a good relationship with her ex and even his parents. She said that it was a miracle for that to have been the outcome. Her daughter came to realize everything that her mother did for her, and acknowledged it and they have a very good relationship.

So, I realize that I need to document the violations, but not let them set the tone for my life with the children. I should enjoy my times with them, build our relationship, knowing that we have to go through the fire to get to the other side. I had a wonderful time with my youngest last night, playing with the dog and making pleasant memories. That is the way to make lemonade out of the lemons.

Give your daughter and your cat some extra TLC for me, and start making some pleasant memories.
Best Regards,

YaYagirl 02-08-2011 12:09 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi again.

I just want to clarify that I am not taking sides at all and I do totally understand the extreme stress of all of this. What seems perfectly understandable to us, because we lived it, has to be proven by evidence to the court. Just gathering the evidence is stressful!

If early morning is too stressful for you, make other appt. arrangements, and explain why. You are disabled after all. Reasonable accommodation might be able to be made if you request it and are pleasant while stating that it is a need and why. If that is just how the court is run (I know here that everyone comes at the same time and has to wait until their's hard.)

You can change a date to when your attorney can be present, and I recommend doing that. If you're trying to hurry this too fast you can make your case look bad. I KNOW it's soooo hard, but try to breathe, unwind and let this case go forward slowly so the facts come out and you don't start looking bad by not remembering, etc. It can appear dishonest to the court.

I'm trying to help you see that while this is harsh for you, and believe me, it is harsh for your husband, too. The court is applying pressure to see where the cracks are and where the solid truth is. If your attorney doesn't have time for you or isn't standing with you, you can fire that one and get a new one. You might contact a local Domestic Violence support group (call your county office to learn about a local domestic violence support group) for an attorney recommendation.

I recommend that you do reread what you wrote before going to mediation or court, because retracting what you wrote weakens your case considerably. I am saying this not to beat you down, but to let you know you need to be firm on what you write and say.

Even though it felt bad, it's really IN your best interest that the mediator not show any kind of support or understanding to either spouse. Rest assured that the Mediator cannot listen to one-sided communication from your husband or from you so don't worry that she is getting lies. Her job is to confront what each of you say while in mediation.

Know that since the court appointed Mediator is not supposed to support either of you in any way, or take sides, she absolutely CAN recommend psyche evaluations and those recommendations do become Court orders by the Judge. The court does not really care about what two adults do to each other unless there are criminal charges. They do only consider the kids to be the victims of the actions/inactions of both parents. All we can do is own our part in it and take responsibility for it. The one that does that is deemed the fit parent. The one who points the finger at the other is not deemed to be the fit parent, so leave that to your matter how much he states "she this and she that", the court is not swayed by it unless it can be proven and was seriously damaging to the kids. So, he has as much or more to prove than you.

It never is to your benefit to hurry the case through the court. I know you just want it over with. You can leave when you choose, but unless you can prove with clear evidence that he is going to physically harm the children, it is unlikely the court will allow you to take the children out of the area or away from the father's family. All that to say the sooner you can get support for yourself so you can settle down and deal with co parenting, the better. Fighting against him only puts the kids in the middle and harms them, and the court won't stand for it. Many guys are great fathers when the one they are angry at (the wife) is out of the picture. That doesn't mean it's your fault. It only shows he doesn't love his wife. That's his flaw, not yours.

Listen, I hate to swallow my pride and cooperate with someone that didn't do right by me, but for my kid's sake I do it. They hated the uproar in the family, but they love their dad even though he and I don't love each other. It's all just so sad. I'm sure you have a lot of grief to work through.

I really feel for you as you journey through this time of heartbreak, anger and confusion. :(

Sunsetnan 02-08-2011 01:23 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Thank you for your reply. There are some extenuating circumstances that you do not know about that I cannot discuss here. The boy's father will not get joint or sole custody- only visitation and supervised at the most, as I understand the law.

I was merely upset with the way the mediator treated me. It wasn't that she was impartial, I could understand that. I realize now, that she was most likely reacting to his lies and she was just trying to determine the truth. I wasn't expecting that. And, after thinking it over, I've determined that I can see how she could wonder why I did not leave him sooner. I ask myself the same question.

I do feel justified that in my "victim's state of mind," I tried my best to keep my children safe. I can also tell you that my soon to be ex did not hate me. In fact, he wanted to continue to stay married. And, he was the one who refused to leave. Not until I served him the divorce papers and then later the restraining order did he start on his quest for revenge. I realize that he is scared. He is in big trouble and doesn't have me there to play interference for him. He always blamed others for his mistakes, and I wasn't there, so now he is trying to pin everything on my son. The truth will come out, I have no doubt. Hopefully, there will be justice.

