custody/visitation dispute/heartbreaking divorce battle...HELP

Janelle - posted on 07/08/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I am the defendant in a divorce battle, married 13 years, together 14...1 child aged, 5.5 yrs, she is the love of my life and I went through so much to have her through infertility. We were actively trying for our second child for just one year when spouse asked for separation citing "personal issues" of his own and his anger and cold and harsh behavior. Turns out, he cheated, went all crazy behavior, then decides he wants to be "Freddy - father of the year" and on top of that, he is verbally abusive, controlling, yells at me in front of my daughter, in the entire year and a half since we have now separated and since he sought a full-on divorce. He started dating a new woman (# 3 I think) with a child and now spends 2 solid nights a week with my child and her and her child. I'm on the outs. I have no voice. I just fired my last attorney for not representing me well or fighting for my cause. The abuse just goes unnoticed because it is verbal and intimidating?? I have tons of paper trail, texts, printing them all out, saving texts, have written accounts of bad pick up and drop offs....constantly making digs and comments to me in front of my daughter, stressing me out to the max, God help me, how is any of this "okay" in the court's eyes....he is hurting my daughter by hurting me and now the poor thing has to bounce around 50/50 cuz that is what the judge gave us since he got his way. I have to be forced/ripped away from my child, whom I bore in my body, half the week on an awful rotating schedule, sure to disrupt her life even moreso now, since he is bossy and a bully and a COP!!! How do you fight the police in court. I'm in an awful situation. No disrespect to anyone dealing with physical abuse, he used to just punch walls and slam doors and shove me out of the way in place of prob punching me...but the verbal/mental abuse is pretty terrible I'll tell ya.....someone, advise me please. I'm doing all I can and will keep fighting for the "right" things and I keep praying. I'm so drained and my poor girl, I'm missing out on so many things. He uses parental alienation and doesn't let me have "first right to refusal" when he is at work and unavailable....what court in the land would deny me being her primary caretaker?? I've never done drugs, I an anti-smoking, anti-drinking, you could do a hair-strand test on me, I have a perfect driving record , college educated, great family supporting me, all I want is my child when he can't be with her, all I want is more time with my girl. I have evidence of his infidelity, I want to lay his s**t bare in court. This is wrong to she and I and I can't live this way. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jodi - posted on 07/08/2014

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I am failing to see why your child is not as entitled to a relationship with her father as she is with you. I think you are confusing how you feel about your ex as a husband with his entitlements as a father. Your ex IS entitled to 50/50 custody of any child. You don't get all the rights simply because you are the one who gave birth. The infidelity has absolutely nothing to do with it. Unless you have clear evidence that he abuses your daughter, this is what you have to deal with and while I can understand your hurt at what he has done to you, your daughter deserves and equal relationship with both parents. Nothing you have said here indicates that he abuses her or is a danger to her, so why can't you just accept that fathers do actually have equal rights in the eyes of the law? Is dragging this through the courts because you don't want her to be with him 50% of the time really in her best interests?

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/08/2014

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A 50/50 agreement is NOT him keeping the child from you during his 1/2 of the week, it's HIS HALF of the week.

If he were not adhering to the 50/50, THEN you could claim that he's keeping the child from you, but the honest truth is that the child is a child of TWO parents and deserves a relationship with both.

If pick-ups/drop-offs are so problematic, request that they be done through an intermediary, so as to minimize contact between you and your ex. At this point, unless you have proof of abuse to HER, you've only demonstrated abuse to YOU, thus the reason that he's got his rightful 50/50 access.

Jodi has some excellent suggestions on how to minimize contact with a vitreous ex.

Jodi - posted on 07/08/2014

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So why is he dragging you through court? Do you already have court orders? Or is he trying to get them established (in which case, it is an entirely sensible decision to take it to court).

There are ways for you to minimise contact with him so that this abuse doesn't occur. As I said, he isn't abusing her, he is abusing you, and a big part of that sounds like there is a lot of anger on both sides.

Yes I do have an idea what you are going through via my own experiences. I had an ex who was very similar, and was highly verbally abusive any time we had changeover of our son when it was his turn for his visitation. We arranged through the courts for a changeover with a court appointed community centre. I would drop my son 5 minutes before the allocated time and then leave. My ex would then arrive to pick him up. We kept a way of communicating with notes ONLY about any issues pertaining to my son (eg. he has been unwell, please give 10 ml of antibiotics at breakfast and dinner) and that was that. The fact that we never had to have any actual face-to-face contact deescalated the co-parenting relationship so that we could just focus on the best interests of our child, who was a much happier little boy once the anger between his parents was removed from his life.

I am not seeing that he is keeping your children from you. He has the children for his allocated 50% of the time. What he does in that time, unless it is court ordered otherwise, is his business, as long as the child is safe. You can't control who he spends his time with, just as he can't control who you spend your time with. Unless you have proof that the the child is unsafe, then I'm still not seeing the issue. The issue is between you and him and should have no bearing on the custody arrangements.

If this is a matter of right of first refusal, do you give him the same courtesy? Does he get to have the child if you can't be with her? Is this in your court orders? If the judge has already given you a ruling, then why is he dragging you back through the courts?

Just remember the court isn't denying you being her primary caretaker, in many instances, 50/50 is the status quo and you have to prove the other party incompetent in order to have it otherwise, so don't feel that it is because of anything you have done wrong, it has nothing to do with your college education, driving record, and so on. It has to do with the court's recognition of the rights of the child to have an equal relationship with both parents.

Janelle - posted on 07/08/2014

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Hello Jodi,
I am on here for the first time and emotionally responding. You aren't able to fully understand my situation based on one paragraph of my 14 year relationship. To clarify, he is the one dragging me through the court, He verbally abuses me in front of my child, yells, makes threatening comments and uses parental alienation to keep her from me for no good reason, as he never gives one, or just does not answer. He does not give me addresses to where he takes my child if and when out of state, I ask, he says "he is uncomfortable giving that info", yet, we have shared legal and he gets the respect and courtesy from me, again, I have all our email correspondence and documentation. He gets away with scaring me, threatening me, in front of my 5 year old, making her cry and upset, making her say, "daddy stop yelling at mommy" and that is in her best interest? Do you have any idea what I'm going through via your own experience? He did all this to me and my daughter, sure I'm hurt, and I have to heal, but why harrass, torment, bully and mentally abuse me when he left, his decision, why continue the same awful treatment.....why not give me the same parental respect I give him. I've never denied her, emails to prove that, I didn't say he couldn't see our child ever once. I do; however, feel he is unstable based on his verbal abuse toward me in front of the child and that is NOT in her best interest. It all comes down to asking the right questions and before you judge, see where I'm coming from. This is a nightmare. And based on his behavior throughout the marriage, and during the separation, the fact that I have been the primary caregiver, yes, I feel I have a stronger right as he is causing more damage than good and he should not be able to hurt me or her mentally. It is very serious. Hard to decipher emotion in messages, but this is pretty intense and I've been lady grace to him, why add insult to injury, why use the child as a pawn, the achilles heel of the mother, why "keep" her from me, just because he needs the control? Why all the lies and torment? Anyone else enduring this kind of situation that can offer some advice? I am happy to divulge more and more as there is so much more to this than here in a paragraph or two.

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