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

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anxiousmom

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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.

In your experience, do the outsiders see the full picture? Still so terrified this will go to trial and the judge will be fooled, despite the evidence I have.

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anxiousmom

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Would love some thoughts on this:

This week was our first week of actually setting a schedule as opposed to trying to juggle last minute requests from BPDex (Per the decree he only gets Wednesday but I have always allowed him extra time during the week but obviously I need to set some boundaries). We agreed to Monday, Thursday, Sunday this week. He was here Thursday (yesterday) and repeatedly told our 6 year old that he would be back tomorrow. I heard him each time and mentally noted but did not say anything, as it is not my responsibility to keep up with his schedule anymore.

My stomach was in knots as to whether he would actually show up today, and I'd have to have a confrontation, but he didn't show up.

I'm of course left to speculate what happened between last night and today to tip him off, but week ONE of scheduling before hand (I don't think it's too much to ask for him to let me know the Sunday prior to the week what extra time he's requesting) and he's already messing it up enough to tell our child the wrong days.

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hhaw

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Remember, whatever you're doing will be what the Judge will be inclined to keep in place. 

Consistency, documented well, with reasons clear, and easy to decipher, are friends.

Be consistent.  Send clear messages.  Provide documentation that's straighforward, and easily understood.

For me, that's keeping the focus on the child, their mental health, and what's in their best interest. 

Kids flourish under structure, and consistent routines. 

You've done your best with this, despite the PD chaos, which you have well documented.

THIS JUDGE should KNOW you'll continue to do so, and continue to support the PD to be the best father he can be, bc you're the stable, kind supportive mother Judges like to meet, IME.

Don't focus on the PD chaos.  Focus on the mission, and how best to document it. 

KNOW that the PD will likely convince SOMEONE in a position of power to believe him.  And that's just something we know, and understand.... it doesn't drive us mad, or keep us despairing.... for long. 

We pull ourselves together, decide how to disprove whatever the PD DID, and we SEE ways to disprove that negative, just like we disprove the ones before,  and the ones that come after.  There will always be more, IME.

Having said that, remember that most everyone will SEE what the PD is, and sometimes it's BECAUSE of the lengths the PD went to in order to sway the one or two people he manipulated.

I didn't understand that at first.  Maybe even at second and third experiences, I didn't.  At some point you see the game, and the cadence, and you draw up high, remove the terror and emotion from it, and you get busy quicker, with more energy, and understanding of what needs doing.  You just get on, with less suffering, IME.

The PD will try to knock you off your game.  Make you scream, name call, act foolishly to take the focus OFF HIM. 

Just refuse to give him that.

Keep your power. 

Stay steady, calm, consistent mom.
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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During our latest round at the parenting facilitator as we wait for court, exBPD made the statement that he had started going to his psychiatrist for both psychiatry and psychology (this was when I explained to him to my knowledge, he was not compliant with the mental health facility's treatment plan whenever he was released. I asked him how often he went for psychotherapy. He said he sees this dr once every 3 months for both med management and therapy. Coincidentally, this dr is one of the places that is refusing to hand over, so after the visit I asked him, since he mentioned that was how he was staying compliant with his treatment plan, that he sign a release allowing me to see these records. Haven't heard back from him on that since I sent the email on Wednesday.

I mean. If this is the guy they are going to put on the stand to say "he's all better now," and when my concern is that he hasn't been going to therapy and is non-compliant with treatment, and he says "no actually he's helping me with that too," why NOT produce records that say that? I know speculation does no good, but I'm wondering if it's because he's lying or because he just wants everything to go to a judge. If he doesn't sign off, we have to have yet another hearing where a judge will most likely sign off on it anyway, since it's a central part of the case. Just bizarre. Making statements and not being willing to back it up.

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hhaw

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Just keep calm, and carry on, anxiousmom.

The PD is claiming lots of things, and won't likely prove any of them. 

His best chance is to upset you so that you draw attention away from his lack of documentation. 

He wants to blow smoke, and manufacture confusion.

Don't let him. 

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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athene1399

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I agree with hhaw. Sounds like he is just trying to get you to doubt yourself. And if he has no facts to back anything up, then it doens't hold much weight (or shoudln't). Maybe ask your L if he or she can get the medical records. We had SD's law guardian get BM's records, then told us if anything was important or not. We couldn't do the investigation ourselves, but the law guardian had the authority to (maybe she got the ok from BM? I cannot remember for sure. It's been a while).

Just keep gathering evidence that shows how stable your environment is. Show you have your kid(s)'s best interest at heart. Show you try to communicate with your ex about parenting decisions and w how he reacts to what you say. He will try to distract you or get you upset IME, so don't let him. Stay calm in front of the judge. Show you can work with people and focus on the evidence you have.  Ask your L for what is important to use as evidence. IME some things we thought mattered didn't at all (it was so frustrating!).

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anxiousmom

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The blood is being drawn. I don't know how these lawyers do this all the time and sleep at night. exBPDH has always, ALWAYS maintained that I am the best mom to our son, I even have a letter from him saying as much. But we've just started the discovery process, and the interrogatory questions are just unconscionable. "Name every person who has spent the night with you and your child in the house."
"Produce every text message since the final date of divorce you've exchanged with every member of your family ."
"Produce every text message since the final date of divorce you've exchanged with exBPD."
"Name every mental and physical health care provider you've seen since the divorce."

Using the court system to harass me. Throw a bunch of s*** at the wall and see if anything sticks, I guess.  Just maddening.

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openskyblue

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Deep breaths. Just because they ask those questions does not mean you have to answer them. This is textbook harassment and easily circumvented by your lawyer, who will likely provide an written or verbal interrogatory response.

My exhusband wanted every email I had sent to anyone for the previous 5 years. I s**t you not! My lawyer simply responded that the question was overburdensome and I would not be providing that info. Believe me, by asking for this overreaching stuff, your husband and his lawyer are making themselves look bad to any judge.

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hhaw

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Yup yup yup..... L will say overburdensome, and then the Judge will say it if opposing counsel doesn't agree.

It's unlikely you'll have to produce all they're asking for.

Pull those documents that are relevant, and keep moving with organization, and documenting your own case. 


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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athene1399

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This sounds so frustrating! I am sorry anxious mom. Does your ex have to show the same documentation too? Or is this just this list of what he wants  you to show? What does your L think of these questions?

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anxiousmom

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An update:

We made enough progress in parenting facilitation that he agreed to push the trial date back, so we have until the end of August to reach an agreement.

I came up with a stair step plan to implement with a third party supervisor and also compliancy measures on his part (therapy and meds) that slowly, gradually, gives him what he wants (assuming the professionals don't see any issues that come up) which is standard possession. He said he doesn't think he needs supervision, but agreed to it because it was cheaper than court. (he has blown through the 15K that his mother gave him for this and is now very, very concerned about every single penny  :roll:)

He seems very anxious to stay out of court and reach an agreement to save money. However, two things have happened since we agreed to push the trial date out that are concerning:

1) He had previously agreed thru his attorney to sign a medical release form so that my attorney had access to his medical records as part of this case (his attorney seemed to understand if we had a hearing for this, the judge would order him to provide it anyway, so no point in wasting time). The psych office responded shortly after we decided to delay the trial date that exBPDh had called their office and revoked his consent for them to release the medical records. His lawyer, as of today, had no idea that he had revoked the release of the records.

2) They asked for a two week extension on discovery deadlines. We granted it. Now they've missed the extension deadline. Ex's L keeps trying to redirect to "it's my understanding the parties have reached an agreement and you are supposed to send it to me," but a deadline is a deadline. We still have a trial date and his L knows that. My L is strongly concerned that he is hiding something he does not want revealed through discovery or his records, and that it is not in my best interest to sign any agreement until I am able to see the discovery I am entitled to.

It's just an endless game of ping pong and I think I have whiplash from his always changing positions.  :stars:

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openskyblue

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I know youve heard this before, but its my experience that its better to keep the trial date and all discovery deadlines on schedule, no reprieves. It sounds like you tried to give your ex some leeway and a framework to be mire if a parent, but in true PD fashion punted allthat progress by failing to meet basic agreements (medical info access, discovery).

Id strongly recommend that you take yourself out of the ping ping game, which will only close you money and aggravation. Go to trial, make him prove why he should have regular custody, and get this all finished. He will more than likely lose and your life can go back to normal. 

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Penny Lane

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I'm so glad you're getting closer and that you've come to a tentative agreement you can live with!

But I would echo what openskyblue said.

