Mommy Going Through a Rough Divorce

Updated on December 07, 2010
P.D. asks from Casa Grande, AZ
47 answers

I am reaching out to anyone that may have any advice for myself and my daughter. I left an extremely abusive relationship last October and filed for a divorce. I am a person of integrity and my little girl is my world. His parents bought him a high powered attorney and I am in the last stretch of getting my nursing degree. I begged him to keep our issues out of the way of parenting and he has not complied at all. I have my daughter in play therapy and art therapy to help her deal with her emotions. So far I was able to hold my own but the attorney is saying I am an unfit parent because I'm too stressed out to care for her. The lawyer is even fighting to get him out of the domestic violence classes (his second round) saying that he was not abusive and it was my fault I made him angry. I am terrified of losing my child, I had a hysterectomy at 27 and she will always be my only child. I have dealt with this divorce with integrity, facts and it doesn't seem to be working. He is dragging me through the mud, broke into my apartment twice and bangs on the doors and windown in the middle of the night. How can I get the court to see that she is better off with me without seeming like a bitter woman? Please help me with any advice, I can't afford an attorney and I am so afraid I'm losing my child to a monster.

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So What Happened?

I had no idea there were so many wonderful women out there!!! Thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their busy day to respond, I am so incredibly grateful. I am still searching for an attorney and my mom is really trying to get the money together as community resources are tapped with the caseload they already have. I spend many days researching divorce and custody laws. Yes, his attorney is making me look horrible but it isn't over. Thank you to all that have responded to me, you are in my heart.

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J.M.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi P.!

I know how hard going through divorce is. I hope this site helps you...
www.wehelpwomen.com

Good luck!

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E.T.

answers from Salt Lake City on

P.-

There is some good advice already on here, but I am going to give my two cents anyway! :)

1- Call the police TODAY. Tell them your ex is breaking into your apartment, harassing you, etc. They will more then likely say they can't do anything at this point, but what you have now is step one of documentation. Then the next time he comes over CALL 911. The officers will see in the premise history of your house that you are having problems of harassment at your house. Then you can keep building that up.

2- Get the nanny cam. That is an amazing tool. Video record every time he comes over and every conversation. I love the woman who said she had the mic on her bra. Even record the conversations you have with his lawyer. They are trying to bully you into submission. Don't let him.

3- Get a restraining order. You can probably even get an Order Against Harassment right now. You don't need nearly as much documentation as you would with an OOP.

4- Get people around you to help support you. Do you have family in the area? Or a good church? If you do have a church there may be a fellow attendee that can assist with the legal advice.

You are far from helpless (even though your ex wants you to think otherwise). I know this will all seem so impossible with all you are doing right now. If you need a babysitter or help with resources feel free to email me. I see women go through this nightmare all the time at my work (I work for the police department) and if I can help you I will. [email protected]____.com You CAN do this!

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K.T.

answers from Phoenix on

It really ticks me off to hear about things like this. You and your daughter are in my prayers.

Community Legal Services – free legal service
###-###-####

Have you thought about staying in a womens shelter? They do have the facilities to keep you safe.

Please let me know if you need anything else.

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S.Q.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm so sorry for your situation. I don't have any experience as far as divorces go but I will pray that things go well for you and your child. I've sent along 3 wed addresses to attorneys that hopefully can help you. Just copy and paste them to your web browser tab.

http://www.mychildcustody.org

http://www.folksoconnoraz.com/?SRC=TC1A505086562

http://www.cantorsimon.com/family_divorce_law/

Also mention that you are stressed because of him, and all the things he does. Get a restraining order on him at your local police station. Call the police everytime he comes around, they have to keep reports. Think of it as a fool proof journal, no judge would argue with legal reports. And if you have a video camera start recording the instances when he does come around, whether his knocking on your windows or calling to harass you. make sure to get a clock shot in there to log the time.

God bless you and your little girl, keep your head up no matter what.

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S.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Isaiah 54 has always gotten me through rough situations, especially when being unfairly accused. The end of the verse speaks of refuting any accusation and being vindicated by the Lord. I am not sure of your faith, but I can tell you first hand that I have been out of several seemingly IMPOSSIBLE situations in miraculous ways by relying on Christ, meditating on this verse, and being at peace, even if by an act of my own will. Job 22:21 says, "Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you."

Another od my favorite quotes is:

"People of integrity expect to be believed, and, when they're not, they let time prove them right."

Keep doing what is right and you will be honored. Do not be afraid, and trust in the Lord. Let Him be your defense and you CANNOT lose. If you need more informtion about this, I am glad to hear from you at any time. My prayers are with you and your family.

