Custody and visitation concerns?

Shy - posted on 05/22/2016 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Hello my fellow mommies and daddies, I am new here and glad that I joined as I have read others posts and see this site to be very informative. However, I am a 20 year old single mother of a 2 year old baby girl. Her dad and I separated in January when I left his house for good and moved on to my own place, bought my own car, furniture, etc. And it felt so good, as I was subjected to daily mental and emotional agony at the hands of my ex who would humiliate me everyday in front of his family and daughter while they all took his side in the end. He has been physically abusive in the past which resulted in us both spending 38 hours in jail due to the fact that he and his family painted me as the aggressor. However, the courts threw it out due to insufficient evidence and it did not go on our record, THANK GOD. However, I lost my job 2 months ago and have not had any luck securing new employment, I made a huge mistake in disclosing that to my ex, and since then the verbal, mental and emotional abuse has further escalated, he is trying to destroy me at all costs. I had plans to go back to my hometown and be with family, but he has stopped me right in my tracks by filing for joint custody now I can not leave state with my daughter. I feel doomed because he continues to harass me and bully me into letting him see his baby. Everyime I let her go, when I call to check on her I'm sent to voicemail, he ignores my texts and I just do not feel at ease when she's with him but I also understand the importance of him being in her life. My question is, if I have audio recordings of him lashing out at me in front of my baby are these things that I can use in court? Also until we go to court am I obligated to give him visitation? he doesn't even ask, he'll just call me and say he's on his way and when I object he curses me out. He has threatened to kill me and anyone who gets in his way of his daughter. I'm so lost. I have no family here or no one to help me. I plan on going to a domestic violence shelter as I will be facing eviction soon and having my utilities shut off. My daughter has had constant diaper rashes while in his care and he has shown several signs of irresponsibility. I haven't been able to sleep or eat properly as I am so scared of what he will do since he has the upper hand in this situation. I do not want to lose my daughter but according to him I will get in trouble for not letting her see him. Please help. I am so scared. I also had to call the police on him last Saturday when I let my baby go over there, he and his family were not trying to let me get my baby and he made a huge scene cursing me out in front of his new g and threatening to beat me up.

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Sarah - posted on 05/22/2016

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It isn't unreasonable for you to ask him for a set schedule or a fair amount of notice. You aren't saying he can't see her, just to let you prepare her and diaper bag etc.

Shy - posted on 05/22/2016

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See, this is why I am hesitant about it all. I understand what he is doing clearly now, as every time he calls to speak to the baby, it turns into him asking me if he can come get her and etc, and once I tell him we already have plans, it gets ugly. But no. I do not have that actual conversation recorded sadly. I just don't know what to do, he calls me every day asking for her. I understand he's probably doing this to make it look better on his part.

Sarah - posted on 05/22/2016

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Unfortunately this happens. If you withhold her, he can use that against you. If you hand her over, he can refuse your request to have her back and then you have to wait for the judge to order him to give her to you. These sort of threats are not taken lightly by a judge. Do you have a text, email or voicemail of him saying that he will take her and not let you see her? Then I would seek an emergency restraining order, you can verbally testify to his threats, but if you have proof it is better. The judge hearing your request, will probably grant you a temporary custody order. With that order which will probably give you physical custody and him a day or two to see her per week, if he won't return her you can call the police.

Shy - posted on 05/22/2016

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I understand, but there is currently no court order in place. He just filed the paper work. However, he also did that too I believe because I had to get assistance from the government and they automatically put him on child support and he already told me he shouldn't have to pay. Because I have physical custody of her, since there is no order in place, we haven't went before the judge, can he attempt to withhold my baby from me and refuse to give her back, if I do allow him visitation? These are things he threatens me with which is why I'm hesitant with letting her go.

Sarah - posted on 05/22/2016

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You can only use audio recordings in certain cases; the judge will either determine if it is admissible or not. In some situations you cannot record a person without their consent. Keep it, offer at evidence. However, you'd be wise to be amicable in letting him visit and leave him be when he is parenting. I know it is hard, but unless he is truly a danger to her, you have no business texting or calling when she is with him. It would be fair for you to offer a schedule, just so that you can have her ready for him. You do not own her and you both are entitled to parent her. So unless a judge bans him from seeing her, if you refuse it could go badly for you in court. Now, if you have plans and he calls and says he will pick her up in 10 minutes; you can say "sorry we are just on our way out, would you like to meet us in and hour, or would you like to come tomorrow" Document everything. Every call, every visit. Try to communicate via text and email to you have evidence of your efforts to accommodate his parenting. If he phones you let him leave a voicemail, and then return the call and you can record your phone conversations (again I don't know if a judge will allow it, but better to have his exact words and your exact words documented) Take pictures of your daughter, and her diaper area before she leaves and when she returns. If she has a rash, simply send him a pleasant text and suggest the diaper rash cream that you send with her.

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