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10 tactics for child custody battles with sociopaths

Last week Dr. Liane Leedom wrote about the tragic case Dr. Amy Castillo, whose children were murdered by their psychopathic father after several judges issued rulings that failed to protect them. I hope this terrible and extreme case will be a wake-up call for family courts.

Lovefraud frequently receives e-mail from men and women involved in child custody disputes with sociopaths, who hopefully, are not murderers. Here is one of them:

I am involved in a custody case with a sociopath, however, my case is being fought in Europe where I recently relocated to (I am American, he is European). After being the sole caregiver of my children for five years, I had no choice but to leave them with their father and return to the States. When we separated he took their passports and left the country for a year. It was NOT possible to obtain new passports for children without BOTH parents’ signatures.

By the end of that year my financial situation was desperate and I had no choice. I came back to the States, got myself back on my feet and recently I started my own company as a Virtual Assistant, allowing me to work anywhere in the world. While in the States I came back to Europe every six to eight weeks to visit my children. Well one month ago, I relocated back to Europe to live and continue my fight for custody of my children.

The court case had already been ongoing since January and in typical sociopath style he has lied and forged documents. Even so, my ex was recently given sole custody (temporarily while custody is decided) and that I must pay him 900 euros (around $1,300 USD a month!). As if that could not be bad enough, he sends me on a regular basis (the most recent being today) faxes full of lies and accusations that he then turns around and uses as evidence in his court case!!! Furthermore, I do NOT have 900 euros a month to give him. I just relocated and started my own business and this is a real slap in the face with all of the financial damage he has done to me as well as my credit in the U.S.

I have fired my attorneys and hired the best Custody/Family attorney where I live. He has been in practice for 30 years and not lost a case! Also he is known to be a very strong and tough attorney. I wish I would have had him in the beginning. So with this I feel confidence.

The reason I am writing is because although I have a very positive outlook and feel that I am a strong person, as I know that most of you can agree, it is very difficult dealing with a sociopath. When I receive these horrible faxes my stomach just drops and it can make me feel very anxious for hours after. So now I have stopped reading them at all. I do not know what I am looking for by sending this email. I think I just need the support of knowing there are others out there going through the same things as me and that this is manageable and that I will make it through. I would greatly appreciate hearing what others have done in a situation like this. Thank you.

Like most parents fighting a custody battle with a sociopath, this woman faces a difficult times. Below are some general suggestions about child custody and sociopaths.

Get him or her to walk away

If your ex is a sociopath, at best, he or she will be a lousy parent. At worst, he or she will intentionally try to damage your children. Therefore, if at all possible, it may be best to cut the sociopath out of your children’s lives.

You may want to consider offering the sociopath an incentive to walk away. Tell the sociopath to give up parental rights, and he or she won’t have to pay any child support. You may feel that you need the child support payments, but chances are that you’ll never get the money, or it will always be a struggle to get it. The money isn’t worth having the predator in your family’s life. Figure out a way to support your children without it.

Sometimes this works—there are sociopaths who care more about money than kids. But many times it doesn’t, because the sociopath considers children to be possessions. Or, the sociopath just wants to win the battle with you, and destroy you in the process. In those cases, you’ll end up in court.

Tactics in custody battles

I am forever grateful that I never had children with my sociopathic ex-husband. I avoided the most tragic of circumstances involving these predators—a child custody battle. Therefore, the suggestions I make below come from my research and what Lovefraud readers have told me.

If you’re fighting a custody battle with a sociopath, here are some tactics to follow:

1. Document, document, document.
Keep a journal of everything that happens. Often, the craziness is so intense that you don’t want to remember what happens. Your journal will be important when you need to tell a cohesive story of what has been going on with the sociopath, especially if you need to tell it long after events have transpired. Save every scrap of paper, every e-mail, every fax, every receipt. Develop a way of organizing the information, whether chronological, or by topic. Keep copies in a safe place.

2. Have witnesses
It is best not to deal with the sociopath alone; every interaction then becomes he said/she said. Have a trusted friend or relative present during child exchanges or other interactions as much as you can. You may even want to consider tape recording and videotaping some of what goes on.

3. Get your own information
Do not allow the sociopathic parent to control information about your children. Make sure you get information directly from schools, doctors and others.

