Custody War Brewing

Lindsay - posted on 08/27/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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First of all I know that I should seek legal help and I have but I guess I am just so worried and would just like to here what other people think of my situation. I got married to someone 8 years younger than me on June 2012. I accidentally got pregnant at the end of July 2012. He ended up leaving out of the blue at the end of August 2012 and never gave me a reason. We have had no contact with each other except in Feb to figure out where to serve divorce papers to and then 3 weeks ago i contacted him about relinquishing his custody and visitation rights which he had said he wanted to do the last day I saw him in person. He said he was willing to so I sent him the papers and a week later he had text me back and asked if I wanted child support. I mistakenly said yes and so he texted me back and said "then I don't plan on signing my rights over". He has never once attempted to see the baby who is now 4 1/2 months old. I went and filed for full custody and he sent back a response saying he wants a paternity test and that if the child his is he wants liberal custodial access yet 3 weeks ago he was willing to sign over his rights before he knew I wanted child support HA. I already have a 6 year old from a previous relationship(if you wanna call it)and I have raised her completely on my own. She is very connected with her little sister. Both girls have an amazing support system in my home as I live with my parents who are very physically and emotionally supportive of my girls and me.
The father of my baby is not a good guy and his mother is even worse. He has a bad drinking probelem and his mother allows it to happen in her home. He is under 21 so he shouldn't even be drinking. She also has bought him firearms since hes too young to purchase them himself(he always has access to them, even while drunk). The fact that his mother has let this go on and enables his behavior which I know she has been enabling this since he was 17 is disgusting to me. And yes I know I messed up for even getting involved with these people so please don't tell me.
But anyways I am now worried about court that is coming up in a week. Even if he just gets visitation or most liekly supervised visitation(since he has never met her)that would still bother me. My daughter is very fussy and had severe colic and excessive crying. I am the only person who can calm her down. So to hand her over to either a court monitor whom she doesn't know and then to him who she also doesn't know doesn't seem like it would be in her best interest. What happens when she starts hysterically crying and I'm not there? I don't think that will be good to be taken away from her mother(the one person who can comfort her). There is more to the story but I don't want to bore anyone so if you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks

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Nicole - posted on 08/30/2013

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That's very good and sound advice. I have plenty of experience myself...and I would have to say, although it will be extremely hard...let him get to know his daughter. She will only resent you when she fully understands her life if you don't.

Chazza - posted on 08/27/2013

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Hello , listen I would not worry to much of this . I'm going through the same situation with my son at six and his father , who has rarely spent time with him in his life . I have recorded all recorders of this and any text messages that has been sent . I was very worried going to court and emointaly going through with it all , but at the end of the day this is my child , the person I love more than anything in the world and I have raised all on my on . All my fear was gone . . I stood with my head held high and spoke the truth . Yes u made a mistake by getting mixed up with these people but I don't know anyone that hasn't made a mistake !! You've done a good job with bringing up ur children . Tell your lawyers everything you know . Hold your chin up you and baby will be fine !! Xx

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[deleted account]

That would be custody and placement. They are the only rights.....good luck getting any court to believe the child should not have a father. You can't have the best of both worlds....two people created the baby. Making two people who deserve rights. Maybe noy 50/50 but that's what the courts determine. And if you can't agree it is an extremely expensive to have studies done on your family. And if the baby un unborn or young a guardian ad litem is appointed. It's the kids who suffer in the long run over selfishness. I suggest taking some parenting through divorce workshops/classes.

[deleted account]

In the states, if he signs his paternal rights away, he would not be required to pay child support to you for the child--it makes it like he legally has no child--so if you want child support from him, you have to allow visitation a judge orders it. You cannot force him to relinquish his custody & visitation rights unless he agrees to do it willingly, and even if he does agree, in many cases if ALL paternal rights are not relinquished, he can take you to court in the future to get his custody and visitation rights back.

If your daughter screams and cries, maybe he will bring her back early, but there is nothing you can do about it if the court orders visitation because you chose him to be her father, so if he wants to see her, she has to see him until she is of age, unless you can prove he is a threat to her safety.


If you really want him out of her life, you can tell him you won't file for child support if he will sign his rights off, and see if he will reconsider.

I don't understand though, 15 months ago, you thought this guy was such a wonderful man you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him. How he can be as horrible as you say he is without you having seen any signs of it only 15 months ago. It is going to be difficult to prove he is unfit to father given the short timespan between when you "loved" him and when you decided he was unfit.

[deleted account]

But were you married? Laws are different when you are married. If you don't want him to have rights why do you want hours money? I ve been in the same situation and courts want two parents. And I'm not just talking about things like underage drinking. My husband was a coke addict. My husband wasn't around for over 5 years. I encourage him to have contact with our kids. Kids should feel loved from anyone who can make them feel special. My husband wanted to waive all his rights The courts wouldn't even consider it. They told him he should be ashamed of himself.

