I am a loving, kind and intelligent woman who was loyal to her marriage. This February 4 my husband of 15 years admitted to "watching porn everyday of our marriage" and stated "I might be a sex addict". I never got disclosure. March 8 he left sex addictions therapy and came home. He told our sons to go upstairs then unexpectedly hit me, the last in a long line of increasing abuse from a man who said he loved me. I called the police and he left. Several days later I mustered the courage to go with a friends lawyer to obtain an order of protection. My hands were shaking so badly the lawyer had to type up the incidents of abuse. I was sweating and couldn't remember everything.
My lawyer convinced me that to protect myself and my children I should file for divorce. He added it was my only chance to get my husband back to therapy. So started my journey in the court system, a place where I've experienced months of intense fear, anger, and helplessness.
After filing my support system disappeared overnight. It hurt. My husband projected all his actions onto me- I was having an affair, I was abusive, a liar and crazy- in a smear campaign to our friends, family, and even neighbors. He enlisted one neighbor to steal my mail. I could not contact anyone he spoke to without risking my no-contact order of protection.
My husband was then arrested for violating the no-contact order of protection-twice. I was shocked to find drugs and drug paraphernalia in my garage and my house which I reported and released to the police. Going to civil or criminal court is a constant part of my life now and I hate it. Court is not at all what I pictured. It's money games of power, control, and deception that lawyers play. My husband revels in manipulating the system and seeing what he can get away with. It's a positive feedback loop empowering him towards more deception and chaos, chaos that I have to pay to fight. He has threatened to fight me in court until I go bankrupt. Then he will fight for our children.
Lawyers don't understand or care about sexual addiction. My first lawyer was annoyed when I asked for language to protect my sons in the visitation agreement . He told me to write it myself. After talking to my CSAT he condescendingly told me "you need to control your PTSD" when I questioned him. My second lawyer, a female with a well-known firm who claimed to have represented the spouses of sex addicts, told me I was foolish for giving up my spouses income and I should have had an affair instead. She invalidated me when I reported abuse that lead to my husband being arrested. She said that's not what my husbands lawyer told her. My teenage son then was dragged in by the police as a witness. Every court date I faced the possibility that my order of protection would be lost and my husband would immediately be in the house. After going to court every 21 days with her to extend my order of protection I had spent $20,000- with no movement towards the divorce.
A third lawyer had multiple long conversations with me but never followed through, just ran up my bill. Once outside the courtroom I interrupted him in front of opposing council. I was told in front of her to talk only when spoken to. I've since learned lawyers call this "managing your client". Together he and opposing council agreed on a hearing to break my order of protection without telling me. After two and a half weeks of avoiding my emails and phone calls he suddenly withdrew from my case.
I moved out of our marital home because of the uncertainty and stress. I am constantly on guard in my surroundings. I took up learning self-defense. Eight months in and I still have constant insomnia. I dread going to bed. I sleep with a baseball bat and mace. I wake up with my heart racing, thinking about-even though I don't want to- the severe betrayal and threats.
I have returned to school and am living on credit cards. I have a fourth lawyer now. I am going back to court to collect almost three months of temporary support. After being harmed emotionally, physically, sexually and financially by my husband now I face the constant unknown of the court system. In November I will lose my order of protection unless the judge extends it.
My husband still consumes gigabytes of porn per month and is allegedly having sex in his car with street prostitutes. He has a girlfriend, a young employee of his whom he might move into our marital home. He no longer calls our sons. He still sees them every other weekend. We do not talk except through the court. I do not know who he is. I am left with this inexplicable nightmare. If my husband made less money I am sure my divorce would be almost over. I know the litigation will be long lasting and mostly out of my control so I picture it as a marathon I have to run. My belief in God gives me hope. Thinking of my children gives me courage to go on.
The following article and documentary regarding the unconstitutional manner in which vulnerable and traumatized individuals are treated in a divorce, within our legal system, is exploitive and harmful, in a manner that increases emotional, psychological and physical abuse to the innocent that our trusting the court system to help and protect them.
"More money flows through the family courts, and into the hands of courthouse insiders, than in all other court systems in America combined – over $50 billion a year and growing. Through extensive research and interviews with the nation’s top divorce lawyers, mediators, judges, politicians, litigants and journalists, DIVORCE CORP. uncovers how children are torn from their homes, unlicensed custody evaluators extort money, and abusive judges play god with people’s lives while enriching their friends. This explosive documentary reveals the family courts as unregulated, extra-constitutional fiefdoms. Rather than assist victims of domestic crimes, these courts often precipitate them. And rather than help parents and children move on, as they are mandated to do, these courts - and their associates - drag out cases for years, sometimes decades, ultimately resulting in a rash of social ills, including home foreclosure, bankruptcy, suicide and violence. Solutions to the crisis are sought out in countries where divorce is handled in a more holistic manner."