You need to get an attorney and ask for a custody arrangement, whether you want to try for sole custody, joint, or whatever. You need to have something in writing and enforceable by the court otherwise she could change her mind about the verbal agreement.

You definitely need a lawyer to draw up a consent order to include child custody and support.

We have learned through a lot of $$$$ that it is best to stick to what the guidelines require you to pay. It seems harsh, but we do not provide his X with anything additional. This is not because we don’t want to, but we have tried and when we gave a little, she wanted more and more and more. We started providing fully for the boys when they are with us – they have separate clothes, toys, shoes, everything at our house. When DH picks them up they only come with the clothes on their back. We were buying their clothes for a while and sending them back to their moms, but she would send them in rags forcing us to buy new clothes. Unfortunatley, some women (and I am a women, but not in this category)will never be satisified with what you provide regardless of what it is. Err on the side of caution … love you son completely … provide for him fully, but make sure his mother steps up to the plate and provides for him as well … don’t let yourself get manipulated (we have and it SUCKS … the longer it was allowed to go on the worse it got) We are free from the EXs games now, but she continues to try and engage us. The key to surviving, in my opinion, is staying strong and resolved in your love for your son, but also having the realization that both you brought this child into the world and you both should be held emotionally and financially responsible for his well being.

First a little background:
I am the father of my 4 month old son. I am 21. The mother is 19. We (the parents) are broken up. We were never married. I have been completely supportive of my son since he was born. Even though we were no longer a couple, I was in the hospital with the mother the day my son was born, and stayed there until my son and his mother were discharged. I then stayed at the mother’s house the first night from home to help her. Since my son was two weeks old he has been staying with me at my house about 40% of the time. I have held down 2 jobs since before my son was born. The mother has not had a job or attended school since the second trimester of her pregnancy. I have an Associates Degree, the mother has a High School Diploma. Verbal agreements between the mother and I:

The father will have the child every weekend and every Tuesday. The father will have the child every other Sunday. A recent amendment to this verbal agreement requested by the mother was that she would have the child for 1 weekend of every month.

The father will supply any requested items such as diapers, formula, wipes, clothes, etc. when requested. A recent amendment to this verbal agreement requested by the mother was that the father would pay the mother $25 a week. I have been paying $30 per week for the last few weeks. I agreed to increase the amount of payment based on my son’s needs, without limit.

When the child reaches the age of 1 the father will pay entirely for his health insurance.

We would alternate years claiming our child as a dependent.

I furnish my son his own room at my house, and all the supplies needed for his care. I pick my son up and I drop him off almost every time.

I know that most of that background info isn’t legally relevant, but the point is that I love my son with all of my heart, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him, and that I am able and do provide for him. His mother loves him, too, and she treats him with love and care. However, she is not financially able to provide for him. We had agreed to not seek custody or support from one another, for as long as the other parent did their part. Well, I feel I have been doing my part and more, unregrettably so. My son’s best interests are in my mind. I want him to grow up in both of our homes without seeing or knowing that we fight.

Our system based on verbal agreements was working great (from my perspective.) But, wouldn’t you know it, my boss presents to me a letter that she received pertaining to my wages and child support. I’m not fond of the idea of my hard earned money being taken from me and given to the mother, when:

a.) I am willing to help her financially on my own, and have been doing so under a verbal agreement.
b.) I have my son a great deal of the time.
c.) I provide for my son when I have him with no financial help from anyone.
d.) We agreed not to take legal actions.

I have proof (receipts) of everything I have ever bought for him, cancelled checks that I wrote to his mother, calendars marked with days and nights I have kept my son. I even have hours of footage of me and my happy, nourished, well-cared-for, loved baby (too bad courts will never watch that kind of thing.)

We are both great parents and our son has a great opportunity to grow up in a very loving environment. I would never try to keep my son from his mother, because I know that in his best interests he needs two parents. But, I am tired of being under the mother’s knife, especially given how much I do for my son and how much I am willing to help his mother.

So I want to do something legally to protect and help myself. I want things to be equal between the two of us. I have strived for that from the beginning of my son’s life. But she keeps wanting more and more and trying to take more and more from me, whether it be my time with my son or my money. I feel a lot of tension between her and I now, and I fear that she will try to seek custody along side of the child support, and that the time I spend with my son will be severely limited. Is there anything I can do to help myself? Is there some kind of shared or joint custody I could try for that would give me rights, too. Because I feel I don’t have any rights, and that their has never been a ball in my court.

Is there anything a good father can do?

Thanks in advance.