Breastfeeding and Custody/Parenting Plans - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-31-2011, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi, all. I'm new here, was referred by a friend on another website for advice on this. Was referred here by someone on a different forum.

 

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

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-01-2012, 05:40 PM
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)

By "joint custody", does he mean joint physical - i.e., 50-50 division of time?  It would be a rare, wacky judge that would order that, for a 9-month-old, breast- OR bottle-fed, ESP. one who "doesn't spend more than a few hours away from you", as you say.  Your ex might make a better argument, if the baby were in daycare 12 hours a day.  But a judge should seek to preserve what the baby considers normal (i.e., you as primary caregiver) and structure an arrangement where Dad gets consistent time with her, but at age-appropriate intervals (perhaps an hour or two, every other day now; progressing to every other weekend plus Wednesday evenings, by the time she's in school).

 

It's been a long time since I read our state's guidelines on sharing custody of a child that young, so I don't remember exactly what they say.  But in general, our guidelines are pretty child-focused and reasonable and change a lot, as kids age.  So if you need a reference for what to recommend or request, take a look at Section II-Ahttp://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/parenting/index.html

 

If your ex wants joint legal custody (i.e., equal clout with you, in terms of making major decisions about the child), you might have to prove why he's unfit or why your relationship is so high-conflict that you can't be expected to agree on anything.  And that might make you look argumentative.  Besides, joint legal custody does not necessitate 50-50 physical custody.  (Check the laws in your state, to be sure:  http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/Title43/#Title43.  I have not read the info. in this link.  There may be other relevant references, if you look.)  The only way having "joint custody" should relieve your ex of paying support would be if he were parenting (and thus directly paying for the needs of) the child, close to half the time.  Even then, if there's a significant difference btwn. your income and his, he might wind up paying you support.

 

I know there's a tendency to assume that when men take the inconvenient step of requesting full or partial custody, it must be for the money.  Unless he's actually said that to you, be careful about believing that of your child's father - or saying it to people, who might in turn testify that you bad-mouth him.  Certainly, you don't want custody of your children for the money, do you?  Does his support truly cover all the costs of raising a child:  not just the obvious costs, but your time that is sacrificed raising the child, and could instead be spent earning more money and building your work experience, in hopes of higher earnings down the road?  Well, the same is likely true, for your ex.  Having the child half the time might reduce what he pays you in support, but in exchange he'd be paying for many more things himself, while the child is with him; much less of his time would be his own; he might need a bigger place to live, higher fuel costs as he drove the child where she needs to go, etc., etc.  Most men who pursue custody actually want more access to their children, or at least more influence in how their child is raised.

 

I understand fear of the unknown, in a break-up:  "How can I let my daughter go with this man, even if he is her parent?  I don't like or trust him anymore.  I wouldn't hire him as a babysitter!"  But surely you understand that the court cannot restrict his parental rights or his access to his child (a punishment no less serious - to a loving parent - than being sentenced to jail), based solely on your fears.  People say awful things to each other when they're angry, hurting and breaking up.  You know him and I don't.  But if he's never tried to snatch your daughter; if he doesn't have older kids that he's kept away from their mother; if he's not physically abusive; if he doesn't have family in some non-Hague-treaty country who support him running away with your kid...you may be wrong to base decisions on how much time to give him with your daughter, on fears of the worst.  He will get court-ordered access to her at some point, if he's determined.  Sometimes we have more control when we cooperate and make reasonable offers; than if we fight tooth and nail, until a stranger has to pass judgment.


One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
VocalMinority is offline  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

She spends all her time with me. The longest I have ever left her with anyone was four hours. More commonly, it's less than two hours a WEEK that she's away from me.

 

And I'm going to seem defensive here, but:

 

> Does his support truly cover all the costs of raising a child:  not just the obvious costs, but your time that is sacrificed raising the child, and could instead be spent earning more money and building your work experience, in hopes of higher earnings down the road?

 

Of course not. But I wouldn't have even filed for child support if I didn't have to for other reasons; the child support is the LAST thing on my list of worries.

 

> I know there's a tendency to assume that when men take the inconvenient step of requesting full or partial custody, it must be for the money.  Unless he's actually said that to you,

 

He did actually say to me that he wanted joint physical custody so he wouldn't have to pay child support anymore.

 

> But if he's never tried to snatch your daughter;

 

He's threatened and that's enough to worry me. The only - literally, ONLY - promise he has not broken is that he won't try to take her from me and run and I don't want to give him that chance to break it.

 

> if he doesn't have older kids that he's kept away from their mother;

 

He has no other children.

 

> if he's not physically abusive;

 

He can be but I have no evidence of it, just my word.

 

>if he doesn't have family in some non-Hague-treaty country who support him running away with your kid...

 

I don't know. He has family all over the world and I don't know what the Hague treaty is.

 

I would rather not use the evidence I've collected against him. I don't want to prevent him from seeing her. I want to prevent him from absconding with or hurting her.

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:37 AM
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RandomActofMuse View Post

She spends all her time with me. The longest I have ever left her with anyone was four hours. More commonly, it's less than two hours a WEEK that she's away from me.

Then, even if you get a crummy atty. - or no atty. - you shouldn't have much fear of your ex getting 50-50 time with her.  If a judge did order that, you should absolutely appeal.  That would be an obvious error in judgment that's not in the best interest of the child.

 

And I'm going to seem defensive here, but:

 

> Does his support truly cover all the costs of raising a child:  not just the obvious costs, but your time that is sacrificed raising the child, and could instead be spent earning more money and building your work experience, in hopes of higher earnings down the road?

 

Of course not. But I wouldn't have even filed for child support if I didn't have to for other reasons; the child support is the LAST thing on my list of worries.

 

Sorry, I wasn't clear.  I do not judge you in the slightest, for requesting support from him.  Parents should support their children!  And the parent who's NOT spending all his time with the child should at least contribute financial support!  I also understand that your main concern is not having your daughter traumatized by being kept away from her mother for long periods, when she's only existed outside your body for 9 mos. and she's still breast-feeding!  I don't think your primary concern is keeping child support.

 

I meant to draw a parallel:  Obviously, it is not a financial windfall for you not to have to pay child support to your ex (and to instead receive it).  The myriad expenses and sacrifices you incur, caring for your daughter, surely outweigh whatever token amount he pays you!  You're not "turning a profit" from having custody of your daughter.  No parent does!  And it would be the same, for your ex.  If - hypothetically - he were to start caring for your daughter fully half the time, the financial relief he might experience (not having to pay you support) would be lost under all the costs and sacrifices he'd experience, doing 50% of what you now do.  

 

Immature dads feed this unfortunate cultural dynamic, where people assume that if a man fights for more time with his child - especially if that reduces his support payments, or causes the Mom to pay support to him - that he's probably doing it for the money, not because of the same drive for a closer relationship with the child that we take it for granted mothers have.  Immature dads feed this stereotype by griping about the hardship of coming up the money for child support.  Now, it is a sacrifice.  Many dads are working jobs that don't seem to pay enough to cover their own needs; then they owe up to half their net earnings to someone they've broken up with; toward whom they may have a lot of hurt, angry feelings; someone they may feel hates them; someone they may feel is keeping them away from their children.  That's not fun!  But, of course, griping about it diminishes the honor of knowing - and having others know - that they're doing the right thing by their child (and their child's mother).

 

It's illogical to think a father would save money by reducing child support and simultaneously spending more money, to care for the child himself.  So, unless a father is especially stupid (and who wants to admit they made a baby with an especially stupid man?), it's illogical to assume his chief motive in seeking more parenting time is to save himself money.  And saying that about him can make you sound hostile and unsupportive of your daughter's relationship with him - which would be unflattering to you, in court.  If you're headed to court eventually, you need to be careful about things like that.

