June 15th 2012, The Day My Heart Died.

I will try to sum up my story in as few words as I possibly can...but it won't be easy.

In May 2012 I lost my 2 precious boys to their father who lives in Sweden. He won residential custody based on "fraud". My ex said I moved our family back to America simply to divorce him, which is not entirely true, but was nearly impossible to prove to lawyers, especially since I met someone online after I decided I wanted a divorce.

My ex and I lived in Sweden for about 8 years out of the 11 years we were married. We moved from America because I was promised a better life in Sweden and promised I would be able to raise my children myself in Sweden since maternity leave is 1yr long, etc. Life in Sweden wasn't all it was cracked up to be. My ex controlled finances, I did not have a valid drivers license, and had to walk or take a bus everywhere--even to grocery shop with my children-rain or shine, sickness or in health. My ex began drinking heavily in 2009 when his job got more stressful. He would tuck money aside to support his drinking. He would tell me we couldn't afford new shoes for the boys, but he would still come home daily with his alcohol and still support his tobacco habit. He would not quit, he hid hard liquor from me, lied about funds, became reclusive and distant and was even flirting with women at work. I'd had enough- you only get one life.

We moved back to America in December 2011. Shortly thereafter my ex found out about my online interest and that's when I told him I wanted a divorce. I wanted things to be civil between us. I wanted to help him get settled in his own apartment and I was even applying to jobs for him. He was beyond bitter and did not want my help. I had no relatives to live with, so we had to live together until my new interest could move to my state. I cooked and cleaned and tried to make things seem as normal as possible for our two sons ages 5 and 11. They knew their parents were divorcing and they were dealing with it ok knowing they would still see both parents, just at different houses. Little did I know my ex was plotting against me to get custody of our children.

I started becoming suspicious of his actions when he was badgering me with questions about our children and questioning my ability as a mother. Basically he was pushing my buttons and he knew how to do that really well. At the time I thought it was odd he was wearing a thermal flannel INSIDE the house...and asking me all these seemingly odd questions. Come to find out he was recording me (which I found out later) and intentionally trying to get me to get angry with him and say things that could cause me to lose custody. One night in March after he'd been badgering me all day, he started again after dinner was over. Judging me as a mother, pushing my buttons, etc. I'd had enough- pushed to my limit. We were screaming at each other (the children were unaware of things and were playing upstairs). The next thing I know he's saying "ouch- you hurt me" and falling to the floor when I hadn't even touched him! It immediately hit me that he had to be recording me. I said back to him that I never touched him and that he was a drama queen. The next thing I knew he was on the phone to the police. Telling them he was afraid of me. I stood there shaking my head in disbelief. Then a knock at my door was the police. They took statements from both of us separately, starting with him. I was terrified and could not believe this was happening. Turns out he was recording me, and actually played the recording for the police. It was later written in the police report that my ex was clearly a desperate man and was trying to set me up. The police told me I needed to leave and stay elsewhere, so I called my folks who lived a distance away and they came and picked us up. The police said if they were called again, someone would go to jail.

My boys and I stayed with my folks for about 5 days. My ex was calling and begging us to return...saying he would be civil, etc. I thought it would be in the best interest of the children to move back so they could get back to school, but was still reluctant my ex would try more shenanigans. I was a fool to think he would be civil. A few days later I was served papers by a policeman. My ex had filed a restraining order against me. Saying he was afraid of me and that I was a potential threat to our children. I had to vacate immediately without even saying goodbye to my sons- or explaining things to them. I went directly to my lawyer who was handling the divorce. After I informed her what was going on, she suggested I pay for a Guardian to represent my children, so I did. The Judge suggested I choose a Guardian with a Swedish heritage. I was dead against this, but it seemingly went ahead anyway. The Guardian visited both me and my ex with our children - and with just visiting us for a couple hours each, she determined my ex was the better suited parent for the children. It was so obvious she was partial to my ex and his Swedish charm. I was devastated when I read the report from the Guardian.

I was told by my lawyer that if we went to court, I would just be paying to lose. I could not understand her mentality. I had done nothing wrong. I was not a threat to my children or my ex (ever), was set up by my ex (as written in the police report). I was just trying to get out of a bad marriage and yes -had met a wonderful man along the way- who would eventually end up my fiancee years later.

My lawyer told me that my children were going back to Sweden with their Dad and there was nothing I could do about it. My ex's attorney had emails between me and my boyfriend, which indicated we were planning a future together and made it look like I fraudulently brought my ex to America to divorce him. I was only trying to do the right thing by keeping my ex in my children's life. Even though my love for him was long gone, I knew he loved our children and they loved him and I felt it was the right thing to do- moving us all to America. I could not continue living in Sweden. I missed my family terribly, could not speak Swedish despite having gone to school for Swedish and I could not get a job. They lawyers still viewed it as fraud.

I was granted joint custody and equal parental rights and responsibilities. He was granted residential custody. I get to see them at Christmas and during the Summer, and I have to pay for their flights. They left me in June 2012. I think my heart died on this day.

I Skype daily with my boys. Since they arrived in Sweden in June, I have learned their father has been far from a model parent. He leaves them alone early in the morning while he goes jogging...locking them in the apartment and leaving my 12yr old to care for his 6yr old brother. He sleeps over his girlfriend's house during weeknights- when the children need him to help them with homework and such. Their impatient grandfather watches them while their father is away. My 6yr old was in the hospital recently with blood coming from his bottom- due to a poor and constipating diet. My oldest son is alienated by his classmates despite his attempts to fit in. He has Dyslexia and is not getting the help he needs from teachers or his father. My ex is neglecting my children and is focused only on his girlfriend. He plans on moving in with his girlfriend, her two young girls and my sons. My children are clearly unhappy.

In a nutshell, this is my story. I want my boys living with me. I want sole custody, but I don't know how to go about it. It is written in my Final Divorce Agreement that all changes to the agreement must be dealt with in Sweden, in Swedish courts.

On most days, I feel things are hopeless. Please share your ideas and thoughts with me on how I can be with my children again. Thank you.
MomPom MomPom
36-40, F
1 Response Dec 3, 2012

Hi
Today was my worst day ever. My story is similar to yours with my ex from Germany. We are still married but my sons habitual residence is Germany. I tried to bring him back w me but my ex took me to court. Life in Germany was bad, I was only there for five years but I was given the promos that we could return. After he got a new gf it all changed so I left.
After months in court and legal issues I agreed to let him go back. It's been extremely hard for me. This day has been the worst day of my life. Just looking for support. :(
Does it ever get better? My ex is a pretty good dad though, he hasn't been mean or petty. I just think he should have let my son stay with me until he had an idea where he would like to live permanently. My baby is only 4 and his half sister is here with me. It seems so wrong to separate them for his selfishness.