Legal Advie NEEDED

Updated on August 30, 2011
A.Y. asks from Fresno, CA
25 answers

Ok long story short, I met my now boyfriend on facebook. I live in CA he lived in NJ. He has a soon to be (sept) 4 year old and an ex wife. Prior to leaving NJ him and his ex and worked out an agreement on custody, for once he moved here. ( nothing was written on paper, as their custody order is as simple as they share joint custody, and can have the child whenever agreed upon, no set days or times or whatever) As soon as he got to CA which was a little over two weeks ago, she flipped on him. Says he has abandoned his child, and calling names and such. She has refused to let him talk to her on the phone as well as talking badly about him to his daughter. A lot of it has to do with money, as she is wanting him to pay half of a birthday party that she is throwing for her family in PA. He has offered to pay what he could and half of a 200 dollar cake, ON TOP of his child support. He wants his daughter, and is willing to fight for her, but we are not sure how to proceed, or even what to think. one day is cooperative, and the next she is mean and spteful. One more thing she has bipolar disorder, and has gone off of her meds due lack of insurance. what are our options?

*******their whole custody agreement was verbal. Nothing was in writing. this was all worked out before he moved. She was the one who dropped him off at the airport. she was fully supportive until he cut her off financially. he didnt figure it would need to be in writing because they had never had trouble before as far as custody goes. Technically she was the one who moved first. she moved from NJ to PA because they had AGREED to it, just as they had when he planned on moving to CA. This was a long process (almost a year). oh and there is no way she has contacted an attorney. all she does is text him complaining about how much she needs a break from the child, and how shes tired of dealing with her.

What can I do next?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think Christine W summed it up pretty well.
Why on earth would you want a man who abandoned his child for you?

I hope that there is at least a slim chance that this post is a punk.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'm sorry - sounds like he needs to move back to NJ and care for his child...

EVERYTHING needs to be in writing when it comes to custody and divorce...nothing should be "just verbal" as things can change on a dime - here is proof positive that it does.

I would suggest you move to NJ to be with him so he can get this mess straightened out, legally and professionally....if you are not willing to do that or put up with a bi-polar ex-wife - then maybe you need to tell him "goodbye and good luck"...

He needs to hire a lawyer in NJ and he needs to get this resolved.

I can tell you that I have NEVER spent $200 a child's birthday cake and in my opinion - that is just OBSCENE!!! No child needs a $200 birthday cake.


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

my advice, unless he moved to CA for a job, is for him to move back to NJ while he establishes child custody in writing.

Look up for recommendations.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Santa Barbara on

In my non-legal eyes he left his daughter in New Jersey to move with his facebook honey in California. You must be very different than me because I would never encourage or accept a man that would leave his daughter and move cross country for me. I think that four year old needs him a lot more than you do, even if he is not with his ex,

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

She doesn't have meds because she can't afford insurance yet she buys a $200 birthday cake? That does sound crazy but what is crazier to me is why your boyfriend would leave his daughter with an unstable mother who is tired of dealing with her daughter to move to California. Also, no wonder she is upset since she has been cut off financially. I would be upset too. Why did he do that?

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Tell him to go home. His child needs him.

Edited to add: I just saw your update, and paged thru your history of questions on this site.

It's possible that this new facebook boyfriend is going to be an amazing-forever-love connection, and it will all work out great for the children involved, and for you, but not likely. Consider it, how many stable, happy marriages/families do you know of that involve this many spouses, boyfriends, exes, lawyers, and states of residence? What kind of man leaves his child with an allegedly unstable ex wife to move across the country with a new woman? Please, break it off, send him back.

Also, NJ and PA are literally right next to each other, CA is not. I could walk to NJ from PA right now. It's really, really not the same thing to move to PA as to move to CA.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There is NO agreement, take everything this man tells you with a grain of salt. He has chosen you over his child (for the moment----meaning he's thinking with is #%*. As for you, please think twice before you marry or God forbid, become pregnant because you can expect the same treatment. As another mama mentioned, if the mother of his child is mentally ill, why would he leave a small child to fend for herself?

Since he's not making good decisions, you can. If you love him and care about the child, tell him to go back the state where the child is living and get a custoday order in place. You will have no peace until this matter is settled. This will also give you a chance to take a good look at what you have gotten youself into....You may want to re-evaluate.


9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

So many red flags. If there's nothing in writing then the mother of his child must be an an ex girlfriend, not ex wife. Divorce settlements always specify child custody.
And he left his little girl on the other side of the country, in the care of someone unstable, for a woman he met on Facebook?!?!
With no set times for visitation, just wherever, whenever?!
Sorry, that's not a dig on you, I'm sure you are a very nice person. But you have young children of your own and I'm just wondering what you are thinking? Is this really the kind of guy you want to be with? I don't care how crazy his ex may be, that's just all the more reason for him to stay close to his daughter.
I know you are very young but I hope you can see this does NOT look like a good situation for you and your kids to be a part of :(

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Sorry, but I wouldn't want to be with a man who would abandon his child across the country with no legal protection in place to be sure he stays part of her life. A new arrangement needed to be in writing and filed with a court before he headed to the airport. He would need to expect to pay for all costs of his move, including airfare and all other expenses for all visitations with his daughter. Send him home. If this is meant to be, move yourself to NJ.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know you didn't ask for my thoughts about what I want to point out but here it goes anyway, so let me get this straight:

*She is bipolar & cannot afford her meds but can afford a $200 birthday cake? is it made out of gold?

*he 'cut her off financially' but can buy a plane ticket across the U.S.

*his ex is bipolar but leaves his child to be cared for by someone mentally unstable

*he wants to see his daughter but cut her off financially.... how is he ever going to see her if he is broke & cannot afford to fly home to see her or his he going to make her take a plane by herself to CA?

And you are taking all of this info from this guy that you really don't know. Maybe you should consider talking to the ex to get both sides.

Are there no men where you live? why on earth would you pursue a relationship with a man that will up & leave his daughter.

There goes another fatherless child in this world. If you two make it, she will hate you for taking her daddy away.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My husband's ex-wife is bi-polar. He has custody of his two children and I've since adopted them both.

With that being said...why in all of God's name would he leave his child with this woman knowing that she can change with very little notice? He needs to move back to NJ and get his daughter. If you want to move with him great, if you don't then it's time you move on.

Take it from a woman who has dealt with the craziness that is a bi-polar ex-wife mother of the children I love. It's so far from easy and beyond hard it's ridiculous! I don't know how long you've been together, but you're going to need to think long and hard about this relationship before you decide to take it all on.

ETA: What are your legal options? Get a lawyer. If there's nothing in writing, then she doesn't legally have to let him talk to the daughter, he doesn't have to legally pay child support, etc. Get a lawyer and get a custody order and child support order in place ASAP.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm going to keep my opinions about your BF to myself, as others have clearly stated them. What I will tell you, is that when I left my daughters father, (he was abusive), I moved 1000 miles away. I was in NH, and he in NC. Because I had my child, and she resided with me in NH, her father would have had to come to NH to fight any custody arrangements. So basically unless he showed up for court I got what I wanted. If your BF wants or expects to see his daughter he will HAVE to go to the state she lives in NOW and fight for her. It could take awhile. My case took a year and a half, and it was uncontested. If he knowingly left her with a mentally unstable mother to move across the country, the courts will not look upon that favorably. They also will not care what was agreed upon verbally. That is her word against his.And because Bi-Polar disorder is considered a disability, she can not be discriminated against because of it. In other words, he can't use that to gain custody of his daughter. So you want options? It seems you have three.

1) Move to PA with your BF.

2) Send him to PA without you. If it's true love he'll be back, if not you dodged a bullet.

3) Give up on him ever seeing his daughter again, and you get to deal with the consequences.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well I think he needs to move back plain and simple. I will never understand why parents move far away from their children. I'm sorry I don't have helpful advice. No matter what, it's not going to shine well on him for moving away no matter what he says about what she agreed to. She sounds like a piece of work and probably was eager for him to go so that she could use it against him. He walked right into her hands.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Sounds like he will need to file in court so at the very least, custody/visitation is clearly established. What is verbally agreed upon doesn't hold up.

You didn't ask for this advice but I will also offer it any way...any parent who would move to the other side of the country from his or her young child doesn't seem to be putting their child first especially if doing so to connect with a new boyfriend/girlfriend. I wouldn't want to date/be in a relationship with them. Being a parent is THE most important thing you can do and it is important to do it right...not move cross-country. This is true regardless of the stability of the other parent and a move from NJ to PA is bad enough but not the same as from either NJ or PA to CA.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

He's going to have to go back to NJ if for nothing else than to straighten all of this out.
No offense, but he wasn't being very smart about leaving WITHOUT having all of this worked out in writing, and filed with the courts to protect his visitation rights, his responsibilities, etc.
She is in the driver's seat. She has the child. She lives in the jurisdiction of the custody orders.
He can seek legal advice, but any papers will have to be filed in New Jersey.
It can be hard enough to enforce orders for phone call rights, etc, when the parents live in the same city, let alone across country from each other.
This isn't going to be easy.
He has loose ends.
He needs to take care of them.

Just my opinion.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

He should have gotten this all in writing before he moved... especially since she has bipolar disorder. Moving across state lines turns ugly even for people who DO get in it writing without mental disorders. I seriously question his judgment or lack of planning in thinking that it would be acceptable in a verbal only agreement, knowing how her actions can change and that she is off her meds. It's sad he left his little girl like that with an unstable mother. He needs to consult an attorney, many offer free consults. Moving from neighboring states to across the country is a big deal, and isn't even comparable to where they were then, so don't let that justify his excuse for not taking legal action.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

He needs an Attorney.
Bottom line.

And document everything.
Document it, well.

Nothing can be done since it is all verbal.
Nothing in writing nor legally decided.

The poor child who is stuck in the middle of all of this.

If she is an "unfit" Mother.... he needs to DOCUMENT all of this and what happens and her condition and not being on medication and anything else.

Again, they have nothing, only verbal agreements, which is basically, nothing. And it is capricious.


What if she accuses him of "kidnapping" their daughter?
So many things going wrong... because it is only verbal.

He CANNOT fight for his daughter, if he does not have, an Attorney. Nor a judge.

WHY on earth, would he leave HIS DAUGHTER behind... and with a Mom that is like that????
HE... is not operating on good judgement, either.
He has a child.
That child SHOULD be his 1st priority.
AND he should have, gotten everything straightened before he moved to an other State. Which is far away.
HOW will the poor child, even see both parents.... at opposite ends of the country?
How pathetic, to put a young child, in that position.
The child can't take an airplane by herself, nor fly back and forth across the country all the time to see both parents, because they are both selfish.

REALLY POOR JUDGEMENT of your Boyfriend.
Not smart, at all.
He left his daughter.

The child, is a real victim here.
She is only 4 years old.
As she gets older, she will think that her Daddy chose another woman over her.
Which is, what happened.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

No court on earth would allow a dissolution of marriage where children are involved without a court order on child custody and support. In other words there is something written down. They may have verbally agreed to something different but there is something on paper. What you have to do is go to court to modify that.

Get an attorney and go from there.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If you need legal advice (which is seems you do), contact a lawyer. I would be willing to bet she already has! He needs to protect his rights and get a lawyer now, even if that means not paying for the party so he can use the funds for his legal advice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Bottom line - there should have been a written agreement when it came to custody of the child. Without that, and without the certainty that he was going to have joint custody, he should not have moved. Even so, a joint agreement would be pretty hard to maintain across the country. And considering she dropped him off at the airport, I would go as far to say that she was so willing to this verbal "agreement" after he moved because she knew what was going to happen. He'll either fork over more money as a replacement for not seeing the child as much or if she ever did go to court about this, then she has the "abandonment" argument to fall back on. For now, I would encourage him to move back to be with his child and work things out legally before going back to CA to be with you. If you and he were meant to be, then it will work out in the end. What a great test for your relationship - if it survives, then it was worth it. Good luck to you both!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

Yea there is something in writing. I am going through a divorce right now and its is madatory to do a parenting class and to go through mediation for child custody/parenting time. If at mediation parents agree, it is typed up and put in the divorce papers. If nothing is agreed upon then it goes to a judge to decide.
Someone has physical custody of the little girl. They may have joint custody. And maybe they agreed that he can have parenting time anytime he wants with a notice??
If he wants to change the order he can request mediation again or file for a court date to ask for physical custody.
I'd be pissed to if my 4 yr olds dad moved so far away. Basically he is putting you and himself above what is best for the child.
She now has 2 parents on the opposite side of the country!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

This is a brutal lesson to learn, but if nothing is legally notarized in writing -then there's nothing. He needs to go back, get a lawyer and get custody arrangements hammered out in legally binding written documents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

If he cannot afford a lawyer, check into find legal aide.



answers from Sacramento on

This whole thing makes me sad. You didn't ask for support, you asked for advice so here goes. Honestly, the whole thing is sounding a little strange to an outsider like me. He cannot just "cut her off" financially and she cannot just keep the child from him. Sorry if this sounds harsh but BOTH parties need to consider what is in the best interest of the child here!!! She needs parents who show her love, stability and support. Moving around the country, arguing, name-calling...It is all childish. You said he wants to fight for his daughter and you asked what your options are... No one on the site can tell you that. An attorney is the one who knows the laws. If neither party can afford an attorney, they need to get a mediator (much cheaper than an attoreny and many states require you see one before you can even go to court) and come up with an agreement ASAP. Everyone involved needs to follow the laws of the state (NJ? PA?). Your boyfriend needs to keep every one of her ranting emails to make sure the child is safe with her mother. Beware, she may be keeping his emails as well. He needs to act like an adult. I can tell you that courts do not give high regard to people who leave the state then say they want contact with their kids. Kids come before romantic relationships.
Please remember too that you may have seen some of her emails but re: their history, you only know HIS side of the story. Many women have been mislead this way. How long have you known him? How well do you really know him? Be careful and be safe. :) Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

This is a bad situation to be a part of. First you are talking two different states involved and you will need to find an attorney where the child resides because that is ultimately the most important person in all of this.
Second, you should not be with this person if he is still going through all of this. Can't you see that you are just there to be used? It will do your relationship with this person absolutely no good to hear all the name flinging, etc., he should have handled this all before getting into another relationship.
Either way, if you are going to help him, tell him find an attorney where his child lives that will help. And if you heed advice from anyone else on this site, most will probably tell you get out before it is too late.
Good luck either way.

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