Below is Isaiah 54:

1 "Sing, O barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,"
says the LORD.
2 "Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.

4 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

5 For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.

6 The LORD will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected," says your God.

7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD your Redeemer.

9 "To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.

10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

11 "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise, [a]
your foundations with sapphires. [b]

12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.

13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be your children's peace.

14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.

15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 "See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me,"
declares the LORD.

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N.B.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi P.:

I went through a very similar situation a number of years ago. I got a lawyer-one who would take payments. They are out there and there are also para legal and women's rights services that can help make the difference too. Please check into them as soon as you can. Unless they can prove that you are mentally unstable, I can't imagine a judge handing custody over to someone who is attending domestic violence classes. It sounds like he and his family are doing what they can to intimidate you, don't let them.

If you have family or friends lean on them. If you don't, find your nearest church and check into their groups for people going through trauma. I signed my daughter up for one of the peer groups for kids of divorce and had to go to group at the same time she did. It was the best thing I ever did. There were people to share information with about attorneys, child care, and people just to talk to who knew what I was going through. It was such a relief to hear that my situation wasn't as crazy as I thought it was.

Continue to maintain your integrity, it is something that your daughter (even as young as she is) will inherit from you. I wish there was more I could tell you to make it easier. Just know that you are not alone, that there are many people who have survived this incredibly ugly part of some lives and have thrived. As I'm sure you will.

My thoughts are with you.

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J.J.

answers from Phoenix on

come on! you are going to be a nurse. you should know by now that there is no way that anyone is going to take your daughter away because you are stressed out. no way. worry time is wasted time. high power lawyer or not, it doesnt count in court. what you need to do is request a mediation. that will show the court that you are doing waht you can to make this better for your child. if he fails to comply he will cut his own throat. contact victim witness they will guide you through the cort process regarding the domestic violence. you have a right to be there and you can contact the judge directly and ask to testify. if he has documented instances of DV it will all be brought out in court if you make sure it does. and every time you get harrassed call the police and for gods sakes get a order of protection. they are worthless but it is a paper trail.

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M.E.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi P. -

You are doing everything you can and you are doing a great job! Don't get down on yourself. It is his lawyer's job to make you doubt yourself and your abilities - don't let him take your power from you. Have you ever heard of placing a bubble of protection around you and/or your daughter? If not, I will be happy to go through the process with you, if you are interested. Everytime he comes around and is abusive, verbally or otherwise or destructive, call the POLICE. Don't worry about how you will appear to his attorney, your safety and that of your daughter's is more important. After a couple of calls and documentation by the police, you can get a restraining order. If your attorney has not given you this same advice, get a new attorney!

Good luck and God Bless,
M.

C.L.

answers from Phoenix on

First off, I hope to GOD you got a restraining order against this man. Secondly, talk to some lawyers, I know they are all too expensive, but maybe one out there will be willing to work with you a little with payments or something, then ask the court to reimburse you your attorney fees. I don't know where you are, but if you are in AZ at all, try looking up Steven Czop with Czop Law in Chandler AZ. Even if he can't take your case, he may be able to point you in the right direction

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S.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I agree with the other two. Always call the police for every little thing. Keep a journal start it now and go as far back as you can remember dates for and the things you cannot remember dates for but month and year or just year. Have everything in a time recorded order so you look prepared and unorganized. Yes, you are stressed. You have a crazy person still harassing you.

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E.M.

answers from Phoenix on

Are there any women's support groups in town who might be able to help either with legal advice or funding??? Facts are meaningless in the hands of a "skilled" lawyer...I feel so sorry for you.
The lawyer though, would have to prove that you are physically neglecting your daughter (or something really obvious) in order to have a case to take her away. Just being stressed out is not a reason to terminate parental custody. Half the county's kids would be without parents! There has to be some documented significant result of the stress on your daughter's care...if there is not, it is just empty threats. If CPS isn't at your door, it is hard to see what is provable.
Can you prove your husband broke into your apt? Or is harrassing you? These are not signs of a mature adult. better for your case.

