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Old 07-22-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Danville, Ca
315 posts, read 570,304 times
Reputation: 186
Default Father trying to get full-custody

My niece has just been served with custody papers, her childs father is trying to get full custody her 5 yr old who doesnt even really know him. And is very uncomfortable around him when she does see him. He lives in Georgia, she lives in Ca with us, her family who helps her take care of her child. He pays about $400 plus in child support. She lived in Ga until she was laid off two jobs and had to come back home to ca where her family is. I remember she had lost her job a couple of years ago and he would not even let them stay at his apartment until her new apartment was ready which was 2 days. Not even HIS CHILD! They had to go to his sisters house. He has never been there for this child. My sister says when she was living in GA the child wouldnt even speak in his presence because she does not know him. My niece has tried many times to force a relationship between him and his daughter but he wouldnt have any of it. One Christmas, she was staying with me, he didnt even call and tell his daughter merry christmas. We heard nothing for him. All of a sudden she is served with custody papers, are you kidding me? In GA she has been to 2 homeless shelters when she got laid off her job yet he makes upward $50,000 a year working in the probation dept. He owes my niece nothing but you will allow your own child to go to a shelter when you stay in your own apt alone? What chance does he have of getting custody of this child? I nor my niece wants him to get custody, he is almost done with his PhD which would increase his pay substantially. I think he doesnt want to pay extra child support myself. Me and my family have helped taken care of this child, last summer she spent it with my DH, son and me and we didnt hear from this man who calls himself a father cause he pays child support. She works in the banking industry and was just laid off again, so I will have to make sure she gets a good lawyer. I didnt like him when she called me from GA when she was pregnant and he threw her out of his house in the rain knowing she had no family there. Sorry about the rant
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: SATX
305 posts, read 765,609 times
Reputation: 221
First off, speaking from the perspective of Texas (eachstate is a little different on these matters), but here it is very difficult for fathers to get full custody, even in cases when they should. Take for instance a male friend of mine, the father of a 2 year old son, he was involved (and married to) the mother when she became abusive to him (not to the child, but does it matter), and literally tried to kill the father in front of the child (pulled out a knife and chased him). She went into the "hospital" for a period of time, in which time he had custody, what they considered temporary custody (because there was no hearing)of their child. When she got out a year later....guess what looney bin chica got full custody of their child and he has to fight just for visitation.

Sorry for the long story, but with that and others I have heard from fathers, it is highly unlikely that he will pull off getting full custody, not unless mama is endangering the child by being a drug addict or a prostitute (etc..).

With that being said, she still needs to get a lawyer, but if her income situation is low she can probably get legal-aid of some sort. Judges in Texas really try to push parents into "joint custody". Which in most cases just means he has a say in what happens to the child. My sons' father has joint custody and although he pays child support he rarely sees them ; his excuse is the distance (275 miles away).

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:29 AM
 
3,364 posts, read 5,642,297 times
Reputation: 4615
The problem she may have is that the stories of what he has refused to do/give his child are not proveable... unless she wrote him/emailed him and kept copies of his responses refusing to help out his child. Otherwise, he could claim that she never let him know and chose to put her daughter in those situations, rather than just call him and ask for help.

As to not calling on Christmas, again, she'll need proof that she gave him the phone number and notice of where she was (especially as she travelled out of state with the child).

I've pointed this out again and again to people... when is the last time you met "the bad guy" first in a divorce or custody case? I never have. Everytime I meet someone embroiled in one of these situations or someone who had one in their past, the "other" party is the one at fault. Only ONCE in 37 years have I met someone first who never even mentioned it... ever. They are the couple that made me realize this.

A couple years ago, a little boy was in my daughter's class. I met his mom through our volunteer work. We weren't close, but we'd chat when we were together. After a couple months, I noticed a boy who looked IDENTICAL to this kid at my son's Cub Scout pack meetings. But he had different parents. We mentioned it to the first couple, and found out it WAS the same kid... I had met the stepmom first. I was shocked - I NEVER like the stepmom! Due to previous experience, I distanced myself a bit. But we kept running into this couple everytime we went somewhere with the kids. One year, we invited them to our Christmas party, but they couldn't make it. Another couple (we met thru Cub Scouts) that did was telling us about their friend's custody battle and how HORRID the father & stepmom were... really horrible stories of neglect and refusal to participate in the child's life. It wasn't until the next pack meeting that I found out the custody case she was describing was about the little boy! It really peeved me off, especially because I KNEW that most of what they were spreading were lies.

In the end, the stepmom and dad won custody. Everyone else in our little circle was SHOCKED... what could the judge have been thinking... that couple was AWFUL... that poor child... oh the comments!

We know better. I posted a blog about it one night after a particularly troubling Cub Scout event when it was all anyone talked about it. The stepmom was my "friend" on this particular social network. She did comment, but only to say that she thought she had an inkling of who I was talking about (I hadn't mentioned names) and thanking me for my support. This is the only commentary she has EVER made about the custody, except to once post on HER site a "YEAH, the court stuff is FINALLY OVER!" a couple days before the other side let loose with the judge's verdict.

Every story has two sides. I refuse to take sides ever again unless I personally know both.
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
753 posts, read 1,409,241 times
Reputation: 727
In most cases the father has to prove that the mother is unfit. Her not having a job right now is not a good thing, especially since he not only has a good job, he is going to have a PhD. The banking world is in turmoil right now, it may be best, even if temporarily, she finds something else just so she has income.

As far as the stuff you posted, you better find some witnesses that will back her up, otherwise it is her word against his. When I interned at a homeless shelter, they kept a roster of people who stayed there, so you could call them and ask for something in writting stating she was there.

The only way the x-mas call will matter is if she can prove the father knew the number and then didn't call. He can always say he was not given the number.

Make sure she is not harrassing the father now that he filed for custody. But do make sure she is allowing him access to your neice. Allow phone calls and letters. Make sure mom is initiating some of the calls and letters. Judges don't like when parents are unwilling to work together, so if she can prove she is trying to help them continue their father-daughter relationship, she will look much better. Did the dad have visitation rights prior to here leaving the state? If he did, and she didn't notify the court she was leaving, that could be a problem.

I hope this doesn't turn into a custody battle - for the childs sake.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:47 AM
 
1,417 posts, read 2,143,432 times
Reputation: 1913
The child has a right to know her father. I agree that communication should be facilitated from the daughter (you neice needs to help her write letters and mail them). I am a momma and a stepmomma. No matter the problems I have with the other parents, the children have a right to know them. If the father in your case doesn't care to respond to your neice's attempts to facilitate communication, that is on him and it will come out. I doubt he will get custody, but he may get visitation. Your neice may be the one to pay for transportation because she is the one who moved so far away. It is only fair. My husband has primary custody and I have sole custody. This isn't about your neice or your ex-nephew-in-law.... this is about this little girl who deserves to be able to love her father. I am speaking as a little girl who has never recieved a birthday card from her father.... it hurts. My momma and my stepmomma worked to make sure I was able to see him on a regular basis. They put my right to love my daddy first. I do love him.... don't respect him much, but I do love him.
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:14 PM
 
47,586 posts, read 34,395,844 times
Reputation: 21537
I don't think custody should automatically go to the mother, it should be given to the parent who can best support and raise the children or there should be joint custody in cases where both parents will financially support and raise the children.

If this mother is unable to provide a home to the child, maybe she could consider letting him have main custody and getting generous visitation rights. Having a child stay in homeless shelters and be shuffled around relatives isn't providing stability. I know women who gave up custody and yet spent much time with their children and even said that they enjoyed getting to be the "fun" parent who can take the child out to a movie or lunch and didn't have to be stuck with all the mundane aspects like making sure they did their homework or made their beds.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:52 AM
 
Location: In my skin
8,035 posts, read 8,914,487 times
Reputation: 7880
I'm going to assume that what the OP is saying is true, otherwise there is no point in even responding.

I do not subscribe to the notion that being a father automatically makes you fit to have custody, or even visitation for that matter. A child has the right to know their father, but why push it, or even suggest giving up custody to someone she barely knows who wanted nothing to do with her? May as well hand you child over to a perfect stranger.

It is enfuriating when people use their parental rights for their own selfish agenda, like saving money (at least they THINK they're saving money), making money or control. If you're not seeking custody out of genuine love and concern for your child, and a desire to be a significant part of his/her life, you don't deserve to be a parent. Unfortunately, these people do have a right to their child so the idea would be to minimize the damage.

I don't think the courts are going to just remove the child just because he makes 50K a year and has his own place. He would also have to prove her to be unfit. Right now, even though she is unemployed, she and the child are being provided for. There is no law that says she and the child have to live alone for her to be a fit parent. However, if she moved to another state without his consent, he could try and force her to go back.

If this man actually behaved the way your niece claims, she should do anything and everything in her power to maintain custody. He'll surely get visitation, but he'll likely lose interest if he doesn't get custody. I'd also get a formal order of support if there isn't one. They may raise the amount and they can continue to do so if there is an increase in his income or periodically at her request. Regardless of the possibility that he doesn't really want to be a parent, if he's going to play one for the courts, he should pay like one.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:37 AM
 
1,492 posts, read 4,469,009 times
Reputation: 1281
Quote:
Originally Posted by whydoucare? View Post
My niece has just been served with custody papers, her childs father is trying to get full custody her 5 yr old who doesnt even really know him. And is very uncomfortable around him when she does see him. He lives in Georgia, she lives in Ca with us, her family who helps her take care of her child. He pays about $400 plus in child support. She lived in Ga until she was laid off two jobs and had to come back home to ca where her family is. I remember she had lost her job a couple of years ago and he would not even let them stay at his apartment until her new apartment was ready which was 2 days. Not even HIS CHILD! They had to go to his sisters house. He has never been there for this child. My sister says when she was living in GA the child wouldnt even speak in his presence because she does not know him. My niece has tried many times to force a relationship between him and his daughter but he wouldnt have any of it. One Christmas, she was staying with me, he didnt even call and tell his daughter merry christmas. We heard nothing for him. All of a sudden she is served with custody papers, are you kidding me? In GA she has been to 2 homeless shelters when she got laid off her job yet he makes upward $50,000 a year working in the probation dept. He owes my niece nothing but you will allow your own child to go to a shelter when you stay in your own apt alone? What chance does he have of getting custody of this child? I nor my niece wants him to get custody, he is almost done with his PhD which would increase his pay substantially. I think he doesnt want to pay extra child support myself. Me and my family have helped taken care of this child, last summer she spent it with my DH, son and me and we didnt hear from this man who calls himself a father cause he pays child support. She works in the banking industry and was just laid off again, so I will have to make sure she gets a good lawyer. I didnt like him when she called me from GA when she was pregnant and he threw her out of his house in the rain knowing she had no family there. Sorry about the rant
Be careful! Georgia is a tricky state. One county can differ from another and even some judges are crooked- yes, I'm sayin' it!

The mom and child(ren) shoud NOT ever under any circumstances go to or even thru the state of Georgia- for any reason.
If it has been more than 6 months since the child has resided in the state of GA then jurisdiction goes to the new state. (check on the Interstate Child Custody/Support agreement Act) Anyways, the mom needs to take the current court order ASAP to the clerk's office of her new county and register it there. From that time forward (once the court accepts jurisdiction) the father will have to go to her new home state to file any type of paperwork/motions.

Next, the mom has to get prepared for the battle of her life. She must secure a home and education and medical and religious aspects of the child's life. Employment is important but it's not really a job- it's ability to provide is all that matters. So if she won the lottery or even had a new spouse to pay for things- doesn't matter.

I could go on and on but know this....it is vital to a child's life that both parents are a constant, positive influence. I do not believe in one parent doing all the work while the other just has to do it once or twice a month and a few weeks in the summer, but sadly, most moms are on the losing end of the stick.

Anyways, if the birth father really wants to be a father- a real one, it would be great! But this is something between the parents and courts.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: In my skin
8,035 posts, read 8,914,487 times
Reputation: 7880
Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGrace View Post
Next, the mom has to get prepared for the battle of her life. She must secure a home and education and medical and religious aspects of the child's life.
You're kidding me. I get the other three, but what of the religious aspect? How so?
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:09 AM
 
Location: in a house
3,559 posts, read 9,265,518 times
Reputation: 2167
Quote:
Originally Posted by PassTheChocolate View Post
You're kidding me. I get the other three, but what of the religious aspect? How so?
Remember, Georgia is part of the Bible Belt.
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