Motion Denied

  • 7 Replies
  • 464 Views
*

pushit

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 337
Motion Denied
« on: April 08, 2021, 04:00:13 PM »
A bit of a frustrating day for me today.  Our emergency hearing to restrict my ex's parenting time was this morning.  My ex (who had been on a psych hold for almost two weeks) claimed she had work related stress, sought treatment, there was no diagnosis or discharge paperwork involved, and she is doing fine.  The judge believed her, determined she is not a danger to the kids at this time, and ordered us back to 50/50 parenting time with no restrictions.  I'm floored by how far the parental rights go for people, apparently she actually has to hurt the kids before we can do anything to protect them.  The court did not want to hear anything about past incidents during the marriage, and wouldn't allow me to share what her family had told me about why she was there (paranoid behavior).

My attorney said that we still have the option to file a motion for a CFI to find out more about her diagnosis and what she was treated for, and that if the CFI report shows she was lying during the hearing it could cause trouble for her.

I'm really disappointed in the courts right now, and at a crossroads about how to move forward.  If I go the CFI route, she will continue lying and evading the truth and it's very likely to be another $5-10k wasted on nothing.  If I don't file a motion for the CFI, and another incident occurs, her lawyer will argue that I apparently wasn't concerned enough to get a CFI involved.  Really trying to weigh whether it's worth going down the road of more legal action.  She'll never stop trying to hide her issues, and it's possible I could spend $50k+ without getting anywhere.

What do you all think?  Is it worth trying a CFI or do I move on with life and try to manage how she is affecting the kids the best I can without heavy court involvement until I absolutely know I can prove something?  Anyone have any experience with making decisions like this?


*

GettingOOTF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2153
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 04:27:08 PM »
I’m sorry. This is incredibly frustrating.

Most people simply do not understand just how bad it has to be before “officials” step in. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I had a similar issue with my ex. I never reported things and then when things got bad no one believed me and I had to start from scratch. Nothing he did on the past mattered and I was treated at a overly dramatic liar who was angry at her ex.

Our situations are different as I don’t have kids in the mix but I totally get your frustration.  The law is 100% on the side of the perpetrators in these situations. I was straight up told this by multiple attorneys and the police.

Can you raise concerns with CFI so it’s on the record but not pursue it legally? I feel like I gave my ex a giant pass to get some peace but ultimately I never got any peace as he’s still playing his games. It’s hard to know which would have been the better option. My experience was that when I accused him of something I was actually the one on trial. Also he got a ton of points from everyone because he was “getting help”. Such a shame he had such an unreasonable wife...

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1911
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 07:02:28 PM »
Oh pushit I am so sorry.

DH too has had court losses when the stakes felt really high. You will regroup, you will figure out how best to support the kids without court help, and things will probably get better. Or if they get much worse, you'll take it back to court with better evidence.

I'm not familiar with CFI? But I would say, generally, I wouldn't pursue anything further in court unless you are VERY confident that it will turn up new evidence that is make-or-break for your case. It doesn't sound like you think that.

The system often fails us (the general us, like people on this board) and our kids. There are some cases where it makes sense to turn to the system, and sometimes it does work out. But when it doesn't, I find that the best thing to do is to refocus on what you can do with the kids to help them become more resilient. Rather than beating your head against the wall of a court system that's not doing what you need it to do.

I will tell you about two of our court failures, two that were some of the hardest. Maybe it helps to have some solidarity and to see how other people got past it.

First, DH applied for a protection order from BM. She had come to our house, tried to break in, screamed at us in front of the kids, was clearly drunk and her intention was to take the kids and drive home. We had to call the police; they didn't even write a report. The judge denied the protection order, so she felt comfortable going on a spree of harassment - driving by the house constantly, calling the police on us, etc.

