Having custody issues. Any advice?

Lizzy - posted on 02/04/2014 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son is two years old and his father only shows interest in him when it suits him. I filed custody papers last month, and he flew off the handle when he was served with them.
Now he's trying to file for joint custody.
He can't hold a job, has no permanent address (right now, he's living with some friends, next week, who knows?) has a terrible temper and issues with drugs and alcohol.
After putting on a show before the judge, where he actually started crying and swearing he loves my son and would get a job to help take care of him, I'm now afraid he'll get what he wants and I'll have to share custody of my little boy with a man he doesn't know and who only wants anything to do with him when he's trying to get place to live (yes, I've caught him using my son to pick up women at the park).
Does anyone have any advice that might help me turn things to my favor and prevent this creep from getting what he wants?

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/05/2014

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So, it's 'hard' to note in your log that he visited? That is part of what we mean by 'hard' evidence. If you think its too difficult to keep a log of his activities, then a judge is less likely to take your views into account.

You asked for advice to 'turn things to your favor and prevent this creep from getting what he wants'. The advice has been to obtain PROOF. Obtain EVIDENCE. Arrests for drugs don't necessarily indicate poor character, just poor choices at that time. Unless there is actual physical proof that the man is a loss, a judge WILL most likely give them visitation, if not some percentage of custody.

And, if he's got the paperwork to back his story (getting straight, getting assistance), then the judge is taking everything into consideration. Just because you haven't agreed with the judgements handed down doesn't mean that they were made with a lack of understanding about the situation, after all.

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Dove - posted on 02/07/2014

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That actually isn't true anymore, Jennifer. Some states absolutely do side w/ the mother, but more and more are finally recognizing the importance of a child having an equal relationship w/ both parents and many courts will automatically award 50/50 custody w/out a solid reason not to do so.

Jennifer - posted on 02/07/2014

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Present your case. I gave my ex husband 50/50 custody of my son, but he is a great dad. 50/50 is hardly ever heard of. I would think the most he could get is every other weekend and some holidays. He will probably whimp out of those if he is like you say. Have evidence of his drinking and drugs, then he won't stand a chance. Most states side on the side of mothers.

Dove - posted on 02/05/2014

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If you have hard proof (not just the arrest records, but actual convictions) of the drug abuse and no permanent residence.... you might be able to avoid joint custody unless/until he can get those two things in order. Either way... your son has a right to a relationship w/ his father and you need to accept that being in court means things very well may not go 'your' way... or his.

Even if he does fight for joint custody... how much visitation do you really think he's going to take considering how random he's already involved?

My best advice... gather everything you can to prove what is in the best interest of your son... but start preparing yourself and your child for what 'may' very well happen in court.

Guest - posted on 02/05/2014

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Evidence, Evidence, Evidence.
If your ex is being charged with possession and use of illegal substances, get copies of the files and submit them as evidence to the court (though they probably won't count for much until he is convicted). If he has a past criminal record (the DUI) submit those files as well. Get records of his frequent address changes and any stints of homelessness.
You can't just tell the judge this stuff happened, you have to have physical, quantifiable evidence.

What you named, though, is not enough to award full custody to you. If he wants it, he will probably be able to get some custody rights in addition to visitation. Remember, in legal terms "Custody" does not always refer to where the child lives--the kid can live with you 90% of the time and you could still have "joint custody" meaning that while the kid lives with you, his father has partial say in any decisions concerning the child's life.

Lizzy - posted on 02/05/2014

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This is about my child.

I'm trying to protect him from an alcoholic drug abuser, which is why I don't want him to have joint custody of the child.
If a judge can't look at the facts (i.e. the ARREST RECORD) and he once again falls for the act of crying and promises of support for my little boy when we go back to court next month for the final decision, then he's a moron.

Also, it's hard to keep track of when my ex visits because he only comes around when he feels like it, and in the last two years, he's spent a grand whooping total of a week with my son. It's also difficult to discuss anything about my son with this man when he doesn't have a phone number of his own (he doesn't have a permanent home address. He bounces from place to place).

So thanks for thinking this was all about me.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/05/2014

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As Jodi & Evelyn have stated, you need to leave your current feelings for the man behind.

You have a child, in part because this man contributed. It is now not about you, but about the child.

The only time that allegations of drug use, past convictions, DUI's, etc, can be admissible as evidence is if there is any actual proof to back up the allegations. If you feel that there is sufficient proof, then your attorney can certainly request the records and submit them as evidence.

However, it's about the child. And the best interest of that child.

Ev - posted on 02/05/2014

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I have to agree with Jodi on this and also need to add that this is not about how you feel about his father or his father's feeling's regarding you. Its about the best interest of the child. Going through the courts takes away your ability to have any say in if dad can see the child or not. The judge is going to set the guidelines for this. The judge is not going to go on how you feel about this guy unless you have the proof that Jodi spoke of. You need to be documenting when he sees his kid, any conversations about the child between you, if he shows up or not for those visits and things of this nature. You also need to remember that this is about the baby not you or the dad.

Lizzy - posted on 02/05/2014

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Is my worthless ex being picked up for being in possession of meth, under the influence of said drug, and drunk (for a second time, along with a third DUI) enough evidence that he's not fit for my son to be around?

Jodi - posted on 02/04/2014

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Unfortunately, he was good enough to sleep with, so he is now the father of your child. If you have not been able to present evidence of these issues (in particular the drugs), then yes, he is likely to get some level of joint custody. He has a right to have a relationship with his child, whether you like it or not, and yes, he will likely, at very least, be given visitation unless you have clear OBJECTIVE (not hearsay) evidence that the safety of your child is of concern.

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