Family Court System- Don’t Fail Us Now…waiting for our ex parte hearing

Family Court System- Don’t Fail Us Now…waiting for our ex parte hearing

Sad girlThe past few nights have involved my least favorite thing: court documents. It is daunting to try and remember how many copies of each form, the timelines on serving each party and then there are the emotions that go into the process: hope, dread and anxiety just to name a few. I filed everything early this morning and scheduled an ex parte (emergency) hearing for tomorrow morning.  I have done everything I can and tonight, I turn it over to God.

I discovered a couple of weeks ago that Seth has been hitting the girls frequently. It’s always when no one is watching- he is charming and charismatic when others are around and then he is a bully behind closed doors. While striking my daughters is disturbing, it didn’t warrant an ex parte hearing so I was forced to wait for the parenting evaluation to discuss this matter and others.

On Sunday the 6th, I picked my daughters up at our normal meeting location which is about 30 minutes from my home. Sarah (almost 6) entered my car first followed by Piper (almost 8). Before Piper even buckled her seatbelt, she said something along the lines of “Mom- something really bad happened today.” I immediately turned around to face her and could tell that she had been crying as her face was blotchy and red.

We sat in the parking lot as Piper recounted the events that had taken place that afternoon:

Piper was helping Seth to remove ornaments from the Christmas tree and he felt like she was going too fast. He grabbed her arm in a very forceful manner and then squeezed her arm very hard. Piper made her way for the bathroom and locked herself inside.  She said that she was crying very hard because it hurt- and she was scared. She came out of the bathroom and tried to go upstairs because she wanted to call for help.

Seth blocked her from going upstairs repeatedly. She finally gave up after what she estimates was “a long time”. She sat on his couch and he proceeded to tell her that if she told anyone what happened that she would never be allowed at his house again. She grabbed her phone and went up the stairs after a while and he followed closely behind. She described him as “shaking” and acting weird. Once upstairs, she made a dash for another bathroom and tried to quickly close the door — and lock it.  Before she could engage the lock, he physically forced his way in and again told her that she could not use her phone–nor could she tell me what had happened. She said he was “shivering”.

They proceeded back downstairs where he then made her write out a list of the positive things that they did that day. She told him that she didn’t want to make the list and he said that she had to do it.  He then promised her a dance party (her favorite thing) if she wrote out the list – she relented and did as he requested.  She said that during this time he was acting really weird and her description sounded like a manic  episode.  They never had a dance party.

Upon hearing about this, I immediately called the police and explained what had happened. In addition to grabbing Piper and hurting her, Seth was violating a court order by preventing her from using her phone. We were asked to come to the police station where interviews were conducted with both Piper and Sarah separately. In that moment, I was thankful that we have several friends who are police officers because both girls were comfortable talking to the officer and they were incredibly brave.

The situation is currently listed as child abuse — assault on a child.  It is my understanding that the police have tried to contact Seth but have been unable to make contact. He did send me a text message which contained a video of the girls laughing and playing with him. The message accused me of Parental Alienation Syndrome.  While I did not engage with him, I felt like saying, “Yes- that would be the perfect arrangement: a video camera filming you at all times so that you could ACT like a sane, normal, father to these amazing little girls”.

I am asking the courts to expedite the parenting evaluation and to order supervised visits until the evaluation is complete. Dear Family Court System: Don’t fail us now!  -Tina

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12 Responses

  1. My heart aches for your daughters and for you. Glad they were comfortable with police and that it sounds like the police did not minimize what happened. Most upset that Piper was afraid following the abuse knowing that she did not want to trigger her out of control father but so wanting to reach out to you for help. The phone is a useless tool for her as he has demonstrated multiple times. Good for GPS and nothing else. If supervised visits (which are needed) are not implemented I would think about getting both girls something they wear on their bodies at all times and which just takes one push to send an alert which will be followed up (with the girls not their father) by phone call. We have supervised visitation in our case and it has let my daughter, the children’s mother, have so much stress reduced. She and I were just talking about the improved quality of her and her second husband’s life now in addition to the wonderful impact on her children. Praying you and your children get to experience this.

  2. I have never experienced any stronger feeling of helplessness then that moment when my children share about things that our out of my control. I can only imagine listening to such a story from my children and the feelings that would consume me.
    Sending positive energy and lots of good juju your way, and hope that the court system does the right thing for you and your girls. Continue to be strong and know that what you are doing will make a change, you’re that pebble that will cause a ripple effect. Think of all the people that read your blog, we are all right there with you in court.

  3. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I’m also going through a high conflict custody relationship with my narcissistic ex-wife. I only learned of the term recently, after struggling to put my finger on what was wrong with her for years of marriage. I always thought of a narcissist as being vain or conceited, which I didn’t think fit her. She was never overly proud or vain about her appearance or cerebral qualities. She was always adept at twisting the truth, making her delusions seem plausible, tearing down other people, causing discord between different factions (me and her parents for example), escalating conflicts and arguments to a point it was easier to just back off, playing the martyr or victim, and being hypersensitive to criticism. It wasn’t until I recently spoke to a co-worker who is in majoring in psych that I found a term for her behavior. I thought he was wrong at first, but it all fits. I doubt my ex would hit or hurt my kids as your ex has, but she is also dating a cerebral narcissist, and together they have become so much worse than their individual parts. The kids say a lot of things that greatly concern me. For example, I recently filed a motion to get an order allowing me to get my kids back into counseling (as well as other things), which their mother has blocked for months with empty excuses. Her and her partner, who claims to be a mediator/parent coordinator, read through their interpretation of my motion for my four children: ages 9, 8, 5, 4. They have done grave emotional damage to my children with this act. They have damaged the trust my children have for me, and I don’t see how I can repair it. I can’t discuss legal matters with them or paint their mom in a negative light or I’m doing the same thing. I can’t wait to get a copy of your book. I’ll be picking it up this Friday.

  4. This is making me cry, I know how I felt as an adult dealing with a man’s rage. A young child should never experience this. My daughter is only a year older than Piper so it especially hurts to imagine a real loved one in her situation. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your girls, I hope the courts will finally do something about him.

  5. Thinking of you today! Hope it goes right for you and your daughters.

    If I hear Parental Alienation said by my abuser one more time I’m going to scream. That must be the standard replay all abusers say when confronted with their abuse.

    I go to group once a week and it really helps me to be with others who have been in the same situation. I don’t know if you go to one, but you might look into what is available in your area. Every time I go I always leave feeling much better than when I went in. It is very validating to hear the same story over and over by each of us.

  6. Sending you positive thoughts– this is a rough road and I am a firm believer that over time, they will see through her….best of luck to you!

  7. I was a Court Advocate for about 7 years. I have personally seen these cases over and over. It seems that family court judges do not understand the whole dynamic of domestic violence with the power and control tactics that are used by the abuser.
    Once the abused parent has the courage to leave, then the nightmare begins in family court. Domestic Violence is not just between the couple, the children are used and abused as well, especially emotionally and mentally. When the abuser can no longer abuse the partner on a daily basis, it moves to the children. I fully understand the whole parental alienation language as well and what that means. Get your little girls into unbiased counseling so they can have a place to talk. The counselor would be a mandated reporter. If any of the girls discuss abuse, the counselor would have to report it and it wouldn’t be coming from you.
    I know this is hard. Try to let the girls know their dad loves them, he just needs some help. I am just so passionate about this issue and I feel for you. I wish you and your girls peace and safety.

  8. Thank you, Jennifer. Both girls are in therapy each week– and I will do as you suggested.