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Posted by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM
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Hello Everybody.  I am new to the board and was wondering if I could get some insite from all you single mama's out there? 

I am currently in the process of a really messy custody battle. And its very twisted and complicated so Im going to try and explain. ( This might be a little long)

So I am a 27 year old Arab-American Muslim Woman. Family is originially from Libya. Born and raised in the USA, educated, I have my Associates degree, and my Bachelor Degree. I have a set of 5 year old twin girls. Born in 2009.

When I was 17 years old, my parents arranged my marriage to a man 9 years older than me. He is the man that my parents approved of, and "chose" for me. Thats it. No questions allowed. Decision made. I completed my senior year in high-school, graduated, and two weeks later I was married to him after one year of engagment. 

Now as a "good girl" you dont question the elders. Long story short I ended up marrying him in a religous ceramony. NOT LEGALLY MARRIED. We moved in together and 2 years later I got pregnant with our daughters. My ex-"husband" was very abusive to me during the course of our marriage. I moved back with my parents 4 times during our marriage. He would not pay the bills, he would keep me and our daughters home all day while disconnecting the electricity, we had no food in the house, and no car for me to leave because he would take my keys. He made me quit my schooling. If he felt I was being disrespectful to his mother he would beat me, he would choke me, slap me, a lot of things. His mom would come to my home to "inspect and assure herself that her son was being taken care of". No lie Ladies. Over bearing MIL's are common from overseas.

When my daughters were 2 years old, I ran away. I went back to my parents house and begged them to let me get a divorce. They let me come back home. I got a divorce from him granted by the Muslim- religous official. NOTHING IN THE COURTS TOOK PLACE SINCE I WAS NOT LEGALLY MARRIED. 

That was at the start of 2011. My parents let me come back home by earning my keep and my daughters keep. They said I would get paid to maintain the house, cooking, cleaning, kids and family businesses. I accepted. Anything to get away from them. But in reality it turned out worse. I was literally a slave. Trying to take care of my girls, and my parents' kids (their youngest are twin girls as well, 7 year olds, and the family businesses. I was not getting paid for anything. My brothers and sisters were verbally abusive to me (17 and 18 year olds) and my dad would constantly remind me that I was divorced with 2 kids. 

"Who is going to marry you now huh"? My dad would say. My ex husband would still put his hands on me. IF he didnt like what our daughters were wearing, or his mom was upset that she did not see her grandaughters, he would raise his hands to me and try to hit me. My dad was hitting me for "talking back" to him, and for trying to leave. He said that he brought me in this world, and he will take me out of it because I am disgracing his honor and dignity. My mom wont defend me, and things were so bad that I finally left again.

I took my daughters and flew to Texas, to be with my moms father. He offered me safe haven. He fed me, and clothed us, and took care of me and my girls. Until my EX found us and was threatening to hurt me and my grandfather. My parents were threatening me as well. My grandpa is elderly with blood pressure issues. I didn't want him to get hurt. My EX husband met me back in Michigan and forcefully took my girls away from me. This was in 2013.  I have tried to get my kids from him, and I cant even come to Michigan. I get death threats from my dad, my mom and my brothers. They tell me to stay away from my EX and find a new husband and have another baby. My husband and his brothers were also on my parents side of threatening to hurt me and my grandfather. OR to hurt my Fiance. I never wanted to give my kids back. I WAS FORCED. I was stupid for believing them. I dont know why I believed them. I  kick myself to this day for falling for all their lies. I felt brainwashed for a little. Like WHY would I listen. Why didnt I run away sooner? 

All this tension started when I started dating a man. This man treats me like a princess. My dad gave his blessing for us to date, and even accepted when this new man asked for my hand in marriage. My dad then changed his mind because some other man was intrested in  me, and he has more money then my current Fiance. 

I asked "why are you doing this to me." And its because I left his house without permission initially. That I gave up my "rights" to my girls and that they "belong" to the MAN (MY EX) because that's what the culture states. Even though he beats me. 

For the last year I have tried and tried to get my EX to let me see our daughters. They wont allow me to. Now Im sure many are wondering why I did not go to the police? Were raised not to. You don't air dirty laundry in the streets. That's how we are raised. I thought I can try to solve the mess on my own, with making-up with my dad and apologizing. But to no avail. 

In the year that they have been keeping my girls away from me. I have accumulated over 300 text of threats. Several voice-mailsfrom my Ex husband, brothers, mom and sisters advising me to stay away from Michigan, from my girls, and to forget about them. They don't want them to become "corrupted" like me.

I am anything but corrupted. I have my own business, I am the top producer at my current job as a Senior Loan Processor. I make a pretty good living. I have my own house, my husband works for a good company with benefits, we are financially stable and secure and I feel that my daughters deserve to be with me. I am their mother. I did nothing wrong. I just refused to be anybodies slave. I refuse to let my daughters grow up where women are considered damn second class citizens. That's why I ran away from it.

My other sisters got to marry who THEY chose. But because I am the OLDEST girl, its customary for them to pick my husband? I ran away only after my dad and brother beat the crap out of me. My Fiance NOW husband at the time, helped me leave at 4 in the morning with my girls to the airport to my grandpa.

MY EX on the other hand is living in his mothers basement with my daughters. My EX is also an EX felon, that just finished a court trial on charges of Fraud. They all have bad records, and my MIL is the person that controls all her Sons. I asked my EX for the kids one more time before I retained an attorney. He got scared and said I could take them. HIS MOM AND MY MOM SAID NO. They said they will testify in court against me that I am an unfit mother. He does not want to upset them. He fears them. 

I have an established life out here in California. I'm safe out here. Safe from my family's abuse, from my ex husband and from that bad environment. They live on the East, I on the West. I deserve to live in a place where I feel safe. I have retained an attorney who drew up a "Motion for Emergency Temporary Custody," and a "Complaint for Custody." I have court in 3 weeks back In Michigan.

I don't think its fair that I be banned from seeing my children because my parents and EX Husband say so. I have police reports filed against them for harassment, abuse, and threats. I am not an unfit mother! I I'm very much capable of taking care of my girls IN another state by myself. My dad claims women do not belong out in a new state, and in the work force alone. That he needs to keep an eye on me. For his Honor and Dignity. That he had more right over HIS grandaughters, (MY DAGUGHTERS!)  then me, because he has a di*k, and I dont. I kid you not! Its so absurd.

I have court in 3 weeks. My family and my EX family are telling me to "stay away if I know whats good for me" and that "my 5 year old daughters said that they hate mama, and don't want to see me" " that they are going to "tell the judge I do drugs, and that I stole cash from their house" They have already tarnished my name to anybody that will listen. Its not fair. I come from a very big family back home. Its like 70 relatives and ex in laws against me. Its scary. They are telling me they are going to protest in the court room against me, or that they all will testify to the judge that I am unfit, neglectful to the girls, and a bad role model to them. But none of it is true. But I'm worried that all of them against me might hurt my chances? 

Ladies I have no reason to lie to anybody here. To complete strangers. Please any advice would be helpful. I'm really panicking. I have never done anything like this. And girls from where I am from don't usually do this. Its like big gossip to everyone. Everybody thinks that I am this horrible mother that abandoned her kids, when in reality I left to protect myself and them. My family told everyone I ran off with a stranger, and told them I dont want my kids anymore. Thats not true! OMG! I want them back. I deserve them back. I guess I'm more like venting as well. I just dont know how to calm down before this court date. I NEVER have been in court. Im terrified ladies. I wish I can explain how scared I am to go back there. I just want my kids. I want them to grow with all the opportunities they deserve. 

by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:37 PM

I am sorry you are dealing with this.  Fortunately you are in the US not Libya.  Their cultural ways dont apply here, and definitely not in the courts.  All I can say is keep a record of all the texts and voicemail threats, especially the ones where they claim you did drugs and abandoned your children.  If you have recordings of them saying they were going to specifically make that up, than you can discredit their credibility.  Keep all the police reports also.  Make sure to bring all that info to court or at least give it to your lawyer.  If what you say is true about having a good home, job, and husband, the judge may just see through your families lies.  

Sorry, I dont have more advice.  I would speak to the authorities and your lawyer to make sure if you go back to Michigan that you have protection and can be safe.  It couldnt hurt to show them all the threats either.  Fortunately my ex and I are mostly on good terms.  Sooo sorry you are going through this and I wish you best of luck with gaining your children back.

by on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Wow, here's a bump for you 

by Queen24Princes on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:53 PM
I didn't read your whole post.
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 1:14 AM
I'm very sorry your going through this. I believe you should fight for your girls, you can show them how nice mommy is once you have them back. All they know right now is they are with daddy, they get told bad things about you, and your not around. Focus on getting them back. As far as unfit motherhood, that has to be proven. If you have all these threatening messages, police reports and such I don't think you should be worried about them calling you unfit b/c you can defend yourself saying that the only reason they deem you unfit is their eastern religious beliefs your divorced married again and you left the family b/c of their violent nature and difference in belief. All you can do is defend yourself,fight for your girls, and show the judge you are responsible, if they shout drugs then you will likely have to undergo random testing but otherwise not a big deal. The moms are trying to bully and scare you into submitting and giving up. I'm sure they are scared but you hired a lawyer which is good, let your lawyer advocate for you. Keep all the texts they send you, fight your best and show the judge that you have a good household and your a good mom whos being denied your rights. Stay strong and good luck!
by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 1:28 AM
I'm so sorry you're going through this! I can only imagine how difficult and heartbreaking it is. They're going to need proof that you're an unfit mother, and I don't see how they'd have that. Definitely bring all forms of threat, etc that you have. Best of luck to you!
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by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 1:45 AM
Sounds like you have a very good case. If you have saved all threatening messages that's more ammo against your ex. I bet your daughters would be happy to be safe with you again. Maybe you can inspire other women who come from your culture or any abusive backgrounds to stay strong.
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by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 1:49 AM

good luck!  I hope you update us!  And I hope you get your babies back.  I would tell them everything you said here, including the stuff about your culture.  And the threats too.  Say he threatened to murder you (strangulation).  My SIL did that with her boyfriend after he beat her and stranguled her and he spent 6 months in jail on the attempted murder charge

by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 2:01 AM
You're already doing everything you should be doing. I hope you hired a great attorney that has knowledge of Muslim customs. Your attorney needs to request the court for restraining orders on all the people that's been threatening you. I do hope you get your girls back. Once you do, please move on with your life..with your new husband and daughters. Don't feel guilty for leaving all these toxic people in the past.
by Bronze Member on Jul. 24, 2014 at 8:17 AM

I am so sorry you have to go through this. I know what it's like for people to believe your ex's gossip. Get letters from your work, people you know. A therapist or doctor you may have spoken to. Anyone that can vouch for you. Ask for an assement for your children and ask for an integration specialist for you to reintegrate back into their life. This is alienation to the extreme. You have to do some leg work yourself. Any cards from your children proving they cared at one time. I know they were young but you may have something. I am on the opposite end as my ex says I alienated the kids but they are older and are able to speak about his abuse. Don't be afraid of court. They won't allow a disturbance. They try to be fair. They won't pick on you. If anything you will be granted. Visitation and you can start from there. Once they are older and realize they will want to be with you and will let their feelings be known. Court is not out to get you. Be strong, you can do this! Good luck!

by on Jul. 24, 2014 at 8:28 AM

You didn't mention if you shared the latest threats with your attorney - if you haven't please do right away.  They're not only threatening you if you show up to court, they're threatening the court.  Your attorney can contact the court and arrange for the hearing to be closed to the public.  He might also be able to arrange it so anyone giving testimony has to stay in a separate place until called.  If the court officers and judge know in advance that there could be a disruption they'll be prepared and may have extra officers on hand - if anyone acts up in the courtroom they're going to be escorted out and probably arrested and that will only be better for you and look bad for your ex and his family.  Also your attorney may be able to arrange for one or more policemen to escort you for safety.

Good luck to you - please let us know what happens and that you're OK after the court date.

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