Custody cases are often referred to as “custody battles”. Lately when I hear this term, I have to chuckle to myself because a “battle” seems so mild and finite compared to what I have been dealing with since the night I fled my ex’s house with my newborn son.
A “battle” might be an appropriate title when the case is between two rational parents. If you are dealing with a sociopath in a child custody case, however, you are probably experiencing what feels more like a war. Some battles are won and some are lost, but it is never just ONE battle with a person like this. I am blessed to be able to share my war stories in hopes to give others ammunition that I didn’t have (and maybe even gather some tips/weapons from others who have been here before me).
My story begins…
The first time I walked into my lawyers office, I probably looked like a crazy woman (and to some degree that is how I felt). I still remember the black sweat pajamas and spit up stained shirt I was wearing that day. These were the only clothes I owned because they had been the ones I fled Lucifer’s house wearing (Lucifer is what I am calling the psychopath – Luc for short). My two week old son was in my arms, despair and fear were the written all over my face, and I was visibly shaking as I held out my hand to meet my new attorneys.
As I sat in their office and told my story, I felt their judgement and disbelief. They had seen so many scorned women come through their office with false accusations and unbelievable stories. To them, I was just another one of these women who was determined to get some sort of revenge on her ex. It took me nearly a year to convince them that we were not dealing with a normal and healthy man. That, in fact, we were dealing with someone who very likely had a dangerous personality disorder – a sociopath.
A little background:
Just a few short weeks after my son was born, Lucifer’s mask fell. After he threatened to kill me, me and baby boy fled the house and never looked back. In the weeks that followed that horrible night, I learned more about Luc than I knew about him in the whole two years we dated. What I learned was very disturbing and, frankly, continues to scare the hell out of me. I learned he had lied to me about everything from his name and age to how he made his money. I also learned that two of the most important women in his life died of unnatural causes. While a lot of terrible things seem to happen around Luc, he has yet to be convicted of any crimes.
Things I have learned from my Custody War:
- Family court is not about what is best for the child. It is only about dealing with parents. Every time I hear people talk about “father’s rights” and “two parents are better than one” I want to throw up. Again, these might be totally justified ideas when the father is not a sociopath. Family court is “one size fits all”. Judges are not interested in making sure the child is safe and healthy. They are only interested in making parents happy enough so they don’t have to deal with the case again.
- Sociopaths are very good at finding people who will lie for them. This includes professionals. Luc actually found a psychologist to take the stand for him and testify that while he was at risk for a mood disorder and “socially maladaptive”, she didn’t have any concerns about him. She said all of this after learning that he had lied to her about previously receiving a psych exam and about what he did for a living (among other things).
- The courts don’t recognize psychological abuse as abuse. After only a few months of supervised visits, the judge awarded Luc unsupervised visitation with my non verbal baby boy. The judge stated that unless baby boy was returned with cigarette burns on his back, the threshold for abuse would not be met. He noted that he didn’t think Luc was a good guy, however, unless Luc was arrested, he would be allowed unsupervised visits with baby boy.
- No matter how many mistakes a sociopath makes in family court, he will always be given the chance to try again. On the day of our initial trial, Luc showed up by himself with nobody to testify on his behalf and not a shred of evidence as to who he was. He believed that the mere fact that his sperm contributed to baby boy’s life was enough for him to be awarded at least joint custody. He wanted the court to make me pay him child support so that he could continue to sit at home and play video games all day. This behavior went on for several months. Luc even tried to get jurisdiction changed to his state after he had disappeared from baby boy’s life for three months without even a phone call. For a while, I felt like I was in court with Luc every other week. These trials were sport to him and he knew that the judge would keep giving him chances. He continued to drag out proceedings and not pay his attorneys, while I drained all of my resources trying to show the courts who his true motivation – money, power, and terror.
- Perjury might still be against the law, but don’t count on it being enforced. Luc is a pathological liar. Throughout the custody war, my lawyers were able to catch Luc in several lies. Let me just give you an example of one of the basic and most glaring lies Luc told to the court. About half way through the year, Luc’s age changed. The age he testified to at the original trial was false (even though he had managed to obtain an official drivers license with that fake age). When we were able to prove this lie through official Social Security and Department of Homeland Security records, he pretended as though he had never testified under oath to a different age. This ridiculousness continued throughout the custody war.
In the year since I left Luc, many people have questioned how I got myself into this situation. Here is the best answer I can come up with:
If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will jump out; however, if you put that frog in a pot of cold water and slowly bring it to a boil — before too long, you are going to have one dead frog. (In case it’s still not clear…I am the frog and Luc is the pot of boiling water)
The sad reality is that my war with Luc is far from over. Each day, I wake up wondering if I will end up like his older sons mother (in a grave). I have many days when I get discouraged by our terribly ignorant justice system. What is my silver lining, my ray of hope, and why I keep fighting? My baby boy. He is my guardian angel and the reason I wake up every day. I have been through a hell worse than I could ever have imagined in the last year, but I will do it all over again and for the rest of my life if I have to in order to save my son.