Child Custody Concern

Updated on July 05, 2012
B.C. asks from El Paso, TX
11 answers

Hi Mama's,

I just recently posted my first question and now I'm on to the next. If you'd like the back story...

the link to my previous question. It's still pretaining to me soon-to-be ex. We are not divorced yet, but have been separated for the past 2 years. He's suppose to come get our children for a visit this Friday. My concern is, since he's been attacking my parenting skills, and allowing his girlfriend to post things about me on Facebook, what if he plans to just keep our children. As I mentioned, we are not legally divorced yet, what's to stop him from doing this? I've heard he CAN legal do this. He's a very spiteful, and vindictive man. Since he no longer has me as an emotional punching bag to make himself feel better, he's attacking me as a mother. He knows taking my kids from me would be the ultimate "punishment." If I get him to sign a paper saying I'm the primary caregiver, and the kids must live with me, will that hold up in court? Or even make the police take action, if he breaks the "contract"? We have not divorced yet, due to financial issues. I certainly can't afford to pay a lawyer as a single mother, but have turned to legal aid for advice (they still haven't been in touch with me about what legal aid I can recieve). Our divorce was to be uncontested, but with all these recent problems I'm not sure that's a good idea anymore. We did file a petition for divorce, and when I went to the court to present our crappy, online divorce decree the judge rejected it. I'm very greatful she did now. Any advice would be appreciated. Also, our oldest some is special needs (autistic), does this make any difference legally? Are there special provisions regarding that?

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answers from New York on

They are his kids, and with no custody agreement, he has equal rights to the kids. Even if you are not divorced yet, there should be a legal separation document with a custody agreement, even if it's just a temporary custody agreement. Since it doesn't sound like an amicable split, a legal custody agreement is needed and must be filed. Just having a piece of paper that he signed is not a custody agreement. Please contact a lawyer to have this taken care of asap.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Kansas City on

I would be very careful with this situation. I was separated from my husband and thought that our children should spend a weekend with him when he asked to see them. You know, I was under that 'fathers are important to kids' ideal at the time ... only my husband took that opportunity - once he had our kids in his control - to immediately file for divorce AND full custody by saying that I had abandoned our children.

Seriously.It was in the court documents that I had abandoned my children. Along with a bunch of other garbage and lies.

It took six months of legal *fighting*, a psychiatric exam for both of us and a lawyer bill of $10,000 on my part to get it all straightened out. It was the worst time in my life and if I had the ability to go back in time and do it all over again - I would never have let him take our children for an hour, let alone a weekend.

I would advise against giving him any unsupervised time with the children until you have filed for divorce.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

You don't have to be divorced to have a custody agreement. If you don't have one, legally either of you can have the kids and neither is required to return them at a specific time/place. If either refuses the other, the police could step in but normally won't do much without a court order. Even if you are putting off the divorce, get the custoday taken care of.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Friday is tomorrow! You need to go to the court house and file for an emergency custody order appointing you as the one who has primary physical custody or even sole physical custody. You can do this in pro per look into and similar websites.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

i''ve never been through a divorce personally. But I have often heard lawyers suggest not to allow the children to go with the father until a judge has made something official regarding custody. Your concerns are the primary reason for that advice. I understand financial difficulty, but it seems insane to me that you have allowed 2 years to pass. Tell him he can call the kids but he cannot have unsupervised visits until the divorce is final. And get the divorce proceedings to the court pronto!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Alexandria on

I have had this happen to me...

I don't know the laws in your state, they may be different, but until you have an order, from a judge in your hands, legally, he has just as much right to them as you do. He CAN keep them and there's not a single thing the police can do about it.

My hubbs and I were separated and I let our 3 year old go visit him. He normally had nothing to do with him but wasn't a horrible dad or anything. He wasn't a bad person, in other words. But once he got him, HE ran to the court and filed papers as is my son had been living with him and he was caring for him the whole time. There wasn't anything I could do for a week. I couldn't even go around him.

Fortunately he is stupid and thought once the judge signed the papers and set a hearing date, that those papers were his custody order and he let the baby come 'visit' me. I went and picked him up just like I was taking him for a visit, I even played the part of looking defeated. The police knew what I was doing as well as my lawyer and that's how they advised I do it.

I got my child back and immediately filed for an expedited hearing. I let the judge know what all happened as well. Because up until that week, my son was never away from me for more than a night or 2 and that was only with my sister or mother in law.

Of course I got custody after that.

So be careful. If you are fearful and there's no order yet, don't let them go. If they want to see their dad, go meet somewhere in public and let them visit. Don't let them out of your sight with him bc he can just take them.

As long as he doesn't physically rip them from your arms, they are his kids too and he take just as easily as you can.

I learned my lesson the hard way bc I wanted my little man to get to see his dad. He is entitled to a father, after all, and he loves his daddy. But I can't let feelings get in the way of 'what's best for my child'.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If he contests you are going to have to go to court, hopefully legal aid can deal with it. No if you draw up some document it will not hold up in court. If anything it could go against you because he can claim he signed it under duress. Say something like you were threatening to not allow him to see the kids unless he signs.

My third child has autism spectrum, the court did not take it into consideration when looking at custody. It is especially irrelevant when the child is already in school because they consider that the primary therapy. I know there is a lot more to it but the court looks at dad just as capable as mom.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I'm pretty sure since you don't have any custody agreement, he can't be punished if he keeps the kids and won't give them back. You could make him sign something temporarily to agree upon a custody schedule. For example something as minimal as " I agree to keep our child,____, until ____. Then the child will be returrned and she will keep them until ____. Make something temporary and have him agree to it and sign it. If he doesn't want to sign, tell him your concerns and you won't turn over the kids until he signs it. Yes if he signs it is perfectly legal and can hold up in court. You could even go a step further and get it notarized when you guys sign it. But yes anything in writing even on a napkin is LEGAL/



answers from Los Angeles on

I went/am going through something very have some great advice here. In my state a written letter between the two parents was NOT legally binding and my lawyer advised against it. However the court expects you to allow your child to have reasonable contact with both parents. I planned public outings, meet at a restaurant, park, etc. so your kids can see the father, are safe from him taking them and you look like the better person in court! Make sure you save all the emails/texts showing that you were attempting to keep the relationship positive and not keep the children from the father. Also, there are lots of lawyers that do free 20-30 minute consultations that you can talk to and get you headed in the right direction. Best of luck to you...this was the hardest thing I went through and it is still super hard and stressful! I have learned the more detailed the orders the better you are so really think about what you want.



answers from Cumberland on

Ask the court for an emergency hearing & to order mediation so that an agreement can be drafted-tell them you don't have any resources-your hubby makes all the money-and he will , most likely have to pay all the legal fees.



answers from Oklahoma City on

If there is no court order for temporary custody or visitation he can absolutely take his children and keep them. There is nothing legally keeping him from them.

A piece of paper is not a court order, it is not notarized nor legal. I would just tell him that something has come up and not let him take the kids.

Legal aid does not help with divorces sweetie, they have so many criminal cases that come to them that they don't do anything but those anymore. Stop depending on them.

I know it stinks but you need to save some money and hire and actual attorney on your own.

It may cost you $1200 or more to hire one to get the papers filed for custody and get the temporary hearing on the docket but it is worth it.

You can sell your personal belongings, borrow money from relatives and friends, you can get the money somehow. You need to call all the attorneys in your area to get an idea of how much cash it will cost you just to get the paper work going...

They don't make the hubby pay the attorney fees anymore, they don't ultimately give the mom custody right off, they are changing the status again.

Do not accept the idea of shared custody. It hardly ever works out. A woman has a very hard time making the amount of money to support herself and the kids on a much lower income. It is often the case now that if a woman is a SAHM she will lose custody of the kids to the dad. She is not financially able to support her children. If you are not working full time you need to be looking for a job tomorrow. If you can't find one enroll in college for the fall as soon as possible. Until you have paperwork stating you can't you can use your joint credit to take out student loans to pay for school if your income is too high for you to get financial aid. Talk to them and find out first though. You might get something.

The way judges are doing divorces now stinks. A woman suddenly becomes the lower income parent and loses out due to that. They do not make the ex pay child support now, they want to do joint custody. No one pays the other any kind of spousal support or child support.

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