advice about child custody issue

Pitter - posted on 06/14/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have 2 children ages 12 and 14. My ex husband and I divorced 4 years ago. We had been separated for almost 5 years at the time of divorce. The ex and I used to share custody with no child support as I made more than him at the time. However, a year after divorce he remarried and a lot of problems began to arise. He moved and the children were very unhappy. They started to have alot of issues with him and his new wife. They were having nightmares, health issues, my daughter was wetting the bed at age 10 and my son was on ulcer medication. I went to court to modify the visitation after talking to my ex didnt help. The court suggested therapy. Throughout the 11 months of therapy, not a lot changed. The kids were increasingly frustrated with their dad. They went weekly and sometimes twice weekly to therapy with him and for him. Not much changed on his part, even though he promised them he would. He lies to them a lot. He makes inappropriate comments about how they dress, or look, or their possible sexual preferences and they have serious trust issues with him. We couldn't agree on a revised visitation schedule, so we were going to go back to court, but on the eve of the court date, he signed a paper that said he would allow the children to live with me as he realized how unhappy they were. He said didn't want to force them to live with him. He wanted them to be healthy and happy and he wanted them to trust him again and want to be with him again. Well, it has been 2 years now. The kids have lived with me full time. In the 2 years my son has only seen him 3 or 4 times, and my daughter only 1. He texts about every 2 weeks to them. He doesnt talk to me about them at all unless i ask for money or need something for them. Although i have had them, he does not pay anything. Even when I ask him. I have tried to get the kids to visit with him, or call him, or go hang out with him...always to no avail. I recently told him i am having financial trouble and that i may need to move, and he doesnt want me to move where the job is. When i asked for financial help, he declined. I have long told him that we should go back to court but he always insisted he didnt want to do that to the kids. He does not ask me to see them or inquire about them to me. He communicates solely with the kids. The therapist advised that it was best left between him and the kids and i was to not force them to him, nor keep them away. they have open access via phone and visits on my end, but i cannot get them to see him. i dont know what to do and i am so stressed. now that i need financial help, he is threatening to take me to court. i am scared that my kids will suffer and that this is going to get worse. any advice? should i get a lawyer now? should i file before he does?? HELP?!

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Jennifer - posted on 06/14/2012

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File for revised child support.

I don't know what the laws on moving are in your state (in mine it can be restricted to no farther than something like 50-100 miles from the non-custodial parent without a court order) but if you are restricted from moving to where a job is because of them, then also file whatever needs to be filed so that you can move to where the job is. The kids aren't seeing him anyway so it's not as if being further would be a hardship on them visiting and they are old enough that a court would take their opinions into consideration.

Do what you need to do to take care of your children and don't worry about him and what he wants.

Kristin - posted on 06/14/2012

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You can not force your children to have a relationship with their father. Sometimes the kids are better off without as relationship with their fathers. AS for him helping financially it is the law that he must pay child support for his children, and I would be taking him to court. You have nothing to fear in court as you have done the best you can and he has made poor decisions. The fact that he signed the children to you full time willingly and the fact that they dont want to see their father all bodes well for your court case. Just document all the times he has seen the kids and document all and every communication just in case, but you will be fine. Dont worry

Louise - posted on 06/14/2012

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Your children are not babies and the court will take there feelings into consideration. If they do not want to see their father he cant force them. If you need financial help then approach him again and tell him straight that you will take him to court for help if he is unwilling to do this voluntarily. See what happends! If you have to go to court you have nothing worry about because you have tried to approach him and you have tried to get the kids to visit.

He is in for a wake up call because the court will order him to pay maintenance and could order him to back date it! I would ask a solicitor the best way to go here.You are entitled to help!

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