Has anyone dealt with custody issues after leaving?

by ~Jen~ 13 Replies latest jw experiences

  • ~Jen~

    I left my husband at the end of June. We were having a lot of issues in our marriage that I tried to talk about and he refused to see or even acknowledge. Me leaving was the final straw but to him I just up and left for "no reason". To him our marriage was fine because well, you know...we were witnesses and witnesses don't split up no matter what. We have 3 little boys - age 3,3 and 2

    On the day I left I went in and told him I was leaving him, and I immediately started a relationship with another man - a former JW who I knew growing up. NOT the best idea, I know that but it happened.

    I posted what happened soon after I left in another thread so I wont get into that but for the rest of June, July and August I didn't have a place to take the boys so I would go to "our" house and spent some time with them. At first my ex made it really weird, he would sit there on the couch and stare at me, follow me around and just stop and stare with puppy dog eyes and not say a word. The inlaws live in our basement and also made it weird since now I'm DF'd and they have to shun me. So for 2 months this went on. On a couple occasions I switched the days I was going to come see the boys because I wasn't feeling well.

    As of September 1st, I got my own apartment and bought 3 beds and 3 mattresses for my kids and since then I've had them from Sunday after the meeting until Wednesday morning. I work full time, so when I'm at work my mother in law babysits them as she always has.

    So we're going through custody issues - basically my ex has said he knows I'm a great mom, knows the kids should be with me and there's no reason not to. BUT, in typical JW fashion, him and his family are ASSUMING that I've gone right off the deepend because I no longer want to be a JW. They are assuming that I'm living some crazy party lifestyle, drinking constantly and doing drugs. I've told my EX that I'm not doing those things and he says "I believe you but you no longer are a JW and I have to assume you are doing these things because I have no way of knowing that you aren't"

    We both have our lawyers. I'm asking for 50/50 custody with something in there saying that I would support him raising the kids JW (even though now I'm not so sure I want that).

    He is asking for the house, the car, the kids - everything.

    We had a meeting with our lawyers yesterday and he has a JW lawyer (who we used to be in the same congregation with BTW). She says that she has "something" on me and she couldn't in her right conscience let me have the kids 50% of the time. She wouldn't tell me OR my lawyer what it was although I'm hoping they talk this week. Anyways, she states some case law to support it but again wouldn't say what the case law was. She also demanded that we speed up the divorce, that I "admit" to adultry so the EX can move on with his social life.

    Talking to my lawyer - he can't see how she could have anything against me. Yes, for 2 months I only visited the kids at OUR home about 4-5 times/week because I had no where to take them. I was confused and it was hard with what was going on - being DF'd and dealing with crazy family members.

    Thing is, I think my EX is LYING to his lawyer. i already know he's taken words I said about our marriage and told the lawyer I said it about the kids (I can't do this anymore, I'm not happy, etc...). We have got in 2 fights since the seperation and his lawyer knew about them and seemed to be under the impression that I fly off the handle all the time. They are also trying to attack my mental health (which I'm not worried about because I've already seen my Dr and have her backing that there's nothing in my history - past or present that would give her any concern about my mothering.

    I confronted the ex at our meeting that he told me one thing - that he knows Im' a good mom etc, but is telling his lawyer something else. He sat there the whole meeting with his head down like a beaten animal - I almost feel like he knows I'm a good mom and knows he's lying and being forced by his parents and gung-ho lawyer to get full custody because I'm not JW and now a "bad" person.

    So my question is - has anyone been through this? I'm so scared of losing my kids, I have done NOTHING wrong and find it very ironic that I'm now the "worldly" one who's trying to be fair and he's the lying JW. it's also strange that his lawyer is saying I'm not a devoted parent and that she can't in her right mind let me have joint custody, yet I ALREADY have the kids for almost half the week and have had them since September 1st. IF what they had was so bad that I would lose custody - why would they let me have the kids now?

  • avishai

    Get evidence. If it's a one party state, record all his phone calls accusing you of all these things just because you aren't a JW.

  • palmtree67

    Hi Jen,

    My situation is alot like your's except I waited til my kids were older before I left. My son was 22 and living on his own and my daughter was 15. So custody is not an issue, but I certainly empathise with your situation. Even still, my ex tried to prevent my daughter from seeing me. One time, he stole her debit card and I.D. so she couldn't get on the plane to see me. He calls me filthy names to her all the time and it's really distressing to her. He tells my parents all kinds of lies and I know for a fact that he has lied to his lawyer about his income. I have never asked for spousal support, but he is trying to get child support from me right now. (I pay for my daughter's cell phone, buy all her clothes and school supplies and school fees, and give her spending money from each paycheque I get.) To protect me, the lawyer asked for spousal support EQUAL to the amount he is asking for in child support so that it basically works out to zero and I am still allowed to support my daughter without the money going directly to her dad. (He would just spend child support on whatever - probably internet dating site fees...)

    I also met someone quickly after I left, which my ex is now telling everybody I left him for another man. Soooo not true. But whatever gets you through the night, right? He has to have someone to blame besides himself.

    Good luck to you, I'll watch for your updates.

  • jamiebowers

    First of all, don't panic. Your ex's lawyer is psyching you out. If she "has something" on you, then it's her job to prove it. I think it's a mistake for you to support him raising the kids as jws, because you're setting yourself up to be shunned by them if/when they get baptized. Just remember that you did nothing wrong according to the law. Don't let him, his parents or the attorney make you feel guilty for getting out of a bad marriage and moving on with your life. If you're agreeable to joint custody, I can't see a judge saying no to that. By real world standards, it takes a lot for a mother to lose custody of her kids.

    Check out this link:


  • flipper

    JEN- Welcome to the board friend. I feel for your situation. Been there done this. Or had it done to me. Everyone has given you great advice so far. It's important to document EVERYTHING as Avishai said . Document your mental health as supported in the positive by your doctor, your reliable employment history- that will be BIG in determining getting joint custody 50/50 . Also ( and I had to do this to my JW ex-wife ) if you need to go to mediation with a neutral mediator to force your JW ex-husband to honor your visitation rights- do so. I had to because I was DFed at the time and my JW ex-wife tried pulling the " He's wicked and bad, partying, orgies, etc" game on me even though none of it was true.

    I wish the best for you, it's always a challenge, not easy - but your children need their mother in their life- fight for that right , in spite of what the JW's are telling the ex. They are wrong. And for your children's sake and your sake- watch your temper. Don't explode in front of your in-laws or his attorney as they may try to use that to prove you are unstable emotionally. Keep your cool. Take the long range outlook. You are doing this for your children, and your relationship with your children. If you want your kids eventually out of the JW cult- you will need to be an influence in their lives in their formative years. A lot is riding on this- believe me

  • Atlantis

    Preparing For Child Custody Cases--PDF! Bookmarked Searchable Reduced _______ You may want this booklet for your records! Watchtower letter included. Click the link at the bottom of the next page. http://www.sendspace.com/file/y2orp9 N.

  • jwfacts

    Hi Jen, I wish you all the best.

    I cannot help with any legal experience, but I do think the lawyer is just trying to play on your emotions. The fact that she is a JW means she probably thinks you will be still controllable with the guilt of Watchtower standards.

    Being the mother you are in a good position to get at least joint custody and it does not seem you have done anything outside of the ordinary for you not to be given this right. Courts do not look favourably on JWs due to their attempt to isolate children from general society so should deem it healthier for the children to have contact with you. Keep your chin up because it will work in your favour.

  • Out at Last!
    Out at Last!

    My experience in my recent divorce was that all property of value was split 50/50 if it was aquired during the time you were married. If he wants the house, have it appraised and he will have to pay you half of the appraised value. The same with the car, any property.

    They saying they have something on you, you yourself would be the best one to know what that might be. If you have no idea what it is, it is probabbly bull shit to intimidate you, and whatever they accuse you of, they will have to proove it. I wpoldn't worry there.

    As far as custody, take pictures of your apartment, hang lots of mirrors on the walls if it might look a touch small. Mirrors make the rooms look bigger than they really are. Show that there is a bed for yourself and all of the children. Get testomony of any friends and neighbors who are willing to testify that you are not morally corrupt and a drunk since you staggered out into satan's big, bad world.

    Use his religion against him, my cousin had this done to him and his wife and lost his step-son to his non JW father. Tell the court that the children are in danger from common accepted and safe medical treatments if hurt in an accident. Also being exposed to potental pedofiles in the organization.Bring as many newspaper articles you can find on these practices in the organization and have them entered as evidence, so the judge will have to read over all of it. I know someone on here that keeps close tabs on all of that info and I am sure we could get it to ya.

    Hope this helps, and if you want to talk, PM me. That is the little envelope at the top right side of the screen by your screen name.

    Best to you!

  • wantstoleave

    Sounds like the lawyer is playing mind games. Also, go with your gut feeling. If you think your ex is telling lies, then he probably is. Mine did it to me, the worst garbage you could ever think of - and I was still a witness! If you know you've done nothing wrong, then don't sweat it. Hang tight. Make sure you've told your lawyer everything. Keep all documents, they will come in handy. The supporting evidence such as Doctor and employment records will be a lifesaver. A judge cant grant him things on the basis of you not being a witness, that would be ludicrous. So just sit tight, stay calm and if you come into contact with him before it goes to court, be wise with your words - he may just be taping you or having someone watch so they can be a 'witness' to your manner and actions.

    You said you talked to him at a meeting. Are you looking to be reinstated?

    Wishing you all the best...my turn for similar is next month.

  • under the radar
    under the radar

    I'm no lawyer, but if your hubby's attorney (the lady JW) was once in your congregation, knew you personally, and/or if you ever told her anything personal or confidential, you might be able to have her removed from the case on the grounds of conflict of interest. A non-JW lawyer might not be so determined to screw you over just because you dared to leave the Truthâ„¢.

    I would definitely make sure your lawyer has a copy of the JW preparing for child custody cases strategy document that someone else referred to. Nothing like having the other guy's playbook. They may deny such a document exists, but if you prove they're lying by producing it in court, things may go more in your favor.

    Good luck!

    Illegitami non carborundum! (Don't let the bastards wear you down!)

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