Potential Paternity/Custody battle - scared! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 37 Old 08-22-2010, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 37 Old 08-22-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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Is your husband still the legal father? Does the the baby's father want to parent her or does he just not want to pay? If he just doesn't want to pay and you don't need the money see if you can both just walk away from each other without money or children exchanged. I'm not sure I believe your attorney's right either. If the father is willing to fight for rights I don't see a judge denying them.
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#3 of 37 Old 08-22-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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imo - I would contact another lawyer.

I couldn't tell from your post, but has your child's father been established as the father legally? I think that is the biggest question. If not, I don't see how he is responsible for child support. If he is, child support cannot be tied to visitation & I find it surprising that a lawyer would indicate otherwise.
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#4 of 37 Old 08-22-2010, 05:25 PM
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If your husband is named as father on the birth certificate, then your baby's bio-father currently has no legal right to her, nor does he have any legal obligation to provide support. If he wants to fight for custody, he will first have to establish paternity. If you want child support, you will first have to establish paternity.

And yes, child support and visitation have nothing to do with each other from a legal standpoint.

I'm also very confused about your "partner" and your "husband." Is your partner your husband, or is your partner the man who fathered your child?
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#5 of 37 Old 08-22-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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Well, he's probably not going to go away, he's the baby's father. Your post is a little confusing, but from what I understand, you were at one point living with him, so he has been involved in her life. So he cheated on you and you kicked him out and went back to your husband? And that's when he said he wanted custody? Why do you believe he only wants custody to reduce child support? It sounds more like you guys split up and now you'd like to just kind of forget he's the father and raise the baby with your husband. (Sorry if that's not what you meant, that's just what I got from your post!)

I don't think it sounds like your lawyer knows what he's talking about. Here, at least, you can't threaten to withhold a child to get child support. I also don't see why he thinks you'll get full legal and physical custody. I'd get a second opinion from another lawyer.
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#6 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Establish paternity. Then realise that the child has a right to know her father. Whether you're comfortable with it or not, don't let the child pay for all of the adults mistakes.
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#7 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#8 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#9 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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I am going to attempt to address the major points that jumped out at me here. Yes, if he wants to be dad, he should pay child support. It is your responsibility to petition the court for child support. Do not withhold visitation. Judge's generally like to keep visitation issues nad support issues separate. There are policies in place to help collect support.
You may not be able to "bear the thought" of being away from your daughter. But I'mtelling you now, he has a right to his child. So it's time to get used to the idea that you may have to share a child with him.
What was the outcome concerning CPS and his Ex wife? The outcome can affect whether you can look at this as a valid concern (where the courts would recognise it) or not.
He very well may go to court…and that's his right. DO NOT LEAVE THE STATE. DO NOT GO TO CANADA. If you do either of those things, you run the risk of losing custody of your child. You have to go through the courts unless both of you decided otherwise.

Your informal aggrement means beans. It's nothing but writing on a piece of paper.

I am confused about the whole who's the father/child support/who's the "legal" father thing. If you're (current??) husband is on the birth certificate, then he is the legal father UNTIL a paternity test shows different AND that get's submitted to the courts. UNTIL that time, the other man (the bio father??) has NO OBLIGATION to pay any CS.

One more thing. Bio dad slept with the au pair when you were together? But didn't you sleep with bio dad while you and your husband were together? This is a very messy situation.
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#10 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#11 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Yes, it's messy; however, I did not lie to anyone. My husband and I were married but separated via a long-term military deployment. He was not home. I told my husband about the relationship before it started. We decided not to get divorced. I got pregnant. I wanted the baby. The three of us decided it was fine to have my husband be the legal parent for a variety of reasons (and the law required it in the state where I live). When my daughter was 6 weeks old, the affair with the au pair started. This was NOT ok and not an expectation of our relationship. Lasted a month or so. I found out. Kicked out au pair. Bio dad left about 6 weeks after that. My husband returned about a month later, we had a long talk and decided to work things out. He's my best friend and a great dad. Yes, it's a mess. Yes, I wish I could turn back the clock. I would do ANYTHING to keep my daughter with me. Right now, bio dad has no legal rights, so that's why I've considered leaving. I would only do it if I had a new job so it's relocating rather than "running."

I understand bio dad has no current child support - he also has NO RIGHT to visitation at this point. Not a legal right anyway. A moral right, sure. And that's what I'm trying to do. But I am terrified it will end up in a nasty custody battle and I will lose her. I have never been through anything like this. And it's breaking my heart. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I worry every day that some crazy father's rights judge will get the case and give him 50/50 or something insane. If we go to court he will fight for as much time as possible not because it's good for her (and he even admits that) but because it would reduce his child support obligation. I don't want the money. I want my daughter. I feel judged and I know I screwed up - what I am looking for are ways to increase my chances of retaining the primary physical custody I have now and miniziming the time she has to be away from me. That's all. I'm stuck with bio dad's cheating, lying ass forever. I get that. And it breaks my heart.
You already have a good chance because of the status quo. Why not petition the court for paternity and then petition for Sole custody?
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#12 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just scared my affair will be used against me and I don't trust judges. (I am an expert witness in another area of law and have seen judges do some incredibly unbelievable things). Another attorney friend said to play nice, set up a status quo for 1 year plus and then go to court. Sounds reasonable. It's just trying to get through every day thinking that it could be the last day I'm with her and that I'll have to give her up to him.
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#13 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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If you're not procative. And he is, it's likely that you will be dragged into a court battle. That's a risk that you're taking.
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#14 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep - hence my original post. I'm terrified and don't know what to do. Feels like either way I lose. The only thing that is HUGELY in my favor (from a practical standpoint) is that I have money and he doesn't. He also despises lawyers. I am just so scared. Are there resources anywhere that help moms going through this? I also don't want to wean my daughter or risk weaning due to overnights. And the whole co-sleeping thing is another issue - I think that she would be scared if she woke up in the night in a strange room in a strange crib without me there. Thinking about that is enough to make me drive straight to the airport, passports in hand.
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#15 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Yep - hence my original post. I'm terrified and don't know what to do. Feels like either way I lose. The only thing that is HUGELY in my favor (from a practical standpoint) is that I have money and he doesn't. He also despises lawyers. I am just so scared. Are there resources anywhere that help moms going through this? I also don't want to wean my daughter or risk weaning due to overnights. And the whole co-sleeping thing is another issue - I think that she would be scared if she woke up in the night in a strange room in a strange crib without me there. Thinking about that is enough to make me drive straight to the airport, passports in hand.
If he petitions the courts for a paternity test, you have to comply. If he can prove that you tried holding the child back OR that you left counrty/state to keep her from him, it will look bad on you.

I honestly believe the safest way for you to do things it to do things by the law.

Unfortunately (ref: co-sleeping, etc) you had a child with a man who you are not with anymore so you have lost some of the control that you would have had. From what I have read and seen through others, judges can be very friendly regarding bursing. Not so friendly regarding co-sleeping.
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#16 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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I'm a little confused. It seems like what he wants is to not pay child support. And you're happy to not receive child support so long as he doesn't have visitation. Does he even want visitation (for any reason besides lowering child support)? And, he's not even listed as the legal father. Your husband is.

It seems to me like you don't have a problem--if he doesn't want visitation, tell him to go away and he'll never have to pay child support. Your husband can be dad.
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#17 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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I have a question. What's wrong with the bio father that 50/50 (or more than very small visitation) is not a good option? You never gave a reason on that.
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#18 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Just scared my affair will be used against me and I don't trust judges. (I am an expert witness in another area of law and have seen judges do some incredibly unbelievable things). Another attorney friend said to play nice, set up a status quo for 1 year plus and then go to court. Sounds reasonable. It's just trying to get through every day thinking that it could be the last day I'm with her and that I'll have to give her up to him.
Ok, so heres reality. In order for TODAY to be the LAST day you are with your dd, he has to go to court, and get a temporary EMERGENCY custody order. He can't do that without paternity. He CANNOT do that w/o first PROVING that he is the bio-dad.

What WOULD happen if you were dragged into court for this would be: He would have to file a petition claiming to be the bio-dad of your baby. Then he would have to have a DNA test to prove paternity. Then that paternity test would have to come back and actually prove that he is the father. Then he would have to be put on the BC. THEN he would have a case for visitation and/or custody. Then you would work out a schedule and/or go to court and fight over everything.

ALL of these steps can take a LONG LONG LONG time to be finished - I'm in month 10 of my custody battle, and while its coming to a close soon I hope, my attorney says that if it actually gets finalized at our next court date it will be the FASTEST she's EVER seen a NY custody case go to trial and get decided.

So stop worrying. Today, tomorrow, the next day will NOT be the last day's you are with your baby. And, even if joint custody was ordered at some point in the future - you will always be your baby's mother. No court order is going to change that, and you will ALWAYS have visitation.

ETA - your posts, looking back on them, look a little like you could be suffering from some PPD or PPA - are you seeing a counselor? It could help you start to put things into perspective and come to terms with things possibly changing from the current situation.
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#19 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Hmm. It is rather complex.

