OOP Survivor Blog

Four women and five children die every day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. Read President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation announcing his commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I Decided to Have My Order of Protection Dismissed

As I've written in previous posts, my journey to have my Order of Protection upheld in court was not an easy one. I was not at all surprised that my ex-husband requested a court hearing. It is difficult for someone who works in law enforcement to have an Order of Protection on his record, apparently.

In any case, in a strange turn of events, the commissioner who was presiding over our court hearing did not make a decision, which I'm guessing is due to the fact that she was new in her position and inexperienced with Order of Protection cases. Instead of making a decision, she granted a continuance. So following the hearing, my order remained in place and I was faced with having to return to court for a continuation of the hearing and to once again have to be in the same room with my ex-husband. Which of course was not a pleasant thing to look forward to. More like absolutely devastating. I'd assumed that I would never have to see him again after that day, especially since he lives out of state in California.

In the meantime, my ex-husband's attorney was attempting to bring a settlement offer to the table. In fact her emails were quite desperate. And at first I wanted nothing to do with a settlement. I was purely focused on having the commissioner uphold my Order of Protection. I was living in fear and felt that I needed police enforceable protection for myself and my children. However, as the weeks went by, I realized that I would be able to obtain much longer lasting protection with an option other than the Order of Protection. And that option ended up being in the form of an addition to our divorce decree.

In the end, we did settle, and to my terms. I refused to negotiate. This man had put me through hell. I would rather have gone back to court than to bend on any terms. My attorney and I put forth terms that I felt I could live with and that would protect me, my children and all other members of my family from any contact from my ex-husband for the rest of our lives. The terms were added to our divorce decree by way of an addendum. Included in the terms is the fact that he can never contact me or my children or any member of my family in any way. He also cannot enter the state where I am living for the next year. (This addendum is in the public domain, as is our divorce decree. Nothing was sealed, so all of the information is open to the public.)

The terms also included the fact that my ex-husband had to pay for my attorney's fees in the amount of $5,000. That included the $2,000 I paid to the attorney who handled my Order of Protection case, as well as the nearly $3,000 I paid to the attorney who handled our divorce. I felt that it was only fair that he pay the bills for all of the chaos that he caused.

All in all, this didn't end the way I'd ever expected. I had assumed that I would have the Order of Protection in place for the next year. But, in retrospect, this was a much better deal for me and for my family because this will always be in place. Plus it is considered a fully enforceable order of the court. So there will be immediate consequences should he choose to break any of the terms.

And....I'll never have to see my ex-husband again in court. That was one of the worst experiences to go through, but I guess a fitting final image of him. Seeing him in court just brought home all the reasons why I wish I'd never met him in the first place.

This was an extremely stressful, trying time, from the day I filed the Order of Protection to the day we settled -- the longest four months of my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment