Monday, August 20, 2012

Defeating a Sociopath in Court




Yet another thing about co-parenting with a sociopath that drives me crazy is their love of conflict. Since my ex filed for custody in August of 2011, I have had to appear in court no less than eight times. I have two more hearings scheduled next month. His latest stunt was to sue me over his personal belongings that he left in my garage when he moved out- over a year and a half ago. I won the lawsuit, and the sociopath was ordered to pay court costs. What follows is a breakdown of what happened, how I prevailed against him, and important lessons on dealing with sociopaths.

 

I own my home and property. When I finally got up the courage to throw the sociopath out, I gave him thirty days to remove his belongings. Of course, he never did. I was expected to continue feeding his horse and dogs, and to store his belongings in my garage. By May of 2011, I had made repeated requests for him to clean out his junk. Some of the items he took, most of it he left behind.
 
 The main problem was that almost everything he owned was garbage. The whole lot was at least twenty years old, and dry rotted or rusted. He was too lazy to take the stuff to the landfill. In October of 2011, he asked me to deliver some of his belongings to the supervised visitation site. I spent my own time and gas doing this. When I got there, he tried to refuse to take the items. I unloaded it beside his truck, and he told me it was all trash.
That was the last I heard from him on the subject until January of 2012, when he gave me a list that had about 5 items on it that he wanted from my garage. I responded with a certified letter advising him that everything had been disposed of except for a few items. I let him know that I would leave those items at a designated location on February 11 of 2012. I packed them up, delivered them, and took pictures of the items.
 
The sociopath drove up beside them, stopped, and then drove on down the road- leaving his belongings sitting there. I called him and asked why he didn’t pick up his stuff. He says he didn’t see it. Fast forward to August of 2012 when he drives by my house and notices his old grey (cracked) water trough sitting beside my garage. At the next exchange, he hands me a new list of belongings he left at my home. There are about ten items on the new list.
 
By this time, I am sick to death of being harassed about his stuff that he abandoned. I tell him that I have made multiple attempts to return it and he keeps refusing. He responds by calling me a whore and a thief in front of our son. Then he drives to the sheriff’s department to try to have me charged with theft of his property. They advise him that it is a civil matter, so the next morning at 9 AM he files a lawsuit pro se asking for $4,600 in damages.
 
My local attorney accompanied me to the hearing. She advised the judge of the situation and asked him to order the sociopath to pick up his belongings or pay to dispose of them. He does, and resets a hearing on the items that I no longer have for the following day. By now, the sociopathic father of my child and his girlfriend have compiled a two-page list of items that he left behind. The judge asked for proof from both of us.
 
My ex submits, as evidence, the certified letter that I sent him regarding his belongings (duh!). I submit the photographs of the items, and photo copies of the first two lists. We both testified. My attorney cites appellate case law that says that after a year and a half, he is not entitled to recover anything. The judge rules in my favor. The following items are some pointers that may help you if you are ever in a similar situation:


1. Document EVERYTHING! Send all correspondence through certified mail. Record telephone conversations and in person contact. Use a video camera if you have access to one, and keep it on file. You cannot go into court and expect to win in a he said / she said situation. You must have solid proof against the sociopath.
 
 
2. Use appellate or supreme court case law for your state in your argument. These cases typically spell out exactly how the law is to be interpreted. If you don’t have an attorney, research the state court website. Opinions are published online and searchable by keywords.
 
 
3. Use the sociopath’s attempts at litigation against him if you can. Look at this as an opportunity to put it in the judge’s mind that you are being harassed. Do not make unsubstantiated claims, but let it be known that the sociopath has an ulterior motive: revenge.

12 comments:

  1. In June 2012, I was sued for paternity and access to the child instead of waiting until the Attorney General could take over. Since then, we've been to court 4 times, with a fifth date this week. We can't even get to the point of STARTING to set up permanent orders, because he's fighting the TEMPORARY orders. The irony is, he came up with the schedule he's now fighting!

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  2. I wish you the best of luck. Get prepared for YEARS of litigation... sociopaths don't follow logic or reason. They fight simply becuase they like the conflict. It doesn't matter if the children are hurt- better still is if you are hurt. They are getting attention, have sympathetic followers, and get to inject havoc into your life. It is truely a nightmare.

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  3. I have a great support system in my parents. I'm going back to school to get my degree, so I can get a much better paying job. Even then, I was concerned about money. I'm currently living with my parents a d they said "If you have to stay with us for the next 18yrs to afford it, so be it!"

    Obviously not the ideal situation, but it's nice to know I have a safety net. I'm hoping our child learns early.

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  4. My friend is dealing with a female sociopath. She went out and got a protection order with all these false claims. She did it out of retaliation and want custody of their son. She sent text messages to his female friend telling him the only reason she did it cause he called C.P.S. on her and his so called friend that's having sex with her. Their 5yr old son has reported sexual abuse to the dad about his Mother and her young guy she's flinging with outside of his so called friend?.

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    1. Sorry to hear aout your friend. Female sociopaths are not as common, but they are just as dangerous. I would tell your friend to document, document, document everything and if he can get copy of that message for court- she is toast

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  5. I am in the thick of a nasty custody battle with my sociopath ex-husband. It's infuriating and it's hurting my daughters. I'm exhausted and stressed beyond belief and now the judge is exasperated and starting to be snippy. I've only recently gotten a lawyer because I was loathe to ask my dad for a loan but I had no other choice - my girls told me they don't want to go back to his place. Up til now, he's had them every weekend. It's a huge mess, he's playing every card in the deck (physical pain and disability, dyslexia, malnutrition because he claims he has to starve himself to feed the girls on the weekends)...I'm at wit's end. We've been begging for a psych eval but the judge seems to be stalling (oh yeah, my ex also threatened the JUDGE with a charge of judicial misconduct - which seems to be working because the judge's decisions as of late have been vague and nonsensical). This. Is. Insane. :(

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    1. It is, isnt it? Do u ever feel like a kid in one if those old syfy movies? U no, the kid who for some reason can see that the charming, harmless new neighbor is evil alien trying to take over world, but everytime he tries to prove it to someone, charming sociopath, I mean Evil Alien guy, is one step ahead and fixed it up so u look crazy? Im dealing with same, situation. I have one daughter, shes now 10 & finally, after going in & out if jail, breaking promise after promise, shes done. Unfortunately, weve had 6 judges, 4 FCS workers, and Im pretty sure that my first case, a restraining order that was no contact with me or child and was supposed to be consolidated, nvr was, so the crt is acting as if I hsve no reason to be concerned, and the worker doesnt even mention the 15 restraining orders granted against him only 3 r mine, one Fam Law DV case and one criminal. They are asking me to take a conflict resolution class !

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  6. It is sooo hard to guess at what these judges must be thinking, but at some point they have GOT to see the pattern. Stay strong!

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  7. Some additional tips that I have learned and hope helps anyone (been divorced for 5 years now and still fighting in court).
    - Don't have verbal conversations at all, if they call say "I am busy right now can you please email me or text" - this gives you evidence and makes it more difficult for them to manipulate.
    - Make sure any court orders are as specific as possible - they will find every possible loophole and play word games with the court orders.
    - You need to follow through, but you must do it smart. File show causes when he breaks the court orders but be smart - don't file every little thing. What I found is best is building them up for awhile and then filing one large show cause, showing the many things he isn't following. That helps the judge to see your not being nit picky but that you just want him to follow what is ordered.
    - When going to court - you need to be asking for solutions, not punishment for him. You need to be clear that you want the issues to be resolved. Ask yourself how does punishment resolve the issue? It doesn't, punishment won't change their behavior. But if the order can be rewritten to make it difficult for him to continue his behavior - that's a better solution for you. The judge is more likely to start listening to your requests in the future once they realize that your not trying to hurt them, you just want solutions.
    - Get Help! Get a good therapist - I am just now accepting that I need help. Real sociopaths are totally unpredictable - one day they will follow the order the next they won't and for a reason that has you going, what? that makes no sense. They don't have any reason-ability and as much as I have learned, I realized after 5-years that I still don't know as much as I could and that I never will understand him or be able to predict his behavior.

    If I am not describing your co-parent, then please ask yourself if you really know what's wrong with them. Understanding the thought process of others is difficult and you could be wrong about what's wrong with your co-parent. It's not about knowing what's wrong with them or putting a label on them - it's about trying to keep your sanity when dealing with them, learning to deal with them the best you can, and most importantly taking care of yourself. No one is perfect and we can all improve on being the best person/parent we can be. It's always best to keep the focus on your actions, your behavior and how could you better handle the situation next time. All you can do is control yourself.

    If this helps even one person, then it was worth it to post.

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    1. I agree we have to be very cautious in labeling our ex as a sociopath. However, I do want to point out that not ALL sociopaths exhibit the same behaviors. That is part of what makes this disorder so dangerous. There are high functioning sociopaths and low functioning ones. Some are more violent than others. Common traits include refusing to abide by laws of our society, lack of empathy, refusing to be accountable for their actions and flagrant disregard for right of others. These are only a few. Once you understand the thought process, you CAN SOMETIMES predict their behavior... usually it will involve them lying and doing something nasty in response to being caught and held accountable.

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  8. My husband is dealing with an ex of whom lied to him about a child. Just shy of 18 years old she files for additional child support, there was no order on the child but my husband had been giving his ex money and then paying for everything the child wanted/needed. The ex reaches out to the biological father and has DNA test done before the second court date. She knows my husband isn't the father but refuses to drop the case b/c she feels my husband owes her. She told the biological father that my husband made her promise not to tell him about the child, not true. Now, she owes my husband for child support she never paid on their daughter but says she doesn't owe it b/c she is still married to my husband. They were common law married. My husband found out in June that his daughter my belong to another family member. She calls these "family secrets" and thinks all this is funny.

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    1. Many states icluding Tennessee allow men to recover damages from false claims of paternity

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