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Legal Advice Needed Fighting 50/50 Child Custody (Pennsylvania)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm a single mother with a daughter who is 6 years old and attends first grade. My ex and I split when our daughter was 2 years old. I stayed in PA and got my own apartment while he left to Massachusetts, our daughter remained with me. I didn't put him on child support until May 2010, which at the time she was 3 years old. He gave me some money here and there but nothing consistent to support the needs of our daughter. Which was why I took him legally for child support. He pays only $58 a week which is nowhere near the needs of the child. He was infuriated when I took him for child support and always told me to take him off, offered $25 a week instead, in which I refused.


He started coming to get her for a month at a time to Massachusetts, he did that for about a year. It was about 2 or 3 times in that year. At one point he took her and refused to bring her back which lasted almost 6 months. He kept giving me excuses so I had to travel to Massachusetts and pick her up. Then for he moved to PA with his girlfriend. For 2 years now he has been seeing our daughter on a schedule which consist of every Tuesday, every other Thursday on my weekends, and every other weekend. On the weekdays it is 4:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. In which he picked her up and dropped her off at my house and 4:30 P.M. on Friday to 7:30 P.M. on his weekends.


He has now filed for custody and he is asking for 50/50 custody. Now with this being said I completely disagree with this. First I would like to mention my daughter is very emotional and it's hard for her to deal with change. It took her a very long time to get use to the change of schedule. She had night terrors every night after coming home his house, which now have seemed to stop. I struggled with her at one point getting her to sleep in her own bedroom at night. Her father would have her sleep with him at night, so she got used to it, and then she was scared to sleep alone.


We live in different school districts as well. I know courts go for 50/50 now and I wanted to see if there is any way I can keep it as it is. He filed this at court and so far is he is being stubborn and only wants 50/50. He claims he wants more time with the child but I think it's because he wants to pay less child support. He now has me picking her up from his house on his days of custody, but when he says he wants more time then wouldn't the car ride home be more time? Also I have offered him to get her on my weekends and he has refused saying "No, It's your weekend not mine" but again he wants more time? I don't get it. How can I prove to the courts that he just wants to pay less? What can I do to keep it as it is and not 50/50. I contacted an attorney but I feel like she's not on my side. I don't have a drivers license (long story) and my attorney says that's not good. My pre-trial is in one week. Please any advice/help would be appreciated.


I would like to add that he tells our daughter things to put her against me and make him seem as the better parent. He told her once that he was going to "pay the man the money so she can live with him forever". Also told her I "steal his money" and that my side of the family is "not her real family, her fake family"....


Thank you for taking the time to read this.

post #2 of 10

Courts don't are about what he may or may not say to her about you or your family.  Fathers who ask for 50/50 generally get it.  The only thing in your favor is that you live in different states and a school aged child needs to have stability.  If he were to move to your town, he would get what he's asking for.


This joker took your daughter away for 6 months?!  I wouldn't have handed my child over again after that...anyway, he interfered with your right to parent and that will also go against him.  Best wishes!

post #3 of 10

Huh.  I wonder if making you pick your daughter up after his weekends is a strategy on his part - he's hoping that the inconvenience will be overwhelming and he'll wind up keeping your daughter.


I agree that your best bet is probably to point out that (a) your ex has a history of taking your daughter and keeping her from you, and therefore it's necessary to be quite clear about preserving your access, and (b) that your daughter needs consistent routines, and to be at school every school day, which is facilitated by her being at a school bus stop in her school district every morning.

post #4 of 10
And courts do increasingly care about 'parental alienation' if it is made an issue. Does your daughter have a lawyer or law guardian of her own through this process?
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Dinahx, no my daughter does not. It's hard enough to afford a lawyer of my own.

Blessedwithboys, he does now live in Pennsylvania. He has been on this every other weekend schedule for 2 years now.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I did though take her to see a therapist for some help
post #7 of 10
Typically child custody cases assign the child their own representative even if that individual is a volunteer?
post #8 of 10
Ask for a guardian ad litem (GAL) to be assigned.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Blessedwithboys, how do I go about getting GAL? Thanks everyone for the great advice!
post #10 of 10
Try calling your local clerk of court and asking for the family court division and go from there.
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