Posted below is a typical (very typical) letter, the kind that is seen on the SPARC Forums every day. This is a classic example, and by no means the worst we've seen. We've taken the liberty of adding emphasis to a few sentences to make them stand out, but otherwise this letter is unedited.
Date/Time: 9/25/98 5:12 pm
Subject: Visitation for a parent when one just up and leaves with the child
Body: My email address is: (witheld)
My brother, a Florida resident, has a huge problem. His wife just up and left with his son just over 3 weeks ago. She then filed charges for child abuse and a restraining order on him. They went to court last week and the judge dropped all charges because there was absolutely no merit to them.
She falsely filed the child abuse thinking that would give her some kind of pull against him. She only got the restraining order on him so she could go and clean out everything of hers and their sons and some of his things out of their residence. She now will not have any contact with my brother at all. She won't let him see their son, won't talk about the bills, nothing at all. She is mentally hurting her son and does not seem to care at all about anything but herself. How can my brother and the rest of the family get some kind of visitation? My nephew is only 17 months old.
My brother spent almost every evening alone watching him before she took him and my mother spent almost every day watching my nephew while my brother worked. My sister-in-law would even get my mother to watch him so she could go shopping (God forbid she be burdened with her son). Now all of the sudden this has happened. All we can figure is that she wants him so my brother can't have him. I hope that someone can help us out with this terrible situation. My brother does not even have any money left for an attorney, as she cleaned out the bank account before she left also. My nephew is missed terribably and I am sure he missed his daddy and the rest of the family. I appreciate any help that anyone can give us!
Like we said above, don't think this can't happen to you. It can. Taking steps to protect yourself during divorce is the right thing to do. Notice how this mother made all the classic moves of a vindictive spouse:
She fled with the child, as if it's hers, as if she owns the child,
She filed bogus charges of child abuse,
She got a groundless restraining order against the father,
She took anything and everything she wanted out of the family home,
She cleaned out their bank account, leaving him without any money, and,
She refuses to allow him to see his own child.
Finally, just in case you're wondering, no, she won't be prosecuted or held accountable for any of these things that she's done. She can single-handedly ruin this man's life (or at least try her very best to) and she won't be punished at all for it.
Here's another one, very typical stuff:
My email address is: (withheld)
My X2B went and withdrew our joint account savings..(50K +) and put it into her name only at a different bank. She threatens to give it to her boyfriend or burn it or whatever if I insist on a 50/50 split of everything else...Yes, she would do it...I have not yet filed. I have all the documentation on bank accts, even her new one. Is there some instrument I can file that takes a snapshot of current assets and uses that as a basis for splitting them up? that way if she burns the savings or gives it to her scumbag boyfriend, it will eventually come out of her half.