Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour

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Ylime

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Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« on: August 11, 2019, 12:39:20 PM »
Hello,

I am almost 6 months into being done with my NPDh for good. We have lived separately for 10 months, and court stuff began 3 months ago. Things were really ugly for a while. He did some crazy things that gave me the upper hand with custody and visitation arrangements. He has 12 hours unsupervised parenting time with our older child and 3 hours supervised with our infant every week, currently.

Shortly before our most recent court appearance, I found some journals of his that reflected very concerning mental health. It led to family court ordering a forensic psych eval for the whole family. He was obviously super pissed that I brought that to court, and I expected him to up the nastiness, but he has completely swung in the other direction. I feel hes manipulating me and I'm afraid I'm screwing up now by letting boundaries slide...i still feel he has a pull on me, unfortunately. He has gone from being really nasty, threatening to hold me in contempt of court if I'm 5 minutes late or if I refuse to drag kids out of bed with a 103 fever for visitation, to bending over backwards to be flexible...."Oh whatever time works best with the baby's naps, I can meet wherever, etc..."

Ive woken up to a "good morning, let ne know what is a good time for a Skype call" text almost every day. This is a man who routinely stays up all night, goes to bed at 3, 4, 5am, and sleeps all day. Our entire 11 year relationship, Ive never seen him keep a regular sleep schedule for more than a few months. So I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A couple of weeks ago I had a serious issue with my car, so I needed him (it was either let him help, or install 2 car seats in an uber and then somehow carry them around every time I needed to go anywhere for more than a week while the car was being fixed). He loved it. He was in heaven, and went craaazy with hoovering and love bombing. I didn't fall for any of it, though I felt the pull and there were some tough, emotional evenings.

So now that we had that week where he had to come to my home for pickup and dropoff, he wants to do it all the time, and argues it is easier on the baby who doesn't do so well im the car, which is true. I'll tell him I will meet somewhere and he will just show up at my house anyway and say oh well I was already on the way. Our older child likes having him at the house and asks him to play there, which I allowed once because I felt bad. I know I'm screwing this up. He keeps asking me to loosen up the supervision thing, but given his lack of experience with infants and the fact that the baby can't talk to me, I know I will want the supervision back once his mood switches again, and if I let it go I'm afraid I won't be able to get it back. Its very frustrating, because it would make life easier for us all if he didn't need a supervisor, and he is stable right now. I've even talked to him about this and he had been understanding. Its honestly scaring me, how reasonable hes acting.

So I guess I'm just looking for support because I dont know what the right thing to do is. And I'd like to know what to expect from the custody evaluation. The psychologist my lawyer and the kids lawyer agreed to specializes in personality disorders and PTSD. His lawyer hasnt agreed yet. I think hes hoping to get out of it by being nice to me. I'm worried even if we do get the evaluation he will come off looking like FOTY because hes so manipulative and charming. He can be a good dad for short periods, but if he grts 5050 or something, my kids will not be okay, and I'm so worried for them.

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Whiteheron

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 01:06:13 PM »
The courts have seen it all. They've seen FOTY countless times. I recommend re-establishing your boundaries. He doesn't get the kids if he shows up to your house unexpectedly (and no, he wasn't in the area or just driving by), he gets them at the appointed time and at the previously agreed upon meeting place. He doesn't get to come into your home.

Right now he is testing you and how serious you are about enforcing the rules and your boundaries. Hold firm. He will flip back to 'normal' and if you're already keeping up with the boundaries, it will be easier for you and the kids.

My stbx also became FOTY when court proceedings started. We also had a family psych eval. The evaluator saw right through him - he is so controlling he even tried to control his eval session! So my stbx went from seeing the kids for maybe 5 minutes each day (he was off with his gf), to being home with them every single night (we were living under the same roof for a year after I filed). It was suffocating for the kids and they even asked me a few times why their dad was being scary nice. I let my guard slip a few times - and he used whatever he could against me by filing numerous affidavits to the court about my "behaviors" and how I was attempting to alienate him from the kids by enforcing my boundaries and telling him "no."

I guess my advice is to be careful - your stbx will be doing whatever he can to make himself look good and competent. Remember how things were - because that's who he really is underneath this act. As for how long he can keep it up probably depends on if he thinks it's working. My stbx kept up the disneyland dad thing for almost two years - but there were cracks appearing in his facade much earlier than that.

My stbx is also extremely manipulative and charming. It makes me really worry that everyone will be snowballed by him.

You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 11:32:19 AM »
Hi Ylime. Sorry you're dealing with this. I know it's so confusing to see your ex be the parent you wish he was all along.

But I can tell you from watching my husband's ex do this exact thing while they were in court - and from countless stories on this board - it is an act. My stepkids' mom dropped it IMMEDIATELY the day the papers were signed. (It was a modification, but H said she did the exact same thing during the divorce too). Stopped pretending to work with him on anything, stopped even trying to come to the kids' activities, started refusing to take them to the doctor or pay for anything. Some other really scary stuff and it's only gotten worse, not better.

What would help you remember what he was like before this? Writing down some of the worst things he did to you and the kids? Going back to those journals? Maybe say a mantra in your head?

Don't beat yourself up for letting your boundaries slip before. You can still have boundaries of steel going forward. You're doing the right thing here! Things will be so much worse for your kids in the long run if he gets his way. I think you're right that if you give up the supervision you can't get it back, so your instinct is exactly right to not give it up now.

I don't have any experience with a custody evaluation so hopefully others will weigh in. But in general I would say that H always did better with court type stuff when he relaxed and got out of his own head. You know you're a good mom who's doing the best you can for your kids. Don't let your ex get in your head about that.

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Phoenix Rising

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 09:37:07 AM »
Gosh I really feel for you. Congrats on taking the steps you have. Your concerns are valid. It's really frustrating when PD suddenly act like they are great parents, lovers, whatever even though they treated you and kids like crap and did nothing. What your ex is doing now is typical NPD/PD behaviour. In my case, the courts was the ultimate forum for NPDex to do smear campaigns and other provoking actions. It was three years of hell, of which, his mask slipped many times but he got away with it because 1) courts usually don't have the time or trained professionals to recognize PD stuff, 2) Think of #1 and that they don't understand reactions to abuse and instead see it as conflict you "create"  :roll: Use this opportunity to get involved in counselling or therapy.. not because you are doing something wrong but because it REALLY helps and it shows you are committed to being whole and the best person possible for your kids. Most PDs wont go to counselling and it looks bad on them. Your counsellor can be someone who advocates for you and the ones who understand PD, abuse and family courts will teach you life changing strategies.

Try to move forward from any mistakes you've identified... Set boundaries and don't waver with them. It's tough but if it were me, I would not rely on him whatsoever.. So yes, if my car broke down, I would Uber with kids and haul car seats. I took the bus a lot with my kids. PD people use these events as opportunities to manipulate, create conflict and exert power.   Abusers use it as a way to continue abuse/control and keep another person in the cycle. The courts will most likely force co-parenting so boundaries are really important to set and enforce from here on out. It's a process but it's achievable. You may want to look into co-parenting apps like Our Family Wizard which allows for communication between parents and can easily be printed for court purposes. I applaud you for being very reasonable and patient - remember you are dealing with PD and using Skype as a way to communicate between you two may not be the best way to maintain boundaries.

Be confident in your own parenting abilities. The most important advice I can share after going through family court with NPD person, court eval and GAL is to not focus on him at all. Getting wrapped up in how ex is doing  this and that just continues conflict and courts have really seen everything.. they are generally overburdened and unsympathetic with behaviour that indicates a continuance of conflict (even if the NPD person is provoking).

The mask he is wearing will fade over time. They can't keep it up. If the individuals doing the court eval are specialized in PD, they should be able to see its an act. But don't count on much coming out of it.. this stuff is unpredictable. Focus less on what he thinks or does (unless he has physically abused your children - def act on that with proper channels). Focus more on you, the kids wellbeing and use this frustrating court system/experience to get an final order that will set some boundaries as related to the kids', pick up/drop off, holiday schedule. That way he will not be able to waver back or insist on anything.

The court eval usually involves professionals interviewing your oldest child, daycare/school staff, medical professionals, you and your ex. They will obtain information on doctor's visits, school reports/attendance, immunization records, and any other agencies you may be involved with. This is where PD parents usually start to slip because they have not been the responsible parent they claim to be. For e.g. my NPDex was an antivaxxer and he tried to project his uh... beliefs as if I was the one who believed it. He was stunned when the clinician in charge of the evaluation obtained that I always took our child to get his shots (I'd sneak off with our child and get them). He was trying to blame me, saying our child didn't have any.

Anyway the court eval is then given to the courts.. the person doing the court eval lays out everything and provides recommendations. They also lay out who is playing nice and who is being unreasonable. As I mentioned above, I would really recommend to play along when your ex is being fake. Remain neutral (non reactive) and keep boundaries in place.

GL and stay strong. You got this
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 09:40:56 AM by Shopsuey »
And here you are living despite it all..

Know this: the person who did this to you is broken. Not you... I will not watch you collapse

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Ylime

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 12:16:07 AM »
Thanks, you guys. It has been a tough couple of weeks, with lots of emotions coming up that I thought I had under control.

But things are stable, and I've enforced boundaries better this week, except when he brings the baby home from the midweek visit with her I've been letting him drive her to the house (but not come in). The problem is, she's screaming by the time he gets her home, and stopping at the store around the corner to take her out of one car seat and put her in another is just ridiculous when shes already upset and missing me and wanting to nurse. Plus dragging my 4yo out at bedtime...ugh.

We both see a therapist. He has to, court ordered if he wants his parenting time. Oddly, he is seeing our former marriage counselor, who basically had to yell at him constantly until he finally stormed out and said we were ganging up on him. He is also supposedly going to group meetings for codependency...and claims thats what his whole issue is.

To clarify, the Skype calls are with my daughter, not me. The judge ordered it bc she was refusing regular phone calls and he was yelling at me for it. Every day...he gets to see the inside of my house, try to chitchat with me, comment on what I'm wearing if he's feeling bold...its maddening.

I have an OOP against him, and could start reporting violations but A, that's just more money to pay my lawyer, and B, he will counter with proof he probably has that I've engaged with him in these off topic conversations and I'll lose credibility.

Yesterday he texted asking for an extra visit with the baby. I asked if he had someone to supervise, and he joked yeah you, and then said I wish the van would break down forever and we could just hang out as a family. I said I wish we could have that kind of coparenting relationship but we cannot bc you violate boundaries (and listed several things he did/said that were inappropriate in the past couple weeks). And also added that he's delusional if he thinks I'd get back together with him just because I don't have a vehicle! I think he realized he went too far. Because now all of a sudden hes cold again, and not trying to enter my house or talk about anything. It's like a 180 switch. He even clarified "I liked when you didn't have the van because I got to see the kids more, it wasnt about hanging around you." (It SO was! He was hardcore trying to suck me back in, and so much sappy fake crying, and intense jealousy over me having a male friend....just so much...) It's terrible; even though I expected the switch it still stings. I was scared of how nice he was being and now I'm kind of sad that he's being distant. Makes me realize how much healing I still have to do. It feels like it will never really end, even though I've come so far I've barely made a dent.

I homeschool our daughter and she has never been to school or daycare, just a couple extracurriculars. So I guess they dont have many people to interview. The medical stuff does concern me. There is a history of vaccine reactions in my family and after extensive research we both decided not to vaccinate, at least while they're little. He was actually more opposed than I was, when I was still on the fence. But I have taken them to all physicals, checkups for ilnesses and minor injuries, everything, and he only tagged along at a few. I already had those records printed from the dr office in case I needed them. And once, when I was considering divorcing him nearly 3 years ago, during a fight he told our then 2 year old that she could come to where he was moving "after mommy loses the custody case because of the vaccines." So shortly after that I made sure to record him saying that he didn't want her vaccinated. In case he tries to throw me under the bus. So far it hasn't come up.

Oh, and since hes been pushing for coparenting counseling and mediation like crazy (I think he just wants me alone...he even asked me to get coffee with him the other day!) I finally agreed to mediation. I haven't set it up yet, but wish me luck.

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hhaw

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 02:04:02 AM »
Thanks, you guys. It has been a tough couple of weeks, with lots of emotions coming up that I thought I had under control.

But things are stable, and I've enforced boundaries better this week, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS... if you don't enforce boundaries you're sabotaging your ability to be taken seriously in the courts.... and that's likely not an easy thing EVEN if you're strict, and enforce everything!  Do not let anything slide.  Report all infractions to the police when he oversteps.
 E mail your attorney, and text or e mail the PD, whatever is allowed, reminders that he's not to do A, B, C or D according to the protective Order.  If you don't take it seriously, I promise the courts, the police, and even your friends and family likely won't.  He IS love bombing you, manipulating you into sabotaging yourself.  Just don't take the bait.  Be professional, and helpful in communications regarding the kids, and keep it all business.  If he oversteps, call him on it politely, but firmly, and report EVERYTHING.  You'll likely be very sorry if you don't.  I sure was.
except when he brings the baby home from the midweek visit with her I've been letting him drive her to the house (but not come in). The problem is, she's screaming by the time he gets her home, and stopping at the store around the corner to take her out of one car seat and put her in another is just ridiculous when shes already upset and missing me and wanting to nurse. Plus dragging my 4yo out at bedtime...ugh. This is terrible, but it's what you have to do to get OUT OF DIVORCE COURT with a fair visitation agreement, and custody arrangement.  Make the best of it.  Keep the PD stbx in his place, and don't let him get away with anything, is my opinion.   You can't control him, so don't worry about trying.  Just do what you need to get out of this as quickly as possible, with the least expense, and mental health tax.   

IME getting INTO the Courtroom, and through trial is the shortest way out.  I went to mediation to "try" to come to an agreement, but I knew it would never happen, and so did the PD, and so did his parents when I went with them later on.
 They'll pretend to agree, send the attorneys to their offices to "craft" that Agreement, the say NOPE, I'd rather go to trial after all your resources are spent on "mediation."  If you're truly dealing with a PD.... they're typically pathologically unable to settle ANYTHING ever.  Particularly if we're giving them something, IME.  They like to TAKE things from us.  Punish us.  Starve us out, and hope we'll come crawling back, or be so poor, broken down, and broken we go back, under their control, where they can punish us for years, while leveraging the childrens' safety. 

Think about the future you want for you and your children.  Document like your life depends on it.  Make sure everything between you and the PD is over e mail or text.... he's already done some stuff to show the court who he is.  He'll continue doing it if you don't get in the way, or sabotage yourself.  Stay steady.  Don't buy into his pleadings for peace, or a quick divorce, or an agreement if you'll just (insert whatever he's asking... be nice, give him his way on something... it's all BIG stuff if he's asking.  Yu can't see what it means down the road, but take my world for it... limit contact to what's in your protective order, and hold him accountable every step of the way, even if it feels wrong.


We both see a therapist. He has to, court ordered if he wants his parenting time. Oddly, he is seeing our former marriage counselor, who basically had to yell at him constantly until he finally stormed out and said we were ganging up on him. He is also supposedly going to group meetings for codependency...and claims thats what his whole issue is. Well that's a blessing... I think.  The T isn't snowed or manipulated by him.  The T seems to have his number.  That's HUGE, IME.

To clarify, the Skype calls are with my daughter, not me. The judge ordered it bc she was refusing regular phone calls and he was yelling at me for it. Every day...he gets to see the inside of my house, try to chitchat with me, comment on what I'm wearing if he's feeling bold...its maddening. Bleck.  Just.... Bleck.  Every day.  I hope they're short, and dd doesn't despise them as much as you do.  I wouldn't want him looking at me, and I'd limit what he could see of the house.

I have an OOP against him, and could start reporting violations but A, that's just more money to pay my lawyer, and B, he will counter with proof he probably has that I've engaged with him in these off topic conversations and I'll lose credibility.  The FBI told me I had to file reports with the police in order properly document any infractions.  It feels wrong, and is a PITA, but it's the correct way to do it.   Stop engaging in OFF TOPIC chats, and stick to the Order as best you can.
 It's important.  I promise. 


