Shocked!!! Judge gives my breastfed 1yr old to her father temporarily...

Ashley - posted on 10/25/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Here's my story from beginning to end...I was living with my daughter's father. I left him when he admitted to cheating on me. I moved in with my sis who is in the military. I placed my daughter's father on child support. When that happened, he filed for custody. My sis was getting ready to pcs to another state and i was looking for a place to stay. The apartments i could afford were in bad areas. Daughter's father offer to let me and our daughter move back in with him. A week later we had our custody court date. I was granted physical custody and we had joint custody. Child's father had reasonable visitation. We moved in together, because i thought it would be great for our daughter. Huge mistake!!! Fast forward to September, we get into a fight, he asked me to leave and never return. During this time, I was not working and my family had left state. Didnt know anybody but my childs father. Didnt have no place to go,but the state where my family was. I temporarily moved near family and a few weeks later, received a letter for violating a court order. Daughter's father file court paperwork two days after he put me out. The state where my childs father was living, you have to give 30 days notice before you can leave. I couldnt give a notice and wait 30 days because I didnt have nowhere to go in that state. My child was 12 months old and breastfeeding. I did notify the court in writing and my childs father knew where i was headed when he put me out. Court date was beginning of October, I didnt have a lawyer, my daughters father did. Everyone in the courtroom knew his lawyer including the judge. Daughter's father lawyer spoke for him. Judge didnt want to hear nothing i had to say. The lawyer and judge knew each other, and the judge couldnt look me in my eyes when he was stating i had reasonable visitation and daughters father had temporary custody of a breastfed baby. I felt ambushed....Fast forward, i had to transfer my child to her father two days after court. Daughters father told me i had to wait a week to see my child. When i finally see her, he threatens me. He tells me, if i breastfeed our daughter he will tell the court and have my visitation cease. He refuse to tell me what daycare she is in and who's picks her up. She had a doctors appt, i wanted to attend and he refuse to tell me that info. My daughter is not the same. Breastfeeding was stop abruptly and my daughter seems to be in a daze. Stopping breastfeeding abruptly can cause emotional problems to a child. It hurts to see my daughter in that state. My childs father refused to take my breastmilk. Weaning a child is a process there is no way my child took whole milk over night. Her father says i can only see her once a week. Thats not reasonable visitation to me. I feel like i have no rights to my child anymore and i dont know what to do.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/26/2012

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Ok, Ashley, first of all, the minute that judge decided to change the custodial arrangements you went from being the primary custodial parent to the NCP. Period. Even though you still have the paperwork from the previous decision that says you are the custodial parent, that is now null and void.



I would recommend that, for your next hearing, you contact legal aid, and get yourself represented. As Holly stated, just because you breastfeed is not a thing that is going to give you primary custody. Especially without a place to live, job, etc. Part of showing that you are a good parent is proving that you have the resources to properly care for your child. You feeding her isn't enough. Your ex had the better resources at that point, and the judge saw that. Not saying that you shouldn't have had a little more input, but if you responded in court in the same manner you are here, the judge would have quickly lost patience with you, because you're basing your arguments on feeding, and only feeding. You are not trying to point out the time spent with your daughter, you don't bring up any other aspects of her life other than the feeding. A judge is going to see that as "this is all she's offering, and the kid can live on formula, while her father can provide a roof over her head, a steady situation, and a good income"



Another thing to consider is that you put yourself into a situation that you determined was unavoidable: leaving the state. When, in fact, you could have gone down to the local women's shelter, or family services and applied for motel waivers in order to fulfill the 30 day notice requirement. You didn't thoroughly check out your options, which came back to bite you in the ass. Just telling your ex "I'm going to my mom's" doesn't fulfill the court ordered notification time frame.



And, FYI, "reasonable" visitation is determined on a case by case basis. Most generally it IS only once a week, unless the parents have another reasonable request. Based on your proximity (location wise) to your ex, more than once a week doesn't sound feasible.



Keep in mind that your best bet in ANY legal battle is to come fully armed. There ARE services in almost every state in the US that will be able to help you get legal aid. If all else fails, look to your nearest university law school. There is A LOT of pro bono work going on. And, if you actually call around and speak with family attorneys, you will find someone who's willing to either cut you a decent break on the fees, or give you some pro bono assistance. But you can't just stand there and say "He's got a better job, so he can hire a better lawyer, and I can't..." Because you can do anything you set your mind on, and if that baby's important to you, you won't talk yourself into NOT trying to find an attorney or legal assistance. The only time you "can't" do anything is when you're dead. Until then, there's always a way to do things.



You will never be able to get full disclosure from him regarding who is involved in your child's life, unless it's court ordered. And think of it this way: would you "clear" everything with your ex before doing it, just to keep him informed? I doubt it. He has no legal obligation to tell you where she's in daycare, or who her authorized caregivers are, just as you'd have no legal obligation to share that information with him, were the cases reversed. Now, to be totally honest, I think you should know about anything medical, but I doubt that there's a legal requirement for him to tell you, unless it's in the custody and visitation paperwork.



I know that it sounds harsh, but you need to fight back instead of sitting there, waiting for your next court date. You need to have SOLID reasons for extending visitation, you need to prove that you are holding a steady job, and can support the child if you're petitioning for custody. You need to have an attorney with you in order to present the petition in a rational, unemotional fashion. The more emotional you get in court, the less the judge is really going to take what you say into account. For example: Standing in court crying about how you can't breastfeed is not going to get you anywhere. Explain in logical terms how this affects you, your child, etc.



Good luck

13 Comments

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Holly - posted on 10/26/2012

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i never said that it does... wow, i feel like i am being attacked... like i said i am merely stating facts. your whole argument is over you BFing your child. my statement was saying that it takes MORE than BFing a child to be a good parent. a steady job and a stable environment is only one other aspect.... but unfortunetly since you ex has a good lawyer, you are going to have to get an even better one. moving out of state with a child is a big deal in the courts eyes. ESP if you do not give 30 days notice. in the courts eyes, you could have moved into a safe house, or a friends place, or low income facility. but you didn't give the courts notice, and it looked as though you "fled the state" I do wish you luck in your next hearing

Ashley - posted on 10/26/2012

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We are going to court in November and I'm a very good mother. I have a job and a place to stay. For your information, he makes more money than me, his house is bigger than mines.his lawyer knew the judge. Does that make him a better parent than me cause he has those things, hell no

Dove - posted on 10/26/2012

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I think Ashley is a bit more upset about the trauma this abrupt transition has caused her daughter and she has every right to be upset. My kids are no longer breastfed, but you'd better believe they would be extremely upset if they went from living with me full time to only seeing me once a week.



I'm more shocked that the judge didn't listen to your side at all, Ashley. Where I am the judges are VERY lenient when it comes to listening to someone who is representing themselves.

Holly - posted on 10/26/2012

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i am kind of offended that you think i am trying to start an argument, i am merely stating facts

Holly - posted on 10/26/2012

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you are acting as though this is unheard of, that you are SHOCKED... well this is what NCPs go through, it happens A lot... your ex, after not too long, may decide he is going to go to court and become CP and you get switched to NCP. I am just saying this IS infact common placement... they don't just make placement of the child because you stick your tit in his mouth... placement of the child is made of a NUMBER of deciding factors... being a fit mother has much more to do than just nursing alone.

Ashley - posted on 10/26/2012

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At holly, On paper I am the custodial parent...He is still listed as the NCP..Whats your argument now???

Ashley - posted on 10/26/2012

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@jazmyne thanks, I'm trying to stay strong. @shauna, I have been keeping a journal of everything...

Holly - posted on 10/26/2012

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and he is her father, that would be fine for him to decide to goon a vacation with his daughter. what he does with her on his time is his business. those are the facts of life. the schedule you have is common for what we call NCP non custodial parent. it is a VERY common placement...

Ashley - posted on 10/26/2012

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At holly, her father didnt bother to call her for her first birthday while we was away and she is a breastfed baby, hell no!!! One day a week is not reasonable. My daughter went from knowing me to not knowing who I am. Worst feeling ever...When I transfered my child to her father, he stated I had to wait a week to see my child. I couldnt even see her on the weekends. He couldve takened her out the state during that week, i will never know.

Holly - posted on 10/26/2012

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wow... you think it's not reasonable visitation to you, men are LUCKY if they get visitation of their babies once per week. and usually its for one to two hours for that one visitation.

Shauna - posted on 10/26/2012

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I suggest writing everything down and trying to put dates on when certain things happened such as when the father refused your pumped milk, stuff like that and then get a lawyer! It does look bad that you left the state though, but someone needs to tell your side. It sounds like the judge just listened to the father's side and was then biased. I hope things improve for you.

Jazmyne - posted on 10/25/2012

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So so so sorry to hear what your going through mama. I really hope things get better for you.

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