Please help relieve this worry

My husband and I separated in August, and after drafting about 20 Separation agreements finally settled on one…the issue was not division of money or property (I let him have everything - house, car, household items); instead we could not agree on custody of my daughter (6years old). When we originally began talks regarding separation, my ex made reference several times to the effect that of course I would retain primary custody of our child, and that I should stay in the house and he would move out. When the time came for action, however, he decided he wanted the home and full custody of our child. I could care less about the house (though I made every single mortgage payment and paid for all improvement costs over our five year marriage); as far as I am concerned the house is all his. His demand for full custody of our daughter, however, was nothing more than the only weapon he had to lash out at me for leaving our marital home. Since she was born, I have paid all necessary expenses as well as was primary caregiver to our child. My ex usually worked late and only saw her a few nights a week. We ended up with an agreement where she is at my home 2 week nights and every other weekend, and at his the rest of the time. This arrangement was flawed from the beginning (the back and forth has started to affect her behavior), and now that the time is almost here for a divorce decree I plan to file for primary custody, and generus visitation with her dad. The main reason behind this is stability, but I also have issues with the degree to which she is cared for at his home (he rarely has her bathe in his care, which has resulted in several skin infections, and the foods she eats there are incredibly unhealthy, and he works long hours most week nights, and she is being cared for in his sisters home rather than home with a parent) Most recently she came down with a MRSA staph infection, and even given the seriousness of the condition her dad did not bathe her either of night the 2 nights her had her.

My fear is that since his family is well off, even though I am an excellent commited parent, that I will lose her if I fight this. I just do not have the financial resources to start a huge court battle. Has anyone else been through a situation like this that can help me put some of the "what if"s to rest? He is a good dad, I just want her to have a more stable schedule and help her to feel more like she has a home.

I think this would be better posted in the “Attorney” forum. Ms. Clarey is EXTREMELY knowledgable and I highly value her opinion on all matters. She has put a LOT of my fears to rest in a very short amount of time. Truth be told, in most cases it’s rare that the courts give custody to the father, money or not. If you google “Can a father win custody of their children?” you’ll find some very VERY interesting websites geared at telling Dads some dirty tricks in order to gain custody. However, it also tells you that unless the mother is an axe-wielding serial killer, is shoving crack into their system or selling them into sex slavery, it’s a good bet that the mother will retain primary custody.

Good luck. Please post this in the attorney forum so that Ms. Clarey can give you the legal jargon that will most likely back up what I’ve said. :slight_smile: