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Dealing with a crazy ex and never ending custody battle

jensm021981's picture

My husband and I are dealing with a psychopath.  As our custody battle continues, my husband has really gotten a backbone.  He has no problem telling his ex-wife exactly what he thinks of her.  I like to think that I was able to put those qualities in him after being with me for a few years he has been able to freely speak his mind.  I am proud of him for how far he has come and how he is able to say what he wants and tell this abuser exactly what he thinks of her.  But...because his ex cannot abuse him anymore, she has put the blame on me.  I am the one behind him wanting custody.  Everything was fine until I came along.  I am the one who is doing all of this under his name, the list goes on.  It is CRAZY!

Despite all of the evidence of mother's neglect and months and months of going to court for status updates, we have spent enough money to have a down payment on a very large house and buy a brand new fully loaded car.  And the court is still favoring the mother.  The magistrate refuses to look at any of the evidence we have and refuses to send it to trial.  He wants the two of them to "work it out" amongst themselves.  The child has been through interviews with court investigators and with child protective services.  The mother was threatening to commit suicide and CPS was called, as well as the child found wandering in the middle of the night and by the school and doctor for being dirty and having chronic urinary tract infections from poor hygiene. This child is 11 and reads at a kindergarten level and had missed over 50 days of school! When the school told the mother to get the child to school and get the child tested for a learning disability she didn't make any appointment until we served her with custody papers and kept telling the principal it is hard for her to get up in the morning! Seriously?!?! She works 20 hours a week and sends her kids to full time school and daycare on vouchers! 

The child admitted to us that they were told to lie for the mother or she would be put in jail and the child would never see her again.  That was a very hard and tearful conversation.  My husband and I just held my stepchild in our arms as they sobbed and sobbed over that one.  Of course CPS told us they knew the child had been coached by the mother and that it would go in the report and it never did as well as all of the medical records.  The court investigator reported the child said that we put them in their room when they come here and they are not allowed to do anything with us.  Of course, evidence of pictures and notarized witness statements would disprove that, but the court refuses to look at it.

We had been harassed and threatened by the ex and her family.  We have had to call the police several times but not enough grounds to get a restraining order until she actually does something.  Instead the police have to call her and tell her to stop harassing us on a weekly basis.  They are only allowed to communicate on a court ordered website which cost $130 a year and the court says they can look at all the messages but they never do.  We have both been harassed and cursed at and the police have to be called due to the way she communicates on this court ordered website and it is all hours of the night every hour on the hour.  

My husband and his ex-wife were finally ordered to come up with a settlement plan with both of their attorneys and they finally agreed on things and the attorneys drafted it up to present to the court.  It covered all the basis of harassment, who picks her up and when, money, everything.  Sounded good and everyone agreed.  I thought with all of the craziness going on and now the child is completely alienated by the mother against my husband and I, we firmly thought this might be the way to go.  Plus our attorney was convinced she would be held in contempt within six months of this going into place.  Her attorney and my husband's attorney were both anxious to get this signed.  At this point, her attorney was starting to get exacerbated by the ex-wife's erratic behavior.  The order was written up, ready to be signed off by the magistrate, everyone signed except the ex-wife.  5 hours after verbally agreeing to everything the harassment and threats started and it continued all day and night into the next morning when yet another call had to be made to the police.  Now we are days away from going back to the magistrate for a status update and she refuses to sign and follow through with anything.  We got another medical bill and she is supposed to pay half.  Haven't received any money from her and it will go into collections if we don't pay the whole thing.  My husband and I are in the upper middle class, together we make a good living and can definitely provide.  She works part time, her mother pays her rent for her and pays for her half of the child's expenses.  So it is basically my husband, myself and his ex-mother in law who supports this child.  

My husband asked me today if I would have known the extent of how bad it was and how much financial debt we would endure if I would have married him and I answered honestly no.  It is not because I love him any less, it is because of all what we have been through.  It has effected my self-esteem and my once drive to be supermom has fallen into just getting through the day.  My job has suffered because of the constant worry of threats and money.  Our relationship is like 2 roommates.  We barely talk and sit at opposite ends of the couch.  All of our friends are appalled by the outcome of this and how the court system has turned out to be in her favor.  Our relationship with my stepchild is non-existent now.  This child now is telling lie after lie about everything.  Locks the door to their room and won't come out.  Doesn't say a word and when they do it is an outrageous lie or bullying of other kids.  They have been caught spying on us and listening in on conversations and reporting it back to the mother.  Lying for the mother, etc.  How do we know?  The mother told us she told the child to do these things on the court ordered website that the magistrate has access to and doesn't look at.

I feel like when his child comes I'm a prisoner in my own home. I don't talk to the child anymore because they have turned into a spy and sneak around listening to conversations to tell the mother. I feel so bad because I love kids and I'm a huge volunteer at my DD's school and yet I can't stand this child! When my husband talks to her she whines or if he asks her about school she won't answer but just shrugs her shoulders or pull out a tear or 2.

 We live on a busy road and when mother comes to get the child her other child who is 3 jumps out of the front seat and runs into the street or up to our door and last week tried to come into our house with nothing on but underwear! And she just sits in the car because she is afraid of us unless she is hiding behind her phone texting us. Ugggg!!! Thanks for listening


tog redux's picture

Sometimes you have to drop the rope, even when you know you are in the right. You have enough evidence that this court is not going to change custody - so stop going to court and focus on helping your SD as much as you can with the time that you have.  No one is benefiting here except the attorneys, and it puts enormous pressure on your SD from her mother.

Been there, so I know what I'm talking about. DH finally dropped the rope and SS was alienated entirely for over 3 years. It was sad, but at the same time - we thrived without all the pressure and stress and drama.  Now SS is back, he's 19, and there is no more fighting with BM.

Yes, your SD will be damaged, but honestly, she already is. And if you guys are less stressed, that's better for her.

jensm021981's picture

I agree with this. DH just called me at work and told me that he called the attorney and told her to draw up papers to give BM full custody and he won't be responsible anymore except for visitation. Which he also is worried about because SD has been caught sneaking around at night and listening behind closed doors and reporting things to BM. It is a sad and scary situation. He said he only wants visitation during the day in order to protect all of us. This just makes me absolutely sick that BM can use SD like this and brainwash her! Did you 19 year old SS finally see the truth? 

ndc's picture

That's such a hard decision for your DH to have made, but it seems like the right one.  I think he (and the child) are damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.  Family court is broken; it's sad to hear all the stories of how family court fails children and good parents.

tog redux's picture

He doesn’t get it yet. But he’s a bit more mature and willing to have a relationship with DH so it’s a start. He’s still very enmeshed with BM.

Thisisnotus's picture

I could have done the same thing with my DH. He was totally abused and controlled and bullied for years and it just got worse when they split.

I decided to remain quiet and let the cards fall as i didn’t want any blame in the future.

i wanted to so badly for DH to stand up to BM. She is an alcoholic who drives drunk with the kids in the car on a daily basis but everyone overlooked it like it wasn’t happening. Kids would miss school because she was too hungover or they didn’t home until 2 am from her family’s house where she partied.....yet DH was the “bad parent” 

BM put all sorts of shit in the agreement that my DH follows to a T, and BM follows none of it even though she and her attorney drew it up.

He thinks he’s doing what is best for his kids by not going after their mom,but I’m not sold. But I choose to remain quiet and that it’s none of my business 

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

I wanted to give you a different perspective on this, as my DH fought BM and won.  He had full custody, was able to move the kids a thousand miles away, and BM was given minimal visitation.  This was after 4 years and $50,000 in legal fees.  We ONLY won custody because my SDs' school called CPS and BM's house was condemned for being a health hazard.

My SDs were 9 and 11 when they came to live here.  It sounds like a happy story, right?  Well it wasn't.  In fact, it was a nightmare.  My SD11, on instruction from BM and her mom, started throwing these horrible fits.  She would scream, throw things and hurt the other children in our house.  She attacked my DH numerous times, drawing blood once.  We tried everything to get her under control, evem hospitalization for psychotic behavior.  Nothing worked.  She told my DH she hoped he died and that she was going to start saying he abused her. The straw that broke the camel's back was was when she held SD9's face in a bowl of milk where she couldn't breath.  Then she laughed.  DH had enough and let her go live with BM.  This was 5 years ago.  He tried counseling but she refuses to have a relationship with him.  She still makes abuse allegations now.  In fact, we just had CPS called on us in July. 

