Tina's Story

Why Our Family Court System Needs to Change

I haven’t really posted anything this week because I needed a few days to gain control over my tongue and my emotions.

Quite frankly, I was afraid to write because I was afraid of what I would say.

There are some disturbing things that happened this week.  I find that I am still furious beyond belief but in better control of my emotions than I was a few days ago.

Our system needs to change. 

Our system needs to start protecting our children.  

My six-year old daughter told me something this week that made my blood boil.  Her father hit her over the weekend.  He has crossed a new line that frightens me to my core.

You see, I don’t believe in spanking my children.  I don’t want to start a discipline debate because I said, “my” children on purpose.  How you choose to discipline your children is your business.  I think there are many factors that play into this decision and I think that each family has the right to decide what works best for them.  I don’t disagree with spanking…I’ve just never had to resort to that with my own daughters.  I have found success in other forms of positive discipline that work for my family.

My daughter came to me and said that she wanted to talk about something that was bothering her.  Her father hit her over the weekend.  She’s never been hit and it was confusing.  It upset her.  It scared her.  It hurt her.

They had been on a hike with other family members.  She said that her dad acts different when people are around– he acts “nicer” but when they are alone he isn’t as “nice”.  She was getting into his car after the hike and she stepped on the seat of his precious car.  He yelled at her for it.  She got nervous while trying to navigate into her car seat and stepped on his seat again.  Her shoes were muddy.  He hit her on the arm.  I asked her to show me how hard he hit her and she said, “Mom, I can’t show you because I can’t hit that hard”.

He then proceeded to tell her that, what happens at his house stays at his house.  That is what he is accustomed to.  In his family; they play pretend.  They are masters at it.  They pretend to be healthy– they pretend to be normal.  They sweep issues under the rug.  The problem with that is actually unfolding before my very eyes– you can only “pretend” to be normal for so long before things start to unravel.  They aren’t healthy and they aren’t normal.

In my family, we address issues so they aren’t buried.  We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly…so we can be healthy.  We communicate and we are honest.  That is what I want to instil in my daughters.

My daughter told me the story and she told her therapist the story.  She cried hysterically in his car until they arrived at a restaurant in which he instructed her to stop.  I was told that my four year old daughter cried hysterically also– I asked her why she was crying and she said she was “very sad and scared for her sister”.  They couldn’t use their cell phone to call me because they didn’t have their phone (which is also against court orders).

My six year old daughter told me that she cried so hard that she couldn’t breathe.

My heart broke multiple times this week.

I called the court to put a new OSC on the calendar.  The court calendar is booked until the end of February.  The attorney who represents my daughters can not start paperwork until Monday or Tuesday because his calendar is booked.  We don’t qualify for an ex parte hearing because it isn’t a matter of life or death “according to the court system”.  Everyone agrees it is a problem yet no one can protect my daughters.  My daughter’s therapist agrees that it is a problem and while she has documented it, she can’t “report” it because there were no visible marks.

My daughter asked me this morning if she had to go back over there.  What do you say to that?  I know what I want to say and I know what my heart/gut/mind tells me to say.  I also know that the system tells me that I will be the one violating court orders.

What I do know: The system that claims it protects my children is broken.

My right as a mother to protect my children is overshadowed by a flawed system.

If anyone with a law background cares to share their advice, please email me as I am open to any suggestions.


One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.

History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.

Tina Swithin: Divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat.  Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.



9 thoughts on “Why Our Family Court System Needs to Change

  1. I am so sorry. My son tells me that he doesn’t dare to tell his father things because he’s afraid he’s going to hit him. No child should be afraid of their parents in that way. I wish there was a way to protect our kids without having to leaving a visable mark before someone pays attention to the fact what the kids are going through just isn’t ok.

  2. The problem is that your case is *too* complicated. It is not cut and dry. I am currently caught up in a CPS nightmare of a different variety.

    Your daughter has nothing physical to show and her injuries are likely more emotional. They don’t know how to prove emotional damage, only physical.

    I compare it to 10 cars speeding down a 65mph highway. Nine cars are going 75+, but one car is going 66. The person going 66 will get the ticket because she’s easier to catch.

    I wish I had some advice, but I don’t. This definitely struck a chord with me.

  3. I’m pissed and frustrated, but in my heart, I know the girls will be okay because they have you. You will never stop fighting for their best interests, and you will never stop being there for them. They will be better than okay in a few years solely because of you.

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