Second, DH asked that she be drug tested. It stemmed from the same incident and a variety of other erratic behavior. We were fairly certain she was using specific drugs with her boyfriend (like cocaine) around the kids. She submitted a very bizarre motion in response that, frankly, convinced me even further that she was using drugs. BM alleged that DH was harassing her through this motion. The judge denied DH's motion there as well.

Both times we felt like the system utterly failed us and more importantly the kids. I cried at work in the bathroom because I felt like she was just going to keep harassing us forever and no one was going to do it. The next time she came to our house to harass us we called the police the officer said we should file a protection order. We were sort of distraught, like, that didn't work, what else do you have?

Did it all work out? Sort of. Eventually we got a doorbell camera and that has been a better deterrent than the police - she hasn't come by unannounced since. I don't know for sure that she stopped using drugs, but pretty soon after that incident she broke up with the guy she was seeing and we haven't seen much evidence of drug use since. As far as we know our worst fears haven't come true - she's never drunkenly or high crashed her car with the kids in it. We suspect that she realized how close she came to losing custody, and either she cleaned up her act or at least did more to hide her bad behavior from us.

It's hard to say if things have gotten better for the kids. She still acts badly. DH has had some court victories as well, although more often he's gotten her to agree to a settlement than he's gotten a favorable ruling from a judge. We've realized that if the courts aren't going to help us, we can't truly protect the kids from her. So we've focused on the skills we want them to have. Like, if she goes on a bender and leaves the kids alone for two days, they can make themselves food. Or call 911. We've tried to work with them on emotional skills like, just because someone else is upset doesn't mean you have to match their emotional intensity. We've tried to show them what it looks like to have boundaries with BM even when she doesn't like it and with other difficult people - because I hope when they're adults they can set those boundaries with her.

One other thing about the incident that spurred us to try to get a protection order. The kids were there, they saw it all. Afterward we had some frank conversations with the kids about it. We said things like, it's not OK with me that your mom yelled at me and treated me like this. We also said that we didn't think it was OK for her to act that way toward them. When they asked why drop offs/pickups had moved to a public place immediately afterward, DH said, I don't feel comfortable having your mom at our house after the incident. Years later, when DSS asked if all four adults (me and DH, BM and then-boyfriend) could have a barbecue together, I said, I don't feel comfortable spending time around your mom like that and I referenced that incident. He said she had said she apologized; I truthfully said she did not apologize to me, but rather said her behavior was reasonable, and I don't want to spend time with someone who thinks it's reasonable to treat me like that. We really wanted the kids to see that behaving that way has long term fallout and that it doesn't get BM what she wants. And we want them to see that it's not OK for her to treat THEM like that, even if they can't set boundaries around it right now.

I think those things have helped. Maybe even more than more court intervention would have, probably not though. I think you can adopt similar things that will help the kids in the long term.

I know how upsetting this is. It's not fair, and the court failed your kids. There should be a system in place to protect your kids. Take some time to grieve that, and then turn your focus to what you can do for them. I don't think the answer really lies in court, at least not right now. I think the answer is in good proactive parenting and building the kids' skills. I know that's not enough, it never is, but that's what's under your control.

 :bighug:

*

Latchkey

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 8900
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 06:59:03 PM »
Hi pushit,
I'm wondering how the judge in this case normally operates based on past experience. Maybe getting a CFI involved is a good idea to keep eyes on this because of the concerns for the kids safety as well as their mother's health. If it turns out that this was some kind of aberration then I think that is great. I will say though that setting up precedent to make it safe for her to be honest when she is in overwhelm is important. If you approach this with some empathy for her (as strained as it may be) it might go a long way in preventing her from feeling like she has to hide this from you which is a bigger concern to me.

In my case we had a GAL (guardian ad litem) appointed who ended up being great and my kids were able to communicate what was going on. I used pictures they had drawn and text messages they had gotten to help make the case and my kids were very articulate thankfully at 9-11 years old. There was abuse of my younger daughter documented but it was not "proven" at the time that I was filing emergency orders. CPS is slow especially when the kids are "safe" so anything going on was me hiring an attorney to fight in parallel. It was a combination of things but it was the best $6k I ever spent that I did not have.

