Help/Advice needed to do with Custody issues please ...

Jodie - posted on 08/17/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hi. I'm a single mummy to my beautiful daughter who is nearly 21 months. I left her dad in April this year due to me being in a Domestic Violence relationship with him for just over two and a half years. I left on the 13th April, and on that first weekend no matter how much i hated it i did it for my daughter and let him have her for that first weekend Saturday-Sunday, however when my dauther came back on the Sunday she was being very aggressive (something she isnt like, only when she's seen her dad hurt me before). So that Sunday night when my daughter was in bed i got in touch with him asking what they'd been upto etc he just said seeing family and was at is that they didnt do much, from that moment i didnt believe him and told him exactly what my daughter was being like, he said he had nothing to do with it (although she was fine when she left on the Saturday), then he got on saying that he didnt want anything to do with her she was all mine etc. People thought he was saying this with the heat of the moment but he was saying this practically everyday for rest of week, it then got to Friday and i told him that he could see her on the Saturday but only supervised by me, he didnt like it and said the same as he did before. He didnt turn up that weekend or anytime after that to see her. I then got a text during that week saying he was going to see a solicitor, i told him to go ahead cos i will not let my daughter have a dad like that in her life. However, when i got an appointment to see my solictor i told her everything that had happened and we got transferred for Mediation, i went to my appointment and told them everything about 1-2 weeks later i got a letter saying our case wasnt suitable for Mediation. It then went back to Solicictors etc, and he was saying that he hadnt done any kind of Domestic Violence in our relationship and that it was me that was the violent one! However, now he's applying for court (He posted me a letter threw the other morning saying he'd got a letter from court saying it was going to cost him £2,000 or more and that he didnt want to spend that much on court and to get in touch with him ASAP, i havent), he can apply for court all he likes. The help/advice i need is that if/when it goes to Court what access will he get it? In my statement to my solictor i have told her no contact at all, as i am not putting my daughters life in danger due to him and his so called family, but i know what the law thinks and have been told that cos he's on the birth certificate he's got to have access, something which i know is the most dangerous decision any court can make, and scared that they will not believe me and that they'll believe him cos he can lie his way through anything - I've tried explaining it best i can and thank you in advance for replying x

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Mary - posted on 08/19/2010

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sorry hun mine has a csc and because he did not indanger his kids he can see them so the court r screw up but i found when my son see him and have aggression afterward that i dont change u can hit or time out make the rules and make sure she know u love her counseling can help alot for u to it really help me because no matter what u do u feel like the victim

Leah - posted on 08/18/2010

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i know the law in minnesota states that if you were never married the mother has full legal and physical custody of the child and has full control over visitation unless changed by the court system. If or when he takes you to court make sure that if they are going to grant any visitaiton at all that is be supervised for so many months. My friend was in a situation where the father did drugs, and they went to court and she still has full custody, and he has supervised visits for 3 months and he couldnt miss one session or they would extend another month...well he just gave up and started to not show up, and now he has no visitation at all...fight for what you believe, and it should work out....Good Luck and i'm glad you got out of the situation.. Your a good mom!

