October 14, 2009- Court: the first of many to come. The anxiety leading up to the day. I remember the drive to court– stomach in my throat. A nervous feeling like I’ve never experienced before. The anticipation of a man on a bench– hearing 20 minutes of our “story” and making a decision that affects the lives of my daughters. It was almost to much to bear.
I sat in the courtroom and watched case after case. Accusations all the way around– drugs, abuse, etc. By the time we took our places and were sworn in– I felt like the odds were against me. By all outward appearances– he looked normal. He looked healthy. On paper– he looked like the star father. He dressed the part- he was educated. He was in sales. I was fighting a battle with someone who was detrimental to my daughters (my opinion) yet he looked and played the part of a great father.
We had been ordered to attend a mediation session through Family Court Services. We met with the mediator and he came into the room manic and acting crazed. She quickly realized that having us together left me a trembling, shaking mess and was unproductive. She asked me to wait in the waiting room while she met with him first. They spend about 45 minutes together before she called me in.
She didn’t ask me any questions– she knew from talking to him that there were issues. He obviously said or did something to cause her concern. I sat down and she stated the following: “I am going to recommend a psych evaluation. The courts can’t order him to take it but it will serve as a ‘red flag’ to the judge. I will walk you back to the waiting room– take a seat and I will call him back in. After I take him in the room– go home”. I could tell that she was concerned for my safety as well. I had a glimmer of hope– if she saw through him in 45 minutes then surely the courts would also.
We went back into the court and the judge ordered a full parenting evaluation– to address concerns of anger and parenting in general. He actually told him to get a handle on his anger in the courtroom. We had 30 days to report to Family Court Services and complete the necessary paperwork to start the process. I was told that this would be a full evaluation– by a social worker. This person would interview everyone who knew us as parents– the preschool teachers, nannies, babysitters, friends and people who could testify to our parenting. I was hopeful– finally…someone would see the issues– notate the concerns– dive into the anger issues, the stalking and the parenting issues.
In the meantime, his visitation remained the same– every other weekend.
I filed my paperwork. I waited. I called their offices weekly– he wasn’t complying with orders. Month after month went by– court was in February. November…December…January….no attempt on his part to follow through.
This has to be a sign to the court- or so I hoped.
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.