Custody Battle

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2012 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I spent all day yesterday and this morning in court. See, a good friend of mine has been going through a custody battle. The custody arrangement ahd been one week on, one week off. Witnesses included babysitters employed by the father, a psychologist who had been court ordered to evaluate the father and a priest. Babysitters told us of how the 6 year old boy was subjected to pornographic material on a regular basis, was subjected to seeing his father smoke and sell drugs (these are things the babysitters witnessed in the presence of the child), the child being lifted up by his shirt and having marks left on his neck from the collar the child being left home alone for extended amounts of time and more. The psychologist told us about the father's paranoid behaviors (further impounded by evidence citing the child sharing those paranoid fears, including the phone being tapped, people hiding in the walls and listening etc etc) and violent temper. The father has a criminal history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse and violence. He has 4 children whom have a no contact order against him.

After all this, the judge decides to rule on the side of lenience "in case he's wrong." and gives the father every other weekend instead of every other week. After the father leaves suddenly and early in a rage (he had thrown some items, cursed out the judge and the cop that was present), the court requires all people in the courtroom (myself included) to be escorted to our cars for our own safety AFTER the building and parking lot were searched!!!! He also asks the priest (who basically said that the father goes to church every sunday) to call the father and urge him not to run away with the child.

So, we, adults, had to be escorted out for our own safety, the father had to be called and convinced not to run away with the child...but yet this judge thinks it's okay to let him have unsupervised time with a CHILD?! I should mention, the father left before the ruling had been made, so the judge easily could have changed his verdict after witnessing the father's outburst. Also, the father has a history of death threats, tire slashing and even was convicted and spent some jail time for setting the mother's garage on fire...while the child was home with her. Thoughts? I think it's crazy.

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Jodi - posted on 05/18/2012

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MeMe, social services has been called too many times to count, the child has a guardian ad litem (spelling?) which is basically an attorny JUST for the child, not for eithe rparent. Because social services can't find "proof" of any of the allegations (the father is actually a pretty smart guy, and sneaky too) they won't do anything. They too are erring on the side of "what if we're wrong?" The system has already failed this child, and only continues to do worse by him.

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Laura - posted on 05/19/2012

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I know. In situations like this I can understand not telling the father. Poor kid, too, getting caught in the middle of all of this. I'm still flabbergasted by the judge's decision. I know the appeal process can take some time.

Jodi - posted on 05/19/2012

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That's the sad part Laura, by the time she found out she was pregnant, she had dumped him because of his crazy behavior. In hindsight, she should have never told him she was preggo. But she thought she was doing the right thing at the time.

Laura - posted on 05/19/2012

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So she really had no way of knowing. Poor thing. I hope she gets sole custody and decision making soon. I have patients who have kids with sociopathic fathers. I'm always holding my breath and praying until the court battles are over. I'll keep her in my prayers. I am glad she has you for support.

Jodi - posted on 05/19/2012

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Laura, it was an oopsies pregnancy. They had been dating for only a few weeks.

Laura - posted on 05/19/2012

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This is absolutely tragic. What was the judge thinking? If anything happens to that child it is on his head! There are many better arrangements that could have been made including supervised visits, parenting plans, and mandated mental health and substance abuse treatment.

On a different note, and forgive me for opening a can of worms, but why did your friend become involved and have a baby with this man given his history? I don't mean to be judgmental, but it is amazing to me how many women have children with men who are clearly unstable and not fit to be parents.

Jennifer - posted on 05/18/2012

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omg...tell your friend to get her lawyer to say this is BS and have it seen by another judge!!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/18/2012

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Man, what a shitty circumstance!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/18/2012

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I was just thinking and perhaps it was already done. Was CPS ever brought in on this? You know, at least here anyhow, they don't take any claims lightly. Regardless of a ruling from a judge, if they feel there is even a slight problem, they will remove the child from the fathers home and place him with his Mom, until they can complete a full investigation.



This happened to a friend of mine, only difference is she was on the losing end. She was/is an alcoholic. Her son mentioned it one day to his teacher that his Mom drove him and his brother somewhere, after drinking. The teacher immediately called CPS. CPS was there the same day. When they asked the mother if this was true, she broke down and admitted her guilt. Let alone all the wine boxes and glasses in plain view. They removed the children from her care and placed them with their father. They made her submit random weekly pee tests for the next 7 months. They would show up at her home, any day of the week (without her knowing) and make her pee in a pee container. If she wanted to get her kids back, she had no choice. She did it and in the end got them back. Since she really is a good Mom, she just had some hard times. She did end up losing her job, though. She worked with me. She would show up half cut all the time. They gave her 2 years of trying to help her, until they decided she was not going to change for her job (she was fired right around the same time this all happened with her kids).



