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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: New Member: Filed for divorce, but can't find her to serve her  (Read 740 times)
nomorehitting

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« on: June 18, 2018, 10:37:18 AM »

Hello - I have been here before but things in my life have changed.  Some background -

I cheated on my wife maybe 5 yrs ago.  It was a one time thing, a very poor choice and very wrong.  I should never have done it and if I could take it back I would.  I have apologized profusely and I have committed to never doing that again.  I haven't been an ideal partner in the marriage but I am growing in God today.  We have two children, 5 and 7.  Before I cheated on my wife we would have terrible arguments over extremely minor things maybe once every 3 months.  Never hitting, but terrible arguments where really mean things were said to me.  I was always shocked and set aback by these attacks.  After I cheated the physical violence started.  

The first time things got physical I suffered a broken nose and I called the police.  She was arrested, but I later dropped all charges.  I committed that I would never call the police again.  Over the next 5 years there were perhaps 18 more instances of physical violence including things such as slapping, punching, punches to the groin, spitting, biting, hair pulling, ear pulling, kicking, ice water being thrown on, objects thrown at, being hit with swung items, and being threatened with knives, wire cutters and so on.  I have scars from when a plastic box was repeatedly smashed on me until it broke, from when a hair dryer was swung at me repeatedly (hitting me) until it broke, and the internal circuit boards were then swung at me (hitting me) until i pulled it from her hands.  In these 18 instances, police were called perhaps 5 times.

She has locked me out on the patio in 35 degree weather when I was wearing just pajamas and flip flops from 9:30pm - 6:30am, first telling later the door was always unlocked, and later (when I told her I saw her unlock the door at 6:30am) telling me she did it to cool me down.  She has locked me out of the house where I have no wallet, no keys, no phone and gone to  bed.  She routinely takes my credit cards, cash and drivers licencse.

She has tried to get me arrested - the one time she called the police, when the police arrived they saw the marks on me, nothing on her, recognized her story had changed several times and told me that 1). they were going to list her as the aggressor in this call, 2). told me she seemed delusional and asked if she were on any medication,  3). asked me if I wanted to press charges against her.

She gets very destructive - our current house has 5 broken doors (kicked in and destroyed) from where she has forced herself into places I had barricaded myself;  in previous houses she has broken 3 other doors and one window.

The violence (frequency, aggressiveness) is increasing.  interestingly nearly all of the physical attacks occur between midnight and 3:00am after our kids are asleep,  

through all of this I will never strike back.  I try to take the hits like a man, partly because I have felt it was my penance for having cheated on her 5 years ago and because i know .   When the violence starts, I will attempt to leave (outside, or to a bedroom, closet or bathroom).  If I cant leave because she is either blocking my exit or has hidden my keys, wallet or phone, I will crouch and cover my face.  If things get too rough I will try to push past her to leave the house or barricade myself in a room, or I will block her attacks, or try to restrain her by her by holding her hands.

Our current situation -

In December 2017 I lost my job.  Largely because my work performance had become unpredictable due to things like missing business flights (because of her), unpredictable work hours (because of her), etc

On 5/20 she got angry from a simple disagreement (why we moved from Tennessee to Texas) - she got angry.  What happened occurred at 5:30pm in front of our kids.  I barricaded myself in a bathroom and she kicked the door in.  I tried to escape and she hit me with a thrown chair and whipped me with an HDMI cable.  I tried to lock myself in a different bathroom and she got in before I could lock the door.  She started to hit me about the face and neck and when I covered my face she started to pull my hair and ears downward so I crouched down.  When I got low enough she started to stomp repeatedly on the back of my head and neck.  This is the first time that I felt I was very close to serious harm.  Bruises heal, cuts can be stitched, broken bones can be set.  the stomping on my head and neck gave me a feeling I had not felt before and a feeling that scared me.  I forced her off of me, and pushed her out of the bathroom and told her I was calling 911 because this was the last straw because by doing it in front of the kids was creating an emotionally abusive situation for them.

she ended up taking the kids on 5/20 and I have not seen her or the kids since (a month).  I receive intermittent texts and emails from her saying kids are ok and why am I so excited, they will be back.  

I told her I am filing for divorce and a protective order because this can never ever happen again.  Also I tell her the only thing that will stop me and a divorce is if we go to family counseling at least 10 times and the therapist is confident there will never be a return to violent outbursts.  

I suspect either bipolar or borderline because of all of this.  WE have gone to many marriage counselors and therapists in the past but she refuses to return after 1 or 2 sessions because she feels they are always ganging up on her, or believes that I had met with them prior to set them against her.  5 of the 6 past therapists had asked me after meeting with her if she had ever been diagnosed with bipolar;  1 asked if she had been diagnosed as borderline.  Other symptoms -
- she is very hot or cold with people, and once you are cold you are cold for life.
- she will go 3-4 days with no sleep working on projects
- she has attempted suicide twice; once the kids found her;  once I found her
- obviously her anger responses are disproportionate to the offense
- oddly after a physical attack, the next day she is often very affectionate wanting to engaged in sexual activity
- often times when talking with her, when she has a concern, she will talk for 4-5 hours (typically 10pm - 2 or 3am);  she will talk very fast for the duration, not let anyone else speak, and she is hard to follow because she jumps around a lot
- she will often take on more projects than she can handle for schools and other events;  when she sees that she has overcommitted herself she forcibly enlists others (myself) to complete some of the projects otherwise her anger will return

Does this sound like borderline?  or bipolar?  

I have filed for divorce and a protective order but because we cannot locate her, she cannot be served.  How do I get past this?  

Any recommendations on how to proceed?

I thank anyone that is able to read all of this , i know its a lot.  I am thankful for my church and its resources.  Without them I would be a mess today.

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nomorehitting

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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 12:16:19 PM »

thank you to the moderators for redirecting me properly to the best group.

Yes current main issue is I am trying to serve her with an order of protection and divorce papers for 3 weeks but we cannot find her to serve her.  2 weeks ago I located her in another city (Austin) - I went to the constables office to have her served, the found her, but once she saw them she locked the (hotel) door and would not answer.  After 45 min the officers left and later than night she left the hotel. 

as it stands today i haven't seen her in 4 weeks and haven't seen or communicated with my kids in any way for 4 weeks. 

I also need to put our house on the market but obviously I cant because I need her signature. 

what can I do?

the history of all of this is in my previous post below.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 01:06:05 PM »

Wow, have you been through a lot!  There's so much to say but understand we are peer support, not lawyers.We don't have 'legal advice' though we have an extensive history of "been there done that" and collective wisdom so we can often suggest what probably will work and what probably won't work.

First, let's address your current dilemma of where she and the children may be.  She left close to the end of the school year so perhaps your older child missed the last week or to of school.  Courts can get a little peeved when the children miss school.  Get documentation from school about the tardy or missed days.

She might be hiding out in a DV shelter or similar residence.  Yes, she's the abuser but a person with BPD (pwBPD) won't let that stop her.  My now-ex was arrested for Threat of DV before our divorce and I had legal protection and possession of the home.  As soon as she got out, on her own recognizance, she (1) filed for a protection order for herself and our preschooler against me and (2) lived for a while in our undisclosed-location local "House of Peace".  Yes, they housed her even though she was facing charges.

Be very careful.  If you try to seek her out beyond basic methods such as checking joint bank or credit account activity, she may file Stalking or Harassment motions against you.  (You guessed it, mine did!)  Your lawyer can probably recommend a detective agency.  A private detective is trained and bonded as a neutral professional.  Like a lawyer, a professional can do things that you can't legally do or could trigger exaggerated claims from your spouse.  A professional can access personal records and activity that you can't.  Police potentially could obtain phone usage locations that you can't get.  If she works then a professional could follow her, again, something you cannot and must not do.  You need to be squeaky clean to avoid stalking or harassment allegations.

If that doesn't work, then ask your lawyer whether the lawyer should post Notice of the divorce in local papers.  In many places three newspapers with three notices is sufficient to proceed, I think.

Right now she's somewhere unknown.  If she's not letting you talk to or have parenting time with the children, then that's Blocking.  (Is she blocking physical parenting or also phone calls too?)  However, right now without a court order in hand you're stuck, police may not help you since parents have equal but undefined parenting rights until a court order states otherwise.  Could she have gone out of state?  Usually going out of state is a No-No, it resembles 'fleeing' too much.  Would filing kidnapping charges work in your case?

On to other matters.  Yes, I found that my ex would lecture and interrogate into the wee hours of the night while our young son was asleep.  "We will fix this tonight!  I don't care if you have to work in the morning!" was a frequent refrain for the same demands over and over.