 

 

> I know there's a tendency to assume that when men take the inconvenient step of requesting full or partial custody, it must be for the money.  Unless he's actually said that to you,

 

He did actually say to me that he wanted joint physical custody so he wouldn't have to pay child support anymore.

 

Then either he truly is stupid, or he said that to get a rise out of you.  People do that, in break-ups and custody disputes.  You know him, so you know best which answer is more likely.

 

> But if he's never tried to snatch your daughter;

 

He's threatened and that's enough to worry me.  Of course.  The only - literally, ONLY - promise he has not broken is that he won't try to take her from me and run and I don't want to give him that chance to break it.  

 

Only you know the full scope of your situation.  But it's one thing to break a promise, say, of fidelity (very easy to do).  It's quite another, to break a promise not to kidnap a child (which would require careful advance planning - something that might be hard for an idiot who thinks he's going to save money by raising a child himself instead of paying child support.  It'd also require significant financial resources; relocating; making other major life changes; and spending the rest of his life hiding from authorities).

 

My ex once said something similar to me.  Yes, the "what if" is scary.  But truly I knew he was just really mad when he said that.  He wanted the satisfaction of knowing he upset me.  And there's no more sure way to upset a mother than to make that threat.  Had I based all future decisions on giving him access to our kids on that moment, I would have ended up spending a fortune in court and subjecting my kids to a miserable amount of conflict with him, over the years.

 

But again - only you know whether you're blowing up a moment of anger (and your resentment over other broken promises) into assuming the worst of him when it may be unwarranted; or whether there is a serious, legitimate threat.

 

If you truly think he would impulsively try to run off with your daughter, does that mean you give him no access to her right now? If you do give him some access, do you feel he can't run off with her in 2 hours, but he could, overnight?  Does that seem logical?  (I'm not advocating overnight visits for a 9-month-old, mind you!  I'm just saying you should have concrete reasons behind what you do and don't agree to, otherwise you'll risk looking arbitrary and punitive, if he takes you to court.)

 

> if he doesn't have older kids that he's kept away from their mother;

 

He has no other children.

 

> if he's not physically abusive;

 

He can be but I have no evidence of it, just my word.

 

Does that mean he has abused you and/or your daughter?  Or you just think he has that potential?

 

>if he doesn't have family in some non-Hague-treaty country who support him running away with your kid...

 

I don't know. He has family all over the world and I don't know what the Hague treaty is.

 

Well, then you need to look it up, mama! http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=24

 

The Hague Convention (not Treaty, sorry!) signatories have promised to honor custody orders from each other's courts and return a child who is brought to their country by a non-custodial parent.  If your child is abducted by her father to a non-HC country, you could not rely on any authorities, to bring her back and could only hope to use some sort of private, underground resource (a long-shot).  Keep in mind, many non-HC countries would not be easy or pleasant places for your average American guy to make a new life in!  Somebody would have to be super-motivated and serious about taking their kid, to do such a thing.  This would not be a simple, impulsive act.

 

I would rather not use the evidence I've collected against him. I don't want to prevent him from seeing her. I want to prevent him from absconding with or hurting her.

 

This is not a criticism of you:  Since he wants to go to court, you need to more carefully define what you want and what you're afraid of.

 

If you truly believe he's a flight risk and physically abusive, how can you quantify that a certain number of hours with her are safe and a different number of hours are not?  You should ask for supervised visits.  And you would have to use any and all evidence you have, to accomplish that.  Again, it would be wrong for a judge to keep him away from his own child with no substantiated reason.

 

If you're hesitant to pull out all the stops and make him look too bad, you need to define (for yourself, not me) why?  Do you think abduction and abuse are long-shots and restricting him to supervised visits would be too harsh?  Maybe it is.  Clearly define your thinking so you can present a consistent, well-reasoned plan to the court, whenever you go.