Seems like your desire to honor the "moral obligation" you have is getting in the way here.

I wonder if you couldn't set up the following strategy:
Continue with visitation as per your non-legally binding agreement for 1 year (well, more like 7 months since bio-dad won't be around for 5 months right?).
Is is possible to delay CS being deducted? Is it already being deducted? Can you opt out?
After 1 year status quo has been established (document document document), petition the courts for sole legal and physical custody.

Seems to me your problem is CS, which I am unclear as to whether it is being deducted right now or not. If you were to agree with biodad not to ever go after him for CS (with the bargaining chip that he has to agree to let your DH adopt your DD), have the agreement be legally binding, then biodad could continue to see DD without fear of further financial reprisal...
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#20 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#21 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He "wants to see her" as "much as possible" which is about 1 day every 9-10 days for about 4 hours. So, he wants visitation without having to pay child support. My fear is that he can change his mind at any moment and then I've set it up where he's already seeing her so the court could give him much more potentially.
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#22 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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I do have both PPD and PPA I think and am going to therapy. Tried Zoloft -- had a bad reaction. May try it again. Any other ideas are much appreciated.

I do not want him to have her 50/50 for two reasons: I had her to raise her myself, not have 1/2 her life away from me. He never indicated any issue with this until he decided to screw the nanny and then go back to his crazy ex. Second, his ex-wife who he is now living with again (appraently, they are just "roommates") is borderline. Highly. And mean. I don't want my daughter to observe that as a good role model and her parenting skills leave much to be desire. So, that's why. Honestly and objectively, (truly objectively) my husband and I can give her a better life/home, etc. We own our home, we are both highly educated and place a value on education. We have enough money to pay for whatever she may need, including college. He/they don't have any of the above. Frankly, I can provide all of that on my own, independent of my husband. The house is hers and he's living there paying rent (I guess). He isn't a bad dad to his other children but I think that we are all better off if he's in her life to some degree but not to a huge extent. He already has three other kids to pay for, and he's broke. Any CS order would financially cripple him, and he knows it, but his pride and selfishness allows him the leeway to threaten and attempt to bully me. Anyway, I just need to try meds again or something I think!

I need to get into the wait and see mode without driving myself crazy.

I'm going to tell you something you REALLY don't want to hear. As far as you having a child so you can raise her yourself, no judge cares about that. The judge will care about what is BEST for the child - not that her mother thinks she should be the one raising her without the help of anyone else. Especially since you were living with the bio-dad when the baby was born, at that time you had the intent that bio-dad help in her upbringing.

The other reasons you state for not having 50/50 may be admissible in court, but they may not be. I wouldn't even START worrying about this until you get served with some papers - the court process takes a VERY long time.

ETA - that said, now is a good reason to start documenting what happens with your baby's bio-dad. instances where the gf is present and mean, whenever bio-dad cancels visitation, whenever he threatens you with something, all visitation that takes place (when, where, how long), etc. It may help your case, but then again depending on what happens it may not.
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#23 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I think your anxiety (along with your lawyer) is creating the stress here. He wants to see her every other week or so for a few hours and not pay child support. You can afford to support your child and are ok with that amount of involvement...ok cool. Stop. The "seeing his child for free" issue is crap and will lead to all kinds of problems. For one thing visitation and money are SEPARATE and I'm surprised that your lawyer is tying them together. If he is broke and already paying for three kids you're not going to get more than a dime anyway...all this trouble for pocket change. He is going to have to shell out money for a lawyer and DNA tests and go to the trouble of fighting. He has shown that he will only do this to avoid paying you so stop asking for money.
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#24 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My lawyer is not saying visitation and child support are tied. He's saying that fathers should pay for their kids. He also thinks bio dad is bullying me. ( true). I am just scared. I think that he'll be nice now and then ask for more time when she's older and less work. If he did and we went to court I hope I would get the status quo meaning minimal contact. Is that likely?
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#25 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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Bio dad is here - hubby/legal dad gone until end of year. No CS being deducted as he's not legal father.

I do have both PPD and PPA I think and am going to therapy. Tried Zoloft -- had a bad reaction. May try it again. Any other ideas are much appreciated.

