Allison - posted on 03/08/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )
As many of you are aware, I started this group due to my own personal experience. I was kicked out with my daughter, and my ex moved in his NEXT within a month of that occurring.
That was 2 January 2008. By June of 08, he had filed for divorce and was trying to take full custody even though he had never been there for my daughter and had booted us. In September of 2008, CA awarded me 100% physical and 50% legal custody.
The divorce kept going and to date is still not over. My daughter began school and was happily making friends. Periodically she would have visitation with my Ex.
Thanksgiving of 09 was supposed to be one such visitation. But the Ex said he wouldn't be taking it due to only having a short time [5 days].
Christmas '09 rolled around and I emailed asking how he wanted to get that set up. True the court order layed most of this out, but flights and pickup times had to be planned. Suddenly, and without warning, I get notice via my attorney that he's filed for an ex-parte hearing asking for more time.
I attend the hearing by phone and make my case to the judge that giving him more time would not only be in violation of the current visitation order but would screw up my daughter's school time. The judge informs me that it's "just kindergarten" and awards ISO [my EX], an extra week of visitation.
During this hearing the ex has gone so far as to say that I 'denied' him Thanksgiving.
My daughter returns from Xmas visitation and the EX does not make a scene in the airport like he has done previously. He sends her home with an Obama hat [knowing full well that this is a political hot button with me] but I know he's just trying to push my buttons. We speak briefly in the airport concerning some small medical matters [my daughter's glasses and eye patching, etc.] and part ways with no issue.
On the way home my 6 year old makes a big thing out of telling my partner and I that "[she] hadn't said anything". We were worried as this was an obvious flag of trouble to come. But we had no idea what was to come.
Within 48 hours I hear from my attorney that the ISO had used that extra week to set up a therapist appointment, taken my daughter to see a therapist, and had coached her to say some extraordinary things. I'm sure you all know what is coming. He has us reported for abuse, sans evidence, sans anything but this not even fully qualified therapist's statement.
Now the fun begins. I'm told that i have 24 hrs to get out to CA from MD to attend another ex-parte hearing on 13 Jan. I scurry to make arrangements and get out there. I'm told that the court is very concerned and it becomes obvious that my current attorney is a novice at best. Another hearing is setup on continuance, and we attend by phone. It all goes horribly wrong and my novice attorney [a woman of some 50+ years] makes a bad situation worse. Now I'm sent home with an order to return with my child for a hearing on 28 Jan. I'm also told that my partner has to move out of the house and a gag order/protective order is put in place. So now my family is ripped in half. And my attorney tells me I should "prepare myself to give up the child".
A kind neighbor takes in my partner, and we start having to timeshare our single vehicle. Meanwhile I have to try to explain to my crying 6 year old what just happened. She's in shock. She knows nothing bad happens to her, but she said this stuff just the same. Something has to give, so I find a new attorney. The man I found was a DA for 16 years, and has done family law for over 20. A bulldog.
For two weeks we suffer and make everything work. Then I fly out for the 28 Jan hearing and my partner comes as well. Due to the standing protective order, he has to take a separate ride to the airport and take a separate airplane.
I get to the court house and see the ISO's sister in law there. I see the NEXT there. I see his brother and his kids there. I see the therapist and some neighbors of the Ex's there. The battle lines are being drawn up and the number of people there to lie on his behalf definitely outweighs those there to state the facts.
The hearing begins to run long due to testimony given. But my partner testifies and things are being exposed for the lies that they are. Finally end of business is reached and the rest of the hearing is pushed off 'til 2 Feb. But it is a start, and my new attorney has the bull by the nose now. He walks out with a grin, but I'm still concerned. Justice takes a long time to roll around and things aren't happening as quickly as I had thought they would.
But now I'm stuck in the boondocks of CA for another 5 days and my little girl is stuck out there as well. The court gives the ISO some days of visitation, and I concede despite being very unhappy with this liar getting such a gift.
As I leave the courthouse with my daughter, ISO's SiL informs me she's given my daughter mango. I inform her that I am allergic and have not given mango to my daughter out of concern that she might be allergic as well. The SiL shrugs and tells me if she has a reaction "it won't be that bad". Like she'd know. I get back to our hotel room and my daughter starts showing a heavy red rash over 50% of her body. This week was just getting better and better.
Everytime my daughter gets back to me, she's been plied with ice cream, candy, and gifts. Clothes bought for her are too small. She's been left to watch TV the entire time with the Ex. Or better yet, the Ex isn't there and the NEXT is the sole care taker.
Finally, the 2nd rolls around and hearing #2 starts up. ISO's family doesn't turn up for this one. But now the lawyers go into chambers and things start moving very quickly. The protective order is repealed. My partner can be around us again. The therapist is reprimanded in an unofficial way for mishandling evidence [if such it was], and part of the court record is sealed.
However, a 730 evaluation is ordered. And my daughter and I get to go home.
We are still waiting for the evaluation, however, it is supposed to take place across the school Easter vacation. Visitation with ISO is also supposed to happen across that vacation. But ISo is now saying he isn't taking those 2 weeks.
I won't say that I'm not concerned about patterns repeating themselves, but I can't help but be relieved that he is cutting himself out of the picture just a little bit more. I look forward to the evaluation if for no other reason than that I am hopeful the truth will be revealed. And maybe, just maybe that will finally take ISo's teeth out of my family.
A girl can dream. Anyway, this is why I've been gone/silent for so many extended periods of time.
Best of luck to the rest of you!