One late night my then-spouse was berating me so much, demanding that I admit to cheating, I almost made up something just to appease her.  Fortunately I had the presence of mind to know I didn't lie well, she would demand details that I couldn't invent fast enough.  While we can see how she saw an infidelity as a betrayal, the fact is that she had two choices back then, either end the marriage or forgive and continue with the marriage.  What she had no right to do was to hound you over the years about it.  PwBPD have a herd time "Letting Go" of emotional triggers and perceptions.  In the final year or so of my marriage, my ex did that too.  She demanded apologies for her same complaints over and over again.  Like a broken record, they kept coming back, they never went away.  (Eventually it got to the point that if I did apologize then she would demand I restate it over and over until she was satisfied how it was worded.  Yes, makes no sense to reasonably normal people.)

I was always in fear of losing my job, I knew my work was impacted that much.  I had only been there a couple years when our marriage began unraveling but somehow I made it to 15 plus years before our site was closed.  However, I was one of the first to be let go.  After all those years it was a relief not to have that worry hanging over my head anymore.

Excerpt
The violence (frequency, aggressiveness) is increasing.

That is typical.  Things may fluctuate up and down but over time the pattern is things get worse.  No amount of appeasing or being compliant will avoid that outcome.  We often say, If it is threatened or even contemplated, then it will happen, given enough time.

On the other hand, setting boundaries does work, though expect extreme resistance until they are either reinforced by a court order or becomes the new normal.  We call it extinction bursts, demands intended to weaken and crush new-found boundaries and return to the life of control, demands and ultimatums the ex is comfortable with.  What are boundaries?  Frankly, pwBPD don't respect boundaries.  You know what happens when you say, ":)on't scream at me or ___."  Totally ignored.  So, in a manner of speaking, boundaries are for us.  Instead, our boundary is, "If you do|don't ____ then I will ____."  See the difference?  A simple example is, "If you scream, throw or whatever, then I and the kids will go to the park until you calm down."

Is she Bipolar or BPD?  In general, Bipolar is a chemical imbalance typically remedied by meds.  While meds can also be ordered for Borderline, usually meds only moderate the level of misbehavior or dysfunction, the real solution for BPD is long term therapy diligently applied over years.  Would she set aside her Denial, Blaming and Blame Shifting to really work with a therapist or psychologist?  Many refuse or just fake a few sessions.

We've found that most courts don't seem to care about a diagnosis, though if she has one that can certainly be helpful.  I was in and out of family court for over 8 years (2005 to 2013) and no social worker, custody evaluator, magistrate or judge ever cared about getting her a diagnosis.  Instead courts focus more on documented misbehaviors, behaviors, and behavior patterns over time.

In that respect your police reports should be very helpful to identify who the one misbehaving is.  (She is almost surely going to claim you're the abusive one, that she's protecting herself and the children.)  Your task is to provide documentation that her claims are "unsubstantiated".  (It is very hard to get a court or even CPS to declare allegations are "unfounded", a stronger term.)  Problem is, most of your police reports aren't recent.  Courts often ignore events as 'stale' when older than 6 months before filing, the older the incidents the lesser importance they have... .unless they are grouped to demonstrate a pattern of behaviors.

It's possible your therapists may be able to report their observations but beware, most refuse to appear in court.  However, we've found that many will discuss matters with a Custody Evaluator who is assigned to dig deep into the family dynamic and make custody and parenting recommendations in a report to the court.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 03:46:44 PM »

ForeverDad has a lot of great advice  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Have you checked to see if Texas is a state with statutes/provisions to serve by publication? If it is, then you can serve her by publishing the notice somewhere public. There is a process for this, and you would have to do things in a certain order. It's not just putting notice in a newspaper, for example.

That doesn't help you get the kids back but it does put a few things in motion legally.

She sounds very ill, nomorehitting, and it's possible she is both bipolar and BPD. The two can occur together. My ex was both.

I'm not sure the diagnosis matters, tho, because extreme behavior speaks for itself.

In family law court, documentation by a third party (like law enforcement) goes a long way.

What does your attorney recommend you do beyond the protective order and serving notice?

I'm glad you found the site and sorry for the tremendous suffering that brings you here. People here understand what you're going through and are here to walk with you. You're not alone.

