My son was only 3 months old when I made this decision. Little did I know what he and I would experience over the next 3 years. Now, at the end of what has been the hardest 3 years of my life, I am thankful. My thankfulness extends from a heart filled to overflowing with God’s peace and joy! He has taught me so much through the deathly valleys and nightmarish alleys. It has made me a strong, God-dependent person and I am forever grateful.
During the first year after leaving my husband, my young son and I lived in shelter, on welfare and in terror. After a very long year, our divorce was made final and my ex-husband was ordered to attend Batterer’s Intervention through Synergy Services. Once he graduated from that program, he would have unsupervised visits with my son. Until then, visits would be supervised every week for two hours through a local visitation program and for a few hours every other weekend at my ex’s apartment.
Three weeks prior to my ex’s graduation from the Batterer’s program, he was required to take a polygraph test. The polygraph test came back 99% deceptive (i.e. my ex lied through the entire test). During the course of the polygraph test, my ex admitted to molesting at least 5 kids before I met him. When the report came back to the program’s director, they immediately contacted my attorney. They called me in to tell me the results. I will never forget November 5, 2010. I was in a state of shock for quite a while.
The very day that he had gone to take the polygraph test, he came straight from that test to a visit with my son and I (as an attempt to make it easier to transition to no supervision). Even after admitting to molesting children, he was able to come to a visit with us and act like none of it had happened. It’s beyond appalling…it’s disgusting! At that visit with him, I went back and forth wondering if I could ever trust him in any way again. But once I met with the director and heard the admission, there was an immediate emotional disconnect from my ex. No more did I wonder if I could ever trust him…I knew I could not and would not. No more did I wonder if there could have been a future for us…I knew there could not and would not.
My ex was sent to a Sex Offender’s program and instructed to complete that program and return to the Batterer’s program. We began to pursue a modification of our parenting plan so that I would get sole physical custody as well as the sole legal custody I got from our divorce. We were also seeking no-contact between my son and my ex, considering the new information we had. We waited and waited for a trial date to be assigned. Finally, we were told in early 2011 that our trial would not be until October 18, 2011. I thought that day would never come.
Just a couple weeks before trial, my ex’s attorney dropped him for not paying his attorney fees. He remained unrepresented at the trial. We called 3 expert witnesses: the Batterer Intervention program director, my ex’s group therapist at the same program and the polygrapher. All three agreed that my ex was a threat to the general public as well as to myself and my son because he had dropped out of all therapy, claiming to be sufficiently fixed, even though he admitted that his pornography use as a sexual addict had continued.
The judge’s verdict finally came on December 12, 2011, over a year since the process began. The verdict was as follows:
* I would receive sole physical and legal custody
* There was to be no contact between my son and my ex
* My ex was ordered to pay double the child support he’d been paying
* He was ordered to pay 1 year worth of back child support (approx. $4,000)
* He was ordered to pay my legal fees from the custody trial (approx. $10,000)
* He was ordered to maintain insurance on my son as well as pay 80% of all uninsured medical expenses
We waited the 30 days for the verdict to finalize and then submitted our notice of relocation. We will be moving to Texas and starting fresh! Since my ex has not complied with the judge’s orders to pay child support or provide medical insurance for my son, we are being allowed to move months sooner than anticipated! God is so good!
Freedom takes on a whole new meaning when you’ve had to fight for it. Being born into certain freedoms makes many take them for granted. Having fought long and hard for freedom from my abuser, I appreciate the freedom in a whole new way!
My son will grow up free from the negative influence, free from the demons of sexual addictions, free from the manipulation, free from the abuse, free to grow into a strong, honest man that loves God and cares for the feelings of others. No longer do we have to hide from the past. No longer do we live in fear of the future!
March 5th, 2009, was a life-changing day. After telling my husband I was leaving him, I never thought I’d be happy again, free again. But, while that day began an arduous journey for me and my son, we have come out on the other side stronger than ever before, happier than ever before and freer than ever before!
Thanks be to God!