Looking for custody advice

Marty - posted on 01/07/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I'm a single mother of a 2 year old. Her father and I have been split up since she was about 6 months old. He hasn't given me any child support since we've been split up and up until recently, I still let him see her (unstable, mind you, but he's seen her) because I was still able to support her without his money thanks to Ontario Works (welfare) and I thought it cruel to stop him from any effort at being in her life. However, a few months ago he moved to Guelph to "find better work"... he never called to see how she's doing, never messaged me, and wasn't coming to see her except for ONE weekend. Everyone keeps telling me to go to court to establish legal custody. I know it's PROBABLY a good idea, but I was told by other people that in the end it's just a piece of paper. And what happens if I actually trust the guy? I don't like him, but I'm almost certain he couldn't get away with kidnapping her, with or without legal custody. Recently I put my foot down, and told him to call my Ontario Works worker, set up child support payment through him, and then him and I can talk about his coming to visit her. If we really can't agree, then yes, I would take it to a legal step, but isn't it worth trying without all that bull crap? Am I doing a good job?

He's being pretty agreeable with everything so far. He did mention wanting to take her to his place in Guelph this summer if the initial visiting schedule is working out. This place is like a quite a few hours away. This idea scares the CRAP out of me but he completely agrees that we should start by HIM coming to visit her HERE for a while first. I told him we'd talk about it when the time comes.

I'm going with my gut here, but I'd really like to know if I'm doing a good enough job by trusting him. Or should I take him straight to court and deal with them? It seems like such a pain in the ass.

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Get the court papers done. In some areas it may be different, but in most areas.... if he takes YOU to court he will get visitations at his home (assuming it's a suitable living environment) w/out him ever having to pay you a penny.



Trust me... I'm on welfare right now too and the state will take my child support until I am off of it. My ex currently owes the state over $27,000, but I would be the one in trouble if I were to ever deny his court ordered visitation (not that I WOULD... just saying).

Jurnee - posted on 01/07/2012

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I would definitley get custody and some sort of visitation agreement. It actually protects you both, this way he knows that he has legal rights to his daughter. If you both agree, its not really a battle, you can have joint custody with you having the primary residence.you can lay out a really liberel visitation schedule as well. with my sons dad, we had a typical visitation schedule, but it also read and any other days times amenable to both parties. That way if he wanted our son to attend a special occasion or something and it wasnt his week, we could coordinate that, and I still had primary custody. As far as child support, in the US if you apply for benefits, the state automatically starts the child support process.

Ez - posted on 01/07/2012

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I think it's wise to get things documented (ie, custody agreements, child support etc) for all the reasons others have mentioned. But doing so doesn't have to be a bad thing, or a threat. If you have an amicable relationship (which you seem to) you just explain that the paperwork needs to be done, but that you don't intend to use it to screw him (that's the impression I'm getting from your post).

In Australia, without a legal custody agreement, the parent who has physical custody of the child at any given time has all the rights. Even if things are civil between you now, you need to protect yourself and your child from that. Things change, and can change fast.

Sherri - posted on 01/07/2012

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Sorry but I would be going through it all legally. It protects you, him and your daughter.

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Kyleigh - posted on 01/09/2012

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The county I live has been really cracking down, not only by tax intercepts, but monthly child support reviews, if ex claims he doesnt have a job he has to put in 5 job apps a week unti he gets hired or pay the support intended! He has been to jail once, and i know he made bail , and that bail money goes towards child support (to collect), the court system doesn't accept less than 80% of child support payments of being made.

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