Threats, money and power.

Recently at one of the scheduled visits, my coparent tried to get me to go behind the garage with him. I declined.  This has not been a one time occurrence.  There have been repeated attempts to get me alone, out of sight, behind the garage at the supervisors home.  I’ve called and asked questions about what to do, and everyone says I’m doing the right thing by not agreeing to go behind the garage, however no one has a solution to what I am supposed to do.  

At a visit last week, the deck is further stacked against me, when I discovered that my coparent is bringing a rifle to these visits.  I’m not talking about a rifle in the back seat, in a gun rack.  I’m talking about a rifle that is resting on his leg as he’s in the drivers seat of his truck.  I discovered this when I went to pick my son up after a visit and I had to go to his truck to get the baby.  He had been lured to his father’s truck with the promise of candy.  

Once again, I made numerous phone calls and they’ve all said “you need to report this” but no one knows who I should report this to.  He didn’t threaten me with the gun.  He didn’t point the gun. It’s simply there as a means of nonverbal communication and intimidation.

Once again, I ask, how far does this have to go before someone will do something? Why do we need to wait until something happens before we put an end to this? Why can’t we be a bit more proactive when it comes to safety? 

He also scheduled a visit on Mother’s Day. Which I was expecting, and I had made no real plans because I knew it was coming. 

He then waited until a few hours before the visit to cancel.  Was I shocked? No. The feeble attempt at being “nice” is just another form of his manipulation.  Out of all the people in the world, he is the last person I want to wish me happy Mother’s Day.  It was a slap in the face because he knew I wasn’t going to be able to do anything, or plan anything.  

I also had to file a new motion over the last few weeks.  Our son is almost 18 months old and his father has still not yet paid his portion of medical expenses for birth to present.  To get a medical judgment issued, which by no means indicates that you will receive payment, you have to jump through so many hoops.  You have to fill out a form that shows cost, prove that an insurance claim was filed, prove you were invoiced, prove that you paid, send all documents to the coparent who owes, after getting everything notarized.  You must send this certified mail, for proof that you sent it.  You then must wait 30 days, and the other parent is allowed to attempt at contacting you with a payment plan (this isn’t how medical doctors even operate).  After the 30 days, then you submit the same documents to the court trustee’s office.  They will wait yet another 30 days and if you still have heard nothing, they will file a motion for a trial that would issue a medical judgment against the coparent.  Keep in minds, if the medical judgement is issued, the court trustee wi take 5% of anything that is collected.  

Two days after the trial date was set, I received a check from my coparent for payment for the full amount he owed.  He had been told back in August 2016, and it was put in the judges final order, how much he owed for medical expenses for the birth of our son.  He had promised that he was going to help, but he’s only going to help as much as he has to without getting in trouble.  

I’ve also done a bit of research and discovered that he is receiving additional income on his rental house that he has failed to mention to anyone.  

He has been receiving $600 extra per month for this rental house, which is $7200 additional per year for his income.  This would increase his payment for child support that he owes me by an extra $100 per month which would help me out a lot since our son is now in therapy, and I have to pay a copayment each time he goes.  

He recently filed additional paperwork through the courts trying to prove that I had lied to the court about the amount of childcare expenses I had.  He was trying to reduce the amount of child support he owed, when he has only made 3 monthly payments in 18 months!  And now he is gaining additional income.  These types of parents are the one who the court needs to prevent.  This is called financial abuse and in every single abusive relationship, financial abuse is always a part of it.  The abuser always wants his victim to rely on them for everything.  By keeping their victim from being able to financially support themselves, they guarantee that the victim cannot protect themselves.  

