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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI! I need advice and i don't know where to turn. We went to court yesterday for visitation. DD's father and I have been seperated for over a year and I've supervised most visits during this time. There is a long history of neglect on his part and refusing to parent or learn how to parent. I got her into counseling after she told me he hurt her bum. I finally got a restraining order last month after he threatened me. DD hasn't seen him since then.<br>
There is a very long story leading up to us going to court yesterday. He requested visitation and I requested that they be supervised until he can show consistancy and get counseling and take parenting classes.<br><br>
My lawyer didn't do a very good job making the history clear. The judge awareded him visits every Saturday from 2-6 alone with her. And now I have to let her go. I don't know what to do!! I'm afraid for her. He doesn't watch her well and usually falls asleep when he's supposed to be taking care of her. I feel helpless. I thought about marching back down to the court today and seeing what can be done... but everyone I talk to says there is nothing. WE just have to wait and see.<br>
Is this really the case... do i really have to wait until my daughter is hurt again before I can do anything? My mind is refusing to accept this.<br>
I cried all day yesterday but today i'm pissed off and just want to take whatever action is possible to prevent this.<br>
I have a week before his first assigned visit with her. I'm desparate to figure out something. If anyone has any suggestions for what steps to take next, to avoid letting him have her alone.... I'd appreciate it.<br>
We live in Massachusetts.<br><br>
Thanks everyone!<br>
Michelle
 

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I am so sorry. I don't know the legal implications for your state so I hope someone who does know more can help.<br><br>
I imagine how scary and horrible it must feel. I believe there have been other moms here who have had to send their kids off with an abusive dad. I am sorry.<br><br>
I don't know if you could hire another lawyer to represent your daughter and her rights? I don't know.<br><br>
I don't know if it would help talking to a counselor. I guess if she has to go, you need to be aware of signs in case something happens so you can remove her immediately.<br><br>
I will pray for you and pray that things happen in a way that your daughter will remain safe.
 

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I'm sorry for your plight too. I would be beside myself.<br><br>
I haven't gone through the court system yet. I like my lawyer, that's about all I know. But I guess my suggestion might be talking to your lawyer or find another one if you don't think he/she is doing a good job. I really rely on my lawyer for the ins and outs. And although she is definitely lawyerly, she also genuinely seems to care what happens to me in her own way.<br><br>
I wish you the best of luck and will keep an eye out for updates.
 

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I second finding a new lawyer. Is there a womens resource centre in your area? Sometimes they have lists of good lawyers. I also don't know the legalities in your area but there must be some way you can appeal.<br><br>
ETA: also try womens abuse services for lawyers, and Child Protection for advice.
 

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I would try and get a new lawyer ASAP and have it be re-argued. Here's what you've got on your side...a restraining order, and your counselor's testimony about your child...<br><br>
What does he have? Nothing...so your lawyer lost this one, not the truth.<br><br>
Is the TRO for just you or both?<br><br>
Ugghhh...gotta go, but will check in later. Hope you can get this straightened out soon!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My Lawyer is through legal aid... so she is free. i can't afford to hire just anyone i want. I asked her before this visit if we should get testimony from counselors but she didn't follow through on it. She really made me feel like I had nothing to worry about.<br>
I have to go pick up DD from daycare. I took a mental health day today! I'll post more to all your replies later.<br>
Thank you for your supportive words!
 

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You can still find another lawyer through legal aid. Since she is legal aid, in fact you probably have more chance of finding a good one through a Women's Centre. Good luck to you Mama. And do keep posting.
 

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I'm sorry, I don't have any advice. Just wanted to offer some support. Maybe he won't even show on Saturday. I'm crossing my fingers your DD stays safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been talking to people all day. I'd like to just crawl in a hole and be out of reality for a little while... but since my active 2 year old thinks this just a fun game of hide and seek, THERE"S NO PLACE TO HIDE! :LOL<br><br>
OK, I made all the appropriate phone calls today. I've been assured there is nothing I can do until he messes up again. My lawyer and the counselors (and some friends too) say that maybe he will prove me wrong and do a good job. I really hope this is the case, since I spent the last 3 years beating my head against a brick wall trying to show him how great it could be to be a family. I tried to give him the tools he needed to learn how to parent. Now that I finally gave up, got my daughter and I out of the abuse cycle and took drastic measures to protect her, he's telling the court he wasn't able to be a father because I never let him. Well, if this is what it takes to motivate him to be a good father.... then I guess it's all worth it, right?<br><br>
The restraining order is for me, but dd is on it too. It was motified yesterday to allow him visits 1 day a week for 4 hrs. I've been told that in the courts eyes this is practically no time at all, but to me, knowing what i know about his history, it's way too long! The last time I left her with him for 3 hours (as a trail to see how he did) he was asleep when i got back and she was up crying and scared.<br>
This really sucks!
 

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OH Thistle, I really feel fo you. I guess all you can do is be as vigillent as possible, record everything, hope for the best, and be ready for the worst. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br>
He may have taken this as a sign to get his act together. I really hope that's the case. My kids' dad made a pretty decent turn around after I had a restraining order. He now even takes the kids for overnights sometimes.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I am afraid the same thing will happen if stbx & I can't agree on supervised visitation. I don't have any advice, but I will be praying for you & your dd.
 

