HELP- 2 years after divorce from BPD/NPD, being sued to change custody agreement

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Latchkey

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Yay! I'm so happy your wedding went well.

That is great that he didn't show up and the date got extended. This might support the theory that it his parents pushing this and not him and perhaps he's had a falling out with his mother.

Whatever it is, stay vigilant, steady, and strong!
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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anxiousmom

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He admitted to me this weekend when I casually asked him: "Honestly I just forgot."

Really dude? You think it's so important you have both of us spend tens of thousands of dollars to change our original agreement and while in the MIDDLE of the court battle you can't even bother to remember your parenting facilitator appointment?

I can't imagine that going over well to convince the judge that he's ready for more responsibility...

Lawyers just agreed to a new temp hearing at the end of the month, however, his lawyer is already requesting to schedule the final trial date. Does this seem odd to anyone else? They are already signaling they don't intend to negotiate at all, I guess, which to me doesn't look good. Also makes me feel like the temp hearing is just a waste of everyone's time (and my money!). The previous judge already said temp hearings are supposed to be used in emergency situations. Why have another temp hearing if they are already pushing to schedule a final trial?

His lawyer also said the final trial "should take a day." Ha. With all the evidence I have? We'd be lucky if it took only a month.

I wish I understood the strategy more. I just don't understand the push to have a judge rule on this.

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hhaw

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I'm comforted by the fact your PD isn't signaling willingness to compromise, bc, ime, that means he's not very smart about manipulating the system.

When I was battling the PDs for 10 years, they wanted every chance to compromise, set temp hearings, etc, spent HOUR and DAYS pretending to agree to things.... took weeks or months to hammer out details, and when we agreed.....

they'd shrug their puppet attorney's shoulders, and say they wanted to go to trial after all.   :stars:  Sick sick sick, and diabolical, bc you'd THINK you were about to be DONE, then you were going into full trial prep, after pushing boxes of documents out of your way, and trying to get back to parenting well.

If your PD isn't pretending to settle, then that's good on two levels.  ONE, he's not wasting SO much of your time, and getting your hopes up, only to dash them.

TWO.... he's more likely to be identified by court officers for what he is.... pd, unable to settle ANYTHING, and not operating in the best interest of his child.   If you stay steady, and don't allow his insanity to force an error on your part, then the court tends to stay focused on the PD's bad behavior. IF you come unglued, at all, in any way, then the court is completely confused, and tends to rule so everyone loses..... split the baby, as they say.   This is terrible in these situations, where one GOOD parent is trying to protect the child from a PD parent, IME.

Stay level.  You seem to be doing fine.  KNOW your day in court will be good for you and your child, bc she with the best records typically wins.

You have more than records.  You have conduct, and consistent, level, child focused parenting.  You have a clean mental health record.  You have a stable family, with the child in your control.

Don't let PD's request to set a trial date upset you.  In fact, I'd have my attorney join in.  THROUGH the courts is the quickest way out of these things, IME. 

Trying to work anything out with PDs is a waste of our time, and resources.  Pretending we can work something out,for the benefit of attorneys, and any facilitators, is a PITA.  They don't like to be told the PD won;'t ever ever settle, btw.

When I told my attorney I wanted attend a mediation session WITHOUT her.... my attorney, belittled me, told me I didn't know what I was talking about, said the PDs would behave bc a retired Judge was in charge of the mediation, and I should keep my mouth shut, and pay her for being there, which I did. 

In the end, it was wasted time, but served a purpose.  1.  My attorney had to admit I WAS RIGHT.  2.  My attorney was angry she was made to look like a chump.  3.  My attorney became engaged personally in the outcome of my case, and started working like a boss to get me what I needed.... a super, high powered WIN in that courtroom, my attorney's fees paid by the PDs, and she made sure it was the FINAL case the PDs could bring against me for custody/visitation.  Mind you, she tried to get me to settle, to my detriment, but I stuck to my guns. 

Stick to your guns.

Don't allow people to force you to settle BC they KNOW YOUR PD won't.  The court officers tend to put pressure on the sane litigant involved, bc that's how they get you off their plate the quickest,  bastages.  They should care your your child, as the priority, but they tend to be underwater, jaded, and bitter, IME.

It helps to write down everything YOU HAVE TO HAVE.  Refer to it often, and stick to it.

You might consider asking for more safety measures, as your PD's actions are detrimental to your child, and you're very concerned about his actions, and ability to parent responsibly, considering what he's putting the child through, and both parents. 

You might have a couple small things you could agree to change, just in case you feel you must agree to something to get out of court, but don't ever allow them to pressure you into changing the BIG things.

IF you're forced to do so, make sure to put safety measures in place like supervision, a T to check in with your child regarding more time with the PD parent, etc.  You stay child focused, no matter what happens. 

The PD will likely balk at any hoops discussed, which means he'll have more chances to SHOW the court who he is, IME.

Good luck,
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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anxiousmom

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Thanks as always for the feedback, all. This forum is so helpful to know I'm not alone and to come when I'm spinning my wheels and not sure where to start.

It's hard to shake the feeling of complete betrayal. I bent over backwards to balance saving my BPD ex's life, and make sure my son had a healthy relationship with his dad. And I did a damn good job of it, though my biggest mistake was having too much sympathy for BPD ex and not doing what i thought was best in the moment. Back in 2017 when he was stalking me because he believed I was seeing someone, he went off his meds and became very troubled, erratic. He mentioned trying to buy a gun. I spoke with my lawyer at that time, who advised me to get a TRO. I chose not to after speaking with BPD ex's psychiatrist (the "expert witness" he has on his side now) who urged me not to do that because it might push him over the edge to harm himself, and he would only be a danger to himself, not to me or my son.  :roll:

In hindsight, I regret any empathy I had for him. I should have done it without regard to him and I'd probably be in a better position now.

Anyway, I just spin my wheels all the time stressing about this. For him, it's some sick power game. For me, it's about protecting my wonderful, innocent child, whom I've sheltered and kept safe for almost 7 years despite his father's mental inadequacies. Tonight I sent my lawyer a line-item rebuttal of my ex's petition to modify custody. I wrote each section's title and addressed the inaccuracies in the petition, why it wasn't in the best interest of our son, etc. To me, it's powerful, albeit cathartic, but we'll see what my attorney thinks.

Meanwhile, BPD ex was over and when he started coloring with our child, got completely lost in said "coloring" and ignored our son. He had to ask his dad the same questions multiple times, and then started coming to me in the other room to ask me. He danced to music right in front of his dad and it was as if his dad had no idea his son was even in the room with him, he didn't even glance up from his "coloring."

This whole lawsuit is just swallowing me. It's all I think about, and we don't go back until late February, and even then, that's just another temp hearing. Final date might be in March.

Every bone in body looks at all the evidence I have and says "there's no logical way a judge could feel comfortable giving him what he's asking for, there's no way he can show it's in the best interest of the child" but some days I feel fear of the unknown and the "what ifs" and I panic.

Trying hard to stay calm and focused, but one misunderstanding or misinterpretation by the judge and my son's safety and well-being could be put at risk. I've worked SO HARD to compensate for his father's lack of capacity. And to think all my progress could be cancelled because his father decided on a whim he felt entitled to more...it's just maddening.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 11:26:45 PM by anxiousmom »

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hhaw

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Now that you're gathering evidence, and doing all you can do.....is there anything you could this Judge for?

Maybe you could ask for modifications that put more precautions in place?  If you have the evidence, maybe this legal battle leads to more protections in place, and the opposite of what ex had in mind.

Always treat these situations as prep work for the next battle.  What can you document, that you don't have already?  What is ex exposing...they usually give us something.

You can't ask to change things  unless ex gives you more cause than you had.  It can't appear to be tit for tat, but I see this agressive action as detrimental to son's best interests.