The only thing that I would like to be streamlined is the child support. He has refused to pay any for the last four months and the house mortgage is in default. I must provide for my two sons and myself on Social Security, and I am still paying the bills. He's refusing to pay half the debt at this point.

I would like the physical distance that moving away provides, but I have always maintained that I wanted the children to continue in their schools until it is let out in June. The kids and I have lived most of our lives in the other city, and have support from family and friends. It will be a good nurturing environment for them. They still have contact with their friends and all their cousins who live there. Hopefully, that will make the move easier.
Best Regards,

YaYagirl 02-23-2011 11:34 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi Sunsetnan :)

That's just terrible that your husband is blaming his son! I think that won't go well for the father in court.

I totally support you in what you are doing. It takes a lot of courage to make the moves you are making. I applaud you for it. I know it's very difficult and can be a confusing process even when some things are clear cut to you, such as that your husband should not have custody, but esp. hard when the court might not yet see it. Absolutely you are the one knowing what's going on there, and I don't mean to minimalize any of it.

I write from my own experience so please take what I say with a grain of salt. I was present at a custody mediation where the person I was there to support was being accused of dire behavior himself. Afterwards said he felt attacked and expressed belief the mediator was biased by lies. He was being accused of some serious things, which later proved to be totally untrue. That aside, the mediator did ask very pointed questions, and I could see how the very questions could seem very harsh. However being there, I thought the questioning was fair. And when the mediator said she wanted psyche evaluations for both parties, I saw it as a good thing, not unfair because the mediator did not know either parent, and was there to protect the children and get to the root of the problems the couple shared. Both parents were making seriously bad choices that impacted the children negatively. While one person may actually be involved in criminal behavior, in marriage I really don't believe the impact on the kids is all the fault of just one or the other. Both somehow do the dance. Of course that doesn't mean any of what I saw in a friend's case is the same for's just something to consider.

Let me say I have myself found it difficult to face the damage I did to my children by staying with a self-centered abuser for three decades. I stayed for a variety of reasons- fear, not knowing what to do, being disabled and unable to support the kids myself, not wanting them to have divorce in their lives, wanting to do the 'right' things, confusion and a general stuff it manner of dealing with problems, Even now, though I am living apart from him, I'm still trying to minimalize how he might react while I systematically separate our lives. I know this is me trying to control him (keep him calm and cooperative) and that I am doing it for myself, not because I am selfless or generous. Being disabled and in constant pain, brain fog, etc. I just can't deal with the stress.

I understand the many ways we try to shield our kids. We do our best. It's a confusing mess we are not trained to handle. Obviously hindsight is always so much more clear. If we only knew what we know now, would we make the same choices? Who even knows? I agree with you that a move would be good for the children. I hope the law allows it. I forget if these are your husband's children or your own by a different man.

I'm so sorry you have child support issues to deal with. That's so hard. I hope it can be streamlined for you. maybe directly taken from his wages? But if he is in trouble with the law that can interfere with what you can actually get from him.

I wish you all the ebst. Keep us updated, OK? :wave:

Sunsetnan 02-24-2011 12:30 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Thanks for your recent post. I was feeling really down today and it was just what I needed to hear. Went to court yesterday. My STBX wants to fight the restraining order because he doesn't want just supervised visits. That means big money that I don't have. The attorney wants $4000 for starters for a trial. I certainly can't represent myself. So, I'm definitely in a corner. But, this is what I have to look forward to- a fight for everything. This is the controlling issues I have had to deal with for a long time. He fights and fights until he gets his way. And, I am always the one to compromise or give in because I see the big picture. I see no positive outcome if I continue to have to fight him back with every thing he throws at me. I fear for my safety and well being, but I have no more money to do anything about it if they think I don't have enough of a case.

No, I'm not putting up the white flag. I'm just saying that enough is enough. Let's all act like adults here, and find a compromise. No doubt about it that the attorneys are the ones getting all the money. I have better uses for what little money I have than to spend it fighting him for years. I need to find a place to live and get on with my life. And I see no child support money of any consequence coming my way anytime soon. And I still owe the attorney for what little she has done already.

And, I will pray each and every moment my kids have visitation with him that nothing goes wrong and causes physical or emotional harm to them- it will just have to be in God's hands. And, if my STBX continues to harass me, I guess I will just have to continue to call the police and hope and pray that he continues to see his psychiatrist and goes to some anger management classes. I really would like the children to have a father who they could look up to, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I know that once I let go, then he will eventually learn that he's bitten off more than he can chew, and the kids will see him for what he is.

Thanks again for your reply,

YaYagirl 02-25-2011 12:56 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
:rolleyes:Hi Sunsetnan,

Thanks for your reply. I am out of the bad situation as far of living apart from it and now am having to sort through and severe the legal ties. It's hard, and will take time, but necessary. I'm getting though it.

I know you are anxious to get this all behind you. I sure hope you can. I totally understand the stress of the situation you are in.

Sorry, I was repeating myself! :eek:

The testing for the kids is very gentle. I hope that you can relax and believe in yourself, because that's what will serve you and the kids the most.

best wishes and regards to you, too.

YaYagirl 02-25-2011 06:12 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage

I hope you will forgive me for repeating myself....:rolleyes: (at myself).

You can request a restraining order for yourself, whether or not he is allowed to see the kids.

My friend filed her own restraining order request and all answers
to the court. It doesn't require an attorney at all. In fact, her husband lost the case and the restraining order was granted. So don't be scared off by his money. Let him waste his money if he wants. Courts here have attorneys that will help people make sure their papers are filed correctly. Perhaps your local court has a similar service. You don't have to fight for everything, just do the work of filing that's it.

It doesn't cost much to file on your own behalf. On the other hand you do need to show yourself as calm and cooperative...with the court. Not with him.

Make sure to document everything. Keep track of when he gets the kids, when he calls you, who calls, what they say, how the kids seem when they have to go and when they get back, when or if he harasses you, that you call the police, everything. Records are what the court needs for a case against him...a trail.

It's totally up to him if he becomes the father who they could look up to. If he doesn't, like you said, the kids will certainly see it on their own.

Sunsetnan 02-26-2011 09:08 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
I currently have a temporary restraining order protecting me and the kids and they are telling me that if that is in place, then according to California law, my STBX cannot have sole or joint custody- even if it only protects just me. He could have supervised visitation, but with my STBX's controlling nature and disregard for authority, he probably can't stand to be limited by that. My attorney says that by law, the court allows him to try to defend the restraining order.

The problem that comes into play is that this is all costing lots of money. I was in tears after I was called by the attorney's billing dept. who told me that they could no longer represent me because my bill was too high. I could not imagine handling this in court all by myself.

I thought that my STBX had successfully used his power and control over me once again and got what he wanted. I was so scared what would happen if the retraining order was not granted. But, later in the day I got a phone call from the atty and she said that they would not abandon me.

I was so relieved. In the past, I have been able to handle things a lot better, was graceful under pressure, was able to be more articulate, etc. Right now, with all this stress and my fight or flight instinct on overdrive, my fibro fog is really bad. I really need to try to get back into the habit of doing meditation. I know it is troubling for the kids to see me so upset.

My attorney assures me that the end of all this is in sight and that she is just as frustrated with all this as I am. She believes that this will all work out for me and the kids. I have felt so alone for so long, it has been a great comfort to have someone in my corner. Family and friends have been such a blessing with their support- I am so amazed.

I would also like to thank you for your encouraging words and suggestions. I will keep you updated as things progress.
Best Regards,

shisslak 02-26-2011 12:52 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Hi Sunsetnan,

Sorry I have not written to you lately. I am actually on a public computer and will write either tomorrow or Monday. Just wanted to let you know I have been thinking about you and have been following your posts.

shisslak 02-28-2011 08:55 AM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Good Morning Sunsetnan,

Well today the weather is ice, rain gloom and more gloom. We had a little more snow over the weekend, which meant more shovelling.

In terms of fighting the restaining order, you really do not need an attorney, just bring all of your written evidence--police reports and phone records. The only thing you really need to show is that he has been in violation of the temporary restraining order on several occasions by having his family contact you. Start keeping a log of everytime a violation has occurred. In terms of your attorney suddenly withdrawing her appearance--well here in Massachusetts an attorney can not withdraw unless another attorney has filed an appearance or they request permission from the court.
It is easy to become overwhelmed--I did it myself this past week and this weekend. My STBX went to PA to spend 10 days with his friends (he has a new love interest out there also). He was tired of being cooped up in the house. (He is cooped up in the house because he got arrested for DUI on Super Bowl Sunday and lost his license for 45 days which meant not be able to drive to work.)
I found out about this spare of the moment little trip a couple of weeks ago because I call to ask him for $300.00 so that I could get a few things for his daughter--food being the big thing. Well he tells me that he was in PA and did not know if he would be able to give me any money. The guy got $1,200.00 in his paycheck. He told me he would call me in a couple of days--you think I was surprised when the phone never rang?? Well he is home now and needs a ride to the RMV to apply for a temporary license, so who does he call--he trys to bargain with me that if I drive him to the RMV he will give me some money. I bit the bullet and called my brother, he is going to lend me some money for grocery shopping until I get paid on Friday.