 

 


One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
VocalMinority is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:10 AM
 
Mom31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: America
Posts: 3,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Please post this in single parenting to and come join us there.

I have been thru a horrible custody battle where i both won and lost at different times.

I would look into if there is a free legal service thru your state- here in illinois it is called land of lincoln.  Your social service office should know or ask around.


mdcblog5.gifsaynovax.giffambedsingle2.gifhomebirth.jpg

 

 

Mom31 is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:21 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cover letter he!!
Posts: 6,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RandomActofMuse View Post

 

I would rather not use the evidence I've collected against him. I don't want to prevent him from seeing her. I want to prevent him from absconding with or hurting her.



Then you need a formal court order detailing who has the baby when and for how long. I split from my ex (a physically and emotionally abusive UAV) when my son was 10mo - he got overnights starting at 1yo. I hated it, but there was nothing I could do about it. He had more than one overnight in a row starting at 14mo. I hated it, but again, nothing I could do.

 

My ex also threatened to take my son away from me - only he meant it. The only thing that stopped him? The court order. Why? He's a lawyer - he has to protect his reputation and his career. If he wasn't a lawyer, well, I wouldn't be able to trust him

Super~Single~Mama is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Jeannine: He did get violent with me a few times when we fought near the end of our relationship. He was angry. He never left marks, but he hit me, pushed me, shoved me into things, and in one memorable instance tried to strangle me. But again, no marks or witnesses, so it would be my word against his.

 

His broken promises: "I'll never hurt the kids." He got rough with my son when J woke up with night terrors in December 2010 - hit his face, held him down, covered his mouth, cussed him out and yelled in his ear - and wouldn't let me take J back to try to soothe him in a calmer manner. I had to forcibly remove my 5-year-old from his arms. He claims he was drunk, and he had been drinking that night (movie night with friends at our place, alcohol was usually involved as everyone was over 21, but no one ever got drunk), but he didn't appear drunk to me. I was the only witness and there was no point in going to court because J is disabled and can't speak, he left no marks, and no one else saw it happen. I was pregnant at the time. J and I moved out, but R and I both said we were still together, just not living together, until he took parenting classes and we got into counseling. He did get into classes and counseling and we never had another incident like that again after I moved back in February 2011.

 

"I'll never cheat on you." This was the first thing he did after J and I left. After telling me he wanted to work things out and after we started speaking with a counselor but before I moved back in, he started having an affair. That affair was ultimately the cause of our relationship's end - it led to all the fights and the violence I mentioned in my first paragraph. Kids and I moved out when the baby was three months old.

 

"I'll never lie to you." Well, that kinda goes without saying that he broke this one.

 

Plus a host of other little promises he broke, all after breaking that first one to not hurt the kids.

 

As far as >Then either he truly is stupid, or he said that to get a rise out of you.

 

I'm leaning more toward stupid; we were having a calm conversation about something dumb like grocery shopping, and he just out and said he wanted to talk to an attorney about joint custody because he couldn't afford child support anymore.

 

Emilie2 - I did post it there, the same day I put it here.

 

Super~Single~Mama - I know I need a court order; for that I need an attorney, and for that I need resources I don't have and/or information on where to find said resources.

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:08 AM
 
Mom31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: America
Posts: 3,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

what state are you in

 


mdcblog5.gifsaynovax.giffambedsingle2.gifhomebirth.jpg

 

 

Mom31 is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Florida

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Mom31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: America
Posts: 3,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/freelglchtFL.htm

 

A quick google gave me lots of info... did not read it google free legal aid or services in florida and start there.


mdcblog5.gifsaynovax.giffambedsingle2.gifhomebirth.jpg

 

 

Mom31 is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:21 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cover letter he!!
Posts: 6,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RandomActofMuse View Post

 

Super~Single~Mama - I know I need a court order; for that I need an attorney, and for that I need resources I don't have and/or information on where to find said resources.



