First I want to thank Chris for this blog. I have been reading it for hours today. I have had a similar restraining order issue, that I would like to share with you. It is essentially on par with Chris's story with a few twists.
I met my wife in 2000 in Tampa. We were good friends, but we were not dating at all. In early 2001 we made the jump to a committed relationship, at a stop light in Los Angeles, California, and we got married. We shared a son together, Jason, whom I loved more then anything else in my life, that anyone that knows me can attest.
In 2003 we moved back to Florida, as I took a job in the Tampa area. She was happy to get back near her family, and so was I. In 2003 we had a fight, which turned physical for both of us. I was 100 percent in the wrong, and I will not deny that, and I was arrested for domestic battery.
As one may suspect, I was brought to the jail and awaited trial. A few weeks into my incarceration I was served with a temporary injunction, filed by Daina, my wife. I was reading the petition and I immediately noticed the plethora of lies that she stated as fact, such as me being arrested multiple times for domestic battery. I have only been arrested (to this day) for this one charge of domestic battery. In her statement she was did not allege there was any violence of any sort regarding our son. This was also corroborated with an investigation by the Department of Child and Families.
I was pretty upset at her false allegations, and I waited impatiently for the day I would be allowed in court. I was told that even though I was incarcerated I would be allowed to present my case. I was not permitted to court, and she was given a permanent injunction without me even being able to plead my case and the blatant inaccuracies in her statement, which would easily be proven to be false. Even when I did not get a chance to go to court, I wrote a long letter to the Judge regarding the false allegations and the ease to disprove these accusations.
I was offered a plea for my domestic charge, and with the hopes of getting out of jail, I took it. This was an isolated incident with her but I was no doubt guilty of my charges. My brother picked me up from jail and took me to his house. Within hours Daina called me and wanted to come over. I agreed and we met the next day. I told her that I was going to get a lawyer and contest the injunction, but she told me that since I didn't show up and she didn't go to court that there was no injunction. I took her at her word, still being much in love with her.
From 2003 until 2006 we lived together in Tampa. I was offered a position in Jacksonville, Florida and I decided to take the job. I moved to Jacksonville while she stayed at our house in Tampa. I visited her and our son as much as possible, generally every weekend. Once the lease was up in Tampa, we decided that we would not continue the lease and Daina and my son would move to Jacksonville, where I was living.
I can not say that I was not happy to have my family back together again, and I did everything I could to ensure that they had everything that they needed. I worked over 60 hours a week and I was rarely home.
One night, while I was home alone, I got a knock on the door. I opened it to reveal two Duval county Sheriff officers on the porch. I naturally asked if I could help them, and they asked me what my name was. I told them my first and last name, they then asked me if my wife lived there. Thinking that something may have happened, I admitted that she did indeed live there as well. I was then promptly handcuffed and told I was violating a restraining order. I told them there was not an active order, and that it was dropped according to Daina. I even offered to leave at the time until it was sorted out, but I was not afforded that opportunity. I was guilty, case closed.
It did not matter, I went to jail for the violation of the order. Thinking this was a big mistake, I called my wife at home from the jail to straighten it out. These calls added more charges to my case and got me a stalking charge! No one even answered the phone!
I did not know for a few weeks that she actually called the police and had me arrested. We rarely fought, so I honestly thought it was a mistake and it took me a while to accept this personally.
My lawyer got my record from Hillsborough County that clearly showed that I was never served with the permanent order, and on top of that Daina kept giving the court a false address for me so I would never be served. We lived together and she did not know where I lived? It did not matter, the Judge found my guilty of the charge and I was given 6 months of jail and one year of probation. I almost lost my career because of this.
I was served MONTHS AFTER I got arrested. I was still found guilty, it does not matter if you were ever aware of the injunction.
So when I got out of jail, none other then Daina was there to greet me. After so many months in jail and still having feelings for her, I went with her. I knew that she had some mental issues, and I just accredited the past few months as a little bump. We stayed together for a few weeks in Tampa after I got out, I then went back to Jacksonville to work for another company. At that time I decided not to take her, I was too scared to go to jail and I came to my senses. She invited herself to Jacksonville with me, reminding me that every time I upset her she could just call the cops. She lived in another county, but that did not stop her from calling me. I would date other women and she would threaten that if I did not see only her she would call the cops. If I didn't help her with her bills she would call the cops. Through this time I was still seeing my son, which was against the injunction, even though no complaint about me being anything but loving to my son was given to the court.
So here I am, with two options:
1. See her and do what she wants, violating the injunction and putting me at criminal risk
2. Do not see her, follow the injunction and she will call the cops and have me arrested.
The last time I saw her and my son was Christmas of last year. She showed up at my Mothers house (where we always get together for Christmas) with our son, Jason. They spent a few hours there and I enjoyed the time with Jason. She would try to sit on my lap while we were together, but I pushed her away, as of this time I was done with her and everything about her.
Since my son was involved, I went with option one. What a mistake! The cops were never called and things went well. She ended up getting in to drugs and getting arrested quite a bit (she is in jail now), so I felt that I needed to do something regarding my son's well being. He is in a boarding school (she felt he should be there so she did not have to take care of him), but I was no less concerned about him.
I finally filed for divorce with a parenting plan regarding my son. Since she was in jail, my lawyer and I an emergency order for the well bring of Jason. We had a hearing this past Thursday and the judge asked Daina when the last time I saw Jason was. She told him that I saw him on Christmas, but under threat. She actually told the Judge that I found out she was in Tampa, tracked her down and threatened her to bring Jason over so I could see him. She also stated that she was only there for 5 minutes and she left because my son was so scared of me. This could not be so far from the truth, they were there for a few hours and Jason and I played together, talked and did things any normal father would do. The court is going to believe that I can call her and threaten her to let me visit with Jason and she would drive 25 minutes to my Mothers house instead of calling the cops?
The court instructed me to go back to the original court that issued the injunction to modify it or transfer the custody issue. I am worried about this, I have to go in front of the Judge that issued the order. Daina is clearly going to lie to the Judge, and there is not a thing I can do about it. There was never an accusation of me being a threat to my son, until Thursday. I am sure that this is going to carry over to this hearing, possibly getting me arrested.
Needless to say I am stressed and a little scared about filing this motion. I will completely lose my career if I get put in jail, I almost lost it when I went the first time.
So what do you do with a woman that is not going to tell the court the truth, and tell lies to make sure that she gets what she wants? I have been wondering that all night. It makes you wonder if she even thinks about our son and how much he wants to be able to see me. This is not important to her at all.
I am not a violent guy at all, I can get upset easily at times, but anyone that knows me will also tell you that I prefer to leave the situation as opposed to fight with anyone. Because of Daina and her willingness to lie to the court, I may never get a chance to see my son again. This is tearing me apart. I am not even sure what I am going to do. A part of me wants to just drop any type of visitation or interaction with my son, but the other part wants to fight it. It is not right. I love my son as much as anyone else, but I may possibly be denied being with my son because of lies? I can not believe that no proof is needed, simply her word. Where is the justice?
I can not deny that the thought of not talking or seeing my son does not bring me to tears more often then I would like to admit. I am even in tears writing this, simply thinking about the prospect of not seeing my son, who I love more then anything else in the world.
These laws have to change, simply because someone says they may fear you should never take you away from your own son. I really do not care if I ever talk, let alone see, Daina for the rest of my life, but is it fair that she can simply deny me the joy of being a father to my son, simply because she does not want me to?
I will admit I am under a lot of stress fighting this, and I am not sure what I will be doing. It almost seems that the only option I have available is to give up my only son, which feels like it is not an option to me.
I will update everyone on the outcome.
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