My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Missouri.
First some background information. I have a temporary order of protection against my ex. He was abusive in the past and I can prove some, but not all, of the abuse - although so far, nobody has asked me for any proof. CPS questioned both of us, which I hear is standard in a case like this. My ex is going around bragging to people that CPS took his side and that they know he would never hurt his son. I actually believe they might have really told him that, because when they interviewed me, they said that if my ex was actually abusive, I would have moved out months before I did. Keep in mind the abuse was primarily emotional/verbal/financial and that MANY men and women stay longer than they should - is CPS not trained in domestic abuse?! Yes, I admit I should have left sooner, but that doesn't mean the abuse didn't occur. My ex drained my savings and I ended up with a repo'ed car and no cell phone - and most of my friends and family are halfway across the country. I didn't know how to leave at the time. I'm not going to sit here and cry that I'm a victim, though, because I understand more about abuse now and wouldn't put up with this ever again. I'm only mentioning this so you can understand the situation.
My ex does scare me and I do still believe he would hurt me if he had the chance. I believe he would hurt my children if he was alone with them, but he puts on a good front for other people. Currently, although he can't talk to me, he is finding other little ways to get to me - lying to the GAL and his lawyer (which means I get little messages in the mail), lying on expense sheets, driving around my house and stopping in front of my window (and yes, I called the police, but they didn't care), sending my friends messages to give to me (and yes, the TRO prevents him from doing that, but he does it anyway), attempting to cancel utilities with me and the kids in the house, and making false noise complaints (I don't know for sure if they're from him, but I received 5 in a two week period after our last court date - and each time the police arrived, they seemed fairly confused as my kids were in bed or watching TV quietly in the dark with me - I've lived here for years and never had a complaint prior to that). I have had several of his friends and family members state that he would be more civil towards me, whatever that means, if I were to drop the order of protection.
I made the mistake of using Google to see how many abusers get custody of their kids. I ended up reading all these horror stories about how judges look down on battered women or women who stay with abusers and think they're unstable. Then they take the kids away and give the abuser sole custody because they believe the mother is guilty of Parental Alienation Syndrome or something like that. Does this really happen a lot? I'm thinking about dismissing the temporary restraining order because I'm scared a judge will be angry that I have one, and I'm also hoping dismissing it would make my ex calm down. My friends think this is a huge mistake (they've been around enough to know that my ex has a temper), but I'm scared and don't know what to do.