I think you're absolutely right to be concerned about both the discovery and the medical records issue. It sounds like if you don't have an agreement there, you don't have an agreement at all. My opinion is that you should stay strong on that point. He will probably try to act like it's no big deal - but it sounds like your gut is telling you that it is a big deal. Listen to that.

Can you file a motion in court to force him to turn these things over? I know it seems more adversarial than you'd like as you're trying to settle. But at least in DH's experience, nothing but hearings and the threat of an upcoming trial got his ex to be truly serious about settling.

At the end of the day, he is the one who took you to court. He is the one who won't even abide by the agreements that you've already made about how the process will work. I don't think you want to enter into another agreement with him when he won't even follow the ones you have about discovery and medical records!

If you haven't already, I would get a good sense from your lawyer about how you might fare at trial. You might decide to put up with his shenanigans because you're likely to get a worse deal from a judge. But you also might realize that you can get a much better deal at trial and it's not worth settling without these vital pieces of information.

Also, it sounds like his newfound money concern could be an asset to you. You might be able to use that as leverage to get him to be more reasonable. Just a thought.

At some point, after months and months of that ping pong, DH told his ex: Here is the agreement, sign it or don't and we'll go to trial. She signed it. But he was ready to go to trial at that point and was tired of her giving him the runaround. You might eventually need to give that sort of ultimatum and then drop your end of the rope before he ends up signing any agreement.

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anxiousmom

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We had a conversation yesterday in which he pushed back on the discovery questions being answered and when I asked why he revoked the medical records release he said "I don't recall doing that," and gave some sketch answers there. Bottom line, I told him I had to have them. He was upset because he'd have to spend money and he thought we wouldn't have to spend anymore money on lawyers since we are agreeing. Then he asked if I would pay his attorney fees for his discovery. :stars:

Had to remind him multiple times during the conversation that I was not the one who chose to do it this way, he was. He said "but I thought we agreed to drop the case." (as if that is within my control at all) I said "the case is not dropped and until it is, you can choose to change your mind at any time so we still have to have your answers to discovery to prepare as if we are going to trial."  I told him I needed to know if that was going to be a dealbreaker. He said no, but he was clearly very agitated that I dare suggest he be responsible for holding himself to the standard he created by suing me.

He mentioned there should be "give and take." I said "sure, that's why I agreed to pay for half of your supervisor costs."

It was just a very bizarre turn of events. An outsider listening to the conversation would have the impression that I am the one who sued HIM out of the blue. He wants me to be responsible for his costs yet has no regard for the fact that I've spent all MY OWN money on this - money that I was saving for OUR SON.

He assured me that the answers would not turn up any new information I did not already know, but the way he has been obstructing us and dodging answers seems to indicate the opposite.

Who knows, but I do agree that I am in the drivers seat now that he's super concerned with every penny spent. Amazing how that happens once you run out of mommy's money! I could have bought a luxury car - fully paid for - with the amount I've spent on my attorney so far and now he's concerned with how expensive the process is. Just crazy.

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Penny Lane

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He said "but I thought we agreed to drop the case."

:roll: Someone should tell him that he can actually drop the case at any time.

It sounds like you're on a very good, very strategic path. I'm really impressed with how you've handled this and I think ultimately your son benefits.

This is just brainstorming - I'm not saying you should do this necessarily - but I think you could actually use your ex not wanting to give you the documents + his unwillingness to spend more money to get an even better deal. You could say, okay, if you don't want to turn over these documents I'm only comfortable with indefinite supervised visitation. (Or whatever). Have your attorney write up a new document that is about halfway between what you wanted originally and where you compromised. That gives him two options, a. agree to even less that he already did or b. keep going with the agreement you already had, including turning over the documents. There's also an option c., which is take it to court, though it sounds like he really, really doesn't want to do that. Something to consider.

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anxiousmom

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I do like the idea of those different options, however, the issue then becomes: my only chance to get this discovery evidence is now. If we make a new agreement that is officially submitted with the court, should we ever end up back in court, I can't get medical records from these past dates. A new agreement means a new date and I would only be able to use evidence or medical records that occurred since the latest agreement. So, if he IS hiding something that would come out in these medical records/discovery from date of divorce up to now, they'd be forever lost and unaccessible.

As of right now, I think I made it clear in our conversation that the options were: 1) he can follow through with his discovery answers and expense just as I was required to do, or 2) The discovery is a dealbreaker to him and we'll go to court.

