Modification-Custody


#1

Hopefully a lawyer will answer this. Typically reasons to modify custody have to show that it is in the “best interest” of the child. I would think that you would have to have some sort of proof that his extracurricular behavior is adversely affecting your child/children, though it may be enough to prove that you are now in a different/better position to be able to care for them. Have you tried asking him about changing custody? Seems like he has his hands full w/ all these women and make welcome an opportunity to share more of the parenting responsibility.


#2

I can tell you that the web sites are not going to be an issue, unless the picture he posted of your daughter was not appropriate…that would be a criminal offense. If these actions do not affect the children or involve the children the courts do not care what he does. He’s legal age and those sites are not illegal.

As for the string of women in his life…I agree with mal, have you discussed possibly taking more time with the children until he can get a little more stable? Or seeing if he would agree to modify custody…maybe see if you could try it on a temp basis…?


#3

I was thinking the court would see it as Moral Misconduct.

Unfortunately, the relationship between us is very hostile. If I tell him to go left, he will go right. He even refused to take our girls for their regular doctors visits because I asked him to. So, they were almost 2 years overdue for physicals and shots. He took them once for strep and said that counted as their well child visit - and that was that! He just recently took them, a few days after he was served with the motion to modify papers, so he knew he was wrong and they should of been taken, but didn’t - to spite me I suppose.
#2 - He doesn’t make much money and he NEEDS the child support to survive. Without it, he cannot afford his rent and car payment both.
I make about 12k a year more than him. That is the other problem, the kids are living a poverty stricken life, despite of the $1135 a month I give him in support. Teachers have even told me that at times my oldest has gone without lunch, and she was on the “giving tree” at christmas time at her school - where they sign up needy children to receive donated gifts. I am happily remarried, have a nice house in the suburbs on 1 acre, good job, husband also is a professional and makes a very attractive salary, we are expecting a son in June and at that point, I will be a stay at home mother full time. Kids have neighborhood friends, lost of horses in our neighborhood, great schools, etc.

The picture of my daughter on a website has him with her in one of his hands and a beer in the other. Is that inappropriate to the world? It would be to me, but I haven’t a clue as to how a Judge would see that.
I don’t drink, smoke, take drugs or any medication (just prenatal vitamins). He drinks (not heavily) and smokes around the children. I don’t think in the home, but outside and they could be sitting right next to him outside. Now they play “pretend smoking” at times while at my house.

They have none of this at their fathers and are one step short of being on food stamps. He has 3rd floor apartment in the city, they have no friends they can go outside and play with, girls sit in the house as it isn’t a neighborhood for kids and would actually be dangerous for them to play outside with all the traffic.
Schools are year round there.
Now, I know he has been around with alot of women, but looking for “group” activities on websites? What kind of women does he bring home for my children to meet? And, they DO meet every one of them. He is the kind that the first thing he does is introduce his kids to a new prospective girlfriend, which is exactly what I asked him not to do when we separated, we had a 3 month rule. Date for 3 months, then introduce to kids. So, as you can imagine, they are having issues with knowing who is where and when they will see them again.
I have sooo much evidence, but I just don’t know which one is “the one” that will make the Judge want to listen to it all?


#4

I’m assuming you now have a lawyer? I would take pictures of everything…your home, his home (if you can) the neighborhood. Keep focused on what is in the “best interest” of the children. Keep in mind that in NC in order to modify custody you have to:

  1. File the motion to modify
  2. go through mediation unless you ( your lawyer) can prove that it would be a hardship or there is a history of domestic violence.
  3. if you and ex-spouse cannot work it out w/ mediator then you proceed to court
  4. where your lawyers will probably work it out before it goes in front of the judge.
    I still think it is worth a shot at pointing all this out to your ex and the cost of legal fees, lost wages/time at work to see if you can’t reach an agreement, though with his history you probably need an official custody order.

#5

What I meant is that the courts do not care about what your ex does as long as the children are not involved. My husband’s ex was at bars taking her shirt off but that was on her own time and the courts didn’t want to hear about it…
It’s not moral misconduct if there’s nothing illegal about it. There’s nothing illegal about an adult/parent drinking in front of a child.

The best thing to do if this does make it to court is to attempt to convince the judge that you are the better option for your children to live with. Do not try to prove he’s a bad father. Give all that information to you attorney and you focus on what makes you a good mother and what you can provide your children. Education, security, loving home environment, neighborhood atmostphere, better school and more stability. Take pictures of their rooms at your home, the neighborhood, the school they would go to…anything to show what you have to offer. Keep a log of events if you can. Document document document.


#6

Well, as far as the women, this does affect the children. It is not on his own time, he has the women over with the girls home, and married one of them after knowing her for 6 weeks. (because part of court order is no overnights with opposite sex while girls are home - Judge was big on this ) She moved in with her 3 children and kitten. Two weeks later, she moved out, left him taking the girls new stepsisters and kitten with her.
The stuff with the women is not on his own time. Maybe the perusing on the internet part is, but he brings them home then they inveitabley leave him. Sad part is, the girls grow to love these women, and when they are going back to their fathers, they are happier to see the woman at the time than him.
Unfortunately, with the Judge we have, showing him that I have the better life for them is not going to be enough. He needs a “significant change in circumstances” and my being the better cantidate is not enough.
He is set in his way, father knows right, I will not change my mind, kind of Judge, and it is an uphill battle for us. I went for this motion once before, armed with recordings of my ex caling me a, well, several profanities, on several occasions, with children present, peeling out of parking lots, etc. The Judge even stated that my ex was in contempt with the order, but merely gave him a warning that if he did it again, he should bring his toothbrush because he would be off to jail for 30 days. Just a slap on the wrist, then still denied my motion.
I had alot of evidence, even him on tape threatening me with moving to Atlanta and taking the girls with him. He loves to pick at me, stab at me, and he knows that through our children is the way to do it.
The first time legal aid had given me advice of how to bring baby books, and photos of our home etc with me, and not to worry, things would be fine. So wrong! I needed an attorney. I was steamrolled.
Ex made himself out to be a saint, claimed he never drank at all, went to church (only for court purposes) - he prepared himself. Even shaved his gotee off so he appeared clean cut. He claimed to of taken care of the kids when they were sick not me - lie, lie lie. He basically lied about all the things that he and his attorney knew I could not prove.
I have been saddened by the system, and it truely is a tradgedy the power that it has to ruin lives the way it has, and to be able to completely look past “what is in the best interest of the child”. That IS what it is supposed to be about, the children, and depsite the overwhelming amount of evidence I have that the best place for them is with me, the Judge refuses to see it.
Sorry this is so long, it has been a long fight for us and watching my babies suffer has not been an easy thing to do for 15 months.

Yes, I have an attorney now. However I sometimes do not hear back from him for a week, and that is aggrivating. My ex’s attorney is hot headed, quick to throw untruths out there and exaggerate the facts, twist them even. My attorney states it like it is, twists nothing and is completely honest.
I just don’t know if that is a good thing, I know it should be.
He said that my ex did not win, I lost (due to no representation). I have thought over getting a new attorney, perhaps a women who knows more, but I also know that it would look bad to change attorneys. I just do not know what to do, and my attorney really doesn’t advise me at all. It seems like he doesn’t even know the answer?


#7

Hopefully the attorney will answer this. The only thing I have is that if the women aren’t all spending the night, if they are you may need to hire a private investigator to get proof, then he has not gone against the order. Do you expect him not to have his wife live with him? That may be the only reason he married her…sounds very unstable but that is HIS problem not yours.
Sadly, normally, a court can not do anything about having children around whoever is involved in the parents lives. Unless, they are in danger of abuse or neglect there’s little that can be done about him bringing these women home to meet the children. You have no control over the amount of women in his life and for that matter, you have no control over the amount of women he introduces to his children. IMHO, yes it’s wrong to take a string of people through a child’s life but not everyone feels this way. All you can hope to do is be a role model for your daughters and that they see eventually what type of person their father is.
I will keep you in my thoughts that you do get the custody modified. I can understand how painful and frustrating this must be for you.
Documenting the neglecting doctor appointments and things of this nature could show what you need. Document statements they have made about any woman staying all night while they are there.
My husband’s ex did much the same thing and then lied in court. She said that the boys didn’t know so and so was her boyfriend but they had specifically made comments to us to the contrary. She also lied about who took the boys to appointments and to school.
Maybe it would be better if you went for custody but offered the ex to settle for joint custody with equal time…this may also be easier on the judge to change the court order. Instead of him going back completely on what he decided previously it would be more modifying the current situation to better benefit the children involved…