4. Hire an aggressive, competent attorney
Child custody cases with sociopaths are not normal cases. The sociopath will not play by the rules. Your attorney must understand this. The sociopath will lie in court, although his or her performance will appear heartfelt, like he or she is “just concerned with the welfare of the children.” The sociopath will make outrageous accusations. The sociopath is also likely to retain an attorney who is also sociopathic. Therefore, your attorney must be up for the challenge.

5. Do not allow lies to become part of the court record
Sociopaths lie. Sociopaths lie convincingly. You cannot allow unchallenged lies to become part of the court records. Once they are, they take on the aura of truth, and put you in a very bad position. Some lies, like accusations of child abuse, may haunt you forever.

6. Be cautious in stating that your ex is, in fact, a sociopath
Unfortunately, many judges really do not understand what this means to the welfare of a child. Like the general public, many judges equate “sociopath” with “serial killer,” and may consequently believe that you are overreacting. So it may not be in your best interest to prove that he or she is a sociopath. Focus on proving the behavior.

7. Stay calm in court
You must present a calm, professional image when you go to court, even as the sociopath lies. Do not allow the sociopath to make you emotional. The sociopath will accuse you of being unstable, and you will prove it by your behavior in court. Keep your emotions in check, at least in front of the judge.

8. Make sure court orders are explicit
Insist on detailed court orders. The order should not say, “parent has visitation every other weekend.” It should specify exactly which weekends, starting at what times, returning at what times, who is responsible for transporting children, who is responsible for bathing and feeding them—everything must be spelled out in detail. If there is any ambiguity, the sociopath will exploit it.

9. Make the sociopath abide by court orders
If the sociopath fails to honor the orders, do not cut him or her any slack. Record any violation. Call the police if necessary. Continue to document everything that happens, because you may need to go to court again. If you ever decide that you need to cut the sociopath out of the child’s life, you’ll need evidence to do it.

10. Take care of yourself
You will need all your resources to deal with the sociopath. Therefore, make healthy decisions in your own life. Eat right, avoid drugs and alcohol, get enough sleep, exercise and develop a support network. In order to care for your children, you must care for yourself.

Post your suggestions

I previously reviewed the book, Win Your Child Custody War, on the Lovefraud Blog. This book is full of information that may help you, from how to gather documentation to how to hire an attorney and private investigator.

If Lovefraud readers have any more suggestions that may be helpful to others involved in custody battles with sociopaths, please post it in comments below.



703 Comments on "10 tactics for child custody battles with sociopaths"

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  1. KarmaChameleon says:

    I would like to ask for advice. My son’s father is a sociopath. He abused my son physically and emotionally, but since my son is autistic, he could not explain to me everything that was happening until just a few years ago. I saw an attorney immediately, and she said to go to counseling first before taking any legal action.

    I found my son a counselor, but my ex would not come to counseling. The counselor called my ex who finally decided to come to counseling, but left the session in a rage. My ex then filed a lawsuit against me and named the counselor in the lawsuit as being incompetent etc.

    Anyway, much has happened since then, none of it good. We all had to go through a social investigation, my ex was found to have issues accepting my son and was ordered into therapy, along with his girlfriend who is also emotionally abusive to my son. I see a different therapist since it was determined I was a fit parent but needed help dealing with my ex.

    My son’s therapist is now the same therapist my ex uses, she is supposed to be ‘helping’ them improve their relationship. It isn’t working. Along with that failure, the new parenting plan granted my ex more than double the time with my son because the psychologist who did the investigation felt it was important to break the close bond my son and I have which would allow my ex to form a closer relationship. I thought it sounded insane and was floored by this recommendation, but I had no choice. During mediation, my attorney and the mediator told me if I did not agree to my ex’s terms, I would likely lose custody of my son because judges don’t like to hear cases of he said, she said and since the psychologist mentioned how protective I am of my son and how my ex just needs time to fix the relationship, this could result in my losing custody. Of course I signed the papers.

    My ex will not follow the schedule set forth in the papers. He claims that his job requires him to travel and he cannot commit to ANY schedule. My attorney told me there is nothing I can do, since my ex is claiming this is job related, he can basically set his own visitation schedule and I have to go along with it. This is very difficult, especially as my son is autistic and needs routine. He never has had routine with his father since our old agreement did not define visitation at all.

    I am meeting with a new attorney next week. I’m wondering if I am just wasting my time though, can someone just say ‘job issue’ and constantly reset visitation schedules? We have no peace in our home because we never know when the ex is going to demand to see my son, or then demand makeup time, etc. He is still being abusive to my son and the therapist has told me she cannot change my ex, the best she can do is teach my son coping skills.

