It would be best to hope for joint custody and focus on showing why you were and are good parents and can provide a stable home environment that is in the best interest of this child. It sounds like the ideal situation would be sole custody and you may certainly have enough grounds for that but most courts will at least try to get you to work out joint custody. As you will see in many, many posts, it is important to focus on the positives of what you have done and can do for this child including having those who know you write letters of support - teachers, employers, church - anyone who has seen the two of you interact w/ the child. You don’t want to run the other parent down, although it is obvious that there are some major issues there. Talk to your lawyer about the documents related to her domestic violence as well as her financial instability.
That’s what we would prefer. We have no desire to take away her rights or visitation. We want her to spend time with him etc. However, with education being one of our major objectives. The mother not having a HS diploma, no GED, no additional schooling, etc plus her oldest daughter has been in summer school every summer since kindergarden there is no scholastic support, which he will need in the coming years. We really want to have him during the school year, she takes him every other weekend. Then she gets him in the summer and we have him every other weekend. We swap holidays every year.
We filed the motion for custody, so we are hoping for the best.
I have to agree with mal that you should focus on what you and the father can do and give the child instead of what the mother can’t provide. Take pictures of the room you have ready for him, the house, the neighborhood as well as the school. Get the school information about the average reading level, success rates…that sort of thing.
Give all the information to the attorney and let him/her do the dirty work of pointing out the faults and shortcomings of the other parent, including the fraud…Give the attorney names of her friends or neighbors that could be called to give witness about the type of home or environment the children are in now. But let the attorney make the call on how much mud to sling. When either you or your fiancee are asked about anything…it should be about boosting yourself instead of deflating the mother. This way it will not be turned around on you…that you said this or that about his mother. Your job in this is to prove to the judge that his father is the best choice to have primary physical custody.
Why would he have been denied visitation? The court denied him? Or she denied him? If she denied him then you can use that also as she kept him from his father. Legally, until custody is agreed on or decided in court, she can not do.
Make sure to keep records of all money and incidents. If he has been the sole provider then there should be records. With the domestic violence issues and the 50B, I’m not sure a judge would rule on joint custody. For joint custody to work, the parents must be able to work together and this can not happen if they are legally not to be near each other or have any contact…
Being married will affect some judges because there are two incomes and two adults to provide care and that can make a difference. But, in the same aspect, some judges do not care about the marital status. A single mother may have more time to devote to a child than the father who has remarried and may have other children with the new wife…Or that if a single father has children already in his care from a previous marriage/relationship, then that child would essentially be taken away from siblings…(not saying that is the case, but you can see how there’s two ways to look at this). And believe me…the other side can and will exaggerate the truth, and even lie to make themselve look better in court. For every statement that is made, your attorney should have something to contradict that and her attorney should have something to back it up. The same is true with your side.
Good luck to you both, and hang in there…it does get easier.
I understand wanting to give any child a fighting chance at a good life. It’s a wonder sometimes that there aren’t more criminals and lunatics out there considering what we grew up with…[;)]
That’s exactly what we are doing…just trying to make ourselves look like the better parent(s). We have pics, video, slideshows, the works! I’m always looking for more insight, esp from those who have had great success with this. It’s tough for the fathers out there.
We really have been trying to avoid trial even if up to the last minute. We’re like “hey, let’s work this out for the sake of the child.” Since she’s hired an atty (Legal Aid, maybe), we’re hoping we can present something prior to so that we can avoid trial. I’m praying this is the case.
Thx for understanding! A fighting chance is all some children have these days.
Thx again everyone…please keep posting!!!
I throw my hat in with the ladies who have already pointed out that nitpicking over the mother’s shortcomings should not be your focus. Trust me, there is nothing in what you said about this mother that would make a judge feel that she isn’t a fit mom. Point out her domestic violence in front of the child in court, but I wouldn’t bother with the other stuff.
I agree that your home sounds more stable. I would push for either equal custody or primary custody with the child spending ample time with the mother. Children deserve the love and companionship of both parents.
This is my 1st post…exciting (kinda)
(When I started this post, I told myself that I wouldn’t post anything long, but I guess I just needed an outlet by which to vent)
Anywhoo, I am a soon to be “step-mom” (I HATE that word, only because I don’t use “step-kids” - I digress). Well, my fiance is going for custody of his 3-yr old. Prior to our involvement, his son was living with him for a little over a year. When the boy’s mother discovered that He and I were dating she committed several acts of domestic violence, in the presence of the minor child, which resulted in my fiance being granted a 50B against her (I have a 50C as well). During the last major incident, she removed the boy from his home. When he went for the temporary 50B order, he asked for temporary custody, but they stated that because the child was not in his physical presence (at the court) then they could not award it. Bummer right?
Well, it took he and I several months to gather funds to secure an atty. He was denied visitation until a temporary order w/o prejudice was put into place. Since then she’s going for child support out of vengence when my fiance has been the SOLE provider of the child…she hardly works!!! She has 2 other children that are older. She’s recieving public assistance, some of which she gained fraudulantly and is currently under a fraud investigation. She has a daycare voucher for the child, but she hardly works and still sends him to daycare and hasn’t paid the bill in at least a year. It’s over $4k in DRAMATICALLY REDUCED daycare and afterschool fees. We recently found out that his son is no longer enrolled in daycare, due to unpaid fees. Now she will not be able to enroll him anywhere because #1 she can no longer use the voucher and #2 she doesn’t have the money to pay for daycare. He’s 3 yrs old…he needs to be in daycare. She’s not the worst mother, but she’s not the greatest either. She and I are the same age, graduated the same year from high school, but it’s like night and day with our maturity levels. The times that I’ve spoken with her, I’m like “am I talking to an adult or child???”
Well by the time we go to trial, it would have been a year since his son has been out of his home, however, the good thing is we will be married.
My question is are there any fathers out there who have been granted custody, or anyone who knows of some good tips and strategies that we should do to improve out chances? How will our nupitals affect a judges decision?
We have a room prepared for him…it’s a spiderman room. We’ve enrolled him in gymnastics, which we take him on one of our visitation days. He’s exposed to many good experiences. My fiance and I both work full time. I’m an educator and work with kids all day. We just want to give this little boy a fighting chance at life. We are african americans and the stats for young afr. amer. males and prison, drugs, and death are alarming. I work in the school system, so I see it everyday. His current environment dictate this very thing happening to him.
The best part is, this little boy and I have a wonderful relationship. I love him like my own son. I want him in our home and a part of our permanent family.
What can we do to improve our chances? He really needs to be in our home to give him a chance.
Sorry so long. Any responses will be greatly appreciated! Thx in advance.