Living in Illinois.
Infidelity on wife part. Tried therapy she continue to lie. She left
the house overnight several times. The third time told me she had
somewhere to live in front of our 10 yr old. Three days later had a
protection order against me. I have a Lawyer, went to court, Judge
says he said she said. PO is still in affect because she has no family
in this State. My family have been a major part of our kids lives. I
am living out of the house. I now can call the kids and see them one
day a week and every other weekend. We both work and she cannot say
that she is the primary care taker. In fact I have been. She also
wants to move out of the State. My wishes would be that we are both in
the kids lives, shared. This is only the begining but need to prepare
outcomes and prevent her from taking the kids out of State. What can I
do and what have others done and prevailed?
Okay, we've had a bit of back and forth for me to get more information about your situation.
You've also mentioned that these court orders are a week old, that you have an attorney, and that you can gather up some evidence that would be damaging to the mother.
You continually say that you want both parents to remain in the children's lives and seem a bit hesitant to trash the mother.
First -- let's get in the right mindset. Your wife has zero concern or respect for you and your relationship with the children. She screwed around on you, and she willfully had you extricated from your home and severely limited your access to the children.
You'd prefer to be a diplomat, while the other side has already declared war. Think about what happens to countries that don't fight when they're attacked. That will be you, unless you accept immediately that the mother has fully decided that this will be a battle, not a negotiation.
It's unfortunate that this is your situation, but you don't have a choice at this point; if you want to be significantly involved in raising your kids.
Of course, don't pursue anything your attorney advises against. However, here's everything I suggest you do, ASAP on all points:
- Go to my What you must have page and get that book (check Ebay or Amazon for used prices, if you want to spend a little less). Start reading that book to continue to educate yourself about everything in child custody.
- If your attorney hasn't yet, get a transcript of your hearing that occurred last week. You want to read it to see what concerned the judge during the "he said she said", and what evidence you need to counter it during your next hearing.
- Have your attorney refer you to a polygraph examiner and take a lie detector test that specifically denies every allegation the mother made. Also answer to any alarming statement the mother has said to you (e.g., "Has your wife ever told you she wishes the kids were dead?" | "Yes"). It may be a few hundred bucks. During a he-said-she-said bout at the next hearing, your attorney can spontaneously offer to make this report available to the court, if the mother's side doesn't oppose (but just upon hearing that offer, the judge will know what the report contains). It's not admissible without the consent of the other side. Also, if you end up in a custody evaluation, you can provide the polygraph results to the evaluator.
- Get clear and convincing evidence of the poisoning issue, the lost child issue, and the child-in-the-well issue. Evidence can include copies of official reports, written affadavits (sworn declarations) from objective witnesses (i.e., your own friends and family are bad witnesses, due to bias).
- Get affadavits from people who were told by the mother that she doesn't want the kids.
- Get affadavits from objective witnesses who say that you're a good father and who speak to exactly the opposite of what the mother has claimed about you. Good witnesses would be teachers, doctors, rabbi, priest, neighbors, etc.
- If your wife has any drug or alcohol issue, hire a private investigator to document it.
- Get a home suitable for raising children. The kids need their own private room, and you can't have any adults in the home who would be a threat to them. If you're living with your sibling or parents, and their homes meet the above requirements, that's fine.
I think you can accomplish all of the above within 2 weeks, if you work your butt off.
At that time, confer with your attorney about filing a motion to drop the PO and modify the temporary custody orders to be roughly 50/50 (perhaps seek a bit more, given that you're the more stable, reasonable, and child-centered parent).
If you have mediation coming up, that's fine, but do not delay building your case-- start that today, per my above suggestions.
A person who does what your wife did is NOT going to agree to anything fair in mediation. If you fail to make any progress on building your case prior to mediation, you've wasted a ton of valuable time.
The more time that goes by, the more the mother is establishing herself as the primary parent.
So, if you were ordered to mediation, I suggest you put your case together and put something on calendar immediately after mediation fails... be ready to file the day after mediation.
You're going to blow a bit of money immediately with this aggressive approach, but I think it's very important that you try to turn this around ASAP. Also, it's not likely that the mother is going to be aggressively building her case prior to mediation, since she is already way ahead.
Bottom line... you treat this like a war, and you pray for peace. You DON'T act like it's peaceful and pray to avoid war. That's where most men (and kids) really come out losers, if a mother is determined to fight.