Rachel - posted on 05/02/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )
I am in a very difficult situation. I married my now estranged husband not even two years ago-at the time of our marriage our daughter was already 6 months old. I have two sons from a first marriage that I have custody of. From the night of our wedding, the abuse started. There have been countless violent outbursts, two that caused me to leave him and file for divorce, one that caused me to flee to a battered women's shelter.
I guess I was gullible, because after a few months of counselling with him also going separately, though things would be better. I was advised by my counselor that she felt he may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder (she was also counselling him) and that I may want to consider getting out of the marriage for safety reasons. I didn't listen. He coerced me into moving 1700 miles away by threatening to never see me and our daughter again, but at the same time promising things would be perfect if he just got out of the crummy town we were living in. We moved, but found out right after that my sons could not move with me, so the boy returned to their home state of Colorado and a custody battle ensued over them.
I wanted to move back with my older children, but the more I talked about going back, the more abusive and controlling he became. He also began openly drinking, combining his daily alcohol consumption with Paxil and Clonazepam. He was hopping around to different doctors to get his pills, but told me he only took 2-4 a day, and he has been on this pills for many years. I was trapped and cut off from everyone, all alone in a new state, once we moved to the Virginia. He even became abusive towards our daughter. Then I found out he was abusive to my older children as well, as a report was filed by their counselor and social services made an inquiry about my childrens' welfare.
I decided to take a stand. Since he now controlled everything, even checking the mileage on my (HIS) vehicle and making sure all my time was accounted for it was very hard to leave. He threatened to kill me etc.
I left him a note, stating that our home was not stable, that we needed time apart, that he needed to get help for the substance abuse. I encouraged him to talk to his family, and explained where I would be, in Colorado with my family. He constantly harrassed and threatened me, and told me he would take our baby away, so I filed for a restraining order against him which was made permanent.
But because I lived in Virginia for 10 months, Virginia is assuming home state jurisdiction of our daughter. He cut me off from everything, and I have very little money. I do have legal aid in Virginia, and have now been ordered back for a custody hearing in June. I have NOT been ordered to bring our daughter. I have at least 8 witnesses preparing statements, I have print outs from doctors encouraging him to taper off the clonazepam, I have phone records where he tried to shut my phone off, an inquiry from social services and 3 different counselors over the last two years along with the time I spent in the womens' shelter.
He has more money than I do. There was no court order determining custody before I left. And the restraining order predates all of his filings. Yet I am terrified the courts will grant him temporary sole custody or something. We don't even have divorce proceedings started.
Colorado is where my daughter was born. Her brothers live with me, and my custody of my sons is only in Colorado. I was away 10 months in Virginia. I have a lot of evidence against him. But I hear such horror stories about good moms losing their children because the domestic violence is not taken seriously.
Does anyone have any advice to help me fight to protect my daughter? She is and always has been with me, but has only lived with him less than a year, as we had so many problems and kept separate homes until going to Virginia.
I am penniless, and working hard but barely making ends meet. I am tired, and I am scared for my daughter. Does anyone think the judge will take her from me? I have never done drugs, no criminal record AT ALL. I work, I have a small home for my kids, and one of my sons is a newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic who isn't stable. He needs a LOT of daily care, and I am the primary for my two oldest children. Any help would be so greatly appreciated!