I still do not understand why there is no Child Support Order in place. When I received my temporary orders, child support was part of those orders. I understand that you like your attorney, however, is she really doing everything that she can for you. Please do not be afraid to ask her some hard questions--at some point you are going to be giving her $4,000 (in monthly payments I assume), so be a good consumer and make her work for her pay.

I too was letting the stress really affect me, but than I started adopting the "I can only do so much" attitude. My bills are paid but not on time--I am late with everything, but they are paid. I somehow am able to find some food to give my daughter and I thank god that school is back in session and that she has money in her school lunch account. I have now started to take the dog on walks instead of just letting her roam the yard to due her business. (She is a pug and is not happy with the added exercise..I keep telling her that it is good for her and stopped complaining). I find the walking is good at helping relieve some pressure, it is also helping with the added weight that I have put on, which is the opposite of what I have been trying to accomplish. You must remember that you must take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else. If you are not around, than who will take care of those boys.
You started to make time to read, are you still doing this, maybe try to find a quiet spot outside away from everything and everyone and spend some quality time by yourself. This will help calm you down and allow you to approach situations with a clearer head. Sounds good doesn't it---some how it has worked for me these last couple of days, of course I am only out for about 15 mins (it is not warm and sunny here--not as cold as it has been, but still too cold to spend more than 15 mins fighting a dog who does not want to help me relief stress) Thought I would add a little humor--sorry bad I know.
Sunsetnan, we will get through this--maybe not as whole as we would both want, however, we will come out on the other side happy and a whole lot wiser. Just keep looking at those boys of yours and know that you are their mother and that everything you do is to keep them happy and safe because that is what mothers are for--to keep our children happy healthy and safe.
Thank you Sunsetnan--writing to you is such good thearpy for me--it keeps me focused on the important things in life--my child and a dog and cat...making sure the computer is working and that the wifi is on so that teenage girls can "facetime" on their I Pod Touches. A mothers job is never done!!!!!
Enjoy the week--relax and take it one day at a time---I go back to court next Monday (3/9) and hopefully STBX will come to his senses any sign the agreement. I will let you know.
Give those boys some extra hugs and you some quality quiet time.

Sunsetnan 03-04-2011 02:16 PM

Re: Ending an abusive marriage
Thanks for the encouraging words. I go back to court on the 9th as well. My attorney has now agreed to continue working with me. Perhaps she realizes that the sooner this is over, the sooner she can get her money. I'm not looking forward to this restraining order trial. My fibro fog has made it hard to remember things. I was having problems when I saw the mediator too, so I'd guess that stress does not help matters.

I like your idea about walking the dog. My little chihuahua is similar- she has her own mind about walking. She'll just stop if she doesn't want to go forward. I nearly choke and drag her when she does that. lol

I've been trying to keep busy. A friend of mine is going through a tough time, so helping her out has kept my mind from focusing on myself.

It is sunny here in California. Beautiful weather right now. It's supposed to be 69 degrees today, and 72 tomorrow. We had a rather harsh storm last weekend and even brought some snow in the higher elevations. But, you wouldn't know it looking outside today.

My youngest son has baseball tryouts today. He mentioned that he may need some baseball shoes with cleats. I already splurged on a new mitt. My eldest son says he wants to find a part- time job at the local fast food place to help fund his video game past time. I've been helping him compose a resume- It is very short on experience, but just working on it is a good learning process for the future.

I don't understand the child support thing at all. I have been caring for the boys all this time without a dime from him and we keep getting continuances. The judge doesn't want to give a child support order until she knows what type of child custody and visitation that will be done. And every month that he does not pay, he owes an extra $100. But, when I'll see that, I'll never know.

Pray that I will have the right words to say when it really counts on Wednesday. I can't imagine the turmoil that will happen if he gets unsupervised visitation. It will be my worst nightmare come true.

I hope your court date goes well.
Best Regards,

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