His subtle behavior only lasted so long before his blood boiled and his rage was unstoppable causing him to physically and psychologically abuse his wife and neglect his two children. Living a life of anger and controlling behavior, Michael refused to treat his family with care. His wife Brittney not only feared for her life but was afraid Michael would put their two little girls in danger.
Brittney and Michael’s relationship had been off and on for three years. In the early stages of their relationship before they got married, Michael never displayed any type of abusive behavior until he started using and drugs such as meth, cocaine and marijuana. Brittney was unaware Michael was doing drugs until she caught him shooting meth into his body. Furious with Michael, she ended the relationship.
After one year, Michael stopped using drugs, was clean, got a job, and got back together with Brittney. Shortly after, she got pregnant with their first child. Little over a year later, they had their second child. After the second baby was born, Michael became mentally unstable. He became short tempered, violent, abusive, and forceful. His controlling behavior kept Brittney from leaving the house.
“He would take out the car seats so that I couldn’t leave with my children. He would hide my keys so I couldn’t go to work. It came to a point where I wasn’t allowed to work,” Brittney said. “I wasn’t even allowed to see my own friends or family. It was depressing.”
Their marriage was not how Brittney pictured it. They would argue every day resulting in Michael screaming, name calling, pushing, and throwing things around the house.
“If he didn’t like my dinner, he would throw it against the wall or anywhere but the trashcan,” Brittney said. “I told him you can’t behave this way. We have children to take care of.”
His behavior got worse and worse. He would plant his own drugs in Brittney’s car and then call the police and tell them she was selling drugs. He would take a knife out and start cutting his arms. Worst of all, he began to neglect the young girls.
“He never spent any time with them. If I needed to go to work, he wouldn’t take care of them and refused to be alone with them,” Brittney said. “He wouldn’t feed them, hold them or even put them to bed. His excuse was that he couldn’t handle them crying.”
Their marriage finally came to an end and they had a mutual agreement to date other people before finalizing the divorce. Michael started making false allegations and accusing Brittney’s new boyfriend of molesting the eldest girl. Child Protective Services (CPS) got involved and had to do an evaluation on the three year old girl. They determined that she was not molested and that his claims were fabricated.
For revenge, Michael took both girls away from Brittney for three days and would not let her have any communication with them. She was afraid he would hurt them or abandon them. Once he brought them back home, the eldest child started repeating what she heard her father say. She was usually a happy and energetic little girl who always had a smile on her face, but she came home mimicking her father’s behavior by screaming, getting angry, and using curse words. She was only three.
Lone Star Legal Aid was Brittney’s way out. She filed for divorce with full custody rights of the children along with a protection order and supervised visits for Michael. Her attorney filed a writ of habeas corpus which asked the judge for an order before the hearing which would allow law enforcement to get the children and bring them to Brittney. The judge granted the order and set a full hearing to hash out the full temporary orders.
At the temporary orders hearing, the judge ordered supervised visits for Michael through a professional monitoring agency, anger management classes, and that he pay child support.
At the final trial, Michael was ordered even more rigorous terms for visitation and treatment for his anger issues. After the trial, Michael filed a motion for a new trial asking the judge to set a whole new trial in hopes he would get a better ruling, however, the judge denied his request of a new trial and the prior order stayed in place.
Michael was required to take the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP). He needed to attend 12 consecutive classes to be granted less strict visitation rights. By the fifth class, he only attended one and was officially kicked out and banned from ever returning to the class. During that time period, he also violated his protective order and was arrested and taken to jail for two days.
“I am thankful I was able to get help from Lone Star Legal Aid and grateful that my attorney cared. My girls are now safe with me. Their safety is my only concern and my top priority.”
*Names were changed to protect the client’s identity.