Fighting for Child Custody

It has been two years since I separated from my abusive husband. The day after i secretly moved out, he kidnapped me and my three children at gunpoint. He was arrested and charged with Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, Kidnapping, and Simple Criminal Domestic Violence. After serving only nine weeks in the county jail, the charges were dropped due to technicalities (no investigational progress). He has dragged the divorce proceedings out over the last two years by refusing to answer certified mail or come to court. He has expressed no interest in the children for all this time, and now he is using the courts to control and bully me once again, and has expressed his desire to have visitation rights. I was married to this man for fifteen years and was told that he would stalk me and kill me and the children if i ever left him. He also repeatedly threatened to kill each of my family members one by one including my two little nephews. These examples are just a very small look into what we lived through.

I knew I would eventually have the strength to leave him, but until that time, I started preparing. I didn't know how or when but i felt the right time would come. He never wanted me to work or go to school, but I finally convinced him and went to nursing school so that i could support myself and my children when i did leave. We suffered greatly during those years. He had repeated affairs and did not allow me to have friends for very long. My children were not allowed to have friends or even ride their bikes around the block.

The day i realized i had to leave was when i woke up to a bright light in my face at 5 am on a Sunday morning. Holding a gun to my neck, he was accusing me of cheating (which was what he was doing). I begged him to think about our little girl that was sleeping in our bed with her head right next me. I told him he could kill her too. I also begged him not to let the children see me after he shot me because they would never be the same again. He finally put the gun down and pulled me out of the bed. After that incident, I told my family and friends what was going on. They gave me support and encouraged me to get out. I spoke to a lawyer. I was told not to leave the state when i left, or I could lose my children or have to pay for them to go back for visitations. Secretly searching during lunch for two and a half months, I was relieved to find a new place I could afford on my own. With the help of church members, I finally got out. They helped me pack all that we could in a forty five minute time frame and we left. I cried the entire drive to the new apartment. but i was finally free!

Little did i know that it was just the start of a long battle in the court system that favors the offender not the victim. I have a three day court trial date but have to pay another $8000 + to my lawyer or the case gets dropped and I start back all over again. I have no where else to pull money from. I left with nothing but a table, kitchen items, the washer and dryer, dressers, a tv, and a bed. I have received no child support from him or any help with the children financially. My biggest fear is if something were to happen to me, my children would be handed back to him by the courts. I have to find a way to sever the ties with him once and for all so that me and my three little ones can finally be free!
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Organizer

Channel Manigo 
Organizer
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