In May of this year I ended my relationship with my husband. After moving to Charleston his temper became worse and worse, causing even the kids to walk on eggshells around him. Then, a few months before I left, the arguments became physical. I had tried to get him to go to anger management and get counseling, and he agreed at first, but then never got any help. Luckily, I took pictures of the bruises and screen shots of text messages where we were discussing him signing up for classes, so proving the abuse won't be too hard.
In Charleston I had been working, but it was extremely part time and I was only making a few hundred dollars a month. When I told my husband I was leaving I asked him to let me have the house. I have always been the primary care giver of the girls, and it would make the most sense for me to stay. He refused. He also refused to give me any money to find someplace for myself. I ended up staying at a domestic violence shelter, and then at my friends house. I tried to go through the courts there, but nothing would be heard until a few weeks later, and I didn't have the money to survive that long without help. With no options left, I left with my daughter and drove to Colorado to stay with my parents.
As soon as my ex found out we were in Colorado he filed an emergency custody motion in family court in Charleston. In it he claimed I had kidnapped our daughter, that he had no idea where I was, and no way to contact me. He even went so far as too say that he had "used every method known to him to find and contact her, but was unable to do so". Every accusation in his complaint is provably false.
Also, while I was still in Charleston, our daugther's things, including her clothing, hostage. He only gave me a tiny garbage bag for her with cloths size 3T and 4T, (she is a size 7/8), swimsuits, and a turkey costume. He has done nothing to support her in almost 3 months.
Apparently, though, there is a prejudice against a parent who leaves the state. Because of this, and the fact that I had to appear by phone for the hearing because I didn't have the money to get back to SC, my ex now has temporary custody. I have the proof for my case, but because Common Wealth states have some weird laws, I have no clue how to bring them to attention on my own. Even if I did, I would have to be living in Charleston, or at least able to travel there frequently, in order to file all the motions and attend hearings.
Because of this, I need a lawyer. We have part of the retainer, but need the rest. I don't like asking for money like this, but I have no other choice. So far, the Child Family Investigator assigned to the case seems to be on my side, but it can take 6 months to a year for the final hearing where her report is presented. As things stand now, my ex will have custody of her for that entire time period. My daughter is terrified about going back with him, and ever since she found out that she might have to she has been unable to spend time without me. She has even been sleeping in my bed at night. Her going back would be extremely damaging to her. Just the emotional toll it would take to have her forced away from me would be hard, but I also don't know what will happen to her in his care. Currently his older daughter is living in Colorado, and there is a protection order against him from even contacting her. Because of this my daughter would be mostly on her own in a house with her father and his girlfriend.
So, please, anything towards the attorney will help. If you happen to have the resources and would be able to put up a larger or whole amount, please know that it would be a loan, not a gift. I would pay you back as soon as humanly possible. Again, I hate asking, but I have no other options available right now. I just can't let my baby go back with that man, and I have no way to stop it from happening on my own.
Thank you all so much! You don't know how much every cent means to me.
- Christine McCann
- Joye Austin
- Karah Britton
- Angie E.