The Modern Domestic Woman shares the stories of women, no matter what season they're in. This includes heart-breaking moments, some past and some very much in the present.
Today, I invite you to listen to Jana's story.
We've heard from Jana before on MDW, as she wrote a beautifully honest piece in 2019 about The Long Road After Divorce.
In her own words, Jana explains how after enduring the post-traumatic stress of divorce, a mental breakdown and her seeking help was used against Jana in family law court. Yet in child support court, Jana was not considered mentally unstable. Instead, her ex-husband's attorney presented her as a successful entrepreneur with many accolades.
Financially and emotionally drained, Jana is desperately fighting to reunite with her children and repair the damage done to their relationship. But she needs help. Listen to Jana's voice in the story, watch her plea in the video, and aid in the restoration of a broken woman.
If you're a lawyer and believe you can help Jana in any way, please email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In November 2020, my three children were taken from me by the court system under the false claim from their father that I am "mentally unstable" and unable to safely care for my children. oldest child is a son, age 14, and I have two daughters: 12 and 7.
This emergency petition had many false claims, and I did not have the time or funds to acquire an attorney for the emergency hearing in November 2020. Using his attorney's privilege and prowess, my ex-husband insisted that I have no custody and no visitation of our 3 children, not even supervised visitation. The judge granted his request. Now it has been over a year without seeing my kids, with the exception of an occasional hug on the porch. My ex-husband uses a timer when he grants me permission to come over on the porch for a hug with my youngest daughter. My older children won't even speak to me because of the severe alienation and my ex-husband's false claims.
The reason my ex-husband was able to get his request for full custody in the court of Delaware County, Pa, was that he used the fact that I had one mental breakdown after our divorce in 2017. My mental breakdown was induced from the post-traumatic stress of my divorce, where I was a stay-at-home mother who received divorce papers on Christmas Eve, had to move and get a full-time job, and experienced bankruptcy and foreclosure because I had sacrificed my career to be available to my children and then-husband. When I began to have panic attacks and couldn't sleep for several days, I voluntarily sought help and recovered.
However, having a breakdown and seeking help was used against me in family law court, because my ex-husband's attorney used this as the basis for why I could be considered "mentally unstable," any time I do something my ex-husband doesn't agree with. My ex-husband and I have different political and religious beliefs, and I am more free-spirited, spiritual, and artistically minded. I like to perform, dance, and write in unique ways, and he is very conservative. This is why he tells the children I am sick.
The drama got even more intense after I lost my children, because while saying I am mentally unstable and unfit to care for my kids, my ex-husband then filed for child support in the same court system.
In child support court, I was not considered mentally unstable. Instead, my ex-husband's attorney presented me as a successful entrepreneur with many accolades. This is all while I was on pandemic partial unemployment, working part-time at a university, with my in-person healing work mostly stopped due to Covid. I had no extra money and was scrambling to make ends meet to pay attorney fees and adjust from the emotional trauma of not seeing my kids. I kept running out of retainer funds for attorneys who were not making any headway in the court.
Now, I have to pay my ex-husband $850 a month in child support, even though he is paying his attorney $325 an hour and I am facing homelessness for the second time in a year. He and his attorney insist that I cannot see my children.
I have not abused my children, I have no substance abuse disorder. I have no criminal record. I have up-to-date child abuse clearances, FBI fingerprinting, and clearances that show I have no history of any sexual misconduct. I have been trained in mandatory reporting for child support through my current job. I am certified to teach secondary school in Pennsylvania, and I have a Master's degree, as well as certificates in reiki, yoga teaching, and life coaching.
I have also gotten an intensive psychological evaluation from a respected area psychologist that says I am not a threat or a harm. I have had testimony of two mental health providers who agree I am not a harm or threat to my children or others. Still, the court will not return my children to me, and I am broke from trying to fight my court case alone.
WHAT THESE FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR *Attorney retainer fees. The attorney I found that has good ethics and morals to help me fight is $7500 for the retainer. I ran out of money for previous attorneys who made no headway. Legal aid has said they are unable to assist me due to the complexity of my case. *Reunification therapy with my children, at $200 a session. Currently I am required by the court to pay this. The total number of sessions will be at least 10 when it can begin. *Relocation costs to move from my current apartment by Feb. 1 2022. This requires a security deposit, first and last month's rent for a new lease. I am currently getting rental assistance from the state because of the change in my finances due to Covid, the court's fees, and having to pay child support instead of receiving it, while I make less than half my ex-husband's income. *Any extra funds I receive will go to Madame Rose, a visionary space
Many of us have experienced mental health disorders due to the pressures and challenges of our modern world. Because of my passion for helping moms and kids, and my story, I will work to create an arts and healing center in the future for mothers and kids of all ages who have had to deal with individual abuse or abuse through our systems, which is what I am facing. Madame Rose will be a community safe space for kids, teens, men and women that emphasizes holding up our mothers and treating them with dignity and respect in a system that often discounts the contributions of mothers.
Using my decades in education, my yoga and meditation disciplines, as well as my awareness of various healing modalities, I will team with others to teach online and in-person classes, offer food and local retail items, and host individual and group healing sessions that help us overcome the trauma and abuse many mothers have endured. This will be for mothers and children of all ages, from all races, ethnicities, and creeds.
Please donate as much or as little as you can on Go Fund Me. Below is my website so you can read more about me, my character, and my heart. Thank you. - Jana
Lead image via Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash