If you fought for full custody and won..... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What helped you win?

 

There's no provable abuse by my children's father, but they are way better off with me for all sorts of reasons. I'd like to leave, but I live in a state that generally awards split custody. That wouldn't be safe for my kids so I'm trying to figure out how I can get full custody. I think visitation days would be OK/safe, and overnights when they are older, but not the full week splits that tend to happen in my state.

 

Any advice or experience to share?

 

 

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#2 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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I'd need more info to really share how it worked out for us, in a way that would be helpful.  Basically, my ex dug himself a hole approximately 9ft deep and then filled the dirt in over his head and couldn't dig his way out.  Thats the very short version though.

 

What type of abuse has he perpetrated against you?  Why isn't it safe for the children to be with him 50% (I'm assuming thats what you mean by split custody) of the time?  Has he been abusive of the children in any way?  How?  With so little to go on, its hard to give advice.

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#3 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, there's big stuff and small stuff.

 

The big stuff is that when he's stressed he takes it out on the kids and me, by shouting and being snappy and shaming for discipline. I do about 95 % of the work of childcare which keeps his stress to a minimum. If he were with them 50% and had to get up early in the AM day after day, get them to brush their teeth, eat breakfast, dress, etc... it'd be really ugly.

 

He also willfully ignores medical advice, doesn't give antibiotics when they're prescribed (he forgets, so he says), doesn't follow through therapy appointments for one of our child who has a disability.

 

His supervision is inadequate. He'll let a toddler eat whole grapes while he's in a different room, out of earshot; he;ll be outside 'watching the kids,' then work in the garden; we live near a busy road and none of our kids are old enough to cross the street on their own.

 

 

Must go.

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#4 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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He also willfully ignores medical advice, doesn't give antibiotics when they're prescribed (he forgets, so he says), doesn't follow through therapy appointments for one of our child who has a disability.


Ok, THIS is the ONLY thing that you mentioned that would give you a case for less than 50/50 (ETA - for HIM to have less than 50% time).  The rest?  Not so much.

 

There are plenty of parents who yell and get snappy when they're frustrated or angry.  Physical abuse would be a different story, but getting snappy, well, doesn't really count.  ALL parents get frustrated with their kids and snap and yell occasionally.

 

Anyway, is he going to WANT 50% custody for reasons other than not paying child support?

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#5 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, THIS is the ONLY thing that you mentioned that would give you a case for less than 50/50 (ETA - for HIM to have less than 50% time).  The rest?  Not so much.

 

There are plenty of parents who yell and get snappy when they're frustrated or angry.  Physical abuse would be a different story, but getting snappy, well, doesn't really count.  ALL parents get frustrated with their kids and snap and yell occasionally.

 

Anyway, is he going to WANT 50% custody for reasons other than not paying child support?



Oh, I know everyone gets snappy! I'm not wanting full custody because he has human imperfections like the rest of us. Snappy might not be the right word, anyway. Perhaps a better description is a vicious kind of yelling followed by a silent treatment. That might not be grounds for anything legally, but I'd rather not have my kids around it too often, KWIM?

 

Are abuse or neglect the only reasons for someone having reduced custody? I wouldn't be looking to have visitation limited more than a typical non-custodial parent. I just don't want them with him day after day after day, knowing how he gets when he's stressed, knowing the needs that would be overlooked. My child with the disability needs fairly constant attention to basic health and safety issues and he tends not to take them too seriously.

 

Does the fact that I already do 95% of the child raising tasks count for anything? Does financial stability play into this at all?

 

 

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#6 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 08:07 PM
 
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Some of this does depend on which state you are in. In California where I live, abuse/neglect really are the only reasons to decrease visitation. Week on/week off is not the only way that parenting time is split. My ex and I split the week, 3 days with him and 4 days with me. Then he had DD one weekend a month to balance out the time.

 

One way to avoid the week on/week off would be to make the agreement with him in advance. The court usually goes with what the parents agree to together.

 

My biggest piece of advice is to get a lawyer. I went to court with my ex 3 times. The first two times I represented myself (his girlfriend is a lawyer). I was raked over the coals those two times. The third time I hired a lawyer (and my DD was 13, so they listened to her concerns very closely). Without the lawyer, I am convinced we would not have gotten almost full custody/visitation (83%). But our grounds were verbal/emotional abuse.

 

Good luck. I know how rough this can be.

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#7 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 08:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Guestmama123 View Post

 

Oh, I know everyone gets snappy! I'm not wanting full custody because he has human imperfections like the rest of us. Snappy might not be the right word, anyway. Perhaps a better description is a vicious kind of yelling followed by a silent treatment. That might not be grounds for anything legally, but I'd rather not have my kids around it too often, KWIM?

 

I totally KWYM!!!  It just doesn't sound like anything that could be held against him in a court room.  The Medical Neglect on the other hand, is HUGE - not giving a child their prescribed meds is a BIG deal!  That will NOT be looked kindly upon by judges.  I certainly hope you have a record of all the times its happened.

 

Are abuse or neglect the only reasons for someone having reduced custody? I wouldn't be looking to have visitation limited more than a typical non-custodial parent. I just don't want them with him day after day after day, knowing how he gets when he's stressed, knowing the needs that would be overlooked. My child with the disability needs fairly constant attention to basic health and safety issues and he tends not to take them too seriously.

 

The bolded is along the lines of medical neglect.  It could be a BIG deal - you could at the very least ask that he take some classes in caring for disabled children (if they exist, I'm not sure they do - but I know there are all kinds of parenting classes out there)/  Abuse and neglect aren't the ONLY reasons for reduced custody, but it really depends on your state.  You said above that your state likes split custody arrangements.  That could look like SO many different things though - EOW visitation, plus joint legal, it could be 50/50 split time, it could be a custom visitation schedule, it could be 60/40 or 70/30 with joint legal, etc. 

 

Does the fact that I already do 95% of the child raising tasks count for anything? Does financial stability play into this at all?

 

Being the primary caregiver counts for TONS in my state, but my state doesn't award 50/50 as the default.  Financial stability also plays a role, but not nearly as big as who the primary caregiver is. 

 

What you really need to do is speak to a lawyer.  Good ones are worth their keep, and they are definitely worth it when going through a custody battle.  They are great in part b/c they are not emotionally invested in your case, and can see it objectively. 

 



 

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#8 of 20 Old 03-27-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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unfortunately in my experience lawyer is the best way to go. a really good lawyer. unfortunately. because good lawyers will only take those cases that they feel can win. 

 

again depending on the state you are in, what your living situation is and how much 'you have documented are things that matter.

 

it seems from your post that you guys have not yet separated. you are predicting what your ex might do. 

 

medical neglect will only be a big thing if you can prove its a life threatening action if his dad forgets his medicine. any parent can forget medication. 

 

the thing is if you are still together and you are trying to prove Medical neglect he can claim you are taking care of the child so he doesnt need to do it. 

 

your reason is the exact reason why we have custody like we do - every alternate day with exchanges mostly at school except for sunday night. ex struggles to be a good dad if he had to keep dd even for 3 days. he can only handle small doses.

 

good luck mama. i feel really sad for all that you are going through. this is such a heart breaking phase. 


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#9 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 04:26 AM
 
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 because good lawyers will only take those cases that they feel can win. 


This isn't entirely true.  SOME lawyers are like that, but usually only the ones who are working on a contingency basis (ie, plaintiff's attorney in personal injury, or plaintiff's atty in legal malpractice, or medical malpractice)  otherwise they aren't super invested in "winning" b/c they get paid either way, and in divorce and custody cases there really isn't much "winning" happening - its about who gets what in the divorce, and what the custody/visitation schedule will be.  No one "wins" you just either get what you want or not.

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#10 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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unfortunately in my experience lawyer is the best way to go. a really good lawyer.

 

Yes, this is probably true. Are there any resources for finding good lawyers? I know how to find A lawyer, but not a good one.

 

again depending on the state you are in, what your living situation is and how much 'you have documented are things that matter.

 

it seems from your post that you guys have not yet separated. you are predicting what your ex might do. 

 

Nope, not separated yet. I can't make a move to separate if there's a risk he'll have half custody. At least not until the kids are older. But circumstances are getting such that I might need to make a move very soon. This is both in terms of my child's safety, particularly the one with the disability, and our finances. He's making some choices that might bankrupt us.

 

 

medical neglect will only be a big thing if you can prove its a life threatening action if his dad forgets his medicine. any parent can forget medication. 

 

This is a big thing. It's not just missing a dose of penicillin here or there, but not taking basic safety precautions needed to keep our disabled child safe. I'd rather not go into the details here since I post a lot in the SN forum under my regular username.

 

the thing is if you are still together and you are trying to prove Medical neglect he can claim you are taking care of the child so he doesnt need to do it. 

 

your reason is the exact reason why we have custody like we do - every alternate day with exchanges mostly at school except for sunday night. ex struggles to be a good dad if he had to keep dd even for 3 days. he can only handle small doses.

 

good luck mama. i feel really sad for all that you are going through. this is such a heart breaking phase. 

 

Yes, it will be very uncomfortable and complicated, and hard for the kids. I've personally grieved the relationship already so my heartbreak at this point is for the kids.



 

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#11 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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This isn't entirely true.  SOME lawyers are like that, but usually only the ones who are working on a contingency basis (ie, plaintiff's attorney in personal injury, or plaintiff's atty in legal malpractice, or medical malpractice)  otherwise they aren't super invested in "winning" b/c they get paid either way, and in divorce and custody cases there really isn't much "winning" happening - its about who gets what in the divorce, and what the custody/visitation schedule will be.  No one "wins" you just either get what you want or not.

yes you are right. i didnt say things clearly. unfortunately SSM in my RL experience divorce lawyers go for 'clear win' cases as they dont want to deal with bullshit. if your ex plays mean they drop you pretty quick unless they KNOW you have a v. strong case.

 

GUestmama. i am sorry. i wish i knew the way. there are two ways. legwork and persistance at good lawyers office for probono. these are the kinds i have seen at shows on tv. they by a miracle persist enough at a lawyers office. 

 

my friends who got good lawyers got them thru word of mouth and after mucho $$$$s. 

 

regarding medical neglect - guestmama as long as you can PROVE that neglect can be life threatening then you have an upper hand. i dont need to know the details. its more about documenting and proving in a court of law. 
 

 


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#12 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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Will your H fight for custody? Do you have any idea?

 

In my case, what helped was the fact that my XH never came to court to defend his rights. Add to that the fact that I'd been the primary caregiver since DD's birth + XH's general neglect/verbal abuse/alcohol consumption = sole custody by default.

 

I would really recommend meeting with several different lawyers and feeling them out. There were a few threads on this forum about which questions to ask when you meet a lawyer for the first time; that would be a good place to start. IMO, a "good lawyer" is someone who a) has a good track record in terms of winning cases like yours, b) that you click with (not "best buddies", but still...) and c) that communicates clearly with you.

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#13 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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Also, start a log, of everything- what he says during outbursts, describe the neglect.  Check to see if recordings are legal in your state.  many cell phones record in hour blocks, and you can step around the corner and start a recording when he starts to rant.  Sometimes a judge can see a pattern in a large log, that otherwise wouldn't be apparent.  My case is not finished yet, so I don't want to comment on it in a public forum, but my ex is an alcoholic.  I do really feel for you mama- I stayed and put up with years of verbal and emotional abuse because I thought that he would win custody due to one documentable event in my past.  Had I gone to a lawyer, I would have known that she could fight that, and I would have saved my kids (well, I would only have had one I would have left so much earlier) years of verbal abuse. 

 

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well it won't let me edit.  a log doesn't seem like much evidence, but if the judge reads his words back to him he will blush or stammer and it will be obvious that it is true.  here are a few links about recordings being used as evidence  http://expertpages.com/news/sound_recordings_evidence.htm   http://www.callcorder.com/phone-recording-law-america.htm  http://www.rcfp.org/taping/states.html  FYI I have an aquaintance who was in a terribly abusive marriage for 20 years.  When they had first separated, her ex needled her in conversation and she blew up on him.  He won custody of the kids- she didn't have any recordings of him and it was he said she said about all the other heinous stuff (he would drug her and rape her and hit her a lot).

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#15 of 20 Old 03-28-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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For me I won with abuse and substantial proof of it including multiple police reports and his family sided me with several declarations sighting how awful he was. I find though that even with charges of abuse that judges are still willing to give the abusers some custody.

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Will your H fight for custody? Do you have any idea?

 

In my case, what helped was the fact that my XH never came to court to defend his rights. Add to that the fact that I'd been the primary caregiver since DD's birth + XH's general neglect/verbal abuse/alcohol consumption = sole custody by default.

 

I would really recommend meeting with several different lawyers and feeling them out. There were a few threads on this forum about which questions to ask when you meet a lawyer for the first time; that would be a good place to start. IMO, a "good lawyer" is someone who a) has a good track record in terms of winning cases like yours, b) that you click with (not "best buddies", but still...) and c) that communicates clearly with you.


I have no idea if he'll fight for custody. Maybe if I sweeten the pot by proposing a good visitation schedule. He'd be a decent weekend father, lots of playing and minimal responsibility.

 


 

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Also, start a log, of everything- what he says during outbursts, describe the neglect.  Check to see if recordings are legal in your state.  many cell phones record in hour blocks, and you can step around the corner and start a recording when he starts to rant.  Sometimes a judge can see a pattern in a large log, that otherwise wouldn't be apparent.  My case is not finished yet, so I don't want to comment on it in a public forum, but my ex is an alcoholic.  I do really feel for you mama- I stayed and put up with years of verbal and emotional abuse because I thought that he would win custody due to one documentable event in my past.  Had I gone to a lawyer, I would have known that she could fight that, and I would have saved my kids (well, I would only have had one I would have left so much earlier) years of verbal abuse. 

 

I do have a log going, but recording people without their consent is illegal in my state.
 

 



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For me I won with abuse and substantial proof of it including multiple police reports and his family sided me with several declarations sighting how awful he was. I find though that even with charges of abuse that judges are still willing to give the abusers some custody.


I'm sorry you went through that. It does seem crazy that abusers would get anything but supervised visits. I guess this is why some women stay with abusers, they don't want to leave their kids alone with an abusive parent in a shared custody arrangement.


Are there any 'recommend a decent divorce lawyer' websites? Along with custody stuff, our financial situation is a total mess.

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I do have a log going, but recording people without their consent is illegal in my state.

do it as a reminder for yourself so while you wouldnt like to directly quote the exact thing, you could paraphrase and quot some portions of it. 
 

 


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#18 of 20 Old 03-30-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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I'm reading conflicting things into your post. You share both that he's abusive and yet he'd be fine to have them for shorter visits or only when they're a bit older. This doesn't quite add up to me. Not that I'm not on your side, but it likewise won't add up to a judge that you are fine with a visitation schedule on your terms despite his behavior. Am I making sense?

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#19 of 20 Old 03-30-2011, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm reading conflicting things into your post. You share both that he's abusive and yet he'd be fine to have them for shorter visits or only when they're a bit older. This doesn't quite add up to me. Not that I'm not on your side, but it likewise won't add up to a judge that you are fine with a visitation schedule on your terms despite his behavior. Am I making sense?


I can see where it might sound conflicting. It all has to do with the circumstances of when he gets angry. If he can't do whatever he wants whenever he wants, and instead his sleep is interrupted, or he has to spend time doing laundry or cleaning the house or taking the kids to appointments when he could be on Twitter with his Twitter pals, then he tantrums. But when he has plenty of time to himself and gets to do exactly what he wants most of the time, then he's fine when he's with the kids. An IRL friend often says that he's a great uncle, but a poor father. Except for neglecting our son's medical needs, though I don't think his behavior is severe enough that it's legal grounds for reducing custody. I'm just thinking aloud (or on-screen) about what I'm comfortable with and what I think would be OK for the kids well-being, not necessarily what I'd present to a judge.

 

But no, he probably shouldn't have an entire weekend with our son until he (our son) is old enough to care for his own needs. He's a toddler right now so can't do that for himself, but should definitely be able to when he's older.

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#20 of 20 Old 03-30-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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I can see where it might sound conflicting. It all has to do with the circumstances of when he gets angry. If he can't do whatever he wants whenever he wants, and instead his sleep is interrupted, or he has to spend time doing laundry or cleaning the house or taking the kids to appointments when he could be on Twitter with his Twitter pals, then he tantrums. But when he has plenty of time to himself and gets to do exactly what he wants most of the time, then he's fine when he's with the kids. An IRL friend often says that he's a great uncle, but a poor father. Except for neglecting our son's medical needs, though I don't think his behavior is severe enough that it's legal grounds for reducing custody. I'm just thinking aloud (or on-screen) about what I'm comfortable with and what I think would be OK for the kids well-being, not necessarily what I'd present to a judge.

 

But no, he probably shouldn't have an entire weekend with our son until he (our son) is old enough to care for his own needs. He's a toddler right now so can't do that for himself, but should definitely be able to when he's older.


Honestly, the way you talk about him, I sincerely wonder if he'll even WANT 50% time.  He may want it on paper so that his child support is reduced, but if he just wants what he wants, well, he probably won't want them with him 50% of the time when it comes to reality.

 

And, if you are who I think you are, the medical neglect would be a very good reason to keep his visitation less than 50%.  You need to speak with a lawyer though to see how strong your case is.

 

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