Heather - posted on 08/18/2010

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I have been going through this for the last five 1/2 years ( this will probably continue until he pays his last child support check) with my daughters a father that loves his daughter but is very verbally abusive and aggressive towards me -- and that is why I left when she ws six months old.. I know where you stand. Absolutely your emails diary and texts voicemails letters and any hard evidence is what the court will need . If you believe your child is in danger when she is in the care of her father CALL child protective services.. Especially if you can prove it with pictures of bruises scratches tape recording etc That will be the first thing the court will say is if you thought your child was in danger then you should have called Child protective services to do something about it. ALWAYS document photos before she leaves and when she comes home -- I had to do ..Because my ex tried to say I was abusing and neglecting my daughter.. He tried to say I was unfit etc.. Child protective services walked in my house and laughed.. ALSO Become best friends with your childs pediatrician so that any problems that arise emotional and physically when your child returns from her fathers is documented at the doctors office immediately. The records will be subpeoned for court. Make sure you keep a call log as well with reguards to anything reguarding your daughters welfare (i used a calendar that way it had the date already and lines to write names times and then a diary to go along ) and anything you are trying to do to help her deal with this emothional and physically (yes they have play therapy for children at your daughters age ) to help her deal with emotional and be able to socialize , calm and regulate herself.. My daughter is in therapy because of all the fighting that has ensued and the turmoil it has caused her it is a total emotional roller coaster at the moment for her. And if the amount of time she spends away from you changed it will only get harder.. Now as far as the cost of court -- each court has a Pro Se office were you can go and they can help you fill out and file paperwork by yourself without a lawyer.. Chances are though that once you do this he will get a lawyer to countersue your suit so start saving -- It is usually a $1000 dollar retainer for a lawyer( and then if you start paying as you go my suggestion is start putting money away 50-100 bucks a week) .. My ex can lie and turn anything around on me as well ...But documentation and doctors and therapist and professionals that you take your daughter to to get help --( Which getting some emotional help for your self right now would be a good idea too it only shows the court how serious you are about this) and shows a judge how important your daughter is too you.. He will have to do all the proving not you .. But remember be the bigger person dont start a fight or put him down or degrade him he can use that against you and then say your are being verbally abusive. As much as you want to hurt him right now be the bigger person and steer clear of him unless it has to do with your daughter.. If you need to communicate with him put it in a letter what she is eating , sleep schedule, any illnesses problems and email it put makes copies for your file and start a court folder NOW. Trust me if you give him a rope and he will hang himself -- You can't change a man to a woman -- Selfishness always wins be sure to document his trips that he goes on when he doesnt see his daughter his missed visits any holidays he misses etcc also... Whether you are always taking her to him and picking her up and be sure to document what time etc.. The more thorough you can be the better.. I hope this helps.. But get a huge paper holder (binder - Folder ) to keep everything together and keep it in order by date -- be sure to keep a copy for yourself and one for the lawyer.. I hope this helps and GOOD LUCK keep your head up and smile through the pain -- smiling and not talking makes him wonder what your up too keep talks to a minimum.. and most of all try to have a life outside of this it has consumed my life for 5 1/2 years and I am still trying to get my life back.. Don't let that happen to you.. Creat a support team close friends , family etc.. You will need witnesses to his behavior...

Jenna - posted on 08/17/2010

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Just want to offer some hugs for a similar situation. Wish I had useful advice.

Amy - posted on 08/17/2010

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Do you have any evidence of him being violent with you in the past? Or is it your word against his- I just went through a similar situation, and unfortunately if you can't prove that he is an unfit, dangerous person with a violent past, then he will get visitation, and most likely it won't be supervised. Unfortunately the court system works this way, and you just have to hope that nothing happens to your child, and then when it does, because it will, make sure you document immediately and get in touch with Child Protective Services...it's sad how this works, trust me, I'm going through it now and I will keep you in my prayers!

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Vanessa - posted on 08/17/2010

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It's rare for a court to say no to any visitation unless you have 100% hard evidence that he's an unfit parent. courts will always look at what benefits the child and in most cases this involves access to both parents.
He wont get 100% - so don't worry about that.
In the meantime, keep copies of all emails, texts, voicemail messages etc. and stick to the facts in your diary. Eg. G made contact today - phone call went for 6mins - he expressed his reluctance to take her this weekend as he has already made plans to go motorbike riding with P & H. I said ok - and he will call during the week to reshedule.
restrain yourself from any slander in your diary entries!
Also note your daughters behaviours upon returning from visits - I used to do this a lot. M cried herself to sleep tonight - refused to settle - came home with dirty clothes and runny nose.
See what I'm getting at??
You also can't dictate if visits right now are supervised or not - unless there is a court order specifying that - then hun you are overstepping your boundaries. Even though YOU know what he's like - you have to show the court that you are willing to have this man in your daughters life to a point. Just remember it's not always you who can do the supervising. Maybe offer supervised visitation once a fortnight, but at least one other family member of his must be there at all times.
Good luck!!

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