Jennifer - posted on 11/13/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
I have been going through a custody battle for the last 10+ months. It has been horrible and it seems my ex and his family have no regard for how low the blows they are trying to land on me. I have been through a terrible abusive and controlling relationship and when I finally left I was only able to do so because of my concerns for my daughter. Regardless I have also been now put in multiple legal situations with out an attorney present, and of course both situations were a nightmare. Originally I went to mediation and at the mediation office when I arrived I was told my attorney could NOT represent me because of a conflict of interest. I was told by the mediator I would be in contempt of court if I did not mediate then and there without representation. The mediator then proceeded the push an agreement on me like a used car salesman, even worse this "sale" she used extreme fear tactics using the unknown court system against me. She told me that the childs best interest in not considered, it would be 50/50 regardless of abuse I had endured, abuse my daughter has been subject to, she continued to push me to sign through my tears and my stories of his dangerous behavior and my concerns for my daughters health, her potential (now proven) allergies and my concern that my ex could hurt my child if I wasn't there to protect her. I later heard that the mediator was discussing dinner plans with the my ex's attorney while she was in the other room, evidently they are close friends. Regardless I have been trying to get my day in court to at least tell my story and all of the horrible experiences I have had since this agreement. I haven't had a chance to go to custody trial because of countless delays they have used to postpone trial, My daughter has came back with regular nightmares since the arrangement, she screams when her father touches her, she has had allergic reactions and he refused to share food information just to play on my fear and concern for her, she has had stomach issues, she has cried, wait SCREAMED at the sight and touch of her father at every exchange for 9 months!! And she is only 1 yr old. She has came back constipated because of lack of water from visits with him and I'm sure extensive crying. At numerous exchanges he calls me a variety of colorful names as he rips my 1 yr old from my arms and storms out the door, he appears to be so angry at her for being afraid of him that he shoves food in her mouth to force her to chew instead of cry, and most recently I tried to record his choking her while she is crying and he was upset after calling me many horrible names he jumped out of the car and fought to smash my phone. The police charged with him with assault and eventually DHS did find child abuse was founded and the police enacted a no contact order for my daughter and I. This postponed my court date for custody again! Regardless yesterday, even though the no contact was upheld I was ordered to go to a hearing on visitations, SAME THING I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CHANGE FOR 10+ MONTHS, my ex and his attorney get a trial in 7 days!?? I show up to court and my attorney has jury duty and despite my previous horrible experience with out an attorney the judge made me sit in front of him without representation again!? Clearly I didn't know what I was supposed to say, I discussed the ongoing abuse but I feel I should have discussed specific situations and challenges I have had within this arrangement. Looking back I wish I would have gathered statements on his various violent outbursts around town and his known explosive temper, many people that have met my ex believe he is bi-polar. Regardless the founded child abuse report was not read or considered, and the judge without hesitation or consideration ordered to keep the current mediation agreement in place. So my 1 yr old daughter now is ordered to go back to the abuser for overnights, no supervised visits, no consideration for the fact that she is too young to run away or call for help. I am considering asking the district attorney to drop the assault charges against my ex so that I can communicate at least feeding information with him and get to TRAIL. It seems my silence for the past 1.5 I was with him was justified. We had 1 month of perfects schedules, my daughter quit having nightmares, she started playing on her own, she was happy to play with other people even when I wasn't in the room, she allowed me out of the room without crying. I guess I don't know what to do at this point, I am told that if I withhold visitations I will then be risking losing my daughter all together, I don't know how to protect her or at least how to get my day in court and try to show the judge(s) that my ex is dangerous and has been his whole life. I need help, I'm reaching out as a desperate mother, tears run down my face thinking about my sweet angel and how terrified she will be and how it will all work out for her. I have cooperated with DHS and done everything that has ever been asked of me, my ex has not cooperated at all. I have never called names at exchanges and I have been pleading for help from anyone, someone to help my ex have a normal relationship simply for my daughters physical health and mental health. I'm lost I need to know how bad it will be if I refuse visitations? I am happy to give supervised visitations..? But NO overnights, she is much too young and it has been a nightmare, I wonder every night she leaves if I will see her again or if they will even call me if she is taken to the hospital. I picture her shivering alone under a bright light while doctors try to figure out what is wrong with her, without her Mother to at least comfort her. I need any suggestions you all can give me, and all of the support I can get, do I withhold visitations? Do I convince the DA to drop charges against him? Should I let her go and hope she comes back to me and that she works through her fear? If I am not to protect my daughter with all of my energy and my soul how am I a good mother?