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L.D.

answers from New York on

wow i am going through a similar situation but after he broke into my house and set my cable and phone wires on fire and stole my wallet poured bleach on my clothes{all while i have order of protection}my three year oldson and i were sleping! the police said i couldnt prove it<after moving to a descrete location he found it and burned it down,he set up my new bf{who was not indicted thank god} and got away with it!! two years later he ran to family crt saying that my bf{same guy}is making sexual remarks to my son and threatned to burn his hse down and they boughtit!i temp lost custody of my baby and my lawyer tells me that i have a rough fight ahead!i am a wonderful mommmy this judicial system failed me! crt tomorrow wish me luck i am hoping to get to see my son it has been two weeks,kiss your daughter and be very smart!screw a lawyer you need a private investigator get up lots of dirt and have an open and closed case!

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D.W.

answers from Albuquerque on

P.,

I highly recommend getting "The Secret" - it will help you stay in a positive state of mind to keep positive things happening for you. I'd get the video first because it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to watch. The book is great too. I suggest this again to keep you positive.

As for the breaking into the apartment and lawyer, see if there is someone in your area who would take you for 'pro-bono' - often times large and elite firms will do that to help with their public image. And if you have a video camera, get it out on those nights that he is banging on the door - that way you have proof of what he does.

Best to you and your daughter.

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K.S.

answers from Las Cruces on

P.,

Your post made me really feel for you. I don't have alot of advice different than the previous posts, but maybe a little encouragement. You are a wonderful and strong mother to put yourself and your daughter first. Getting out of that endless relationship is the most important decision you have made. So I think you are a great mom just for doing that. Do you have family in town or someone that can help support you? Keep your head up and don't let him control your mind anymore. Someone who breaks into your apartment and is up at all hours of the night banging on your door, is not going to be granted custody. You have your feet under you and are going to school and trying to provide a well balanced life for your self and you daughter. Absolutley do not deal with him at all, if he comes over stay in your house and call the cops, do not talk to him or give him the satisfaction of knowing that you are scared or anything. He is angry b/c you are not letting him control you anymore. Give yourself a huge pat on the back and defintley keep the paper trail going on all of his actions. He is just digging himself a hole. I would check on the legal aid and they might be able to point you in a direction. Good luck and I think you are a very strong women even if it does not feel or seem that way now!

K.

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K.N.

answers from Las Cruces on

My prayers are with you, this is a tough situation. In our area, the Domestic Violence shelter helps women with legal representation. If that's not available in your area, I'd go into debt if I had to, but get a lawyer! They probably also have a support network to help you through this. You can bet that your ex's motivation is not about loving your daughter, but about continuing to have control over you and hurt you.

Another thought, get on-line and read as much as you can about Narcissitic Personality Disorder. That's almost always present in abusive men, and they usually target strong women, like yourself. It probably won't help you in court, but may give you some reassurance and help you understand in a different light what you are dealing with.

Meanwhile, don't let the fear in. Hold mental pictures of you and your daughter enJoying peaceful times together and trust in the power of goodness, truth and Love.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi P.,
I will have to say that the responses have been good ones. I would indeed contact the places given to you for free legal service and see what they can do. Or look in the yellow pages and find a lawyer that would take your case with payment options. Make sure that everytime he calls or harasses you to document it. Call the police EVERYTIME he shows up. It will look even worse for him if there is a restraining order on him and he still keeps coming around. Whatever you do, do not say anything derogatory to your daughter about him. If you have family support, make sure and stay close to them during this time. Family visits will make her feel secure and know there is someone else to support her. Make sure NOT to talk about him within ear shot of her. (out of the mouth of babes!!) You do not want her repeating anything she may have heard plus, it is hard for her to understand why you are talking about her daddy that way.
I know it is difficult, but you must not stress out when he shows up or calls. He knows he is getting to you and you can not afford to have that happen. BE STRONG whatever you do. Stand up for yourself no matter how difficult or silly it may seem. Remember, (old cliche') when the times are tough, the tough get going. Get busy on a lawyer and make sure to keep the support going with your daughter. Don't be afraid to answer her questions also. You may not want to tell her the whole truth, but don't not answer her questions. Lastly, (I think) find support for you. If a lawyer or someone suggests something or someplace, check it out. It may not be so bad to talk to someone about what is going on. But you have to be comfortable with that person or place. You can contact me by email at [email protected]____.com.

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D.E.

answers from Phoenix on

Hello P.,

I would go to the State for help ASAP. Explain everything that is going on and ask them for help. Also I would ask your Parents for help ASAP. You need to let the Court know that he has broken into your apt twice, question did you call the Police and file a report with them? If so get a copy of both reports and show the court what he has been doing. Also, if he was taking domestic violence classes there has to be records of that too that you can show the court. YOu need help and fast.

Good Luck and my thoughts and prayers are with you,
D.

