I think I'm in trouble now... UPDATE 18, 61 **82** - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got a continuance... until tomorrow. Ex's attorney called today to tell me that they would give me a continuance until after the new year *IF* he could take ds out of state for the week of Christmas. A FREAKING WEEK! The baby's longest time from me was today for several hours at court. He is 10 months and does not eat solids. This man is not safe with our child and my do drugs around him (although his attorney says he is clean since August when we busted him with emails about drugs).

My attorney's office said that I should be worried because this judge is not child-centered. I am beyond sick. Called the ped for advice and he may write a letter for me tomorrow.
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#62 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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I think that a barely four months unconfirmed period of being off drugs hardly constitutes grounds for keeping a baby for a week. I would not agree to that. I am shocked that this judge is so clearly prejudging everything. Is there any way to get a new judge?
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#63 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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No! He should have to have drug tests before that. I don't think you should trust him or the lawyer. It sounds really bad to me. Also, if you give your child over to him, he can keep the child. If you get a guardian ad lidem, then, your ex gets the child from the guardian and can be charged if he doesn't return the children as stated.

Whoever has the child has the rights....you'll be the one flying across the country filing for custody! No No No

His lawyer is dirty and you know it already.

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#64 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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Will someone from your attorney's office be there tomorrow?
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#65 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Will someone from your attorney's office be there tomorrow?
I will have representation, although there has been no time for us to review the case together. We requested a continuance for January and I was told I could come back tomorrow. I don't understand why someone would do this to a baby... I understand the importance of bonding with a child, but apparently there are no lawyers that get that idea.
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#66 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Will someone from your attorney's office be there tomorrow?

Thanks for your pm, by the way!
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#67 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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I am so sorry you are going through this. My DD is going away for a week at Christmas. I am so worried about it, and she is 2!


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#68 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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I will have representation, although there has been no time for us to review the case together. We requested a continuance for January and I was told I could come back tomorrow. I don't understand why someone would do this to a baby... I understand the importance of bonding with a child, but apparently there are no lawyers that get that idea.
I hope they give you a continuance until January, and were just waiting until you had a lawyer with you to finalize it.
I really hope they don't let him take his son for a whole week, when he's never been around him more than a few hours, and is only 4 months from a dirty drug test.

I don't know what state your are in, but this website has bunch of great information on Family Law (in Kansas) and also links to family law websites in other states.

http://www.kansasfamilylawblog.com/
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#69 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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oh mama :
i still can't believe this court -- i have never heard of something like this. sending many good thoughts your way, please let us know what happens tomorrow.

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#70 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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Is he kidding?!?! A WEEK!??! And as for the drug thing.... He should have to be tested first, I would trust ANYTHING him or his lawyer says.
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#71 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do I approach this from an attachment point of view or a behavioral point of view? I am torn. I am personally more concerned about the total lack of attachment, but it seems that the court cares more about behavior. No one in the judicial system seems to have any idea about infant development. I am shocked these people can decide what happens to my child.
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#72 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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Oh mama, I'm soooo sorry to hear how frustrating your situation is! It brought back the feeling of sheer panic that I had when I went to court in a similar situation...my ex barely knew our 11mo and wanted her for extended visits as well!

Here are some thoughts...does your jurisdiction have any court custody evaluation? Can you ask for (though you'll probably have to pay for) a guardian ad litem to be appointed to your case, because of the age of the child? I would definitely approach this from a behavioral standpoint rather than AP...people get a little funny about AP, but you can find pretty much the same recommendations in behavioral psychology and a child's needs. I would emphasize that you do want them to have a relationship, you want to foster it, but you want it to develop at your child's comfort level. Have you made a recommendation to the court? Here was mine, basically, at the same age:

1st year...visits of 4-6h/day, when Dad in town or when I brought children to dad (which I had a history of doing and committed to doing...so it's not like it all falls on his side)

2nd year...gradually lengthening visits but no overnights. Ideally, visits would be 3-4 days every 2-3 months.

After 2nd birthday...overnights, adding one at a time, until she was ready for 3 overnights in town (with mom nearby, basically, in case she got too upset).

After 3rd birthday...up to 4 nights at a time away.

After 4th birthday...up to a week away.

Eventual goal: one week at Christmas, one week at Spring break, 6 weeks over the summer, and more as we could arrange it.

