Desperate for Help!! - Punta Gorda,FL

Updated on March 31, 2007
A.H. asks from Punta Gorda, FL
28 answers

My husband and I recently seperated, and our girls have been living with me and going to his house on the weekends. Everything was working out fine, him and I were on good terms and he was even coming over once or twice a week. Then, something happened today (will explain further to those interested in helping) that he didn't like and he basically took the girls against my will and theirs and told me I could now have them only on the weekends starting in two weeks and couldn't see them until then. Physically I cannot overpower him and he has been physical with me on many occassions (three times while I was pregnant with Hanna, plus many other times) and I'm 5', 95 lbs, what could I do?? We haven't went through any custody motions, so we both still have full custody. Anybody who has been through something or who knows what I can do legally PLEASE RESPOND!! Thank You.

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So What Happened?

First of all, thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and advice. It was all very helpful and much appreciated. Ok here's what happened he took them because he went to pick them up from daycare one day and the office told them that he couldn't get them until they called me to make sure it was ok (he had threatened to take them from school and said "who knows when I'll let you see them", when we first seperated, so I called the school and simply asked them to give me a call and let me know that he had gotten them, they legally were not allowed to deny him access to the kids the way they did) so anyway this is what made him mad. He called the following day apologetic, knowing he had messed up and basically kissing my u know what. I let the girls stay at his house for the weekend, because I have to work Friday and Saturday, and I got them on Sunday. I have assured that this will never happen again, and he and I are on ok terms, for the girls sake. Once again thank you everyone for all your support and prayers!

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S.B.

answers from Tampa on

I have a friend that works for the state attorney's office. I also have an uncle who works for a police department. I went through something like this before. Act fast and act now, in the long run it will best. You can also contact family services and they will direct you as well. If you want to talk please e-mail me @ [email protected]____.com. I will be more then happy to listen, talk and anything else that you need.

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S.C.

answers from Ocala on

A., the 1st thing you need to do is get a very good lawyer if you can afford it. Do not wait as this gives him the opportunity to stay with the girls longer and deminishes the possibility that you get them back. What ever you did can you undo?

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D.I.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi-

My name is D. I. and I am a paralegal and mother of twins who has been in a similar situation with my ex, but I can give you some legal outs if you want to email me @ [email protected]____.com, I know you probably wouldnt want me to answer this on here. Email me if you would like. I can help you.

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L.J.

answers from Tampa on

A.,
Call an attorney quick!!, get legal advise and you need to go to get papers filed so that you can have the major custody for now. When your husband was physically abusing you hopefully you called the police and you can prove his unexcused behavior. If you can prove he has been abusive to you, you should be able have the control over the visitation rights. Please call an attorney now!!! See if they can give you advise, take your case or refer you to another attorney depending on your income!!
I pray that God keeps you safe and in his arms while you are going through this terrible experience. Remember the one who acts first on custody usually get the rights first!!! I ALSO believe you can file temporary custody papers at the court house, run as fast as you can and get the right paper work filed!!!!!
Very truly yours,
L. Jacobs

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C.L.

answers from Sarasota on

Call the cops, Florida law grants custody to the mother from my understanding. Go down to legal aide if you need help. They really helped me out. If you have documents of his violence keep them with you, show the police and courts that he has a history of violence. File for emergency custody. Make sure you try everything. If you need to talk please let me know. I have been exactly where you are and I know exactly how you feel. I am fighting mine now. I was lucky enough to get sole custody before he did anything like this. Talk to legal reps that is the best thing for you to do. Please seek help with a shelter or different DV help lines. Let me know if you need to talk.

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R.R.

answers from Tyler on

Hi A.,
I live with my two kids alone here in Atlantic Beach I too have no family here. It must really be tough. I understand completely what your going through. You need to find a supportive church and rely on God if you belive and trust he will not leave you alone! If you need to talk let me know. So I can tell you more. And of course find your self a lawyer.

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D.

answers from Tampa on

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I don't know what legally you can do..but I do know that if you don't go to court now this will just continue. I don't know your working situation but you can maybe go to Child and Family services and they might be able to help you in getting child support from him and then getting your girls back. I, as you said, don't know what happened recently to change things but I do know that until you get to court and get primary custody of the kids and set up a visitation schedule you need to be very careful what you do and who you are with. You are kind of at the mercy of each other. If you threatens you, hits you, etc. you need to call the police and get a record of it so when you do go to court you have proof of what he's done and how he's treated you...so you can show the courts that the girls should be with you and not him.
Good luck...if you ever feel like talking I am here. I have a 3 year old son and a 24 year old daughter. I have been through my share of life's issues. And have seen my daughter go through them too. I wish you the best...just make sure you stand up for yourself in the right manner..everything that happens now can be presented to the courts, for either side.
D.

J.C.

answers from Tampa on

Girlfriend....that's kidnapping. If you both have full custody, he is not allowed to keep them from you. Call the police. The non-emergency number. They can help you and will tell you how to get legal aid or how to file for a restraining order because I'm afraid you are going to need it. He's banking on the fact that you don't know anybody here. In fact, I wonder if it wasn't his plan when ya'll moved down here. He wanted you to feel alone and powerless for some reason. Don't buy into it. I can always send my 6'5 300# husband over to help you.... But you have legal rights. keep in touch, okay? Get your babies back, that's priority numero uno right now.
be careful
God bless.

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S.H.

answers from Tampa on

Call the police and tell them what happened. Full custody or not, tell the police. It can still be classified as abduction.

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R.H.

answers from Tampa on

Personally, I would contact a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do, whether you choose to hire this lawyer to do all the leg work for you or not. A friend of mine helped her boyfriend do some of the filing himself in order to cut down the fees the lawyer would have charged. It's been a long process, involved lots of mediation before actually going to court and deciding who would get custody, and it did take over a year. So be prepared for any decision to take a while, but in the end, I think it would be worth it, especially if he's gotten physical with you, and even more so that he did it while you were pregnant. I wouldn't doubt he would behave the same way with the children.

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M.M.

answers from Ocala on

Start by calling the police and getting an attorney! I have not personally gone through any sort of custody battle, but I have plenty of friends who have. He has no right to take the kids against your will and forbid you from seeing them. That is just like kidnapping them. You have joint custody still so he can not keep them from you. Without an attorney you won't get far in court so check around and find a good family attorney. Fight him tooth and nail and get started now! If you are worried he is going to hurt you again, file a restraining order against him. Hopefully you have documentation from the past of this, but if not, then you need to start now. If you have any contact with him regarding the girls online, keep your documentation! This will be a big help for you.
Hope that is a good start...sorry I can't offer any more advice, but there are things you can do. Don't give up or loose hope. Those girls don't deserve what he is putting you guys through.

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S.S.

answers from Tampa on

A.,

I am sorry that is terrible. I wish I had known some lawyer or someone but I don't. Please stay strong and keep everything in writing .. What happened and when -- as much details so if you go to court -- you know the dates and time and the incidents ...
If you do need to talk to someone, please reply to this message and I will give you my phone number. I also believe that you can call social services -- do they go to daycare -- ask if they can put you in touch with a councellor there ..

Take Care

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D.C.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

I had a friend that went through the same situation. Her husband took their little girl one morning while she was sleeping and kept her at a friends house because he knew that she was going to leave him. That same day he got a lawyer and filed some kind of restraining order that she could not come and take the little girl away from him. I'm not sure on all the details, but you definitely need some type of lawyer and some type of paperwork filed that you want custody until the divorce hearing. Whoever files the paperwork first has the advantage and may have the advantage over the custody also. Hope this helps!

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S.L.

answers from Tampa on

Hi A.,
My friend went through the same thing and without a lawyer nothing really can be done right now except what I call game playing. What I mean is next time you have the girls, do NOT let him have them back because nothing can be done without a custody order just like he wont let you have the girls back and you cant do anything either because you can't kidnap your own children. That is what Port Richey Ploice Dept. told us and my friend. If you would like to speak more about this you can email me off list at [email protected]____.com My name is Shawn.

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J.B.

answers from Tampa on

BY READING WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND TELLING YOU TO WAIT TWO WEEKS SOUNDS LIKE HE IS GETTING A JUMP START ON THE COURT SYSTEM PEOPLE ARE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH IF YOU WAIT FOR HIM HE WILL WIN CUSTODY,MY HUSBAND IS IN LAW INFORCEMENT AND HE WILL TELL YOU TO CAMP OUT ON THE COURT HOUSE LAWN FIRST THING MONDAY MORNING,IF YOU CALL THE COPS THIS IS WHAT HE WILL TELL YOU,THERE IS NOTHING HE CAN DO,YOU NEED TO GET YOUR KIDS STAT. I KNOW WHAT A MAN LIKE HIM CAN DO TO YOU.PLEASE DO NOT WAIT. FELLING YOUR PAIN. J. B.

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A.S.

answers from Pensacola on

A. I am sorry you are going through this right now and I pray it all works out for the best. Hopefully he will come to his senses and the two of you will work it out in the best interests of your daughters. Get a lawyer or contact Child Protective services and see what they can recommend for you. They can probably hook you up with a good lawyer who can handle the divorce as well as the child custody suit.
Again our prayers are with you and when it's all over or even before if you need to talk feel free to contact me here at mamasource. Sometimes talking to someone outside the situation really helps!

A.

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T.C.

answers from Tampa on

My soon to be ex did the same thing to me several months ago. First thing Monday morning you need to go down to the main courthouse in Tampa and file a motion for emergency custody of your girls and an injuction so that he can not come near you or the girls.

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S.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

If you have been abused by him in the past or when this most recent event occurred where he took your children, I would call child services and report him. Also, it couldn't help to call the police and file a report. If you are fearful of him coming after you, let JSO know, it is their job to protect you, even if that means a restraining order or only supervised visits until the divorce is finalized and custody has been set.

