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Joint custody after abuse?

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Just wondering if anyone else has been in this kind of situation or has anything heplful to say about it...I'm nearly losing my mind over this stuff .

My husband and I seperated before my son was born - I left in October, my son was born in November. I had him come stay in the hospital with me because I was frankly terrified and needed someone there in his capacity, it didn't matter that the person with me constantly was the same one who beat me up. I knew he wouldn't hurt me in the hospital and I didn't need to be alone thinking about all the scary ways the birth went wrong.

After I had eyes clear enough to see my husband's belligerance with the hospital staff I noticed things I didn't see while I was with him (we were together very briefly, I only married him because I didn't want to be a single mom) : his destructive selfishness, his pride and his constant anger, his controlling manipulations, his twisted view of the world, and I took out a restraining order. Between the ex-parte order immediately granting the order and the final hearing,  he sued for custody. So the final restraining order hearing only granted me custody of my son until his custody complaint was heard.

My son, at the time, wasn't even supposed to be born yet. He was two months premature, due in January. My husband wants joint custody - three hours a day until six months, then six hours a day, then every other day at a year. I know the court won't grant it  - but how the hell can he think that will be possible? I'm breastfeeding my son, and I have a restraining order against him, so I can't (and don't even want to) tell him all the things I do to integrate myself into my son's routines in order to minimize the amount of time my son spends screaming. I'm mothering as carefully and as attentively as possible, and making sure my family at least know what the plan is, but my husband won't care. He'll do things his way - and the final time he hurt me, he said "If you act like a five year old I'll treat you like one" before throwing me bodily out the front door with enough force to bruise me. See why I don't want this man around a child? (I was refusing to talk to him about something bothering me. He not only frequently responded to me with violence, he also believed his violence was appropriate and justified, and never expressed remorse, not even when we were in public and I had makeup barely covering bruises on my face.)

So I've hired a lawyer and my mother took out a loan she can't afford to pay back to finance this crap, my family's all pitching in wonderfully, but I'm terrified. I have grounds to terminate my husband's parental rights - because his rights were terminated to two previous children by another woman - but my lawyer won't push for that, she says I have a better chance for supervised visitation.

But this man...he's scary manipulative. I took out criminal charges against him for a few of the times he beat me up and right after getting out of jail he's e-mailing my friends about how much he loves me. I forgot who I was while I was with him. I won't go into more detail, but I cannot imagine a life where I have to share my son with him.

SInce I left him I learned the freedom of being able to decide what to do with my day, what to do with my hair, who to talk to, what to wear (although my choices are now limited by my son's convenience, but that's normal), and most importantly, how to raise my son. I can't imagine having to live through visitations, explaining to my son why daddy isn't coming over for Christmas, leaving my son with someone who will...corrupt him, having my child grow up with such a strongly negative, angry, manipulative influence in his life...i don't want this for him, and I don't want this for me. My husband (N.C. law requires a year separation before a divorce) is the kind of jackass to carefully convince my son that I'm a horrible person in all sorts of atrocious but believable ways. My husband, without my knowledge, took personal journals from my posession while we were dating and photocopied them in case he needed to use them against me later. And now he's trying to. Manipulative.

The hearing is soon. My lawyer is confident. But I can see how the rest of my life could go alone with my son - making sure he's raised by people who love him and honestly want the best for him. I think about our life with my husband involved...and it's like running up against a brick wall, all the plans just stop, and it seems like my life just ends right there.
by on Jan. 28, 2008 at 2:51 AM
Replies (11-12):
by on Jan. 29, 2008 at 9:06 PM
I don't know why my lawyer isn't pushing for termination. I'm very intimidated by her - it takes all my balls just to get her to answer questions, and she has this attitude that I don't need to know what's going on. Even after I corrected her paralegal on a very major grammatical error on one of the documents.

(And I signed for the document before the changes were made, with the assurance that it would be corrected...she mailed me the filed copies, and they're still incorrect. FUCK.)

I got an e-mail tonight from a friend showing some threats my husband's been making against me (stuff he wrote online), so I've remembered why this won't be easy, and I'm calling my lawyer tomorrow asking for a LIST of reasons she doesn't want to push for termination. And if I don't like what I hear, I'm filing for a change of venue even though I can't afford another retainer fee, and I'm selling my father's fucking guitar collection to pay for the lawyer in town who supported termination. Yes, this is being handled in another county because my husband filed there.

If you can't tell, my brain just fell out because of this shit.

The one reason to not push for change of venue is because we have to get proof from across the U.S. that his rights were terminated to other children. So maybe once we get that we can file for termination of parental rights...

I'd say that I'm thinking about moving to Canada because I don't think they'd extradite me over child custody, but my husband might find these forums and that would probably count as a threat and that would look bad in court.
by on Jan. 29, 2008 at 9:23 PM
Do NOT flee ... quickest way to lose your kids because Canada will extradite to US .. 1..2..3

What you should do is get those e-mails and any other proof you have of threats, etc and see if you can use them to file charges for breaking restraining order. Most orders state that they cannot contact, threaten, etc. directly or INDIRECTLY ... sounds like an indirect terroristic threat to me.

Call women's groups in your area for battered women. Many of them have lawyers who will work for a reduced fee for women in your situation. I had one in NJ and she was like a RABID DOG going after my loser ex. Even if none in your area, maybe they can help you understand your laws better.

Good luck and I will keep checking back here to see how you are doing.
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