I am a divorced mother. We were married for 21 years before I finally was able to divorce my now-ex. He is the father of all 5 of our children.
The separation began with me calling 911 and him being arrested for domestic violence in February of 2008. He was prosecuted by the County. Our oldest son and I were called as witnesses. A No Contact Order was put in place against him by the county forbidding him from coming anywhere near me or having any contact with me for at least two years. It turned into 4.
He spent 3 days in jail and was released pending trial.
After the bruises faded I filed for divorce. That was in May of 2008.
We had been married in June of 1987. I worked for a few months after that before I quit because I was pregnant. After that I was a stay-at-home mom until the divorce. I was the primary caregiver for all of our children until they began to leave.
His mother moved here after he was released from jail and they got an apartment together. Then they proceeded to lure the kids away from my home one by one. Because the divorce was not finalized and the kids were teens the courts would do nothing to prevent this, except in the case of the youngest, who was 10 at the time.
My husband was convicted in April of 2009 in a jury trial. He even took the stand in his own defense, but the jury still found him guilty after only 45 minutes of deliberation. Our oldest son was called as a witness, and he and I both testified.
However, I was not able to afford a lawyer for the divorce. When it came to the divorce trial and the question of custody the judge dismissed the findings of the civil trial saying, "Those events happened long ago. He is undergoing mandatory counseling now. If the kids want to live with him, I will allow that."
My youngest, however, was split evenly between his father and myself, but his father was given custody. This was so that his insurance could continue to cover his son.
Before and after the divorce my oldest decided to live with me. He saw the violence. He didn't like the way his father and grandmother were using the scriptures to convince him and his siblings to live with his father.
My middle three kids decided after the divorce not to have anything to do with me. They all said they loved me, but they said they wanted to live with their father. My oldest, after talking with them, said that they had been told that if they didn't live with their Dad that he would have to pay child support and live in his car.
My oldest said that his grandmother had told the kids that even tho their father did what the courts said he did that their mother was the greater sinner because she was divorcing their father.
My middle three kids believed her.
My youngest had terrible adjustment issues, so I took him to counseling. He has been steadily doing better, and now doesn't need to go anymore.
I went to counseling for two years, myself, and sometimes still go back for a 'tune up'.
I still miss my kids every day. I wonder if I will ever have a relationship with the middle three again. My second born went 2 years without any contact before he would speak to me again. My younger daughter has not spoken to me meaningfully for 4 years.
What can I do? The courts gave the kids the right to decide if they want to have any contact with me.
Sometimes I'm okay, and other times I feel like there's a hole in my chest, I miss them so much.
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