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  1. #1

    Default Child custody, does he have a chance at all? If he even goes through with it.

    Child is 13 years old. We got divorced when she was about 2 1/2. On the divorce "contract" it stated that I had physical custody, he had visitation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend. We share joint legal custody. He has never kept to that. It went to Tuesdays and every other weekend to some Tuesdays and some weekends. Now the child has seen him 3 times in the last year and a half. (We live 5 miles from each other) I have never kept her from going to see him. Never. I actually used to comfort her and tell her it would be ok, it was only for a weekend etc because she was so against going. I hated the idea of her being sad so tried to make it better and fun to go there. Last year, child services was called on him. My daughter gave them 4 pages of notes about what goes on at his household. From drinking, driving drunk, smacks across the face and other things that occur. Child services investigated and closed the investigation. I assume they think things are ok there, I never got much information about it. My daughter basically stopped going over there on her own accord since then, he doesn't call her, doesn't visit her-occassionally if he runs into her somewhere he will ask when she's coming over and she says she doesn't know and that's it. No phone call follow ups or anything.
    He paid our agreed upon child support until the child services investigation, then he pretty much just stopped paying. Told daughter that if she came over more often, he might pay more. I really wasn't too concerned about the money, I was happier keeping daughter out of that environment. I recently decided that after more than a year of him not paying, he needed to pay some to put into an account for her-she's getting older, we have cars,college etc coming up. I took him for child support. He has started two companies, is a member of a union and at the bar spending money no less than 4 times a week. He claimed no income, he was imputed a salary of $10 per hour. Whatever, I don't care. Just pay something. When the mediator walked out of the room, he looked at me and asked if I was going to tell her or he was. Tell her what? That he wasn't paying it and would go to jail. His mind was made up. It was up to me but he will go for 50/50 custody rather than pay. When she walked back in, I told her he said he would go to jail and not pay but the amount was fine with me. The order was submitted. It will take a week or so to come in the mail. In the meantime, do I have anything to worry about his threat of 50/50? I really don't see how ANY judge could not see through this ploy. He has Never attended a single parent/teacher conference, or seen a report card, he came to ONE sporting event of hers, never practices, went to ONE other event of which she had about 40 of them easily. Never those practices. Has never had her sick or taken to doctor. has taken her on one weekend vacation in her life. Hasn't paid a dime in over a year and has only seen her one time since last May all of his own accord. I don't have a lawyer for this, will get one if he pushes it obviously but am just trying to ease my mind that there's no way a judge would disrupt her life like that. if a judge spoke with her, she would spill everything she told child services and I'm positive would be very adamant she doesn't want to go over there now.



  2. #2
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    I am not a lawyer. But you should get one.

    I would think that he has been such a deadbeat would be a factor in your favor as will your daughter being of an age to tell the judge exactly how she feels about the situation BUT you just never know. So for your own peace of mind, hire a lawyer. Many law schools have programs where they offer free/low cost advice or can steer you in the right direction.

    Good luck!


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  3. #3
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    Agree, it's highly unlikely you'll need an attorney, but speaking with one may put your mind at ease.

    Given what you describe, I can't imagine any judge would award him 50/50 custody. I don't know what state you are in and custody and support laws are state specific, so it's hard to say much. Here in Mass, the opinion of a child 12 or over MAY be taken into account when awarding custody...it isn't the only thing, of course, but it's allowed and considered. So her age, in addition to all your ex's BS, misbehavior and general lack of interest in raising his daughter, is in your favor.



  4. #4
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    Get a lawyer now. There is a good chance that you won't need much in the way of his/her services but if you do it's better to have someone who is familiar with what is going on and is able to navigate the system for you.

    And start right now and document everything. Every conversation, email, phone call, every missed support payment, every missed opportunity to attend an event, you get the picture. Document older incidents that you can recall accurately.

    My ex did a similar thing when my son was 14. It wasn't over an increase in child support though (I never got a dime from him). He just decided that he wanted partial physical custody after years of neglect.

    Anyway long story short, a church friend of his did a little free work for him and I was served the day before Christmas Eve. The timing was intentional and I had had no warning it was coming so it caught me completely unaware.