    I would appreciate some input from those of you who may have experienced something like this. I am beyond upset most of the time and am having trouble even going to work. My son misses school because he gets ill when he knows he has to spend time with his dad. I just don’t know how I can fix this.

  2. KarmaChameleon – My heart breaks for you. Your ex is a sociopath. The investigation psychologist who recommended separating you from your son is either clueless or corrupt.

    Keep in mind that the sociopath’s primary objective is to win. He doesn’t care about your son. Perhaps if he perceives he has “won,” he will stop showing up for visitation.

    If you ever plan any special occasions for your son, never tell the father because he will do whatever he can to disrupt them.

    Document everything that happens. Perhaps the time will come when you’ll have another chance. You’ll need all your evidence.

    • KarmaChameleon says:

      Thank you Donna! It does help just to be validated. I get so upset and have told both the current therapist and attorney that my ex is evil, why can’t they see what he is doing to my son? I was so hopeful the current therapist would see my ex for the person he is and recommend reducing his visitation, I’ve even sent her articles on cluster B personality disorders and said ‘this is my ex, I am afraid for my son’, but it seems she just is not understanding or is lacking training. And I always end up feeling like the crazy one. I’m not allowed to contact my son except for 15 minutes a day between 6 and 8 while he is with his dad, and this is so stressful for both of us.

      The only positive here is that my son is 14 and we only have a few more years to go before we don’t have to abide by any court order. So far my ex has changed visitation times 15 times in 2 months. Maybe the new attorney can help force a commitment on visitation times and increase our contact time allowance, I don’t know.

      Anyway, just reading this site does help me feel less crazy and alone.

  3. Shelovestowrite says:

    I’m reading all the comments and I feel a weird sense of relief. It can be hard to tell when a person is a sociopath until you get into a situation that brings it out of them. My ex McKinly is the perfect example of this. I won’t get into the whole long story—because it is long—but he pulled out all the stops in our custody case. When I became pregnant, he denied our baby until she was born. Then, he seemingly came around, but refused to provide her with health insurance. I had to fight him in court for nearly 7 months just to get medical coverage for our infant. At the same time he had visitation, and he would take our daughter to his parent’s house(whom he lives with) and play with her and take photos with her but was still refusing to let her get medical care. That was only the tip of the iceberg.

    During our custody case he:

    -Called the police on me for returning home late from a shopping trip and told them I was armed and dangerous. When I got home with our baby, the NYPD had my house surrounded and ended up pulling a gun on me and our infant daughter. This was two days after I ended my relationship with him.

    -Had a SWAT team storm my house because I didn’t comb our daughter’s hair the way he wanted it. (He works for the Dept. of Corrections)

    -Was ordered to let me have our daughter for Mother’s Day, and brought her over at 11:59 p.m. so I could only have on minute with her.

    -Told me it was okay for me to have our daughter for an extra day, then promptly reported her missing and had me arrested in front of her. Of course pretended he never said that. Lucky for me I had been recording the calls. I ended up paying $5,000 for a criminal defense attorney and facing jail time. The recorded phone call saved me.

    This guy has no conscience. None. He lacks even basic empathy. I’ve seen him do cruel things to his own mother. His father is the same way. I just wish I had seen the signs before I got pregnant.

    He’s a loser. He’s 35 now and has a dead end job and lives with his parents. They’ve converted part of their home to a rooming house where he lives with homeless people, drug addicts and drunks.

    I’m glad to be rid of him(I ended up falling in love with my childhood sweetheart again!) but I’m sorry I chose him to father my child. I feel sorry for her having to have him as a dad.

  4. missmykids says:

    Wow. My sister-in-law sent me this article. I cannot believe there are other people going through this! I need advise though:

    My ex-husband is clearly a sociopath (obviously I’ll never be able to get an official diagnosis since he doesn’t believe he ever needs counseling of any sort – and according to him, neither do our kids, and I should feel ashamed for getting counseling of any sort).

    After being a stay-at-home mom for 7 years, when I finally left him, he tried to declare me an unfit mother. Because the court had to pay attention to such an accusation, I was only allowed to see my kids every other weekend, and on Wednesday evenings for dinner for 10 months while the evaluation was done. Of course I was found to be a perfectly decent mother, but he was also found to be a decent father (though the counselor told the court he should attend anger-management class, which the court did order, but he never did). So we have had 50/50 custody for the last almost 8 years.

    Things were never smooth. He would constantly harrass me for not doing things with the kids the way he thought they should be done (for instance, I was trying to teach them discipline, so they would be punished for things they did wrong. But if they were then headed to their dad’s, he wouldn’t uphold the punishments. Or if I allowed them, as pre-teens, to walk 2 blocks away to a supermarket because I needed an ingredient I thought I’d had for dinner, or they went with their friends to buy candy, he would harass me. Mind, we lived in an incredibly safe and affluent area, despite my lack of income. There was no danger beyond what we live with every single day by just being alive). He had his attorney argue in court that there should be no reason why I wasn’t making plenty of money – this after I’d been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years and no one wanted to hire me even though I had fantastic computer skills. I found some ok work as a freelancer, and I worked on building an income as a website developer/designer. Unfortunately, I’m not good at marketing myself so it has taken almost that full 8 years to build the business at all – and that really only in the last 6 months.

    In any case, because of this argument, the judge decided that my ex only needed to pay $110 in child support – total each month. For 2 kids. While I was virtually unemployed. And he didn’t even pay that, despite having a job that paid half-way decently, and he’s never had to pay rent (he lives in his grandmothers house with his mom and we had lived there while we were married as well). About 2 years ago, after spending a good deal of time on food stamps and welfare, I was finally able to get support increased to $422/month. But by now the financial mess I was in was beyond repair. I had needed to borrow so much money from my dad just to pay the rent in order to try and keep the kids in the schools they were so happy with (I just wanted to provide them with some level of stability). It was nearly impossible to establish any real routines with the kids switching homes every week. I really have felt for a long time, at least since the kids were in 4th & 5th grades, that being in one place during the school year would be far more conducive to learning good study habits and doing well in school. When you consider that our son also has a learning disability, I feel that sort of stability would have been even more important and would have made a big difference.

    In any case, by this past holiday season it had become very clear that I could no longer manage to even barely keep us afloat in our Los Angeles suburb. The cost of living was simply far too high and I was not making enough money. I was about to be evicted. I made the most difficult decision of my life to move out of state to where I grew up and still had some support system to lean on, and the cost of living is significantly less (Tennessee). I could not afford an attorney, but I did get a couple of consultation sessions before I left and I was advised to give 100% physical custody of the kids to my ex (there was no way he was going to allow me to take the kids with me, and from the history of things with our Commissioner – not a judge, unfortunately – I knew that I’d have no luck there either). I felt I had no choices left to me. I had no real income, I had no place to live, and no way to support my children. We wrote up an agreement where I retained 50% legal custody, he took on 100% physical custody, I forgave the thousands in back child-support he owed, and he agreed not to ask me for support, since I can’t afford it anyhow. But we also had very specifically spelled out when the kids would come visit me – mainly during their major school holidays like Spring Break, a “significant portion” of the summer, and the end-of-year holidays. We also have in there that they may visit at other times as deemed workable, and that they may even choose to come stay with me.

    Unfortunately, though things had been very good between me & my children before I left, he has taken advantage of the natural pain my moving away has caused all of us. My daughter now won’t speak to me. She screams at me and makes accusations of abuse that simply have no basis in reality. None of the visits have been adhered to – he turned decisions about the visits over to our 12yo daughter, who is hormoanl, confused, angry…everything. She wouldn’t come. Her brother came for a little over 2 weeks this summer and we had a spectacular time together. He even commented to me about how much more relaxed I seem, and that he can tell that moving was the right thing for me to do.

    After I moved out here, things started just falling into place. I’d not had a place lined up to live before I arrived. I simply drove across the country in the snow with my 2 dogs and 4 cats and whatever else fit in and on the car, and had a few places to check out when I arrived. Long story slightly less long, my first roommate from college discovered I was in town via Facebook and invited me to come live in her beautiful home where she lives by herself. She was about to start a job a state away and didn’t want to sell her house, so I stay here and take care of the house and her pets, and she comes home on the weekends. I pay a very affordable amount of rent and have this place all to myself 5 days a week. At the same time, almost as soon as I moved, my web development/design work began to pick up. My programming/design partner & I are busy full time now. Ironically, all our clients are in CA. Go figure.

    The point is, I am in a position now where I would be able to have the kids for at least part of the year. Their father recently lost his job and has refused to apply for MediCal because he’s convinced he’ll have another job soon. I hope he does, but in the meantime he should be doing whatever he an to ensure that the kids have some sort of coverage. I tried to see if I could cover them under my insurance, but because I can no longer claim them on my tax return I can’t. I offered to change the custodial agreement so I could cover them and their dad refuses.

    Add to this that my daughter is exhibiting signs of depression – sleeping excessively, erratic mood swings (beyond teenage angst), has SAID she’s depressed, doesn’t seem to care about her appearance, says her friends have all abandoned her, etc. When I tried to talk about it with her father he replied “She’s not depressed. She just hates you.” I’m 2500 miles away! I can’t know exactly what’s going on. I felt I had no choice but to call Child Services last week to check on her. They went this weekend, and now my son is incredibly angry at me as well. I know I did the right thing. I haven’t gotten their report yet. But if I hadn’t called them and she acted out in some way, I would never have forgiven myself. I hope they find that things are fine and that I’m worried for nothing. But I don’t think so.

    While I am doing much better financially here in TN, I have such a massive hole of debt to dig my way out of, I can’t imagine that I would be able to return to CA any time soon for more than a visit. I want so desperately to have my children here with me for at least some of the year. They are having to change schools anyway now because I no longer live where they were attending before and we weren’t able to get a waiver. Their dad lives in East LA. The schools are bad. Like, movie bad. “Stand and Deliver” took place at the high school my son is starting (or at least the rival school of where he’ll be going…I’m not entirely clear right now which one he’ll be attending). The schools here aren’t great either. But I work from home and could very easily do Virtual School with them. In fact, they both would probably thrive in such a school setting.

    But I cannot get their dad to abide by our current agreement – signed by the court. Not even for visitation. I don’t know what to do. Every day it seems like he’s convinced our daughter of some new evil I’ve done to her – the most recent petty inanity was that I apparently declared when she was showing me the video game Minecraft, “that’s the stupidest game I’ve ever seen.” Come on! Really? Why in the WORLD would I ever say that? I didn’t say that! And I know it’s not something that would hold any water in court. But it’s just all these little things that are adding up in her mind. I know if I try and do a Modification Order, he will have her appear to testify against me! He has moved beyond just making up lies himself to implanting lies into my daughter’s mind and convincing her that they’re true. This is how he controlled me for so long. He will take some teeny tiny bit of the truth and twist it and manipulate it until you no longer recognize it. He makes me doubt myself constantly. He makes me feel like I’m the crazy one constantly. It is demoralizing and exhausting, and I cannot understand why it is still going on!

    I don’t know why I’m going into so much detail here. I guess I’m just relieved to see so many women going through similar situations (and I realize that many of you are in much *worse* situations than mine. I cannot imagine and my heart goes out to you). I guess I just need some reassurance that I’m not crazy, and maybe even advice on what I can do. He is so good at convincing people that he’s the good parent. I get very emotional when it comes to my kids and he is the one person on the planet that knows how to push my buttons and get under my skin that I just lose it! I either break down crying, or I end up yelling at him, whether over the phone or by text. But he manages to stay all calm and pretend that he’s done nothing at all, that he’s the victim, and I’m the crazy irrational one…OMG! Sometimes I think I *am* the crazy one! But then again, I know I’m not!

    I’m sorry this has turned into a novel. Please…go about your day. I wish you all luck and strength.

  5. missmykids – welcome to Lovefraud. I am so sorry for your situation. What you are describing is typical sociopathic manipulation. Keep in mind that he has no real love or concern for the children – all his actions are about making you miserable.

    We have many articles on Lovefraud that may help you. I especially recommend that you read the stories by Quinn Pierce and H.G. Beverly. They posted a joint article the other day that may offer you insight:

    http://www.lovefraud.com/2014/07/31/co-parenting-with-a-psychopath-two-insiders-tell-us-what-its-like/

    Stay strong. Sociopaths often screw up. When he does, you may be able to take advantage of the situation – expecially since you’re doing so much better in TN,

    • missmykids says:

      Thank you. I fear I may not recognize when he does eventually screw up. I have not an ounce of guile in me and don’t recognize these things in others because I don’t understand it – thus being married almost 15 years to this man, and being convinced that it wasn’t worth asking for alimony when I left him. Oy! It just is never ending. While the mom in me is hoping that DCFS found my daughter just to be suffering from normal teenage angst, there’s that small part of me that hopes it’s worse ONLY so I can prove that her father’s being neglectful somehow. I *know* that if I could get her here with me, without her father blathering in her ear constantly, that we could mend our relationship. It might take time. I wouldn’t expect it to happen overnight. But I can’t even get her to speak to me on the phone or respond to texts.

      I’ve had to go ahead and suspend her phone account the other day. What’s the point of paying for it if she’s not communicating? She can use her brother’s phone, or even her dad’s. And I can send messages to her via email which she can check from the home computer or from her brother’s devices. I’m at my wits end with trying to figure out how to get through to her. And I may have cut off my nose to spite my face by turning off her phone – I can’t send her daily text messages to at least remind her that I love her. But I feel like her behavior was just being allowed to perpetuate and *something* had to be done. Her father certainly does nothing to try and help matters. His idea of parenting is to be their “buddy”. I have very limited means by which to try and enforce some level of respect from so far away. On the other hand, taking away a source of communication…I’m not sure that helps either.

      Ohhhhh this is hard! I have friends who are parents of teenagers and they have things at least as frustrating on many levels. But they don’t have to deal with a sociopath of an ex-husband, or being a continent away from their child.

      I can see I’ll be spending too much time on this site. Thank you again.

  6. jm_short says:

    Missmykids-

    Psychopathic parents have to cut off the parent who knows them for what they are. As responsible parents, we try to instill appropriate behavior and boundaries in our children. Their psychopathic parent will misuse and abuse every character building move that we make.

    They will try to diminish us for our values and the caring that they truly are not capable of. Anything we do that our child dislikes becomes fodder for their misrepresentations to them.

    Without going into a detailed discussion, suffice it to say, I’be walked in your shoes. The judge in my case ordered him to pay $30 per week in child support. My son had learning disabilities and ADHD. He was easypickings for his father to manipulate.

    Usually, psychopathic parents treat one child as the “Golden child” and one as the “Scapegoat” who they gang up on and dump on. You may have greater influence with that child, but due to the distance between you and the fact that he has physical custody, you have a very difficult situation.

    Don’t fault yourself for making the “parenting” choices you feel are appropriate for your kids. If you had a loving, caring husband, he would support those choices. Instead, you have a co-parent that exploits those choices in order to undermine your relationship.

    Enlightenment and education are the keys to reaching your kids. Unfortunately, it could work, or it could backfire with further mind games. It is extremely important to try to get across to your children that loving them means NOT being their buddy, but rather, caring enough to make a difference that helps mold their path through life. Letters from you that convey love and concern over how they are doing are stronger reinforcement of the bonds between you than attempting to impose discipline from afar.

    Instead of a coordinated path with a supportive co-parent, you are in a minefield. My best advice is to let your children know how much you treasure them, and that unless they decide to live with you, you will not be getting involved in the day to day parenting issues that put them in the middle between you and their father. He is responsible for their welfare while they live in his house. You would be responsible for their welfare if they lived in yours. And they are at an age where they can make that choice.

    I would also send them two books… Robert Hare’s book that explains psychopathy and “Just Like His Father” by Lianne Leedom. If you have relatives who can help get some enlightenment through to them, it would be good to set that in motion.

    Your children are being brainwashed and it is excruciating to see it happen. You had hopes and dreams about the people they could become, and you see those aspirations fade further and further away. Your kids have two parents. They have the genetic and moral mix of you both. All you can do is the best you can do.

    Wishing you peace in the choices you make.
    Joyce

    • missmykids says:

      Thank you so much, Joyce. My kids aren’t much into reading, and I’m certain that if their dad saw a book like that either on their nightstand or in their Kindle, it would immediately be confiscated :( And their dad has all but forbidden my family from having any part of their lives, despite even having a line in our recent agreement that they would be allowed to have plenty of time with *all* of their grandparents. What good does it do to even have a signed court order if there’s no one that’s interested in enforcing it? It seems so pointless! And SO frustrating!

      I like the idea of the letter. My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been making all sorts of things for her over the last few weeks. I’m sick now thinking that she may never even open the package because she hates me so much – not just because I’ll be hurt after spending so much time and effort (and money, since I basically had to start my crafting supply over from scratch after leaving everything in CA) – but because I’ve been hopeful that she would be able to see the love that has gone into every stitch, and the consideration for the things she likes, etc., etc. Even though I can’t be sure she’ll ever see any of them, I think I will include more than a card now. Thank you.

      I still can’t believe that there are others going through this too. It’s so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one. It’s also horrifying to know that this is so much more common than I realized. {hugs to ALL of you}

      ~Laura

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