  1. The state of Kansas recently just signed into law SB124.  This new law, effective July 1, 2017, mandates the courts take into account any prior domestic violence when determining custody and visitation when involving minor children.  They are also to take into account the work schedules of the parents, the involvement levels of the parents and the attempts between each parent that will most facilitate the biggest chance of a relationship between the other parent and the child.  I called and asked the local domestic violence shelter to see if this new law would effect my case and I was informed that the center had no idea what I was talking about.  They had never heard about this bill.  What is their focus?  Why don’t the workers know the laws and made aware of these new laws that will directly effect our situations?  What is the purpose of these shelters if they don’t know the laws, they can’t protect the victims, they don’t care about educating, and they receive grant funding.  If nothing can be done, why? Why spend tax dollars on this “resource” that isn’t a real resource.  

Self advocacy 

In December, a portion of the court order sent me through Domestic Violence classes.  As a victim of domestic violence, it was interesting to me to learn about all the different forms of domestic violence there really are.  Domestic violence doesn’t have to always be physical.  Often times there are numerous ways the abuser uses to keep their victim in line before they ever resort to physical violence. 

What they don’t teach you is that there’s no real way to combat being abused.  The counties are so different one “advocacy” group is unable to assist in another county.  You have no idea how frustrating this is.  

I took my classes in Sedgwick county.  They seem to have a real grasp on what it takes to assist victims.  Unfortunately, dealing with a different county, they referred me to their sister agency in my home county. What a joke. 

These people schedule meetings with a person, who has to take off work and they aren’t even there.  I waited two weeks for this meeting with this specific individual.  Someone else said they had a little time to talk with me and at the end told me in the most demeaning tone they could muster “I believe you” and told me I should start journaling (hence this page…). I was promised this person I was originally supposed to meet with would call me back the following day.  A month later, I still never got that phone call. 

I called. And I left messages. At one point, a person with the same name answered the phone and I was told “sorry, your name isn’t familiar to me and I can’t help you.”  Seriously? What name is a good name to use for assistance?  

I’ve reached out to yet another county that works closely with my home county.  Again, I was referred to the “best” person. I called, left a message and two weeks later, I’ve still gotten no phone call back.  

I went back to Sedgwick county, desperate for some help and was referred to the agency that is in charge of all domestic violence centers across the state and they tried to get some answers to me.  Two weeks of communication between us, and their answer was, “the person you were trying to reach has been out sick.”   This person must have been sick for two full months and apparently all cases could not be worked on by someone else.  Ridiculous.  

The Governer just signed a new law into effect within the last few weeks.  This new law mandates that all courts must take into consideration when prior domestic violence has been reported in custody cases.  This must be considered when determining custody and visitation between parties.  We are scheduled to go back in June, and I am curious if anything will be done with this.

In the mean time, my batterer, the father of my child, is continuing to refuse to go through his batterers intervention program that is also court ordered.  Will this be considered when he seeks more visitation, unsupervised? 

Recently, at two of the visits he’s had with our son, he has attempted to get me to go behind the supervisors garage with him.  I don’t know what his intentions are but I have refused and avoided confrontation. There are no windows behind the garage, and the meeting location is in a sparsely populated area, and I’m not willing to weigh the risks of his requests.  

I’m continuously being told to be a self advocate. Without knowledge and information about what to expect or do regarding the courts, what I have done for myself is got a great therapist.  I document everything. Religiously. I’ve searched for 4 months, and finally found a therapist who will work with a 17 month old. (He’s been diagnosed with severe separation anxiety, and an adjustment disorder, thank you father’s rights).  I’ve started journaling.  I’ve researched. I’ve got a great group of supporters. 

This fight isn’t over, my light hasn’t been extinguished. I will always fight for the safety of my child, and only God himself can stop me. 

‘Round and ’round we go.

In December, when the judge ended our trial and made plans to resume for the middle of February, she also required Justin to go through TFI Family services for his supervised visits with our son.  

During this time, my son’s father decided to force me to go to therapy with him.  There’s no fixing what we have never had, and I didn’t need him trying to brainwash me even further.  

I refused to go.  He needs anger management and to go through Batterers Intervention, and even after that I have little faith that he will change his abusive behavior.

I called the therapist, and left her a message.  I informed her that I would not be participating in their therapy.  I had discussed this with my own therapist and she agreed that there was no reason or real point behind it.  Justin had told the court that he was living with his ex girlfriend’s mother.  He also says that he was having her grandmother sleep in a chair so he could sleep in a bed.  He testified in court to this.  What kind of human, who has any respect for themselves, kicks an elderly woman out of her bed so he can sleep there?  He had just sold his house for $100,000 profit. And he was leeching off of these people.

As we later discovered, he was actually lying, under oath, that he was living at Katie’s mothers house. Katie told the mother of his daughter that he only stayed there when he had their daughter, because he didn’t want her to tell anyone he was actually living with Katie.  

He also decided to only have a visit with our son for 1 hour per week and he skipped several of those visits through the month of January 2017.  We had to split the cost of the supervised visits, so this would cost me an extra $20 per month.  He was still not making monthly child support payments, not had he paid what he owed for his portion of medical expenses for our son.

At the end of January, the case manager decided to get involved.  By this time, the court had moved out case from Limited Case Management, to Case Management.  This is the highest level of conflict.  We are currently under Case Management for the next 17 years.

After another session with the Case Manager, that was squeezed into his office literally one business day before we were scheduled to go to court for the second half of the evidentiary hearing.  The Case Manager told us we were to cancel court for the following Monday.

We got another court order for Justin to attend Batterer’s intervention, and he was supposed to see our son up to three times per week at his leisure.  He was able to get out of the TFI family services for supervision, and get it changed to some of his family members or close friends.  He had two months of supervised visits and was scheduled to start back to the original schedule the Judge had written in April 2017.

Sticks and stones..

After the final orders were issued, Justin skipped several of his visits, often times no call, no show.  I had to prove that I was doing my part so I had to take pictures of my son at the drop off location, each time just in case.  I had to make the drive 3 times per week. Sometimes Justin would want to drop him off early. Justin was almost always late to pick up or drop off.  He would also bring his then girlfriend along and tell me that she was the baby sitter.  You’d think for someone who only gets to see their son 14 hours per week, they wouldn’t need a baby sitter. 

After the DCF investigation, I changed attorneys and found a decent one who would actually try to protect us. She filed an emergency change of custody motion.  The judge granted supervised visits but refused to allow me to have full custody.  We scheduled a new trial date in November 2016.  

The recommendation from DCF, which eventually became a court order were that justin attend Batterers Intervention and for me to go through a Domestic Violence class.  I’ve completed mine, but justin refuses to go through his.  

At the same time, an incident with his daughter caused her mother to also file a police report that later got turned into a DCF investigation.  These two events were completely unrelated.  Due to the nature of the allegations in his daughters case, DCF suspended all visits for both children.  I had nothing to do with this, however he blames me for everything. 

In the mean time, apparently justin and his girlfriend broke up and she contacted me and the other mother.  

Katie also says that she’s concerned about her own child’s safety, and according to DCF, she spoke to them for over an hour at one point expressing her own concerns about Justin’s parenting.  

Katie also contacted the other mother and told her that justin had started being physically violent with her, just like he was with the other mother and myself.  

In December 2016, the day before Christmas, we had another court hearing.  The trial judge didn’t leave enough time on the calendar so we only got through 1/2 of the testimony.  Justin was allowed to testify, but my side of the story would have to wait until the second half of the trial, which was scheduled for February 2017.  We were still granted supervised visits.  Up to this point, Justin had not attended any of his supervised visits and then for a month, DCF completely stopped all contact.  

Justin and I both had to split the cost of the supervised visits. I also had to drive almost an hour to get to the visitation center, and justin didn’t want to spend more than he had to, so he chose to only spend one hour per week with our son.  He also skipped several of these one hour per week visits, or he would show up late.  

His actions to this point further show that his only intention is to hurt me and the baby, he doesn’t want to establish any type of bond with the child.