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Advice on messed up situation  

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

my husband has a child with his exgirlfriend, he just got a letter in the mail that his son was placed in a foster home, we are considering fighting for custody of him, he was placed in foster care due to violent and abusive behavior from his mothers boyfriend, but she isn't that great of a person to begin with so i doubt all the blame is on him. and no i am not saying this out of spite towards her, for any reason, but does anyone have expierience with this? i know it's going to be a challege fighting a mother because i know the courts dont normally take the child away from thier mother but here's a quick rundown of her living situation compared to my husband and i's.

 

 

 

Hers:

lives with parents

doesn't clean, nobody does

they let their dogs go potty inside wherever they want to and dont clean it up for long periods of time

im not sure about sleeping conditions last time she said anything about it she said that there was not enough room for him to have his own bed so he was sleeping with her and her 9 year old son

a year ago she had my stepson in the emergency room to have stiches put in his face where he somehow not sure of the circumstances, but he had stiches in both sides of his cheeks along his mouth it didnt look to me like an accident at all but i am not putting out accusations

she smokes inside

she goes out every weekend

 

Ours:

all three of my children have thier own bed

my girls share a room while my son is still in my bedroom in his crib, he is only 5 months old

but he does have his own bedroom when i am ready to move him to it

i am a stay at home mom so i cook, clean, walk my dog, and even learned the trade of "handyman" lol

my children are very well taken care of and my house is clean a good nine times a day if not more, my children are almost 3 1 1/2 and 5 months so it is very hectic cleaning up toys after them lol

i smoke outside and away from my kids (smoking is bad i know)

we dont drink alcohol

 

 

 

does any of this sound like we have a chance at all

post #2 of 40

Um...yeah he has a chance!

 

What SHOULD happen, is they will come out and check out the home, do a background check etc. they may do something like require the father to have a drug test or something, i dont know. But it should all be fairly simple.

 

Then, the child will be placed with his father. Its likely the father might have to bring the child to the agency (or however they do it where you live, some places the worker transports) to have visits with the mother, if thats what the judge orders. If the child is happy and healthy with the father then they may very well leave him there.

 

But absolutely if he isnt a criminal and is safe, they will VERY likely turn the child over to him.

 

Some of that stuff though wont even factor in (like who smokes and where and whether you drink alcohol...although if there are drug issues, a part of that might be a requirement she not drink as well...)...basically they are looking for minimum level of safety.

post #3 of 40

 

Yes, he has a chance. But in my state, it would not be so cut-and-dried as in QueenJane's state. 

 

Your husband need to get on the radar of his son's social worker, STAT. They are overworked and underpaid people, and now that your stepson is has been placed in a licensed foster home, the easiest thing to do from the perspective of the organization is to leave him there. Your husband, in a nice, pleasant, civil way, needs to make that NOT the easiest thing. He should have some kind of contact (phone message, email, etc.) on a daily basis from now until his son is handed over to him. Your household may need to obtain a foster license. 

 

Your husband needs to attend every court hearing, with a lawyer in tow if you can afford it. All it would take is one judge to notice him and say "hey, why isn't this kid with his dad?" and suddenly the move becomes a priority for the worker. You husband needs to find out when supervised visitation is scheduled and attend that. 

 

Buy a bed and dresser (or clear out half a dresser) for your stepson now. Make sure you have newer, working smoke detectors. If he's under four, check your babyproofing. Make sure that your kids and animals have their shots up-to-date. Assume that somebody will be coming out from social services, possibly with very little notice, to inspect your house and say "yes" or "no" to the placement based on what they see that day.

 

Now that I've freaked you out - perhaps your state will be easier to deal with than my state. But it certainly does not hurt to be proactive and prepared. And it DEFINITELY doesn't hurt to talk to a lawyer to is an expert in your local family courts. 

post #4 of 40

Smithie i might agree with you if this was a RELATIVE we are talking about...but this is the biological father. I dont think i've ever heard of a situation where the biological father was required to be a licensed foster parent in order to have his OWN child placed in the home....have you?

 

Where i live, if this was the aunt or cousin or something....i think the rules have changed and now they ARE required to be licensed and follow all the same rules as regular foster parents.

 

But this is the parent. They have rights that relatives do not have.

post #5 of 40

It sounds like you would have a chance of getting custody but what has the father's relationship been with the son up until now?  Do they visit, does he pay child support, etc.?  Why wasn't father called prior to son being put into foster care?  That doesn't seem right.  Has he relinquished parental rights in some way?  Agree he definitely needs to call the social worker asap.  Best of luck whatever you decide.

 

Latte

post #6 of 40

Maybe another difference between states, but we have a sweet little one right now (and her brother) with different fathers.  Original case plan was for them both to go to her brother's grandparents - NV (or at least our county) moves kids very quickly to relatives if possible... our last placement was 10 days then moved to an aunt in OR, we had twin girls that never showed up because an uncle in Maryland flew in.
Anyway, our current little girl may be split from her brother because the father she has never met has resurfaced (after 5 years) and may want to take her.

