Breastfeeding and Custody/Parenting Plans - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 12-31-2011, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, all. I'm new here, was referred by a friend on another website for advice on this. Was referred to this board by someone on another board

 

My ex and I live in Florida. We have an almost 9-month-old daughter (C) and I also have an older child (J) from a prior relationship. I currently have sole custody of both my kids. Ex (R) is making some very serious noises about wanting to file for joint custody of C. Like, soon. As in Monday. He wants to go to an attorney on Monday and “get the ball rolling on filing for joint custody.” He’s been bringing it up for WEEKS. He wants to use joint custody to get out of paying child support.

 

I spoke to an attorney when he first started talking about filing a few weeks ago, and was told I didn’t need to do anything until he files because I’m the custodial parent. Now he's talking seriously about filing. I have told him, repeatedly, that I am uncomfortable with this and do not want to do it “right now” and using the baby’s age as an excuse. She’s still nursing on demand, not sleeping through the night (wakes twice a night to eat, every night, more during growth spurts), and still too young to be spending longer than a few hours away from me. Feeding the baby while he has her would just be difficult; I can’t physically pump enough to get her through an entire day. I might be able to get 8 ounces out on a really good day (typically I can only pump 4-5 ounces a day), but she still drinks about three times that much per day directly from me plus solids once or twice a day.

 

This part I have not yet told him: I don’t trust him not to take her and run because that’s the ONLY promise he made that he hasn’t broken and I don’t want to give him the chance to break it. And he’s trying to convince me by saying he isn’t going to implement any overnights until she’s weaned, but I still don’t trust him even if he puts it in writing. He’s threatened to take her and run before when we argued, but I don't have any proof of those threats. Add to that the fact that he drinks frequently (I have evidence of that) and he’s apparently somewhat mentally unstable (not clinical, but concerning and I have evidence of that too) and he’s irresponsible (but I am lacking hard evidence of that one).

 

He isn’t listening when I say I don’t want to file. I don’t have money for an attorney to file for sole custody before he can borrow from his parents to file for joint custody, and I don’t want to file, have him contest, and go through all this mess that I can’t afford and make it even uglier. I don’t want to have to use the evidence I’ve collected, because that may cause more trouble and get the courts/DCF/CPS groups involved and I’ve had more than a lifetime’s worth of dealing with that mess because of J's dad. Getting them involved will make R hostile and then I’ll have to deal with that on top of it.

 

I don't know what the laws regarding breastfeeding and custody are. I'm not sure where to search. Does anyone have any experience, references, or advice?

 

Thanks in advance, S

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#2 of 6 Old 01-01-2012, 10:36 PM
 
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I know what you are going through. I went through 2 divorces while breastfeeding. It sounds like you weren't married. You say you have sole custody then you say you don't have the money to file for sole custody. You don't have sole custody (parental responsibility in Florida) unless you have a court order. You need to go and file for custody and support. You can probably go to your county court and they will give you the papers to fill out and it will be free or there will be a small filing fee. If he files first he could try to get sole custody and child support from you. If your relationship is over you don't have to talk to him. It sounds like he is using threats to scare you and using the baby to get to you. You need to ask at the county court if they have temporary custody and visitation hearings or orders until you go to mediation or court. If they don't ask what you should do about visitation for now. You don't have to have a lawyer. How the court views breastfeeding depends on the state, county, and judge. They could order joint custody and order you to pump your milk or they could order very limited visitation. When I was going through my second divorce my baby was over a year old but had health problems and had never met his father. Because of breastfeeding the judge said my ex could only have visitation for 2 hours on Sunday. My ex was asking for joint custody and had money. What they do in many states is make you go through mediation instead of going to court. Mediation can take months. The mediator can order the parents to have evaluations, to go to counseling, and do other things they think they should do. Remember you do not have to talk to your ex if your relationship is over. Often men that have the issues you describe in your ex will move on to another woman when he can't torment you any more. He will get probably get another woman pregnant soon. Each state has parenting plans and child support guidelines that they usually follow. You can find this all online so you can be well informed. Here is one link. http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/childcustodylaw1/qt/FlaCusSup.htm You are young and have two kids by two men. If the fathers take advantage of visitation your children are going to have complicated childhoods. If you have more kids by more men it will make it more complicated. After my second divorce I decided I was done with men. That was what worked for me. I got a dog. Good Luck!

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#3 of 6 Old 01-02-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The first father's rights were terminated because of his abuses. He's not an issue.

 

As far as the sole custody thing goes - I have sole physical custody. When I called around for consultations, I was told that sole custody was assumed because I was the mother and he and I were never married.

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#4 of 6 Old 01-02-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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What your ex is doing is unfortunately pretty common -- he's using threats regarding the baby to manipulate you. It's important that you have accurate information, because that will help you see the threats for what they are (In the immortal words of Spongebob Squarepants, "1 percent evil, 99 percent hot air.")

