Guess I was too trusting?

I’m 24 year old father to a 5 year old girl whom I fathered in North Carolina. The child was born out of wedlock and her mother and I were only engaged but never married. I broke off the engagement due to her negligence with our daughter and helping around in our apartment 1 year and a half (or so) after our daughter’s birth. For the years to follow we had verbal agreements with whom our daughter would be with. Her mother originally wanted me to have our daughter live with me and eventually move out of state for her better interest. One year later she changed her mind (i believe because i was bitter against her for not spending time with our daughter while she could).

As the years went on she made countless efforts to have various documents concerning my daughter under her name (health insurance, WIC, Taxes) but there was a period where the documents were in my name.

She received child day care assistance by going to a community college which she lost after failing her classes while she worked part time after our break up. I moved out of my apartment into a room with a friend in order to afford to pay for babysitting for our daughter while I continued to maintain my full time job. The mother wouldn’t see our daughter more than 1-2 days out of the week and only for 1-2 hours at a time. The mother would sleep with me on occasion and with her new boyfriend on separate occasions.

After a year she threatened that I would lose our daughter if I didn’t let my daughter live with her instead of mainly being with me the majority of the time (everything is word of mouth during this period still). For about less than a month my daughter would go to her mother’s home she received through federal housing shortly after our break up (which she received by saying our daughter lived with her, which was a lie). After the months time our daughter spent the majority of the time with me. The mother would have her home a mess and would not have our daughter properly clothed and only fed her enough till she would come with me and eat with me. The mother would have various guys stay at her home whenever my daughter was there in her own room. During this time I stopped sleeping with the mother and the mother had an intimate relationship with her boyfriend’s former best friend. I also met a woman whom i recently married in North Carolina.

About a year later I moved into my own apartment during the time the mother cheated on her former boyfriend with his friend. I received daycare assistance through the state and put my daughter on the lease of my new apartment and enrolled my daughter into another daycare. Her mother quit her job and moved into a trailer with the man she cheated on her last boyfriend with. After the move the trailer was always a mess with a foul smell of cat and urine. The floor is sunken in and I believe there was/is a leak in one of their bathrooms.

We discussed me leaving the state with our daughter since I would have better opportunities and a stronger family support system in another state. I also illustrated the better opportunities our daughter would have in another state in my care. The mother agreed to let me go and less then a month after arriving she began to text me and ask when i would be coming back. I wasn’t able to respond well because of the time difference and being busy with securing my job, home, school, etc. She ordered an ex parte for order that our daughter be returned and threatened to claim kidnapping against me. Currently i am still out of state and my daughter is in North Carolina now.

My questions are based on the above information what would be the best next course of action if for me to have our daughter returned back to me? Her mother never did (and still does not) like releasing information on what my daughter is doing or who is around her which always made me uneasy. My court hearing is near the end of this month, so far i know that my the mother is going to claim that our daughter lived with her the majority of the time ( i have witnesses to testify against this false claim), i purposely scheduled doctor appointments to keep her from going which is why she left her job ( i never did such things), i kidnapped our daughter (untrue, that action is outside of my character and against my values), she never intended for our daughter to live with me out of state ( the agreement was verbal but one person was informed of our actions that were going to be taken who will testify to this in court as well as the mother’s indifference to her daughter.), i purposely didn’t tell her my intentions ( although my now wife and my marriage was kept quiet, it was only because we wanted a small marriage between us till we could afford a bigger one later where everyone could attend.)

My daughter and I have a great relationship and her mother and I have no other kids with anyone else. My daughter asks for me and openly expresses how she wants to be with me again completely of her free will. I went to North Carolina 2 weeks after the ex parte order was made to file an extension. During my time in North Carolina i saw my daughter twice, but only briefly. The first occasion I recorded my the trailer being a mess and my daughter not bathed at 4pm, still wearing her pajamas. Her mother had left our daughter alone with her boyfriend while he played video games and my daughter played by herself in her room (which was a mess). Her mother came back to the trailer dressed in a strapless short dress scolding our daughter for not cleaning her own room. Any help is greatly appreciated, I just want my baby to come back home and live with me again. I don’t care if i have to pay child support or if i don’t have my baby for every holiday i just don’t want my daughter under the primary care of her mother.

All you can do is try to show that she is not the proper parent to have primary custody, and that you are. You should exhibit any evidence which you may have, including photos, emails, texts, etc. Also, the witnesses which you are bringing are good as well. Do your best to show that the child is neglected and left with strangers, and/or alone with various boyfriends and that this is concerning to you as the father of a young daughter. While it is expensive, I think you should consult with an attorney on a matter like this.

Thank you very much for you feedback, it is very much appreciated. I have photos and videos and recordings to support my concerns. I’ll post back anything for updates as they unfold. Thank you again very much I greatly appreciate it.

You are welcome! Good luck.

So far the results of the court proceedings were in my favor in that she was unable to prove her allegations about me but because our daughter spent most of her life in North Carolina the judge ordered that the child stay in North Carolina until an agreement could be me.

Presently the mother and I are looking into mediation and I was wondering if its true that I would have to pay for half of the costs to her lawyer and if we take to long to set up mediation that primary custody would be given to the mother by default since she is residing in North Carolina and I am living in California.

It was my understanding that I’m only required to pay half the cost of the mediator and unless an agreement can’t be reached in mediation then physical custody is only decided in the final court hearing regarding our case. Thank you again in advance and for operating this site; you have no idea how much I appreciate this site and how refreshing it is to be able to get even a little help regarding these matters that some individuals (such as police officers) expect ordinary tax paying citizens to know like the back of our hands.