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C.K.

answers from Tucson on

P.,
Firstly, GOOD for you for taking the steps to protect yourself and your daughter - by leaving the relationship. I know it must have taken a lot of courage and soul searching to endure with, and ultimately leave the situation. KUDOS.

It sounds like the attorney is doing what they do best - intimidating. Of course you're under stress with a divorce, a toddler, school....geez, who wouldn't be? Don't let the attorney or anyone else bring you down. Stand strong. Surround yourself with supportive and strong family and friends. Read uplifting and inspirational stories of strength and persistence.

It sounds like a restraining order would be a good idea - to keep him off of your property, etc. If he fails to uphold that, you'll have even more ammunition against him in court.

In the end, I have no doubt that you'll have your daughter to yourself ;)

Blessings,
C.

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C.R.

answers from Las Cruces on

First, good for you for having the courage to leave the abusive relationship. That's a difficult thing to do. If you haven't been doing so already, make sure you call the police EVERY time he shows up near your apartment and document it for yourself. Get a restraining order, get all of the legal documentation you can, and keep your own documentation.

You mentioned that you have found therapy for your daughter. Have you done so for yourself? I understand the load you are carrying with school, caring for your daughter, etc. However, if the only case his attorney can make is that you are "too stressed out" to care for your daughter, the best way to counter that is by showing the support systems you have created for you and your daughter.

You also mentioned not being able to afford an attorney. Contact a local domestic violence shelter if you have not already done so. They should be able to put you in touch with someone who will help you at very low cost, or even for free.

My heart breaks when I hear stories like yours. You are so brave to do what you have thus far and you are giving your daughter, and yourself, a wonderful gift by leaving the relationship, going to school, and creating a healthier, safer life. There are resources out there for you, take advantage of every single one you can find. Please take care of yourself. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.

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K.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Know that you are doing the right thing. Good for you for standing up for what's right. Next time he comes over and tries breaking in call the cops. It will help. Also have you tried free legal aid. They maybe able to help, look in the phone book under the governement section. Hang in there and pray. It will get better. :)

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E.Y.

answers from Santa Fe on

Hi P.,
I'm so sorry to hear of what you are going through. Hang in there and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. I went through a very rough divorce 16 years ago. My ex stalked my for a year and was threating me, my family and friends. We didn't have children together (thank God for unanswered prayers)which was a blessing. You probably already have a restraining order but if you don't get one. If you do, call the police anytime he breaks it. If he is showing up at your house at night he's breaking the restraining order and you need to call the police. The more documentation you have the better off you are. I had a hard time being, what I thought at the time, so hard on my ex and calling the police but that's what finally started to make a difference. My ex tried to say all sorts of awful and untrue thing about me and my therapist would tell me "a tigers stripes always show" and it is so true. A persons true colors will always come out so just be strong and pray for God's guidance and protection. He was there for me and I know he is there for you if you ask him to be. I will keep you and your daughter in my prayers. God bless and watch over you!
E.

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S.

answers from Phoenix on

P.,

First you need to get a restraining order placed against him!! Once this is done, every time he shows up it is a criminal violation. Then, please call Child Protective Services. I believe that they will have lawyers, and for sure, case workers on staff that will help you. Give it a try -- can't hurt! Good luck and stay positive. You have done the right thing by leaving your abusive husband. Keep a great paper trail and video camera footage is great too! Document everything, you will need it in court. Remember you will survive! Oh yeah, and have your locks changed. If you are in an apartment the complex will do this at no charge.

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P.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Anytime he comes around you and starts yelling, banging on your doors/windows or scares call 9-1-1. It is all recorded and you need to get a restraining order if he is threatening you. Don't be afaid to tell them if you think he has a weapon, because they will come all the faster. You are right to take the high road, keep doing it. Judges can see through people like your husband, but you need to do your part. Did you know that a diary is admissable is court as evidence? Write down what he says and does so you can use it. Most of all, protect yourself and be careful around him. God Bless you and your daughter, I will say a pray for you both.

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I.O.

answers from Las Cruces on

Even though I don't know you, I understand. My first husband took my first child. I never got to raise her. She is now 37 and although I have met her and talk once a year or so on the phone we are not close. I'm praying for you and your daughter. For protection and provision for you both. Jesus Christ loves you. My heart breaks for you. I.

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G.D.

answers from Flagstaff on

Please take a look at the fear in your life. Being terrified that you will "loose" your child is a horrible feeling yet will you "loose" her? Joint custody isn't so bad. I went through a similar experience with my ex husband. I felt that he was never a father, never involved or around and I wanted sole custody. I didn't have the money to fight, we went to a mediator agreed to joint custody and had the attorney draw up the papers. At that time I was very upset, yet over time I realized that joint custody (with myself as the primary caregiver) is pretty much the same as sole custody and it didn't change his involvement as a parent. He actually disappeared for a whole year! Looking back at my situation, it's really easy to get angry. Try calming down, taking care of yourself and your daughter by enjoying the time you have together. It will make things easier for you and for her. Don't worry about the papers because in the long run they won't really change his actions.

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K.P.

answers from Phoenix on

If he has been abusive inthe past and is acting abusive currently, I would file for a restraining order. This would prevent him from acting out at you and your child, and would also serve as proof of his abusive behavior. Make sure that you document as much as you can and use police reports to keep track of very abusive events. If there are any abusive phione conversations, record them. Above all - pray. The truth always comes out in the end, but in the meantime, turn to God to give you the strength to get through this. It helps when you feel helpless, from experience.

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M.K.

answers from Phoenix on

Hang in there! Continue to act responsibly, holding on to your integrity. Courts can be a scary thing, but I do believe judges can see straight through the bull and act accordingly. Stay true to whats right!

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P.H.

answers from Tucson on

I do'nt know where you live, but the next time he comes beating on your door, video tape it. just make sure you let him know you are taping it. and call the police. they will eventually do something. if he calls you record the conversation every time. then call your county att. and bring all of it to him. it is against the law what hes doing. they just think that you won't do anything about it. make sure you tell him you are recoding him. otherwise they are useless. at least in my stste it is. does your phone have A answering machine? and also it is the hardest thing to prove you an unfit mother. he's in for A long haul. don,t let him scare you. once he knows he got you he'll never stop. been there done that girlfriend. you have rights. push them. find out every one in your stste. and use everyone of them. good luck.

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M.G.

answers from Phoenix on

Honey I would talk to the DA that handled your domestic violence case. They are awful helpful when it comes to victims rights. I was in one of those relationships for about 10 years, luckily I didn't have any children, but the DA was helpful after the fact any time I had a question. They may also be able to recommend a pro bono attorney to handle your divorce. Hope this helps.

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D.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm so sorry that is happening to you and your daughter. I don't have any real advice, other than maybe you should keep a diary of all the things he does to you? You might even consider taking out a restraining order on him, and that way if he violates it, you can have him arrested. And stay strong for yourself and your daughter - karma has a funny way of working things out. If you keep doing the right things and don't stoop to their level, things have to work out in your favor! I'll keep you in my prayers!

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L.B.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm sorry to hear you're having such a rough time. I wish you the best. I don't really have any advice :-( ...I've never been through a divorce. I know you said you can't afford an attorney but if by some chance you find you can, Annette Burns is supposed to be one of the best. She's on Central in Phoenix. My husband is divorced and used her. We have consulted with her a few times over the years too. Good luck. I will keep you in my prayers.

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V.C.

answers from Albuquerque on

P.,

I've not read through all of the responses, but I want to tell you that now is the time to find a way to get a lawyer. I just lost custody of my three-year old daughter because he had a lawyer, and I did not. This is happening much more frequently. I believed (and still do) that I have always acted in my daughter's best interests, and much of the "stress" in my life has been fear that my daughter would be taken fro me, because my ex is so relentlessly vindictive. I was naive to think I could handle such a situation on my own, with no lawyer. And I am one tough cookie. I can handle a lot.

I have a really good lawyer now, who I know will help have my daughter returned to me as soon as possible. However, that could realistically take a year or two. GET A LAWYER NOW!! I did it by taking out a cash advance on a credit card, and borrowing some money from my mom. You are in a much stronger position than you think you are, and a good lawyer will highlight your strengths, as well as shed a light on the shenenigans your ex is using. Choose a well-respected, experienced lawyer, who has a reputation for settling things in mediation without court battles. (Leslie Becker in Albuquerque) Don't choose a shark who relies on court to keep the drama and stress (and expenses!) high. Personally, I think those lawyers are only trying to make money for themselves. They don't care one bit that they are making lives hell for the children involved.

The judges and the other lawyers know who is good. One thing in my favor is that we have an excellent judge (Elizabeth Whitefield), and my ex's lawyer is a shark lawyer who is showing herself to be a greedy, manipulative and unethical character, and thus the judge is less willing to grant their requests. My lawyer has over 20 years experience, and has an excellent reputation for being reasonable, but tough as well. This means a great deal to me. because I believe our daughter is suffering terribly as a result of all of this (she's three now, and we separated over two years ago). My lawyer was able to advise which therapist to select for my child, and is able to handle all of this with more effectiveness, because she is not feeling the emotions of the situation as strongly as I do. I was alone for so long with all of this, and the stress really did get to me after awhile. I needed an ally and a witness, someone informed and able to turn isolated events into a case that would accurately reflect my version of reality.