    I got a lawyer, answered the petition, and the whole thing got dropped. Seems once he knew I was planning to fight with all the resources I had at my disposal Mr. Free Lawyer either decided he didn't want to donate that much time or figured it was a lost cause. Had I not gotten the lawyer I'm sure my ex would have continued to press the issue.

    Good luck.


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  5. #5
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    I HATE pond scum like this. Go and see a lawyer just to bounce the situation off him/her. Likely you won't need to spend much/have him/her represent you if the scum does take you to court over custody. I'm a lawyer in Mass and in the distant past did some custody work. JMHO he's not likely to achieve anything other than make the judge laugh. In a nasty way.

    Your poor daughter. I hope she's in counseling, if not she should be. This is in all likelihood very traumatic for her, whether she says so or not. Ask me how I know.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


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  6. #6
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    Eh, my parents divorced and I was treated pretty much the same way. Even the ages are the same. Divorced when I was two-ish, he had the regularly occurring visits on whatever was agreed upon, stopped wanting me, started dropping me off early (esp if I got sick). Stopped paying child support, went to jail a couple times.

    I was not traumatized. I was a child. I'm sure I may have asked when I was seeing daddy or something along those lines when I was super young, but beyond that? No. I had a happy childhood, I remember playing with friends in the neighborhood, sprinklers, dogs, Fraggle Rock on the TV...not weeping, wringing my hands, etc. Chances are your daughter is just fine. Don't stress counseling to her. I remember one of the schools I attended had a children of divorced parents counseling that we were required to attend during a school period. I remember attending once. Obviously did not attend years of therapy...

    Did not need therapy for the divorce at all.

    Do go see an attorney about this. Consultations are generally $xxx/hr. The expensive ones here charge like $120/hr.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

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  7. #7
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    In many states, the issues of visitation and child support are completely different. You need to have your Parenting Plan/ Divorce Decree modified to reflect what is actually going on visitation-wise since it sounds like DD is not visiting as much as was ordered so YOU don't get in trouble for not forcing her to go over there.

    Seek help at your local child support office. They can use many measures to collect the support for you and this makes it much less personal for you. THEY do the dirty work.

    ETA: I work in this field and this is the MOST common ploy I hear- I will only pay if I see my child. And it never works. A child needs monetary support AND parental love. One is not a substitute for the other.


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  8. #8
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    Get a local lawyer (some places it helps if they are local) that knows about family law. Don't just guess what might happen, but do find out where you stand, and what could happen if you press for more child support and how that might affect visitation or custody. You definitely need a consultation with a lawyer.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    Get a local lawyer (some places it helps if they are local) that knows about family law. Don't just guess what might happen, but do find out where you stand, and what could happen if you press for more child support and how that might affect visitation or custody. You definitely need a consultation with a lawyer.
    I agree. Along with everything else, some judges are fruitbats. It helps to get advice from someone who knows if one of the local judges is notorious for making whacked out decisions.



  10. #10
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    I'm not an attorney nor do I play one on TV...but I really don't think you need to be worried about the custody agreement.

    In most places, for a father to get 50/50 or more, you'd practically have to prove that Mom was a drug dealer and in prison.

    More than one of my friends' husbands have tried to modify the custody agreement due to issues w/ mom and even with child services involved, they were denied. Us? My husband's ex wife tried to file for full custody (they have 50/50) and the judge threw it out 2 weeks ago because she had no grounds.

    With all you have on him, plus the fact that he's the father, I don't think you have much to worry about.

    BUT a good attorney is a good thing to have.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by carp View Post
    ...some judges are fruitbats.
    Yes. ANYONE, even, as we know, convicted rapists, can apply for custody. I know someone who's ex ASSAULTED her and HE is applying for custody!

    Get a lawyer, familiar with family law IN YOUR STATE.

    Your husband might agree that, yes,you were divorced (because you had "mental problems"), that he "tried" to comply with the parenting plan but you made it difficult, alienated his daughter. Sure, he has had his bout with alcohol but is, thankfully, sober now, willing to undergo a substance abuse evaluation. But, he is very sad that you, of course, have never stopped your unfortunate wine habit, like to smoke weed in front of your daughter. If you are married, he can say ALL SORTS OF THINGS about your husband, and if you are not, but God forbid have ever dated over the past 10 or so years, well....again, just so upsetting have all those men in and out of the house with your daughter there. God knows what one or more of them may have done to your daughter. He may find a shrink to say what a total gem he is.

