Divorcing Abusive Husband - Do I HAVE to Give My Child His Last Name?

Berls - posted on 01/05/2014 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I found out I was pregnant in July, and my husband immediately started doing things that could potentially cause me to miscarry. He refused to clean cat litter, made me do a lot of strenuous physical activity and yelled at and physically pushed me down when I wanted to stop, insisted that we go to hot springs (I absolutely refused and we had a major argument - he was physical again as a result), wouldn't get a blood test and lied about his blood type when I was bleeding a few days later, and other things. He's been abusive our entire relationship, but once he did it while I was pregnant, combined with the other things he was doing to sabotage a healthy pregnancy, or even a pregnancy that would survive, I left him. I got a Uhaul, called my parents, and moved two states away to have a healthy and supportive environment for the duration of my pregnancy and to raise my child. I found a job within one month. I filed for separation within one month. I've been attending domestic violence counseling, reading parenting books, putting together evidence binders for the inevitable high-conflict court and custody battles (he is a narcissist - so is his mom), and anything else I can think of to prepare for my child's arrival and our long road ahead to safety from this maniac and his family.

The problem is, his parents live in the same town as my parents, so I basically left him to move to the same town as his abusive mother and manipulative father. It's still an improvement, because I am away from him and in the presence of a support system, but it's presented a whole new set of obstacles.

I'm nearly 30 weeks now, and since I left him and moved home, he and his family have taken to harassing my entire family in any way they can, delivering garbage, physically stalking my mother, hiring a "private investigator" to harass me (I have my doubts that he is actually a PI as he seems to be more focused on intimidating and harassing me and my family, which doesn't seem very "private" or "investigative"), vandalizing my car, sending harassing emails on the weekends when I can't contact my attorney, neglecting to handle basic responsibilities on the home I own that he is living in, therefore costing me financially, filing legal motions to dismiss my separation request based on things he knows to be false, and trying to serve me with his own legal motion two states away so that I will have to travel while pregnant, etc.

Of course, his parents are convinced they are going to somehow have me proven unfit and get my child. I don't think they have a snowball's chance, but if they want to bring the full crazy parade to the court, there is nothing I can do to stop them.

All this to say…I do not want my child to have his last name. No matter what he does, I am eventually going to be granted a divorce. I am considering filing for a restraining order even though he is two states away, but I'm still afraid of the same type of retaliation I was afraid of when I lived with him. Only now, I'm afraid he will hurt my parents, too, and in a few more months, my child. His parents are big NRA gun people (I'm not anti-gun, but these people are nuts), and I know he has a gun too. I'm just scared to upset them too much more than I already am by leaving this marriage and taking their unborn grandchild. They have done nothing to support me in this pregnancy, they have caused as much stress and fear as they can without breaking the law. I am even considering changing my own name and moving somewhere they can't find me after my child is born and the divorce is granted, it's just very complicated.

Does anyone have any knowledge of situations like this? I am still married, I will be married, possibly separated, when I give birth (if we can ever actually get to a court date without him obstructing it), but I do not want my child to have his name. He has tried numerous times to terminate this pregnancy. Any knowledge you guys can give me would be great.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/10/2014

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Misconceptions will bite you in the ass.

1) the child is NOT 100% the "property" of the mother. Period. It took two to make baby, and both have rights.

2) leaving, changing your name, and hiding without having gone through the legalities of custody/support could possibly result in the removal of the child from the mother's care. It could be considered kidnapping, and WILL be considered a refusal to advocate a relationship between the child and their biological parent.

3) the child's last name depends on the laws in your state, NOT your personal choice. For example, in Wyoming, if you are divorced (finalized in court) and your child is born within a certain amount of time after the divorce, by law the child is given the last name of your ex, regardless of whether you want to or not. A legal name change can be petitioned later.

THE BEST THING that the OP can do in this situation is get her ducks in a row. Get documentation in order for court. Be prepared to prove any allegations of abuse, stalking, etc. Photographic evidence, reliable eyewitnesses & testimony is a must. Also, be prepared for a visitation schedule. You can request supervised, and if the situation warrants it, a judge will assign a neutral 3rd party for supervision.

Jonn - posted on 01/08/2014

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Gawd I hope a lot of you aren't taking this shit as legal advise. If so some of your thinking is going to get you into trouble if you come before a judge. Look; and I mean you people here who are thick enough to believe that you actually "own" your children, it's not about the fact that you carried them anymore. Get over that BS. It's about the best interest of the child. More and more fathers are taking care of their children in the household as much if not more then ther mothers are. Look it up! These post just smack with ignorance of the law. You people are taking about this stuff as though you've finished your Jurist Doctoerate and you haven't a real clue as to any of it. If it weren't for men, you wouldn't have these children. If it weren't for women we wouldn't have them either. Stop with the BS talk about how you have 100% rights to the children as if they are property! They are your children, not a home, care or fucking cattle. They are the best parts of each of us, not just you or him already. Ya'll need to start changing your mind set o this, or you will start to see a rise in women loosing custody cases. For far top long the system has been tilted in your favor, but get this,MIT isn't anymore. Courts are starting to see that men as well can be the better parent and are handing them over to fathers more and more. You are underestimating not only the courts, but these fathers as well. Far be it for you to listen to me; I'm just a man on a woman's blog,mor site. But I'm telling you, men are are getting smarter on how to fight you in court, and this type of langue and thinking is how we are beating. It comes off as if you are PAS, and courts are starting to see that as abusive these days. Keep it up, one day you are going to think back to this post. Cheers.

Jenn - posted on 01/05/2014

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Omg! I'm so sorry you are going through this. I would file a restraining order ASAP on all of them and have your family do so as well. I would contact your attorney, I'm not sure what state your in, but I'm in NJ and you can give your baby any last name you choose. In order to keep him from the child in nj he would have to legally give up his rights to that child and sign off on documents. If you can prove his behavior to a judge I think they may side with you and terminate his rights regardless. This is awful! My dad was abusive and he did sign his rights away when I was 4yrs old. He was a scum bag he did it because it was a choice between signing his rights away or paying my mom child support, he chose to sign. What state are you in??

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Jonn - posted on 01/10/2014

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Agreed! Matters not, he still has rights, even if he is an a$$. Taking the baby and running, oh no, not the way to go.

LalaBoom - posted on 01/10/2014

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Lmao, girl you are too emotional for the comments posted on this thread..... So many defensive assumptions coming from you.....

Funny, your "conclusion" is exactly what I wrote in my original post. You know, the part where I said, "if he takes you to court with a paternity suit, his last name will appear right next to yours."

Even funnier that Shawnn CLEARLY stated that going through the proper channels and recording is your best bet, but in a much more articulate way.

Good luck with everything, hope you find peace and calm..

Berls - posted on 01/10/2014

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See whats funny is youre still finding passive aggressive ways to attempt to "win" this conversation, and why? Again, thanks for taking time away from your very busy life to serve up zero help with a side of mildly irritating judgment.

Berls - posted on 01/10/2014

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I have four binders full of timelined evidence, an attorney, and Im trying to deal with this through the proper channels. I am the only party involved playing by the rules, and thats always been the case. You all seem to act like I deserve the abuse and legal loopholing because I didnt have some crystal ball telling me what a monster I married. As it turns out, since Ive posted I found out I can give my child any name I want, and his father can ask the court to change it. So there, thats answered! Didnt mean to ruffle so many feathers on alternate issues. Thanks for your spirited replies.

LalaBoom - posted on 01/10/2014

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Berls-

I think you misunderstood my point. If you need clarity don't automatically assume I'm coming from some "side." Let me clarify:

Fathers vs Mothers? Not sure how you got that impression from my post.

Yes, your priorities are not straight because whether you are planning as a "safety measure" or if it were a "pride thing," at the end of the day HE has rights to the child and therefore the last name thing makes zero difference in whatever "safety plan" you come up with.

Get my drift?

Also, just so you know, some commenters take into consideration what others have "advised" you to do before they give you some pointers. So if someone suggested you take the baby and run, they'll include something in reference to whether they agree with that advice or not.

Lots of assumptions made by you.....

Berls - posted on 01/10/2014

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This is why I waited so long to post. Because I had a question about the last name, its assumed my "priorities" arent straight. This isnt some pride issue over giving my child my last name over his biological fathers, its an attempt to plan for our future safety. And Im not sure why this thread temporarily derailed into a discussion about mothers vs fathers. Again, my intent is to plan for our future safety, I just happen to be the mother in this case. Im sure there are other unfortunate situations involving abusive mothers (my mother in law is very abusive).

LalaBoom - posted on 01/10/2014

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Berls-

Shawnn gave you very sound and factual advice.

I will like to add one thing:

If he takes you to court to establish paternity it won't matter what your child is named, his last name will appear right there next to yours.

And, if your main concern is not giving your child the last name of the father after detailing his and his family's criminal behavior, then I say you need to realign your priorities because "stalking" and "getting physical" seem just a tad more important than whether he has the last name or not.

I mean really, your child has 50% the DNA. You can't erase that even if you leave out his last name.

Good luck with everything!

Jonn - posted on 01/08/2014

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And that's how it's done! You have to prove this shit to a judge. They don't just say, of you are the mother and have 100% of the child because you carried it. Believe me, I'm all about protecting your rights, the child's right, and even the fathers if they are good role models. But damn people.

Jonn - posted on 01/08/2014

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100% rights to the child? Where the hell are you getting this from? What law school did you attend? Where the hell are you people coming up with this mother has 100% rights to the child business? You need to look that suit up before you post it to a board. A father has just as much right to the child as the mother does. People need to get their facts straight.

Infinity - posted on 01/08/2014

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My step daughter wasn't married but same situation. She got a protective order against him. He couldn't be around for the birth or to sign birth certificate.

