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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had a mediation set up for this Tuesday, but I just found out Thursday that he is fighting me for custody. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
According to what his lawyer told mine, he has kicked his pain med addiction and wants to be a daddy now. So, now there is no mediation and it's another waiting game. We are going to have a custody review in a few weeks and I am so scared. I know that it is highly unlikely that he will get custody, but there is always that slim chance. I mean, I never expected the judge to order overnights for my DD when she was only 9 months and BFing.<br><br>
So, those of you who have been through something like this can you please give me some insight. This is what he has against him:<br><br>
1. History of abusing pain meds and alchohol<br>
2. Has been hospitalized for depression (about 10 months ago)<br>
3. Now receives disability for his mental illness<br>
4. DUI arrest and conviction (after his hospital stay)<br>
5. Still on Probation for DUI<br>
6. Turned me in to Child Services (case dismissed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> )<br>
7. Argued with DS's counselor because she wouldn't report me unfit<br>
8. Argued with Child Services Agent because she didn't see me as unfit<br>
9. Does not support DS relationship with me<br>
10. He lives with his mom; I have my own place<br><br><br>
The Child Services claim was because I "beat my children and poured soap down their throats". Yes, in weakness, because I had tried everthing else to stop my DS from hitting me and his brother, turning over my furniture (couch and all), pounding his fists on and kicking the walls, and not doing anything that I asked him to do; I spanked my oldest DS. When he was cussing, spitting and screaming, I put soap on my finger and touch it to is tongue. I still feel so bad that I resorted to that, but I can only learn from it and I have apologized to my DS. I have him in counseling now and his behavior has improved so much. So, this is what I have against me, but there were no charges filed, the case was closed after the worker came to our home and visited both DS at school.<br><br>
SO, what do you think? I'm so nervous and scared that my stomach has been in knots since Thursday.
 

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Michelle. I don't really know what to say, just to be prepared for the worst. I'm just finishing a custody evaluation in order to be able to move out of the country. For the past three years, my dd's dad has been a HORRIBLE father - the details too numerous to mention. But, as an example, just this weekend he left her in the care of a ten year old boy. In addition, I have consistently been there for her, supported her, provided her with everything with no support from him, just mostly sabotage. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I can't remember ever doing anything above reproach as a parent. (Just provided as a contrast to dd's dad). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
DD's "advocate" not only told me she will recommend that dd stay in the states, she is going to recommend that her dad have MORE time with her! Of all the scenarios I imagined, this was not one of them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br><br>
I've read many posts from moms complaining about the "justice" system and always chalked it up to paranoia or there must be something they're just not telling us about their own parenting. I'm here to say that after absolutely putting my daughter first after all these years, I'm about to lose time with her because I asked the court for some support.<br><br>
My first attorney said very clearly to me, "Unless he is using drugs or abusing her, the court will allow very liberal custody". Be prepared.<br><br>
Geez, don't we all want more for our kids?<br><br>
I don't know yet how to make sense of this. I'm still in shock. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jaw2"> Wish I had better news. Hang in there and try to balance between being the best mom you can be, being your child's advocate, and letting go of the things you can. Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I just want to send you a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
This is my biggest fear/nightmare and I am so sorry you have to go through it!<br><br>
My thoughts are with you.
 

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What is your lawyer going to do to help you? From what I have seen, past behavior matters very little. It's all in what he claims he will do from now on. You may see him living with his mom as a bad thing, sign of not taking care of himself, but he may spin it as grandma helping out, child stays out of daycare more and he's more stable. I don't want to be too alarming, but you need a really good lawyer now.
 

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lawyer lawyer lawyer. I feel for you, mama. I just finished up my own court stuff this week, and it went better than I expected. I hired a very savvy lawyer, with financial support from my family. I also made a point to be friendly and courteous to everyone involved, including him.<br><br>
and in this area we were recommended to the court counseling service, which provided free mediation, and helped to find resources for my stbx to get a psych eval. which I requested. can you bring up your ex's psych issues? I know that he will still get visitation, but perhaps you can get the issue intoduced into the equation, something preexisting for the court to note if he has erratic behavior while your daughter is in his care.<br><br>
also, stay aware of current visitation and custody policies in your area. unfortunately, bfing babies aren't assumed to need their mothers as a matter of course. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
-Lau
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ktmama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">DD's "advocate" not only told me she will recommend that dd stay in the states, she is going to recommend that her dad have MORE time with her! Of all the scenarios I imagined, this was not one of them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"></div>
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She sounds like a crapola "advocate." Can you ask for someone else?<br><br><b></b>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My first attorney said very clearly to me, "Unless he is using drugs or abusing her, the court will allow very liberal custody". Be prepared.</td>
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You know, I hear utter shite like that and I just want to explode. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/splat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="splat"><br><br>
It just goes to show that the the courts in this country are overwhelmingly more concerned about a parent's "right" to spend time with their child than a child's right to be raised in a safe, nurturing environment.<br><br>
I hope it works out for both of you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Oh Shit, wish I hadn't read this thread. I'ts very discouraging. Im a couple of weeks away from going to court with my baby's daddy. He's a terrible abusive old pot-head and I'm very worried about what sort of "rights" the court will give him.<br><br>
say a quick prayer for us....
 

