This piece was submitted to our 100K STORIES PROJECT by an anonymous writer.
I got tired of the screaming, and his anger.
I got tired of feeling so alone in a house full of people. I was
I was scared, but knew that leaving him would be better than the way life was. Soon after came the threats to take child support away if I didn’t do what he wanted. And the bullying at every baby exchange. I got tired of feeling like I had no control over what should’ve been amicable. I asked an attorney friend for help in mediating to come up with an appropriate child support amount and eliminating the possibility of him taking it away at his will. He responded with filing for sole custody of our daughter, Devin, citing that I was mentally ill and that I abused Devin. I am reading his moving papers, and I can barely breathe. He accused me of such things as starving the baby, locking her in a closet, hitting her, screaming at her, cutting her nails to make them bleed, and doing all of this while being seriously mentally ill. His mother even wrote a declaration that I was a threat to Devin and shouldn’t have custody of her. The allegations were so severe that I had no choice but to ask the court for a custody evaluation – you know, the fair, unbiased kind of custody evaluation.
Or so I thought.
I read that the best way to get through these things was to be honest and compliant. So I was. Turns out, he wasn’t, paying the evaluator off and manipulating him into believing I was mentally ill. Then, on July 26, 2013, the unthinkable happened. The 2 of them got together and declared to the court, via ex parte, that I was going murder Devin and then kill myself; your typical murder-suicide plot, which is exactly what they called it. Only thing was, him being a mandated reporter, he was supposed to call the police, put me on an involuntary 51/50 psych hold, contact DCFS, and take away my older daughter (from a previous marriage). None of that happened. The court was just told to give sole custody to the father immediately, and I was free to go.
I drove from the courthouse to UCLA ER and begged them for a psych evaluation. 6 hours and 3 doctors later, I was sent home with nothing more than a determination of ‘anxiety.’ I submitted the UCLA report to the court but they didn’t believe me. Father asked the court for no contact and it was granted, with no foreseeable hearing date of reunification for Devin and I. The court ordered me to take a psych evaluation and accepted the recommendation of the evaluator. Together they had both their reports declare me too mentally ill to ever have custody of Devin again.
The mental health center where I was told by them to get ‘intensive therapy’ wouldn’t accept me on the grounds that I didn’t fit any of their requirements for treatment. The court didn’t care about that either. I felt beaten, and helpless, and totally alone. My attorney had long quit, as this was way out of his league. Every therapist I contacted rejected my case (who could blame them), and by this time I hadn’t seen Devin in 4 months. According to the father, this was a done deal. He had sole custody of Devin, with a no contact order firmly in place, and the court had rejected every piece of evidence I submitted refuting his and both evaluator’s allegations. I was finally able to find a lawyer who would take my case, and I found the one therapist who would listen to me. We asked for a custody trial, and my
I was finally able to find a lawyer who would take my case, and I found the one therapist who would listen to me. We asked for a custody trial, and my attorneys went to work. As if I hadn’t gone through enough, my daughter Devin gone from my life, I am depicted as a murderous, suicidal, mentally ill, abusive mother. Going to court was not something I had the mindset or strength for at all. I was in what felt like permanent mourning for my daughter, and it hurt to even talk about what this man did to me, let alone go through thousands of documents relating to my case. I put my life, and Devin’s, in the hands of my attorney.
7 months after Devin was stolen from me, our custody trial began. The evaluator stuck to his story of my illness, even though we proved beyond a shadow that he was biased, accepted money from my ex, and violated a plethora of rules and regulations pertaining to our evaluation. Listening to him speak on the stand, about this very sick woman, and all the diagnoses he had made about them, I sat there, day after day, thinking that he can’t be talking about me; but he was trying to convince the court that I was this person. It was surreal.
We subpoenaed an email that he wrote the psych evaluator prior to ever meeting me stating, ‘this is a severely disturbed woman,’ yet still claimed he wasn’t biased. The psych evaluator, was even worse on the stand, justifying her report and denying ever receiving the email. My trial lasted a record 23 days, with his side taking 18 of those days, putting witness after witness on the stand to try and convince the court that I was this person they had created. My therapist tried to prepare me for the possibility that I wouldn’t get my daughter back, and as much as I appreciated her candor, I just refused to believe that I wouldn’t see my child again.
On July 1, 2014, 11 months after she was stolen from me, I took Devin home with me that night.
The court declared that Devin was not abused and that I was not suicidal. My nightmare had come to an end. Or so I thought.
Turns out that was just the beginning, that he had only just scratched the surface of his quest to eliminate me from Devin’s life and do whatever it took to get sole custody of her. Since then, I have been back to court now for 2 additional trials, with 1 single RFO lasting for over a year, with as many as 2 dozen court appearances.
I go back to court on Feb 22. 2017 to begin yet another trial.
Being in his crosshairs and being dragged to court has become my life. I live in fear of his next RFO, his next allegation, and even his next OFW (Our Family Wizard) email to me for the sole purposes of litigation. My attorney’s fees are so high because in family court you must defend yourself when hit with an allegation. So much for being taught to be the bigger person and walk away. Family court doesn’t let you. My child’s father won’t let me, having the deepest of pockets to keep trying. He has spent over $3 million in his quest. It’s cost me every penny I have. It’s not a matter of if, it is just a matter of when he will strike again.