The title pretty much says it all.
I'm trying to move back to MA to live with family (or I will end up in a shelter due to financial issues) and the father of my 3 month old is an abusive and controlling nightmare. We currently have a restraining order against him because he was violent towards me, emotionally abused my teenaged son behind my back, and refused to let me feed the 100% breastfed baby because it was "his" time with the baby.
My lawyer tells me it's a risk, but due to a legal loophole, if I moved before paternity was proven (June 1), I might be able to to it.
There's a 3 1/2 hour car ride (5 by train and bus, 9 by bus alone, not counting possible time for transfers) to and from where the baby's father lives. Neither me or the baby's father have a car or a license. My family has limited resources to help me travel back and forth and the baby's father has friends with cars and loves to travel (though he will no doubt tell the judge otherwise). The chances are pretty slim that I will be able to move litigation to MA, so I will be struggling to travel (with the baby, as I'm his only food source) to and from court, but I don't want to have to do that on a regular basis- my family is literally draining their savings to help me. Is it even feasable to ask for supervised visitation in MA, with the father traveling, because the travel is too long for the baby and I can't afford it? Could I sell it to a judge that somehow he gets to visit once a month, supervised, but in MA, and perhaps he can even claim the travel expense as a reason to decrease child support once child support is issues? The judge, I'm told, is very "Father's Rights"- I need to somehow convince her of how in MA, the baby will grow up surrounded by a large extended family, living with and cared for by family, in a country home with a big backyard and a world of opportunities (summer camp, swimming, youth clubs, heck, even hourseback riding), and in a stable home that's been in the family for four generations now that he will likely be able to live in from this age until he moves out, or he can grow up in NY, with just his Mom (older brother is too emotionally unstable at this time to go into a shelter and will likely be 18 by the time I find stable housing, so he'd stay with my sister), in poverty with very little contact with extended family.
Even if the father wasn't abusive, I truly believe the baby (both children) will have a happier childhood in MA that if we stay in NY, so I need to convince the judge that it's in the baby's best interest, but I have no means of bringing the baby to NY for visitation on a regular basis.
Anyone ever been in a similar situation? Advice?
I've been in that situation but I moved before any papers were filed. I was able to stay where I moved to due to being able to prove physical abuse and at the time I was homeless with the children because my ex had just been convicted of a felony and I got evicted. So as I moved there was no family home, proven physical abuse, and my ex was a convicted felon. My ex couldn't fight the move away because the only place he could say the children would be living if we went back was at his mom's house where she, her husband, and my ex were all convicted drug felons. I lived in a DV shelter with the kids for nearly a year while I got back on my feet. My ex was ordered to travel where I had moved to for visitation. But that was because I had four little childen and no income and the abuse forced me to move away from the situation at hand.
Your scenario is tough. I chanced leaving knowing I could possibly have to move back. It worked in my favor. But the reality is you will never know how a judge will order. No matter how many times you ask us or a lawyer no one can guarantee what will happen. You will have to gather your proof and evidence and hope for the best. You can move but just be ready to possibly be forced back to NY. You can ask a judge for anything you want. Move, ask for supervised visits where you live, child support etc. You might get it , you might get some of it, you may get nothing. It's a toss up when you get to court because no case is ever solid. It typically depends on what mood the judge is. Seriosuly. Good luck.
I'm going to say this as nice as possible..... the Judge likely won't give a crap. Most Judge's will NOT take a child away from a biological parent (who claims to want to spend time with him/her) unless there are very very good reasons for it. "The child can ride a horse and swim" isn't a good reason. If you want any chance of being able to move, you MUST come up with a good plan for making sure the child still sees the other parent on a regular schedule (once a month for a couple hours won't cut it for most Judges). Is it fair to someone in your situation (with abuse happening)? Not at all. But I can tell you it would be rare for a Judge to allow this move to happen (even more rare since you say it's a "fathers rights" Judge.
I can tell you that I did get permission from a Judge to move from the state when ds was 3. But ex hadn't seen ds in over a year at that point (even though we lived just 10 minutes away) and he didn't even show up in court to fight me on the move. However, I had to have a plan on bringing ds back to the home state a certain number of times a year, to give ex a chance to see ds (even though he hadn't been seeing him before). The burden of getting back to the home state was completely on me since I was the one moving.
I need to somehow convince her of how in MA, the baby will grow up surrounded by a large extended family, living with and cared for by family, in a country home with a big backyard and a world of opportunities (summer camp, swimming, youth clubs, heck, even hourseback riding), and in a stable home that's been in the family for four generations now that he will likely be able to live in from this age until he moves out, or he can grow up in NY, with just his Mom (older brother is too emotionally unstable at this time to go into a shelter and will likely be 18 by the time I find stable housing, so he'd stay with my sister), in poverty with very little contact with extended family.
Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)
Theres already something in court - the father has filed for paternity.
Yes and the advice move quick is not good. There are people who move quick before papers get filed and end up having to move back, some even lose custody because it just doesn't look good. Papers have been filed and the dad is showing interest. Even with a restraining order and supervised visits, if that is what is ordered, the burden of travel will be on the mother if she choses to move. Then travel/hotel/ and supervised visitation costs will be in the mix.
It'd be nice if you could find some people who have BTDT. There's a risk that if you move, you'll have to move back, but there's also a risk that if you don't move now you'll end up stuck in NY. If it were me, I'd probably move to my family's house and come up with a very reasonable visitation schedule. Travel will be tough, but living alone in NY will be tougher.
Hugs, mama. I hope you get this figured out.
He might travel instead of Child Support, but I'm not sure how that would fly with me needing to go on Public Assistance for a while and Medicaid and Food Stamps for the long run- Public Service likes to get their Child Support money, know what I mean?
If it's a father's rights judge, and you move precipitously, you risk losing custody as well- which is something to keep in mind. Of course, this is also a risk if you stay since you communicate that you can't afford a stable living environment where you are. I would be prepared to make it clear that you would like to move and you have a clear plan to facilitate a liberal visitation schedule for the father. That financial burden will be on you as well since you are the parent planning to relocate.
I think you need to make some concrete plans regarding what to do if the judge says no to your plan.