What to do for child custody?

Karyn - posted on 10/18/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hello Everyone! I'll give you some back story before I begin my question for you. I am the single mommy of an almost 2 year old. I am from Pennsylvania. My ex boyfriend and I split when our son was 2 months old. He cheated on me with a 16 year old girl while he is 22. Then he said he needed to take a break frome when I found out. For 5-6 month he saw my son maybe 2 times. And after that he said he wanted to be involved and we setup for him to see our son every Friday since it was his day off and he did show up the first few times then after that he would show up when he felt like it and when it fit his interest never texting or calling me to cancel when he wouldn't be there. Now he is supposed to see our son Tuesday and Thursdays for a few hours and it is always at a public place. He has a new girlfriend and now wants to take our son alone even though he does not understand he is his father since he is not around very often and when he is he is on his cell phone. Latwly he has been texting me sexual things and says he wants me back again while he is dating her. She tells him it is not fair that he gets no alone time with his son. I have never kept our son from his father when he asks to see him I try to accomadate as best I can. My ex has tried to kill himself on 2 occasions and is constantly playing video games or going to the bar or having drinking parties at his house. He also has weapons like machetes and swords and such he keeps under his bed where our son could easily get access to. He threatens to take me to court for full custody to take our son. What should I do? Do you think he would get full custody? I would like to have him have supervised visits even if its with his family as long as someone else can watch our son as even when I am there he doesn't pay attention to him. Thank you.

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Jodi - posted on 10/18/2014

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Well, it's highly unlikely he will get full custody. However, he may be able to get visitation without you around. You could push for supervised visitation. However, without a court order, even if you organised supervised visitation with his family, they could let him just take the child without supervision and there would be absolutely no legal repercussions for this. Without a court order, you are putting yourself in a very vulnerable position by dictating when he can and cannot have his child, because it could be seen as parental alienation. He could also even take the child and not return him and he would not necessarily be breaking the law, because in the eyes of the law, you don't necessarily have full custody.

On this basis, I would suggest you see a lawyer and set up formal visitation. You can definitely push for supervised visitation, but you will need evidence that demonstrates that he should not be alone with the child (eg. abuse, neglect).

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Jodi - posted on 10/18/2014

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If he has signed legal documents, it may or may not hold up in court if he decided to take you there, depending on where you live (I am not necessarily familiar with the family laws where you live). If your lawyer has advised you that it will hold up in court, then take that advice. However, they won't prevent your ex actually deciding to file in the courts for full custody if he chooses to. Keep recording those visits, keep a diary and make notes. Collect all evidence. That way, if he does take your to court, you have some evidence. But you may not end up with a choice on the court situation.

Karyn - posted on 10/18/2014

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Thank you Jodi. I have taken pictures of him when he is visiting our son showing him on his phone but I don't think that can be seen as neglect. If I were to have my lawyer draw up papers that say when he can see our son and his father signs them then he can not say I am alienating him correct? He has chosen the dates he sees our son now and I have messages where he cancels cause he says he needs sleep or he was to meet us at the park and never showed and when I called he never answered also I have written in a book when he was to see our son and if he showed or not. I do not want to go to court over this as I had to go through it when I was little myself and I do not want that life for my son. His father says he does not want to pay child support so I have no taken him for that and told him to give me what he can afford. Thank you for your help.

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