I do not want him to have her 50/50 for two reasons: I had her to raise her myself, not have 1/2 her life away from me. He never indicated any issue with this until he decided to screw the nanny and then go back to his crazy ex. Second, his ex-wife who he is now living with again (appraently, they are just "roommates") is borderline. Highly. And mean. I don't want my daughter to observe that as a good role model and her parenting skills leave much to be desire. So, that's why. Honestly and objectively, (truly objectively) my husband and I can give her a better life/home, etc. We own our home, we are both highly educated and place a value on education. We have enough money to pay for whatever she may need, including college. He/they don't have any of the above. Frankly, I can provide all of that on my own, independent of my husband. The house is hers and he's living there paying rent (I guess). He isn't a bad dad to his other children but I think that we are all better off if he's in her life to some degree but not to a huge extent. He already has three other kids to pay for, and he's broke. Any CS order would financially cripple him, and he knows it, but his pride and selfishness allows him the leeway to threaten and attempt to bully me. Anyway, I just need to try meds again or something I think!

I need to get into the wait and see mode without driving myself crazy.
Ok……you don't get to arbitrarily decide that this baby is only yours. Even if the biofather stated not having a problem with this, he's allowed to change his mind. Especially because it's so soon after the birth. You don't want 1/2 her life away from you. Maybe the bio dad doesn't want her WHOLE life away from him. When you say the exwife is borderline, do you mean borderline personality disorder? Is this diagnosed? Is she medicated? You're talking about your daughter needing a good role model? From what I'm reading here, she doesn't really have one right now. The fact that your husband and you can give her a better home is your opinion. That's it. And your opinion on that might not count for much. Parents have a right to be in their children's life and children have a right to have them there. Have you thought about what's going to happen years down the road when you have to explain to your daughter that she doesn't know her bio father because you didn't want her to?

Money won't count for to much in a custody case as long as both parents can provide the necessities.

I don't think wanting to see your own daughter has anything to do with selfishness.
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#26 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I think your anxiety (along with your lawyer) is creating the stress here. He wants to see her every other week or so for a few hours and not pay child support. You can afford to support your child and are ok with that amount of involvement...ok cool. Stop. The "seeing his child for free" issue is crap and will lead to all kinds of problems. For one thing visitation and money are SEPARATE and I'm surprised that your lawyer is tying them together. If he is broke and already paying for three kids you're not going to get more than a dime anyway...all this trouble for pocket change. He is going to have to shell out money for a lawyer and DNA tests and go to the trouble of fighting. He has shown that he will only do this to avoid paying you so stop asking for money.
Agreed wholeheartedly.

Now that you've confirmed that CS isn't being deducted, then all this is a non-issue. Your current partner is on the birth certificate, so at this point, there's no chance of CS being pursued unless of course, you *choose* to go after it, which would entail paternity tests, money shelled out for lawyer's retainer fees, court dates, etc etc. Since you made it clear that you don't want anything from him, then there's no problem.

Seems like you need to have a chat with biodad and explain this to him.

Heck, I wonder if he won't eventually disappear if you make it abundantely clear that you don't want anything from him...
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#27 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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My lawyer is not saying visitation and child support are tied. He's saying that fathers should pay for their kids. He also thinks bio dad is bullying me. ( true). I am just scared. I think that he'll be nice now and then ask for more time when she's older and less work. If he did and we went to court I hope I would get the status quo meaning minimal contact. Is that likely?
No...it's not likely...not the way you are going about this. He's not been proven danngerous or abusive. CS and visitation are not tied. Your lawyer is incorrect. I strongly urge you to talk to another one so you can get your facts straight.

He's right on the fact that fathers should pay for their children.....but denying a father visitation becuase he's in default on his CS will do you no good....trust me on that.
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#28 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I feel worse now. Yes the ex has been diagnosed and she was on meds. Nevermind, I feel like just giving up completely sometimes. I am a good role model much better. That's objective. I just don't want my baby away overnight. That's all.
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#29 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Thanks. I feel worse now. Yes the ex has been diagnosed and she was on meds. Nevermind, I feel like just giving up completely sometimes. I am a good role model much better. That's objective. I just don't want my baby away overnight. That's all.
That's not what you said. You said you had her becuase you wanted to raise her yourself. You need to wake up for a second, take a depe breath nad think about what you're doing and what the long term concequences would be.

If you don't want him to be a part of your daughters life, then you may not want to go for CS. If he wants to be a part of your daughter life, you not going for CS, in all probability, will not stop him. IF he does go for paternity, and visitation. It is likely to be awarded. You've shown no reason why it dhouldn't be other then "But I don't Waaannnaaa"
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#30 of 37 Old 08-23-2010, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ThiS is the worse thing that has ever happened to me. It makes me not want to wake up. VisitAtion is ok. Having her live away 50% of the time isn't. At her age that would be extremely detrimental to her well being. I am desperate to do anything I can to protect her. I just feel like I'm running out of options
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