Mothering Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may delete this thread later so please don't quote it. Thanks!<br><br>
A little background... In June 2004 ex and I went to court (he sued me). End result was me getting sole physical custody, us sharing joint legal custody, and him getting visitation "as agreed upon by both parties". From June 2004 until November 2004 ex worked up from 1 hour visits to 3 hours visits (3 days a week). At that time he was given the option to bump them up to 4 hours. He refused and asked to keep visits the same. From November 2004 until November 2005 ex did his 3 hour visits infrequently, skipping visits often but always calling or showing up within a couple days. At the end of November 2005 ex took Owen on his last visit. He just stopped showing up and stopped calling. From December 2005 until now ex has called maybe half a dozen times. He has seen Owen about as many times (most not planned, he just happened to be at the right place at the right time). He has not taken Owen on any visits or seen Owen without me there since November 2005. Ex lives about 10-15 minutes away (I think, that's his last known address anyway) and does not exercise his visitation rights.<br><br>
I've mentioned on here before my interest in getting sole custody. I've been wavering on this for a few reasons but I have decided this is something I am going to pursue. I have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow to discuss all of this. There are many reasons for me wanting this, the most important being that I don't want ex wandering back in whenever it's convenient for him and trying to claim he can take Owen. (Owen has autism and does not understand that's his "dad". He's never said that word and has no attachment to his "dad" at all. Having this man coming in and out of his life is not good for him).<br><br>
Other factors leading to this is my desire to move Owen out of the state (I currently am not allowed to). I have found another place where there are great therapists, great schools, a nice house and a wonderful male figure for him. The way I see it- this move would not affect ex at all, as he almost never sees Owen as it is. I would be willing to bring Owen back for holidays for ex to see him if he wants to, since that's all he sees him now.<br><br>
So I'm wondering if it would be a wise idea to try and hunt down ex (not even sure if I could find him) and try to talk to him- adult to adult- about this and see if he will give me sole custody without fighting. This would be WONDERFUL but I don't think he would do it. I think the only thing that would motivate him to do it is so he wouldn't have to spend money on a lawyer. Hunting him down is like playing with fire though, since I don't know if he's going to suddenly show an interest in playing "dad" once he finds out I want sole custody.<br><br>
I guess I'm just looking for validation that I have good reasons to file for sole custody. I hate rocking the boat, since right now Owen is relatively "safe" and doesn't have to go on visits. But I need to get Owen out of this area. There is no help for him here and he's regressing more and more.<br><br>
Also, if I get sole custody and move out of state what are the rules about visitation? Is it likely the judge will keep that part worded like it is "visitation to be agreed upon by both parties" or is he more likely to order regular visits?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,678 Posts
I would go through the lawyer, rather than try to find Owen's dad and talk to him about it yourself. If you do that, he might (although he doesn't sound that quick) file to modify custody on his own. I think your better off going through the Courts to make the change. He can always agree after you file.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
627 Posts
Just getting a little more info: Sorry if you already answered this.<br><br>
Would getting his rights terminated be something you were willing to do? Do you financially depend on him for child support or would you be okay with letting the CS slide as long as he's permanently not involved in his life anymore? Or does your state have one of those "your ex can stop being a dad as long as you have a 'new dad' lined up states"? Sounds like he's not involved anyways and you have some awesome reasons for wanting to move.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Good luck with talking to the lawyer! Oh and don't try to talk to him yourself, let your lawyer handle it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't believe MI will allow a termination of rights without a new dad waiting to adopt. BF and I have talked about this but none of us are at that spot where that would be something we would consider right now. I do count on the cs, but if I had to do without it I would. For a while I wasn't getting it consistantly so I learned how to do without.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, one other thing. Ex's parents and sister are in Owen's life (they see him a few times a month and we email). I have no problem continuing this relationship they have with him. They have always shown concern for Owen and have treated him fairly (when I'm there, I have doubts about what's happened when ex was taking Owen there on visits). I do not ever leave Owen in their care, but I do bring him to visit. I want to tell them face to face what's going on, I feel I owe it to them to not get blind sided with this. I've always been honest with them about everything on these issues. BF wants to come with me when I'm telling them. He thinks it might help them to see that he's not a bad guy, he's not trying to take ex's "spot", but he does care about Owen and he wants what's best for him. So I am considering having this talk with them right before ex gets served with the papers. Sure, it'll give them time to tell him what's coming but it won't give him enough time to file papers first.<br><br>
Wise idea or should I just shut my mouth? Should I wait until after ex is served then go talk to his family?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
Steph, let the lawyer handle it. Ultimately their loyalty is to ex, not you. They don't want to meet your bf or hear that you want to move with Owen. And in the past you've posted reams about how they essentially cover for your ex and get upset when you don't cut him the slack that they do.<br><br>
They won't love you more for this, but they're not going to love the situation no matter what. The only way I'd go to the family is if they've essentially shunned ex for being a deadbeat irresponsible dad, adopted you, and urged you to move...and even then I'd hesitate. I'd just save it for the lawyer if you're serious about this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,110 Posts
I agree let the lawyer handle it.<br>
And also, I don't know how the laws are in your state, but my lawyer told me that even if my ex signs away his rights, it's not legally binding should he change his mind later. So it's better to go through the courts.<br>
I wish you the best of luck with everything!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,040 Posts
