Need further understanding about DA court, diff btwn ED, SA

Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. I welcome any and all input, but also hoping a lawyer will answer this.

I am inquiring on behalf of my daughter. She is married approx. 11 years, one child age 7. Husband became more controlling and abusive over past few years. There is, I suspect, a mental disorder or pathology with him; he tried to hang himself and threatened my daughter a number of times intimidating her with physical violence. Was choking her in recent event in which he said “I’m going to hurt you” and then began choking her and stoking her throat. He only released her b/c the little girl knocked on the bedroom door! This event finally made her leave with her daughter; she’s temporarily moved into apartment with her sister and she has the child with her–very crowded as her sister has a child also and it is only a 2 bedroom apartment. Police were called during the choking event that led to her leaving. She has a restraining order issued a week ago. She goes to some type of hearing this week and legal aid has assigned her an attorney.
They have only a 3bR-2 1/2 bath home and 2 vehicles between them. Aside from this, home furnishings (furniture, etc.)–no retirement fund, no 401-K … nothing along those lines. He works for NASCAR and sometimes is paid cash and no official W-2 situation in place at the moment. He was collecting unemployment for a while after a lay off from a racing team a few years back.

Two Vehicles–who gets to drive which? Can a judge make a temporary judgment about this when she goes to court this week to extend the restraining order? She ‘thinks’ the court this week is only for the extension of the restraining order but we’re not certain what the court this week will be for. She just left a week ago!

She HAD TO flee the home in fear of her safety… so he has possession of the home currently and also possession of the better (newer) vehicle which is financed with $7k still owed currently. He’s has auto mechanic experience and the car he convinced her to drive (while he drives the newer vehicle) is always breaking down and he’s always having to do repairs to it to keep it running. Somehow over the past few years he convinced her that she should drive the broken down car since she drives an hour to work and another hour back each day. He got her to believe that they should “save the new car from accumulating mileage”–so she drives the junk car that has no heat, no air-conditioning. They live in Mooresville and she works on the other side of Charlotte.

So HE has been driving the newer car (and still is), while for the past year, she drives a car that needs a quart of oil a day (and still is)! She seems to have some reservations about asking for the car b/c she’s concerned she can’t make the payments, but I keep telling her at the hearing to ask the judge (when she goes this week) if she can have the car until a settlement agreement can be arranged or a DE can be drawn up, etc.

She takes (irrational-?) comfort in the fact that the junky car is paid for and titled to her alone–and that he can’t (in her mind) take it. The newer vehicle is titled in both their names. Same with the house – that’s titled in both of their names too, they’re both on the mortgage.

Child Support

She also has some reservations about asking for child support. She is still fearful and feels intimidated by him. I believe she is in a very shocked and confused–in an emotional state of mind; exhausted on so many levels! She absolutely (she says) DOES NOT want to go back to that house or to live in that house–and is fearful (even with a restraining order) to do that and simply wouldn’t live there again even if she could, she says. She would like to get her own apartment, but hasn’t had time to even figure out what she can afford or if this is possible.

[color=#8000BF][quote]BOTTOM LINE QUESTIONS:

[b]1. Will the judge at tomorrow’s court event be likely to ORDER him to pay child support–even if she is too fearful to ask for it? (If he does get ordered by the judge to pay child support, then she may be able to afford to make the car payment if she continues to live with her sister who has offered to let her stay for a year. We don’t know if she will accept this or not.)

  1. Will the judge tomorrow order him to give her the newer, more reliable car if she wants to have it since HE has remained-in and has-current-possession-of the 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home? As a concerned mother, I really don’t see the fairness in him staying in the home, keeping the best transportation and not having to pay child support!!!
    What’s wrong with that picture!?

  2. Is it likely she will be given custody tomorrow? I mean, does this happen in the first court thing she goes to? And does that hearing set up who gets what and those kinds of things temporarily until a separation agreement or EA is put in effect?

  3. Her sisters and I are trying to help her and we aren’t clear about the difference between a SA and ED–even though I’ve spent hours on the Rosen website, I’m still not clear about the diff between Separation Agreement and Equity Distribution. Here’s what I think it means and tell me if I’m correct – if you will. A separation agreement distributes property and both parties discuss it, sign it and it gets notarized and is enforceable by the police. Is that right? (I think she needs legal representation with that b/c he seems to be able to convince her to give up her rights. He is older than her and this has been an undermining pattern the whole time they’ve been married. He’s 45 years old and she’s 33.)

SPECIAL NOTE: My daughter is very intelligent, and holds a very successful job for an insurance company and believe it or not she is a highly capable, organized, intelligent woman EXCEPT when it comes to him.

Her sisters and I both have seen how she, in the past, has “enabled” and defended him. She has been awakening to all of that but I don’t believe she is yet fully thinking clearly. In this area of her life she seems to be highly confused. She is an excellent mother and highly functioning in all areas of her life, except for the relationship.

Although she conveys to us that she absolutely does NOT want to ever be back in the marriage–that she seems to be absolutely clear about and has no illusions about going back. We totally believe her; it took her a long time to leave and she endured a lot of torment.

