What are my rights concerning custody?

User - posted on 07/04/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am trying to figure out what my rights are concerning visitation. I guess you would say my ex and I are common law married. We spilt up right after I got pregnant with our second. He keeps coming and going in my life and pretends to be a dad. He's pretty constant in being a dead beat dad. He continues to say he does t like our daughter and our son is 2 and he keeps saying I baby him. We went to mediation and it doesn't seem to help. His family treats our son with indifference. If he cries around my family they all move to see what's wrong his just looks at him and say oh there he goes again. Most recently I went to drop them off my ex basically dragged him down the stairs. And to his room. Then told him to grow up. I know my sons cries and he was scared. I took the kids and left but am now wondering do I have full custody or do I need to go to court? Or does it even matter? My family all have completely different opinions so I thought I would turn to the web. Any advice is much appreciated.

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Courtney - posted on 07/07/2012

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When I left my son's father I had to call the police to be there for my son and I leaving, the police officer (this is in Chicago, IL) told me and the father that I can leave with my son legally as long as the father is told where we are going to be and has access to his son. If you leave make sure you let him know where you are going and get legal advice immediately. Mediation didn't work for me either... we had to go through a very expensive and long custody battle... which involved a 604(b) custody evalution... that's a psychologist that you pay to look into the situation, sit with you & the father and figure out what's best for the child. At the end of my situation the evaluator actually suggested I have sole custody, so in the end that worked for me... good luck with your situation. I'm so sorry you're going through it.

Danielle - posted on 07/07/2012

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Haley, if you can, get your kids in to see a counselor so they can start collecting information as an impartial party on what's happening with the kids at their dad's. If you have to take your ex to court for custody of the kids, you might want to see about getting a Guardian Ad Litem assigned to the case to make sure the children are fully represented and it doesn't become a he-said, she-said. As others advised, I would get something legal to denote you're the primary care provider for your children. Also, unless either of you presented yourself as a married couple, you might be able to avoid the common law marriage thing so a divorce isn't needed. Depending on your state, if you aren't married, then primary custody of the children will automatically revert to you as their biological mother. Good luck!

User - posted on 07/06/2012

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Thanks so much for the advice. I worry about my kids being at his fathers. He lives with his parents and his dad used to beat him as child. And I know the fits my son throws and I have learned how to deal with them but my ex just screams at him to shut up and gets so angry. I'm just afraid one day he's going to snap and hurt him. He was never physically abusive towards mt but he was very controlling not that I noticed until we were spilt up. I just hate keeping my son from him because he loves his dad. He's gets so excited to see him but his dad could care less.

Erin - posted on 07/06/2012

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You need to look up the law in your state, start with a search for the law code of your state in google. Or consult a lawyer. You need to find out if you are or are not legally married, and if not wether the father has any paternity rights or not. For instance in my state if he is on the birth cert he may have paternity thus equal rights to the child. He and his family sound abusive I suggest no further contact with the family. You do not have to go to court but if he does have any rights and you fear he may take the children, then I reccomend an immediate no contact order if you feel he's abusive. I also suggest petitioning the court for full custody. A person who drags a child on stairs is dangerous, a person who says they don't like their own child is a very dangerous person.

Chaya - posted on 07/04/2012

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You probably have to go to court. I had to go to court to get custody when my daughter was 10 months old. My husband was still in the picture at the time, but a social worker barged into our house and accused me of being an unfit mother, no accusation. I went petitioned the court for full custody so if the social worker continued harassing me. He did until he realized he'd have to go through heaven and earth to get custody removed from me.
When my husband left me the first time, my daughter was six, I petitioned the court for custody in order to require child support. My husband didn't even bother to show up, when we separated for good, he tried to get custody, it wouldn't happen unless I started using drugs or went to prison. He still wants back in my life but only because he doesn't want to pay child uspport, and now he's living in his van. He knows the channels for assistance, he refuses to use them. You may not have to go more than once, unless dad contests, but it's worth it to keep him from getting it, it sounds like dad's jealous and consideralby immature.

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