First, I would really recommend that you talk to a lawyer, because that will be your best source of accurate information. Many will do free initial consultations. Also, depending where you live, many cities have free legal clinics where you can go for advice. Finally, here are a couple of helpful websites to give you an idea of how much he would be expected to pay in child support.

 

http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/guidelines.html

 

http://www.alllaw.com/calculators/Childsupport/Florida/

 

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/61.30

 

In addition to child support, the judge would also likely order him to pay for health insurance and a portion of daycare costs, if there are any. Basically, the courts would order him to pay at least several hundred dollars a month, regardless of the visitation schedule. Basically, when he says he wants to use joint custody to get out of paying child support, he's full of hot air. He's trying to threaten and manipulate you, and calling his bluff would be a smart move.

 

In setting a visitation schedule, the court is going to look at who's been doing the child care -- and it sounds like your ex hasn't been dad of the year. They may also very likely consider breastfeeding, and regardless of that, it's really rare for a judge to order overnights for a child less than two years old.

 

From here on out, I would document the hell out of everything he does. If he's making kidnapping threats, call the police and get a report filed to have that documentation. If you got your last ex's parental rights terminated, it sounds like you understand that your most important job is to protect your baby. It may piss off your ex, it may make waves, it may be uncomfortable, but it's what you have to do. Are you familiar with codependency? I've worked really hard to overcome it, but it's still a struggle for me.

 

Good luck sorting it out. Don't be cowed by his attempts to manipulate you.


Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#5 of 6 Old 01-02-2012, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post

What your ex is doing is unfortunately pretty common -- he's using threats regarding the baby to manipulate you. It's important that you have accurate information, because that will help you see the threats for what they are (In the immortal words of Spongebob Squarepants, "1 percent evil, 99 percent hot air.")
First, I would really recommend that you talk to a lawyer, because that will be your best source of accurate information. Many will do free initial consultations. Also, depending where you live, many cities have free legal clinics where you can go for advice. Finally, here are a couple of helpful websites to give you an idea of how much he would be expected to pay in child support.

http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/guidelines.html

http://www.alllaw.com/calculators/Childsupport/Florida/

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/61.30

In addition to child support, the judge would also likely order him to pay for health insurance and a portion of daycare costs, if there are any. Basically, the courts would order him to pay at least several hundred dollars a month, regardless of the visitation schedule. Basically, when he says he wants to use joint custody to get out of paying child support, he's full of hot air. He's trying to threaten and manipulate you, and calling his bluff would be a smart move.

In setting a visitation schedule, the court is going to look at who's been doing the child care -- and it sounds like your ex hasn't been dad of the year. They may also very likely consider breastfeeding, and regardless of that, it's really rare for a judge to order overnights for a child less than two years old.

I disagree completely. I have two children from two relationships. XH1 was physically abusive and had an ACTIVE DVO on him and still wound up with 50/50 joint custody of my then 9 month old DS, no child support, no medical support, and no childcare support.
XP2 decided to leave in January 11 and move 300 miles away and did not come back for court or see his daughter until May 11. At the time she was 1.5 and breastfeeding and he got every other weekend visitation at his home 300 miles away and I had to drive 2 hours one way on Fridays and Sundays. He did have to pay chold support though. So, depending on your location, you can end up in a bad situation.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-03-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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I agree with thatgirlIknew and disagree with MamaJen.

 

What MamaJen describes is decades out of date. Mothers wish the world was still the way MamaJen describes. Today in many states it doesn't matter if you are married or not, joint custody is the norm. Over half of all babies are born to mothers that aren't married so the courts now treat custody and visitation cases of children whose parents who aren't married pretty much the same as children of parents that are married.

 

Breastfeeding may or may not matter. If a father knows how to care for an infant a judge could order joint custody, weekend visits, or overnight visits for a very young breastfed infant. They don't look at who has been doing the care of the baby in doing the evaluation because the father may have not been allowed the chance to do the care. They evaluate if he can care for a baby. Courts in many states have moved away from what is best for the baby. They are trying to give everyone their "rights." It may not matter what a parent has said or done to the other parent.

 

When parents live far apart they may have to travel long distances for every other week or every other month visits for young children. The idea is that young children need to be with their parent often so they don't forget their parent. It's crazy.

 

If there is joint custody they usually figure out how much each parent is making or could be making. Then they look at things like medical insurances, medical expenses, child care expenses, ect. They do some calculations and figure out who should pay what. If the mother makes more or could be making more than the father then she could have to pay the father child support. If she is a SHAM breastfeeding her baby she could have to go to work to pay child support.

 

The system used to suck for men. Now it sucks for women.

 

 

 

http://www.guardianadlitem.org/Practice_Manual_files/PDFs/Ch10_TERMINATION_OF_PARENTAL_RIGHTS.pdf


: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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