That's information too.

Good luck,
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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openskyblue

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In my experience with my exhusband (NPD/ASPD/bipolar), having empathy for him or giving him the benefit of the doubt resulted in one outcome -- hurting me. It took me a long time to get my lawyer to understand that conceding something to my exhusband would never result in him also conceding something to me. He regarded any concession from me as a sign of weakness and an open invitation for him to try to get more out of me.

Have you included in any motion anything about the gun. If not, I think this would be the time to do so. You discussed the gun issue with your lawyer, the psychiatrist, and the facilitator, so there are records of those conversations that you can use now. The opinion of the psychiatrist is that -- an opinion. At the end of the day, there is no absolute proof that your exhusband would hurt himself vs. you and your son. Not to be alarmist here, but every week in this country a husband or boyfriend kills his partner and kid, then himself. A judge is aware of that and, I would guess, would err on the side of safety. We're talking here about someone who owns a gun that he doesn't secure and who has a verified mental illness.

I get it, you want to be the decent person. I did, too. But, in my experience, it's better to set your boundaries and fortify them with all the ammunition you've got. Your exhusband sounds unstable and more than possibly dangerous. Why take a chance with any of that?

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athene1399

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Anxiousmom,

I am so sorry you are so anxious! It is a terrible feeling being in "court limbo", waiting for things to play out. Just worry about the things you can control. Track what you can. Have you talked to your L about this:
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He mentioned trying to buy a gun. I spoke with my lawyer at that time, who advised me to get a TRO. I chose not to after speaking with BPD ex's psychiatrist (the "expert witness" he has on his side now) who urged me not to do that because it might push him over the edge to harm himself
If they decide to use the psychiatrist as the "expert witness" I wonder if this could be used to your advantage. I'm not a T, but would not bet your life or your son's on if your ex would use the gun on himself or someone else. I think it makes the psychiatrist look bad IMO. To me it sounds like he/she was valuing his/her client's safety over that of others IMO. I just don't like that the psychiatrist told you not to get the TRO. IMO that was inappropriate, but I'm no expert. Sorry, I'm ranting now.

Also, I think it will look good in your favor that he forgot the last facilitator meeting. And I know you document stuff, so his last visit where he ignored your son  would look good for you as well IMO. Just do what you can and try not to stress over what you can't control.  :bighug:

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anxiousmom

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Alright, for those of you who have been following my story...our temporary hearing was set for this coming Thursday. I dropped off payment this morning to subpoena the parenting facilitator, and had an hour and a half meeting with my attorney this afternoon, and at the end of the day my attorney called me to tell me exBPD & his representation decided NOT to pursue the temporary hearing. My attorney said "apparently they decided they didn't have enough evidence to win the temp hearing."

They are still going to pursue mediation and a final trial which will be in May at the earliest. Which will of course include discovery and then they will see all the evidence we have disproving his theory that he's "all better now." I know it's a long shot, but maybe...just maybe when they see that, they decided it's not worth the investment?

I don't know, but I am praising God this evening for small victories and the ability to protect my child, at least for another 3 months.

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openskyblue

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Thanks for the update. It seems like there will be many things in discovery that will not go in your exhusband’s favor. I hope you prevail — and that the other side drops the rope again.

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anxiousmom

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Geez, more chaos in this nightmare.

Apparently, his lawyer just tried to change his mind on the temporary hearing and say he DID want to go ahead and have the hearing tomorrow, because he mistakenly thought we were already scheduled for a March date, even though there was no discussion or confirmation of any kind of March date. My lawyer pushed back on him and recalled the emails where she told them she was available in May, and they never did anything to schedule it with the court. My lawyer got him to agree to NOT change his mind at the last second AGAIN by confirming the dates in May, so still no temporary hearing tomorrow but geez.

What a cluster. Neither exBPD or his L knew whether a final trial date had been scheduled, or when that date was? It's not like I'm the one asking for this to go through the courts, he is. And they can't keep track of it. What a mockery of the court system.

