My custody battle

When my three children and I left our home in 2006 we moved to an apartment in an adjacent town. It is unusual for a mom and kids to leave a home that the family owns. My ex refused to leave. He threatened my life and scared the kids, but he wanted us to stay in one part of the house with him in the other. The house is only 1100 square feet, with one bathroom. He threatened to kill me. How could I possibly live in the same house as him?

For 3 years I took care of our kids. I went to school full time to earn a Master in Teaching degree. I didn’t date until 18 months after our split. The only man I dated is now my husband. I was a good mom and did the best I could for my children.

During that time, their father was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. He remarried — twice. He obtained a permit for medicinal marijuana use, as did his 3rd wife. Then he took my children. He invented abuse allegations. He successfully took all three children from us, even though CPS determined that there was no abuse. He ripped our family apart.

I write about this now because my attorney was in court yesterday finalizing our parenting plan. I see my three older kids every other weekend. I get two weeks of vacation with them per year. I have alternating year visitation for spring break. I get half of Christmas break.

The miscarriage of justice is reprehensible. My ex has a history of alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, bipolar disease, and recreational drug use. Who in their right mind would give him custody of three children? He and his wife get high every day.

I miss my kids. I don’t get enough time with them. I am burdened with the stigma of being a mom without custody of her kids. I know what runs through people’s minds when they learn that my children live with their father. I want to cry out, “He manipulated the court system and the guardian ad litem! I am a GOOD mother! I am a Masters Degree holding, state certificated elementary school teacher! Please don’t look at me like I must be an alcholoic, druggie, or abusive mom. I am not any of those things!”

What do you think when you hear from a man, or woman, or kids that dad has full custody? Do you assume negative things about the mom?

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4 responses to “My custody battle

  • Carmen

    I won’t lie L**, I do assume bad things about the mom. It’s just not the norm to not see custody given to the mom. You know what they say happens when you assume tho. I also don’t think that you should feel that you have to explain yourself to anyone. It’s not like you up and left leaving your kids behind with a man who had threatened to kill you. They were taken away from you. You did what you could, as long as you’re ok with the relationship you’re able to have with the kids now and you can see that they are ok despite what happened and where they are, that’s all that really matters.

    • familiesinablender

      Thank you Carmen. 🙂

      It is true that it is not the norm. Sadly, when the father is abusive and vindictive and has financial means he can easily convince the courts that he is more competent. Without a police record of abuse, there is no proof of his true nature. It irks me because the court appointed guardian ad litem believed several unfounded lies about me. My ex met with her first and she “drank the koolaid.” 😦

  • Midwife@heart

    I am embarrassed to admit that I do think bad when a mother loses custody, until I hear the whole story.
    I am sorry you are going through this. I am sorry your children are going through this.

    • familiesinablender

      Sadly, I used to make the same assumptions. But I never met a mom irl that this happened to — and I only know one other online. Thank you. My kids are doing well, which amazes me. I’m so glad that the legal stuff is behind us — for now.

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