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Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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Old 10-15-2008, 08:13 AM
PundaSmith PundaSmith is offline
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Default Settlement Conference and Child Abuse Situation


Thanks for a very informative and lively forum. I sure do hope to learn and contribute to the discussions going on.

Here is my situation.

1. I am divorced, and currently have custody of my kids (13 & 10) owing to the fact that my ex physically severely abused one of them. The incident occurred about 2 years ago.

2. Since then, my ex has been convicted, and served the house arrest sentencing imposed. She is now going under probation.

3. She has not seen our kids since the incident occurred. This is partly due to the sentencing condition. Part of the sentencing condition was that she should not have any contact with our son, unless such condition is varied by another court of law (presumably, a family court), and that she should seek treatment/counseling.

4. Through informal arrangements, she is able to email/phone our other child, but has not made any efforts to have any contact with the victim - our son. It is over two years now, and I was expecting that she would ask for the original order to be varied so that she could begin some contact - maybe phone, and then with adequate treatment, some form of supervised access. But she has not asked.

5. Now, her lawyer has set a date for the settlement conference to deal with access issues. This matter is complicated by the fact that I live in Michigan, across the Windsor border and the kids are there with me, and go to school there.

6. I am concerned about sudden access between our son and her mom. He is still afraid of her. He talks a lot about extensive physical abuse they have endured while with her, and could not see himself going through that again. Even though he is doing well balance in school, he still gets flashbacks about the incident. However, he does inquire about her, and would probably want some form of contact at some point.

So here I am: my interest is in protecting our children from the risk of future harm. What should I propose in terms of access, bearing in mind the distance - Mom in Canada, Dad/kids in US. I can no longer afford a lawyer. So I would to go on my own.

Thanks very much.... Punda Smith
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:14 PM
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FL_Needs_To_Change FL_Needs_To_Change is offline
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My heart bleeds for the son, being a mom I could not imagine hurting any of my children.
In your case I would suggest supervised access at an access centre x times per year under the assumption that the child is prepared for such access to take place.

I would never force a child to be in a place where they felt that they could possibly be harmed. An access centre only a few times would slowly re-introduce the son and the other child to the mother in an environment that he would know is safe. And that he would be assured he would not be harmed in any manner.

My ex was a wife abuser, and I left when his rage started to spill over onto the children.
He originally had unlimited access, at my insistence every weekend.
Then he kidnapped them (we had no order no agreement, and I was living on social assistance), refused to return them claiming some bogus line that because there was no formal order of custody he had every right to keep them, and then he went on to threaten their lives and blame me for anything that me happen.
Long story short, any parent that can even entertain the idea of harming an innocent child, mush less a child of their own is a very sick individual that should not be permitted alone in the presence of children. I tried the supervised access route, but he played mind games with them, and ultimately they got their own lawyer and chose no access, none, until they were ready to have a relationship with him.
They had passed the 12 year old marks and voiced their preference no to have a relationship until such time that he sought treatment and successfully demonstrated that he was no longer physically or emotionally abusive.
He refused, said there was nothing wrong with him, so when we had what turned out to be our final day in court the judge took me aside and expressed his dismay at granting an order of no contact to a biological parent. He and I had a long talk and I clearly expressed my desire to have him in the lives of the children, but my gutt was telling me that he could hurt them, seriously hurt them, so no access was granted. He was ordered to provide accurate and up to date contact info to the children via their father’s family member. When they are ready to have a relationship with him it was ordered that it would be on their terms, not his.

I hope this does NOT happen in your case, I think every child deserves the love of both parents and know both parents. I’d seek the access centre route then move on from there. It’ll offer stability and a safe zone for the children and still an avenue for her to show she can be trusted with their well being. The distance apart is something to consider, maybe a half way point a few times in a year, maybe one day a month or something?

My prayers are with you and your children.
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:24 PM
PundaSmith PundaSmith is offline
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Default Thanks

F. L.

Thank you very much for your reply.

Like your kids, my kids have suffered a lot of emotional abuse eventually leading to physical one.

My gut feelings tell me that kids need connection to both parents and I would love to facilitate that. However, my Ex's behavior (from what I can gather through her IM communications with one of our kids) does not suggest that she is in counseling or has benefited from any counseling concerning her anger. She still gets angry at our kids, and uses any emotional manipulative trick in the book to enforce compliance to her wishes.

I know our kids would want to have some contact with her, but unfortunately they have soon forgotton some of the torture they've gone through. The one who was abused however still expresses reservation about seeing her unless she is assured that she has received counseling and that counseling is effective so as they would be safe.

At this point, I am going to the settlement conference preparing to offer no physical F2F access to the victim, but only IM messaging, until he is prepared to see her and I am assured that it would be safe. For our other child, maybe supervised access would be ok for now, since they have been having IM on/off for about a year. But I would still want a professional counselor to see both kids first and gauge their readiness.

Thanks, FL. All the best to you too.

regards, Punda
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:10 AM
rwhitten rwhitten is offline
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Default Stay strong

I agree with your plan! I would suggest a couple more details be considered.
Does your one child WANT to see his/her mother with out his/herebrother? Sibling bonds are very strong. Pitting siblings against each other was a tact my ex attempted and it backfired horribly, ultimately making the relationship between my daughter and her brothers stronger.

Also, your children are almost an age in Canada to decide if they want visistation (14yrs). No family court will "enforce/force" them to see/speak to her against their will, but she can spend an awful lot of time and money trying to make it happen.

Like F.L. I am greatly disturbed at the thought of mother hurting a child, much less her own.

God Bless, Good Luck, Be Well and Safe.
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