Desperate Mom Without Hope

I haven’t been able to hold my two beautiful children for 4 months, ever since I left New Hampshire for Canada.

This all started when I left my husband and our “marital home” in 2009 because of years of emotional abuse. We agreed (verbally) that we would have a 50/50 schedule with no child support.

He developed additional emotional needs and had a couple episodes of what a therapist would call a “cry for help.” I asked if he wanted to keep the kids an additional weekend to help him cope and to allow me to get their bedrooms ready. He thanked me for that time. This went on for two weeks. During this time I lost my job as a full time photojournalist because the paper I worked for went bankrupt and closed without warning. I was very busy helping to create a new newspaper and a new job for myself, so I was happy to oblige him.

He used all of that against me in court, AND convinced a marital master that I was a neglectful mother with everything but the kids in mind. I qualified for pro-bono representation, but was never appointed an attorney. Just my bad luck, I suppose.

We went back to court in 2011 and our parenting schedule was changed to a NEAR 50/50 schedule. I had them approximately 43% of the time. When he needed childcare his girlfriend or his mother watched the kids. When I needed childcare I had to hire a sitter or a daycare. Our living expenses to support the kids were nearly the same. He made 4x the money I did, and yet I was ordered to pay HIM support. This put me in the position of having to leave my job because I didn’t earn enough for childcare and living expenses. I went through multiple jobs over the next couple years, always facing the same problem, and getting further and further into arrears in the meantime.

Finally the bank had had enough, and my house was going into foreclosure. My car was also repossessed. To make matters worse, their father planned to move into his parents house to help out with his parents who have health problems, and that would mean I wouldn’t live within walking distance of the kids, even if I remained in that city.

So when my significant other accepted a job in Ontario, he found a house big enough for the kids and me and asked us to come with him. I immediately filed a parenting plan modification and a child support modification. A hearing is scheduled for March, 2015.

In the meantime, I’m in a foreign country and am bound by their rules. I can’t work without a work permit, and I can’t get a work permit until I meet certain criteria. I informed the judge and the state that this would all take place in December, and instead of showing leniency the family court judge issued a capias in the amount of $1000.

This capias is actively preventing me from employment, from immigrating, and from returning to NH to see my kids. I’ve never been away from them this long in my life. In fact, I was a stay at home mom for FOUR YEARS, but because he has legal representation and I don’t, he wins. End of story.

I have another case coming up in January. The State will be asking me again why I’m not sending money… I don’t know what to do, or who to turn to. Legal Aid has turned me away because my living situation has changed. I don’t have money, but I don’t qualify for any programs because I don’t have the kids 50% of the time because I live in Canada now. I cry every day. My heart is breaking without my children, and my ex is telling them that they aren’t allowed to see me again until they’re 19. (Arbitrary age, I know.) I’m at the end of my rope.


I'm a mom of two, living away from my babies because of a broken legal system.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. raquel_s

    I can completely relate to your post. I was a stay at home mom for almost 6 years. I did it all. He was abusive even after I signed documents in NY. I left because I couldn’t take the abuse and I took my daughter with me. He filed paperwork with lies and said he never abused me. I look like the crazy lady who kidnapped her child. I had to return to NY, provide her whenever he wanted while we were staying at someone’s house since I didn’t have anyone or anything there. No funds, no money, paying for a lawyer with whatever I could save up doing little jobs here and there. Now I had to decide to let my daughter stay here with him and be the visiting/long distant parent because I can’t provide for her and the court doesn’t side with victims due to the amount of women abusing that excuse. I feel your pain. You are not alone. I haven’t left NY yet. This was all recent. How were you able to cope with leaving?

    1. Jesse

      I suffered through deep depression… There’s no way around it. But with help from an incredibly supportive spouse and network of friends I was able to see what I had to do next. I had to dust myself off and become a long-distance parent. I had to do everything I could to make the transition less painful for them, because as much as it hurt to not know when I would see them next, I imagine it was 100X more painful for them to not hold me. I owed it to them to become the best long distance mom the world ever knew. Their father still fights me at every turn on this one. He’s broken the schedule up to the point that I actually can’t afford to fly them to see us, so I have to drive there for visitations and stay in a hotel (which is obviously not ideal for them or for us as a family unit.) I bought them tablets so we could skype but he kept taking them away for disciplinary reasons. If I leave a voicemail they nearly never get to hear it or are even told that I called. I now know when I’ll see them next (as do they) and that has brought some peace to our family. Very soon they’ll be old enough to understand what their dad has been doing to us all of these years and they’re not going to like it. They’re smart kids and have already started asking questions. 10 and 12 aren’t “little kids” anymore. They deserve respect, honesty, love and support, and that’s what they’re getting from their stepdad and me.

      Be strong <3

  2. mykidsandme77

    Its sad how easily it is as an abused woman and mother to lose our children to the man that we run from. I am sick of begging to be loved by my kids who have been turned against me now I have to beg to spend time with my grandbaby too.

    1. Jesse

      Show the grandbaby that you’re there regardless of physical proximity. Buy birthday cards, holiday cards, make little crafts, send photos, write notes and start a keepsake box. Some day the child will want to know you, and you’ll be ready 🙂 Best of luck <3

  3. shaunna

    I am a non-resident mother myself. Due to post natal depression. Me and my ex split in 2012. During a horrific custody battle in which i was lied about, was ripped apart by a judge for my mental health i couldnt cope with being a single.parent while.struggling with my mental health which was rapidly going downhill. My ex gained full custody. He moved to a differant part of the UK without my consent or knowledge. I went 2 years without seeing or speaking to my daughter. My ex got married and allowed my daughter to call his wife “mummy” now me and my daughter do have contact but i have to travel 5.5 hours by car costing £100+ in fuel then hotels etc…it costs alot. All this while trying to run a house and car. He now is demanding some child support Of £135 a month! He doesnt allow me to have my daughter at my house for weekend visits etc. For no reason whats so ever. He says she doesnt like travelling long distances and doesnt like change. But yet he moved her 5.5 hours away from her home town to go marry the women he got preg after 2 months of dating, allow her to be called mum and hide all my photographs from my daughter. My daughter calls me “tummy mummy” which is just ridiculous as IM mummy! I cant afford a solicitor and legal aid isnt avalaible for this sort of case anymore. He makes me feel like the worst mum ever.

    1. Jesse

      It makes me very sad to hear your story. You obviously want a relationship with your daughter, but he insists on distance. I know nothing about the laws in the UK, but in the states if your situation has shown consistency for a certain period of time and you can financially care for yourself and your child while she’s in your care then you should be able to file for a motion to change parenting plan, or if one doesn’t exist you may be able to request on. Again, I know NOTHING about UK family law… so maybe this isn’t helpful at all. The only advice I can offer you is that you write her letters, call her and send her a box of something special now and then in order to be a constant positive presence in her life.

      1. shaunna

        Thank you so much for your reply. I am trying very hard to be a positive constant in her life although her dad can make it very hard sometimes. I hope you find a solution to your problem. Thank you for the advice about writing letters and a special box. I will most defo do that. Thank you so much ? xx

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