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I'm sorry and I hope your daughter will be ok<br><br>
I had to ask for a revision within a 7 day deadline here or you can ask to add more info which is a reconsideration I think, so I would beg your attorney to see if there is a shot with additional information added from the counselors.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> for you and your daughter.<br>
You could appeal for a reconsideration of the court's decision.<br>
I hope things will be on your side.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thistlelait</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've been talking to people all day. I'd like to just crawl in a hole and be out of reality for a little while... but since my active 2 year old thinks this just a fun game of hide and seek, THERE"S NO PLACE TO HIDE! :LOL<br><br>
OK, I made all the appropriate phone calls today. I've been assured there is nothing I can do until he messes up again. My lawyer and the counselors (and some friends too) say that maybe he will prove me wrong and do a good job. I really hope this is the case, since I spent the last 3 years beating my head against a brick wall trying to show him how great it could be to be a family. I tried to give him the tools he needed to learn how to parent. Now that I finally gave up, got my daughter and I out of the abuse cycle and took drastic measures to protect her, he's telling the court he wasn't able to be a father because I never let him. Well, if this is what it takes to motivate him to be a good father.... then I guess it's all worth it, right?<br><br>
The restraining order is for me, but dd is on it too. It was motified yesterday to allow him visits 1 day a week for 4 hrs. I've been told that in the courts eyes this is practically no time at all, but to me, knowing what i know about his history, it's way too long! The last time I left her with him for 3 hours (as a trail to see how he did) he was asleep when i got back and she was up crying and scared.<br>
This really sucks!</div>
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Yes, there's pretty much nothing you can do. Whatever was done should have been done in court. The time they have given him IS practically nothing in the eyes of the court. I agree with Mamajama, record EVERYTHING - phone calls, conversations with him, your daughter's feelings, mood, etc. when she returns from a visit, if she's clean when you get her back, and anything she says. Put together a spreadsheet - date, time, etc. Accurate records are strong evidence in court. I'm sorry for what you are going through.<br><br>
Pete
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Pete</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with Mamajama, record EVERYTHING - phone calls, conversations with him, your daughter's feelings, mood, etc. when she returns from a visit, if she's clean when you get her back, and anything she says. Put together a spreadsheet - date, time, etc. Accurate records are strong evidence in court. I'm sorry for what you are going through.<br><br>
Pete</div>
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I will continue to hope & pray that your daughter is safe for those 4 hours. Hang in there and breathe. Your daughter needs you to be as clear headed.<br><br>
I also believe that when we are in a situation where there is no way out, the best thing to do is start putting out the positive energy that she will be okay. I believe in the law of attraction.....so if you start to believe she will be okay, it's more likely she will be.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pranamama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm sorry and I hope your daughter will be ok<br><br>
I had to ask for a revision within a 7 day deadline here or you can ask to add more info which is a reconsideration I think, so I would beg your attorney to see if there is a shot with additional information added from the counselors.</div>
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If you feel as though your daughter's well-being is going to be in danger, definitely try this. And, if it works, work on getting a new lawyer before it goes back to court (even if you have to take out a personal loan).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all again.<br><br>
My dd and i have spent the last two days hanging out together (as we normally do on non-work days). I've been trying hard to stay attentive to her and not show any stress. she did see me crying thursday night when i was on the phone with my counselor. I felt bad. We actually had a great day yesterday. Although, she saw her counselor for the first time and has already told her. "he's a bad dad" when asked about her father.<br><br>
I've asked if there is any way to appeal and everyone tells me no. After the last time she saw her dad alone... she started having nightmares (there is a whole drama here that I haven't shared with you all) I promised her that I'd keep her safe. I told her she wouldn't have to go alone with her dad again. And she was consoled by this. I feel like I'm betraying her if I let her go.<br><br>
I've been racking my brain for other options. I thought about hiring a private detective or maybe lifting the restraining order so I could go on visits with them. This would probably make him happy. But I feel like it just puts us back in the same position I've been working so hard to get us out of. On the other hand, I'd be there to protect her and anything is worth that, right?<br><br>
Pete- thank you, I hadn't thought of making an actual spreadsheet. I've been keeping all my records in log form and sometimes it's hard to keep up with it. Maybe it was just to long this way for the lawyers to bother reading it all. (that's sarcasm) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: They'd probably appreciate a spreadsheet as well.<br><br>
My lawyer said that if I try to bring it back to court this week, it will look like I'm doing it out of spite and it will just give him a chance to ask for more time.<br>
After the injustice last time... I have to admit I'm afraid of risking that.<br><br>
OK, I'm just making myself sick again.<br><br>
Calliemama-- good luck working things out with your stbx. I hope it goes much easier for you!<br><br>
Dragonfly-- I'll look into the personal loan on Monday. Also maybe a better lawyer willing to work probono. My x didn't even have a lawyer, maybe I'd be better off without one.<br><br>
I appreciate all of your blessings, good energy and hugs.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grouphug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="grouphug"> for all of you!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thistlelait</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Pete- thank you, I hadn't thought of making an actual spreadsheet. I've been keeping all my records in log form and sometimes it's hard to keep up with it. Maybe it was just to long this way for the lawyers to bother reading it all. (that's sarcasm) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: They'd probably appreciate a spreadsheet as well.</div>
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It payed off for me. One time when my ex's lawyer complained about me submitting documents a couple of days late, I was able to go back to my spreadsheet and describe in detail how many (and there were many) times he was late producing documents (some of them dating back over a year) and the impact that had on my case. I was able to give him date and time for every document he produced - and he realized that it was going to be a tough sell, so he dropped the complaint. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Once it's on a spreadsheet, it's easy to keep up. And when you get in the habit of logging every tummy ache and every case of head lice, patterns start to form that may be useful in court. It can't hurt to keep track. And you can provide the info to your lawyer as he/she needs it.<br><br>
Pete
 
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