I heard the late night fighting referred to as a BPD "midnight frenzy" and experienced it myself. I suspect the stresses of the day, plus the "abandonment" of others who went off to sleep is what triggered my ex to pick a fight. I have woken to bright flashlights, pillows on my face, and crazy eyes. Like you, I was locked out of the house many times, and had personal items go missing so many times I started to bury and hide spares in our yard. I sometimes wonder what was worse, his behavior or the fact I picked him.

Are you taking care of yourself? This is a lot to go through, and you must be worried sick about the kids. How are you holding up?
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nomorehitting

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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 11:01:23 PM »

Thank you God for pointing me to this site and for "ForeverDad" and "livednlearned" being here to help add some ideas and guidance!  I can thank only God for keeping me whole at a time like this and for not allowing me to become a true mess.   

ForeverDad -

- great idea on the missed school - our daughter did miss 3 days of school as my wife went into hiding.  I will be sure to document this. that is a great point!
- her location - i am fairly sure she is in a hotel somewhere in Austin (I am in Houston so still in state).  maybe 3 months ago she took a large sum of money out of our joint brokerage account.  she would never go to a DV shelter but she will go to a hotel.
- thank you for the caution of seeking her out beyond basic methods - that is good advice that I never considered
- i did speak to my attorney about "serving through publication" (in local papers) - she said we had to show a good faith effort to find her first then we could pursue that
- as far as her blocking - yes she is blocking calls and texts too - she keeps telling me she is going to send me a list of boundaries she wants me to abide by before I talk to the kids;  I keep asking for the list so I can talk to the kids but the she doesnt respond.  so in total, no verbal conversations with the wife, only short intermittent texts / emails;  absolutely nothing from the kids.  Oddly she did send me two voice clips supposedly from them once, one was 3 sec and one was 4 sec.  Both said "we are having so much fun" but the disturbing thing was the voices were not from my kids;  they sounded like her (my wife) who was trying to alter her voice to sound like the kids.  also oddly enough these audio clips auto deleted once I listened to them.

- my wife berated and hit me enough I admitted to flirting and things that never happened - I got to the point where I admitted to whatever she wanted me to admit to - I think after 5 hours of the beat down I cracked.  I also cant count the num ber of times I went in to work with 0-2 hours of sleep the night  before.  for my wife she wanted me to admit it, and fix it;  the problem there is the fix she wanted was to fix it in her heart and I kept telling her I couldnt do that, only she and God could;  I could change my behavior, apologize but I could not change what has already happened.
- I was not so lucky with my job - my unraveling life spilled into work and it cost me
- she will not go to counseling.  we have tried and she always goes back to everyone is attacking her.  Truly for her she needs the control and everyone under her thumb and anything that threatens that relationship, threatens her.

livednlearned -
thank you also for your feedback.  you have no idea how good it is to hear others who are going through / have gone through something similar.  My wife kept telling me I was always gaslighting her, making stuff up to the point I started to question my own logic and sanity.  I see now that I can trust myself, my memories and my perspectives. 

- serving through publication - yes - that is our next step but my atty says it is a process and such but that is what we will most likely do next
- i had not considered both BPD and bipolar - that does explain some things because I continued to go back and forth is she bipolar or borderline because she fits strongly in both categories
- agreed - i really don't care about a diagnosis at this point - the two recent police calls to our house (when she tried to get me arrested maybe 10 weeks ago, and when I called on about 4 weeks ago) and previous protective orders show the behavior more
- otherwise my atty has no guidance other than its a process.  my atty has dealt with divorce, but seems taken aback some by my wifes tendancy to evade
- when you mention the "midnight frenzy" - there were many times I would go to sleep at around 10pm and get woken up at midnight or later with her saying we need to talk;  you say "crazy eyes" - my wifes eyes would bug out as if they were about to pop out - I always knew when her eyes started to pop out like that, I needed to leave quick. 
- interestingly, when she left on 5/20 she left after I called the police, but before they came.  She took the children while they were asleep, her purse, her computer, my computer, my birth certificate, my social security card.  No clothes, none of the childrens shoes, no make up; it was an odd choice of things to take - things that would disrupt me but not things that would help her
- about 5 months ago I had gotten in a habit of hiding my wallet and car keys outside before I came in every day just in case there was an issue, I would be able to leave
- I am very worried about the kids;  most days I am ok but the past two weekends have been real tough - especially this last one being fathers day.  I am the one that gave the kids a bath and put the to sleep maybe 95% of the time and I am the one they woke up in the morning when they got up.  I know they miss me.  I am doing ok though.  Church, God, and a new found support group are helping me stay strong.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 07:46:15 AM »

It must be excruciating to be away from your kids like this, for them and for you. There will need to be a lot of healing for them once this is over

I'm glad you are learning to trust yourself, your memories, and your perspectives. Do you keep a journal? Elevated emotions can make it hard to remember things. During my divorce, I kept a log of my days, what happened, what I did. I also kept track of important events on a Google calendar. You can print it out in agenda view and see a chronology of what happened. Being able to keep track of what happened, to know dates and times, really grounded me. When you are dealing with someone who distorts reality, having facts at your fingertips can really dial down stress and anxiety.

Does your attorney have a strategy for how things will go, beyond due diligence to find your wife? Did your L explain what due diligence to find your wife looks like?

If your attorney cannot satisfactorily answer questions you have, keep asking, either here or elsewhere. If you have questions about how things work where you live, you might be able to call the clerk of court's office and get answers, too (so you aren't burning money by asking your L). There are also NOLO books that explain the basics of how family law court works so you have some idea about what to expect. The books do a terrible job of validating how truly toxic and abusive a BPD/bipolar marriage can be, but they at least explain the basic laws and processes in your state.

BPD/bipolar combined will likely add elements that general divorce/custody books don't cover.

You may want to get Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a BPD/NPD Spouse by Bill Eddy. That will give you a sense of how BPD and family law court mixes, including the kinds of things your wife may attempt in an effort to level the playing field. People with BPD are more likely to engage in "legal abuse," or using the adversarial nature of the family law system to escalate the conflict.

I wonder, too, if your county or local police department has a professional social worker who can help you come up with a strategy to communicate with your wife in a way that de-escalates her desperation. Someone skilled might suggest that you use certain phrases and avoid others when texting her, for example.

My ex had a manic/psychotic break of some sort and threatened that I would never see our son again. Meanwhile, he flooded my phone and inbox with emails, voicemails, texts, IMs all night long for 12 hours straight. It's a long story, but the takeaway for me is that when a BPD/bipolar person's emotional brain gets jacked up on fear and adrenaline, there is no rationalizing. The skills to communicate with someone who is that emotionally flooded are not intuitive and must be learned.

Check with your L before sending anything, and talk to someone who has a background in counseling or social work... .but there may be calming things to say to your wife so she can take off her jet pack and return to emotional baseline, "You ok? I know you're not ready to talk right now and I understand. You were angry at me and putting some space between us was a good idea, to help cool things down. Just want to make sure you and the kids are ok."

Once the immediate crisis of her fleeing is handled, you could then move on to the legal proceedings.

And you probably know this, but it's worth saying. Do not get back together with her. Lawyers and courts will treat you like you're just as bad for exposing the kids to abuse.

I was listing off the things that happened in my marriage, and my L said, "If all this has happened, and it's this bad, keep in mind that the judge is going to want to know why you keep putting your child in that situation."

It was a wake up call to realize that going back to the marriage jeopardized my chances that the courts would be sympathetic to my case.

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ForeverDad
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2018, 09:47:33 AM »

For a period of time before our separation — I remember this was over a year but may have been only about 6 months — I decided to appease, comply and apologize every time she demanded an apology.  Every time.  I was hoping she would see how endless apologies on demand were meaningless.  Guess what?  It didn't faze her and it didn't help.  She would actually criticize my apology and tell me I said it wrong.  She would then tell be what to add, until she liked it.  After a while , so strange, when I added a phrase for her I'd drop another part of the apology.  That back and forth sometimes went on for a half dozen or more times!  Finally I told her I would apologize only if I decided an apology was merited.  As you can guess, our life together continued to get worse.

Is there any way you can request the police to do a "welfare check" on the kids?  Yes, she's avoiding you but you as "equal but undefined rights" parent you ought to be able to confirm the kids are okay.

What can courts do to protect the children?  Here are some examples, starting with extreme:
  • Loss of parental rights — for the most persistent and serious parental misbehaviors, no contact with the kids (very rare)
  • Supervised visits — There is concern of children's safety, whether abuse, neglect or endangerment
  • Limited time such as no overnights — There is concern of children not being safe for extended time
  • "Typical" schedule — beware of "typical" since some courts still give default unwritten preference to mothers

Now where on that list has your spouse placed you?  Yes, right at the top, you have NO contact with the children and you don't know how long that will continue.  Something a judge would take a long time and think hard about is something quick and easy for an entitled controlling parent to do.  You belong at the bottom of the list, you can even advocate that she needs to be assessed or evaluated for her past actions.  (Should you file a protection motion documenting her poor behaviors?  You can be sure she will do that and by filing first you can get ahead of that.)

In most cases we can expect court to be "less unfair" than the ex.  The unknown is by how much.

Sure, she'll claim you're Mr. Evil and she's protecting the kids.  Meanwhile she's probably spending this time casting you as dangerous and scary to the kids, trying to transform them into negative supporters.  Hiding doesn't last forever, eventually the court will be able to proceed with the case.  Your task is to never ever do or say anything that she could claim was out of control.  Yes, be concerned, be distressed, but never lose your angelic persona.  Don't give her any ammunition to use against you.

Lawyer — I have a worry your lawyer is not up to this task.  This is a High Conflict divorce.  Mediation won't work though you probably have to give it good-faith effort.  Negotiations will go nowhere, meanwhile the case is repeatedly delayed.  Settlement won't happen, well, not until later when some of her entitlement bubble is deflated a bit and under pressure.  If your lawyer is used to settlements and isn't a trial lawyer then you don't have adequate representation.  You need a problem solving, proactive lawyer who works well in both negotiations and trials.  One of our most important handbooks is Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by William Eddy & Randi Kreger.  This is an essential must-read.  Is your lawyer passively reactive or solidly proactive?  (No, not aggressive, you need someone with time-tested strategies, knowledge of the local court and proceduares.)  Give your choice of lawyer serious thought.

Counseling — Courts absolutely love counseling.  Once they're back ask that the court order counseling for the children.  You too start counseling if you haven't already.  Court likely won't force your stbEx into counseling.  Courts generally don't try to 'fix' the parents, they deal with them the way they are by setting orders to curb some of the worse or 'actionable' misbehaviors.

When she is eventually faced with court order specifying counseling for the kids, she will feel impelled to control that, block you from participation, pick a gullible or confused counselor or therapist.  One tactic courts favor is when both parents are involved in the selection.  Don't let her control that.  Be smart, build a short list of experienced, reputable counselors, therapists or psychologists who have a solid reputation.  If you trust your counselor then as for recommendations.  Present that vetted list in court and then she can be the one stuck selecting from that most excellent list.  If she refuses then ask the court for you to select.  (Remember, generally the children get their own trusted counselor, not yours and certainly not hers.)

Money in joint accounts belongs to the marriage, I believe.  You each have rights to seize half.  However, I suspect you're the one stuck paying the bills.  Your 'half' would get drained quickly.  If you chose to secure more than half of joint funds from disappearing, she may squawk but you would have documentation it was being spent wisely for the family's benefit during this turbulent time.  Probably court wouldn't intervene since it would be handled in the financial part of the divorce, usually near the end.  (And expect that her raiding the cookie jar before filing and never providing an accounting will probably not even get discussed by the court.)
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ForeverDad
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 10:05:32 AM »

She is probably still about 3 hours away but within the state.  There is federal law that says if a parent relocates to another state then it takes 6 months residency there before a divorce impacting custody can be filed there.  I don't know how this applies within a state.  However, you've already filed where you live and so I believe anything she files elsewhere can be required to be moved to your local court.

As I mentioned in my prior post, I am concerned your lawyer may be too passive since your children are in locations and circumstances even the court can't ascertain are reasonably safe.  Maybe your lawyer is doing everything possible, I just don't know. It might be okay to get legal consultations, generally inexpensive, to determine what alternative actions and strategies are possible.

And next time you get a VM or link that you think may 'disappear' then record yourself listening to it.  I don't know if that would aid your case but at least you'd have it documented.
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 11:10:08 AM »

this is exactly why I love this site so much.  There are people who deal exactly with what I am dealing with and I can learn from their experiences.  Thank the Lord for this site!  and thank you ForeverDad and livednlearned for your sage advice and input.


ForeverDad - thank YOU!

- my wife is a dentist so she will only go to a site she can practice in.  Also she only has two people she calls friends and the one in state is in Austin which is why she is there.  she is so hot and cold with people that as soon as she has a suspicion of someone's motives they are forever crossed off her list.  but agreed, my atty says she will have to move to our local court as I filed first.
- my atty may be too passive, reading your comments this is now a concern of mine that I will need to evaluate.  thanks for this nugget.
- agreed - i have a digital recorder I use to record messages on the phone - i learned to do this when my wife would get out of control in the past.  I didn't think to do it with an audio clip because I didn't think they could deleted without my doing it but I learned you can have them auto delete - I lived and learned with this one!
- the appeasements - i did this for years - i even signed notarized copies stating things like if we ever divorce, all my earnings, all my savings, everything will go to her  -  these are not enforceable but i went all out agreeing to anything she wanted to make her happy. it never worked. for me - once I got stronger in my faith in God and realized I was turning my wife into my higher power, higher even than God, I realized how bad a path I was taking.  I told her that I now realized the best way for me to grow closer to her is to grow closer to God.  she didn't like that.  she tried to discredit me at church and wrote some aweful things to try to embarrass me.
- i asked a police officer about welfare checks - he told me that unless I had reason to believe they were in danger, they could not start the process of trying to locate her.  I need the court order (which I cant get because I cant server her)
- agreed she has placed me at the loss of all parental rights.  this wont last.  I am sure the court will see this and this will only hurt her cause.  however it is awfully painful to me now.
- agreed she is filling the kids heads with all sorts of stuff right now.  Before she left, once when I was barricaded in a bathroom I heard her telling the kids all sorts of things negative about me that either werent true, or were just plain wrong to tell young kids.  I cautioned her to not say these things but she persisted.  I agree when things "stabilize" the kids will need counseling.  Until then, I am being calm, positive, non confrontational and helpful.  come to think of it, thats how i have always been.
- good point - i need to select a preferred list of counselors now - i will get started on that



livednlearned - thank you as well!

- yes I do keep a journal.  I have found it helped keep me calm and focused on God and his will in all of this.  One thing I have started to do is "chart out" her behavioral jumps along with events such as police calls, violent out bursts, etc.  I am tying this to the text message history as she liked to communicate via text.  what I am finding is she very frequently called me some ugly hurtful names.  I think she tried to get me to react but my normal response by text was to ignore it or tell her that I love her and knew she really didnt mean to say that. 
- my atty - same comment as with ForeverDad - I need to give this some thought - she may not be the aggressive, proactive, high conflict atty that I need.  i will need to think about this and pray on it.
- i have not thought of looking for a social worker that may be able to help - thats a great idea that I will look into
- the book "splitting ... ." by William Eddy - i will get this - it sounds like it will be most helpful.
- and agreed - i know i have been somewhat complicit by getting back with her in the past.  I own part of that.  my only defense there is that most of the previous violent outbursts happened when the kids were asleep - not a good defense but the best I have


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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2018, 01:50:11 PM »

So if she's gone, then you must have returned to the house?  I'd suggest that if you haven't.  Your kids can be with you during your parenting time but if you stayed at the remote site in a trailer then that could be too small.

Often the obstructive ex tries to squeeze the reasonably normal parent out of the house so sole possession can be claimed.  In a divorce a big house may be too expensive for either parent to afford and you know if she were to take over again you wouldn't get her cooperation to list, show and sell it.

If you're not currently working and she starts working in that other town, I wonder whether she will try to claim she needs to stay there for work, that you're not working and therefore wants the kids there.  She's only been there a month but I would be surprised.  Maybe I'm thinking too far into the future?

As for her not looking good by blocking parental contact, don't count on the court to be stunned or mortified.  After my protection order was dismissed, it was three months before the court scheduled a temp order hearing in the divorce case.  Three months I didn't have time with my preschooler.  Magistrate just verified it from her and then commented, "I'll fix that."  All he did was issue the same alternate weekend schedule for me.  No consequences for mother.  No make-up time for father.
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 02:55:51 PM »

The well-child check that FD suggests is a great idea if you can arrange it.

Your wife has a history of being suicidal, it might be important to let the cops know that.

My concern would be that she is desperate, and feels cornered, and needs to be treated carefully.

If you ask your L if she has ever had a case like this, and she says no, ask her if she is willing to release you from your retainer and have you work with someone that has a lot of experience with a case like this, or if there is someone in her practice who can lend expertise.

You wouldn't want a surgeon with no experience operating on a loved one who has a complicated condition. You would find someone with experience.

It's the same with our cases.

It might even be worth a call to the clerk of court to ask, Who is one of the most assertive, fair lawyers for dads? Not someone aggressive, but someone assertive who is experienced and effective, and can handle a high-conflict divorce. A clerk of court can't give legal advice, and they may not want to name names, but if you phrase it the right way, they might suggest lawyers who have handled a case like this before and done a good job representing their client.

This article might help you assess whether an L is assertive: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=270440.msg12566140#msg12566140
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2018, 03:52:06 PM »

ForeverDad - it sounds like you know my wife!
 
- I have returned to the house but I need to put it up for sale.  However I am unable to because I cannot reach her!  she will not answer calls, texts, or emails and I do not know where she is physically.
- its a good point she may be stalling in her current location to show they are already settled there - that is highly likely
- blocking parental contact - I think i am prepared for the courts to not be helpful - I am trusting however that in the end things will work out.  In the long run the kids will understand and know the truth.  My feelings are terribly hurt right now but the kids being safe and stable is the most important thing. 

livednlearned -

- i will ask again about the well child check - maybe that could have some traction -
- past suicide attempts - that does not do much - they only wanted to know if I had reason to believe she was in danger now.
- agreed with her feeling cornered - if she is found / if she surfaces, how she is approached is important;  the kids shouldn't see mom acting poorly and possibly endangering herself or others
- asking the atty for a release due to the highly confrontational nature of this divorce is also a good idea that I will ask
- reading the article you provided was highly useful - reading the first half of the document, i thought yes my atty is assertive;  reading the last half of the document I am not so sure anymore.  I will probably send this document to my attty and have a conversation with them to see their thoughts - honestly I know the lies, twisted versions of truths, half truths, will be the norm;  certainly not looking forward to what is surely to come!
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2018, 11:27:18 PM »

Approach below given to other members evaluating a current attorney or hiring one.  If you interview a few lawyers and get some recommendations repeated, those should be seriously considered.  If some are equally recommended then factor in who would seem to mesh best with you, respond in reasonable time to questions, etc.

Interview at least a few attorneys.  Ponder what their approaches would be, the strategies they would be inclined to use, etc.  You need more than form filers or hand holders.  This almost surely won't be a standard low conflict divorce.  You will probably need a problem solving lawyer with tested strategies.  You can even ask the lawyers, "If you were facing a case like mine, who would you use to represent you?"  After all, they know they're not going to get every person who walks in the door as a client.  And ethically if they're not up to the task then they should point you in the right direction.

I used the same lawyer from 2006 to 2013.  I liked that he explained many of his strategies and why my concerns sometimes didn't appear on the court's radar (not actionable).  The last time I was seeking, and got, majority time.  He showed me the bill he prepared to show to ex's lawyer.  It was about $22K.  He said every full day in court needed up to three days preparation.  We had reserved, and used, two full days in court.  Afterward he asked me how much I had in the bank.  I said about $4-5K.  He said he'd accept $4K.  By that time we had been on first name basis for years.  But he never let me drive his Corvette, though I teased about it often.

I recall one time years ago he confessed he was seriously worried he wasn't at his best, he was getting emotional with my case and its outcome.  He said he couldn't let emotions impact his cases.
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2018, 11:34:04 AM »

Forever Dad -
thanks for this - I am definitely going to seek specifically a high conflict atty - the need is definitely there and the more that I think about it the more concerned I am about it.

thank you for your guidance!
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2018, 12:48:55 PM »

Sometimes if you use "high conflict divorce" or "parental alienation" you will find firms that specialize in our kinds of cases.

If you do that, be sure to pay attention to the assertive lawyer article.

I read somewhere that people with PDs tend to gravitate toward the legal profession. Don't idealize your attorney and pay attention to whether their actions and words match. People like us tend to get turned around with words. Actions matter.

Ask them to tell you about similar cases they have handled, and the outcomes. You will likely end up in court at some point, so you will want your attorney to have some litigation skills, too. A paper shuffler will not necessarily be good at advocating for you in court.

I hate to recommend this because it got used against me in my own case, but in your case it may be warranted... .try looking for father's rights attorneys. They are likely to anticipate the kinds of legal abuse that mothers use to gain leverage, especially with regard to false allegations.

My ex used a fathers rights attorney who eventually withdrew from the case, because the abuse was real and there was enough evidence.

I do have respect for that attorney. If he was representing one of the dads here, he would've be doing all the right things.
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2018, 12:58:20 PM »

livednlearned... .I don't suppose the atty your reference is in the Houston TX area?

if not, more sage advice that i will take to heart.    I am very appreciative both you and ForeverDad for taking such an interest and for giving of yourselves here.  thank you both!
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