Call your state bar association. They should be able to tell you where there are free/reduced legal clinics, and how to file in court.

 

Although, since you are receiving child support I wonder why your ex didn't ask for visitation at that time?  I know that child support and visitation are handled by different judges (in my old state they were, not all places, especially if you're rural), but that is often when it gets brought up. If he is not looking for visitation, and in your posts it doesn't sound like he sees the baby hardly at all, then you may not need a court order. He cannot take her out of the country anyway, since you would have to agree to her getting a passport (all children now need a passport to travel outside the country, they cannot use a parents passport like they used to be able to). If she already has a passport, you can try to have it flagged, or you can lock it up in a safe.

 

Honestly, it sounds like he is just making noise because he hates paying child support (my ex does too - if his state didn't disbar anyone more than 4months in arrears he wouldn't pay). Worry about it if he takes you to court (in custody battles - again, in my old state, you got appointed a public attorney if you couldn't afford one yourself). If he doesn't want to pay child support, he probably doesn't want to hire the most expensive attorney in FL to argue his case (sounds like he would need to), especially if he never see's his daughter anyway - how would he get time with a kid he doesn't make any effort to see?

 

Is your older child his as well?

Super~Single~Mama is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:25 PM
 
csekywithlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I do not know why any parent thinks that just because they have joint custody, they will not have to pay child support. My DH has joint custody but is the residential parent of his DS, and the mother pays a whopping $60/month in child support. One of my best friends just went through a divorce. He and his ex wife have joint physical and legal custody of their 12 year old son but the dad has to pay $422/ month. My friend is of course happy to do so, he loves his son. But your Ex needs to realize that just because he has joint custody does not mean it will get him out of child support.

 

I'm sorry that you have had to deal with the abuse and I can see why you are worried. I doubt that any judge would separate your child from you at this age and with the fact that you are breastfeeding added to the case. 

 

Here is the site for the Florida statutes:   http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/

 

 

 I am delving through this right now to find something useful...


Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

csekywithlove is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

No, my older child isn't his. We met when J was almost 3.

 

He sees C a few times a week, but never alone. It's usually an hour or two at a time and I'm there the whole time because she's still nursing on demand.

 

I think here the child support and the visitation are handled by different judges; child support can be handled out of court through the county office as long as it isn't contested, and he was cooperative when I filed. His visitation hasn't changed since I filed for child support - he saw her a few times a week then and still does - but his financial situation has, or so he'd like me to believe. He's been trying to get me to give him the support money back because she's breastfed, in cloth diapers, and not in daycare and I'm "not using the money anyway" (Uh, what does he call "saving for when she needs braces" and "buying her clothes when she outgrows them" then? It's not his business, but half the child support gets put straight in savings for her and the other half gets spent on things she needs). I spoke with my county's child support enforcement office's attorney and she said that ***if I wanted to*** I could give him some of the money back, as long as he was still paying what the state considered the minimum amount (20%) and I document whatever I give him, but that I am under no obligation whatsoever to give him ANY of it back.

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:45 PM
 
Mom31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: America
Posts: 3,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

DO NOT GIVE HIM THE MONEY BACK!!! OMG. That's crazy.

Those things are gifts- my ex pays me alot of child support and still pays for many many gifts for kids- all their sports, shoes for sports etc.


mdcblog5.gifsaynovax.giffambedsingle2.gifhomebirth.jpg

 

 

Mom31 is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:45 PM
 
VocalMinority's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandomActofMuse View Post

Jeannine: He did get violent with me a few times when we fought near the end of our relationship. He was angry. He never left marks, but he hit me, pushed me, shoved me into things, and in one memorable instance tried to strangle me. But again, no marks or witnesses, so it would be my word against his.