SD9 stayed with us and seemed to improve.  Her grades, attitude, and relationship with DH improved.  However, her loyalty to BM never waivered.  She started spying for BM and she would tell BM half truths.  Despite the fact that she has a good relationship with her stepsiblings and half sisters, she has asked to move back to BM's house.  And DH is allowing it.  After this many years, we  realize that wr can't change things.

I think your DH is probably doing the right thing.  These toxic BMs do not stop.  They just keep on hurting their kids to punish the dad.  It sounds like this girl is mostly PASd out. I know how badly this will hurt him. I've seen my DH cry when he thinks no one is around.  But in the end, I think your SD is too old and this will probably end in heartbreak.  Plus. It sounds like the judge you have is not going to come down on BM.  This means it will be very difficult if not impossible for your DH to win.  There is another user on this site.  I can't remember her name, whose DH has been fighting for visitation of his 14 year old.  The BM has refused to follow the judges orders and has never gotten in  trouble.  It has been a long, paninful and expensive process.  

jensm021981's picture

This sounds like a precursor to my life if we were to continue. My question for all of you is what if BM doesn't want full custody? She has said she doesn't because then she has to take on full responsibility. DH did everything for her until we moved in together 15 miles away and that's what she still wants. If she doesn't agree can we give up custody anyways?

Ispofacto's picture

I suggest you order a copy of Say Goodbye to Crazy.  Both of you need to put BM on Silent and go live your lives.

We live in a dad friendly county and got custody of Killjoy15 when she was 8.  By then Satan had already done substantial damage, and Nightmare 1.0 became Nightmare 2.0.  In fact, DH is moving out next week, because I can't live in the same house as his psychopathic child anymore.  We will reunite when she graduates.

Regarding your question, DH can leave SD with BM.  He can refuse to respond to anything BM related, and only see the child when he wants to and BM allows it.  If BM doesn't allow it, oh well.  Just make sure he has a chance to kindly tell SD what he is doing and why, and leave the door open to her contacting him in the future.


Exjuliemccoy's picture

There are plenty of parents who, having fought the good fight against a High Conflict/mentally ill ex, reach the point where they realize there is No Winnable Solution. They start out filled with naivety and the certitude that Good Will Prevail. They pony up, and step into the mouth of the Beast; it chews them up, drains them emotionally, spiritually and financially, and poops them out having learned that nice gets you nowhere and uterus trumps all.

Some run out of money, some live where the courts are totally pro BM, some realize that the fight is adversely impacting the kid(s), and some recognize that the kid they're fighting so hard for has gone to the dark side and would wreak havoc in their home. Hell, sometimes it's all of the above.

I suspect this happens far more often than we think. It's just not the sort of thing one hears about around the water cooler. I mean, it's brutal and defeatist, and who wants to admit they bred with a vicious crazy person who has weaponized their shared offspring to hate them?

I went through this with my DH. Upstanding professional vs. mentally ill Golden Uterus welfare lifer withholding the child. We fought until the money ran out. Technically we "won", because visitation was hammered out, but BM attacked the family members who showed up for pick up. That's when we faced facts and dropped the rope. YSD was 8, and DH hoped she'd reach out when she was older. She did, and at 14 a hardbroke, predisposed to mental illness teen girl moved in with us. We were winners in a losing game, and YSD was the booby prize.

Be warned OP, these crazy women damage their kids badly, and when the cs ends or they simply can't handle the monster they've created, they're all too happy to send them to their sperm donor/wallet. You and your DH need to set your expectations to zero, be brutally realistic about the odds of this skid being just like her mother, and prepare for the worst. Because he bred with crazy, and all you can do is decide what your limit is because winter IS coming.


Thumper's picture

OK....Drop the rope is right.

Now,,,,Who has custody...Mom? with dad visitation. Otherwise known as Joint custody with mom as primary custodian and dad pays child support.

WHO HAS PRIMARY physical custody of dh's child? BM or DAD


jensm021981's picture

BM is residential parent, yes. But she doesn't take the child to school due to her going to court for truancy and she doesn't even live in the school district. She attends through open enrollment and the school has threatened to kick her out because mother can't get her to school and she is failing miserably. Which is what prompted us going after custody. 

Thumper's picture

I am sorry--We here at ST totally understand. So many step moms and dads are going thru the very same thing.