Left My Children & Husband To Survive

Pamela - posted on 04/13/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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A few years ago, after several years of verbal, emotional & psychological abuse from my husband, I made the decision to leave him. I had nowhere to go. I took very little with me. I decided that it would be better for our children if I left them in our family home, in their community, and with their things & friends. He was not abusive to them; it was me he was angry with, not them. Our children witnessed his continuous anger towards me. Our children commented on how he was towards me. I thought if i left him, there would not be anything for him to be angry with, and our children would not suffer his disappointment in me. A coworker offered me a place to sleep in her one bedroom apartment, so I sought refuge there. I trusted that my husband would separate our marital issues from our parenting issues and believed that we could co-parent our children. I believed I could get myself organized and build a life without the continuous derogatory comments made by him, and continue to have involvement and meaningful engagement in our children's lives. I had no awareness that by leaving them with him, I made myself vulnerable legally, should he decide to minimize my contact and involvement with them.
I was mistaken.
He locked me out of our family home. I had to visit our children on a schedule. He took control, and has not relented since. I have not had sufficient $ resources to fight all the way to trial, and I am emotionally worn out. I am just over the threshold for legal aid.
I believe that children need equal time with their parents. I have not been successful in my attempt to establish equal access with them; he will not allow it. It takes time to get to trial, and in the meantime, status quo becomes established. Where there is no material changes in circumstances, there is no real reason for the court to order a change. While we have a parallel parenting arrangement, I am paying full child support and section 7 expenses. As a result of these expenses and outstanding legal fees, it is challenging to be able to afford afford travel (i have to do most of the driving) expense and food etc. required to spend significant time with my children. I have attempted to plea with him, legally, to allow more time with a reduction in section 7 expenses, but he will not agree. He is angry because i left him. The ongoing conflict between myself and their father creates chaos for them, so I minimize disruption and opportunities for interaction with their father. This means fewer opportunities for me to see them, in order to minimize conflict with him, which affects them. Minimal financial resources make this even more challenging.
My resources are empty. Our children live with their father most of the time, and I cherish every moment I have with them. He will never give up control, and I cannot afford a legal system which tends to side with status quo, regardless. I am lost. A woman should not have to tolerate berating, belittling and condescending behaviour from her partner. Children should not have watch one adult treat another adult in this manner.
Had I taken our children with me, when I left, he would have taken them from me. He is physically intimidating and loves his children I would no have stopped him from taking them, because I wouldn't be able to prevent it.
Everyday is painful. I am thankful that I am no longer married to him. But my heart aches for our children. I am thankful for what I have in my life, but I am fearful for how our children will grow up under the substantial influence of their father, who believes I am unworthy and useless as a person and a mother. They will come to believe this, too.

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Nancy - posted on 04/14/2013

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Wow...I wish I could help. what about recording him when you go see the kids? I am trying to think of different things that might help a little. What state are you in?

Pamela - posted on 04/14/2013

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Thank you for your comments. It was recommended to me by my lawyer and a counsellor at Yellow Brick House to contact Children's Aid Services. I did this, but there is no evidence of the issues that have occurred at access exchange (swearing, yelling...) during the 5 minute investigation. our children have a roof over their heads, are cared for and are fed. From an observer looking in, they are fine, and I am the woman who abandoned them and their father. Why I left holds no ground in court. I can prove, on paper, how verbally assaultive my ex is towards me. But it is not enough. It would cost at least $45000 to go to court, and up to twice that should I loose and have to pay his fees. I have already paid almost this much in legal fees. The emotional toll is worse than the financial. Family law is difficult. Unless there is physical or sexual assault/violence, there is little left for me to do. I have to hope and believe our children will understand someday. Right now, our daughter is angry with me. It's a tough ride.

Nancy - posted on 04/13/2013

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Is there any kind of legal assistance that you can get? It doesn't sound like a fair settlement. I would check in to family and social services and let them know what is going on. They might be able to guide you in a direction to where you can get joint or even full custody of your children. Your children should not have to witness this kind of behavior from your ex husband. That puts mental strain on them. If he still treats you with disrespect in front of them, they need to be taken out of that situation. It might be the best thing for them. If he says negative things about you to them then that will play with their emotions. That is not fair to them. Some attorneys will work with you. I would find a good one and file for full custody. Yes, it may mean that they have to leave their family home and their friends but it really sounds like they would be better off with you. I don't know what state you are in but I live in Indiana (the mommy state). The mother usually gets full custody here unless she is proven unfit. It sounds like the dad may have some issues of his own to work through. Therapy is also a good option and a therapist may be able to give you some ideas as to what can be done legally to resolve this issue. I really hope this helps and I hope things get better for you and your children. Stay strong and keep the faith. If you can't afford therapy, there are places who operate on a sliding fee scale (by your income). I hope things get better for you and I am sorry you are going through this.

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