Make the lawyer happen in whatever way you can - think of it as an investment in your child's future and put your whole self behind finding the right lawyer. Once I did this, I ended up with an excellent lawyer.

Good luck to you!!!!

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D.H.

answers from Phoenix on

One thing you can do is to document everything that he has done that is abusive. Every time he bangs on the door at night, call the police. They keep records and it will help you in court. And the lawyer is lying. No one can make anyone else angry. They choose their own emotions. Document the classes and the fact that he won't finish them. Have the play and art therapists write down their diagnosis that the child is terrified of him. Document everything in writing. If you didn't call something in, at least write it down and try to get witnesses from your neighbors. You might also want to petition the court to have each of you evaluated for abusive tendencies toward children. It could help your case. If you give your lawyer/ defender all this ammunition, it will definitely help. And, no matter how insulting he gets, do NOT yell at him in court. Show the court that you can control your emotions, though he can't, so you are the better parent.

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T.M.

answers from Phoenix on

HEy P.!

I am so sorry to hear what you are going thru...my dad and step mom went thru the same thing and I was routing for my step mom!
You have to be tricky and use your resources! I would get a nanny cam and hook it up outside your front door so you can record when he comes and beats on your door and windows, then you need to record every single phone conversation and voicemail, and I even wired myself when we spoke in person with a cheap $50 recorder that came with an extendable mic that I clipped to my bra. You also need to document in writting every single little thing that is said, when you say him, places and times. After you compile some info on him then I would take it to the police and get a restraining order which would prove to the judge that is overseeing your case that he is a lose cannon and is unfit himself to father your daughter!
I understand that these things are so hard and it goes in favor of the other party more often than not...but know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you have to NEVER keep fighting. It took my step mom 5 years to finally prove to the courts what she had been trying to tell them all along! You need a support system that will be there on your court dates and that will also show the courts that being a single mom is not the end of the world because you have friends and family around you. If you can not afford to hire an attorney than sanction the courts to give you FREE legal council...at least you will have something...or my mom just maxed out her credit card for a retainer then made small payments to all the fees until they were paid in full! At the end of the case my father was mandated to pay a portion of her fees but he never did but they can go after him and not my mom...then my mom sold her 1st house and paid the remainder of her debt off and is now a happily free woman making a new life with my dads best friend! LOL
Be smart and savy and use every resource given to you! Its not a time to turn away help because of pride! This is the fight of your life and you are fighting for the most important thing in the world...MADISON!!! Take care and if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here!!!

ps my hubby installs security cameras for a living, and it is amazing what they can do! He works Southwest Access and Video in PHX..

T.

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N.W.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi P.,
This is a very troubling request. This is near and dear to my heart.
Chrysalis is a volunteer org. I found out about them last month at a gathering that I attended. They can help you. At the very least they can find a way to help you. God Bless you and your baby. I hope this helps.
[email protected]____.com

I'd be happy to know if this works out for you. You can reach me through my website www.aromaticbotanicals.com

Blessings,
N.

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H.A.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi P....I am not a lawyer, but I feel so badly for you. I pray that something will work in your favor. The best advise I can give you is to keep your chin up and try to stick to the moral high road. The winners don't always finish first, but at least you can say you didn't do anything illegal or nasty during this process. Do you have any family members that can help you with Madison so you don't seem so "stressed"? I wish you the best....sincerely, H.

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R.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Have you tried Community Legal Services? They are located in Mesa and I believe work for reduced fees, or no fees. Of course you can always request that the father/husband pay for your attorney fees (the Judge would decide that) -- they have an office in Mesa - 20 W First St Suite 101 - ###-###-####

Good luck --

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S.L.

answers from Phoenix on

Oh, girlie, I feel for you! Divorce is never easy, and it's exponentially worse when you have children. I'm not a lawyer, and I see that you have many responses, but I thought I'd offer this to you...

Make a paper trail! Call the police each time he shows up to your apartment, every time he verbally threatens you, record everything! A restraining order is also a good idea, but be advised that they may not include your daughter in it. A judge can't deny what's documented. Also, when I went through my divorce my lawyer was very clear on one thing. . .DO NOT let him intimidate you! He knows he's scaring you, he knows how to get to you through your daughter. Don't give him that power. His attorney can spin things a million different ways, but you know the truth. These are all tactics they use to upset you and distract you. Lastly, I'd look into getting a lawyer. I know they are expensive, but do some research and find one that's willing to help you out. They know the law and the knowledge they provide is invaluable. Good luck, you will be in my prayers.

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L.W.

answers from Santa Fe on

What an abusive jerk he is! My heart bleeds for you. You need legal help because I think you can get a restraining order and call the police when he harrasses you at your apartment. You do not have to pay for an attorney if you can't afford one. Start by contacting one of the agencies below. If they can't help you ask them who can.

New Mexico Legal Aid
Santa Fe
805 Early Street,
P. O. Box 5175,
Santa Fe, NM 87502
Tel.: ###-###-####
Toll Free: 1-800-373-9881
Fax: ###-###-####

New Mexico Legal Aid is a nonprofit law office providing free legal representation to poor people throughout New Mexico (except San Juan County) in civil cases to increase access to the justice system for vulnerable populations and preserve basic legal rights including safety, financial stability and shelter. Find a list of our offices at "Contact NMLA Offices" in the site directory on the left side of the screen.

For more information, contact us at:

New Mexico Legal Aid
PO Box 25486
Albuquerque, NM 87125
Phone: ###-###-####
Fax: ###-###-####

[email protected]____.com

Consumer alert: New Mexico Legal Aid does not charge for its services. It does not sell legal forms or documents.

Also if you are not safe in your home there is a women's shelter in Santa Fe where you can stay and they can offer you advice too

Esperanza Shelter for Battered

24 Hour Crisis Intervention
Help for Families of Domestic Violence
Individual & Group Counseling
Safe Confidential Shelter

Good luck!

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S.K.

answers from Albuquerque on

There should be a legal aid office in your area and possibly some type of women's resource center you can contact for free legal advice and representation. The other option is check with the Child Support Enforcement office and they may be able to give you some names. Also, go to the District Court and there are usually brochures/pamphlets that give you information about all of these things. If you can't find free legal assistance, talk to your church about helping you with funding.

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D.A.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi P.,

Did you call the police during this time? Did you keep a journal? If you have not kept a journal of these things, start now. Bring the counselor into the eyes of the court and let her speak for your daughter and what she is going through at your husbands hands. Start calling the police when he harasses you. Bottom line, get a paper trail started for them to follow. Get a copy of his reason for needing the anger management courses. By the sounds of things it was court ordered, so the court must have believed you before. As for the lawyer, it sounds like he may be an abuser himself as only an abuser would think that "you made him angry" is anything but a poor excuse, for a pathetic excuse for a man. A real man knows to walk away and take a time out when he is getting angry. I will pray for you and I suggest you get as many prayers going for you as you can, sounds like your in for the fight of your life. Good luck and God bless you and your child.

D.

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M.B.

answers from Las Cruces on

I'm so sorry you're going to thru this. Make sure evey time he goes over that the police know. Have a report anytime he shows up. Documment everything he does or says to you. There is help out there for women who are trying to get out. Ask around. But mostly documment. They can't take your baby away from you just because you're stressed out. But hang in there. Life will get better once the dust settles.

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V.H.

answers from Tucson on

Hi, P.
Although there is a lot of good advice being passed to you, know that you are the only one that can get you through this. I went through a similar relationship years ago and let me tell you, this divorce made me stronger as a person. I did a lot of leg work at the time. I headed to the courts and I filed a restraining order first; at the time I spoke with Judge Leslie Miller. You may want to go there and see if you can speak with her. She was very pleasant (though this was back in 1990). Then I scheduled an appointment with an attorney, go through Lawyer's Rerreral Service and interview a couple of attorney's. Remember the first hour is free, so take all of your questions and know exactly what you are going in for. You may also want to ask if there is anyone out there that is doing pro-bono work or can accept a payment plan. My attorney at the time did. Record every converstaion in a log; take pictures, video whatever. This will help you get stronger not only for you but for your daughter. Keep your head high and don't let anyone make you feel like you can't do this-YOU CAN! Once you are in court, think of your husband like an acquaintenance or someone off the street that you don't know- this will help you get through the divorce proceedings. It is tough! And follow the courts mandates, but make sure that you follow up every year for financial reviews,medical/dental copays, modifications, etc. Also, stipulate that you want him to help you with your child's college education and that it be stipulated on the decree. I hope this helps in some way. Good Luck and trust in GOD! He will get you through this!

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C.L.

answers from Phoenix on

Ok first of all you need to get a restraining order against him. That is for safety and call the police whenever he breaks it. Charge him when he breaks into your apartment. I am a fellow nurse so I get where you are in life, it sucks!! Then to add a nasty divorce on top - my prayers are with you. Are you involved in church? Most have really good support systems for you. Maybe even go to a shelter for abused women. I am pretty sure they have legal help there also and I know he could not touch you there. My heart breaks for you.

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A.M.

answers from Tucson on

Hi P.,

I haven't read through all the responses, so this may be redundant. I am at the tail end of a long, ugly, and very expensive ($50K) divorce and custody battle. My ex went after custody and made up so many false and damaging allegations against me...I was constantly struggling to disprove things AND prove I was a fit mother (he makes more money than I do and is and officer in the military, so appears more "stable" than a single, full-time working mother trying to make ends meet in a new career (I was a SAHM for a long time)). Anyway, here's what I learned: Family court is not about reality, it is about perception. For example, if there is no evidence that he bangs on your door, but you yell and scream at him to leave...if someone hears you yelling and screaming, the perception will be that you are not handling it well, etc. Divorce/custody is war and you have to be smart and strategize. That doesn't mean lie or make stuff up. Definitely don't badmouth your ex to anyone, especially your daughter. Don't try to inhibit them having a relationship (courts don't like that). If you fear for her safety with him, call CPS and make a legit report. If he comes to your property and you verbally ask him to leave and he doesn't, call the police. Document, document, document. You want a paper trail. My attorney told me the most important thing to a family court judge (in dealing with custody) is who puts the child first? Do what the courts will deem as putting your child first. If he is trying to say you are too stressed, then lower your stress level (even if you don't think you're too stressed)or get documentation as to how unstressed you are. Join a sport. Join a church. Take your daughter on picnics and to the pool and take pictures. Definitely don't act in ways that one could say you look/act stressed (even if you are..which no doubt you are). Courts are about perception. If he's controlling and somewhat smart, he will attempt to push your buttons, and I'll be he knows just which ones will set you off. If he's got an attorney, he's getting similar advice. Don't let him set you off. You be strong, composed, and live your life as though it's under a microscope and all about your daughter. No girls' night out for a long while. It's a terrible way to live, but it's only temporary. Get to know your little girls teachers, friends, moms, school personnel. Be very involved in anything she does. Volunteer your time. Whatever your job is, do it well and do it professionally. Everyone you meet is a potential witness in a custody case. Daycare providers, doctors, therapists, friends, school staff, etc. Have you scheduled and attended her doctor appointments? Get the records. Have you scheduled and attended her routine dental appointments? Get the records. Have you paid your bills on time? Get the records. If your finances are not in order, get them in order. Can you take out a loan for an attorney? Can you take out a FAFSA school loan (you can use that however you wish as long as you're in school)? You can do a lot of this on your own. Have you contacted Legal Aid? There are so many things you can do to feel empowered and in control. Now is not the time to crumble (which it sounds like you are doing a great job at staying above water). I'm actually writing a paper on the Family Court because it went very wrong in my case. I've got my kids now, but what an ordeal! I kept thinking the truth will come out eventually. It did, but not until after the damage was already done. I did not handle my case very intelligently (hence, the $50K) as I tended to be more emotional than logical (any time a mom thinks of the possibility of losing her child/children...emotions run high), and since I've never done anything wrong to lose custody of my kids...I mistakenly thought reality would prevail. Not anymore. Remember...perception...not necessarily reality. Good luck. You need support and you need to use your head, not your heart. I hope this helped and wasn't too redundant.

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A.T.

answers from Phoenix on

Your husband is in charge of his actions, it can't be blamed on you. You sound like a very loving and devoted mom that is providing well for your daughter, congrats on your schooling! You need to tell the judge or find your own lawyer and tell him what you've told everyone here at MamaSource, that he has broken into your apartment and is harrassing you by banging on your doors and windows at night. You should get a restraining order, it sounds as though your's and your daughter's safety may be at stake. Check on finding your own lawyer or even seeing if you can get some free counsel, it would be in your and your daughter's best interest to do so. Best wishes to you, please let us all know how things go. If you can, also document your husband's actions and if there is witnesses around when he does this, you may need them later to testify on your behalf so that it is not your word against his.

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C.M.

answers from Tucson on

P., I am so sorry.... I have never been through what you are going through, but I wanted you to know that I will pray for you & the protection of your daughter! ~C.

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