 

His broken promises: "I'll never hurt the kids." He got rough with my son when J woke up with night terrors in December 2010 - hit his face, held him down, covered his mouth, cussed him out and yelled in his ear - and wouldn't let me take J back to try to soothe him in a calmer manner. I had to forcibly remove my 5-year-old from his arms. He claims he was drunk, and he had been drinking that night (movie night with friends at our place, alcohol was usually involved as everyone was over 21, but no one ever got drunk), but he didn't appear drunk to me. I was the only witness and there was no point in going to court because J is disabled and can't speak, he left no marks, and no one else saw it happen. I was pregnant at the time. J and I moved out, but R and I both said we were still together, just not living together, until he took parenting classes and we got into counseling. He did get into classes and counseling and we never had another incident like that again after I moved back in February 2011.

 

I think both things are significant.  Children cause stress and if he cannot control his physically aggressive reactions - especially with someone else's disabled, non-verbal child!? - then I'd say children shouldn't be alone with him.

 

Do you feel the counseling and classes created change?  Or have there been no other incidents because you've instinctively protected yourself and the children by limiting stress in your home?  Do you believe R has trouble handling your special-needs child, but that he is probably safe around his own, (presumably neurotypical) child and can handle the "normal" stresses of parenting?

 

Perhaps you don't know this, so I'll tell you.  Police do not need "proof", to write a report.  An incident report merely records whatever statement you give police.  Incident reports are usually not admissible in criminal trials (because - rightly - "proof" is required, to convict someone of a crime and restrict their liberties).  But incident reports can be used in requesting a protective order.  You also do not need "proof", to get one of those.  They're generally issued on "the preponderance of evidence" - basically, whether you or your ex seems more believable, to the judge.  Many people represent themselves, in protective order courts.  Many courts almost rubber-stamp protective order requests.  The basic thinking?  "If I err by giving a PO to a woman who's making things up because she's mad at her ex-BF, then he's still not being convicted of anything.  If he's not actually abusive and he leaves her alone, the PO will eventually expire.  No harm, no foul.  But if I deny a PO to a woman who says she needs one... and then her ex kills her, I'll have to answer for why I failed to protect her."

 

Now, a police report and/or PO will not necessarily convince a family-court judge to limit visitation.  BUT family court judges usually have broad discretion, to custom-tailor custody orders to a family's individual needs and they are certainly allowed to consider things like police reports and POs.  

 

So, if you've hesitated reporting abuse because you didn't have proof, don't hesitate in the future.

 

"I'll never cheat on you." This was the first thing he did after J and I left. After telling me he wanted to work things out and after we started speaking with a counselor but before I moved back in, he started having an affair. That affair was ultimately the cause of our relationship's end - it led to all the fights and the violence I mentioned in my first paragraph. Kids and I moved out when the baby was three months old.

 

"I'll never lie to you." Well, that kinda goes without saying that he broke this one.

 

Plus a host of other little promises he broke, all after breaking that first one to not hurt the kids.

 

The various things you're dealing with would be upsetting, to anyone.  But since you will wind up in court, sooner or later, you need to sort out more clearly, in your own mind, what you want and why.  Right now you have some weak spots/inconsistencies:

 

#1- You need to mentally separate the risk of physical abuse and/or abduction, from resentment about your ex breaking promises to you.

 

Physical abuse is a reason to restrict a person's access to children.  So is a credible threat of child abduction (especially coupled with a credible risk of flight to a non-HC country).  But they're both legitimate concerns in their own right and have nothing to do with breaking promises.  Here's what I mean:

 

> If your ex had the self-knowledge and foresight to warn you:  "In all honesty, I might get violent with your son someday, if I'm under sufficient stress"...would that have made it any better, when he did?  ("What a relief!  At least he didn't lie about it!"...sounds ridiculous, right?)  Any abuser - when they're NOT feeling enraged at a child - would promise, "I'd never hurt a child", because no one wants to believe they're abusive.  And a person who has been abusive wants to believe they'll never do it again (or they'd never do it to the kids).  Your ex was probably as surprised and disappointed in himself as you were, when he got rough with your son.  But who cares?  You had to get your son away from him because your son is not safe with him - not because he broke a promise.  (Quite frankly, it's the same thing with cheating.  A guy capable of cheating is not going to tell you that, up front.  And once he's cheating, he'll hide it as long as he can.  But ultimately the relationship ends because he's a cheater.  That he also lied adds insult to injury, but it is to be expected, with cheating and it's not the issue.)