In our jurisdiction, they had a family court counseling service that evaluated both parents, the child, and made a custody recommendation. She pretty much went with my schedule. I also made a committment to bringing our children to see their dad, (in part because then I would be nearby in case the first overnight visits didn't go well...though they were fine). In court, the judge moved it all up one year, so dd2 had her first overnights at about 1.5 and her first few days away at 21 months. We had an older dd, though, so that made it a lot easier (dd2 is almost as attached to dd1 as she is to me, in terms of her AP life). And also...I knew my ex well enough to know he could parent, as we were together for dd1's first 2.5 years.

So here's the things I would emphasize:

Consistency and frequent short visits are more age appropriate.
Building up to longer visits, on child's comfort level, with fallback plans.
Goal is long visits with dad, but with child happy to go.

And just fwiw, it really worked out great for DD, she's never once hesitated about going to her dad's, and now goes for 2 weeks at a time with no problem. Having a sister helped, I'm sure, but also just the gradual schedule.

I'll be keeping you in my thoughts tonight and tomorrow...praying for you and your child. I'm sure they won't take your child's first Christmas away, and at such short notice. Oh, you might want to make a note of that...that you'll be happy to provide breastmilk for visits, but need X amount of notice to make sure you have a supply on hand.
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#73 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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probably a behavioural. He has never changed a diaper and you don't trust his lifestyle to be safe. Please, please tell me that you're not going to agree. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight. I would bet money that he wouldn't bring your baby back. I think you'd be better off going with counsel tomorrow, even though they're not completely up to date.

He sent you across the country so that he could get with his girlfriend uninterupted. Now he's threatening to take your child. Maybe you should offer to let him get off of paying cs just to leave you alone?

I hope this all works out. Don't hand the baby over without a guardium ad lidem.
Lisa

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#74 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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and besides all of the other HUGE issues you already stated, it's your baby's FIRST Christmas! I really really hope the judge says no to his crap.
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#75 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I declined their offer as it was coming out of her mouth. I have offered for months for him to come here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can not allow him to take this baby. Come christmas, ds won't remember him, but he doesn't believe me. He thinks that they are instantly bonded. It's crazy. The court is already siding with him and it's hard to keep my hopes up. *I* know what is right, but I feel like even my new attorney thinks I'm over protective. We can not do short, frequent visits, so he wants to jump in with overnights. Why should my child be denied his basic rights?

I don't want to do this tomorrow. I just don't want to do this.
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#76 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 11:35 PM
 
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thinking about you. wondering how things went today.

edited to say: Sorry, we're on the west coast so I got confused about the time. Will be thinking of you tomorrow.

Kat - mama to Clara (9/29/03): & Iris (5/30/06)
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#77 of 130 Old 12-10-2007, 11:44 PM
 
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1st of all.... I am SO incredibly sorry you are going through this. It is horrible and unfair to you your DS, to you, to your lawyer.

2nd... Do EVERYTHING in your power to get that pediatrician letter. If you have not already spoken to him/her, just state your concerns and beliefs and ask him/her to put into writing whatever he/she feels he/she can support. I am hard pressed to believe that any pediatrician will support the idea of a 10 month old baby being away from his mother for an entire week. Even one who is not breastfed, but certainly one that is. I wish you had more time. I am certain that there is significant research out there stating the benefits of short, frequent visits being most appropriate for this age. For what it's worth... points to stress with this lawyer:
-his lack of experience with the baby and parenting skills
-your absolute support of father-child relationship but in a way that is not damaging to your DS
-visitation with a parent who has never lived with a child is almost always introduced gradually. A week is completely ridiculous at this point. I really think a judge will see this.
-the drug stuff... obviously

Do you have documentation of the dates and times of every visit he has had and what he did during the time? i.e. Did he give the baby a bottle, change the baby, get him to sleep, etc? The judge needs to see the total amount of time spent, as well as the length of each individual visit to see the discrepancy. He also needs to know how long DS has ever been away from you. Even if the judge thinks you're nuts for not being away from him, it would be wrong and damaging to inflict such a drastic change on a baby. The same would be true if he were 10 years old. If he'd never been away from you for a night, you would never just up and send him away for a week.

Plus... a week is too long for a breastfeeding baby. You can't pump around the clock for a week. It could very possibly force him to wean. No medical organization even in the US recommends weaning before 1 year. And there are lots of articles that stress that visitation and bonding can occur with both parents without interrupting the breastfeeding relationship. I will see if I can find any links and get back. Does anyone else out there have those links?
Try La Leche website, attachmentparenting.org. I'll see what else I can find. BUT you will get farther in court with a letter from YOUR ped than from an article. But the articles may help your lawyer.

