You know the drill. We’re not lawyers, take advice at own risk etc.
This is from one of our regulars, not saying who but please read and advise. Names have been changed to protect identities.
Hi, I am curious as to the groups thoughts on the following situation. We go to court in two days. The most I am willing to accept is supervised visitation.
Mr. Smith and I started dating in March of 2010. The relationship moved rather quickly and Mr. Smith was spending most of his time at my residence. The first sign that I had that something was not quite right was when I offered Mr. Smith a drawer in my bedroom and he took it as an invitation to move in. I was a little concerned about that but none of my roommates seemed to mind so I decided to go with it. Shortly after moving in, Mr. Smith was laid off from his employer and two out of my four roommates moved out.
The second sign that something was not right with Mr. Smith involved our landlords cat GiGi. GiGi was left in the house for my roommates and me to care for. GiGi had several health problems and was not a friendly cat. Mr. Smith decided that the best thing to do would be to take the cat out to his grandfather’s farm and shoot her. He did just that after catching her in some kind of animal cage. He told our landlord he had her euthanized at the veterinarian’s office.
Throughout the next year, Mr. Smith became a bully in our home. No matter what anyone else did, it was never good enough. He had not been able to hold a job and was unwilling to do even the smallest amount of housework. Another roommate moved out.
In February of 2011, I found out I was pregnant. The already tense relationships in our home become even worse. Mr. Smith became even more difficult to live with. In the first few months of my pregnancy, I asked Mr. Smith to sleep in another room under the guise of being uncomfortable. Mr. Smith made several statements during my pregnancy that left me frightened. He stated on multiple occasions that if we ever broke up he would fight me for full custody of our child because he had “a bigger support system than I did.” He threatened to just take off with the child if tried to keep our child away from him; he also threatened to kill the child for the same reason. He also stated that he would kill our child if it was born with Down syndrome or any other serious “defect.” I was miserable in the relationship and afraid to ask him to leave.
By the end of my pregnancy, Mr. Smith and I fought all the time and our last roommate moved out without an explanation. Our daughter was born on October 11, 2011 and it did not take long to figure out that this relationship could no longer last. However, Mr. Smith had gotten a job and I had just had a baby so I stayed despite my better judgment.
Five weeks later, Mr. Smith lost the new job and things became even worse. I could no longer financially support the household and Mr. Smith’s physical and mental health had declined. He mostly stayed in the house, without showering for days. I returned to work in the beginning of January. Mr. Smith stayed at home with the baby for around a month. In that time, I had walked in on him screaming at the baby to “Stop Fucking Crying.” He refused to clean her diaper area properly or give her a bath. On January 13, 2012, Mr. Smith called me at work irate that the baby was trying to put her hand and her pacifier in her mouth at the same time. I immediately contacted the director of the Early Childhood Care Center to see if they had an opening for Patience. I was told they would have a spot for her the 2nd week of February. I couldn’t wait that long so after a little more talking to people, I was able to get her in on January 31, 2012. I was so relieved to have her somewhere that I did not have to worry about her while working.
Mr. Smith was still not working and his health was continuing to decline. I had started making plans to leave. On March 4, 2012 Mr. Smith’s health had gotten too bad. Mr. Smith would not listen to me, so I called his father. I told his father that he needed to come take Mr. Smith to the hospital or take him home with him. I couldn’t take it anymore. During his stay in the hospital, Mr. Smith got mad at me for sharing his condition with his sister and told me I was a traitor for making him go the hospital. He was preliminarily diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. During our arguments while he was in the hospital I told Mr. Smith that I would deal with either his physical condition or his attitude. I would not deal with both. He promised to try to improve. He did not and things continued to get worse. It was during this time that Mr. Smith told me he did not love our daughter. I told him that he would never tell her that and that he would pretend to love her because of what having a father like him would do to her.
Mr. Smith and I broke up on May 2, 2012 after yet another argument in which he told me he would fight me for full custody of our daughter. The night of our breakup Mr. Smith begin to tell me that he was not sure if he wanted to be in our daughter’s life anymore. This was a threat that I heard many times over the next month while we made other living arrangements. On May 9, 2012 Mr. Smith sent me and his sister (whom he had broken ties with in April) an invitation to a cell phone app that tracks your location using your phone’s GPS.
On Monday May 14, 2012 Mr. Smith, his father and I went to see an MS specialist regarding his condition and received bad news regarding how far his condition had progressed. Prior to this appointment he had a Psychologist appointment, in which he claimed to be perfectly fine mentally. I however was concerned because he had once told me that he would kill himself if he ever had a debilitating disease. As soon as we got home that day, I hid his guns until I could make arrangements to get them out of the house.
On May 19, 2012, Mr. Smith had taking his sleeping medication (Ambien). We were talking about his medical condition and our daughter. He broke down in tears for the first time ever. He then threatened to leave the house and just go. He mentioned committing a crime so that he would have a place to stay, food, and medical attention. I told him that he if he left this house, I would call 911 immediately. I made him get back into bed and then hid all of the vehicle keys in the house.
Mr. Smith’s sister Ann asked if she could keep Patience while I was moving out of the house. I told her I would have to ask Mr. Smith because it was his last night in the house with his child and he might want to keep that time. When I asked Mr. Smith he said he did not care. Ann picked the baby up on Friday May 25, 2012 around 5:30 p.m. When they left, Mr. Smith told Patience, “See ya kid, call me when you’re 35.”
On Saturday May 26, 2012, I was moving out of the house, at the request of my brother; Mr. Smith was not to be there while we were moving. Mr. Smith got up and asked about his guns, I had never gotten them out of the house. I asked Mr. Smith what he wanted with the guns and he said, “I’ll take them to my grandfather’s today.”
After, I moved everything of mine and Patience out of the house, I stopped by to grab a load of laundry that I had in the dryer. Mr. Smith was sitting in a chair looking miserable. I asked him what was wrong and he said he just didn’t feel good. He had me feel his throat, one of his lymph nodes were swollen. I told him to go to the community clinic. He said no, I will be okay. He also informed me that he got a ticket for not having a seatbelt on when he left Wendy’s. He told the officer that his condition has made it difficult to manipulate the seat belt.” The officer asked why he was still driving, he said because no one has told me I couldn’t. He also told me that he had not taken the guns to his grandfather’s. I left the house and on my way to daycare to pick up Patience, I called his father to tell him that Mr. Smith was sick and had his guns. I never got in touch with him, we played phone tag.
On Sunday May 27, Mr. Smith posted on his Facebook that he was on his way to the community clinic. They gave him some antibiotics and sent him on his way. I called later that evening to check on him, we had a short conversation and he never asked about Patience. Mr. Smiths’s grandmother called me to find out what was going on in the family and she and I talked for quite a bit about his mental health, physical health and his in ability to take care of our child. I then spoke to his grandfather about the guns and he was going to try to get in touch with Mr. Smith about the guns.
Patience and I moved into my mothers. Mr. Smith moved in with his mother and her boyfriend. This was a tumultuous living arrangement and did not last long. The relationships between the three of them were all to tense to live together. On June 10, 2012, there was a huge argument at that house and Mr. Smith came to visit us at my mother’s house. This was the first time we had seen each other since moving and we had rarely spoken. The visit consisted of him telling my mother and me all about how horrible his living situation was. He then informed me that he no longer wanted Patience around his mother. I consented to his wishes. During this visit, Mr. Smith did notice a miraculous thing about our daughter. She wasn’t crying while not being held. In just the short time we had been gone her behavior had changed drastically.
Mr. Smith moved into a shelter for the homeless who had substance abuse or mental health issues. He was unsure if he was going to be able to stay there because he did not fall into those categories but he had nowhere else to go. Patience and I visited Mr. Smith on father’s day at the shelter. The visit lasted about two hours. There was nowhere private for us to go and nowhere for Patience to play. Patience was sick with a virus for several days after that visit.
I confronted Mr. Smith with my fear that the center was not a safe place for our daughter to visit. He told me that my concern stemmed from experience I had when I was under four and visiting my own father at a hospital.
On June 28, 2012 Mr. Smith sent me a message on Facebook that said, “Goodnight beautiful.” I replied that he could no longer say those kinds of things to me. This led to a phone call in which I asked Mr. Smith to remove me from being his power of attorney and anything else that did not involve our daughter. Mr. Smith accused me of wanting him to be just a check to our daughter and the discussion quickly went downhill. This conversation ended so badly that I decided my feelings would interfere with any time Mr. Smith spent with our daughter. I asked Mr. Smith’s close friend, Paula, to supervise the visits until we could get to a better place.
Mr. Smith next saw Patience on July 14, 2012. This visit was supervised by Paula at the center. It was supposed to last three hours but only lasted an hour and a half. Mr. Smith brought Patience out to my car and said that she was getting fussy and it “was time for her to go.”
On July 24, 2012, Mr. Smith asked to see Patience again. I told him that I would like to discuss some things with him first and we made arrangements to meet on the evening of July 26, 2012. Instead Mr. Smith showed up at my place of work and asked if we could talk while there. I took my lunch break and we went to the vending area at the college that has tables. I had wanted to talk about the problems with Patience visiting the shelter, my concerns about him all together and what his plans were for the future. The conversation ended up being an argument. Mr. Smith threatened to try to have me arrested for kidnapping even though we both know that I had every right to take our child. When Mr. Smith said that, all I could think about was that if he were successful in that threat: what would he do with our child? I told Mr. Smith that if he wanted to see Patience, he would need to get a court order.
Ever since that day, I have constantly worried about the safety of Patience. I do not leave her with anyone, including my mother because I worry that Mr. Smith will try to take her. I have nightmares about him killing us. I truly fear for our daughter’s safety. Mr. Smith is not able to provide for our daughter if she were in his care. He has no home for her. I have concerns regarding his physical ability to take care of her. I know that he is not mentally able to care for a toddler. Mr. Smith is a threat to Patience’s physical and emotional well-being.
Any advice for the e-mails writer to help protect her and her child?