OP:  NOT implying that you and your husband are absentee like this, or that you shouldn't have your little one with you!  Just an example in your favor from NV. 

It depends, too on how proactive your state is in applying new federal rules to get kids with family ASAP.  It does seem strange that you would get notice in the mail, rather than a phone call - in NV that would have been a huge miss and judges would gone after the caseworker a bit unless there were extenuating circumstances to not place the child with his/her father right away.

I hope this goes smoothly for you!!!!!!!!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte View Post

It sounds like you would have a chance of getting custody but what has the father's relationship been with the son up until now?  Do they visit, does he pay child support, etc.?  Why wasn't father called prior to son being put into foster care?  That doesn't seem right.  Has he relinquished parental rights in some way?  Agree he definitely needs to call the social worker asap.  Best of luck whatever you decide.

 

Latte



 

post #7 of 40

Is he listed as the father on her birth certificate? The first thing they'll want to do is establish paternity, so if he's not on there, get him a DNA test. (I only thought of this b/c it doesn't make sense that they wouldn't have contacted him, although if the exgirlfriend chose to ignore the fact that she knows who the father is, that could explain it.)

post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte View Post

It sounds like you would have a chance of getting custody but what has the father's relationship been with the son up until now?  Do they visit, does he pay child support, etc.?  Why wasn't father called prior to son being put into foster care?  That doesn't seem right.  Has he relinquished parental rights in some way?  Agree he definitely needs to call the social worker asap.  Best of luck whatever you decide.

 

Latte



the relationship between him and his son has been pretty much non existant until now, because she refused to let my husband see him for the last three years because i got pregnant with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. he pays child support out of every paycheck, and im not sure why he wasn't contacted before he was placed in foster care, that is something we have been trying to figure out too. no he has not relinquished his parental rights, in any way at all

 

post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Is he listed as the father on her birth certificate? The first thing they'll want to do is establish paternity, so if he's not on there, get him a DNA test. (I only thought of this b/c it doesn't make sense that they wouldn't have contacted him, although if the exgirlfriend chose to ignore the fact that she knows who the father is, that could explain it.)



he's not listed on his son's birth certificate, because she refused to let him be, but paternity was established at the local courthouse when he went for his very first hearing about his child support

 

post #10 of 40

At the very least, they will ask him why he never took her to court to get visitation. They do try to establish what the relationship is/has been up until now.

post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 

it's all just messed up, but i can give a quick rundown of mine and my husbands relationship, when i met him she was like 7 months pregnant, they had not spoken or anything in 6 months, and i understood his situation as i have a child previously also and me and his father are not together anymore either. obviously lol. but she was pissed off because we started dating when she was pregnant, she wouldnt let him know of any doctors appointments, how they went nothing, all he got was an email when she was in labor, she didnt even call him to let him know when his son was born, we found out because she had someone call my husbands grandparents and let them know to let my husband know. effed up i know. she would bring his son to the last house we lived in quite regularly for my husband to see him but that didnt last very long since i got pregnant shortly after, i dont know what it was about us getting married and me being pregnant with our first child together that set her off, still trying to figure that one out myself. we have tried to contact her many many times to see when we could see him, or have him for a couple hours, a day, weekend, any time at all but she does not respond to our emails, or calls us back. im wondering something else too about all of this, the reason she had all 3 of her children taken away and placed in foster homes is due to the fact that the boyfriend she has now was very abusive physically towards all three children, i dont understand why my husband was not contacted at the very start of this investigation.... he has to go back to court on april 5th so im hoping between now and then we can have alot of home inspections done

post #12 of 40

For a biological parent (and your husband has been legally established as such) the requirements are MUCH less stringent.  Drug and background check, basic requirements met in the house; but every state's OBLIGATION is to keep a child with a biological parent.

 

In most states the fact that he is paying child support pretty much cements his role as father despite the absence.  Sad but true.  In fact, in some states, lack of financial support for a year is grounds for terminating parental rights (of course, if brought to court I'm sure they're going to consider bond/visitation--and in fact, I am involved in a case that will test that matter in May  huh.gif ).

 

It sounds like you have the next court date.  Most courtrooms won't allow you to speak on your own behalf and want an attorney assigned.  I'm not sure how you find out if where you are is like that, but be prepared for the fact that this could hold things up a bit if you don't go in with an attorney and where you live IS like this.  I was present in a kangaroo court that at least stuck to this rule; but it was an open courtroom and so there were plenty of lawyers willing to step up to represent the people who showed up minus representation.  I'm not sure that's how I'd want to choose a lawyer.

