Fathers' rights during divorce are often forgotten. So if you're a father fighting a restraining order as part of a custody battle with your ex, you need to ensure you take several critical steps as soon as you find out a phony order has been granted against you. This article has been written in the hope that it can help to resolve your situation - with the favorable outcome being for you, not her.
Step 1: Move personal records and paperwork out of her reach to a safe location.
This is a vitally important step and should be done as soon as possible - yes, in the middle of the night if need be. If you're fighting a restraining order, you are obviously barred from going to her home to sort this aspect out. But you need to get that paperwork out of the family home.
Therefore, it is entirely reasonable and within your fathers divorce rights to ask a friend or relative to pick up this paperwork for you. If you don't have anyone to ask, or they aren't close enough to do it in time, ask your lawyer to arrange this on your behalf.
You should obtain computer discs or hard drives which hold similar information on them - if you think your ex will cause issues in this regard, speak to your lawyer about getting the entire computer confiscated by an unbiased third party. This is also the right move if you have shared data on the discs (so she can't claim you have sabotaged her records in any way).
Examples of the type of files that should be obtained from her reach are employment records, salary information, your will, tax or accounting data.
Step 2: Don't sign anything.
Never, ever sign any agreement or paperwork that you haven't had time to fully digest whilst fighting a restraining order or figuring out how to win a custody battle. You may want to get your lawyer to check out any agreements. A typical method to deny a father's divorce rights, when she is plotting to win a custody battle, is to get him to sign agreements which no lawyer can get withdrawn later down the line.
My own ex offered to withdraw her phony domestic violence claim against me (which had been stopping me seeing my kids for several weeks at this point) if I would sign a parental custody split agreement in which I'd get to visit my boys every third Saturday of the month. Although tempted, I didn't sign it - and five years later I have full and proper custody of my kids. My lawyer acknowledged that I'd done the right thing by not caving into her blackmail early on, when I couldn't afford a lawyer so I had no idea if I was doing the right thing.
Step 3: Freeze any jointly-owned assets such as credit cards or bank accounts or pensions.
This one can wait until the morning and should only take a few minutes of your time (a very welcome thing when you're trying to figure out how to fight a restraining order and how to win a custody battle!). Let your ex know you plan to do all of this via your lawyer or a mutually-acceptable friend or relative.
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