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#1 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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The only reason I got sole custody was because XH never deigned to show up in court. Either he was afraid (he has a record) or either he didn't care. Either way, I got what I wanted.

50/50 is the norm here too (Québec) and generally, a parent virtually needs to be a repeat sex offender before they'll remove his parental rights. Quebec is especially big on father's rights. Aside from that, lack of interest and neglect are generally why primary custody would be awarded to one parent over the other.

My XH's drinking, drug usage, verbal abuse and bouts of rage weren't seen as "that bad" so long as they didn't impact his parenting too much.
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#3 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well that sounds like fun.

Hey, would you mind if I emailed you the list? Maybe see if mine would fly where you are? Maybe not, but... I don't know, I want to know that I'm not over-reacting or unrealistic. Maybe I am.
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#4 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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My advice is to meet with more than one lawyer. Many will give you a free or discount initial consultation. Find one you get a long well with and can see yourself spending time with. If they tell you you will get everything you want that is a huge red flag.

Default here is 50-50 as well. I was told the standard was very high to take away someone's parenting time. Basically you have to be a documented abuser.

Feel free to PM me your list if you like.
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#5 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Are you talking physical or legal custody? 50/50 appears to be the norm here but I'm not sure of physical. So far sbx only sees the boys eoweekend as he is away most of the time, but he's planning on moving back here so we will see.

As to chosing an attorney, I would call as many as possible and meet the ones you got on with on the phone. A personal referal is good but that doesn't mean you would like whoever was refered to you.
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#6 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm talking both sole legal custody and sole physical custody.

Physically I want custody because I've done 100% of the parenting since they were born. I am their caretaker, period. Second, STBX is a violent, mentally ill man who has abused me for the entire time we've been together. Unfortunately I don't have much concrete proof of this. As in, police records are very spotty; charges never pressed; I had lots of photos of bruises/broken objects/etc. but I deleted them all because I felt disloyal to have them. Stupid, I know. I don't want to get into a lot of the specifics here. Like I said, if anyone is willing to read the list, I'd be more than happy to share it.

Legally, I want legal custody mostly because of issues relating to moving. We are in this state only temporarily, although we're kind of stuck here because STBX just now (like two weeks ago) started a job; he hasn't found luck anywhere else. We have a house and all but I have nothing tying me here. We were never planning on living here long. We have no family here, not even good friends, I don't have a job, etc. It's inconceivable that we'd be stuck here until the kids are 18. We were only supposed to be here for a short time anyway. (Right now we're in CO and we're from the East Coast.)

The other thing is, all of my family lives overseas. The kids haven't been able to go there and visit them yet. STBX didn't want to travel overseas, so he never let me get any passport for them. I want my children to be able to at the minimum visit my family and meet them; if I have sole custody I would be able to get a passport for them, otherwise, not at all.

STBX is, well. He's a violent, unstable man.

He has at times said he didn't want any custody at all. He just wanted to walk away from us and never see us again. He was going to go back to CT and leave us here alone. I shoulda let him go. Then he backtracked and said he didn't even want a divorce, that it was all me trying to break up the marriage. Etc. Then just last night he was saying that he will pay child support so when he gets a new family he won't have to make back payments to "his other family" (i.e. us) - like uh, what new family??? What??

Umm.

Help.
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#7 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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I'm sorry. That sounds rough.

I really do think you need to talk to a lawyer in your area.

I was told that the court feels a man can be a jerk of a husband but a decent father. So if the abuse has all been toward you and not the kids (and even that I'm sure he will dispute) then I'm afraid your chances are not likely all that good.

As PP said there is a difference between legal and physical custody. You may have better luck getting one and not the other.

And as far as moving I think your best bet is to get that worked out as part of the divorce agreement.
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#8 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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It all depends how much money you have to throw at this. If you can take it all the way to a trial, you will have better luck since judges in custody trials (at least rumor has it) are less likely to grant joint especially if parents are not amicable.

And, DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT. Start now if you have nothing from before. Have you filed for custody? If not do so now. The process takes a long time.

And, get ready to be in CO for the long haul. You might be. If your stbx moves after you get divorce/custody issues taken care of then you can move too, but if he stays put you're pretty well stuck too.
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#9 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing is, he's NOT a decent father. I think if he was, I would put up with his stuff. But he's, not. I know he cares about the kids and that's the biggest sticking point. But he doesn't spend any time with them. His idea of quality time (or, "babysitting") is to park a kid in his side of the dirty basement (that's his area, the rest of the house is clean, but I don't clean his area) and let them entertain themselves while he plays Warcraft. When the kids were in diapers and he'd do an ocassional babysitting stint (like if I had to go to the doctor) he would leave the diapers on them dirty so he wouldn't have to deal with a diaper change. He's been abusive (emotionally, verbally, phsyically) in front of the kids. Once he punched holes through DD's door while holding her in his hands; she was a newborn and shaking in fear from his screaming. The kids come to me and tell me "I'm scared of Daddy, Mommy" and then he gets angry at me for comforting them, because that's "turning them against him". I could go on for a long time. It scares me to think he'd get custody. It really does. Especially 50/50. He has never put them to bed. He has never gotten them UP in the morning. (Well, maybe not never. Maybe like 3-4 times in their entire lives.) Half the time he told me he wanted to give the kids up for adoption because he was sick of them. (He meant it.) I had to discharge myself AMA once while pregnant with DD because DS was crying too much (he was an infant, like three months old) and STBX threatened to throw him off the back porch unless I came home RIGHT THEN. So I pulled the IV's out of my arms and went home. Still sick. But I didn't want my baby boy harmed.

That kind of thing.

If he gets custody, I just. I just. I don't know. The world would end.
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#10 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The other thing is that I'd honestly be scared to stay in the same town as him if we got a divorce and he decided "I'd turned against him." He's said on multiple occasions that he'd kill me if I was disloyal to him. Even if I got full (or mostly full) custody I'd be scared to death that he'd come over one night, pissed or drunk, and just do something really violent. A restraining order wouldn't stop him, he has no regard for the law and he's an infantry veteran so he's not intimidated by "wussy civilian cops".
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#11 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KalamazooMom View Post
I'm sorry. That sounds rough.

I really do think you need to talk to a lawyer in your area.

I was told that the court feels a man can be a jerk of a husband but a decent father. So if the abuse has all been toward you and not the kids (and even that I'm sure he will dispute) then I'm afraid your chances are not likely all that good.

As PP said there is a difference between legal and physical custody. You may have better luck getting one and not the other.

And as far as moving I think your best bet is to get that worked out as part of the divorce agreement.
I understand how you feel. I'm divorcing an emotional/verbal abuser with a substance abuse problem. He denies all of this. Mine changes his mind, makes empty threats, how I'm trying to leave him with nothing, and tells everyone how I'm crazy and am breaking up the family making him look like the poor victim in this.

This is basically what I was told. Legal is usually split 50/50. Physical is varied but they ensure some percentage to the dad.

How does your state handle the initial filing? In mine you submit paperwork for the divorce and can claim property rights, custodym, etc. The other person has 30 days to respond. If they don't you win what you requested by default. If they respond then you can go to trial or try mediation.

How long have you been in this new area? In my county you have to have resided there for a certain period or time or they won't take jurisdiction. Talk to a lawyer, but you might be able to move back and file in your home state. Your current state may not even take jurisdiction on your case.

I think you might have a decent case with the police reports and your children being verbal and afraid. My dd is not verbal.
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#12 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been here 2 years now. So I don't think residency is a negotiable. But it was still supposed to just be a temporary thing. I have (and he has) nothing tying me here. We visited here once and then moved. The game plan was never to stay here, just that we stay here for a bit while he did school and then we'd move. He just graduated this spring and just started a job a week and a half ago. So that's tying him here now. He's going to get an apartment here too. I have NO family here. And I have some acquaintances but no friends. Heck, I'd be willing to compromise and stay in America (I'm not even American!!) but seriously? Here in CO? This isn't even my home country really. This sucks. I know I'm just whining here at the moment and honestly if I do have to stay here I'll make the best of it, I love our house and I've got a garden started and I'm good at blooming where planted, but I really don't want to be stuck here by myself, with no social support at all. None. I feel so alone. And scared honestly, scared of being in the same town/state/country/planet as him.

Apparently here in CO you have to legally seperate for 90 days and then you can file for divorce. He's moving out next weekend (supposedly) so we haven't started the legal separation thing. He says he wants to get it over with ASAP. I think he is going to be the one to file, but I don't really care, it might as well be me. But I know he would respond to it even if I did. I don't even know what looks better, if he files or if I do.
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#13 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you might have a decent case with the police reports and your children being verbal and afraid. My dd is not verbal.
Unfortunately (fortunately?) they're also quite attached to their father. At times. It goes back and forth. When he's in a mood then they're scared of him. (Which is, often.) They try so hard to please him. DD not so much but DS is always trying to make Daddy happy. They are often scared of him but if prompted they will of course say they like Daddy and love Daddy and Daddy this, Daddy that. They're 2 and 3 so it's not like I want to prompt them to be scared of him. I just want to keep them safe. But for all intents and purposes if someone asked them about Daddy they'd probably be positive about it. Yes, Daddy can be scary, but not alllll the time. The more time they spend apart the more they like him. He hasn't seen them in a couple weeks now despite living in the same house, so it's not like they're living in a constant state of fear of him. You know? I don't know if that makes sense but I mean, until I woke up to the realization that I had to leave, I also tried to keep a happy attitude about him. "He's not always bad, now, etc."
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#14 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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Apparently here in CO you have to legally seperate for 90 days and then you can file for divorce. He's moving out next weekend (supposedly) so we haven't started the legal separation thing. He says he wants to get it over with ASAP. I think he is going to be the one to file, but I don't really care, it might as well be me. But I know he would respond to it even if I did. I don't even know what looks better, if he files or if I do.
If he actually does move out and you stay in the "marital home" that's definitely going to be in your favor. I'll keep fingers crossed.

And yes document everything. And start a list of anyone who could testify that you are an involved mother and that he is abusive or explosive or neglectful.

My lawyer told me it was to my advantage to file first as it forces the other party to have to make the case that what you are asking for is not reasonable.

Do you control the finances? Do you know all your account numbers, balances, etc. ?
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#15 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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He's said on multiple occasions that he'd kill me if I was disloyal to him.
This coupled with the instance of violence while holding your DD could warrant supervised visitation. Are they alone with him a lot now?

This issue was discussed a great deal when I was trying to work out custody with my then H. I wouldn't leave DD alone with him because she'd never been since her birth. But since it was early in the process, I had to supervise visitation myself (also because DD was still nursing then).
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#16 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#17 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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I have a friend who was successful - what she did was hire the very best FATHER's rights lawyer around - known for getting Fathers all they wanted. That way 1. her ex could not use him and 2. he knew what needed to be done to get the opposite of his usual arguments.

Your User Agreement here at MDC, read it and make it your friend and read the FAQ to answer all the questions of the (MDC) world.
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#18 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#19 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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Well I have physical custody and legal custody. DS father went and ended up in legal trouble and wont have his freedom rights restored for quite some time. If your stbx is as 'wonderful' as you say he is, he will probably screw up in some other area and you will get what you want via default at some point.

I was lucky and DS father didnt want anything, however I never married the UAV either.

But to answer your question... i would interview as may atty's as you need to. Keep questioning them, going to meet them... remember the atty works for you, you need to feel comfortable talking to them, with the fee schedule, etc. You actually need to set an appt and meet the atty, you can not do it over the phone.

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#20 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#21 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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im sorry, i'd jump you if you were closer

hang in there mama...

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#22 of 31 Old 09-01-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I would call my own locksmith and change the locks on the house... but thats just me....then call a cab, take your extra set of keys to his work and take YOUR car back..... but thats just me...

I'm in a mood today, then I would probably tell your mr. wonderful where he could stuff it

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#23 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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OP Your H sounds so much like mine... down to the WoW playing. Are you aware of the surviving abuse forum here on mdc? They are great for support.
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#24 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 01:29 AM
 
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If you have any cash (or credit), you can join AAA online and call them to come out and jump the car.
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#25 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Brilliant idea - so I did that and they jumped it but apparently there's something ELSE wrong with the engine so it has to be taken into service immediately before it can be driven. Dangit. I can't do it myself because I have the two kids, and why the hell do I want to be paying money I don't have for STBX's car, anyway, while he drives MY car? This is annoying.

I talked to the divorce lawyer today and it seems like we'll be moving forward with this, as soon as he's out we'll be filing.

Last night he went literally from "don't talk to me, leave me alone" to "you know I'm just going to go back East and never talk to you or see the kids again, and I'll get another girlfriend ASAP" to "hey let's have sex and plan a family trip to Disney, marriages get over all kinds of things, don't you love me enough to get past this?" Makes me crazy.
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#26 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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I would recommend interviewing several attorneys - paid and unpaid - to see what the general concensus is about your situation. If most are saying you have a good chance at both sole physical and legal custody then go for it. If most are saying no then you may need to step back.

I found attorneys who only offer paid (or reduced) initial consultations to be much more worthwhile than the free ones. You definitely get what you pay for. I spent nearly $1000 just interviewing, but I feel interviewing a variety of attorneys helped me put my situation into perspective.

You can do customized legal custody - the Ex was open to that. You have final decision making power over education and medical and the burden is on him to take you to court if he ever whole-heartedly disagrees. At least in my state both legal and physical custody can be up for review every year.

Does your state do a conference meeting before anything goes to trial? The case manager at the conference meeting talked A LOT of sense into the Ex He was literally asking for everything and honestly believing he was going to get it!

Does your state offer conciliation services (sp?). It is where one party requests that you both receive (and possibly the children) multiple mental health evaluations. Then this pyschologist sends their report and recommendations to the judge and this carries a lot of weight. This may be good in your situation since your spouse is unstable yet you have little hard evidence. The hope is that professional will be able to recognize his character and pass this on to the judge.

I had more thoughts, but I'm really frazzled right now... sorry.

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#27 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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Hugs, OP, I'm a single mom, but I don't have any BTDT advice to offer. I can advise, though, that before you retain any lawyer, you should check with the Bar to see if they have disciplinary history. I think I read you're in CO? Check prospective counsel here.
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#28 of 31 Old 09-02-2010, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*** Deleted this post because I got the answers I needed and I don't want to keep that online definitely.
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#29 of 31 Old 09-03-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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Yes they will help you build a case and from that list I believe you have grounds, but it ultimately comes down to the judge. Some need to see major abuse to withdraw all custody others less so.

When you file for divorce you are assigned a judge. One question to ask lawyers while interviewing is whether or not they are familiar with your judge. Does that judge rarely grant sole custody? What were circumstances of those cases?

If you do end up going all the way to trial just make sure you have Plan B in your back pocket. Like spouse willing to give you final decision over medical and education instead of general joint legal custody. A detailed, tight parenting plan in case the judge allows for visitation. Decide a Plan B with your lawyer ahead of time so if the judge rules no to sole custody your spouse does not get awarded general joint custody.

EDIT: Forgot to add that I had a good shot at sole legal custody. I was assigned to a new, untested judge though. I did not want to risk the judge granting general custody guidelines so I opted for Plan B. Court is like a factory. They want you in and out as fast as possible. I found it to be a bit of a joke in my opinion.

Also the Ex had been quite aggressive in his legal defense - this was not a man willing to go down without a fight.

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#30 of 31 Old 09-03-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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mama, that's all GREAT stuff. Keep it safe and far away from him.

Keep documenting what he says and does right now. He may well slip up and threaten you again. The minute he does, call the cops, file a report. You need an ongoing papertrail and what you've described here is a really good start.

Can you contact that old professor and see about getting a written statement from him detailing what happened?

I don't recall if you've spoken to the shelter recently, but I would continue to call for support and to keep that papertrail going.

You're doing great. As one of the pp's mentioned, consult different lawyers and then decide who you're going with.
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