Ottawa County, Michigan
Early in our marriage, I discovered my husband was using pornography and seeing other women at work. During our counseling process, my husband admitted he had used pornography since 12 years-old and was addicted. He was in counseling for approximately seven years, but decided he didn’t want to stop using pornography.
Secretly one day, my husband took all $25,000 we had saved for our children’s Christian school to buy a motorcycle. Without my knowledge he borrowed $15,000 more, and forged my name to complete the sale for the motorcycle. When I found out and confronted him the next day, my husband flew into a rage, grabbed my arm, and blew up at me. This was the moment when I had enough, and decided to file for divorce.
Soon after the divorce, I discovered that my ex-husband was sexually and physically abusing our two daughters. Despite my desperate attempts to protect them, the court continued to grant unsupervised parenting time to my ex-husband. Both Judge Hulsing and Judge Engle refused to allow me to submit evidence of abuse into trial. The court prevented me from speaking about the abuse happening during his parenting time.
Over the next fourteen years, the courts continued to give my ex-husband unsupervised parenting time with our two daughters. I watched the pain that my girls were going through, and was unable to protect them from the on-going abuse. Eventually, my oldest daughter began to exhibit extreme anger and behavioral issues as a result of the trauma she experienced. Even today, both girls have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, along with severe anxiety, and depression issues.
The financial hardship from the divorce was very difficult. Before the divorce, my husband removed me from all of our accounts. This left me with no money after the divorce, and I was forced to sell property from before our marriage. I received little child support during the first year. Years later, I discovered he was strategically hiding most of his savings and income.
The hardships my daughters and I went through at the hands of our Family Court have caused us so much pain and brokenness. Knowing I’m not alone in all of this gives me hope. Someday, there will be laws to protect families from what my daughters and I have experienced.