Yesterday he texted asking for an extra visit with the baby. I asked if he had someone to supervise, and he joked yeah you, and then said I wish the van would break down forever and we could just hang out as a family. If you're serious about that Protective Order, you have to treat him like a person you NEED a PO against!  The court will assume you're not serious if you act like you aren't serious.  This is a fact, not a guess.  Been there, done that.  BEing nice to the PD doesn't get you anything but lost credibility.  GET TO THE COURTROOM AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN, document your butt off, organize it, and don't mark on any of your originals!  You'll need 3 unmarked copies of everything that's important, for sure, and that really bright yellow highlighter is the only one you'll want to use, if you use one, bc it doens't copy.  You can't use marked up documents in court.  Start organizng now so you aren't swamped, and overwhelmed when trial prep starts. 

Know that the PD will posture like he's going to settle. 

KNOW that being fully prepared for trial, and ready to try your case is the best way to GET AN  AGREEMENT and skip trial.
 You'll never get out of this without fully preparing for trial, and keeping every court date UNTIL the PD signs an Agreement, best handwritten at the meeting, or in the courthouse hallway/conference room, signed and filed and STAMPED BEFORE you cancel any court date.  This doesn't make sense now, but it will.  Esp if you cancel court dates, bc the PD promises to do A, B, and C, you cancel the date, and he doesn't do what he said.  PDs are really good at dragging things out, making promises they won't keep, and running legal fees.  They'll spend everything THEY have too, in order to screw you.  Get to the exit door as quick as you can.  That's through a trial, IME. If you settle early, great.  I'm wrong, and you saved a lot of money, and worry.
 If I'm right, you'll be glad you don't cancel any courtdates until the ink is dry and that agreement is STAMPED.

BTW make sure your attorney has filed and stamped copies of all your legals, bc you can't use them at trial unless they're filed and stamped copies.  Having to stand in line, yourself, and pay for them is a huge pITA when you have little children, and are already overwhelmed.  I'm shocked at how unprepared some attorneys are.  Be proactive. 
I said I wish we could have that kind of coparenting relationship but we cannot bc you violate boundaries (and listed several things he did/said that were inappropriate in the past couple weeks).Was this in text or e mail, or are you having conversations he could be recording?  You need to assume he's recording EVERYTHING, and speak, and act like he is.  And also added that he's delusional if he thinks I'd get back together with him just because I don't have a vehicle! You're done with him.  You're in divorce court.  You can't convince him of ANYTHING so stop trying.  In fact, stop caring what he thinks,  bc he wants you to feel guilt and shame, and obligation.  Just stop communicating with him unless it's strictly about the kids, their safety, medicines, exchanges, anything going on with hte kids he NEEDS TO KNOW.  Show this court he's not safe for you to be around.  Show this court you're done with him, and will go through with this legal action.
 They're used to seeing women give in, screw up, and sabotage themselves.  I think they expect it.  Don't do that to yourself.
 
I think he realized he went too far. Because now all of a sudden hes cold again, and not trying to enter my house or talk about anything. It's like a 180 switch.Expect that.  A lot of it.  And don't try to figure it out, or you'll drive yourself nuts, IME.  Good boundaries will help you get your head straight.  The more you see and talk to him the crazier you'll feel.  Limit strictly the time and words you give him.  Maybe seek out someone to help at exchanges, at least for a while, to show that you aren't comfortable around him.  Exchange at places where you know there's a security camera and people right there.  He even clarified "I liked when you didn't have the van because I got to see the kids more, it wasnt about hanging around you." (It SO was! OF COURSE IT WAS.  Limit that, nip it in the bud.  He'll push you boundaries, a little at a time, till he's way over, and you feel and look kind of crazy for asking for the Protective order.  Don't do that to yourself. He was hardcore trying to suck me back in, and so much sappy fake crying, That's what THEY DO.  Expect it when he wants something from you.  They'll do terrible things TO you, then try to mine sympathy out of you.  Don't even give him the time of day, much less an audience for manipulation tactics.  You can limit that.  I suggest you do. and intense jealousy over me having a male friend....just so much...) It's terrible; even though I expected the switch it still stings. Expect him to begin making crazy allegations about your male friend, and you having an affair.  Expect him to rock you back on your heels and make you feel defensive, and guilty, bc that's what they do.  Make sure you;re ready for it when it happens, and who cares what the PD thinks about anythig? Stop listening to him, and get everything in writing SO YOU CAN DOCUMENT IT FOR COURT.I was scared of how nice he was being and now I'm kind of sad that he's being distant.He knows that.  Please stop being scared, and step into your power.  If you don't hold him accountable I assure you... no one else will.  The cops will just blink at you when call for help.  They'll believe your h.  Stick to the rules you put in place, or start losing your ability to put the best possible agreement in place for your children's sakes. Makes me realize how much healing I still have to do. It feels like it will never really end, even though I've come so far I've barely made a dent.  Instead of worrying about the PD, you have a chance to use that time to work on yourself, and model self care for your children. Books on Codependence that might be helpful are FACING CODEPENDENCE: What it is, Where it comes from, How it satotages our lives and BREAKING FREE: A recovery workbook for Facing Codependence  both books by Pia Mellody  and books on cultivating mindfullness by Thich Nhat Hanh PEACE IS EVERY STEP, and HAPPINESS mahy be of use.  He also has talks on Youtube I've enjoyed. 

I homeschool our daughter and she has never been to school or daycare, just a couple extracurriculars. So I guess they dont have many people to interview. The medical stuff does concern me. There is a history of vaccine reactions in my family and after extensive research we both decided not to vaccinate, at least while they're little. He was actually more opposed than I was, when I was still on the fence. But I have taken them to all physicals, checkups for ilnesses and minor injuries, everything, and he only tagged along at a few. I already had those records printed from the dr office in case I needed them. And once, when I was considering divorcing him nearly 3 years ago, during a fight he told our then 2 year old that she could come to where he was moving "after mommy loses the custody case because of the vaccines." So shortly after that I made sure to record him saying that he didn't want her vaccinated. In case he tries to throw me under the bus. So far it hasn't come up. You're going to be gobsmacked at all the ways he comes up with to throw you under the bus. Good job recording him.  That's what you need to do every chance you get, IME.  If you don't you'll be mired in a sea of disproving negatives, while he gets away with all kinds of stuff you can't prove, bc you're busy disproving negatives.  It's a really bad cycle to get pushed into, IME.

Oh, and since hes been pushing for coparenting counseling and mediation like crazy (I think he just wants me alone...he even asked me to get coffee with him the other day!) I finally agreed to mediation. I haven't set it up yet, but wish me luck.I already wrote about this, but here's all the luck you need...... go to mediation, but tell your attorney you'll settle for X, Y and Z.... and nothing less bc your children need them bc (insert reasons you can back up with proof.)  If you go ahead and get your bottom line out in the open, the PD can refuse early in the day, and save you a good amount of money you'd otherwise waste going back and forth over things you won't possibly consider bc it's not in the best interest of your children.
 Always go back to the best interest of the kids.  Stay calm. Don't speak to the PD.  Make your good faith offer, look hopeful about striking an Agreement and IF THE PD AGREES get the attorneys to hand write it out right there, have it signed by everyone, signed by the Judge, walked down to the clerk's office, filed and STAMPED.  Get your copy.  Then, and only then is it a done deal.  If the PD says it's a deal, it's not as long as he hasn't signed it.  I owed  my attorney 30K for his attempt at "crafting" an Agreement the PD didn't follow through with.  I TOLD my attorney not to waste that time, and he did it anyway.
 You'll want your attorney on your team, so don't TELL HIM your PD won't settle.  Act like you have every intention of settling, write out your bottom line list, give it to your attorney, and tell him up front you want opposing counsel to agree to write out any Agreement by hand at that mediation meeting, and have it signed by both parties.  I'm repeating myself bc these things are super important. 

Now, you might be tempted to make nice, to gain the PD's cooperation to get that Agreement taken care of, and skip trial, but it's a trap.  If the attorneys see you making nice, they'll talk, and the law clerks will talk, and the Judges WILL HEAR about it, and for some reason punishing women, with small children, is a very easy thing for the Court to do. 

It's likely the PD will refuse to any Agreement he'll sign right there, but ou can always appear hopeful, and reasonable, and calm and stay rational, and on point.... no rabbit holes.  Wear a bracelet to remind yourself to keep all answers short, and not get baited or for God's sake get defensive.  Stay on track, and touch that bracelet... I had pictures of my children in little frames, and it helped a lot.  You have a mission to get a good deal for your kids.   Pleasing the PD will never happen, and he'll never comply IF he makes promises.  You're going to have to hold his feet to the fire, and resist getting suckered into believing him when he tells you what you want to hear.  KEEP COURT DATES IN PLACE until you have that signed stamped copy of an enforcable Judge's ORDER.   You want to be able to enforce the Agreement through the courts.  You want that Judge to sign it, and to enforce it when and if the PD refuses to comply.  Think down the road.  Think about minimizing anxiety, expense, and time away from your little ones.  Your fear and upset will transfer to your children.  Limit exposure to the PD, bc it helps you get your head straight.  Read books, any you believe will be helpful, and focus on your needs... what do you need to do today FOR YOURSELF?  What are you feeling inside?  Where is it in your body?  Be curious about it, and don't fear it.... don't judge it... it's just information, and you'll feel better if you can stay with it, and figure out what's behind that pain, or tension, or whatever it is you're feeling.  Be aware of your breathing.... you can calm yourself down at that mediation by breathing in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, breath out 4 seconds.   It's what military and law enforcement officers call tactical breathing, and it engages your parasympathetic nervous system, which unhooks the alarm bells of your fight or flight system, and makes it possible to engage your frontal cortex so you can think clearly, and advocate for yourself and your children with the best possible effect. 

Good luck, and don't let opposing counsel charm you into being gooy nice either.  This is business.  You have a Protective Order.  Act like it's necessary, and you NEED it in place, or you'll lose it, IME, and then no one will believe you when you need it back, bc the PD isn't being charming anymore... he's being scary again.  And he will be scary again. It's just a matter of time, and for you to refuse to give him what he wants.  He'll ask for small things, and be boyishly charming.... that;s a HUGE RED FLAG!  He'll flip and flop, back and forth as he's doing now, and keep you off your game.  Stop wondering what he's doing and why.  Keep your head where your feet are.  Stay out of other people's heads (SOOOPH.)  Focus on yourself, your inner world, and what YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOURSELF right now.

If you invest in your mental health, your children will learn from you, and benefit in a huge way, IME.

Feel free to discard anything in this post that doesn't resonate with you, and remember... you're going to be all there is between you/the kids, and the stbxPD.  Be that strong, capable, competent no nonsense mother tiger NOW, while you still can.  Your children need you to stand up, and advocate consistently for them.  You can't do that if you're trying to gain the PD's understanding.  You can't do that if you care what he thinks.  He's depended on your being nice, and accomodating for years.  You've always given in, and he expects you to give in this time too.  You have to do this differently than anything you've ever done before.  Let the TRO be your guide, and please please please report every infraction, even if you file a courtesy report, which means you've documented with the police but aren't going to press charges or have him arrested. 

The police might insist you have him arrested, and that might be for the best, bc cops take a dim view when we refuse to press charges, and we almost always do, btw.  I say do what he police say you should do, and let the PD stbx deal with the consequences of his actions.  His attorney will walk him through, and the PD might really believe he can't change your mind for real.  GRrrrrr, it's so hard to stop explaining how important these things are.  You might be in court 2 years, if you let the PD jerk you around on this..... fear trial..... try to settle when the PD has no intention of settling. 
TWO
YEARS
 :no:

Or longer. 

In the meantime, and before mediation, think about every tiny detail you NEED to get into that document.  You want full custody, legal and physical.  You want to have a say in visitation IF the PD isn't following the Agreement.   You want to be able to enforce that Agreement through the Courts, and you want to have all your i's dotted and t's crossed.  Nothing left hanging for the PD to jerk you around with, and make no mistake, the PD will be jerking you around for the rest of your life through the kids.  THINK about how you can limit that chaos.  Therapists for the children, safeguards in place whatever you feel you can swing to the best of your ability, supervised visitation for an extended time?  How and who  and when?  How long for?  What does the PD need to work on to gain more responsibility and trust with the kids?  RESEARCH that.... whatever it is... anger management?  Ongoing Therapy, medication?  Whatever it is, spend time researching it... 90% research, 10%execution, and get the deal you won't regret as much as another. 

From now on, you don't have great options.  YOu'll be choosing between bad and worse, parenting with a PD likely, and I've never seen otherwise.  Make peace with the fact you won't be able to protect your kids all the time, and you can't force the PD to be appropriate, or mature, or kind.  You can do all you can, then be present for your children... really LOOK them in the eye, and SEE them today.  Before you know it, they'll be 3 and 6yo then 9 and 12yo. 

You won't ever be able to get these days back, so don't let the PD steal anything else from you... particularly your peace of mind, and ability to be present
with
your
children.

Nuff said.

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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Whiteheron

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 09:09:06 AM »
Oh, and since hes been pushing for coparenting counseling and mediation like crazy (I think he just wants me alone...he even asked me to get coffee with him the other day!) I finally agreed to mediation. I haven't set it up yet, but wish me luck.

 :yeahthat:
Mine did the same. He said at one point "after this is all said and done, let's sit down with a bottle of wine and I'll tell you everything."  :blink:
I just looked at him, horrified, and asked why in the world I would want to do that?? He replied with a "well, I would want to know if I were you." I told him no thank you, that wasn't happening. (trying to keep me on the hook - wanting more, thinking about him and what he possibly wanted to tell me that was so juicy he couldn't reveal it until after the divorce... :roll:)

I believe my stbx thinks that seeing me makes it easier to control me. He kept pushing for a while, then after the above incident, he abruptly stopped.

If you can, I would strongly recommend having an L present during mediation. The mediator is not on your side, no matter how dysfunctional your stbx appears. I brought my L to mediation and was so very glad I did - it was a great relief to have someone in my corner. (and well worth the $$).
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Phoenix Rising

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2019, 10:42:14 AM »
Oh, and since hes been pushing for coparenting counseling and mediation like crazy (I think he just wants me alone...he even asked me to get coffee with him the other day!) I finally agreed to mediation. I haven't set it up yet, but wish me luck.

 :yeahthat:
Mine did the same. He said at one point "after this is all said and done, let's sit down with a bottle of wine and I'll tell you everything."  :blink:
I just looked at him, horrified, and asked why in the world I would want to do that?? He replied with a "well, I would want to know if I were you." I told him no thank you, that wasn't happening. (trying to keep me on the hook - wanting more, thinking about him and what he possibly wanted to tell me that was so juicy he couldn't reveal it until after the divorce... :roll:)

I believe my stbx thinks that seeing me makes it easier to control me. He kept pushing for a while, then after the above incident, he abruptly stopped.

If you can, I would strongly recommend having an L present during mediation. The mediator is not on your side, no matter how dysfunctional your stbx appears. I brought my L to mediation and was so very glad I did - it was a great relief to have someone in my corner. (and well worth the $$).

That is an important aspect to consider and bringing another support is a strategy to consider.. It is so easy after being abused and manipulated by PD to see mediators, GAL and other evaluators as people who will voice what PDex are doing wrong to the kids and to us but they are not to take anyone's side.
And here you are living despite it all..

Know this: the person who did this to you is broken. Not you... I will not watch you collapse

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hhaw

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Re: Custody Evaluation Coming Up, Ex On Best Behaviour
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 04:21:24 PM »
IME, very clever court officers, witnesses and experts, who aren't supposed to take  sides, just report straight up facts....
can express concerns, and facts WITHOUT appearing to be taking sides.  It's verbal judo, and honestly, I've only seen it done a couple times where it was flawless, and absolutely effective.

I don't know why GALs, and Ts nad mediatiors can't just state the facts.... I'm sure most do BEHIND closed doors, and we hope they tell everyone involved, so it gets back to the Judge. 

Witnesses.... effective witnesses don't appear to take sides. 
They relay facts, without expectation, and they don't ask the listener to come to any conclusions, except their own.

If I had it to do all over again, I think I'd do more witness prep with the children's T... who was afraid of the PDs, unfortunately. 

I'd also check myself when testifying, but I already tend to give the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and I don't know how to ask people to come down on my side..... my attorney said, in a strange way, he thought it worked to my advantage.

Parties who aren't taking sides don't relay information with any judgment.  They could be on EITHER side, as far as their posture, and word choices tell.

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