I guess the good news is that, even though his attorney is a partner in this high-powered, high-profile firm, it doesn't sound like he is too invested in this case.

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athene1399

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AM,

 
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I don't know, but I am praising God this evening for small victories and the ability to protect my child, at least for another 3 months.
A small victory is still a victory!!!  :) Congrats! I'm glad the temp hearing was dropped, even though there was a bit of drama after with the L. I'm sure that was stressful at the time, wondering if it was really over or not. Keep tracking everything until the trial and build up more evidence as you go. When are they looking to do the mediation?


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anxiousmom

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No word yet on date of mediation.

He has gotten very dependent on last minute requests, which I used to bend over backwards to accommodate, but need some structure now with busy lives and schedules.

I asked him to please consider looking at each week ahead to give me some advanced notice of which days he wants to see our child and share those dates with me by Sunday of each week so that we can agree and plan ahead of time.  I copied in our parenting facilitator.

He sent me a nasty gram back, explaining he is requesting more time because our arrangement is unfair and inequitable, and he doesn't believe it's in our child's best interest not to see him as often as possible (making sure to say our child just LOVES spending time with him, etc). Said he can try to plan ahead but I should be flexible as he often has work/travel arrangements that are made last minute. Said he would also like to point out that just because it may be "inconvenient" for me to accommodate for his last minute requests, doesn't mean that it isn't in our child's best interest to see his father. And that this is a step backward as to how often he gets to see our child.

The condescension was dripping. It was a reasonable request. "Let's plan ahead." But no. I must bend to his every whim and his work schedule with no regard to mine or the fact that I have been juggling 2 jobs while raising a child on my own. Just completely insane.


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openskyblue

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In my experience, keeping all communications through the lawyers seems to work best -- and reduces exposure to the "PD effects." You might consider dropping all direct communication with him other than very brief texts or emails about kid-related stuff.

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anxiousmom

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The email was actually a suggestion from my attorney.

In more bizarre news, I had also asked that we start using Our Family Wizard, attached a link, and asked him to let me know what he thinks.

He responded to both myself and the PF and said, "Well, this costs between 99-129 dollars and I wanted to make sure our PF was aware of that before she weighs in."

Like...you're good with spending an INSANE amount of money going through court, but you're going to balk at 99 bucks a year?
Just completely irrational.

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Penny Lane

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Wow, your ex is really (and ineptly?) trying to give you the runaround in court! It sounds like you're doing everything right and putting your son first.

I'm soooo happy for you that they canceled the temporary hearing. I think the fact that they acknowledged they don't have enough evidence to go forward with that speaks volumes about where they're at. It sounds like they were trying to freak you out/bully you, and when you wouldn't cave they folded. Good job!!! Although I get sooo frustrated when this stuff happens, like, you just went through all this expense and stress for nothing.

I also think his email about planning his time speaks volumes, and not in a good way for him. He gives lip service to the best interest of the child, but then goes on and on about what's "fair" (presumably to him - it's not fair to your son to not know whether he's going to see his dad the next day, in my opinion! and it's certainly not fair to you.) I think you're well within your rights to make other plans during the week and only let your ex in if it fits in your schedule. No need to bend over backwards to accommodate someone who isn't trying to accommodate you at all! I can't imagine this looks good to the PF. And, he's trying to get more time with your son but can't even commit to whether he's going to want to see him more than a day in advance??? Wow, I also think that won't play well in court.

Keep doing what you're doing, I really think stability and your son's best interests will win out.

Oh and, from professional not personal experience, I've found that those big law firm partners have so much to worry about that they don't really care about a smaller case like this. And a lot of times they'll offload the bulk of the work onto a paralegal or junior attorney anyway. I doubt this lawyer will actually be an asset for your ex in the long run.

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hhaw

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The court will SEE how irrational your PD is if you document well, and stay level yourself.  You seem to be doing an amazing job of handling all that's on your plate, btw.

About the changes in court dates, etc... I found that's a PD tactic to keep you off your game.  It also drives up your expenses, and takes a toll emotionally when you have to prepare for things over and over with the PD pulling away the football over and over. 

Best to keep all courtdates in place.... don't move them if you can help it.  Even if you're going to mediation, don't cancel any court dates until documents are signed, at the meeting, filed and stamped, IME.

And, if the mediation is successful... it's not a done deal till everyone signs.  Don't let the attorneys retire to their offices to hash out details, draw up an Agreement, while leaving an opening for the PD to change his mind, yet again.  Get everyone's signature AT THE MEDIATION, and have filed, and stamped.  I can't stress this enough.


Get all you can out of this chaos, as you'll likely prove your case, the Judge will believe you, and you'll get what you're asking for, or most of it, as long as you present as reasonable, and willing to facilitate the father child bond, which you absolutely have been a champion of, IMO.

The PD may end up with decidedly less than he had, should you ask for it.

 
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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openskyblue

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And, if the mediation is successful... it's not a done deal till everyone signs.  Don't let the attorneys retire to their offices to hash out details, draw up an Agreement, while leaving an opening for the PD to change his mind, yet again.  Get everyone's signature AT THE MEDIATION, and have filed, and stamped.  I can't stress this enough.

This should be printed in huge red letters and framed in every mediation conference room. No matter how tired you are, how much lawyer hourly fees have been racked up, no matter how much the lawyers and mediator assure you that you have a deal and they'll send all the paperwork over tomorrow -- DO NOT LEAVE until you have the mediation agreement signed by both parties, sealed, stamped, etc. My exhusband wasted 7 hours of fees from two lawyers and the mediator, had us all convinced he was in agreement the day of the mediation. All the legal experts assured me that it was pro forma to send around the agreement the next day. He balked at the agreement within a week and all that money went down the drain.  He demanded the mediation just so he could then say no to the whole thing. Boy, do I wish I'd held a sit down strike right there that day!

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athene1399

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Quote
Said he can try to plan ahead but I should be flexible as he often has work/travel arrangements that are made last minute.
Was your PF in his response to you? I would print it up to give to your L, IMO. I mean he wants the custody agreement changed but can't tell you for sure when he will be home. That's not a stable environment for a child. How does he expect to get more time with his kid when he can't guarantee he'll be home? I mean, he just admitted to having to leave last minute unexpectedly all the time. That can't look good for him IMO.

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anxiousmom

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Quote
Said he can try to plan ahead but I should be flexible as he often has work/travel arrangements that are made last minute.
Was your PF in his response to you? I would print it up to give to your L, IMO. I mean he wants the custody agreement changed but can't tell you for sure when he will be home. That's not a stable environment for a child. How does he expect to get more time with his kid when he can't guarantee he'll be home? I mean, he just admitted to having to leave last minute unexpectedly all the time. That can't look good for him IMO.

Yes, she was, which blew my mind! He has to be on a complete BPD/narcissistic break from reality to think it looks good for him to advertise that he can't keep a set schedule. He might as well be telling the courts, "I want what I want, when I want it, and it's her job to always be on standby to cater to my job." I have to believe he did not consult his attorney before hitting "send" on that one.

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openskyblue

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Sitting here chuckling. You just described my NPD (and probably sociopathic) exhusband's "parenting" style.  It could be summed up as I make more money than you, so I get to come and go as I please, and you are required to pick up the slack. And that's what I did for 20 years. He was a big one for travel at the last minute, business deals that suddenly came together (and then often fell apart) but needed his immediate attention. There were years when he was on the road for an annual total of 4 to 6 months.

I recently uncovered that he'd kept a secret home for at least a decade. I figure he was spending much of those business trips that he just had to go on being flexible in other ways.  :aaauuugh:

Stick to your guns. Parenting isn't a part time hobby that one picks up and puts down.