 

> If you asked your ex, he would promise you that he'll never embezzle millions of dollars, assassinate a head of state, or graduate from Yale.  And he won't.  That he broke some promises does not mean he will always do the opposite of anything he promises.  You will come across as rigid, unreasonable and unable to get past your hurt feelings, if you cling to the argument that, "He promised not to kidnap or abuse our daughter...but he's a promise-breaker...so he should be treated like an abuser and a kidnapper, even though he hasn't actually done either thing to our daughter, yet."  If he's abusive, break out your evidence and protect your daughter.  If you truly believe he'll abduct her, bring it up in court and ask for protection.  But don't cloud those issues, by linking them to him cheating on you, lying to you, etc.  That is your personal heartache with him.  It does not support that he's a threat to your daughter.  It makes you sound bitter.  (I'm not criticizing you!  You have every right to feel that way.  But you don't want a judge to think bitterness is coloring your assessment of what's best for your daughter.)

 

#2- What do you want?  (Take that as a genuine question, not pushiness.  Your situation is hard and it might take a while to determine what's right for your daughter.)  

 

> You say you don't want to keep your ex away from your her, yet you're afraid he'd "hurt" or "abscond with" her?  If those are reasonable fears, you should want to keep him away from her.

 

> If I understand correctly, although you describe abuse, the last incident was a year ago.  He voluntarily went to counseling and parenting classes.  You felt safe moving back in with him, while pregnant, and bringing along your son - the same child he abused.  And there haven't been more incidents.  And the reason you've broken up is because he cheated, not because of abuse.  

 

> Despite all that, are you legitimately concerned he'll hurt your daughter?  Have you concluded you made a risky decision, moving back in with an abuser and it's dumb luck that there haven't been new incidents, in the last year?  If so, you can't protect your daughter and hesitate using your evidence to keep him away from her.  You must choose.

 

> OR, if he hadn't cheated, would you have continued believing you made a sound decision, moving back in with him - i.e., you didn't put the kids at risk?  Is the real problem that you're so upset with him about the cheating and lying that you just don't feel he deserves to be trusted with anything?  In that case, you need to ask yourself whether you're punishing him for breaking your heart, by limiting his access to his child?  As understandable as your feelings would be, that wouldn't be right for your daughter.

 

> How real is the risk of kidnapping?  Can you envision him actually dumping his job, cutting ties with his family and/or friends in your community, uprooting his whole life, being responsible for a baby 100% of the time and living "on the lam" forever?  Does he have the financial resources to accomplish it?  It's a pretty extreme lifestyle sacrifice, to abduct a child!  But if you really think he was dead serious and could do all of that, you need to fight tooth and nail to keep him away from her, not be wishy-washy about it.  

 

Or was his statement about running off with the baby similar to his stupid, impulsive comment about seeking joint custody to save money on child-rearing expenses?  Does he say a lot of dumb things off the cuff?  It would not be right to make your daughter's relationship with her father hinge on a stupid comment he made, but didn't really mean.  

 

But no one in this forum can tell you whether it was a dire or idle threat.  Are you treating it as dire because you know he's capable of doing it?  Or are you treating it as dire because you're hurt and you feel he deserves to have you think the worst of him, at every turn?  Only you know.  

 

But in the long run (when you're so over him that you're GLAD he cheated, so you didn't wind up stuck with a jerk and could go on to find your true love...), you will feel better about yourself if you acted in your daughter's best interest and not out of your own hurt and confused feelings.  Does she need to be protected from her father...regardless what you'll have to suffer, to protect her?  Or does she need to ease into a relationship with him, imperfect as he is, spending a bit of time with him now and more, as she gets older?  Focus on doing the truly right and selfless thing for her and not on what a promise-breaking jerk he is, and you'll come through this alright.