She hung in there as long as she could, but as these things go, it kept escallating from verbal and emotional to physical. Due to the economy and b/c of the child she tried really hard to stay in the marriage until the violence became unbearable. Personally, I wasn’t aware it was as bad as it was; but her sister’s knew. I just found out that he pointed a gun at her once and that he would wake her up at night ranting at her and all of this she told the police and they put it in the report. I’m concerned since she has no bruises or anything to “prove” aside from the police coming recently (that was the first time police called) that he may even try to even manipulate the judge by denying everything–except i think he did admit to trying to choke her and it’s all down on the police report, etc. So because he is able to emotionally manipulate her by playing the role of the victim himself (yeah, this guy is a piece of work! He throws masterful pity parties and uses some sort of idea he’s bi-polar and not on the right medicine to excuse himself), what does she do next? So the SA is something he agrees to and it gets notarized? And is enforceable?

He is trying to tell her that he should keep the house to have a place for their daughter to visit and to do that he can’t afford child support PLUS make the house payment; and he’s practically got her convinced!

  1. What is the SA and ED and how do they differ? What is her next step>? And will the court (this week she goes to extend the restraining order with an attorney that was assigned to her from legal aid_) make any decisions about property and custody this week? I read something on your website about “MOTION FOR DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY” and what is that in comparison to an SA and ED?

  2. To be able to consult a lawyer to have a SA or ED (or both? again, what is the diff?) drawn up in her situation… is there a way to give us an idea how much a lawyer fee would run approx in this situation?

  3. There is probably not much (if any, but we don’t know) to be gained financially in selling the house… we just don’t know. But he will probably “squat” there and how does she go about 'FORCING THE SALE" of the house? What legal order does she need to get this done? With both of their incomes while they were together, they’ve struggled to make the payments as it was! I don’t think this guy is going to be able to pull off the mortgage payments himself. And I wouldn’t put it past this guy to have tried to convinced her to help him make the payments with some of her meager income!!! He was calling her every 10 min. while she was at work the day after she left him; that’s why she got the restraining order.[/quote][/b]

Any adivce or guidance is so appreciated. I’ve already learned quite a lot from your website and I’ve tried to get her to go through the information (we live several hours away) that I’ve sent her via email. But she’s had an exhausting week… had to call the police to go over to the house with her so she can get her clothes and the items needed for her daughter, plus be at work every day. The girl is emotionally exhausted and I’m trying to help so she doesn’t make any mistakes that put her at a disadvantage. I think she should ask for the car and her sisters and I will try to help her. Her sister said she can live there (even though it is very tight quarters!) for a while which will help her financially. She wants her own apartment but we don’t think she can afford it. [/color]

I think she also fears that if she takes possession of the newer car and he takes off on her or doesn’t pay child support she’ll be in a worse pickle… but why should she drive a piece of junk and he keep the good vehicle AND the house–??? So, how do you advise? This guy is a flight risk—he’s very emotionally unstabe and seems to have a strong connection with the daughter but her sisters and I have felt that alot of the strength of the connection was intentionally exaggerated for control purposes over his wife (my daughter). It hurts to even type that b/c one would really like to believe that he truly loves the child but again, this man hung himself in their kitchen area and was found unconscious with straps around his neck suspended from an over-the-door pice of workout equipment–while their daughter was upstairs. He has also, over the course of their marriage, slit his wrist twice, requiring stitches when he felt she was cheating on him (she wasn’t–but did have one episode of infidenilty, one occasion and it was – I think-- understandable under the circumstances she was living under that she probably was seeking comfort from the high degree of emotional stress) and has held her emotionally hostage threatening that she could not take the child if she left and also that he would kill himself. She was thankful her sister called the police–she would text them CODE YELLOW, CODE RED—red meaning, “call the police; it has escillated and I need help!” She said without the police he’d never have let her leave–those were her words, not mine. There were lots of CODE YELLOWS by the way.

Please help us—if this was your daughter, what would you advise that she do at the hearing and what are her next steps? And again, what is the difference between a Separation Agreement and a Distribution of Equity and what about that “Motion for distribution of personal property” thing? When do you use what?

Thank you very kinldy,
‘Concerned Mom22’

The judge can make an order awarding a party the use of a specific vehicle in the DV return hearing, she needs to let her attorney know which car she would like to have possession of. She may also ask to be awarded exclusive possession of the home pending the court’s division of property (she will have to file suit for Equitable Distribution, Post-Separation Support, Alimony, Child Support, Child Custody and Attorney’s fees). She may not feel she wants to return to the home, but based on the situation it seems like the best option for her. The court can also make a ruling on temporary custody in the DV, but again, she will need to file an action for child custody/support in civil district court.
A Separation Agreement can outline Equitable Distribution when two parties agree on the division of property, if the parties cannot agree the court can order a division of property in an equitable distribution trial. Separation agreements are contracts and enforceable by the courts, not the police.

The best advice I can give you is to have her schedule an appointment with an attorney to help her deal with all the outstanding issues.

I’m truly hoping that Erin’s response of “She may not feel she wants to return to the home, but based on the situation it seems like the best option for her.” is a typo. The man is mentally unstable. No way should she return to that home without some sort of protection. I lived that life for 11+ years with a man who was verbally, emotionally, mentally, financially and physically abusive and now he bullies my daughters whenever they go for visitation … he badgers them over and over until they tell him what he wants to hear about what’s going on in MY home. Of course, I have no say in the matter because he has his every other weekend. However, I’ll have the girls in counseling soon and I’m hoping somehow that a counselor may help in getting visitation removed or limited somehow because he is NOT mentally stable and they are continually afraid of him.

My suggestion to your daughter is to stay the hell away from that house unless she has someone with some protection that she can take with her. She has a restraining order so that’s good but it’s only as effective as the paper it’s written on. All of these motions and such will take a long time. I served my STBX with Divorce from Bed And Board citing abuse back in February 2010. Here we are, April 2011 and nothing is final except custody and visitation. We have a TEMPORARY child support order but nothing with equitable distribution. If the better car is in both your names, by all means take it. It’s marital property. The car I drive is in my STBX’s name but it’s the better car and I need it in order to drive the girls where they need to go, get to work, etc. In essence, when you leave / separate, you may take whatever marital property you deem necessary to live. I took everything I could possibly get my hands on so that the girls would be as comfortable as possible. I rent a house and BARELY make ends meet but I am AWAY from that bastard and that’s all I care about.

My other suggestion is to get into some sort of domestic violence counseling … somewhere that specializes in DV counseling and also helping kids who have witnessed the abuse. It’s not just physical … there is so much more to it. An excellent book for her to read is “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. You will be SHOCKED at what you learn about all of the different types of abuse.

My prayers are with you and your daughter. This is a HARD ROAD to go down and you have to be a very strong individual or at the very least, have a lot of support (which it sounds like she has).

Dear Erin Clarey,

Thank you for your response. I am not sure what you meant by “return” hearing. You wrote, “The judge can make an order awarding a party the use of a specific vehicle in the DV return hearing…” What does your word “return” mean in that sentence exactly?

Interestingly, she does have to “return”–are you psychic? LOL Her attorney was ill and had to see a physician today so my daughter asked for an “ex parte” (I think that’s the way you spell it) extension until next Monday. But in your sentence, does the word “return” have a particular specific meaning? Is that legal-ease meaning something a commoner like me wouldn’t understand? (I’m just trying to learn and want to be sure I fully understand your meaning.)

My daughter said she thinks the lawyer’s illness and the delay was ‘in divine order’ since she now will have an opportunity to speak to the lawyer beforehand, meaning before next Monday when she goes back b/c the lawyer was sick–she managed to secure a phone appt consult with the lawyer on Thursday this week. (We were surprised that she would normally NOT have had the opportunity to speak with her before going before the judge–more on that below.)

Since my daughter is low income–a plague that seems to have struck our whole family–she was assigned (very fortunately!) a lawyer from legal aid. If she needs more attorney services for the rest of what you mention, our whole family can take up a collection and we will see what we can manage to purchase in way of services for her. I must say that I’m impressed with the whole Rosen system–it is so comforting to have such a wealth of information online. It gives a person a sense of calm watching the videos and hearing the podcasts of the radio shows. Anyway… if I had all kinds of money, I’d put it in her hand and send her in to see you all, I promise that I would if I could.

She goes back next Monday and I assume that the x will be there next monday too; she said he was there today. Does this mean that the judge could possibly give her the car next Monday? or does she have to go back another time to see about getting the car? what do you think?

(he has disabled her car in the past and disabled her sister’s car too once–he’s a car mechanic–and I’m hoping the judge will say he has to swap cars with her right there before he has a chance to disable it so she can’t drive it. sigh! what drama!) I told her attorney about this, via a letter I mailed off today. Do you think she may be able to push for this to happen on my daughter’s behalf?

I don’t imagine a strong and reasonably emotionally balanced male (I assume you are) could understand exactly how a woman feels (I used to work in a woman’s shelter doing secretarial), but you might equate it to something like a really bad car accident. Like someone saying, “get back into the wrecked car and hang out at the accident scene”. And even THAT will give you only something like a .05% idea of how a woman who has been betrayed and abused – choked by a man who professes how much he loves you (twisted) – feels about going back; and that’s even if the man is out of the place. The energy vibes in the home after all that went on is another piece of it, but if one isn’t really sensitive in those ways, one couldn’t really understand. I know this isn’t the proper place for this type of discussion, but really she just wants to start a life away from him. He sees that home as “his” and isn’t going to fade off into the distance I don’t think. What is legally wise isn’t always emotionally so.

I do respect that advice though and I get what you are saying and thank you.

ALL the things that you say she has to file for… wow; all that?

Equitable Distribution: is this where the judge divides possessions (they mostly possess debt!) I don’t know; do you think in that case that this is necessary?

Post-Separation Support: what is that? That’s the first time I heard of that; is that another way of saying “alimony”? Is it the same thing>?

Well, no–guess not. You list alimony too. So then may I ask the difference between alimony and separation support?

And what do you mean she files for Attorney fees? You mean make’s him pay for the attorney fees? I can’t imagine an attorney doing all that for the wife and just sending a bill to the husband-x. How does that go down exactly?

An attorney is going to file child support for her? Doesn’t she do this herself?

I note that you did not address my fee question. I know it may NOT be appropriate to ask about fees like this on a public forum, but being “in the business” could you maybe shoot me a out a dollar amount range high to low?

If she “filed suit” with the help of an attorney for all of the things you mentioned (keeping in mind there are 2 vehicles --one worth about $300 only–and a house that had no equity; they’ve been mostly paying interest) and I doubt the resale value over 7 years has changed much. So there’s not a whole lot to file for.
In this case, what would a ball park fee run… roughly. Can you give us an idea?

On the “enforceable by courts” and not police regarding the division of property–I understand now. Thank you for explaining that and for your patience with our ignorance; we just don’t know how these things work.

Hope you will answer! I appreciate your help from the bottom of my heart.

Erin Clarey, Mr. Rosen et al: you are very likely creating really good karma!!

Thanks Kindly,
Concerned Mom22

[quote][b]PS–DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT EXPERIENCE For any inexperienced folks out there (like we are) who may read this post; what my daughter learned today is that people get up before the whole place (and my daughter said that there was quite a crowd! must be lots of physical abuse out there; we have a real problem with this type of thing in this world!) and the judge makes them address each other in front of the whole courtroom. It sounds like they stand there accusing each other in front of the judge and everyone. So now she is going to mentally prepare for any type of accusations he may toss out if it comes to that next week. She has a whole diary of data she’d been writing down for years and has just read it all over again and it’s fresh in her mind and she even made notes/bullet points and gave a copy to her lawyer. Personally, I’m surprised that my x-son-in-law had the gall to show up; if it were me, I’d be hanging my head and be too embarrassed and ashamed to show after the cowardly things he did. But the fact that he did show up, and all dressed up to boot, just indicates the extent of his mental illness as far as I’m concerned. So, for anyone never having gone to Domestic Violence court, there’s a head’s up for you. Whether all judges use this protocol or not, I don’t know, but there you have it. I’m just sharing info for other newbies to this process like ourselves. And it seems – at least on the way things went down today – that if you have a legal aid pro bono (is that how you say it?) attorney that you don’t talk to the attorney beforehand. They just sort of show up and stand next to you without knowing much about you–or in the case today from how my daughter described it, nothing about you. I’d advise trying to–if you have that situation like my daughter does with a legal aid attorney–try to corner the attorney before the proceedings start or make an appointment before the hearing date. It wasn’t until 48 hours before the hearing that we even understood what this hearing was about or what goes on and any details about it. AND THE LITTLE BIT OF A FEEL WE HAD FOR IT WE GOT RIGHT HERE ON THE ROSEN WEBSITE! She thought it was only about extending the restraing order and didn’t get that it was also about temporary custody and asking for a vehilce … things like that.

And in my daughter’s case, as it is I’m sure for all women, they are swirling in a state of shock, floating in a sea of emotions. Makes me want to go down there and volunteer my time to help disseminate information! and give a few hugs! – once I figure some of this out. :slight_smile: – if ever I do, that is.[/b][/quote]

Dear “I love my cowboy”,

Wow, thank you so much for your reply to my post! I ordered the book you suggested (“Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft) and notice she has another book “When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse”. Both books have high rankings on Amazon. I really want to thank you for that. Your objective perspective was really helpful. I cut and pasted what you wrote and emailed it to her.

My daughter also–same as you–about 11 years in her marriage too. She met him when she was just barely out of high school, in first year of college. But after she met him, she quit school. I was against the marriage but what can you do? (I think they had a karmic connection; some type of unfinished soul business; not a soul mate but a karma mate. But I tend to have perspectives like that about many things in life. )

I know people reading this or people who judge women for staying in abusive relationships think it’s easy and think that it’s the woman’s fault for putting up with it, but it is all waaaaaa-ay more involved than a cut and dry judgment like that. There are the good moments, mixed with denial and hope that things get better. My daughter is very compassionate and now admits that since he said he loved her so much that she thought he’d change. Familar story, right? She carries alot of healing enery in her persona and he is a wounded bird (as well as a silver-tongued devil, if you know what I mean) and he was quite naturally attracted to her healing nature I’M SURE. Ever meet someone who you love being around because you just feel better when they’re in the room? That’s how she is. We notice that wherever she is, in whichever room, the rest of the family wants to hang out where she’s at and when she’s not in the room, someone inevitably says, “Where’s _______?” She just has a beautiful light if you know what I mean. She doesn’t see that about herself, I don’t think, and people like that rarely do. She doesn’t present like she’s under-confident; if you met her on the street, you’d think, “Now there’s a person whose got it together.” I bet people say the same thing about you too,.

Anyway, she got to tip-toeing around him and his moods and emotions early on, like walking on egg shells she says and then it felt like she was swallowing acid every day at the end she said. But not every day was that way of course, the past few years with the economy (job loss) and financial stress made it all much worse. She definately ‘enabled’ him and her sisters and I questioned her about it a number of times and she’d not want to talk about it and sometimes nearly defend him. But that wore off more and more over these past few years; she began opening up more and more to her sisters. To me, her mother, she was most closed off about it probably feeling I’d reprimand her. I don’t know. She wanted me to think highly of her I’d say. And I do! When she visited I try to encourage her to talk and she’d say, “Mom, I came up here to visit you and to get away from him, I don’t want to talk about it right now.” What courage she has! Some might say differently, but she is a very courageous person—and one that learns the hard way, but does learn. (She’s my middle child; the other two have not had this type of problem.) Yet, I had a somewhat similar experience off and on for 10 years myself, but that was when the girls were grown adults… it was emotional stuff and we were apart more than together; but I, too, got caught in the sympathy thing and had some trouble extracting myself emotionally. Anyway…

She was, I think, sympathetic to his inner pain and have to admit that I too have a certain level of compassion for him, but after I heard more of the details of what was going on, I’ve become more P___'d off! But admit that I do vascelate between anger and sympathy in my moments of thought. He can really elicit that sympathy out of a body, you know? He’s very clever at it. He tries to paint a picture of himself as a sacrificial lamb voicing he’d do anything for his wife and his little girl–total, complete victim mentality. So the guy is very mixed up; and his history is one of child abuse at the hand of his own father and then witnessing his father abuse his mother. Learned behavior but no excuse, I know; but you can see from where it stems.

And then my daughter has to ask herself exactly what is it in her that attracted her to a man like him in the first place and to stay with him over this period of time. I know the answer to part of it… the little one who was a total surprise in their lives. She didn’t think she could have children and then after 4 years of marriage, there she was with a baby on the way. And you know, she wanted the so-called American Dream… the nice house, a husband, a nice car and you know how it can be; you go into denial about what is happening to try to hold the dream together… a reality that was very shaky to start with, but she couldn’t admit it to herself I’m sure. And so it goes and before you know it, you see the “cycle of abuse” and it intensifies until one day the breaking point is reached.

So my daughter has some deep healing to do and to reach some self understanding so that she doesn’t repeat that pattern with another relationship. After all she’s only 33 and I hope she will learn from this and take what she learns to help others. And maybe someday have a healthy relationship. When she was in school, she was studying criminal law–she just had an interest in that area (lots of Sag in her birth chart–Saggitarius archetype relates to law). So maybe something she learns through this experience will help redirect her interests. She’s working for an insurance company now and at some point she will realize that she wants to do more meaningful work.

She often was acting liked a mother to this husband-x and this too she has to learn–about being in a 50-50 relationship, equal partners. She was maturing as the years went on and he wanted her to stay like the inexperienced and awe-struck and naïve 18 year old that she was when he met her. After the baby (now age 7, girl) she began to mature quickly and sometimes she’d say it feels like she has two kids rather than the one. I’m sure you know what I mean.

This separation and eventual divorce is going to help him I hope… I don’t hate him, but there have been moment’s that I’ve been close. I do have compassion for him but I’m much more concerned about my daughter. She’s never had an apartment of her own and this is something she’s looking forward to having. Have you EVER heard of a man who didn’t let the woman decorate? I mean most men I’ve known give that to the woman to handle. She wanted to have certain things in the home and he’d clamp down and not let her deocrate the way she wanted… in her own home!!! When I heard that I nearly freaked! I’m really into decorating (not that I have anything fancy) but I’d never tolerate a man telling me what I can and can’t hang on the wall or put on a coffee table!!

I tried to give her a few books… have you heard of the DANCE books? "The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships" by Harriet Lerner and also “The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman’s Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships” —? I recommend those if you haven’t read them, since you shared a book with us.

She said, Mom if he see’s me reading these… I can’t bring those home, he might see them. I nearly lost it! No man is ever going to tell me what books I can or cannot read–ever! I’m an avid reader and that could never be! Nor would I give a ___ how he felt about whatever I read. But this just shows the level of intimidation she felt. And she’ll admit that she was changing for him in all the wrong ways but I think it got out of hand and she, of course, knew it–it got to be easier to give in and change her behavior to suit him. This, of course, empowered him more and her less as she lost more and more of her self-- she’s not ignorant to it… she knew it.

Strange how these things go. I’ve seen her give great advice to girlfriends. And the other girls in the office where she once worked all told me how they go and talk to her and she gives great advice. Maybe through all this she will become a counselor someday. Who knows? I like to think that there is divine purpose in everything and sometimes that is even more true for the horrid experiences in life; we can turn those into something purposeful and beautiful to help others.

Thanks for your mention of prayers for her… and please know I will keep you in my prayers as well. May somehow the issues with your children and the x reach some type of happy conclusion.

Did you receive counseling after your DV issue? Do you feel that it helped?

Thanks for your sharing and being so direct, candid and honest! I have sent what you wrote to my daughter… I think you are right, she should take whatever she needs to set up housekeeping elsewhere for herself and her child… if she doesn’t get what she needs soon, it may complicate things for her. There are more things in the house and she needs to get back there somehow. The police went with her b/c of the restraining order or ex parte or whatever… strange sounding: ex parte… probably it’s Latin? but it sounds like X-party as in “the party is over”. Anyway, the police went with her… she waited 2 nights in a row until an officer was available and then he said 5 more min., 2 more min, you have one minute left. Her sister and a friend and herself had lists and they are running all over the house trying to find stuff like a scavanger hunt; she said it felt like that TV show Amazing Race!

She didn’t get all the stuff; and of course with the restraining order or X-Party thing she can’t go back over there without the police with her. So its a crazy system. Besides, he had the locks changed to make sure she doesn’t. (The drama just goes on and on… )

And all the while she’s trying to think where things are and gather up items that she needs and for herself and the little one so she can get to work and the little one can get to school, ‘he’ is calling out to her, “I love you” and “are you okay?” Oh, Pulll–eeeze! He strangels/ chokes her and then 2 days later as she’s racing around her house under the pressure of the police man calling out how many minutes are left, he’s calling out to her that he loves her and asking if she’s okay or needs anything!!! Psycho! It’s a wonder my daughter didn’t loose her mind totally dealing with that.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t there I’ll tell you THAT! I’d have insisted the police take the idiot outside to get him away from my daughter! And probably the cop would have called for backup and hauled me off to jail–I’m (can you tell?) a pretty protective mother! The universe had a plan when it worked out that I live 3 hours away.

I’ve gone on way too long… but just one more thing…

Concerned Mom 22

The “return hearing” is the date the hearing is set for before the judge, she obtained and order ex parte (without the other side begin there) and the court set the hearing on for a return, to allow both sides to be present.
The judge can give her the right to possession of the car Monday, future ownership will have to be determined as part of Equitable Distribution, which is the process by which the court divides property and debts.
Post separation support is temporary alimony, in can be awarded shortly after the parties separate.
She should file for custody now as it often takes up to a year to get a court date for the final custody trial.
She has a claim for attorney’s fees and can therefore ask that the court order him to pay for her lawyer. Fees are awarded (if at all) later in the case and are therefore really reimbursed to the dependant spouse (your daughter in this case).
Yes, I mean she needs to file an action for child custody and child support. Though she can contact child support enforcement to handle collecting support for her.
I cannot quote fees on the forum, but you may use the fee calculator on the website to get an estimate.

Thank you very much again.

I called the child support office – found out via phone calls that you call the county social services offices-- well, now that i think about it, I think I googled it. Anyway, they are going to send her the papers in the mail. It’s hard for her to call from work on these things. They said it takes THREE MONTHS to get the paperwork processes and child support actually coming in the door! OMG, what if she didn’t have a sister to take her in? She could come to me of course, of course, but I live 4 hours away from her job which she LOVES.

Well, it is what it is. Now tomorrow I will call on the other thing–the civil district court, like you said. Suppose I can google for that phone number too. The fact that YOU say that she shoul apply for custody NOW even if the domestic violence judge gives her temporary custody for a year and the reason is that it takes a full year to set a trial date for a custody hearing. WOW! That is so good to know… and we will do that.

I think it is a relief for all of us that you said the judge will likely give her possession of the car on monday.

thanks so much for your advice which has been very helpful… oh, and PS, i apologize, I didn’t realize you were female Erin, please forgive my mistake with that… for some reason I assumed wrongly. I’m a bit embarassed. Hope you weren’t offended. I’ve been more than a little crazy and alot off my game since all this happened.

Anyway…thanks so much for your help! I wish you much success in your legal career!

Concerned Mom 22

You are most welcome, and I assure you, my gender is mistaken quite a bit, guess its the name, no worries :).
I wish you and your daughter the very best.

Hi Erin,

You must be a very strong female (and that’s a good thing, right?)… it was just an energy feel when reading your posts. I looked at the “civil district court” for the county they’re in and see a lot on the website about “mediation” and “family court”. That seems like a good option for people who are in a financial deficit situation like they are. She’s going to talk to the court appointed lawyer by phone tomorrow morning and will ask a few questions.

I feel pretty sure he’s going to stand up before the DV judge to do his “mister nice guy” routine and say how he loves his family. And since she really needs to be able to deal with the issues of temporary support, child custody and what to do about the house and the bills, without relating to him one-on-one, if he professes that he wants to be cooperative,…

I read that lawyers go to those things with clients and I sure wish she’d have someone with her to keep her from being influenced by his victimization-type of manipulation… and if I had my way, I’d hire YOU to go with her if I could!

Today when I spoke with her she was adamant that she wants the restraining order in place for a full year. I didn’t know that this was possible, but she seems to think so. He is obsessive about calling her and she knows herself well that she may “get soft” or give in to concede to things that she doesn’t want to until she gets stronger.
She seems to be stronger every day and I’m proud of her on that level.

I told her that I hear of guys (men) who will go find a girlfriend, and the girlfriend likes the child who comes over on visitation days and then next thing you know, they want custody! I’ve warned her to DEMAND FULL custody at the hearing on Monday … visitation by him being okay if he gets some counseling. The counseling part is my idea and she doesn’t say much about that part. I’d sure hate to see her get involved in a scenario like i just described. I’ve heard of that happening–not that he has a girlfriend that we know of… it’s just me speculating on a worse case scenario in the future and how to prevent something like that.

But she seems pretty firm in her stance that she just doesn’t want him calling her and showing up around where she is. And wants that effective for the next year!

I know on Monday there is the “return” Domestic Violence hearing… and the judge awards temporary custody then (Monday), but if some type of mediation somehow follows shortly thereafter, say in a month or so… [quote]…then is THAT CUSTODY AWARD given thru the mediation and signed by a judge then permanent? Meaning, she doesn’t have to file for it anywhere else in the future??[/quote]

The videos that Mr. Rosen made and the daily email’s I signed up for are absolutely fantastic! It must be wonderful working with a firm that really seems to care in the way that he does. His concern for people is so obviously honest and authentic; it just oozes out onto the videos.

Thank you in advance for your time if you can answer.
Concerned Mom22

Many counties require that mediation be completed by the parties prior to trial, however no mediation can or will be ordered until an action is filed under Chapter 50 (the statutes governing Equitable Distribution, Post Separation Support, Alimony, Child Custody, and Child Support).

Court ordered custody mediation which is mandatory in some counties is for the parties, is for the parties alone, lawyers do not attend.

If the court finds that a DV order should remain in place, it will be issued and remain in place for 1 year, it will prohibit him from contacting her by phone, email or otherwise.

She cannot be awarded full custody at the hearing, only temporary measures can be put in place in a DV hearing, she needs to file a regular custody action under Chapter 50 to seek primary custody.

Thank you again Erin. I will follow the chapter 50 lead. Although this is wearing me down. I can see the value of lawyers! Her court appointed lawyer did not keep the telephone appointment today and my daughter had to call three times but finally was able to reach her to have a conversation about Monday’s hearing. On the car, the lawyer said that because my daughter was asked which possessions she wanted (only a day after the incident), and the judge signed off on it that it is too late to make changes or change her mind. Is that really true? That doesn’t seem right to me; after all, when she was asked what she wanted, they didn’t tell her she could have either car. And in her state of mind, with it all being so surreal and the trauma of it all, she just wanted to get what she felt was rightly hers and to get away and since the car was titled in her name… she really just wanted her daughter and her car and to feel safe.

The lawyer told her that it’s too late for her to change her mind and too late to ask the judge for the car in Monday’s hearing-and again, that, supposedly, is because she already signed the paper asking for the other car and because the judge already signed off on it, according to that attorney.

The court appointed lawyer said that she will handle all of the equity distribution stuff and the custody and “you can hire me”, she said. And then you can maybe get the car that you want in an Equity Distribution or that other thing, the Separation Agreement–sounds like she was talking about the chapter 50 thing that you mentioned in the previous post. I hope that she’s not going be victimized a 2nd time here, if you know what I mean! I’d hope to think that this lady is above board in wanting to actually help people.

Joint marriage property! I sure wish we would’ve known about all this before all just blew up in our faces. I didn’t know all that was going on in her marriage until it was too late.

I mean, if I would’ve known I could is studied up on this and advised her so at least she wouldn’t be in her current pickle about asking for the car – – the wrong car – – but this is just her pattern of being married 15 years to somebody who evidentially convinced her that she wasn’t worthy enough to ask for the better car in the first place! She’s not someone that you’d think has low self esteem generally, but when it comes to this situation, maybe so.

And or yet, in trying to understand, I can see that if she started looking things up on the Internet about separation or divorce–if he found out she was trying to figure out about marriage property distribution, he would’ve made her life even worse! I mean, it was just her ducking and dodging pathology from putting up with this coward for so long that… Well, she’s still not thinking straight in that regard maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard to stand in someone else’s shoes, even if it IS your very own daughter.

I also know how limited she is on time to do ANYTHING… she doesn’t have unlimited hours to … well, she is at the gym at 5 am, then gets her daughter to school and works until 6 pm, picks up her daughter and then has things to deal with for the little one and then he was giving her alot of drama (from what I found out after the fact here)—homework and bath for the little one, pack lunches and it’s drop into bed exhausted and get up and start again. You know how it is, right? She also sells AVON on the side and handled all the bills for the marriage… constantly on the run and busy. Who has time how to study North Carolina law on separation and divorce? Especially, if you’re living in denial, hoping the problems will go away! --which i think she was.

I nearly fainted today when she shared part of the conversation that she had with the court appointed lawyer and casually mentioned that he threatened to kill her while the little girl was still in the house–when that was I don’t know; perhaps it was on the same day that she text’d a code red and her sister’s called the police.

When I heard that… everything turned white and started to spin and I had to sit down!

You see, she is still afraid that if she goes along with what her lawyer is suggesting which is that he has visitation only with a third party being present (supervised visitation i guess it’s called) that he will make it harder for her to get custody somehow in the future. She is still afraid of ticking him off! I try to tell her she has nothing to fear, but I don’t think she’s hearing me and it didn’t sound like the lawyer had any supportive words in that regard either. I don’t know; I didn;t hear the phone call. But my daughter sounded confused and disheartened when she was telling me about it.

Do they give lawyers courses in psychology and compassion in law school? (sorry, it’s just that my daughter isn;t trailer trash or ignorant or a drug user or a bad mother or someone who doesn’t … well she doesn’t deserve this! She’s a good person.)

And since she is still afraid, she is continuing still to make concessions! She’s afraid she won’t be able to get custody I suppose. As her mother, I am appalled at the level of fear and intimidation that she still maintains. And in the meanwhile, her court-appointed lawyer is making a very good point that the judge is likely to question her rational thought processes about being willing to consider unsupervised visitations! And I must say who could disagree?

However, I know my daughter pretty much in this way–that I feel sure that she would not put her daughter in danger intentionally; it’s just that… Well, I don’t even know what to say anymore! In her mind, her daughter has never been in any type of danger and she probably hasn’t; it’s just that it is disappointing that she is still worried about whether this coward is going to give her a problem with custody!

I mean he has no money for lawyer and all he knows how to do is threaten and intimidate women and tried to give a snow job to everybody else! I mean, I know my daughter is thinking, “what’s the wisest thing to do so that I don’t make it more difficult for myself in the future to get the custody and to get the separation agreement or the equitable equity or whatever it is --the house, the bills, resolved etc.with some level of cooperation from him?” And I suppose there is some wisdom there, not wanting to tick him off, but it just sounds like the old pattern to me! Although, it’s only been a few weeks and she’s been dealing with him for 15 years, she just needs more time.

she tells me something else today… something that was news to even herself. In grabbing as many papers as they could during “beat the clock” – well, that’s an old show that you may not remember. Think: “minute to win it”…during that scavanger hunt with the police there counting down the minutes left to grab her things from the house, she grabbed a box of papers and just the other day, within the box, she found old papers… papers from way before she met him. Papers that were a restraining order on him from a prior relationship in which he took a baseball bat and broke his girlfriends window while she had 2 children in the car with her. That was over 15 years ago, before he met my daughter, but she didn’t know that about him.

Hearing that i nearly fainted a 2nd time today! the court appointed lawyer said to bring the papers with her to court but the judge may not consider the copy of an old restraining order from like 20 years ago. It sure indicates a pattern, however, doesn’t it?

I tell you this guy would lay it on thick around me about how he loved my daughter and my granddaughter and how he’d to anything for them and never gave me a hint that he had a temper or wasn;t the “ideal” husband and father… I never cared for him but he was always thoughtful and polite around me; so personally. Anyway…

I guess there is not a question in all of this but if you happen to read it and have a comment, I’ll probably check back. Well, maybe there actually ‘is’ a question. I should call your office to ask how much would you charge to handle the chapter 50 stuff? We’ll see how it goes on Monday.

I suggested that my daughter approach the judge herself on the car issue on Monday and plead for understanding that she didn’t know her rights in the matter of the cars.

I really cringe thinking of them sweating in the heat of the summer in that junk heap while this coward drives around in the newer car… it’s like a SUV but it is a square looking thing…they call it “the box”… and that’s what it looks like. But they bought it brand new about 3 or 4 years ago.

I hope that my ex-son-in-law – – I don’t think he even deserves that title – – I will have to think of another name for him; how about Chicken Little? And I’m not trying to be funny because none of this feels like it has any humor at all. Anyway, I hope he does not get visitation except where somebody has to be with him! And I hope the judge makes him give the better car to my daughter.

anyway, Thanks again.

Concerned mom 22

I just want to say first that I am sorry your dayghter is going through all this , and I am going through a very similar situation. I posted on this site a couple weeks ago myself , and just wanted to share info I learned, and if I am mistaken I hope somebody will clarify. Legal separation is an agreement that both parties (husband and wife) agree to and sign. If he is not WILLING to sign, as in my case than she needs to file a complaint for divorce from bed and board. It took me quite a few attempts and many hours of searching to figure that out. I too am in a situation where I cannot afford an attorney at all, but I was able to get the answers and create and print all the documents I needed to file a complaint on my husband for all the same things . Divorce from bed and board, custody, post separation support and alimony. Here in Orange County it costs $100 to file the complaint and $15 for the sherriff to serve the summons. I do suggest that you have it served that way ,as I have tried sending papers to my husband via certified mail only to have him refuse , or not acknowledge it, and on a tight income I learned that it was just a waste of my money. I would tell her not to sign away her rights to anything until she is very clear on what she may or may not be entitled to. Also , just to share with you . I also went throught he department of social services to help with child support, because my husband thought he could just give me whatever he wanted whether it be 50 or 100 every 2 weeks, not what they deserved or needed. (I was and am unemployed) It took 6 months before I actually had a child support order in place and then another month before I actually seen anything. DSS will attempt to have him come in and agree by sending him a letter in the mail , if he doesnt acknowledge it , they will send him a civil summons with a court date. (in my case I had to ride the local sherriff depts rearends to get it served)DSS however will not proceed witht hat court date until they have verification that its been served. Here’s the kicker with that. My husband wouId come to court and leave before our case was heard so it was continued 3 times giving him the opportunity to reappear. He was finally ordered to pay on the 3rd attempt but I lost out on child care costs because DSS lost my receipts and I did not have verification with ME of those costs at that particular hearing…
There is a NC child support calculator that she can enter wages etc into that will help her determine approximately what she/her daughter should be entitled to per month. In my case I showed proof of his wages because I didnt trust him to show it accurately. Again, If I have mis-stated anything I hope someone will correct me , but I know it can be hard to ask the questions in entirety or with appropriate wording to ensure the correct response . I wish your daughter luck and I pray she stays strong enough to follow through without going back to him.

TO “justmedebb”–
thanks so much for your input. OK, so if they can’t work out a separation agreement between them, then you get a packet of papers called “bed to board”??
What happens if she goes to the divorce clinic; upcoming in May; and pays the $150 fee for the papers, and then has to get a different set?
We don’t know what he will agree to… she doesn’t want alimony… just child support, although i am trying to tell her she should get temporary separation support for now. Gawd, why is this all so confusing?

if she gets temporary separation support, can she get that for now until the year is up and she files for the divorce? and then NOT file for alimony? She did have a one time one-night-stand nearly two years ago and doesn’t want to get into the drama of all that filing for and fighting for alimony.

She just wants to separate out the bills and the house (which is now being foreclosed on!) and child support and her freedom. She wants her name off the mortgage, hopefully before the foreclosure is complete.

Its all so messy. She’s just taking it one day at a time. She wanted to get thru the emotion of the return DV hearing which she got through today… now is the child support… and after that how to deal with the bills. He has some illusion that he is going to be able to keep and stay in the house…but he doesn’t make enough to pay child support AND the mortgage… like i said in an earlier post, it took both of their incomes to make the house payment and even then they were struggling. He won’t be able to pull it off alone… and the mortgage holder is starting foreclosing proceedings anyway. What a mess it all is.

the info about having the sherriff serve papers is very valuable…thanks so much for that suggestion. Sounds like your X is about as much as a coward as my x-son-in-law is, no offense. People are setting up lots of karma for their future and future lives, IMHO! Or as they say, whatever you send out comes back to you… one way or another, eventually. What goes around comes around.

best of luck for you to have a happy future :slight_smile: