Just Looking for a Little Advice.

Updated on December 07, 2006
H.B. asks from Jennings, LA
11 answers

In January I am suppose to bring my daughter's father to court. He pays child support but he doesn't come to see her. He hadn't seen her in two years, but now he wants to come here and try to take her. I told him no, but he is threatening to quit his job and whatnot so he doesn't have to pay his child support. He has a new girlfriend and she is the one who wants to buy her gifts and take her places and it isn't him. I don't believe that is right. I want complete custody of my daughter but everyone tells me that I won't get it. I don't know what to do. She is my world. I had a scare in november of last year, I had found out I had cervical cancer. At first I thought he was going to try and get her from me by saying I couldn't take care of her, but he didn't. His mother tried to get him to but he wouldn't do it. I'm just scared that if I don't get complete custody of her she will go to him if I come out of remission! He has a bad drug past and when he has his other daughter he pawns her off on anyone that will take her. I don't want that done to Emily. Then his new girlfriend is pregnant with their first child and I don't want him to come into my daughter's life and then when their baby is born he starts to ignore her. It just isn't right. I know this is just a jumble of probably crazy writing all together, but I'm just worried. I don't know if I should just not take him to court, or to try and then fail. I'm scared and I don't her going to him if my sickness should ever come back. PLEASE give me your responses, it would be very appreciated!

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H.L.

answers from Little Rock on

Hello H.,
I was a single mom and had a lot of the same fears. I have a 13 year old and a 7 year old with my ex husband. He is now remarried and has other children. I worry about him wanting my girls all the time. I also wanted to tell you that I work with attornies. Although they cannot represent you, I did ask for some info for you. If you are interested, please email me at [email protected]____.com and I will forward the info she gave me. It is long so I would rather not post it online. She was asking me some questions about the sitiuation that I didn't know but she give excellent advice on Arkansas laws concerning this situation and things you should talk over with an attorney.

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R.

answers from Houston on

I think you should do what's right for your daughter and to heck with what "everybody" says. Most everybody will lay down if they're told, be quiet if they're told, change their minds if they're told. And we're all conditioned to live in fear. I say toss the fear and fight for her. Find a good lawyer (do LOTS of research unless you have one already that you trust), and if they tell you it's not worth it, you remember that YOUR DAUGHTER is worth it, and you storm out of that office until you find a lawyer in love with truth and justice who will win this fight with you. WITH you. Not for you. This is your life, and your daughter's life. If you think you should do this, then be brave and strong and get it done. You are a living, breathing, cancer-surviving American woman. Stand proud and fight him!! Keep your faith, and just don't say no. Ever. For her. You are in my prayers.

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C.S.

answers from Longview on

H.,
I am a mother of four and was single for six years. Their father is very good about paying child support and seeing them when it is convient for him. BUT.....If you are not harmimg that baby or doing drugs yourself or hanging our at all hours of the h=night at parties then there is not judge that will take her from you. You really have to prove that the momma is really tomenting the child or neglecting the child . Which sounds like you are doing everyhting in your power to make a home for your children. You have nothing to worry about. Let him see her on his weekends and you document everything that happends to her and when he picks her up or whoever picks her up. Make sure the care seat is available to them if they do not have one. You do everything in your power to make sure your baby is safe when she is away from you! i use to think he wanted mine but all it amounts to is they do not want to pay child support. He actually thought that in the summer time if he had them he did not have to pay child support! WHATEVER BUDDY. Well we have been divoirced 7 years now and we are better friends today.But the key to the judges eyes is that your a great mom and you documented every phone call every visit to and from your home and documnet what she looks and smells like when she comes home. H. this is ONLY covering you hinny is all. Hope I helped you let me knoe if you need anything! C.

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S.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

H.,

Getting legal advice is a good idea. I get that your daughter's father is not an impressive human being, but be careful. If you are the one who doesn't let her see him, it will come back to haunt you. The day will come (I know this is hard to believe because of your history with him) that she will resent you for being the one to take her father out of her life - no matter how lousy of a father he is. That needs to be his move, not yours. (That doesn't mean sabatouge, either.)

Keep your criticisms where your daughter can't hear or overhear. Children have this uncanny ability to find out things their parents are sure they have kept a well hidden secret. Their ability to read nonverbal communication is amazing. They can also personalize things adults never would. If you trash talk her father, she will take it personally. It will decrease her self esteem because she is his flesh and blood and she will trust you less because she doesn't know what you say about her when she isn't there.

Take one thing at a time. You should definitely try to maintain primary custody. See if the father actually tries to gain primary custody and cross that bridge when you come to it.

Best wishes,
S.

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K.W.

answers from Little Rock on

your best bet is to research the laws, consult a lawyer, and you could also contact your local department of human services. let me ask you this was you and her father married? the reason i ask is a friend of mine had some problems with the dhs and they had basically told her that her two kids had no father, even though they both carried his last name and he had signed one of the birth certificates, because my friend was not married to their father. however this could have been just something this particular case worker tried to use to make her feel unfit of to scare her im not totally for sure. i have heard that even if the father has signed the birth certificate it doesnt mean he has any right to the child just that he is taking financial responseability and then again i have heard that the father has just as much right as you do. but i do know that no judge in his right mind will take a child from the mother unless found unfit which ive been told takes some serious abusiveness to do so. and if he has any kind of drug charges that is a definent he cant touch her. and there is an abandoment law that will strip him of any rights he may have not sure on the lengh of time but im pretty sure he has exseeded the limit. im sorry to hear that you had to go through the whole cancer thing and im glad you have fought it and are on the winning side and hope that your fight is over and it wont come back but if the worse was to happen im thinking that you can fill out a living will which your doctors office should have offered you already and you can leave your children with whom you feel comfortable with to raise them. most men are loosers and we mothers have enough to worry about with out their childness so girl stand up to him he'll whimp out. and you can always find a lawyer that will take your case and win it and work out a payment plan for you to pay. i hope the best to you and your family. and no matter how bad you feel it is getting that it always gets better. you have already proven yourself as a strong woman who isnt giving up so just stay strong and live life to its fullest with your children

W.S.

answers from Little Rock on

H., I have been where you are, and let me tell you, don't be afraid to fight for your rights! I was stupid to go along with "joint" custody on paper, and I have regretted it ever since. All it meant was that I got all of the responsibility, and he got license to interfere with our daily lives. My ex-husband has quit many jobs to avoid being garnished, but things turned around last spring when I took him back to court for being over $8,000 behind, and he was arrested until he paid me $1,000 & $500 to my attorney. It also turned out that his driver's license had been suspended. He recently got it back by making a payment and signing an agreement to keep making payments, and the Office of Child Support Enforcement told me they were working on a garnishment. I don't know how long it will last, but at least it is something. My kids have to visit him every Wednesday for 2 hours & every other weekend, and they hate going, but I can't do anything about that yet. In your case, though, just the fact that he has a history of drug use & that he had no interest in your daughter up to this point, in addition to her living with you all of this time, will help you win sole custody, and possibly even supervised visitation. I repeat, don't be afraid to fight. It's worth it!

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S.H.

answers from Houston on

I too say talk to a lawyer and do lots of research on your own. I don't know what the law reads, but there is something in there about a father not seeing his child for two years. A friend of mine used that to get parental rights taken away from her ex so that her new husband could legally adopt the daughter. It's worth looking into. You must do what is best for your daughter. Good luck to ya!

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L.K.

answers from New Orleans on

You are truely in my prayers... By law unless you can prove that the father is a danger to her he has a right to see his child in one form or another. He will not win a full custody battle...no judge will take a child away from her mother without damn fine proof that she is unfit (ie: abusive, neglectful, on drugs...all the same reasons you could keep the child from the father)
Now, my bigger concern for your situation is that IF, god forbid, your cancer returns and you become incpacitated or too sick to take care of your children they will go to their fathers by default. What I would reccommend you do is go to a lawyer and see if there is any way you could maintain control of where your children go if this were to happen. Do you have family or friends you would trust to raise your children should something happen to you? It may be a difficult case because, whether he's active or not, he is her legal and biological father and as long as he maintains any rights at all he is the first person the state will call if something happens. I definitely think you should get legal advice...see what your rights are as well as his. Good luck!

