Saturday, July 15th, 2017
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
I walked into Target to purchase a few items I needed... heading down the main aisle that separated the makeup and sundries from the groceries I turned left on the aisle for contact solution. Grabbing the specific one I needed I then headed down toward the deodorant and toothpaste. I noticed a mother probably in her thirties with a red shopping cart. In the backend of the cart seated was a little boy with light brown hair... he was probably around five. Dressed in a polo shirt and khaki shorts he now stood in the back of the cart and pointed to something he wanted on an endcap... chapstick or something I surmised. The little girl caught my eye with her head of blondish curls and purple top. Seated in the front of the shopping cart she was holding a lovey or something special. I stared at them... the mother was just happily checking off the things she needed on her shopping list. It was all so perfect. It was all so ideal. It was what I had once upon a time.
I hurried and turned down the aisle of toothpaste and between the whitening kits locked up and the children's toothbrushes I felt tears slip down my cheeks. Hiding behind sunglasses and a baseball cap I tried to summon the tears to stop. But they just tapered. Once safely tucked back in my SUV later I broke down sobbing.
No one understands this mess. Except me, my closet friends and family and others who have lived it. The people who I need to understand what has happened to my family like amicuses and ad litems and judges just don't seem to get it. I don't believe they see it. And as I sit right now in my den crying and writing this after the hellish attacks, untruths and demeaning behavior in court I endured yesterday I can honestly say I don't see this getting better anytime soon... meaning I don't see my ex stopping in his vendetta to destroy me and take my babies shown by his aggressive and unsubstantiated litigation.
Yesterday and Thursday we had trial. My ex husband had filed motions to get more custody of our daughter based on the fact he already has full custody of our son. He is stating it's unhealthy for siblings to be apart. And he's stating that the fact my son and I are estranged it's unhealthy for our daughter to see that. Even though my ex and I have had 50/50 of our daughter since 2012 enabling her to see her brother part of the time when I signed him fully over to his father September 2014. The only reason my ex has full custody of our son is:
1. Our son has Asperger's and with his extreme physical fits I could no longer physically defend myself. I could no longer physically endure being kicked, hit, bitten, etc. The physical and emotional damage my daughter has endured seeing this is harmful as well. The court does not appear to understand why I am not willing to get temporarily or permanently injured by our son just to have partial custody.
2. My ex-husband alienated our son from me by making comments to him; "I know you get everything you want at my house but at mommy's house she has rules" and not telling him he cannot hurt me. He provided a home in which our son got everything he wanted and was made to believe my home was not adequate in regards to fun. I cannot provide a lake, boat, golf cart, iphones, country club membership... and no rules along all these things used to create enticement, attraction and bribery along with detrimental things said caused my son along with his black and white thinking of Asperger's to turn his back on me. When I could no longer take the physical attacks I asked him to leave and go to his dads. After repeated attempts on my part to then take him for ice cream, dinner, bowling etc, I was told no by my son. So in 2015 I stopped offering and felt it best to back off. I kept hoping for change. But I was blocked by him on his cell phone as I continued to text him. My ex had stated our son was "afraid of me" and the only way I could see him was by attending "family dinners" in which my ex would be present. I refused this due to I do not feel safe in my ex's presence due to his past emotional and verbal abuse nor do I believe he is capable of actually fostering a relationship between my son and I as he proved this by later telling our daughter as of recently in 2017; "I wish mommy would offer to take your brother for ice cream." In which our daughter told him; "She did! Many times!" And he told her "No, she didn't." My daughter then told me "Daddy lies".
The problem with this case is there is so much he said/she said. And I understand a judges tricky position of trying to muddle through it. I realize they are trying to figure out what the truth is and that can be challenging. But as a mother I felt I was being a good mom to give our daughter a journal to write her feelings about how she feels. Ultimately she began writing about how she feels in relation to her father. She has written entry after entry about how he does not listen to her, he blocks me on her cell phone, he has threatened to take her baby doll from her if she says she wants to be with me more. Apparently the court believes this is all coached. It's really a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I was doing what I thought was in her best emotional interest; giving her a journal to write in. But the court doesn't see it that way. She needed an outlet for her emotions and I could not sign her up for counseling because her father would only approve of one counselor who I questioned was capable of seeing the truth of the issues and secondly was quite a distance to drive to and was out of pocket so insurance did not cover the sessions thus leaving me with continual high therapy bills. Since I no longer received child support for our son I had to dip into monies for our daughter to pay for it. My belief was the alternative was to give her a journal which has now been used as a weapon. What I believed was a common sense reaction and solution to an issue has been completely spun and twisted and used against me.
During our trial it was said by my ex that our son has been depressed and made threats of self harm. To that which was NEVER proven in court. Not once did anyone stand up and ask for EVIDENCE of such an issue and threats or receive it. Instead my ex was allowed to grandstand on the stand sobbing. Not once did our son's therapist who has seen him for three or more years state in her testimony on the stand that she had record of that issue or that they had spoken of it. Not once in my parent-child consult did she ever once state to me that he was depressed or had made threats. I question the truth of this. I do not believe it's been an issue at all. I believe this is a ruse. And I also question why the court if they believe it to be true or there is any risk of it being true would then place our daughter in a home where that may be so? How is that of any emotional or mental health benefit to her? It's not. It's actually harmful. Our daughter should not be used as a therapeutic tool for our son to her very detriment. The fact is there is always a risk of him having fits puts her at risk in that home. The fact our son continues to say disparaging remarks about me to our daughter like; "She's not really my mom", "Are you going to cop an attitude like your mother?" "If mommy dies I'm not going to her funeral", "I'm afraid of Jennifer"... (my ex allows him to refer to me by first name) etc is only going to be a harmful influence on her over time. Our son's alienating remarks and behavior are just an extension of my ex's alienating remarks. Example; he just recently told our daughter (referring to our son) "Mommy might run him over" and "I don't want to be on the same beach as mommy." It is not in our daughter's best interests to live with her father. It was never pointed out that in 2015 our son threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot a girl because she had annoyed him. Yet the court is turning a blind eye. Yes, I do believe my son is an abuser and is at risk of abusing in the future based on past patterns of behavior.
The biggest subject of trial was my blog. How it is so harmful or potentially harmful if the children read it. As a mother I fully understand and agree that generally speaking not all written material is appropriate for children to read. Hence why I have a disclaimer on the blog. But once a child is grown they have a right to read about their mother's journey. A journey that has included them. They have a right if they so wish at an age appropriate time to read what they want. It was brought to our attention that my ex is proclaiming he doesn't want the children reading it yet as of trial he had not put in any parental controls on the technology HE PROVIDED THEM to prevent or minimize the risk of that. I've been writing since 2012. This is a man who is fluent in technology. The irony doesn't escape me. The court never once spoke on the fact that my ex is not saying the blog is untruthful. He's merely wanting it shut down. I'm not shutting it down. I have a right to free speech and domestic abuse, divorce and custody are some of my most important causes. The judge has stated that even though she cannot take away my right to free speech there may be consequences to my actions if I don't stop writing. This is a threat. And an unmerited threat. And one that I do not appreciate nor condone nor do I believe the freedom of speech rights groups would condone either.
I have seen evil at work and yesterday was no exception to the behaviors I witnessed in that courtroom. The woman who was appointed by the judge to speak with the children and determine what was in their best interests made it her personal and professional agenda to annihilate me. She attacked me in every way, shape and form she could. She attacked me as a mother. She said I walked away from my son and she cares more for my son than I do. She lied. The court attacked me as a person. Per them I'm horrible and selfish to write and why don't I spend those hours working instead and as a way to make money. She even went so far as to attack my fulltime event-related profession stating I could do better and that I needed to figure out how to make more money instead of the insinuation that I instead expected my ex to pay for child-related expenses. (???!!!) The man makes twelve thousand dollars a month. He has a bachelor's degree. He is an entrepreneur. HE MAKES TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH. I make $12.50 an hour. I worked some during my marriage but a good portion of it I was a stay at home mother. My ex traveled extensively for work so I stayed home with the children. I feel blessed to have my current job and I feel appreciated and have kind people I work with. I cannot fathom being attacked for a job but it happened. I was also attacked for my faith as well. It was not brought up once that my ex has never changed and corrected our daughters health insurance information like birth year after my asking for years both on the phone and via Our Family Wizard for him to. This was ignored in court despite my relaying this info to the amicus previously.
This woman who attacked me yesterday did not touch on the fact that my ex never once had PROOF of our son's emotional state/or threat. She never touched on the fact that it WAS indeed damaging for him to move a new woman into our old marital home ( and that our son does not like his new wife) nor did she touch on the fact that our son spends the MAJORITY of his time at the neighbors home (as an escape) because deep down he really doesn't want to be around his father either. I am thankful for these neighbors who have stepped into his life and offered a soft spot where after the alienation of our relationship he did not have one.
I am continually appalled by the fact this man broke up our marriage and family by cheating, by being abusive and then went on to negatively influence our son toward me and now has made it his mission to continue aggressive litigation and pursue more custody of our daughter (who has stated time and time again she wants to live with me more) by forcing me into a corner to spend money to protect my daughter and myself. He is on a mission to destroy what I have left; my close knit bond with my daughter. I have taken note that it was never pointed out in court that my daughter has a photo of her father in her bedroom at my home but is not allowed to have one of me in her room at his home. It was never acknowledged that my daughter has a close bond with her three girl cousins (my sister's daughter's) and sees them regularly. It was never pointed out that my daughter's room at my home is personalized and at her father's home it's nearly bare with no special items or accents. It was never questioned as to WHY my ex's new wife was not present in court yet should have been questioned as to her parenting skills since she's in the same household as my children. It was never pointed out that she gave up her daughter back in the UK because according to my ex on the stand the father of his new wife's child is extremely wealthy and can provide whatever she needs... like money is more important than a parent-child bond. It was never pointed out that my ex husband's judgment was not called into view due to his continual choice to take my children around my father who has a history of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Instead as I tried to fight that and have it shut down I was met with "Well, he's been taking the children to see him for the past three- four years so we can't just shut that down, it's not right." I was like, "That's really not my problem. I never told him to take them around him. I told him repeatedly not to." They then tried to broach an agreement of the children seeing my father less but my ex wouldn't agree to it. The irony of this being MY father doesn't escape me.
My son's therapist never once was called out as having been paid by my ex to come to court and the bias this represents as she was supposedly paid $1,000 to appear and speak. Instead she should have been called to the court as a witness to the situation. It's all so lovely... this continual cycle of family court much like a crappy roller coaster ride to the depths of hell and hoping it stops but it never seems to. You get to be put on a stand, asked questions, be instructed you must answer yes or no and then chastised when you try to explain. Explanations aren't wanted and are shut down. Your voice is hushed and you're told that you're a shitty person and mother. You are subjected to demeaning remarks and lies about who you are. You are essentially told you don't love your children and are pathetic. You are publicly demoralized. And then after all that... guess what? You get to pay for it too. You get to drain your finances and pay for being treated like complete and utter shit and risk having your children taken from you too. Wow!!!! Welcome to family court... at least in Tarrant County.
Please take note, Shelley Kofler.... your article keranews.org/post/texas-judges-out-order is frightening and is something all parents need to be aware of. My advice if you are reading this and in an abusive marriage... document. Document, document, document. Take photos, take screen shots, record conversations, put back money. Have a plan of escape. And realize that just because you love your kids and have tried to handle a horrific situation as best as possible, just because you didn't file motion after unnecessary motion (unlike your ex) does not mean you won't be pegged as a problem. We can't make people see things as they really are. We can't make people realize the hidden agenda of the person you married... who at one time you thought was a good person and has since removed his mask and revealed himself to be not who you believed. We can't make someone see that someone is systematically attempting to destroy your life and hides behind the smile of "Mr. Nice Guy." We can't make someone see that as soon as the trial was over and the judge stated she would have to make a decision on custody that your ex walked right up to your attorney and said "Thank you for everything you've done for our family." Appalled, you look over and see your attorney look at him with a facial expression of disbelief. She merely replies "Good luck to you". Yeah... good luck to you... you may win today.... narcissists and sociopaths are all about winning... you may win next week... but one day... ONE DAY you WILL ANSWER for what you've done to me and our children. And that will be to a higher power. God help you.