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im sorry your going through this. i was once in your position. me being young & dumb i stayed with him. to top it off, i also gave my daughter his lastname, dont ever make that mistake ! you dont have to give your baby your lastname ! its totally up to you. a mother has 100% rights to the child, till the judge determines it. and leave, please leave. itll take courage to leave, like i did. i hope everything works out in the end for you and your little angel. good lucj to you

Jonn - posted on 01/08/2014

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Can you? Here we go into the child is your property again. Married or not? You sure about this?

Jonn - posted on 01/08/2014

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I carry my mothers last name. Sure why not. Is he planning on being there at the birth? If so, may be a hard pill to swallow.

Kellie - posted on 01/07/2014

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You can give your baby your last name. I was in an abusive marriage, we separated many times when I was pregnant with each of our girls. I was way in over my head. With my second baby I gave her my last name and her dads. I used to be a hyphenate. I'm re married now and my girls are 19 and 20. My 19 year old is now pregnant with her first baby and such is life. Good luck to you, you may want to list him as the father on the birth certificate but give your baby your last name and then divorce him and take back your maiden name. Go to a safe house, and file a restraining order.

Earroyo1980 - posted on 01/06/2014

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I'm not sure what programs they have your area but look up Project Safe. Tell them your situation and ask for a local program contact person. It may be best you go to a safehouse. Drop your attorney that thinks it is a bad idea to protect yourself and the baby. Use an attorney provided to you. They specialize in abusive relationships. They can make it all go away legally but you have to be ready toto do all they ask. Good luck

Michelle - posted on 01/06/2014

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Like the other ladies have said, get a restraining order on all of them.
When the baby is born give it your last name.
Also get yourself a good lawyer to deal with all of what has been going on as well as setting visitation etc for after baby is born. You want to get in in place ASAP.

Earroyo1980 - posted on 01/06/2014

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It sounds like too much stress for your pregnancy. You should notify authorities and get a tpo on his family and him if they are harassing you. Also, when you sign the birth certificate you assign the baby's name. Relax and get out of this bad situation by reporting it.

Berls - posted on 01/05/2014

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Ok thanks…I just needed to get an outside opinion. I live in Oklahoma now and I moved from Colorado, where he is still living. I'm trying to not overreact, but it is hard to know what I'm able to get protection for at this point. He has done stuff in the past that is soooo much worse, but I think it's been too long (4+ months) to cite the really bad stuff as reason for restraining order. But like I said he lives two states away and is still able to harass me because he has people in his family willing to help….when I moved for the sole purpose of giving my pregnancy a peaceful break from all of this! I'll call my attorney tomorrow and tell him I'd like to proceed with restraining orders. I just know he is going to try to talk me out of it (I don't think he understands domestic violence very well), and my husband and his family are going to retaliate big time.

When we tried to tell the police about the vandalism to my car, which was the most recent thing that happened (last week), they wouldn't do anything because we didn't actually see it happen. I just know it was him. It's textbook him - he had just gotten into an auto accident himself a few days before and was complaining about it on Facebook, how it was an uninsured motorist, etc, then the next thing I know my back bumper is cracked and there's paint the same color as his car - from a time when he was in town! And my car was parked in a place he would likely have been driving by near his parent's house (small town, what can ya do). He has since posted that he's back in Colorado and "just about has it fixed". Well, how convenient - I can't prove that but I just know it was him.

I just don't think he will sign his rights away because his mother is a complete control freak, they are just alike and he shares more of a husband/wife relationship with her than he ever did with me. I have this theory that the only reason he got married was to have sex. But his side is already trying to claim that I am mentally ill or unstable, so I shouldn't have custody of my own child. Basically, they are trying to cause a fatal complication with the pregnancy through stress, and if that doesn't happen, they are going to come after the child. It's awful and I'm scared. They will spend their last dime to "win" and get their way. All I ever wanted was a healthy marriage and to have a family. I know I made my bed by marrying this guy, but I just didn't know how bad it was going to get. And if he is ordered to pay child support, he will not stop coming after me until he gets custody. That's just how these people are. They think they are more entitled than everyone else. I don't know what you call that - sociopath or narcissist or borderline personality - but they have no empathy and refuse to compromise or be told "No".

I've been working really hard putting together my timeline binders. I don't have any pictures of bruises, but I have tons of texts and emails where he is being abusive or talking about the abuse (blaming me and saying it's my fault), texts and emails I sent to friends telling them what had happened and asking their advice, police reports from when neighbors would call because they overheard him - although I always told the police it was just verbal because I didn't want to make things worse with him, receipts from doctor visits that are usually a few days to a week after abusive episodes. I think I've got a pretty good timeline, I just don't know if I'll get the chance to show this pattern of abuse. I've heard family court is very fast-paced, and they don't like to get involved in he said/she said stuff, so they typically assume both parties have partaken in misbehavior and split everything, including custody, down the middle. I'm just so worried. I'm afraid if they get any custody they'll use my child against me or hurt him.

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