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A.V.

answers from Houston on

H.,
My heart goes out to you! I was in your daughter's shoes once, when I was 6, and I was in your shoes just last year. First let me say, you are a fighter! You had cancer and overcame that, and I'm sure your kids were your inspiration. I know you don't want Emily to resent you and your worried about her dad taking her from you and all sorts of things are running through your head at 10,000 miles an hour. You mentioned that you didn't know whether or not you should go to court or try then fail. You're not going to fail with whatever you decide. The reason: your kids. You're going to make the best decision because of your love for your kids, plus that, you're a survivor! I say, let go of the fear and gear up for the war. From my experience, your daughter's dad isn't going to do anything. I bet you this is his logic: If I threaten H. enough about taking Emily, H. will let me do whatever I want and I may even get her to take off the child support, which is most likely his sole interest. He hasn't seen Emily in 2 years, now out of the blue shows up and wants to play daddy. I don't think the judge will buy that story either. The only way you can get complete custody is if the father is of harm to your daughter, and you can prove it, or if the judge decides to take away his rights because he hasn't seen Emily in over 2 years. Seek legal advice, make your decision, and go for it! If Emily's dad thinks that by quitting jobs is going to get him out of paying child support, he is sadly mistaken.
I'm 30 now and my dad pays my mom child support for me and my 2 brothers who are 28 and 31. He owes over $100,000. He can hide, but he can only run so far before it catches up to him. I know how rough it is when your hurting for money and have to do whatever it takes to make sure your kids have what they need. At the end, you'll be on top. Emily is still little, and she is smarter than you may think. My daughter is 3 and knows things I would've never imagined that she would understand. Just be cautious about how you talk about Emily's dad infront of her. She will begin forming her own opinion about her dad in time. All you can do is make sure your kids have everything they need, which is you!
Regarding your health, I think that you can devise a letter yourself stating who you want your kids to live with if something should ever happen to you and get it notarized. I'm not sure that's enough, but it's a start.
I pray that you remain cancerfree for the rest of your life! You are an inspiration to me, and many others I'm sure!
Best of Luck & Love to you and your little ones!

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A.V.

answers from Beaumont on

You should most likely win the full custody battle, they will most likely give your daughter to him every other weekend and every wednesday and half the summer and every other holiday. I had my first son when I was 19 years old and his father wanted nothing to do with him. I brought him to court to try to get him to pay something and even though he didn't even show up at the court house, they still gave him all of the stuff I just mentioned. The only good thing though is he never asked for him so I really don't have to worry, I also don't get child support from him on a regular basis. I really do think that he will win if he goes for the every other weekend thing, but if he tries to go for the full custody, he will most likely not win that. Just start writing in a notebook everything that ya'll talk about and everything that he does to you or your daughter, so that if he does bring you to court for full custody you will have a notebook to show the judge if there is something bad that he has done. Good Luck and don't worry, she is your daughter and just let the judge know that he wasn't around for two years so he shouldn't deserve full custody. For some reason they will always give the father some type of visitation, unless they are drug users, etc. I guess its the law, my son's father doesn't deserve anything cause when I got pregnant he told me that the only way he was going to stay with me was if I got an abortion, and then we broke up and he would call me and tell me that I was going to be a terrible mother and be so lonely. But he is the one that is alone and I am married with two sons and a step-son and another baby on the way. If you need anyone to talk to then just message me and I will help you in any way that I can. Also, you are in my prayers about your cervical cancer.

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D.

answers from Shreveport on

I went thru something similar, My ex did not pay child support until it was enforced, and then before that happend, he threatened to take him away from me if I went to court, it is a threat and only a threat.
Now, a judge will look at it like this, has he paid child support from day one, has he had contact with the child, if so how much.
After I got out of court, I got full custody and child support, of course I havent gotten child support in 2 years because my ex quits every job he gets, I would wait until he takes you to court and keep records of everything, tape his calls, whatever you can use in court.
Good luck to you.

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