Child Custody battle.. Do you think I will lose?

Natalie - posted on 01/28/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Hey yall. I live in TX, and my ex and his family live 7 hours away from me but still in TX. My child has been living with my ex's mother since he was two, he's almost 4 now. I have recently filed the motion to modify... It's going to be a long post but please be patient!
A few months before he took off with my child two years ago, our marriage was pretty much done. He was jobless for about 3 months and was not looking for a job. I could not work because of my legal status here in the States (now i have a greencard). We were living in poverty and I was really miserable and severely depressed... and one night we got into a really bad physical fight and I was on the merge of losing it, so I stayed at my neighbor's house for 2 nights to cool off.. When I came back he and my son were gone... I could not go after him cause I had no money no job I mean of course I wanted him back more than anything, but since I knew my ex was back under his parents' roof and my son was safe, I let it be. I thought it was doing the best thing for my child for not being selfish... So I stayed here and started taking care of all the debts my ex left me with. Then I went back to school full-time.. My ex, in the meantime.. finally got a job but got kicked out of his own parents' house and started living with his buddy's family for a long time, and my child has never left the house. My ex's parents, especially his dad, would always tell me I could take my son whenever I am ready and settled... I tried my best to visit him frequently. I've been in constant touch with my child. Some time has passed and I am remarried now, I know it happened really fast but it is what it is. When I told my ex's family they were FURIOUS, because they always wanted me to get back with my ex. I would not ever consider that because he was abusive, deceiving, and irresponsible. I was married to him for 2 years and it was the worst time of my ilfe. Anyway, soon after I got married my husband deployed(yes he is in the military).. And I ran into family emergency back home.. My grandfather was very sick and my parents needed me since I am the oldest daughter... I wanted to take my son but of course my ex would't sign off the passport so I left by myself under the agreement that it was my turn to have him when I come back.. I was overseas for 6 months. When I came back, I couldn't get him right away cause I wasn't settled. I came back to where I originally resided, and started settling down... When my husband came back in summer that's when we told them we were coming for my son... No doubt, when we showed up my son was nowhere to be found, the sheriff would not get involved because we have shared custody of our child and he just told me to go to court. I sweettalked my ex just so I could see my son for a little.. then the next day my husband, my ex, my son and I all went to the mall because I told him I wanted to buy him some clothes. When I saw my chance, I just took off with my son... Well. I guess my ex tailed me back to where I live and the next day when me and my husband came back from the grocery store, as we were unloading the groceries, my ex appeared out of nowhere and snatched my child. In the process of stopping him I injured my hand(broken fingers). Furious, I went and got a lawyer the next day demanding motion to modify... Two months later at court, all they did was transfer the case to their jurisdiction.
Now I am waiting to go to court in their county but it's not until June and I am losing my darn mind because my child is being brainwashed by the dad... He asked me if I am a bad mother the other day and it really broke my heart. I know I have been away for so long but it was never because I've had problems with drugs or anything of that sort.. I feel like they're taking advantage of the fact that I am a foreigner... I have been struggling to better myself and I finally have my own place, my own car, and in a year I will have my bachelor's degree... The last time I paid money for my son was when I came back from overseas... I stopped paying my ex's mother cause she would use the money for her leisure... (Child support isn't ordered in the divorce decree). So to sum up, my ex is going for primary custody but giving me visitations. Of course he can't afford a lawyer so his mommy is supporting his little butt... Yes he has been paying for my sons day care but my son has been pretty much raised by my ex's mother not my ex because my ex lives 40 minutes away from her. He gets my son on the weekends and well, he's been living with his grandfather this whole time until he passed away recently. Sorry I side-tracked, so I want to go for primary+physical custody because I am ready and I am not an unfit mom. I have been trying to better myself so I could provide a better life for my son but I feel like they are holding grudges against me for marrying someone else and not moving to where they live.. HELLO I have been stuck in this city trying to clean his mess up. Anyways, any advice? Do I really have no chance of winning custody like my ex's family is saying?

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Jodi - posted on 01/28/2013

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Well, yes, you could lose and end up with only visitation. Sorry, but you chose to leave the child with his father for all that time, and were not there for him, you didn't take steps at the time to do anything about it legally, and then, when you decided that you wanted him, you chose to take the route of snatching him at the mall instead of taking the legal route. I hate to say it, that was a REALLY bad mistake.

In fact, I will go so far as to say that you have BOTH behaved incredibly badly in this entire situation. Who is thinking of this poor child? It appears no-one is. This story brought me to tears for the poor kid being snatched from malls and cars and driveways. Seriously, there is a legal system for a reason - to protect the interests of the child, and it appears both of you have lost sight of this.

I don't believe you have NO chance, it actually could go either way. No-one here could tell you what way it may go. However, it appears to me that both of you have to stop and take a step back and look at what is best for the child. Right now, I am not seeing that.

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Gwen - posted on 01/30/2013

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Call a lawyer and make sure you have plenty of documentation to support your case, including all debt payments you have made (for your ex), college transcripts, text messages, phone records, etc. Like Jodi said, you probably have a 50/50 chance of getting custody. You've both made some really stupid decisions and your son needs more stability in his life then "He lets me keep him for a few months at a time." Pretty soon, he will be in school and that changes EVERYTHING about visitation.

Natalie - posted on 01/29/2013

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Thanks Jodi. I appreciate your opinion... I know it looks really bad that I went and took him just like that but I was getting really desperate.. My son kept telling me "I wanna go with you mom", I miss him so much!!!... and the reason why I didn't take any legal actions up until this point is because me and my ex's family were on civil terms and they would actually let me have him for a few months and stuff like that.. Then I got married and everything turned upside down.

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