    I doubt he would wind up with 50/50 but if he wanted to, he could make things difficult for you, I think. This is where people have to get psychological evaluations, use mediators, and (really REALLY hope to avoid) custody evaluations

    One would hope that your daughter's views would weigh strongly, along with your documentation, but judges (God bless them, nothing against the profession) have given custody to men who have domestic violence convictions! So agree that the more you can document, the better position you'll be in.
    The lawyer.For sure. Just to be safe.



  12. #12
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    You might have to forego all child support, and forgive the past non-payment in return for full custody. And I bet that you would never see him again. I believe that it's a fairly common ploy to get out of child support, or during a divorce to trade off outrageous claims in return for property compromises.

    Talking about fruitbat judges-does anyone remember the Elizabeth Morgan and daughter Hilary case from a long time ago? There was actually a book about it. If I remember correctly (and I might not, but there was a book about the case) the mother claimed the father and grandfather were molesting the daughter. The mother was ordered to make the little girl go to visit the father. She refused and her parents took the girl and fled the country. Elizabeth Morgan was thrown in DC jail by the judge for two years or so, and had to be freed by an act of Congress. The girl was eventually found in New Zealand by authorities, and the government there declined to force the grandparents, girl and her mother to go back to the U.S. The mother and daughter lived there until they were assured that they could come back to the U.S. and the mother wouldn't go back to jail, and the girl wouldn't have to have contact with the father and his family. It's such an outrageous miscarriage of justice, and I'm sure the judge thought that he was right for every second of this. So sometimes it's just a whim on the judge's part, and no thought for the welfare of the kids.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  13. #13
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    Out of curiosity, Who called child protective services?

    An alternate scenario I picture is that it was you, perhaps you helped your daughter write her 4 pages of complaints, ex hubby stopped being financially supportive after you reported him for exaggerated or bogus claims, not sure why he would tell the daughter he would pay more if she came over more? sounds like he wants to see his daughter and somehow she knows he could be contributing more? Why should she know what he is or is not paying? Something does not sound right about this story so if your spin is not entirely accurate then yes you had better be concerned about having to fight for custody if he has been pushed to his limit and denied access to his daughter.



  14. #14
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    I am a social worker who works with children in Maryland, and I have seen this happen. There are fruitbat judges, so I agree with the person who said get a local lawyer.

    I worked with a 12 yr old girl who refused to go see her alcoholic father. Two years later, he sued for custody. They all went to Carroll County Court. The judge told her to stop whining or he would reverse custody from mother to father. Then he ordered father and daughter into family therapy (not with me) for two years with the goal of reuniting them. She dragged it out until she turned 16, and could drive and could have more control.

    Unfortunately along the way she developed a serious drug problem and was in and out of rehab.

    No more contact with me. I hope she got her act together.
    ********
    There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.



  15. #15
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    I second the poster who said to drop the child support. Seriously. I have a friend where the father only saw the baby a few times during infancy, she never took him to court for support, and when the daughter was almost six he filed for full custody literally OUT OF NOWHERE. He did not get it but he got a ton of visitation which he rarely takes advantage of and leaves her with sitters when he does have her. Custody battles are expensive, awful, and unpredictable.

    Also... go get the best local lawyer and consult with as many other good ones as you can so he cannot use them... conflict of interest. Good luck OP.



  16. #16
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    It is also my understanding that a with a child over the age of 12 the judge can take their opinion and want into consideration. If he does go through with it you can get a lawyer or you can gather up all the evidance yourself, the child protective case copies with your daughters notes in it, the divorce decree, the times he has had her in the last year ect and just represent yourself. This way you can actually ask the questions and get the answers you need. YOu can supena his wage records ect Make an outline of what you what to say and accomplish write the questions down you want to ask.

