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Old 05-03-2012, 11:33 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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People fight in a divorce. They lose their ****. You don't have to say, "Yes, I threw a glass at a wall and told him I wanted to kill myself to get away from him," or whatever (things I did that were brought against me in court). Even if he throws those details out there. Spin, spin, spin, and don't feel guilty for it, you were in an insane situation.

What the court is going to look for is an admission that you may have handled Situation X badly (or a justification as to why your reaction was not overzealous or exaggerated like he's claiming), and what you're doing to mitigate your mistakes in the future. This could mean saying, "Yes, I did lose myself sometimes and sometimes in front of the children. I was under a lot of stress due to his drinking and verbal abuse, but I am sorry and I wish it hadn't happened. Today I am leaning on my big, awesome support system, attending personal therapy, taking anti-anxiety medication, and trying to move on from the abusive marriage so that my children will never have to be a part of this chaos again." That's all. Or, "Yes, I absolutely did call CPS on him because my daughter reported on XXX date that he threatened her with bodily harm. She was afraid."

The lamest weaksauce thing he can say back to that is, "I did not! WTBH lies and is a bad person! Neener neener." And what he absolutely can't say is, and what the family court is going to want to hear is, "I had a severe drinking problem during our marriage, but I had a real wake-up call. I am in recovery, I'm XXX days sober, undergoing individual counseling, and have a sponsor I talk with weekly."
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:33 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Your girls are very lucky to have you looking out for them.
The truth will out, as long as you keep doing the "next right thing."

Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. The difference is that you have your girls' needs and health and safety in mind, and he does not. Sooner or later his mistakes are going to show that.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:45 AM
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Oh, and once you make the claim that you're trying to change your life in earnest, the court will look into that. If this is a good, thorough court, they'll verify your claims.

They're also going to look at who does the majority of childcare, planning, and coordinating and who has done it the majority of the children's lives, in and out of the marriage. Usually, thanks to a variety of factors, that's the mother. I heard a couple of judges say that a lot of the time, that's the deciding factor on who gets what. (This should also be a flag for dads. Get in there!) If, for example, you had a bad month during the end and spent most of your free time in bed depressed, that doesn't mean you didn't do the majority of the childcare every other minute/hour/day/week/month. Also, your "I'm changing my life" explanation addresses that.

BTW, I'm coming at this from a couple of angles. I had an epic custody battle myself [which you know ] and was also trained as a court advocate for abused kids. It takes a lot of chaos for parents to LOSE rights altogether, but it doesn't take a lot to figure out which parent is the safe, sane, stable parent and where the kids should spend 90% of their time.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:37 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
For ex/ I have the recent arrest and am under scrutiny for the next 6 months for it. If he decides to counter complain to child protective services (even if it's a lie) that WILL be on the radar of the court and could impact my tenuous ability to have it all dismissed....
Honestly the court will be looking for reasons to keep the girls with the sane, non-drunk parent. Even if you did lose your S and get arrested, the court will be eager to get down on paper all the reasons that's in the past and won't happen with you again. So you can help them out by documenting all the ways your life has now changed, all the resources you have in place, the groups you attend, your support network, etc. I guarantee the judge would love to grant full custody to you, so long as they can back up that order with enough evidence.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:53 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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So I talked to the case worker assigned today. She got AH's contact info from me and called him and then called me back and told me she wanted to meet all of us (the girls and he and I) together this afternoon. She came to the house this afternoon and met with all of us together (which to me seemed VERY odd but maybe she wanted to see how we interacted?).

I was a nervous wreck, stumbling over words, afraid quite frankly to speak openly and honestly with AH sitting there.

She met with the girls in a separate room but obviously still within earshot and asked things like "do you see hitting?", "are you afraid?" (which to me seems quite leading, no?). I think that they'd have told her anyway that yes, they have seen hitting and do get afraid (it struck me as odd that she didn't ask D6 about the specific incident that I reported and instead was really focussed on talking about violence between AH and I (maybe that makes a stronger case for them against AH?).

So, AH sat listening to all that she asked the girls and the girls answers and was IRATE. I was and am appalled at the way it was handled. Why, if they think he is abusive toward the girls and/or I, would they have us all meet together?!?!?!

I plan to call the worker in the morning and find out what the story is and add information to what I told her. There was no way I was going to sit and lay it all out with AH sitting there like I would without him there. Maybe I'm crazy but that just didn't seem safe to me.

Once again, it seems to me that there are some VERY screwy things about the way my state and its agencies function.

Maybe there is rhyme or reason to her approach but god knows I don't see what it could be right now.

I'm exhausted and headed to bed...
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:17 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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OMG From this side of the table, it does seem incredibly odd that the kids would be questioned within earshot of the abusive parent. How could they possibly expect the kids to feel safe enough to disclose the truth? I KNOW DS wouldn't have. 1) He'd have been afraid of making his dad mad and 2) he'd have been afraid that if he did say anything, it'd be his fault daddy doesn't get to see him anymore. DS doesn't express it that way, but he weighs his answers differently.... He's oh so careful around his father....

Hugs.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:29 PM
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Ditto theuncertainty.
When we were investigated by CPS, they talked with the kids one at a time, to me separately, and to AXH separately -- and they were not allowed to tell AXH or me what the children said. How the hell does she expect the children to tell the truth when the person they're afraid of is listening???

My kids totally protected their father and downplayed what they had been victims of and what they had witnessed -- because they're well-trained little codependents. I wasn't expecting anything else. I bet your kids didn't tell the whole truth either, out of fear.

And above and beyond everything else, I'm absolutely effing APPALLED that in a DV situation, they would ask you to meet with him! That sounds so wrong I don't even know where to begin!
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:40 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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And once again my sense that this was MAJORLY f'ed up seems right. The case worker assigned told us she's been doing this for just a year and prior
to it she was a teachers aide. Does that seem right?!

The more I think about it the angrier I am. She set the girls up to be berated by AH at some point since he made an effort to listen in & she put the girls and I in a no win situation.

I didn't want to question her judgment at the time bc I feared id be seen as rude but damnit why didn't I trust my gut that it seemed wrong. I think rather than call her tomorrow I'll call the main office for DCYF and talk w a supervisor.

Why can't any agency in this insane state act in a way that makes sense?!?
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I didn't want to question her judgment at the time bc I feared id be seen as rude but damnit why didn't I trust my gut that it seemed wrong. I think rather than call her tomorrow I'll call the main office for DCYF and talk w a supervisor.
Why not? What she did was inappropriate, even you know that! She set your daughter up for retaliation from her Dad. Jesus.

Call the supervisor. Call the damn director if you have to. Question everyone's judgement. These are people, after all.

What state do you live in anyway??!!!!
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:25 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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What state do you live in anyway??!!!!
A state of INSANITY! Seriously, this is effing ridiculous.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
A state of INSANITY! Seriously, this is effing ridiculous.
Ditto Florence. I think I'd be sitting in the office of the Director, and that person's boss. Hell, I would probably also write a letter to the Commissioner and the Governor and maybe consider filing suit, but I have been known to be too aggressive! ; ) The girls still talk about the day I told off a teacher at the school for insisting I could not submit a paper transfer form because it was not the "right day".

Anyway, WTBH, you hang in there and keep doing what is right, even when it totally sucks for you. In the long run you will be so glad you stood up for yourself and your girls. Prayers!
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:31 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Oh I was on the phone at 8:30 this morning raving mad. Not surprisingly a new case worker has been assigned. The damage is done though. The girls spoke of AH's behavior with him having the opportunity to LISTEN from the next room. WTF??!?!?!?!?

I am in a small new england state. I'd rather not say specifically which one publicly because I have concerns that AH and his family may troll around here since he knows it's a source of support for me and I don't want to be easily identifiable, you know?

If anyone really is eager to know, just pm me and I'll tell you which state. It's one of few states in the country that has pretty crazy regulations about some things (lots of latitude for individuals to exercise their "constitutional" rights aka- an excuse for gov't agencies not doing what they should).

UGH.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:47 AM
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Wanttobe, I'm a former foster parent and have dealt with a lot of CPS workers.

Some are really good, and some are complete idiots. I learned to be a strong advocate with the idiot ones --- you have to. You do it politely but very firmly. The workers are NOT always right and they are NOT always properly trained in procedure. If you ever get in a situation like that again, tell them you are afraid of your husband and will not be alone with him under any circumstances. That was terrible that the worker a) left you in a room alone with your husband while she interviewed your girls and b) interviewed a child who knew her parents could hear her comments.

Remember, this may come back as 'unsubstantiated' this time around, but someday it won't. Your XH will eventually drop his guard and f*** up.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
She came to the house this afternoon and met with all of us together (which to me seemed VERY odd but maybe she wanted to see how we interacted?).

I was a nervous wreck, stumbling over words, afraid quite frankly to speak openly and honestly with AH sitting there.

...

So, AH sat listening to all that she asked the girls and the girls answers and was IRATE. I was and am appalled at the way it was handled. Why, if they think he is abusive toward the girls and/or I, would they have us all meet together?!?!?!

...
Write a letter of complaint, send it to the head of services, keep a copy of yourself. Keep it short and sweet. Mention that you were not safe and had to answer under duress. Mention that your children's safety was compromised. Tell them you wish to have another interview--a separate interview for you, separate interviews for the girls, and that you wish these interviews to be conducted by Friday 11 May 2012. Send the letter recorded delivery (signed receipt, whatever you call it).

If you telephone the place to complain and speak to random caseworkers, then there'll be a bit of a runaround. If someone does bring it to the boss they'll forget details, etc.

However if you write to the head of services (or whatever the title is), he or she CAN'T ignore it. They'll have all the details and they'll be concerned with getting this right so they don't look bad.

I'm so sorry to hear you didn't get help.
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