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I would definately work the depression factor with him in court if I were you. Find things on the internet where depression has resulted in horrible outcomes, there is a ton of it out there. I wish I had better advice, all I can do is keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I promise to do that. Keep us updated on how things go, okay?
 

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Mama, though there are bad stories, the facts of his illness show an unstable side of him that the court should definitely take into account when determining custody. That said,<br><br>
My ex was physically and verbally abusive to me in front of our children on a daily basis. He had a substance abuse problem, and the final night he lived here he held a gun to his head in front of the kids. The court mandated Anger Management counseling and Substance Abuse counseling.<br><br>
I asked for court-supervised visitation, and the court said no, because my ex lives with his parents, so they considered them adequate supervision for the children.. I did not fight this, (though in hindsite I should have), because for the most part I do feel comfortable with his parenting while his own parents are in the picture.<br><br>
They have gone away though, and every single time like clockwork, we have a problem. I do know because of his substance history and domestic violence past, the likelihood he could ever gain custody is almost nonexistant, but the court is the advocate for the kids, and more and more they are choosing for the kids to spend as much time as possible with BOTH parents..unless he was abusive to your children, the court wants him to have as much time as possible with them, and vice versa.<br><br>
I would not worry that you will lose custody of your children. The court almost always rewards custody to the mother. But they will make sure the children spend a fair amount of time with their father in visitation as well.<br><br>
I am not familiar with Florida law, but in NJ, the parents have to attend mediation regardless of whether one parent wants to go for custody or not..there is no choice there. If no agreement is reached in mediation, Then it is scheduled for trial. You might make sure this is not the case in Florida.<br><br>
Good Luck, mama, and peace to you.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>magnoliablue</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am not familiar with Florida law, but in NJ, the parents have to attend mediation regardless of whether one parent wants to go for custody or not..there is no choice there. If no agreement is reached in mediation, Then it is scheduled for trial. You might make sure this is not the case in Florida.</div>
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I don't think this is the law in Michigan. Ass and I didn't have any sort of mediation- we went straight to court.
 

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Michelle,<br><br>
I've recently been through a year and a half of court battles. I wish I could tell you that something is fair or that the best interest of your son will prevail. Unfortunately the system is not set up that way. I can tell you that you will get through it and you will continue to mother your child and he will be better because of the love you give him. You can't control what the courts order you. It is an incredibly tough thing for a mother to be told what she should do with her child. I struggled with this forever. There are attorneys and judges 'judging' you and taking away your choices. But they can't take away your love for your son. And he will survive this....and so will you.<br><br>
You can NEVER predict what will happen in court. I wish I could tell you differently. The laws are open to interpretation and once you enter the court system, you are subject to the whims of other people, people who don't know you or your son or what is best for him. That said, you can continue to love and nurture your son and do what is best for him. I thought I couldn't live through what I did but I came out stronger and my dd is also okay.<br><br>
Yes, the courts will probably grant him liberal visitation. Understand that that is all they can do. We wish they would listen to us when we tell them we are the better parent but some day you might understand that the courts don't know the situation, nor can they ever. Father's have rights, whether they have shown they deserve them or not. And your son is his father's son and that is his lot in life. Luckily he has you too. I wish I could make it different for you.<br><br>
I hope this (and the other responses you have received) are not too depressing and hopeless. The situation is not hopeless. My advice to you is to take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. Getting through this nasty process will make you a better mother and a better person - I guarantee it! You will need to let go......it goes against all of your natural instincts and I don't believe mothers were meant to do these battles when they have young children. I believe in the natural order of things. We are mammals and mothers should fiercely protect their children and fathers should protect the mothers. But in our society we have fathers attacking mothers (through the court system) and it isn't right. But as humans we are resilient. You will be okay and your son will be okay.<br><br>
My advice to you is try to feel your emotions outside of the courtroom. Find support wherever you can. Vent when you need to. Use this forum. Lots of us have been through it. You can pm me whenever you want! When you are dealing with the courts and the attorneys, try to stay rational and calm. This is not advice to ignore what you are feeling, just that these people will respond better to non-emotionalism. By all means, FEEL what you are feeling, just do it with like-minded people, not people who are not mothers (KWIM?!)<br><br>
Whatever judgements come from the court, know that in time they will not be as bad as they seem when you first hear them. I thought I would die if some of the things my ex asked for came to pass. Actually not many of them did, but what little things I 'lost', I tried to look at the positive in them after time had passed.<br><br><br>
Above all else, remember you are his MOTHER!!!! No one can EVER take that away from you. No matter what happens, no matter how much time he has to spend with his father, no matter what judgements are made of you, you have a lifetime of being his mother and no one will EVER touch that. You have an opportunity to touch his life in a way no one ever will. He will grow up to be the person he is going to be and you are his mother. Children are strong. Just because we can't control the way things go in their lives (doesn't that suck?), we can love them and there is no greater gift a child could ever have.<br><br>
I wish you and your son all the best. God bless....... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all so much for understanding and sharing your experiences with me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> !<br><br>
I do have a good lawyer thanks to my parents. At our temp custody hearing, she was pushing for supervised visitation, but it wasn't granted because stbx was living with his mother. His medical records and DUI conviction have already been exposed, so to speak. Under the circumstances, I feel like he has more than enough visitation. Every other weekend and every Wednesday overnight. I let the boys call him whenever they want and honestly, they usually talk to him 5 or 6 times a day even though I feel like it is excessive. I have kept him informed of school functions, doctor and dentists appointments and the like. He usually doesn't show and has been badmouthing DS counselor and now DS has been showing resistance about going, but I refuse to relent on that matter. Anyhoo, we will be having a custody review as soon as our lawyers agree on a mediator. So, I just have to wait it out. The worst part is that my kiddos will be spending a month with him very soon. I do get his visitation schedule while they are with him, though.<br><br>
Thanks again for all the support and suggestions. I don't know anyone IRL that has had to go through this type of thing.
 