 

But it sounds like you have good odds of getting the little one.

post #13 of 40

But this is the parent. They have rights that relatives do not have.

 

 

That's certainly the theory. I'm sure that in many places it's also the practice. But around here, workers don't seem to chase down the guy on the birth certificate with the kind of zeal you would expect. Or any zeal at all. And they manage to contain their joy when a father appears and asks for custody. 

 

I think it may be part-and-parcel of the extreme social conservatism - the assumption is that if he's not mom's husband, there must be something shady about him. I saw a dad get shot down in court who was military, no criminal record, had a stable two-parent home to offer, and drove twelve hours to be at the hearing (mom had fled their original state of residence, without his permission or court permission, a few years earlier). The lawyer for the state said they "didn't know anything about him" - damned right, because they deliberately did not find out, although they had plenty of notice that he planned to appear. They did use the information gathered in court to serve him with a child support order, so that's nice. Cuss.gif

 

Anyhow, I'll be thinking of your family, OP. I wish you the best of luck. I really think it would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer - the workers may be seeking to place all the sibs together with a maternal relative, which would explain the lack of contact. A lawyer can probably argue against that and succeed, unless your husband has a record. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 


i understand that this is my stepsons mother i am talking about and that she is a parent of him also so is my husband, and when they broke up she is the one that left him after she found out she was pregnant because thats all she wanted was another baby. she admited that later. and there is nothing shady about my husband, and its not like he is going to go out shooting people he's not a psychopath. our lawyer did say that she thinks we have a damn good chance and they wont place him with a maternal relative because her boyfriend knows where they all live and has clearly used threats of assult rifles against all of them, he's the psychopath
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

But this is the parent. They have rights that relatives do not have.

 

 

That's certainly the theory. I'm sure that in many places it's also the practice. But around here, workers don't seem to chase down the guy on the birth certificate with the kind of zeal you would expect. Or any zeal at all. And they manage to contain their joy when a father appears and asks for custody. 

 

I think it may be part-and-parcel of the extreme social conservatism - the assumption is that if he's not mom's husband, there must be something shady about him. I saw a dad get shot down in court who was military, no criminal record, had a stable two-parent home to offer, and drove twelve hours to be at the hearing (mom had fled their original state of residence, without his permission or court permission, a few years earlier). The lawyer for the state said they "didn't know anything about him" - damned right, because they deliberately did not find out, although they had plenty of notice that he planned to appear. They did use the information gathered in court to serve him with a child support order, so that's nice. Cuss.gif

 

Anyhow, I'll be thinking of your family, OP. I wish you the best of luck. I really think it would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer - the workers may be seeking to place all the sibs together with a maternal relative, which would explain the lack of contact. A lawyer can probably argue against that and succeed, unless your husband has a record. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 

oh and background checks are already in the works i just remembered that, and no neither one of us has any record of any kind

post #16 of 40

I'm so glad you have a lawyer. I really think that based on what you've described, things are going to work out in the short term at least. Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to make any accusations about you guys having records or anything. I assumed that you did not.

 

If social services is already running background checks before your first court appearance, then they are probably resigned to, and possibly even enthusiastic about, placing your DSS in your home rather than in a foster home. 

post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 


oh no i know i didnt mean it to sound like i was being rude or anything.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

I'm so glad you have a lawyer. I really think that based on what you've described, things are going to work out in the short term at least. Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to make any accusations about you guys having records or anything. I assumed that you did not.

 

If social services is already running background checks before your first court appearance, then they are probably resigned to, and possibly even enthusiastic about, placing your DSS in your home rather than in a foster home. 



 

post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 

there is also other reasons all three of her children were removed and placed in foster homes, she left a 1 year old in a car alone for a very long amount of time while she was in a bar drinking, (not that i think leaving a child in a car alone is okay, other than like standing right next to the car pumping gas or something) her boyfriend played a "pass out" game with her oldest child where he would push down on the childs chest until he passed out, this is very hard to type it disgusts me, she claims that she couldnt break up with him and get him to move out because he has assult rifles that he has threatened her family and members of the county agency with, sorry but if someone had a gatling gun and said that they would harm my children with it, they would still be out that door that day i dont care what someone is going to do to me, im going to protect my children no matter the cost even if it is my own life, i dont care, i dont know why she didnt kick him out, beyond me. there are also brusises on her 1 year old childs face where her boyfriend grabbed ahold of his chin and cheeks and squeezed them hard, there is alot against her right now, im not sure of anything else that may come up on the 5th ill have to wait and see what the husband says about how it went, it's ridiculous i can't be there, who do they think will be taking care of her kid 24/7 once/if he is placed here.

post #19 of 40

you guys are legally married and they won't allow you there? You should be able to go to court at least right?

post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 


for some reason i cant but her parents can i dont understand it myself
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

you guys are legally married and they won't allow you there? You should be able to go to court at least right?



 

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