I think you have a lot of things in your favor right now: Your son has Autism, Owen's dad has not seen him (or showed any interest in seeing him) in a looong time, and the fact that there are programs better suited to your son in another state.<br><br>
Im FL, when you have shared physical custody, and want to move out of state, you need to appear before the judge and let him/her know why you feel it would be beneficial to take your child away from his/her non-primary parent and move out of state. You have some GOOD reasons for moving out of state. The most commonly accepted reasons are job opportunity and resources for children.<br><br>
I think your case would look best if you asked for custody and the right to move all at once. That way it shows yet another valid reason why you need full custody. Bring ALL of Owen's therapy documents to court with you, if one of his therapists would show up to court too that would help a lot. I brought my sons's whole evaluation along with any notes his therapists have ever written. IME, judges really look out for children with special needs. Our judge was really concerned with DS's needs being met in regards to his sensory issues. The fact that ex had only ever been to one therapy appointment of DS's in the past 1.5 yrs made ex look really bad.<br><br>
I think you have a strong case. I hope your meeting with the lawyer goes well! I'm cheering for you, let us know how it goes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,040 Posts
Forogt to add, I would NOT suggest approaching your ex on this subject. It is better to catch him by surprise on the issue, don't do anything to tip him off. It's best that he has limited time to get his own lawyer and get things together if he decides he's gonna fight you. CYA mama! Deleting this thread might be a good idea if you think he might be checking up on you online (or if his family members are).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,162 Posts
Jilian had some excellent points about what you have in your favor, both in regards to sole custody and lifting the geographic restriction. Her idea to present them as a package is excellent.<br><br>
As for talking with him adult to adult, that could work if he were emotionally an adult. He has proven himself time and again to be otherwise. You said it yourself, it's like playing with fire. And his family, well, gently, they are his enablers. They have been loving and kind to Owen. They have also enabled your ex so, so many times in so many ways. They may also feel threatened or angry by you filing for sole. I understand you not wanting to blindside them. IME, blood is thicker than water, and they may go to great lengths to maintain their current level of involvement with Owen by "encouraging" your ex to fight, counter-file, whatever. It's best to catch him unawares, and limit his ability to counter you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,796 Posts
I definitely agree with Jilian, and you should not feel bad at all about going for sole custody! It's just a matter of time before I go for it with DD, so I'll be sure to see how things go for you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,962 Posts
I would let the lawyers deal with Matt.<br><br>
If you and J go to Matt's family, it may get very emotional for them and they may let Matt know about it. I know in the past, Matt has hung on to you and most boys (which he is) don't handle jealous well. He may decide to make things harder (with his family's support) just because of jealousy.<br><br>
I think it's a very kind thing to want to let his family know what you're planning before they find out another way. If you go to them about it, I would do it the day your lawyer is serving your ex and I would keep the J aspect of it all as low key as possible. Talk to them about the opportunities for Owen, that will matter most to them and later when they think about how much they will miss him being in their lives on a regular basis, they will be more comfortable knowing he's getting the best education and opportunities possible.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Meeting went well, all things considered. She thinks I have a really good chance of getting either sole custody (which would give me the ability to move out of state) or keeping custody as it is but getting the ability to move out of state.<br><br>
The plan right now is she thinks it would be a good idea to go talk to matt and his family and explain why I want this. If I can convince matt that it's a good idea and he agrees to either giving me sole custody or giving me the ability to move out of state (lol.... what are the odds he makes this easier on me??) then all that needs to happen is my lawyer will draw up the papers, I sign, matt signs, Judge signs and all is well. If matt doesn't agree then my lawyer will draw up the papers, send matt a copy, and we'll go to court on May 21st. It will be a real quick thing where we go in front of the Judge and have just a few minutes to plead our case. If matt doesn't show up to that then I almost definately get what I ask for. If he does show up he can either agree to giving me what I ask for or he can disagree. If he disagrees then the Judge will ask him to explain why. If after discussing it for a few minutes matt still doesn't agree then the Judge will set a court date for sometime in June. At that time it'll be a longer thing (think hours long) where we'll bring in witnesses and all that jazz and the Judge will decide.<br><br>
So the goal right now is to get matt to agree to either giving me sole custody or giving me the ability to move out of state. If he doesn't then my lawyer will file the paperwork. We will be asking for sole custody with an added clause that if the Judge doesn't give me that then to consider allowing me to move out of state.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,040 Posts
I'm happy to hear that your lawyer also thinks you have a good chance of getting what you want! When are you going to approach Matt? Will your lawyer be with you when you do? I agree with the others that it is probably not a good idea to mention your DP at all. What are the incentives for Matt for allowing you to have full custody and/or move out of state? I know there probably aren't many (since he has proven to not care much about his son's well being I don't think better therapists would be an incentive in his book). Maybe it would sweeten the deal if you could present it like there was something in it for him. That works with my ex anyway. He always needs to feel like he's won something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,962 Posts
You know, Matt will probably be relieved if you do move. Then he can claim he's not involved in Owen's life because you've moved out of state. It gives him an opportunity to save face (which he seems to like doing). It's possible he may put up a bit of a fight...just to make it look good, but based on his lack of involvement, I think he'll really be okay if you go.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top