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#1 of 20 Old 12-15-2005, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I'll try to make this as brief as I can. This is extremely painful to retell, but I guess I'm hoping someone here might have some helpful advice. I have a 6yo who I share joint custody of with her father. Unfortunately he is the resident custodian. Now before anyone asks why she is primarily w/me, I'll just let you know I never lost custody of her or did anything that would reflect on me as being a bad or unfit parent, this is simply the result of our custody case that was part of our divorce. He remained in the marital home and made more money and basically it didn't have much more to do with anything else.

SO....fast forward to present. I took him to court Dec. 6, 2004, to modify custody based on several police reports I obtained outlining domestic and other physical violence at his home which my child observed. Also he was convicted of a misdomeaner theft, and the bank filed for foreclosure on his home, and he had had several different women who moved in and out and was currently living with a girlfriend and her 3 kids. There was no adverse information presented at all about me at this hearing. To the contrary only evidence establishing my stability and the good relationship between myself, my child, and her other siblings and her stepfather was presented. The Judge took 7 months to deliberate this and finally ruled against me in July of this year denying my request for modification of custody.

Okay, now here is the cake topper. Just last week I found out the state was charging ex with 1st degree criminal abuse of a child. Turns out to be one of his girlfriends kids. Then I found out this happend in Feb. of this year. So I didn't know about it until better than 10 mo. had passed. Now you won't believe what happens next. I find out that when this ensued, my child was removed from his care and the state took custody of her. He did not receive custody back until 2 mo ago. All the time this was going on I was speaking with him regularly and seeing my child regularly. I am her girl scout troop leader and I see her frequently. I also have first right of refusal. So our court papers state that if he is unable to care for her for any reason whatsoever I am to be contacted. How then, is it, that social services did all this without consulting me? She was placed with my ex's sister, and then with his other sister. During the first placement I don't think he was allowed contact and during the second placement he was allowed contact so long as he had 24 hour supervision. My ex moves around alot and that is one of the chief reasons I took him for modification of custody. I did question him several times when I had to drop my dd off at her aunt's and he wasn't there, because I have first right of refusal. He assured me he was only working a few minutes late and would be directly home. Since I live 30 min away he said to go ahead and drop her off so she could get ready for bed.

Believe me, I am one angry momma How could something like this be allowed to happen. I have only obtained a few court documents from the clerk and my name was put on the petitions because I am her mother, but no one ever contacted me. The social worker says it was the clerks responsibility and the clerk says they were never provided with anything other than my name, and they must have an address. The county atty's offices haven't called me back yet, and I have started the complaint process with Cabinet for Families and Children.

Can you believe this happend????????????? What can I do! I currently have the Judges denial of my request for modification on appeal, but I filed my appeal without ever knowing about this. This happened in a county other than the one our case was filed in, but my ex got it transferred to that same Judge and she dropped the charges on him, however, the state is still pursuing the charge and he is set for trial Feb. 22.
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#2 of 20 Old 12-15-2005, 12:17 AM
 
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That's awful. I'm sorry
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#3 of 20 Old 12-15-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry. I don't have any thing to add to help you, but I really hope you get things resolved soon. Take care.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#4 of 20 Old 12-19-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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Do not feel bad about the end of the divorce being your child going with your ex. I am divorcing and it will be final in January and my two girls are going to live with my ex full time. I am moving to Florida and he is moving to Texas. Its a hard decision, but the best for all. It doesn't make us bad mothers. That is so horrible about the state not contacting you. I hope it works that you get your daughter.
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#5 of 20 Old 12-20-2005, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Sadiebug. I choose to live with my dad when my parents divorced after living with my mom for a short period. I was much older though. My dd was 2 1/2 when I seperated from her dad. She was almost 3 when he became physical custodian. It has been very hard because I feel that at her age she needed a mom not a dad who worked full time plus some. I do know that not all fathers are bad people. My dad wasn't. Children have a right to be with either parent and sometimes it's best that they are with their dad's for lots of reasons. It doesn't mean we are bad mother's or that we don't love our children. I will also say that the courts awarding males primary custody is a growing trend. You always hear that a court will almost never award custody to a man, and that it takes alot for one to do so. That simply isn't true. Unfortunately it attatches a stigma to those of us who do have a child/ren not living with us full time. I think that the reality is that so many women have asked not to be treated any differently than a man, you know for equal rights, and well, we are getting treated equally in more areas than just the workforce. That however is a whole different can of worms I guess.

