September 12, 2011— It was two days before our big court date and no one had been contacted by the court-appointed Minor’s Counsel. I was anxious once again. To him I was just a case. To me, this wasn’t just a case. This was my case and my daughter’s well-being was dependent on this investigation. This was what I had been waiting for.
I pictured the “hurdles” in my mind. Some people have their happy place that they go to in their mind. My counselor told me to picture hurdles in my mind– jumping over one after another. Sailing through the wind– hurdle after hurdle. Ironically, the same week that she had given me this “visual image” I received a letter from my sister. Inside the letter was an inspirational card to carry in my pocket. It contained a poem about jumping over life’s hurdles. In my “happy place”, I am strong, driven and I fly over hurdles with ease. THIS was the mindset that I needed.
The day before the court date, I received a call from the attorney’s paralegal. She was asking for the names and phone numbers of people to contact. I was confused. They had all of this information. What was happening? I felt like I plowed straight into a hurdle. I gave her the information requested and I prayed. Hard.
I sat and thought about it. I was feeling powerless. Why was I feeling powerless? I was giving my power and my faith to another person- an attorney and a court system that is overloaded. These people didn’t have to go home with me and look my two little girls in the eyes. These were MY daughters and I needed to take control and fight. I needed to awaken my inner momma bear again. I needed to go home and prepare myself for tomorrow. I needed to put on my “big girl panties” and do what I do best: protect my babies.
I went home and I reviewed my paperwork to prepare myself for battle. I made bullet points of my key issues. I know from past experience that nerves can take over and the best laid plans can go awry. I had a burst of confidence and a sense of calm come over me that night. I thank God for that and I thank two angels who have been in my corner through this process. These two angels are in law enforcement and gave me a suggestion that ultimately saved my case. I knew in my heart that their advice was going to help me drastically however, I had no idea of the magnitude.
September 14, 2011– Today is the day. Court.
I arrived in court and discovered that my ex-husband was not going to appear in person. He was going to call in and appear via the court speaker phone. I was relieved about that. I sat at the table as the attorney reported his findings– he had spoken to my daughter’s school principals along with my oldest daughter’s therapist. He had also called my ex-husband’s cousin who gave him rave reviews as a father. He called my ex-husband’s friend who is a local chiropractor and he also gave him rave reviews. He didn’t call the people who knew us– the teachers, the nannies who lived in our home or the teachers from Mommy & Me classes. He didn’t call my cousin nor did he call my friends. I was devastated but kept my cool. I waited patiently for him to finish– I checked the items off my list as he addressed them. He closed his report and they asked me if I had anything to add.
I did. I had many things to add.
I brought up multiple issues:
1. Drunk in Public offenses that the attorney had uncovered during the investigation but didn’t mention– these substantiated my claims of alcohol abuse.
2. My ex-brother-in-law (Brother A) and the disturbing issues that pertained to that topic which weren’t mentioned or investigated.
3. I brought up the fact that he was lying about the whereabouts of my children– each weekend and in fact, the most recent visitation of September 3 and 4th. He claimed they were in San Francisco. I knew they weren’t.
To be continued on 2nd Post……
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.