Under many circumstances, it is extremely easy to get temporary emergency child custody orders. Unfortunately, that ease leaves ex parte orders open for misuse and abuse. Often, as in our case, they are sought for malicious purposes and are outright fraud upon the court.
A few months prior to the court fraud, Frank, my ex, initiated in late 2010, he attempted to illegally restrain us via an ex parte order in his own city. Our five-year-old daughter and I were there, from out of state, on a fairly long visit — between two and three weeks, I think. The day we were to fly home, he grabbed her and ran out the door. I was unable to catch him or reach him by phone. We missed our flight. Around six that evening, they returned, accompanied by two police officers. I was handed court papers and told to read them carefully. I had been restrained from removing “the child from the home state.”
The home? It wasn’t our home. She and I hadn’t lived in that state for over two years, yet we were stuck there, by court order, against our will. It was my first taste of bullying via proxy. My ex, grinning ear to ear with pride, had just learned the art of using family court to inflict crippling blows. At the time, I had no idea that there were many more blows to come. As Frank visibly salivated, I flipped through the puzzling papers a couple more times and headed to the spare bedroom with my daughter.
He left his apartment an hour later. We left, too, and checked into a hotel. I needed an attorney, but it was a Friday evening, so I remained bewildered for days. On Monday we retained an attorney and gathered up, via fax and email, everything that proved we resided in a different state and headed to the court house to have the fraudulent order quashed.
His attorney (from a well-known father’s rights firm) was there alone because my ex had suddenly become unreachable. The judge was upset about the fraud, but, naturally, there were no repercussions for Frank. His attorney, also displeased, was apologetic and kept saying, “I had no idea.” He would no longer represent him. The order was indeed quickly quashed. We purchased new airline tickets and flew home the next day.
A couple days later, Frank shrugged the whole thing off with an “It’s no big deal. I knew you’d have it quashed” spiel and immediately got to work on his next scheme. And, heck, why not? He had just learned that he could commit court fraud and remain unscathed . . . and ex parte orders were only one of many weapons in the family court arsenal.