Best wishes to you. I pray that you will have strength and peace throughout your divorce. Have a blessed holiday season. Stay strong.
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#6 of 20 Old 12-23-2005, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to share with you all that I decided to write a letter to the Judge. I simply told her that I had not been made aware of the hearings and that things weren't good for my child during that time. I told her I believed she could change things for my child if she choose to. I got a reply!!!!!!!!!!! I was so shocked to open a letter of notification from the clerk's office stating that a matter had come before the court on a letter from the mother of the above named child!!!! The County Atty. made a motion to have the dismissal of my ex's charges Set Aside. I don't know exactly what that means or what it will include, but is says that they are revisisting the issue and the companion cases and it's in 2 weeks. Maybe this will be a good thing.
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#7 of 20 Old 12-27-2005, 11:54 PM
 
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so glad to read your update...my heart was sinking as I was reading your OP. Get your daughter back Mama! She belongs in a safe secure home...with you! I'll be thinking of you and I hope this judge has a change of heart!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#8 of 20 Old 12-29-2005, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks kindermama. I noticed that you are expecting and you have a 9mo. Just wanted to say that my dd was 9 mo when I found out I was expecting ds, so I know what it's like to have 2 so close together.
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#9 of 20 Old 12-29-2005, 10:56 PM
 
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No words of wisdom but you are not the only Mama here with a joint custody situation where the child resides with father. My eldest who turns 14 in Feb has been with his Dad since he was 6, long and the short was ex had major resources, I had none and well it was a nasty situation and for my son's piece of mind and my own I chose legal joint custody.

I hope that things work out for you and your baby.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#10 of 20 Old 01-06-2006, 08:21 PM
 
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Do you have a lawyer who can help you with this? It seems very complicated.
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#11 of 20 Old 01-07-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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Definately keep us all updated!!

Christina:~Student mama to Collyn(13), Haylea-Ann (9):, and Natalie (8) , and SO to Jeff.
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#12 of 20 Old 01-10-2006, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the deal, to complicate things a little further. I do have an atty. My atty filed my appeal of the Judges denial of my request for custody modification the same day that he found out about this criminal abuse charge my ex had. The day he filed was the deadline, so we couldn't include that information b/c the Judge hadn't been made aware yet. Remember this took place in another county and social services didn't notify me, so I didn't have the opportunity to make the Judge aware. Boy they really help children don't they. Anyway, if you have experience with paying an atty they are very expensive. Appeals usually run about 2,000 and I had just spent about 3500 on my custody modification. So I don't have the funds to go further with an atty. I have considered contacting some probono organizations who might handle the violation of my civil rights b/c social services didn't notify. When we went to court my atty sat in with me for free, and this is what happend. The Judge sited she had commited a technical error by dismissing the case. She strongly admonished my ex for lieing to her previously about me being notified. She complained about how the case was previously handled by the Judge in the other county, and said that she never wanted this case in the first place. She "vacated" her dismissal and said she was sending this case back to the other Judge to fix b/c the other Judge is the one who screwed it up in the first place. So this means she is refusing to rule. Bad thing is, she is the Judge for the county my daughter lives in. My atty said that since she refused to rule I can't ask her to grant me emergency custody. I will have to ask the other Judge, but I can't do that until we get a court date, which means we have to wait for the case to be formally transferred. My daughter is moving for the 10th time in a year due to this and I'm going How can these ppl over look my precious baby in all of this. This isn't about beurocratic bs and technicalities and red tape, this is about my precious dd. Family law stinks. I have to say that today I am ashamed to be a citizen of this country who boast of civil liberties and justice for all. What have we turned ourselves into? Poor dd has a right to have a normal life that isn't hindered by her dads flagrant actions.
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#13 of 20 Old 01-10-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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Ask your local womens domestive violence group. They often have funds available for attornies. What your ex did is basically a power and control thing and abuse of power.




I am soo sorry you are going through this.
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#14 of 20 Old 02-07-2006, 02:46 AM
 
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I know what you mean about the courts being unfair. When we were fighting for custody 10 years ago, bio mom was subpoenaed (spell?) for court and did not show, the judge still ruled in her favor without her even being there and said she would reset the case for when "she could make it" isnt that sweet? If it were us, we would have been in contempt!

Take notes.....document everything, dates, times etc.

Also, Judges seem to do better with visuals. When bio moved 15 times in 1 year, I drove around to each address and took pictures. Also, if you are going for a civil rights case, contact a civil rights organization, they will usually take the case for free.

Also, bear down on those courts and judges! Write to the new judge requesting an emergency hearing and temporary custody until your case can be heard. Sometimes going to the courthouse and asking to speak to the judge can help. They may grant you temp. custody until your court hearing.

