A Modification to a current Custody Order

I am a mother whom 5 years ago due to an emotional break down decided to have my 4 year old daughter go live with her father. I thought that this would be in her best interest given my emotional unavailability at the time. Her father had papers drawn up for a sole custody order and doing what a stupid 24 year old would do, I signed them. It is now five years later and although I haven’t had too much of a reason to take him back to court to modify the order because he has been mostly reasonable, I find myself in a position where once again he is using his “sole custody” status as leverage. For the past 3-4 years I have had her on a consistent basis, and the last 2 years I have had her nearly if not truly half the time. (We do live within 10miles of each other, in Buncombe Co.). This now gives me joint physical custody. Due to her fathers failed relationship (so there is no mother presence in the home) and his inability to maintain a job, plus other factors…the continued use of marijuana, the people that he associates himself with are undesirable, he has no involvement with her school problems, his method of discipline is screaming and guilt, and he frantically calls me saying he doesn’t know what to do with her.

I want to pursue a Modification for Custody without representation due to finances. I can prove that my home is stable, I’ve been married what will be 2 years October, I have had steady employment until the economy went down (at current I am collecting unemployment), my home environment is stable as I have lived here for the past 3 years and my daughter does have her own room. I do believe that I can show that I do mostly provide for her needs as far as clothes, school supplies and ANYTHING else she needs. He does not provide these things and I believe he keeps her for the government assistance and the fat tax returns.

Given this information, and the fact that him hiring an attorney is nearly slim to none…are my chances good for joint custody because I don’t think its fair to my daughter that she gets threatened with her mother being taken away from her. And is there any other advice that you may have or anything I should be aware of. I believe I have enough to prove a substantial change in the situation since the last order but please let me know if I’ve missed something.

Many Thanks

Given the facts you have listed I do think you have enough to move forward with an action to modify custody. You will need to allege that there has been a substantial change in circumstances based on your new lifestyle, your child’s age and the fact that you now have the ability to provide for your child, whereas you did not at the time the original order was entered.