Looks like I am going to have a custody battle on my hands....

Louise - posted on 03/26/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )




Hey everyone

I posted on here about a week ago with regards to my boyfriend walking out on me while 6 months pregnant and also we have an 11 month old. When he was talking about leaving he agreed to visitation every other weekend. He hasn't taken much of an interest in my pregnancy thus far.

A bit of background - he was unfaithful 2 yrs ago right before I got pregnant with our 11 month old. He has 2 failed marriages prior - both of whom he was unfaithful to so it wouldn't surprise me if there is someone else in the picture but I can't prove it.

He has a terrible debt to income ratio - basically he covers his bills and no more, He is obsessed with electronics and gadgets and sometimes puts them before bills. He has no extra money - until now I'm the one who has been financially taking care of our child - with some occasional help here and there from him. He has paid his half of the bills such as rent, electricity etc - but when it comes to clothes, food, diapers, formula etc - not much help from him. He is staying with a friend, I know he doesnt have money aside for even a damage deposit for his own apartment and suddenly out of nowhere he is now saying he wants 50/50 custody - I know his family have planted the seed in his head that if he does this he won't have to pay me child support. Despite his bad debt/bad credit he makes a good salary - he is just horrible with money, I would be in a better financial position to do it on my own getting child support - because at least i would have the stability of getting money from him, not just random money here and there.

What do you think the chances are of him getting 50/50 given the circumstances?!


Jane - posted on 03/28/2011




The money isn't the issue...it's whether or not he can be a good father. Someone who isn't good with money can still be a great father and someone who is great with money can totally suck at parenting. In today's environment, it's very possible he could get 50/50 with you unless he is unfit. Get a good lawyer!!!!!

Isobel - posted on 03/26/2011




It is becoming quite common now for courts to award 50/50, if he gets himself an apartment that is big enough and close enough it's likely once the baby stops exclusively breastfeeding.

That being said, if you guys are able to put all hurt feelings aside it doesn't have to be a bad thing. I know plenty of families who have made it work beautifully.


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Tammy - posted on 03/29/2011




Get a lawyer and never assume anything! I HATE to be the bearer of bad news here but if his family gets behind him and provides a strong support network for him and the children it will play strongly in court, esp if your "going it alone". The courts get all warm and fuzzy over extended family being there to help with the children. For example if grandma agrees to watch the children everyday instead of putting them in day care or sending them to a sitter.
Never ever under estimate or speculate what may or may not happen in court before speaking with a lawyer. A custody battle may end up resting in the hands of a single judge who may or may not come with their own set of bias.
Regardless of what happens between the two of you, your children are going to bond with each of you and need both parents. Remember it is always in the child's best interest to make pick up and drop off times as civil as possible, that is NOT the proper time or place to argue. If there is something to be resolved do so out of the line of sight and hearing of your children no matter how young they may be.

Mary - posted on 03/28/2011




Money or no he has to pay child support , Once Judge ordered if he dissaperars you can get ktap . The long and short is I knew of a man that lost his social security to back child support . And could not retire it all went to his xe-wife for child support .

Gwen - posted on 03/28/2011




Get a lawyer and put everything in writing. The child support agencies don't care if you are a good money manager or not. They don't look at debt/income ratios or credit card bills. In most states there is a set formula calculated using total income, cost of childcare and health insurance. My ex-husband has lived in 2 different states since our divorce and in both cases, the child support is a payroll deduction from his check. My advice is to apply for child support and then go hire a good attorney to work out the visitation. Or, hire a mediator to help reach an agreement, which is less expensive than going to court, if the 2 of you can sit down and have a civil discussion.

Michelle - posted on 03/26/2011




I have done 50/50 care for 2 of my children for over 6 years now and it works for us. Child support is calculated as if you are paying each other so if he has a higher income he would still have to pay you something, just not as much as he would if you had full custody.
My ex and myself only live 5 mins apart so our boys go to the same school and have the same group of friends no matter what house they are at. Shared care can be hard work to make sure the children have the same boundries at each house as well as the same routines. It requires a lot of communication between the parents as well.
If he doesn't have a place of his own the courts may not make a decision until he has that sorted out. I didn't go to court and get orders at all, we managed to agree on it all by ourselves. We actually get along a lot better now than when we were married though :-)
I have since remarried and had another child and my ex husband comes around for social gatherings and gets along really well with my husband. He buys things for my daughter out of the blue as well.

Shared care can work but it does take work and openess. Hope it works out for you and the children. I don't see him getting shared care of the baby though. My youngest was 1 when we split but he was sleeping through and also off the breast.

Jodi - posted on 03/26/2011




Depends where you live.....in Australia 50/50 is assumed unless it can be argued otherwise.

The following comment bothers me:
"I would be in a better financial position to do it on my own getting child support - because at least i would have the stability of getting money from him, not just random money here and there."

Why is it that how you feel on this matter is all about the money you may or may not get, and how you would be better off if he was paying child support? Remember, if he has 50/50, you will also not have half the expenses. Child support is child support. If you want mother support, you need to go for maintenance, and possibly you could until you have the baby.

Having said that, I don't necessarily agree that him having 50% would be in the best interests of the child. But this is what it should be about from BOTH of your perspectives, not about who pays what child support to who.

Brittany - posted on 03/26/2011




I don't think they'll grant 50/50 without him having a permanent residence, I know that friends won't let you stay forever usually.The financial irresponsibility is another thing they won't look kindly on.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/26/2011




Courts usually side with the mom unless there is abuse or other extenuating circumstances. As they should!! We are the ones that take the full 9 months of bodily upsets and then the how many hours of painful labor. Besides if you breastfeed ..he has no case what-so-ever.

Basically what I am saying is they will certainly give him some sort of visitation but you will probably be the primary caregiver.

Louise - posted on 03/26/2011




It is quite rare for 50/50 custody to be given to a man with no fixed abode. Especially as your baby is not born yet it is highly unlikely. Also let him take you to court one he can't afford it and two the judge will rule what he has to pay for the up keep of the children and take your money direct from source instead of having to wait for him to give it to you. I think if you slip this into a conversation he will change his mind!

[deleted account]

Ditto Erica! My ex walked out on my kids for almost a year and a half before walking into court and trying to get full custody! The ONLY thing that kept him from getting 50/50 is the fact that he moved too far away to make that practical (cost of flights and such).

Erica - posted on 03/26/2011




well alot depends on where you live....most states now prefer parents to have 50/50 custody with one parent being the primary caregiver. since you have access to the internet type in parenting time guidelines for you state and it would spell out for you what he would get. 50/50 means you will have to consult him and everything to do with the child, schooling, medical, daycare, sports, etc......
Get a lawyer fast!!!!!

Jenni - posted on 03/26/2011




Very low. I don't think he has thought this through. Like you said maybe he's taking advice from others. I don't think the courts would ever award 50/50 custody with a child so young. They really don't like to do that because they are looking at the best interest of the child. Which is not being flip flopped from home to home. That would create a highly unstable environment.

Maybe try talking to him and ensuring him that you are willing to co operate and that you would agree to allow him to have extra visitation outside his every other weekend. Court is not beneficial for you or him if it can be avoided and you can work out support/custody on your own. My husband and the BM of my SD avoided court and were able to come to agreements on their own. My husband pays child support based on his income. He keeps receipts signed by her every time he pays it. They agreed to every other weekend but she pretty much allows him to have access whenever. As long as he discusses it with her ahead of time.

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