Reply To: Should I bother to enforce custody orders or let it go?

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Redwald, thank you for your post and I enjoyed reading your explanation of reinforcement v reciprocity.

In conjunction with Donna’s post and my legal advice, I must enforce the orders otherwise it may look as if I am voluntarily giving up joint custody (or as it is called in Australia where I am “equal shared care”. I’ve tried for 2.5 years to co parent to no avail.

I am not sure if he is a psychopath, but he is a NPD (around separation I found his personal diary which included a personal manifesto as to what he wanted out of life: no1: A wife who admired and obeyed him; 2: a wife that every day told him she was lucky to have him in her life and loved him unconditionally; 3: compliant children: 4: be powerful and influential.

To clarify the situation with the orders and my reservations about going to court:
1. Met the father at a work function when I was at a very low point in my life. After 2 weeks of meeting (we haven’t even had a dinner date at that point, not to mention anything more intimate! Just SMS and a couple of phone calls) he proposed marriage. But we had to be married by the end of the year (6 months time) and try for a child immediately (he insisted I had to do a medical check and stop contraception prior to marriage).
On top of it he painted a picture of someone with solid conservative values (e.g. not living with someone prior to marriage). When I tried to slow the relationship down and get to know his friends or parents, it was “unless we marry by the end of the year, I am out”. He kept saying I had a fear of commitment that why I was reluctant or that I was waiting for Prince Charming that did not exist and if I waited too long, I’d never have kids. He even bought me a book “Marry Him: the case for Mr Good Enough” to press his case. Having children was important to me so I panicked and agreed. Also, I felt bad for him – he told me his fiancee broke off their engagement 2 weeks before the wedding; he said he almost committed suicide and had not dated until he met me.

2. After the wedding moved into a place I owned, said we’d shop for a house. That never happened. I fell pregnant straight away.

3. Once I was pregnant, he stopped contributing to the mortgage or living expenses or helping out financially. All the nice things he did (e.g. dinners out, weekends away) stopped. When I tried to ask how much he earned, the figures kept changing (runs his own business). I also found out he had large undisclosed debts (e.g. 5 credit cards with $0.5m of debt). Once our son was born he was becoming increasingly controlling. Would not let me socialise with other new mums in the area. He tried to talk me into signing over half a house to him “because we are married”. I was getting depressed, but luckily my parents and friends helped me to see the light and tell him to get out of my house.
4. We had a 2 year litigation after, some of it due to poor legal advice I was given (I changed lawyers since). Part was him – e.g. he tried and argue that we should not get divorced (even if the law is no fault). Just objected to everything, did not submit affidavits on time and dragged the process out.
5. The orders state that our son lives alternating weeks with each of us (a week about arrangement) plus 1/2 school holidays each. However, as the school term does not start/end on a Monday, there is a provision in the order to take this into account and even things out. The father is not complying with that provision. My lawyer warned him last year to stop but since he fired his solicitor and now self representing.

He does not discuss or communicate with me on anything. He refused to go to parent-teacher night together, brought his girlfriend instead (and added her to the parent list as a parent!). I tried to invite him to make joint decisions, e.g. what sport our son plays, but he never responds to me.

I am not sure what personality disorders the father fits. He is not charming/funny/life of the party type. He is not social and has no friends. He is obsessed with dreams of power, mixing with the wealthy, famous etc. When we were married, he’d tell me not to see some of my friends because “they are not well connected, cannot get anything out of them”.

Thank you again for your note.

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