In July of 2009, I came to the realization that my divorce wasn’t going to be the peaceful, amicable ending that I had envisioned and hoped for.

Back then, I had heard the term “Narcissist” but I had no clue about the journey that was in front of me.  I had no idea what “divorcing a Narcissist” would really entail and I wasn’t equipped to handle things as they were unfolding.

For the past three years, I have focused solely on fighting to protect my daughters and I feel that I’ve done a good job given the challenges of being ‘in pro per’ and up against a court system that isn’t educated in Cluster B personality disorders.  With that said, I have been so focused on protecting the girls that I haven’t had the time or energy to tackle the child support issues.  Namely, the lack of child support issue.  My X hid income in 2010 and once discovered, it placed him about $15,000 in arrears.  In the past twelve months, he has made two full monthly payments only because his wages were garnished.  Between 2010 and 2012, his arrears have grown to be in the neighborhood of $37,000.  His interest alone is $250 per month on the past due balance.

Over the past few years I have struggled from a financial standpoint.  More importantly, my children have gone without the things they were accustomed to such as gymnastics, dance lessons and other child-friendly activities.  This time of year (school starting) has been extremely stressful with the added cost of school clothing and new shoes.  In the beginning stages, I would send him emails begging for help.  I came to realize that he thrived on this.  He would send me emails outlining the fabulous minimum wage jobs that I could take on in the evenings.

From that point on, I refused to give him the benefit of knowing my financial situation or struggles.  I decided to leave it in the hands of Child Support Services of California.  I’ve come to discover that Child Support Services has their hands tied.  The process of collection is long and drawn out.  The system is over burdened and while they can go after someone’s drivers license or seek jail time for non-payment, it takes months and months.

Last year, someone who knows my X husband sent me a link to forms for “Contempt of Court” and advised that I file on the 1st of every month for each missed payment.  She stated that while contempt is very difficult to prove, it should be easy in the case of my X husband.  I sat on those forms and debated whether or not to file on many occasions.  I recently spoke to a local attorney who said, “Tina, normally I would discourage anyone in pro per from filing contempt charges because they are very difficult to prove.  If anyone can do it and succeed, it’s you”.

Those were the words of encouragement that I needed.  It isn’t about me.  It’s about my daughters and the things that they lack in their lives.  I can’t even imagine how different that our lives would be if we had received the $37,000 in support payments over the past few years.  Meanwhile, a Narcissist is content buying a new car, living in a luxury condo and spending money at wineries and restaurants with zero regard for his daughters.

This week I filed papers to have my X husband held in contempt of court.  This could mean stiff penalties or jail time.  Prior to filing, I sent him a simple email to ask for an update on his employment status.  I notified him of my plan to file contempt charges if we couldn’t resolve these matters.

This was his response:

Tina, I propose we go to (XYZ) Mediation Services not Commissioner (ABC). 
He is going to be furious to see you and me again. 
I set up automatic deposits from my wages and the earliest this could start was the paycheck today. If you proceed with this hearing, I do not foresee this being favorable for you as payments will be consistently paid to you three times before this hearing. Let me know so I can proceed with proving you have written false amounts on court documents about your income.  Best regards, The X
Let me translate this for you in the Narcissism De-Coder:
Tina, Let me try and convince you that I am trustworthy enough to go to mediation like normal divorcing couples.  Before I begin, please have a sip of this kool-aid.  I really don’t want to go in front of the Commissioner because I know how bad this will look.
Don’t mind the million broken promises from the past about automatic payments being made and the check that was placed in yesterday’s mail.  This time, my word is golden.
If you proceed with the hearing, I am totally screwed so sit tight and put your feet up while I try and twist this around and project my lies about income onto YOU.   Best Regards, The X
I should hear the Commissioner’s decision on Monday– this will determine if he plans to set a hearing for Contempt of Court.
Worst case scenario: the Commissioner is now aware of the past 12 months of missed payments and has proof of my X’s extravagant lifestyle during his time of “poverty”.

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.

 

 

 

 

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