 

 

 

 

 


One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
VocalMinority is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:45 PM
 
Mom31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: America
Posts: 3,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Child support is for you to support the child- ya know- keep a roof over their head.


mdcblog5.gifsaynovax.giffambedsingle2.gifhomebirth.jpg

 

 

Mom31 is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:11 PM
 
csekywithlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/0061ContentsIndex.html&StatuteYear=2011&Title=-%3E2011-%3EChapter%2061

 

 

Title VI: Civil Practice and Procedure, Chapter 61 should be where you can find what you need to know as far as laws and statutes.


Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

csekywithlove is offline  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My reasons for being worried about him hurting her are related to the mental instability thing from my FIRST post, not because of his behavior with my son last year. I brought that up by way of explaining the broken promises. I don't worry that he'd hurt her when he's thinking and acting normally, but I am worried that he would hurt her when he was having one of his "depressed" swings. Those can last a few hours to a week, depending on the trigger and whether or not he tries to get out of it or wallows in it.

 

At the beginning of December he texted me saying he was sober and cutting his hands, working his way down from his fingers, "just to feel something." I called 911, worried he was going to cut his wrists, and they called me back an hour later, saying he was injury-free. He texted me later that day, trying to convince me that it was no big deal, admitting that he had lied to the police to get them out of his house and to prevent being Baker-Acted and losing his job. (I have the texts locked on my phone, will get them printed from my service carrier if I need to, and I have a copy of the 911 report.)

 

The running off with her - now that I sit and think about it, thank you for bringing up the points you mentioned - is becoming less of a worry. He has family in the state and he might risk running away with her to them, but he would have to go to a lot of trouble to transfer his job and move up there, and that would be the first place I would think to have the authorities look.

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-03-2012, 12:38 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cover letter he!!
Posts: 6,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RandomActofMuse View Post

 

 

At the beginning of December he texted me saying he was sober and cutting his hands, working his way down from his fingers, "just to feel something." I called 911, worried he was going to cut his wrists, and they called me back an hour later, saying he was injury-free. He texted me later that day, trying to convince me that it was no big deal, admitting that he had lied to the police to get them out of his house and to prevent being Baker-Acted and losing his job. (I have the texts locked on my phone, will get them printed from my service carrier if I need to, and I have a copy of the 911 report.)

 

 



Save those texts. If you can, get them printed out, or get screen shots of them and print those out.

 

As for the child support - that can be used for your rent bill, heating, AC (since you are in FL where its hot), car payment, gas, your other childs clothing, etc. As long as it is, in a very roundabout way, benefiting your dd, its legit (and courts have ruled that child support paid for one child can be used for any other children in the household as well since it would be tantamount to torture to force a mother to choose to feed and clothe only one of her children, just because that is the child that is getting support payments). In other words, do not give him the child support money back, and spend it as you see fit - challenging the way you spend it would be VERY difficult for him. When he asks you to give it back b/c he's poor now, tell him to request a downward modification. The court or friend of the court, or whoever can do a review of his new financial information and order a lower amount.

Super~Single~Mama is offline  
Old 01-03-2012, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
RandomActofMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

He tried that. Child support enforcement said they wouldn't lower it (and then told me I could give some back if I wanted, which doesn't make any sense to me...) because his financial situation changed about two months after I filed and they don't do modifications for a year after the original filing date (and, I think, a year after each modification too).

RandomActofMuse is offline  
Old 01-03-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cover letter he!!
Posts: 6,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Then he's SOL. Your bills (and therefore dd's) don't go down just b/c he's broke. He could file in the actual courthouse to change it if he wanted.

Super~Single~Mama is offline  
 

Tags
Blended Family Advice
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off