A Plea For Help Regarding Child Custody: An Open Letter To Tarrant County Family Court Judge Patricia Bennett
this letter has been slightly modified to omit some names
Judge Patricia Bennett:
You recently heard my family law child custody case regarding my children. I have once again reviewed all of the material evidence I submitted to the court for your review and have again found that you did not act in my daughter's best interests. This suit was brought to you by my ex husband and was frivolous. I submitted over two thousand pages of hard evidence to you including posts from my blog www.gracepowerstrength.com in which ninety percent of the posts describe in detail my ex husbands poor parenting choices. I also submitted to you three years worth of journal entries made by my daughter ranging from 2015, 2016 and 2017.
These journals include many FACTS regarding what my daughter has been living in regards to her father. She has journal entries ranging from getting burnt on the tailpipe of his car and enduring a burn and him not giving her the first aid and medical attention she needed, to her older brother physically hurting her and telling her ugly alienating remarks to her (that stem from their father) like "Jennifer's not my mother", "Jennifer didn't give birth to me", "If Jennifer dies I'm not going to her funeral. In addition to the MANY other entries my daughter wrote in her journal was an incident where my ex husband and his new wife from the UK were having sex in the bed beside my daughter's in a hotel room in Oklahoma during a trip to a family reunion of his. These three incidents are merely a small window into the unhealthy and unfit behavior my ex husband is allowing under his care. I PROTEST your ruling. I also submitted Our Family Wizard messages sent between he and I which show complete ignoring of how I have tried many many times to get him to change the birthdate of our daughters to the correct year as this has caused much frustration upon picking up her prescriptions. I have not been given back my daughter's passports when he returns from a trip out of the country as he has been instructed to do and is in contempt. These issues you did not address nor did you address the many many incidents in my daughters journals. It is not legal to write untruths... I have blog posts after blog post detailing my ex husbands behavior. He lied to you in court and on the stand and stated that our daughter had read the blogs. A few days later she tells me she's never read it and that she told you that. She also told me that she told you she wanted to be with her mommy more. I have provided a very loving and stable home for her since our divorce in 2012. Unlike my ex husband I have been her emotional rock and always listened to her and been there for her. He does not listen to her. Whenever she tries to tell him anything that is bothering her, scares her or upsets her he tells her "Tough!" or "You're fine!"
Tell me how this environment is going to be healthy for a girl in her teen years with hormones rising in her and not being around her mother as much in middle school. Tell me this is just not completely wrong. I had hopes that as a woman and as a mother you would have empathy for my little girl and our situation but I do not feel we were properly heard and I do not believe you have made a decision in HER best interests. It was never once brought up in court that her brother does not spend any time at my ex husbands home with the exception of sleeping at night due to escaping to the neighbors home and has been for a few years. He goes to school and then comes home only to immediately go to the neighbors house all evening. My daughter eats alone inside the house while my ex husband and his wife drink and eat on the deck outside. Tell me how this is better for her? I love both of my children more than any other people in the world. You never acknowledged that my ex husband had a hand in alienating our son from me. This has broken my heart and then to have you tell me I "abandoned" my son .... that is just atrocious and hurtful to the core and untrue. I have tried to do the best I could in a very frustrating and challenging situation. I tried many many times to reach out to my son and do invites of dinner, bowling, ice cream, etc but my ex husband kept saying he was "afraid of me" and then our son blocked me on his cell phone. Then slowly as things began worsening our son would no longer take my calls on his dad's phone. I tried... I truly did but my ex husband did everything he could to prevent my attempts and spin the truth. I went and had a parent consult with our son's therapist Gina Galloway who has seen him for a few years now and I recorded the conversation we had. In it she talks of how with our son's black and white thinking due to his Asperger's it might be easy for someone to prey on that; meaning my ex husband could sway him. In that conversation I recorded she talks of how our son told her "my dad lies". But when she was put on the stand no one confronted her on these issues. My attorneys did not follow through as needed. She was paid for by my ex husband who I believe paid her to omit the truth. Susan Duesler the amicus did not look out for my children's best interests and certainly not my daughters. She never acknowledged all of my ex husbands poor parenting in the journals. My ex husband married this new woman from the UK who left her daughter there to gain access to the US to marry him and yet you are not stating she "abandoned" her daughter. I am so upset this new woman is the female figure and influence in my daughters life especially at such an impressionable age and yet you have now misguidedly given her even more influence and time. His new wife's daughter has a social media platform in which my son is mentioned by name. This alarms me very much. I was not made aware of this video until just a few short days after court trial. These videos are very narcissistic in nature and my son is very upset in the background by the recording as you can see numerous times my ex husband is asking him if he's okay or telling him he will be okay and his new wife is leaning to her daughter at one point saying something to the effect that she needs to do her video later that my son is "acting funny"... meaning that he may throw a fit. Immediately you can sense her daughters uneasiness and jittery behavior.
I am asking you to please reconsider your decision on custody. I am completely willing and happy to do the reunification program with my son and have already reached out to the two therapists. I am setting up appts to see them. I am hoping this works. But please do not punish my daughter by taking her time away from me. She needs her mommy. This sweet girl has been through more than she ever should have been as well as my son. I am hopeful you will take a second look at her journals and realize how detrimental this change of custody is for her. I am hopeful you will set aside any personal bias you have toward me and look at the actual parenting. She has three girl cousins (my sisters daughters) that she needs that female bond and time with. She has my mother as a warm and loving grandma who lives with me. She has two friends both girls; daughters of close friends of mine that are her exact age that she won't see as much on this new custody schedule. She has a loving home with me where we eat dinner together every night and I help her with her school homework and peer relationships. I make sure she has what she needs when she is with me and maybe through the reunification program I can begin that process of rebuilding with my son. I am hoping he is willing to participate and his father not coach him or prevent a positive outcome. I would ask if you are not willing to reinstate the 50/50 then to please at minimum terminate your ruling that I must continue to pay for the children's out of pocket medical. With zero child support and no education due to being at home during my marriage to care for a special needs son and daughter and since my husband at the time traveled extensively for work I did not work but some and at that part time.... I am now due to your ruling not only losing time with my little girl but having to sell my home as I will not be able to afford it. I am unable to pay for the expenses you have ruled for me to pay. It's simple math... and as it stands now I will barely be able to live month to month. I make $12 an hour. My ex husband makes 12k a month. I do not believe I should be held financially responsible when he was the provider during our marriage and my earning ability will never be optimal. I would ask that you terminate any ruling of me having to pay for out of pocket medical expenses; I protest them. I protest your ruling that my ex husband should have more custody. It is not justified and my ex husband has shown in extensive documented evidence due to his behavior that he is not a good influence on her. I ask you to please reconsider. I ask you based on my daughters best interests.