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Michelle~<br><br>
Is there a possibility of doing a child custody evaluation? I am currently going through this process with my ex. Basically, a psychologist appointed by the judge meets with you and the ex separately, gives you both some personality tests, then meets with you and the kids both in his office and in your home and does the same with your ex. He then makes a recommendation and report based on his observations which is entered into public record. The judge then makes a custody determination based on the report which is permanent for a certain number of years (or possibly until your youngest turns 18, depending on the breadth of the report). I highly recommend you suggest doing an evaluation to the mediator. It is expensive (about $2,500 here in CA), but worth it. You will not only have the custody issue settled, but you will also have a clear picture of your ex's mental state as well as that of the children and how to proceed with that information.<br><br>
I truly feel for you and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sorry you are going through this with your ex - you deserve so much better, mama.<br><br>
With love,
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK Tabitha, you have just given me a glimmer of hope. Since stbx has decided to seek custody our mediation was postponed. My lawyer told me the next step is a custody review, but she doesn't agree with the two psychologists that stbx's lawyer has suggested. So, both lawyers have not agreed on one yet. I am hoping that the whole process is similar to what you are experiencing. Stbx has been rude, argumentative, and walked out more than once on several counselors, psychologists etc. Basically, they can see right though him and he can't bully them into his way of thinking. Anyhoo, I will be calling my lawyer on Monday to clarify the whole process. Thanks!<br><br>
edited for nak typos <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I'm going through a custody evaluation right now. All I can say (again), is document everything! Otherwise, it becomes a case of your word against his.
 

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Oh mamas. I feel for you all. I have been largely absent from MDC because of the ongoing custody issues with my idiot X. Amazing smear tactics, slimy lawyers. Bizarre accusations made to my dd's pediatrican. Scare tactics and intimidation on every front. I have prevailed because of my amazing lawyer, my family's support, the support of Mimi's teachers and our wonderful friends. It's hard to hear your X call you a bad parent. Especially when he was jailed for beating you in front of your kids. It's hard to hear him demand custody while in court-mandated anger management. These things apparently happen to other people so stumbling on this thread tonight has been a comfort of a weird sort. It's not just me going through this freaky scene, all the while trying like hell to maintain a happy home environment for my 3 YO dd. There are many of us and it's a sick trip through the depths other people can sink to. I never imagined my X would behave this way. I never thought ANYONE would. Now I know better and now I am stronger for it but what a way to learn, eh?<br><br>
Hang in there. Stay cool. Stay unruffled in the face of the madness, all the while maintaining a veneer of civility. It drives the half-crazy Exes the rest of the way crazy. That can sometimes work to your advantage. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/demon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="demon"><br><br>
Denny
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dentente</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh mamas. I feel for you all. I have been largely absent from MDC because of the ongoing custody issues with my idiot X.</div>
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It's so good to see you here, Denny! I followed your story when you were leaving and was wondering how you and your little girl were doing.<br><br>
Congratulations on liberating yourself and your daughter and it's so great to hear that you have a good lawyer to contend with the shite your ex is throwing at you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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