JPatrick - posted on 08/28/2013

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Sounds like you already know the process from round 1 with your first child. The fact that he wants custody/visitation when you're asking for support might be motivated by his desire to 'get back at you,' but the court really doesn't care about the motive - they care about each parties' rights, and the best interest of the kid. Even if the ex would not otherwise see his kid w/o having to pay support, so long as he is a fit parent and prepared to exercise his rights, they will allow it, although as other users suggest, you may track your correspondence and bring any concerns to the court's attention, e.g. drinking/guns in the house. My presumption is they will deny it, his mom will claim ownership of the gun, and that will be that, so be prepared for having to develop a visitation schedule. It might not be what you want, but the ex is entitled to see his child (at least until he screws up and proves himself unfit). Again, the only way to remove the ex from the pic is if you were to get remarried and the new hubby adopted the child with you, and the ex signed away his parental rights (meaning no support obligation, and no right to ever seek custody/visitation), but it sounds like you're not in that position at this time. Perhaps just try to encourage the relationship between father and child as long as he is willing to do it properly, since many kids never get to know their dad at all.

Lindsay - posted on 08/28/2013

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He wasn't going to give up his whole parental rights. He was just going to relinquish his custody and visitation rights. Pretty much him stating that he would never try to fight for custody or visitation. I went through this similar process with my first child via my lawyer. The courts had said that he cant relinquish his support rights but he can relinquish his custody and visitation rights. So thats what we did for my first child.

Melissa - posted on 08/28/2013

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Hello. I agree with all. Make sure you keep a diary of everything. Not only as a document but as something you yourself can jog your memory with. These battles can go on for a long time and is very easy to loose track of day to day happenings. Good luck Lindsay. My ex gave me hell for nearly 4 years over custody. In the end we got 50/50 but it only took prob 12 months before it all got too hard and he moved away from the area (chasing some woman) and the kids were back with me fulltime!! The truth prevails in the end and they only fight you cause they know they can. EVERY DOG HAS THEIR DAY. Firearms on the premises, underage drinking sounds like a matter for the police?? Do they have a gun license? Make sure you look into that as would not be a safe environment for toddlers. The courts are only interested in the facts they're not interested in the "HE SAID SHE SAID" stuff. So the more you can prove the better. All the very best to you Lindsay. Hang in there!! :)

[deleted account]

Saying wanting to give up rights isn't going through the process of giving up rights. Try not to worry the courts have been through these things before. Any remember custody is different then placement. If he is given placement and doesn't use it he falls undetr use it or loss it meaning the court can and will take it away.

[deleted account]

I've been through a similar situation. I was married 15 years but hadn't seen him in several years. People can't just relinquish right and responsibilities. The courts will not leave a child without a father. Since you are married the child is both of yours....period. the courts will take extra steps to ensure your child is well cared for. You might have to have more evaluations ordered by the court.

Lindsay - posted on 08/27/2013

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He wanted nothing to do with my daughter until he found out he has to pay child support. He is just saying he wants custodial access to get back at me for the child support. I just hope a judge can see that.

JPatrick - posted on 08/27/2013

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@Lyndsay: What do you mean you 'mistakenly said yes' when he asked for support -- you mean you meant to say no, or that you really did want it but were planning on deluding him into thinking otherwise? If you meant 'no,' you would have to basically have him sign over paternal rights, but he can't do this unless you are remarried with a spouse willing to adopt your kid with you, b/c a court will see having 2 parents as in the child's best interest. If you meant 'yes' to C.S., your ex is within his rights to want custodial access if he's on the hook for support the next 18-21 years. The court won't care about your text message (if they even let you introduce it), he didn't say anything threatening and is within his rights to seek custody, period.
Next, it sounds like you are technically still married to this guy - yes? Not sure what your state laws are, but usually if you are divorcing and there are children involved, it goes through a different court and you resolve those issues all together instead of just the custody issue. Are you sure you're sending him the right 'papers' since you dont have an attorney yet? Before a court will grant divorce it will make sure custody issues are resolved. It sounds like you are trying to build a case why he is unfit, but the courts generally persume both parents are capable to care for a child without pretty compelling evidence to the contrary (and maybe your ex and his mom aren't stellar people, but that's not enough to overcome that assumption, esp if the ex has no criminal history). A court knows that babies cry, so that's also not a reason to deprive him of visits. If he pursues it, the court may permit supervised visits at first until he and the baby get used to each other but then he can seek more time, solo, and be entirely within his rights. Now, go hire a lawyer and s/he will tell you the same thing (or maybe more, depending on what additional details you have to offer).

Chazza - posted on 08/27/2013

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Yes that's good ! Get it printed on paper. Write all dates down too , when thr has been contact . I really believe you will be fine xx

Lindsay - posted on 08/27/2013

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Oh and I printed out the text messages of him saying first that he was willing to sign over his right s and then saying he wasn't going to because I was asking for child support. Im hoping that will help me in court.

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