So, if CPS got involved, they would do a full investigation. They would talk with the babysitter, the school and anyone else they deemed appropriate. They would assess the boy and the father. They would show up randomly to the fathers home and stick around for a bit. He would be scrutinized for however long. They would either make madatory supervised visits (with one of them there) or place the child with the mother in full, until their investigation was done. Again, this may not be how it works where you live, of course I can only go by how it is here. They don't mess around here, when it comes to children.

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2012

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She is appealing, her and her attorney started talking about that immediately after the trial...you know, while we were waiting for the cops to finish searching the building. And while he's probably on drugs...the psychologist couldn't give a finite diagnosis, but it's his opinion that the father could possibly be a paranoid schizo or some other mental disorder that he felt needed to be addressed, treated and under control before the father was left with a child. I don't know what the judge was thinking. I'm still just shaking my head. The PI might be a good idea though, I'll mention it. I know money is tight for her, but I also know she'd do anything to make sure her son is safe...

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/17/2012

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I just simply cannot comprehend.



A special bond between a father and son?? Yes, there is that but not when the father is a damn lunatic!! What kind of bond is this kid really getting? He is becoming paranoid, thinking there are people in the walls for goodness sake. This father is definitely on crack or meth. This is what these two drugs will cause. The judge HAS to know this!



I know you cannot answer any of the questions I put out there, it is more me questioning the judge. I feel so sorry for the Mom, too. This must be devestating for her. :(



I would hope she will continue to push for full custody. If she doesn't she may lose her boy. It's not something anyone wants to think about in hindsight. She could appeal and she could have it over-ruled. If it were my friend, this would be something I would be mentioning. Of course, I would support her but for me, I too, do not know what I would say to comfort her. There really just aren't any words for that. It isn't a comforting scenario by any means. Letting her know she is a great Mom, though, would be important. Which I am sure you do. Letting her know, it is better than every second week (even though, it is still not what it should be) and that she is strong and she needs to be for her boy.



Maybe, and I don't know how much money she has (if any) but if it were me, one thing I would consider is having a private investigator. I would have him followed and provide proof of his illegal activities. I would seriously be doing my best to make this guy sink!



The crappy thing is the child is too young to testify (at least here he would be). Although, the judge hopefully had a one on one with him. I mean, shit! There was even a phsychologist! Makes me soo very sad. I just can't imagine, this being me and my child.



ETA:

Yeah, the priest messed up big time, there. If this guy can suck a judge in though, it probably is not hard to do to a priest. See, what god is watching out for this boy!! The priest, isn't even doing that. :(

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2012

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Oh, and the priest apologized after the trial to the mother...he listened to the other witnesses, witnessed the father's behavior and couldn't beleive he had been sucked in and actually testified on his behalf. It's just crazy.

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2012

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MeMe, the judge's closing words were, "I'm sure I'll be seeing you back here in 6 months." What went through MY mind was...the father was unstable BEFORE, and now?! I just hope I don't have to look at a missing kid's poster...or worst...a child size casket. (And yes, I think it IS a concern, I am NOT exxagerating, this man is DANGEROUS IMO) It's sad, and I'm doing my best to support my friend...but what do you say? She is very concerned now, we all are. I just do NOT understand this judge. That man is too dangerous for US...but perfectly suitable for a child?! He said something about the special bond between father and child earlier in the session and not wanting to take that away from the child OR the father. :(

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/17/2012

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OMG - it seriously brings tears to my eyes and gives me utter shivers. I feel SO bad for this child. I am in despair, thinking about it. This poor, innocent child. I just cannot believe it. How much does a child have to endure before they are protected? I just don't get it! I really don't. It infuriates me. This child is going to be scorned for life and a judge is going to allow for it to continue? How much fucking evidence does he need?

If this was my kid, I would seriously be considering taking off to another Country. I could and would NOT allow this to continue happening to my child, once I knew about it. I know it wouldn't be the right thing to do by law but morally, to me, it is. If no one else, such as the law, is going to help me protect my babies, be damn sure I will make it happen. Even if I am doing it illegally!

I am sorry, Jodi, that you had to endure such a situation. I honestly would not be able to sleep, thinking about this poor child. It is things like this, that make me wish there were serious punishments available for ALL people that wrong a child. They cannot speak for themselves and if no one else will, unfortunately this child will pay the price for something he had no control over.

It breaks my heart. This judge was SO wrong! I hope the mother seeks further justice and appeals the ruling. I'd like to know how a judge can go home and sleep rightfully and peacefully, knowing he just allowed a childs' life to continue to be fucked up!

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