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#772381 - 08/16/16 08:25 PM Trying to get visitation after custody lost
maddie02 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/16/16
Posts: 1

I was married for 12 years, together for 17 years. We have an 8 year old daughter. We always had some issues, but things changed and got worse over the years, especially after the birth of our only child. He was emotionally abusive and neglectful to me. I became extremely depressed as he was controlling and took over nearly all of the parental responsibilities and I felt like he took my motherhood away. He insisted on bathing her, feeding her, taking her to school, fixing her lunch, went on all her school trips and the school asked for only one parent to attend, not both. He wouldn't let me do anything for her! Then she got extremely sick and nearly died from a drug-resistant pneumonia. He got into the hospital bed with her and literally didn't leave it for over a month. He didn't go to work and made me go back to work hours away in another city so that we could pay bills and keep my health insurance. So I was working 12-16 hours per day then driving back to the hospital to sleep in a chair in the pediatric ICU.

It was during this time that I feel like something in me snapped and I began self-medicating. I was a heart nurse and many days we threw away lots of narcotics, only I decided to stop throwing them away. I was so mentally sick that I really wanted to just kill myself, but the drugs gave me some relief for a time and so for two and a half years I abused drugs without anyone knowing. I lived like a ghost in my own home. My husband stopped being intimate with me years before the end. He moved into my daughters bedroom when I bought her a queen-sized bed to get her out of our marital bed at the age of 5. My family wanted me to leave him as he never would let me take her home to visit my family. During the few times they saw her at major holiday events he would hover over her and nobody else could even get to know her. He had to be in control of everything. Since I wanted to save my family I began attending marital counseling and psychiatric counseling by myself since I couldn't convince my husband to go with me. He insisted there was nothing wrong with him as a husband and that all our problems were because of me, but I couldn't understand why. I thought that if I could be the perfect wife then he would like me again and things would get better. Boy, was I wrong! Since my family was not supportive of this marriage anymore I quit speaking to them for the last several years of it. So there I was all alone without any support whatsoever and my obsession with drugs got worse

I began working even longer hours to get more drugs and to avoid going home because at home my husband and daughter were wrapped up in their own little world and he wouldn't allow me to be included in anything. He even took her for multiple professional "family" photo sessions without telling me and I didn't know about them until the father-daughter photos ended up blown up and placed on his mother's wall. This hurt me very deeply as I felt like I was slowly being pushed out of my own life. No matter how hard I tried to get back in my own little family he somehow managed to alienate me again. I began openly using IV drugs in the master bedroom at night for months without being noticed because he never cared enough to check on me.

Things began to fall apart because of substance abuse. I attended her softball games but he was out on the field with her instead of in the stands with me. We drove to the games separately but he began to notice my odd behavior under the influence and assumed that I was drinking. I denied any time he confronted me about it. I was ashamed and afraid of losing everything if I told the truth about what I was doing.

One evening he was out shopping with her for clothes and I decided to do what I always did and so I put an IV in me and injected propofol which is an anesthetic. I was getting ready to take a bath but instead I injected too much and went unconscious on the floor naked next to the bathtub. When I woke up he was standing over me saying "You're doing drugs now?" I cried and told him I thought he hated me and just wanted me to kill myself. There's no denying that I was mentally ill and insane by this point. After begging him to not throw my propofol away he handed the bottle back to me and walked out and closed the door. I continued to use the rest of my drugs that night. My husband went to work the next day as if nothing happened. We did speak on the phone and he told me I needed to find a new job and see a doctor.

A week later my sister that I hadn't seen in several years insisted on coming to visit me because she thought I was being physically abused. I told her everything. The three of us had several conversations and she asked him, "If I leave her here with you are you going to take care of her?" He flatly said, "No. She got herself into this mess. She can get herself out of it." He wouldn't agree to let me leave and go to rehab so my sister took me with her against his wishes. We lived in Louisiana. She took me home to my parents in Texas where they immediately placed me in a 31 day inpatient facility for treatment.

During my 31 days of rehab my husband wouldn't bring my daughter to see me. He told her that I went to Texas for work. We had family workshops that he refused to attend. And so by the third week I had finally had enough and said that when I come home I want to see my daughter without him present at his mom's house. He agreed. The next day my therapist received a copy of the divorce papers and gave them to a counselor's assistant without going through them. That night I read them with an counselor's assistant and became greatly distressed as the divorce papers included year's worth of texts from me talking bad about my parents and begging him to talk to me about the marriage. It also included nude photos of me passed out on the floor with an IV in my leg. I was absolutely humiliated. My therapists, doctors, parents, the attorneys, and the judge all got to see those photos of me and read those texts.

He filed for temporary emergency custody which was totally appropriate at the time. When I got out of rehab I enrolled in a three year strict monitoring program with the state board of nursing and also enrolled in a three year intensive outpatient program at a treatment center in Texas.

I have been randomly drug tested 2-3 times per week for over 2 years now so there is no denying that I have been clean this entire time. I got a job nearly 2 years ago working successfully as an RN in an ICU and have recently been promoted to head of the nursing department. My employer and a state appointed advocate submit quarterly reports on my progress in recovery. I also submit monthly self reports that include all doctors, therapy appointments, NA meeting attendance and a medication list. There is no denying my sobriety! I live in a two bedroom apartment that is fully decorated with a pottery-barn style child's room and is in a beautiful neighborhood. I love the life I have now and have not been depressed since the day I left that marriage.

My now ex-husband is a divorce and family attorney. We are divorcing in his district in Louisiana under a judge he knows personally as well as professionally. He hired the best most well-known attorney in town and after months of getting turned away by divorce attorneys I finally found a female attorney that would agree to take my case. When he got temporary emergency custody I got weekly supervised visitation-- but that hasn't been the way it worked out.

The place that supervises is overbooked. So I get to see my child one hour supervised, sometimes two hours, every month. ONE HOUR A MONTH for over two years now. My 8 year old daughter is becoming more and more distressed to the point that the supervisors wrote a letter to the judge about six months ago saying that this current arrangement needs to end and my daughter needs her mother. My daughter and I have a very loving relationship and she misses me dearly. I brought her a card one time that said "I promise we will be together again one day and I love you" That's all it said and my ex complained and so now I am banned from giving her cards at the place.

I have asked to eat lunch with her at school with the teachers sitting next to us but he ignored my emails about it and went to eat lunch with her to make sure I didn't. I asked for one hour at a restaurant with her for Christmas or her birthday... he said I could only if he or his mother was present to supervise so I said no thank you. He also controls his mother the same way he controlled me. So I haven't gotten to see her at all for any special occasions. I did attend a Christmas play and an award ceremony he allowed me to go to, but he raced up next to her before I could even get close to her and so the visits were very brief.

My attorney purposefully filed petitions other than visitation or custody to buy me clean time before we go back to fight for custody. This and other bizarre events led to delays and cancellations. I was supposed to go back to court January 6 and here it is mid-August and I still don't have the court date for mediation rescheduled. I am beyond frustrated and heartbroken.

We are technically divorced, but the assets remain frozen. I am half-owner of his law practice and I put him through law school and I supported us almost completely while he spent his money on toys like guns, new trucks, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He is asking for full custody and back child-support from the day I left the house.

I don't care about money. All I want is to see my daughter. I don't even want to take her away from her dad I only want to share her in a manner that is rightfully mine as her mother. I know I made some huge mistakes. I don't think I deserve to lose my child because of it. I fixed the problem and changed my life so why can't I get another chance?

I am so afraid that because he has alienated her from me all this time that he will be granted primary custody over in Louisiana because I just don't see a judge uprooting her from her life without a really good reason.

Any thoughts? Any advice? Please don't criticize me for my drug addiction. I am not proud of what I did nor do I think it was okay. My daughter and I both have paid a heavy price for what I have done and I will always regret it. I just really need some hope right now. I am hurting so much without my baby and she is all that matters to me in this world. A daughter belongs with her mother, especially if the father is an obsessed [censored] narcissist that left her mother to die on the floor rather than calling 911 or her family.

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#772382 - 08/19/16 03:54 PM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: maddie02]
Kathy_Terry Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/13/16
Posts: 2
Hi maddie02 -- I admire your determination in getting and staying clean. The longer you remain so, the better for your case, I believe. Your situation is very sad. Narcissists are incredibly difficult to “out” and when yours is a family law attorney himself, it’s that much trickier.

A few thoughts:

1) Does your daughter have her own therapist, and her own lawyer? She needs her own voice and representation. It helps a lot.
2) Are there other resources for supervised visits while you work through the process of getting unsupervised time with your daughter? I would try to figure out a way to agree to the short times he would “allow” you with your daughter only with him or his mother present. Sad and horrid as that may be, it would at least let her see you for a bit. He is probably telling her “I told Mommy she could see you, and she said no.” At that age, the finer points of the situation would be lost on her.
3) Many lawyers have both personal and professional relationships with judges. It’s a little different when the lawyer is a party to a case. Find out if you have grounds to require the judge to recuse him/herself from the case due to friendship with your ex.
4) You sound as though you are accepting responsibility for your use and the resultant difficulties. Kudos to you for that. That attitude itself should go a long way with a judge, I’d think.
5) If you haven’t, please start a very detailed timeline, with as much documentation and witnesses as you can, to show how the situation has ended up the way it is. For example, when your daughter was hospitalized and he was in bed with her, did any hospital staff overhear you talking about the oddity of the situation, or comment to you that it was unusual? Did they see you back there after work, sleeping in the chair? Build your case with minute detail.
6) What became of the letter the supervisors wrote to the judge about your daughter? I hope you have a copy. That should not be ignored or let slide.
7) I know of a beautiful organization that has as one of its services family reunification for those in treatment/recovery for addictions and mental illness. However, they are very local. If you let me know your city/state, I will see if they know of anything comparable near you.

I wish I could be more help. My heart goes out to you and your girl. Keep at it, one day at a time….

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#772383 - 08/20/16 01:05 PM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: Kathy_Terry]
Annie7676 Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/05/05
Posts: 933
Loc: NY
Sounds like you need a very good lawyer equal to his lawyer skills.

However, the things you shared about HIS behavior with your daughter do not sound normal. It sounds way too controlling and kind of odd that he is so so so involved with controlling her. Good luck.

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#772384 - 08/21/16 04:51 AM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: Annie7676]
MinnesotaMom Online   content

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 787
From an outsiders view, you have had supervised visits for 2-3 years. Status quo is your ex as the primary parent. The best you can hope for is to eventually get to every other weekend. This might take some time due to your past. What you would want to do is tell the judge you want to see your daughter more and what hoops does he/she want you to jump though with some kind of timeline.

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#772385 - 08/21/16 12:54 PM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: MinnesotaMom]
MinnesotaMom Online   content

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 787
Also, do you live in the same area as your daughter? From you posts, I can't tell if you live close or are still states away. It would be much more difficult to get extended parenting time ordered if you live far away with your past. You can also count on supporting your daughter via child support going forward. The courts tend to make it retroactive to when it was applied for, rather than eligibility. Thus, you will owe back to when your ex legally asks for it rather than from years ago.

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#772386 - 08/22/16 02:47 PM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: maddie02]
mskelly Offline

journeyman

Registered: 05/02/16
Posts: 57
Maddie02
My heart breaks for you, I have been through a similar situation. With one difference, I did not use drugs to hide my pain. My Ex was an abusive, manipulative, narcissist. He told me from the day that my daughter was born that if I ever left him, it would be without "his" daughter. He also told me that there are swamps in Louisiana full of alligators and it would be very easy to make me disappear and there would be nothing left of me for anyone to find. I believed him and I knew that he was capable of at least trying to accomplish that.
He would tell "our" daughter that her mother didn't love her and that her mother was a crazy %itch. He would tell her not to listen to me and that she didn't have to do anything I said.
I knew that this was his way of manipulating her and controlling her and me. I knew that he was setting everything up for the time that would inevitably come and I would leave him.
My story goes on and on.... with many similarities including the alienation from my family. The thing I want you to know is this.... My little girl is going to be 24 years old this week and she will not have anything to do with her father, she changed her phone number and will not give it to him. It took years and it took a massive amount of patience on my part. I never spoke negatively about her father to her, but she figured it all out on her own. Yes it took years and many many tears. It took her going to counseling and she went through some pretty crappy times, but she saw the truth on her own.
She is a very damaged woman now, but she is working through all of the damage day by day, as am I.
I don't know what will happen with your situation, but know this.... All you can do is love that little girl and love her in what ever manner you are allowed to by the court, but never ever give up on loving her. She is going to need tons of love, patience and counseling.
Also know this... There are some good Judges out there that can see through his games and manipulation. I pray that you get one of them.
I am so sorry that another person in this world is having to endure the pain and suffering that my daughter I did.

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#772387 - 08/23/16 04:34 PM Re: Trying to get visitation after custody lost [Re: maddie02]
gr8Dad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/07/04
Posts: 31796
I am going to give you the FATHER's perspective. He trusted you, he left you to your own devices, and you failed him, as a wife and a mother.

Yes, you have (I say have, cause you will always have it) an addiction. But we are not talking snorting some coke, or puffing a joint, you were INJECTING very high levels of narcotics into yourself. He found you possibly overdosed on the floor. And instead of ASKING for help...you BEGGED him to not throw your DRUGS away. Have you considered the risk you placed HIM at? He is a lawyer, drugs found in the home could have him disbarred. You use a dirty needle, he gets AIDS, you owe a dealer money, he gets SHOT in the collection process. Your post, while listing all the things you DID, does not seem to address the danger you put the REST of your family in.

I am curious, have you ever APOLOGIZED to him? I am going to relate a story. My second ex wife had bariatric surgery to lose weight. She was NOT overweight, but had issues. She would NOT take care of herself, and became VERY VERY sick. The last moment I can remember "loving" here was right before I spent four hours in the waiting room, in TERROR, as the doctor said she only had about a 40% chance of coming off the table. I had three kids from a previous marriage that I have custody of, and she had five. I spent those four hours thinking about how I was going to explain to the kids that Mommy DIED because of her own selfish choices.

I think, had she APOLOGIZED to me for making me go through that, and worked towards making sure NOTHING like that ever happened again, things might have been different.

Just my perspective.
_________________________
Why give a "senior" discount, they have had plenty of time to raise the money...

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