#8

Well, I tried to appeal to his concience, I wrote him a letter asking him to do the right thing, I was very nice about it, that I would sign off on child support, he would not have to give me a dime. That the girls would love him more later in life when they realize that he did the right thing, stepped aside so that they could have a nice, normal life. His response? Emailed me back, well cc’d me in on his forward of it to all of his friends saying, “do you believe this ____?” LMAO… hahahaha!"
I take that as my answer that he is not going to be and adult and do the right thing. He looks at this as war. I was hoping he had grown up a bit over the last year. He is angry that we split, then I moved on when he wanted us to get back together. I am happy, and that makes him angrier. I have a nice house, job, husband…that makes him angrier. My husband is wonderful, the girls adore him and makes 2x the salray he does, this angers him. He is just very angry and I wish he would mature enough to care about someone other than himself. His email just reaffirmed that there is no way that will every happen.
I have the doctors appointments documented. The doctors office wrote me a letter with April 2006 being the last time they were seen for a well child visit and shots…which was the last time I took them. You think the Judge could consider this as medical neglect?


#9

There’s not a lot you can do about your ex being bitter. If he will not agree to work together for the sake of the children then filing for modification to at least get joint custody with equal time is your only option. I was thinking that your ex may have a more difficult time explaining why he does not want to work together to the children’s benefit if you are filing for joint custody modification than to file for primary custody.
An change of circumstance is 15% increase/decrease in income, moving certain time or distance away from other parent, remarriage and addition of new family/children. Lifestyle change…that sort of thing. If you have a more stable home environment now than you did previously, then the judge may look at your situation differently. If you are requesting modification to joint custody, the judge may be more inclined to a trial basis so that the children are able to get to know their stepfather. Your circumstance is going to change in that you will be a stay-at-home mom when your child is born. This would be cause to look at that you will be more available to the children.
Also, see if you could call on a teacher at their school or the doctor to testify about the dress, missing meals, appointments. They may be able to deposition to the attorney’s office rather than actually going to court…I’m not sure of medical neglect, but the letter from the doctor’s office would help. If they have not had shots for school then the school could also have a say…
Anyone that you can call as witness that has been with you and the children, that has witnessed your interaction with them. A neighbor, family member, friend…Call his newest girlfriend or latest ex as a witness since they have been with him around the children. Either can offer insight as to where they met (bar, internet), how he behaves with the children, what type of care he provides…use everything you can to get more time with your children. Good Luck!


#10

I agree that you will probably have more luck pursuing joint that sole. Like stepmother, I would advise you to have letters from people who know you and how you interact with the children. As was mentioned earlier, the court does not want to hear you run down your ex, they want to hear how you can provide a stable environment for the children and that they will not be adversely impacted by this change.


#11

Thank you both so much! The judge we have doesn’t believe in joint custody. I mean, we have joint now, with my only having visitation every other weekend. He told my attorney recently on another case that he has less than a 1:1000 chance of ever getting him to agree to joint custody. So, with this Judge it’s primary or basically nothing.
So, perhaps my having a son in June and being home full time would constitute as a change? It seems that whatever Judges you two know do the right thing. I have no faith at all that even if I undoubetly prove that the girls belong with me, that he would reverse it.


#12

you will be modifying custody and support at the same time because your income will change and you will have a new child. Joint physical custody is usually closer to a 50/50 split of time…It sounds like your ex has the children 75% of the time. When you pursue more custody also go for joint LEGAL custody and make sure this is spelled out. You want information shared about their health, travel, school records, etc. I would sit down w/ my lawyer and talk all this out and make sure the two of you are on the same page and he/she knows what your ultimate goals are and what you want written into the custody agreement.


#13

My attorney already filed the motion to modify. They are fighting it, Monday will tell if it is going to be heard. Currently, we have Joint Legal, but recently when I have been getting records together, (daycare, doctors, etc. )their father has not been happy about it. He emailed me to “leave daycare out of this they don’t want to be in the middle” All I asked for was a copy of my daughters records! Nothing more. She has had behavioral problems here and there, so I wanted copies of the incident reports where she bit the other children.
He didn’t even list me as an emergency contact on the girls forms at the school, all he said was my first name, father has “full” custody and I am allowed to pick them up every other Friday. Yet, he listed a former female co-worker of his as a secondary contact (he doesn’t know many people and she is the closest to him) So, if God forbid there was an emergency with one of them, I wouldn’t even know about it. He has all the control and that is exactly what he wants, it is sad that the system has allowed it. When we first split he told me that he was going to make my life a living hell—exactly what he has done.
I also have an email where he stated that he had classes for work every weekend. I asked to watch the girls while he took these classes-I would meet him somewhere convenient just to have a few hours with them on a Sunday. He declined and said they went to his ex coworkers house instead. That he didn’t “want to have to listen to them scream when it’s time to go home”.

So, being I will be home soon with my son, (so excited to be able to say son for once!) my attorney should have also filed motion to amend child support at the same time? Gosh, I am so afraid that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I need to have full faith in him, and I just don’t.
What I am going for is Joint Legal Custody with me as primary caregiver, not vice versa as it is now.
I offered their father: every other weekend, no support, month or two in the summer, and availability for other things, such as mid week dinners out if he wanted to pick them up.
I would be very happy with that. Again, he ridiculed me and declined.
I want them to have a great life, you know? Before with him, they were both in ballet, cheerleading, and just excelling in everyting they did. Now, they do nothing. Sit in the house, play Xbox (his favorite thing to do)My oldest has 18% absentee rate first 5 weeks of school, was not up to par in reading. He agreed to let me have them 1/2 of the time in Nov & Dec (since he put them in year round schools and I missed my July visitation month) I worked with her, and then she was up to speed in reading. She is a very smart girl, so there is no reason for her to be behind. She catches onto things quick.
Youngest became aggressive, biting kids and even me and my husband. She is 4. A bit better now, sometimes she just is overtaken by this aggression though.

I just have to have faith I suppose that things will eventually turn out as they should.
It is so hard telling my daughter that I cannot come and pick her up when she wants me to, or that she HAS to go back to her dads when she cries not to…she doesn’t understand why I have to do this. And this affects her self esteem and emotional wellness. She feels like I am rejecting her, despite my constant reassurance at how much I love her.
It truely is legal kidnapping…


#14

The court requires only a change in circumstances, not an extreme change. If your daughter is not doing well and your ex has had many different women in her life since the separation that may qualify as a substantial change. Jumping in and out of relationships can show instability and might qualify as a substantial change in circumstances.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
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301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
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Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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#15

What constitutes extreme change in circumstance? Would ex husband having several different women in and out of the house hold (marrying one of them after 6 weeks then her leaving in another two) constitute?
I lost custody in the first place b/c I had no attorney. I was incredibly naive, hindsight is 20/20.
Now working on a strong modification case, but need that one big hitter item to get it all in there to be heard. Would his different women count? I also found him posted on 5 different dating websites and two of them are purely, um, the adult kind. Adults looking for other adults for the night, and the sites are filled with nude pictures. One of the cleaner ones he is on, he posted a pic of my daughter when she was a baby.
Now, new woman # 3 to enter girls lives in past few months is talking with him about marriage once his divorce to new woman # 2 can be final.
I have alot of evidence, but need that one big hitter to get it all in and heard…could this be it?
He is incredibly unstable.
Thanks for your help! :slight_smile: