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A rock and a hard place

Started by oklahoma, Jan 04, 2004, 12:45:10 AM

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Background: July 2002, BM picked up SDs (now ages 11 and 9) for her weekend visit during our 4-week summer visit, and did not return him.  BM did not allow SDs to speak with my husband at all; she refused visitation; and then she took my husband to court under accusations of child abuse.

Judge ordered in October 2002 that visitation stop until 1. Husband took anger management 2. Husband and SDs participated in joint counseling 3. Husband, SDs counselor, and BM agreed it was OK to proceed with supervised visits. (This was something our attorney told us only happened in very severe cases of abuse--what BM accused my husband of should not have warranted such a judgment even if it was true.)

We decided to just do what needs to be done to restore contact with SDs. (Side note: The order did not say anything about other contact with SDs--only no parenting time.  Despite that, and against the suggestions of the counselor she chose, BM has not allowed any contact whatsoever since March 2003.)  My husband finished Anger Management in June 2003.  We have been trying since then to get joint counseling set up.  

I am posting now because we have been very dissatisfied thus far with the counseling center chosen by BM, but again, we didn't feel it was worth it to battle BM over changing counseling centers.  Here are our main concerns: 1. Original counselor testified in court that SDs were not lying about abuse, but in records we received right after the hearing, she had recorded OSD admitted to lying.  2. There was no effort to gain the entire picture--the center seemed to take BM completely at her word, including some plain old, bald face, easy-to-disprove lies.  There was no consideration that abuse may be taking place at BMs house or that SDs are victims of PAS.

My husband spoke to a counselor in December 2003 and her that he did not abuse his daughters, and did not want to "play along" with that idea just to get through counseling.  According to my husband, she did not take it well.  Therein lies my primary concern--our dilemma.  My husband cannot lie in counseling--say what the counselor wants to hear--then his daughters will forever believe that he actually abused them, which he DID NOT!  But, if he continues to deny the abuse, who is going to believe him now?  (Another side note: Neither the police nor CSD found anything even worth investigating, and no charges were ever brought against my husband.) If the counselor did not recognize the possibility of PAS 18 months ago, how can my husband change that?  And how will he ever be able to have normal parenting time with his daughters again?

Sorry this is long, tried to cut it down, but I'm just long-winded.  I guess my primary question is how can my husband best go about joint counseling with SDs?  Given previous history, would it be worth it to find another counselor--of course going through a huge battle with BM, and delaying the counseling even more? (Plus we are two hours away from BM--difficult to find a good counselor long-distance.)

I personally am glad that my husband has this opportunity for counseling--he and his SDs will surely need it after what BM has done the past year and a half especially.  I am just concerned that the counseling will not focus on the true problems that have caused the so-called "rift in the relationship" because of what BM has told counselors.

Dr. D

Dear Between a Rock and A Hard Place,

Certainly, anytime a counselor is chosen only by one party there is room for bias.  One of the first steps you should take is to seek out another therapist.  ONe that your husband can be happy with and work with. However, given the situation you may need to address this change in court.  WHere is your attorney in all of this?  You may have to suggest that your husband see a therapist without the SDs first (because of distance).

PAS is certainly something to look into and be concerned about.  How do YOU know, that you hubby did not abuse the girls?  Make sure when you undeniably take a side you are certain.  Being married to him, you would be expected to side with him, and therefore your confidence may not be considered.  

SOunds to me, a neutral party is needed.  Suggest this in court.  And get a very good active attorney.

Dr. D


Thanks for the suggestions.  Our attorney ended her family law practice, for health reasons,  right after our October 2002 hearing.  We have been going back and forth about getting another attorney--we are on a student budget.  We really wanted to do what we could without having to go back to court.

Besides the fact that I trust him, I know my husband does not abuse his children, primarily because there is little time that he is with them alone.  When his SDs were coming for regular visitation, we spent most of the weekend doing family stuff.  Believe me, when BM came up with these outrageous accusations, we wracked our brains trying to think of instances that my SDs could even stretch to be abuse.  My husband grew up in an very abusive home, and because of that has made a very conscious effort to not physically discipline his children at all--not even spanking.  He has been through counseling and has even taught parenting classes in the past.  But, the judge saw a 6' 2", 290-pound man with a goatee and shaved head.....

Dr. D

If you are convinced these are all made up allegations, I would attempt to find another attorney.  Perhaps legal aid?  Does the school you attend have a legal department?  You might want to approach DFC as well.  Discuss your concerns and issues.  Be willing to be open and ask for them to help you....You might be surprised.