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I am forty-three years old – an Interior Designer who has done well for herself over the course of sixteen years. I married thirteen years ago and have four beautiful children. My husband has had a series of losses in his life which turned him into a raging drunk, drug user and abuser (emotionally and physically towards the children and I).

After a series of abusive situations involving the children, I finally made my way to the attorney’s office and filed for divorce. Was that the right thing? I have been nothing but punished since that day in July 2009.

He destroyed the business I have had for seventeen years. He took all the money I had to support me and the children.  He stole from the house and took all the money in our accounts.

He has not only hit me a few times, but he hit the children to the point that child services got involved. After they interviewed the children, they told me I would be charged for never turning in all these abuses in the past year. The children and I are all in counseling.

My first attorney did everything wrong, My second attorney took what money I had left and dumped me because I couldn’t pay any more. A guardian ad litem was finally appointed to our family and I had to pay for that out of the investments I had left. She actually believed him and never interviewed half my witnesses. She also never talked to the boys. Then, I was sent to another attorney (a third one) who said he would finish up the divorce for a flat rate. Well, I can’t come up with the rest of the money. He and my -soon-to-be ex’s attorney seem friendly and I feel like I am just getting screwed.

The worst part about all this is that the children are so messed up from the divorce and the abuse they suffered from their father. I have done everything I can to protect them but the Florida courts don’t seem to care.

We are getting ready for trial now and I can’t seem to get anyone to understand how bad this is for me and my children.

They hide in their rooms when he comes to get them.

My nine-year old ran nine blocks away and called me from a gas station because she was afraid to be with her dad.

My four-year old has seen his father throw me up against my desk and hold my head down as he threatened me. He nearly drowned at his cousin’s house and his father was nowhere to be found.

On his second birthday, he took my son out of his car seat because he was crying and stuck him out the window as I was driving down the highway.

My six-year old keeps getting thrown into walls by his father, his dad calls him pussy boy and tells him he cries like a school girl.

He makes him sleep on a sofa at his house to punish him for his mother filing for divorce.

My eleven-year old is pulling out her eyelashes and eyebrows.

Where am I to turn? I don’t know how to get people to understand what is going on and change this for my children.

I bought my house when I was single and have fixed it up, paid the mortgage on it for eleven of the fourteen years I’ve owned it.

In 2004, I walked into my house to find a lender and a lady sitting there because he wanted to refinance the house. I was stupid and signed the papers not really knowing how bad I was going to be screwed – until now, when I can’t afford food, let alone the house. I am about to be forced out onto the streets.

His attorney is trying to get me out of the house so he can move in. The only reason I would do this is for my children so I know they have a bed to sleep in and a roof over their head, but in the process I have nothing.

No money, no place to live, no support and an attorney who told me to marry better next time. My whole family lives up north and the few friends I have here have their own problems.

I never thought this would be happening to me.

I have gone to the courthouse for help with the abuse center. They can’t help me and just send me to the shelter. I can’t find a job and am so confused. I can’t figure out what is going on.

I guess I don’t know what to do at this point. I have tried everything I can except to just take the children and run away. Believe me, I have thought about this so much, but what kind of life is that for them? What if I got caught and then can never see them again?

Do I just give him the kids and walk away? I know that would kill me. I can sleep in my Suburban for a while, but since I can’t secure a place to live because he ruined my credit and took all our money, I will lose the children anyway.

I am a rat stuck in a very bad situation. Crying is not helping me out of this giant mess. Where did the strong business person go? Why can’t I get anyone to understand that I divorced this ass to make my children’s lives better? Where do I go from here?

How do my children survive this nightmare?