I got waaay more than I bargained for in the divorce process. I wanted he abuse to end. I needed it to end. But before it did, there was a whole other level of abuse I would need to endure.
After being in an abusive marriage I had trust issues. That is to be expected. Betrayal will do that to anyone.
I expected a tough fight from the narc. I mean I knew my leaving was taking away my endless supply of love and never-ending admiration as a codependent. A narc couldn’t ask for a better narc supply really.
He thought he could convince me to stay no matter how badly he treated me.
But I did!! Thank God i did!!!
What I didn’t expect was to have my legal right to fair trail stolen from me by the hands of my own attorney and the judge.
The narc tried to force joint custody to keep me as his unwilling supply… that didn’t work.
Then he decided he would try to get sole custody of our children just to destroy me. That actually almost did work.
This is one of the reasons I feel compelled to share such a painful and personal experience. I want to stop this by warning others to learn from my victories and mistakes.
In my case, i did not want joint custody with the narc because that would keep our children in the middle of conflict throughout their childhood.
I had to fight for my children to get sole custody. Sole custody, for me, was part of severing all ties between myself and the narc. But not just sole custody.
i should have just stopped at that. But I did not.
I wanted sole custody with a parenting plan that would include a children’s bill of rights, standards of parental conduct, standards of child safety and standards of access and communication to protect my children from all forms of abuse that could and would be lashed out to my children. The common narc forms of emotional abuse such as yelling, humiliation, ignoring, name callling are expressly prohibited.
I also wanted to remove any ambiguity within the parenting by spelling out the standards of living arrangement, education, religion, medical and dental care, child care, kids activities (which was the greatest source of conflict), transportation, parenting time, holiday time, travel, discipline and reward and dispute and renegotiation of the parenting plan. The common issues that narc uses to drag the other parent back to court are clearly defined in the parenting plan.
I wanted a parenting plan that would allow the narc to be a parent to his children without him being in my life. As much as I think the narc is a terrible abusive and abrasive person, I do not believe that gives me the right to keep my children from their father.
To my children, he is not a narc, he is their father. Even if he doesn’t teach them the lessons they need to learn.
As a mother, I have to still be able to respect that. And I believe that I do.
In my case, instead of settling, the narc insisting on going to trial for sole legal and physical custody. Having sole legal custody of your children means that you are responsible for making decisions about the important things in their lives, like where they go to school, what religious instruction they receive, whether they need academic tutoring or psychological counseling, and when they go to the doctor.
Sole physical custody determines where the kids will live.
During the marriage, I was the primary caregiver for the children. I was a stay at home mom until they were old enough to attend school. Then I went back to work, but still managed everything involving the care of the children.
The narc was not involved because he did not want to be.
The children lived with me after the separation. I was prepared for the trial and had a long list of exhibits to demonstrate the facts of my case. I even had the kids school principal as a witness ready to testify that I was the only parent who handled the education matters for the children.
But the day of trial, my lawyer told me there would be no trial because the other side finally agreed to me having sole legal and physical custody.
He told me we could only go before the judge on four issues. So we did.
Then the judge sided with the narc on those four issues so that made it fair in the narc’s eyes.
After the trial, my attorney added the judges rulings and several additional modifications to the parenting plan I wrote, even things the judge did not rule on because that made it fair in his eyes.
Then I had to wait another week while the narc’s attorney made proposed modifications because that made it fair in her eyes.
I told my attorney that I was not in agreement with the modifications he made and wanted to change them. He refused.
I reached out to the managing lawyer and asked her to review my case. She reviewed my case, but also refused to make changes to the proposal.
After a week, the proposals were dropped off with the judges clerk and I waited another week while the judge himself made further modifications to the parenting plan I wrote because that made it fair in his eyes.
Tre trial didn’t really happen since it was off the record because there was no court reporter to document the judges rulings, my witness was not allowed to testify and was escorted out of the court room when he tried to do so. Everyone was being allowed to weigh in on the parenting plan, except me, of course. And they could justify their behavior by saying that I wrote the parenting plan. The outcome of the trial, in the end, was left in the judges hands. It was not really a trial. it was more like a public reaping.
The lies expressed to the judge were almost unbearable.
My attorney just watched.
He even spoke directly to the narc like they were old friends (or lovers). I was completely distraught after that experience.
I didn’t know if I would make it through the night. The pain and humiliation of being treated like the narc and watching the narc being treated like the abuse victim was overwhelming.
I ended up waiting two weeks after the trial before the judge entered the judgment. The judgment awarded me sole legal and physical custody and included some unfair concessions for me to handle like ordering me to take the kids to sporting events coached by the narc during my weekends with the kids.
But it was over.
I was divorced. Freed from the narc.
But the divorce process showed me how lawyers and judges can literally murder justice and people’s right to a civil divorce process or fair trial.
It was terrible.
But honestly, if I am able to share my experience and help one person reading this blog learn something to make their process better, it will be well worth the journey.