In the end, their PD Dad gave up and left the state rather than work within the system. They are young adults now and they have limited contact with him and they are both doing well and have control of their relationship. While, you don't see it much here on the board- sometimes PD parents just fade away or leave when faced with court battles.

Others have had bad experiences with GALs completely turning on them and believing the high functioning NPD. Its risky whenever someone else is involved with your family but try to keep things in perspective as to what the largest risk is. I don't know that in your situation.

I think talking with your attorney candidly about this is important- that this is not about being vindictive - it's about concern for all involved.

Latchkey
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 07:07:55 PM by Latchkey »
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
-
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
-
When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

*

pushit

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 337
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2021, 02:51:51 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the feedback, that gave me some great things to mull over this weekend.

After reflecting on this for a few days, I think I'm just going to let it go for now.  A 12 day hold was the most significant event I've seen from my ex, and if the courts think it's nothing then I can find better ways to focus my energy and money than beating my head against the wall. 

Thinking back on the hearing, it's apparent to me now that my ex did a wonderful job of reverting to the victim role and making this look like I was on a witch hunt to take the kids away from her.  The things she said during the hearing weren't based in reality, and unfortunately the court system seems to have no clue about the mental health side of things since the judge believed her.

Based on that, I think involving a CFI would just be more money spent to chase my ex's lies in circles.  I likely wouldn't get anywhere, and having our lawyers continue to fight (as they love to do!) is only going to create more animosity between me and her family.  This event also led to some good conversations between her family and I, so I'm hopeful that in the future they might be more willing to reach out to me and be honest if it happens again.  Not holding my breath on that, I guess we'll see what the future holds.

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1911
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2021, 02:02:23 PM »
Well-reasoned but I'm sorry you had to get to here. How are your kids doing?

*

athene1399

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1314
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2021, 03:01:27 PM »
I am sorry it didn’t work out. Court can be frustrating. It feels like things that should be major parenting issues, the courts do not view as a big deal. And unfortunately some people with a PD are great at staying in the “victim” role.

 Penny’s idea on the video doorbell is great if you have problems with exchanges at your home.

I would just suggest continuing to collect any evidence you can, like taking notes about what happens at drop offs, in case you decide to pursue court again the the future.

*

pushit

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 337
Re: Motion Denied
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2021, 02:17:47 PM »
Wanted to circle back on this now that I've had the opportunity to spend another long stretch with the kids.  They seem to be doing well, they haven't brought up what happened with mom at all.  I'm guessing that life went back to "normal" at mom's house and it was shoved under the rug.  It would be fitting that my ex and her parents would act as if nothing happened and pretend everything is hunky dory.  One thing I'll say is it seems my kids really appreciate the calm atmosphere we have in my house, even if they don't verbalize that things are likely not calm at mom's house.  Even looking back to a year ago when I thought they were doing good, I look at them now and they are doing even better.  So, I'll just keep on being the stable one and give them a landing space for when the inevitable next meltdown happens.

Speaking to the doorbell camera - I did already have one of those, it was installed when I bought the house.  I love it and would highly recommend one even to folks without a PD ex.  Since this incident I have installed two more cameras on my house to watch other entry points.  I've also installed a home security system which we turn on at night at bedtime.  The kids haven't asked specifically why I did this, but it seems they are putting 2+2 together on the timing of mom having problems and dad securing the house.  Up to now my ex hasn't shown up at the house to have a tirade in front of us, but if she does now the video evidence will go to the courts.

The other thought I've had is that I should look into getting my oldest a cell phone.  I've been holding off on that for general parenting reasons, but I think she should have a way to reach out if mom has issues while they are over there.  For now, they are aware that anytime there is an emergency at either house they can always run to the neighbor's house for help.

Thanks again for all the advice above.  Our PD exes sure don't make life simple, do they??   ;D