Back ups.... You can always appeal, correct? There are things such as emergency orders, etc. I don't know how it all works, but your lawyer should.
I would search for a child psychologist. Quite frankly, you don't even need a particularly AP friendly psych for this b/c this is outrageous from the perspective of anyone who knows anything about child development. And you are correct... the courts do not, which is horrible.

And yes, you should always be able to request a guardian ad litem, I believe.

Keep breathing. You can do this. One step at a time. YOu are a fantastic mother and your DS is very lucky to have you.
Many many hugs to you. I will send good thoughts and energy your way.
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#78 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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Ah, mama, I can't believe this! It's just so wrong. I agree to focus on the behavioral. I just do not see a judge permitting a 10 mo EBF baby to leave the state with a barely, allegedly recovered drug addict father he barely knows. But I didn't see you not getting a continuance. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and hope that the lawyer is good. I don't see what's so complicated here frankly that a lawyer can't get up to speed on in the amount of time you've had.
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#79 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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The court letting your ex take him for a week over Christmas is the equivalent of letting a stranger take him for a week over Christmas. A stranger with a drug problem. That is just asinine.

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#80 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for all your replies. I am so sick over this. I got less than three hours of sleep last night and I've thrown up twice this morning from nerves. I keep thinking that no court would be so biased and uneducated as to let any child go with a stranger, but then again, I also was sure they would grant me continuances, so what the hell do I know.

I called the ex this morning and asked him if he wanted to go to lunch with me and ds before court so that he could see him one last time before flying out tonight. I figure a good-will gesture, as much as I hate it, will show that I am trying to help their relationship. Part of me wants to tell him that I will do anything for him if he'd just wait until ds knows him, but I probably shouldn't bring up court when I see him. We've never discussed what's going on with the attorneys, and it's probably for the best. I don't want to break down crying in front of ds or his father, so I know I can't say anything. But part of me wants to beg him to re-consider.

Wish me luck, everyone. I think I'm really going to need it.
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#81 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 10:18 AM
 
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Sending you luck and strength.
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#82 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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Ditto Fek&fuz
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#83 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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hoping things went well for you today :

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#84 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 03:46 PM
 
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Thinking of you.

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#85 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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more good thoughts :

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#86 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, the attorney who was able to come with me actually got her sh!t together really quickly and was very concise on our issues. We focused in on him being unfit and doing drugs, with slightly less accentuation on the lack of bonding and attachment. It was in front of a Marital Magistrate, so there was no final decision today, other than no solo-visits until a GAL can evaluate the situation. I got the name of a GAL from LLL and so I am pretty sure that she's quite attachment-centered.


HIS attorney, on the other hand, was horrible! She kept saying, "Um, hold on, where did I put those documents?" We had massive evidence about his being unfit, including letters from two pediatricians, and she didn't have even one piece of evidence. She told the court that ex believed me to be a wonderful mother and they are not questioning my parenting, which is odd since one of their petitions said I was unfit because of my lifestyle over three years ago. She didn't know ds' name and had no defense for his drug use. She said that drugs don't always make you a bad parent!!!!!! So they pretty much admitted to the ongoing drug use!

I invited him over after court to visit with ds. As he was leaving, I asked him if he wanted to schedule a next visit or wait for the court to decide our visits for us. He apologized and said that he now realizes that he was wrong about the overnights!He told me that until today he thought that it wasn't a big deal, that he didn't realize that it could hurt the baby. He said he no longer wants to take ds away for Christmas, and instead asked if he could come to my home on Christmas Eve. I told him that if he would stop asking for overnights and just focus on getting ds to know him, then I would stop accusing him of being unfit. I said if we could get this in writing, he can stay at my home on Christmas Eve and thus see ds first thing in the morning.

I am trying not to be too excited because his girlfriend could change his mind because I know she won't like this (as she is not welcome in my home). But it would be so, so wonderful if he follows through with this. I'm still scared because I know that this isn't finalized, but I really hope that he was swayed today.

SO YAY!!!!!!!

And thank you for all your positive vibes!
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#87 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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Holy Moly...what an awesome update. Congratulations

Lisa

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#88 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO! i'm SO glad!

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#89 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 09:46 PM
 
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I am so thrilled for you, i was worried but kept positive thoughts for you
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#90 of 130 Old 12-11-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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