Ela - posted on 08/21/2016 ( 2 moms have responded )
Hello all, I am new to the circle. My story is a bit of a long one, but without some context, everything is upside down. I'll give you the reader's digest version. (I wish it were shorter…)
I'm 40, and my daughter will be 14 in November. I left her father (Never married) when she was 4. We had been living together out in the country in the next state over. When I left him I had nothing except my car and what was in it. He had our daughter with him 24/7 thinking it would stop me from leaving. It did for a year, but one day I found cameras watching me, with wires feeding to his room. I left that day. I rented a crappy room for 2 months while I worked waiting tables until I found a place to live. She had to stay with her father. His father was a judge, so getting close to her was unbelievably difficult. We finally went to court in 2009. The only place I could afford was in a bad part of town, so he used that and the schools in that area as the reason she shouldn't be with me. The judge granted him primary residential but joint custody. I spent the next few years going back to school. I got a computer degree and in late 2011 was offered a really good job with a global company in another state about 200 miles away. I took the job after a lot of deliberation, and in the past 4 1/2 years rose up in the company to a very respectable position. I saw her 1 weekend a month, alternating holidays, and most of the summer after that. Her father would trim my time every chance he found. No support was ever set up between us and he never asked for money. We never rewrote the order when I moved, we simply modified it and ran with it without the courts. When my daughter turned 13, she no longer wanted to live with him. That infuriated him and he has been unhinged ever since.
We went to court over the summer several times, and through the entire LCM/mediation process. The LCM sided with me, stating he and his household were in "extreme denial" about our daughter's wishes. She further stated that based on her interviews with his household, she determined there was a serious breakdown in the internal relationships in that house. Her father refused to go to family counseling with her to remedy their issues. Her grades suffered and she was lashing out against him. Nothing over the top, but a lot of anger on her part. She claimed he mines her for information, uses things she says out of context, provokes fights with her then uses things she says in anger or sarcastically as facts he then takes me to court over. I was awarded primary residential out of state.
He racked me up over $2000 in fees with my lawyer simply running BS messages back and forth like, what time should I pick her up, or demanding I give him visitation of her for all holidays to include my birthday. He tried to write in that I had to enforce his religion, even though I always permit her to follow religion freely, and had it written in that all things that came from him or his family had to be returned, forcing our daughter to pack up anything I didn't buy for her. He refused to permit school enrollment without him present but then denied permitting enrollment until 2 days before school started. He refused to provide me shot records to help get her scheduled forcing me to schedule her for a well child visit for shots she may not have needed.
At that visit, his wife finally texted me her shot records to show she was up to date. As we were already set for the visit and needed to transfer her medical records, we kept the visit and instead asked questions about female development, and what age do you start things like self breast exams, pelvic exams, and paps... I have a huge history of female cancers in my family. I lost all of my reproductive organs when she was 2 because of it, and lost several family members, including 1 in her early 20s to ovarian cancer. I may be planning ahead a bit, but after being kept from her medical needs for years, I had catching up to do. They never once informed me if/when she was sick and never told me when they took her to the doctors. She even showed up with braces they never talked to me about until she was in the chair and the doc was breaking her palate.
I took the info from that visit to him in text and advised we may need to look at a pelvic exam soon. At 14 she has not yet started her period. My mom took me for a checkup at 14 for the same reason. The doctor informed me that if she hasn't started by 15, she will need a checkup to ensure she is on track. He lost his mind. All caps replies about how that's dangerous and how she won't need a pelvic exam until 21. I told him no problem, lets shelf the talk this year. I told him nobody would be using a speculum, on a 14-year-old, they just feel the ovaries and things like that. Non-evasive stuff. He told me to stop trying to schedule things and see if I can even handle school. He's been a snarky jerk this entire process. Nothing was done at that medical visit except vitals and general chatting, and nothing more was scheduled for her.
For timeline, he dropped her off and we enrolled her in school Monday. I won't invite him into my home because if I did, he would somehow use it against me in court. Now that I didn't invite him in, he's claiming I am hiding things and she's in danger. Tuesday was the visit to the doctor. He called her twice that day to talk. Wednesday, we had a mother-daughter day to get ready for school. I had to take a week off of work to get her ready. He is intentionally trying to cause me to fail so he can try to take her back. Wednesday he blew up my phone demanding to talk to her. Her phone was dead so I handed her mine. When he saw the incoming call he refused to answer it and responded stating anything I say needs to be in text so he has "proof". I told him it was our daughter calling so he answered the phone, and they talked for about 15 minutes. He hung up when she handed me the phone. She stated he asks her so many questions and walked off muttering "Doesn't he have other kids to micromanage?" I work very hard with her over her attitude towards him. I try to remind her he is her father. She may not like things that he does but she DOES love him, and I don't approve of her ever saying she "hates" him. I try to help her see his side in a positive light, even when I know what his real reasons are, in an attempt to keep their relationship from any further damage.
I get a text from him early morning Thursday. This is the 1st day of school. He asks me to let him come see her and take her to lunch on Saturday for a few hours to see how school went. Keep in mind that his next scheduled visit is mid September and he lives out of state. I told him we had plans, but I would see what I could do. I thought perhaps he's just having a hard time with this being her first year away for school. About 2PM that day, I get a call from my lawyer. He is trying to short file an emergency order to change custody stating she is in imminent danger and I am trying to perform dangerous and unnecessary medical procedures without his consent. At that point it dawns on me that this over 200 mile lunch road trip he is asking for looks more and more like a visit he won't return her from. I politely denied his requests stating that in light of recent events I will not be agreeing to any time not currently in the order. He stated he was worried about her and demanded to see her face to face. I installed Marco Polo on her phone and a lock on her door, and taught her how to use it to live chat with her dad any time.
That was not enough for him. He says he needs a few hours, face to face, alone, to make sure she is ok. She doesn’t want to go. He is now saying I am blocking him from our daughter and now is filing a motion with the court for parental interference. This has all been in the span of 4 days with him demanding physical access 3 of those 4 days. Saturday she woke up with a scratchy throat from allergies. No fever, normal stuff. Did the normal things... Gargle with salt water and baking soda, sinus medicine and a nasal wash to help. Soup and cold stuff and to be safe, Airborne. Well, when he found out she had a sore throat, now he's escalated further stating I've had her a few days and she's already sick in my care.
His texts and constant threats of court are insane. He cost me over $6000 in legal fees in 2 months with petty calls to the lawyers and BS negotiations. The one over my birthday, he ran that all the way to the end threatening if I didn't give in we would go to trial. I refused to budge and 5 minutes before the order was due in court he dropped his request. He did it to run out as much money as he can because his lawyer is a family friend so he pays reduced fees.
We didn't make it through the 1st day of school and he is already dragging me back to court. It's also written in the current order that we have court next May, time is already set, to review this order and he's requesting a year in advance that custody be reversed. She doesn't want to live with him. He is terrorizing everyone. He goes somewhere where nothing is wrong, creates some smoke then claims its a fire.
Am I wrong to decline his requests for face time outside of the scheduled order? I thought I was being very accommodating. How do I deal with him when everything he does is to try to force me to make a mistake he can use against me?