    I have a friend whom just went through this here in Illinois. She represented herself and also in the case a restraining order against the ex husbands girlfriend so she represented herself in both cases and won. She proved that she wasn't the one in contempt that actually her ex was, she proved her ex lawerys didnt do their jobs properly by not submitting the paperwork for child support, she proved through text messages send from her sons phone to her phone that he was scared of his Dad's girlfriend and she proved with unrelated witness's that her ex tried running her over with his car with her son standing behind her. Now this kids Dad is pissed off at his son because the restraining order against his girlfriend is an absolute NO contact order and this has disrupted his life. Judge pretty much granted her full custody with supervised visits with the dad with mediator present. What she did was like I mentioned above made an outline of the events that included the evidance and the questions. Plus when she did have a lawyer and they went to court for custody and child support the first time he did some pretty stupid stuff in court. So, She may also turn her old lawyer into the bar as she got a copy of the court transcript and it does state that when the judge asked her lawyer a question that this girl actually leaned into the microphone and said, "quit playing with your phone and answer the judges question" two days later she recieved a letter from the attorney saying that he was dropping her as a client. That added to the lawyer never submitted the childsupport paper work.



  17. #17
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    Talk to a lawyer familiar with family law in you state, county city. Each state is different and often you will different rulings in different areas of the same state.

    just get good information from someone who knows. Good luck.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketcher View Post
    Out of curiosity, Who called child protective services?

    An alternate scenario I picture is that it was you, perhaps you helped your daughter write her 4 pages of complaints, ex hubby stopped being financially supportive after you reported him for exaggerated or bogus claims, not sure why he would tell the daughter he would pay more if she came over more? sounds like he wants to see his daughter and somehow she knows he could be contributing more? Why should she know what he is or is not paying? Something does not sound right about this story so if your spin is not entirely accurate then yes you had better be concerned about having to fight for custody if he has been pushed to his limit and denied access to his daughter.
    I dont know who called child services. I was made aware at 9am on a monday morning that they wouldbe visiting my daughter at school that day. Seems tha the previous weekend he took her, his stepdaughter and wife to a party. At the party he got mad at stepdaughter, approached her aggressively and threatened to throw her down the stairs. No adults stepped up but my then 12year old daughter stood in front and told him to stop. She got smacked acros the face twice ad told she was lucky he didnt knock her teeth down her throat. He then proceeded to drive home drunk with all of them. When he got home he stayed in the truck with daughter ad cried that he was sorry. The next morning stepmother asked daughter if she was proud of herself for makinghim cry. This was told to me by daughter when she got home frm school that day. Shehad been told not to say anything by father. The case worer is who told me she got 4 pags of notes. In the notes my daughter didnt even concentrate on herself she told what the stepdaughter goes through more. I have years of notebooks wuth dates thathe didnt pick daughter up or take for his wekend becausehe had other things to do.. she knows hes not paying because she has ears. She knows hes not trying to se her because shes had a cell phone since she was 8. He did text her on her birthday this past summer. I gues that might count as effort to see her. Not. I have many people who have witnessed me consoling her and trying to encourage her to go with him when she was younger, including various babysitters. His father, her grandfather, stopped at our house on her birthday to see her. I take her to see his mother and sister frequently. Theres nothing stopping him from seeing her. Except his preferring to do other things. Sorry for the typos on small keypad. And Btw if i had known how bad it was over there, yiu are damn right i wiuld have called child services.



  19. #19
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    Talk to a lawyer
    State laws vary widely on custody issues and local custom/practice varies even more so don't go by anyone's anecdotal evidence of what happened to them or to their friend.
    Find out your information from someone who is actually in a postion to give you real information and guidance- a local family law attorney.
    Your husband may be a jackass and a terrible father but that does not mean he can't get increased visitation and custody righs (I've seen it happen)
    You are pursuing a course of action that may affect your custody of your child- don't guess, get real legal advice
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


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  20. #20
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    I'm a little confused - when I got divorced (just finalized this past July), we both had to provide check stubs, etc for proof of income. Is that not the case where you are? If not, you need to get with a lawyer and subpoena (right term?) proof of income. He needs to pay child support regardless of how much he does or doesn't see her. As for his threat to sue for half custody, a previous poster was right - due to her age, her wishes would be taken into consideration. However, as also stated previously, states do all vary. I can only speak from what I was advised from my lawyer here in Ohio.

    Good luck.

    I'm so sorry you are in this situation. I was your daughter once - parents divorced at 2, dad was always very behind in child support (went to jail for it, etc) and often threatened to sue for custody. As it turns out, my mom never once bent to the threat, and he never followed through.
    “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson



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