True to form, less than forty-eight hours of the temporary restraining order being served on him, did I receive notification that he had filed a dueling restraining order against me. He was requesting that our son be returned to his custody and I vacate the home immediately.
He falsified his declaration to the court to such an extent I went in prepared for the worst. If you imagine the worst possible things you could say about your spouse, partner or parent of your child, he said it with such detail it was believable to an untrained ear. I read his declaration and fell apart, inside and out. He was throwing accusations out against me just as he has done to the mother of his daughter. I don’t know why I expected anything different from him, however, I was understandably devastated.
I contacted my current landlords and made them aware of the situation, had my name removed from the lease and agreed to be out by midnight on the last day of February, 2018. I had about two weeks to find a new home for my son and I. I was in our garage packing boxes when two police officers approached me. They advised me that my husband was down the street wanting to retrieve items from the home. I advised the officers that he had previously had the opportunity to remove his items upon the initial service of his temporary restraining order. The officers informed me that he had an order signed by a judge granting him permission to enter the home and retrieve his belongings. I looked at the order and it stated he could remove items from the home that were work related, as he claimed he worked from home. The officers allowed him to enter the home and remove more property. While in the home, he disabled the home security system which included video surveillance.
Both of our restraining order cases were heard on the same day in front of the same judge, on our sons first birthday. We each had witnesses testify on our behalf, some were more honest than others. After several hours of hearing evidence and testimony, my restraining order against him was granted and his against me was denied. Based on evidence and testimony the judge heard, I was granted full legal and physical custody of our son. He was granted twenty hours per week supervised visitation with an agreed upon supervisor, or a professional supervisor if a person could not be agreed upon. It was agreed that I would move out of our home and he could return on the first of the month, taking over all rent payments that I had been making.
I sat in tears while the judge read her decision, I was full of every emotion humanly possible. Fear of retaliation, relief from the fear of having him abduct my son, anger over what had and was transpiring in my family and my sons brand new life.
The birthday invitations for my sons first birthday had already gone out and I was amidst a life changing event. The last thing I could imagine conquering at the moment was putting on a fake face for family and friends. With everything down to the toilet paper in boxes, my very best friends and family members came to the rescue, TP in tow. My home was decorated with “The Little Blue Truck” EVERYTHING, I picked up the smash cake I had ordered weeks prior and gave my son one hell of a first birthday party!
It was not more than five days after our court date when I was in the garage loading boxes into the POD when, you guessed it, two police officers approached. He was there again to remove more of his property. I informed the officers that this was his second attempt at entering the home, now with a permanent restraining order in effect and that I was not okay with it. I informed the officers that the last time he entered, he disabled the home security system and that I did not feel comfortable with him in the home. The officers agreed to tell him this was the final time he would be granted permission to enter the home and that he would be escorted into the home, only allowed entry into his office where his work items were located. While in the home, he removed my professional camera gear and my old cellular phone.
During my final few days in the house we once shared together, I was left to pack all of my belongings I entered the relationship with. So I boxed every damn thing in that house and moved it into a POD in the driveway. I was in the giving spirit and split the silverware, pots and pans, towels and left our sons belongings that were rightfully his: the handful of clothes and toys his friends had purchased for our son when he was first born. He was left with his hoard in the garage and all of his daughter’s belongings.
On the last day of February, 2018, in the rain, a moving company assisted my mother and I in moving my one-year-old son and I to a new home for what we hoped would be a fresh start.
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind”