Editor’s Note: The Lovefraud reader who write as “Jofary” relates her experience with a sociopath in Canadian divorce court.
I first participated on this site three years ago when I learned that my daughter, then only a toddler, was being sexually molested by her father (my ex). Up until that point, I was dealing with things in the typical way. I had caught my ex cheating on me and, when our son was only three months old, he immediately moved in with his mistress, who herself had extricated herself from her fifteen year stable marriage, believing my ex to be her “best friend and soul mate.” That was extremely distasteful in and of itself but, given my ex’s contributions (or lack thereof) emotionally, physically, and financially to our brief marriage, I was able to disengage from him within a month of his departure. Unfortunately, he became aware that I was not going to be his “back-up” plan after he was done having his fun with this woman, and became extremely vindictive towards me. Perhaps it was my demeanour towards him – he was completely irrelevant to me and I treated him as such by refusing to answer his phone calls or greet him personally at the door during the exchange of our children. In any case, it propelled me on a path to utter chaos and unsettlement.
My ex refused to negotiate on the sale of our house, all the while refusing to share payments on the mortgage or massive family debt (while I was on maternity leave, no less), claiming “it benefited him to keep his name on the deed as long as possible” and eventually confessing that he “didn’t care how much it cost to go to court, he just wanted me out of the house.” He didn’t want much access with his children and sporadically paid child support. The house was my only source of income (rental) and stability for the children and I attempted to buy him out immediately, at the time he left, and when I could afford it. When it became apparent what he was demanding far outweighed what he was legally entitled to be paid by me, and he absolutely refused to negotiate, I reluctantly agreed to sell the house and decided to take the case to court to have it settled.
Then, the realization that he was molesting our daughter, coupled with the fact that I no longer had secure housing in one of the most expensive places to live in North America, made me realize I had no choice but to relocate. I applied to a school 300 km outside the area and was immediately slammed with a do-not-remove order by him and a demand to have the children live with him full-time. I can only conclude that being court-ordered to pay child support was weighing heavily on his mind. He was, at heart, a parasite and given that nature, it probably seemed unnatural to be giving money when he felt he should be getting it! I was successful in fighting this because my situation was precarious at best and certainly not in the best interests of the children, and I went on to school in a diploma program that complements the degree I already have in the hope that I would be financially independent in the near future.
Going to court
Near the end of my diploma program, our court dispute over division of assets came due. On the advice of my lawyer, this was an oral process (as opposed to affidavit) so, since I was the plaintiff, I was the first to sit in the witness box and make my statements. It was painfully difficult for me but I did my best, and had prepared thoroughly beforehand. He followed, with his own statements and I was stunned, floored, by the entire debacle, realizing I had seriously underestimated his ability to deceive. I was expecting some lies, but not the outrageous dishonesty he displayed. He was a flamboyant liar – claiming he was responsible for twice as many family debts as I was, that I had refused to cooperate with medical, daycare, and extracurricular costs for the children even though the exact opposite had occurred (much to my frustration and financially difficulty) – complete with an air of sincerity, tears, and victim mentality. I, on the other hand, came across as frustrated, defensive and probably vindictive (the “scorned woman” syndrome) – as I well should have been considering how financially devastated I had become as a result of his parasitic behaviour since separation. I had no defence for his accusations because “my time” in the witness box was over and I realized I was doomed.
In the end, he “won” the case and the assets were split equally, despite the fact that he had not shared a dime in the mortgage costs, repairs to the house, or insurance costs, and had driven a vehicle I was paying for over the last three years, simply because the credit was in MY name, which he didn’t have to reimburse me for. All because the entire oral debate relied mainly on the spoken word, with no opportunity for dispute based on written proofs.
Credibility of witnesses
In retrospect, it would have been much wiser for me to have demanded the trial be done by affidavits, not orally. Then I could have presented the truths coherently and plainly, through the plethora of e-mails I received from him refusing to share costs and acknowledgment he was walking away with no debts. As it were, the judge made his judgment based on the credibility of the witnesses. It was stunning and difficult to accept that even though I told the truth, apparently my ex presented himself to be a much more credible witness than I.
The important lesson that I learned, and which I wish to share with other Lovefraud readers in a similar position is this: Do NOT expect the truth will come out in court during an oral trial. If your ex has been able to bamboozle you successfully enough to establish a relationship, and has a history of deception, then the chances are very good he or she will be able to appeal to judge in the same way. Practice makes perfect, as they say. Written affidavits are far better evidence when dealing with this type of individual, and the more evidence, the better.