sharing custody with abusive ex

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2005
sharing custody with abusive ex
9
Sat, 03-12-2005 - 9:02pm

How do you deal with sharing child custody with abusive exs? My ex-h was very abusive to me and verbally abusive to baby. After I divorced him, we ended up w/joint custody and he's been verbally/emotionally abusive and sexually inappropriate w/kids. I can't change the custody situation. He's a real bully and an expert manipulator. I am looking for advice from other people going through the same thing. I just want to get myself and my angels through this as well as possible, to keep the conflict as low as possible, and to keep the kids as safe as I can. The shared custody is really important to him for one obvious reason: it's the only thing in his life that allows him to keep a connection with me, to keep controlling me and hurting me in any way he can. This is a really big deal for him, which is why I can't try to change it (tried already, and the trying just about killed me physically and emotionally). I have cut down the in-person and phone contact and have been clear about keeping him out of my life except for dicussions relating to the kids.

If you've been through it, please let me know what kept you going. I'm still hurting from the abuse and fear he inflicted on me for those years. I get cold and start shaking all over when he calls me or writes me--that's how scared I still am. I'm in therapy but need also to connect with other people who are going through this also. I love my kids and they need me, and I want to be as strong for them as possible, physically, mentally, emotionally.

Thanks

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2004
Sat, 03-12-2005 - 9:48pm

I know what you are going through. Read my posts on here and divorce and custody board. I suspect my ex has done something inappropriate with my oldest daughter but was never able to prove he instigated it. You can message me at ortho_nurse2003 on yahoo messenger if you wanna talk.

I've gotten some excellent advice on these boards as well as working with my counselor. I still have alot of issues to work on, but I've taken some steps in the right direction.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-08-2005
Sat, 03-12-2005 - 10:13pm

I can refer you to some links that I researched online regarding your situation. One link is the one we refer here and on the sister board all the time.

5yrssm 
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-12-2003
Mon, 03-14-2005 - 12:05pm

Hi honey, welcome -


First off, if there is any type of medical documentation of the abuse he is inflicting on your babies, you can go back to court and request neutral third party visitation (preferably at some kind of center where the trained professionals will handle emergencies).

CL-Blueliner4

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2004
Mon, 03-14-2005 - 12:57pm
What is your parenting schedule? Is it week on, week off?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2005
Wed, 03-16-2005 - 6:23pm
Hi,
The kids spend half the week with me, half with him, switching from my house to his in the middle of the week, three to four days at each place, with 50% time at each place.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2005
Wed, 03-16-2005 - 6:35pm

Hi, and thanks for the support and the link. To answer your question, the pediatrician was one of the first people involved. Yes, there was physical evidence (my daughter had a broken hymen at age 8, and my little one had creepy marks on genitalia at age 2, with dr. saying the marks were not accidental or self-inflicted, and probably caused by physical/sexual abuse, police and children's services involved). But nothing has changed custody-wise, and my ex has actually accused me of being out to get him. My ex convinced the pediatrician that my daughter broke her hymen "by accident" and even though over a period of two years this pediatrician has seen my daughter for depression and one suicide attempt (yes, she's in therapy with someone really good, and is way better emotionally now) and my daughter even told the pediatrician the depression was caused by what she described as sexual touching by her dad, the pediatrician has not risen to the occasion to do much to help, though she did file a report when my daughter told her this (she didn't file when my daughter came in with a broken hymen after an overnight at her dad's--I found bloody underwear after she changed her clothes, and the doctor confirmed that her hymen was broken).

I tried so hard to change things, and my efforts only backfired. The children's court-appointed attorney accused me of making false allegations and recommended to the court that I should lose custody. That was so scary. I didn't lose custody, but I'm scared to death of doing anything if something new comes up.

I don't know if he's still abusing them. If he is, they aren't saying anything now, and I haven't noticed anything striking that would raise a red flag for me in terms of new episodes of abuse. But I don't feel empowered to change my kids' lives. I'm too scared of really losing them as a punishment for trying to protect them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 03-16-2005 - 7:35pm

You need to document EVERYTHING, and press your attorney into requesting psych evals and supervised visitations.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2004
Wed, 03-16-2005 - 8:03pm

That is really some overwhelming evidence. Did anyone do a lie detector test on him? Looking back on what happened with my daughter, I wonder why no one did a polygraph. In my case, I think with me being the ex wife, I had no credibility whatsoever, and nothing was taken seriously. Also, I asked them to check his computer for anything and they never did.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2004
Thu, 03-17-2005 - 9:31am
I know how afraid you are, and probably if something else where to happen, there would be a chance again you would not be believed, and lose custody altogether. If something else does happen, someone else like a teacher or counselor would need to report it. I wouldn't take that on unless you had a lot of back up.