The court option can't possibly make sense to him because if he is agitated about spending the money on discovery, he certainly doesn't want to spend it on a trial.

By the way, as an aside, it is just so freaking frustrating to me that I have spent SO much money, and yet, my lawyer has never been the one to make progress, I have. It was my conversations with him, my offering to meet with him, my handling of him that got him to reason with me. All that money and at the end of the day, I know how to deal with him better than anyone and was the one to do it, again.

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athene1399

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I know what you mean, Anxious Mom, about not wanting a new agreement because then you can't use the old evidence. SO and I contemplated changing the custody agreement  but his L advised us that if we did so and BPDBM petitioned a new custody agreement we could only use the crap she's pulled since the new agreement as evidence against her. We never changed anything for that reason (they have joint-custody, visitation as agreed upon, with SO as the custodial guardian). We were afraid BM would be on her best behavior after we changed the agreement and we couldn't use anything from before against her, so we never filed for anything.

You ex must have been blinded by a temper tantrum when he refused those documents, so he feels dumb abut doing so so doesn't want to admit he made that choice. That must have been so frustrating for you to hear! I also wonder if by "I thought we were dropping the case" he really meant "I thought you decided to let me get what I want and stop fighting me"? When we were in court, BM told SD that it was all OUR fault that we were in court over custody and that it was OUR fault that SD had to talk to the law guardian when BM filed the petition! But that's how her mind works. It was our fault to her because we wouldn't agree to what she was petitioning, never mind the fact that she created the petition.  IMO the court system just doesn't know how to deal with cases like this (or really are not informed about low-functioning PDs). In the end it is so much money spent just because someone wants to feel in power. Until they get/almost get what they want and then they don't want it anymore. I can understand your frustration.

Maybe tell him you will be okay with dropping it if he releases the medical records to you. That is if you feel that would be just as helpful as getting the discovery answers. If you can somehow get all this info and then he drops the case, that would be huge for next time (fingers crossed there isn't a next time).

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hhaw

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AM:

I think you should see the medical records before signing the Agreement.  I mean....  what IF there's something shocking in there?  What IF there's something you need to know before making any deal?

I despite the way PDs refuse to comply, while forcing us to jump through hoops. 

I'm thinking, whatever's in those records, they won't make going to court any happier for the PD. 

Well done handling things yourself. Attorneys are just tools to be wielded.  Expensive tools.

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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Penny Lane

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By the way, as an aside, it is just so freaking frustrating to me that I have spent SO much money, and yet, my lawyer has never been the one to make progress, I have. It was my conversations with him, my offering to meet with him, my handling of him that got him to reason with me. All that money and at the end of the day, I know how to deal with him better than anyone and was the one to do it, again.

Oh my gosh I hear that so hard. DH drove the strategy from beginning to end. It seemed like at first his lawyer wanted to let the other side do endless delays. Then when the lawyer got fed up with BM's shenanigans (right as she was actually making moves toward being productive) DH had to insist that they send some more of the pointless stuff BM was asking for, rather than do what the lawyer wanted and push for hearing. He even wrote up some of the documents because boilerplate agreements are NOT specific enough. But (and now we, it's our money) spent soooo much money that could've been much better spent on the kids. Ultimately with the changes to child support he ended up saving more money than he spent over the course of the kids' lives (plus, y'know, the kids are actually INSURED which is worth it on its own) so I'm glad he had the lawyer. But damn is it expensive and that's without even going to trial!

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anxiousmom

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Well this certainly got interesting:

EX BPDH is overdue by over a month now on his discovery answers. We are in the process of supervised visits. He has been "okay" with the supervisor so far when it comes to our child, but she has seen some troubling behavior in his interactions with her. We just had a parenting facilitation meeting last night in which he told me "you should have discovery, I already gave it to my attorney."

My attorney emailed his attorney asking him about it, saying "your client told mine that we should have discovery answers but I have not received from you. Please advise."

His L responded with, "My client seems to think they are in a good place right now and we would like to non-suit (drop) the case. That okay with your end?"

My L told me not to respond quickly, and that they could wait while we process all options.

I have a LOT to discuss with my L, including reimbursement of legal fees, but this certainly threw me for a loop. He throws me into this nightmare case, forces me to spend enough money to buy a luxury car, and instead of answering clearly about his discovery answers, they offer to drop the case?

In my PD experience, there is something going on and I don't trust it one bit.