However, I think that judge was wrong! It has always been my understanding that as long as one party lives in the county where the marital home was, that is who holds jurisdiction.
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#15 of 20 Old 02-13-2006, 01:29 AM
 
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a CASA advocate?
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#16 of 20 Old 02-13-2006, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately nothing good has come. No court date has been scheduled. Social services in the county where my ex lives now, which is the county we were divorced in, not the county where the charge originated, is supposedly closing the case? When I spoke with them they said that my child was not in any danger as far as they were concerned. My ex went through anger management assesment, and supposedly was found not to have a problem. That, to me is impossible, but go figure. I now hear that the State is dropping their charge as well. I think all but one Judge, the one who originally handled the case, has signed off on dismissal. The original Judge was in another county the day the papers were sent to her so she was unavailable to sign, but I hear she plans to. Why in the hell would social services remove the children from the home of my ex and his gfriend for 45 days and drag this on for a year and get the State Police involved to just see it all dropped and say nothing was wrong. Something is insanely screwed up here My poor dd told me on Fri. when I picked her up from school that what happend to them, meaning the whole deal, could never happen again and it was over, that's what her dad told her and me. He was back living with gfriend now that all was supposedly dropped. He called while I had dd on Fri. and said that he didn't have the papers in hand and that one Judge hadn't actually signed off yet and that for that reason social services was back over at the house telling him to get out? SO poor dd had to get dropped off at her grandpa's where they will be staying again until this is all over. I had to break it to her not 45 min after she told me about how everything was finally over and they were all going to celebrate this weekend It's so difficult to go through this and know that no matter what, this will never change. I've tried everything. I truley have. I contacted free legal services and finally got them to meet with me after jumping through hoops and then finally talked them into helping me which they weren't going to do b/c my dh's income is right on the cusp and then they send me a letter saying that my case has a long history and they are under staffed and simply can't give it the time it needs and deserves : So now I just wait for the verdict of the Appeal I filed a little over 2 months ago to come back. Taking bets on what that verdict will be Usually takes a minimum of 5 months to get a return of verdict, so that gives me 3 more months to beg and plead with God to intervene. God knows I've cried so many tears and said so many prayers already. I fear that this will never change and I hate myself for it. I really do. If I had stayed married to my ex none of this would have happend to dd. I always thought that it would be worse for her to grow up and see the way my ex treated me and for her to learn it was okay to be treated that way than to grow up with divorced parents. I thought that I was somehow doing her a favor by getting out. I never dreamed she'd get left behind to be the victim instead of me. I never in my wildest worst nightmare dreamed that. No matter what I do I can never make right all the injustice that dd has suffered and I worry that the blood of that injustice is on my hands.
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#17 of 20 Old 03-18-2006, 08:38 PM
 
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Does he have custody now or is it still with his sister? What if you just didn't take her back until it is all resolved? I went through Family Court in Sacramento....so I feel your pain and frustration. Good luck.
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#18 of 20 Old 03-19-2006, 09:42 AM
 
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kyangel80-I read your stuff and couldn't help but reply. You've been so helpful with my questions in a different thread. You are an amazing woman! To withstand all of this and keep your head on is amazing. My only suggestion is to pray, pray, pray. If you pray with an open heart to your God, your prayers will be answered. Have faith! Your baby needs you.

Much love and hugs to you!
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#19 of 20 Old 03-20-2006, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank You herbalmommy. I appreciated your good wishes. I'm in agreement on the pray, pray, pray thing. I live with the realization that God's time is not my time, His ways are not my ways, but that His grace will be sufficient. While I always ask that God will return my daughter to my care quickly, I know that God has always answered my prayers with what I most desperately needed at that time. Sometimes I know that has been safety for dd. I also know that for whatever reason, the answer may not always be yes to my prayers. I try to imagine how Moses' momma must have felt placing her little nursling into a basket only to see him float down a river to what she must have feared was certain death. She trusted in our God to keep him safe and he was raised up to save a nation. I've said it before so I'll say it again, I know my hands aren't big enough to protect my child and so I pray with faith, without ceasing, that God will keep her safe. I pray that she will have an angel of God at her back and to her front, over her head and resting at her feet. Good luck to you as well on your journey, whatever avenue you choose to pursue. Sometimes it's hard to just resign yourself to prayer and let God handle the rest. KWIM?
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#20 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 05:23 AM
 
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hi any update? Hoping you was able to get your dd full time!
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