Just make sure that Kaily knows that none of what is going on between you and her daddy is her fault. Let her know just how much you love her, try to avoid material things.

Another piece of advice I would give you is this: my church has a wonderful ministry to people who have had/experienced bad habits or situations, it is called Celebrate Recovery. You might want to consider just checking it out a time or two to see if it would help you. I would be willing to pick you up tomorrow if you would like to visit the church.

I will keep you in prayer and would love to hear back from you. Feel free to email me if you wish.

May God bless you in your time of need!

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E.T.

answers from Tallahassee on

GO GET A LAWYER! That is my first bit of advice. File for Divorce yourself and petition for custody. Unless you are an unfit mother and that has to be proven, you will get custody of your children. Don't wait for him to file, you can also petition that he pay the lawyer fees and for the divorce. Legal Aide, look it up in the phone book.

If you want someone to just listen, I am here. Feel free to e-mail me anytime. I have been divorced and have custody of my son. Fortunately the divorce was uncontested and my ex-husband wasn't stupid enough to pull the take my kid card.

Good luck!

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A.F.

answers from Tampa on

start by going to the police and telling them what has happened. you have valid reason to fear for the children's safety since he has been violent with you in the past. when you get the children back, go to a women's shelter and stay there. they can help you with legalities of divorce, custody, etc. they can also help you pick up the pieces and start over fresh for you and the children. don't wait - do it now. pick up the phone and call. the longer you wait, the longer the children may be in danger of dad's temper.

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S.C.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi A.,

Sorry to hear you are going through something so ugly, I know how hard it is.
It sounds to me that you need to hire an attorney and file for custody of the girls while waiting for your divorce to come through (side note: I don't think Florida recognizes a legal separation but I could be wrong as I am not an attorney). Until then my best suggestion is to document everything, write down every conversation or tape record them, take photos, etc. just document it. Hell I have been divorced almost 10 years now and I still document everything, just in case.

Well good luck and if you need to talk I am here.

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A.M.

answers from Tampa on

Dear A.- My name is A. also and all I can say is do something before its too late. If it takes getting the police and going to his house to get your kids ...DO IT...He cannot refuse you the right to see your kids and you cant refuse him either at least until custody is determined. I have a 4yr old and a 2 mo old and am still legally married. My kids are with me. Anyways give me a call if you need to talk ###-###-####

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R.

answers from Tampa on

I agree that you should have called the police when it happened, at least it would have been documented. Also being in your situation, you need to document everything!!! Keep all emails from him, write down all converstions, try and have wittnesses there when exchanging the girls.. find out how he is caring for the girls. I know none of this is easy, especially with you being alone here. However, it sounds like you are in the fight of your life. If he is physically abusive to you, I would call CASA in St. Petersburg, or The Spring in Tampa,(both of these organizations help abused women and their children) maybe they can give you advice on how to handle this and the legal avenues you can go down. You and your family are in my prayers...this is not going to be an easy process for any of you.

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A.H.

answers from Tampa on

I would call a lawyer, to see what your rights are.

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K.B.

answers from Tampa on

A.,

i have not been through this myself, but i do believe that you can file for temporary custody until you can get a formal hearing. please make sure that you do this because a friend of mine had her children taken from her by her ex husband who actually went through the court system without her knowledge, so he was able to obtain full custody of the children because she was not there to protest this.
call the court house and find out for sure if this is an option, i do believe it is.

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S.M.

answers from Tampa on

Hi A.. First let me just say that I may be in the same situation here soon. I am pregnant with my first child, due in May!!! There are to potential guys involved..well there not really "involved" but one has threatened to sue for 1/2 or full custody. As far as I'm concerned neither of these guys have any rights. I mean "what have they done" Basically, I don't know what happened that he took those girls like that...however if he refuses to let you see them..I would (I probably would have the day it happened) call the police. I pray that you have proof about the physical things that he's done to you. Do you feel that your children are safe? You need to get your little girls back..if he has physically harmed you, who's to say he won't harm them? I wish you the best of luck and if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask.

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F.R.

answers from Pensacola on

One of the other ladies here said to document everything... I agree with that but she mentioned tape recording. Don't do this. It's illegal. It won't help you at all. You cannot record someone without them knowing about it. If, at the beginning of the tape you are heard telling him that you are recording the conversation and have him being heard giving you permission, then you can use it. But I wouldn't risk it if I were you.
I went through something like this in 2001 and unfortunately it didn't turn out so well. Because I wasn't informed. Definitely get an attorney. What was it that you did to make him think this warranted taking the children away? [email protected]____.com
I hope you are able to act quickly and get this resolved for the sake of those children.

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J.D.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

You need to call the police. You and your husband had an agreement about the custody and he voilated that agreement. He had to prove in court you are an unfit mother, he KIDNAPPED your children!!! Judges try to keep children with their mothers first and formost. Get off the internet now and call you local law inforcement.

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