Questions about child custody battles.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son's ex hit him for custody of his son. She gave a bunch of reasons, but when he went to a lawyer (my ex husband is paying for his lawyer, thankfully for him) the lawyer said most of her reasons are nonsense. She is claiming, with no specifics, that things have changed so drastically that she needs to have soul custody and that Son isn't working with her on co-parenting and other stuff.

    From what I know, ex tries to do everything to J. without consulting my son, although currently they have joint custody. For example, she signed him up for school without consulting my son and there were actually several choices as to where he could go for school. Ditto for daycare. Son wanted him to go to the school's after school care...she felt the school wouldn't follow the parenting plan as well as a baby daycare center so she wanted to sign J. up to be bussed to a child care center for mostly under 5 year olds in preschool. The honest reason is because she wants her boyfriend to be able to pick up J. on her day and doesn't want my son to ever have J. on her day. My son agreed to let her boyfriendj pick up J. just so she'd agree to allow J. to go to after school care, which is where all his friends will be plus it's cheaper, but ex still went ballistic because she wants THAT daycare here we are going to court. Son's lawyer said it could take six months.

    Any feedback? When I got divorced from my ex, we were civil and there wasn't any fighting at all. So I'm a newbie to this and concerned for my grandson.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Second-hand, I've seen some really ugly battles - ones where the Mom was dreaming up all sorts of stuff. And... as long as you get a "human" judge (one who cares about the kid(s) involved), it quickly becomes obvious who cares about the KID.

    Some of HER antics will work against her. Especially if the daycare staff will speak up about their observations, for example.

    It also helps that this kid is a BOY. Sorry, it's a but of a sexist statement, but... Dad's have more of a chance at keeping a son. The boy definitely needs a father figure in his life, and even a half-decent bio-dad beats any other substitute.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She won't pull antics in court. Her lawyer will literally tell her to shaddup and let him do the talking. I have no idea how this will go. Just curious. No experience with it.

    Unfortunately, in the US the mother usually has the edge. But this state loves joint custody. Soul custody means she gets to raise him and son gets visitation which he will NEVER stand still and allow to happen.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That part is the same here.
    But... because the child is a BOY, a conservative judge may consider it where with a GIRL, they may not. (some of them have this "thing" about a Dad being custodial parent to a girl)

    She doesn't have to pull the antics in court.
    Character witnesses will do that for her...
    And I've known of more than a few judges in family court to tell the LAWYER to shaddup... and talked directly with the two parents, because it's the only way to get any kind of a feel for the situation.
    That's not US court, though...
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No, that isn't going to happen here. That is irrelevant. Boys, girls, if there is major custody, usually go to Mom, even if she's a ditz. But to change custody at all, there has to be a huge, compelling reason.

    Her case is very week, but I wondered if anyone had gone through custody cases (weak or strong). This is brand new territory for me. My son does have one character witness, the babysitter, who has been on the receiving end of her abuse. However, my son was told by a divorce lawyer he once dated (no, she won't help him out now) that judges listen the absolute most to psychologists, and I doubt either ex or my son can afford to pay one to testify in court on his/her behalf. Both are getting parental help...the well is not endless. Not sure how potent the babysitter's statement will be, but s he has had major problems with ex and thinks she's a psycho (of course, she can't use that language in court, but she has told this to my son in private and offered to go to court for him if she ever tried for custody).
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    When I owned a daycare, one family went through an ugly divorce. We were given a long form to fill out for the court, not from either parent, but from the court.

    Mom was accusing dad of driving the kids while drunk...all kind of things but truthfully we didn't see that. (good thing, he is pilot)
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member


    Well, she isn't going to claim he abuses substances. She isn't claiming anything that is actually concrete. The lawyer Son saw today said it was fuzzy and that it also wasn't smart to try for a change of custody when the divorce isn't even a year old yet. But Son, being Son, is freaking out, although he will act calm when he has to and he will seem like the cool-head. And he won't even talk about being served papers to his ex.

    The daycare owner is going to write a letter for him detailing ex's weird behaviors that even made my grandson cry. If that's not enough, she'll go to court. It' debunks the stuff ex said about my son and puts it in ex's lap. But again I don't know squat about this. I wondered if anyone here did. Couldn't hurt to ask :) I do know one thing--decisions are not made most of the time in the best interest of the child. Hope all goes well for my son because J. is crazy about his daddy.

    A cute kid thing: My son gave him a kiss on the cheek and he rubbed his c heek hard. My son asked him if he didn't like the kiss. He said, he liked the kiss so much that he was rubbing it into his skin so that it will stay inside of him all day.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I sympathize about how stressful this is for your son. Janet is right. The burden of proof is on her to show that your son is awful and she isn't going to be able to do it. As long as they are going to court anyway does the lawyer think your son stands a chance of getting more time with his son? Maybe a 50/50 split? A cousin of mine does that. She isn't going to look very good taking your son to court right now.

    What would be in your sons best interest would be to find a lawyer that will help him stay out of court. I know its a different concept than most lawyers do. It is what my lawyer does for us though. X would take us to court every year or even every few months if he could. My lawyer knows that the judges like to see that the parties have tried to work it out first. So he has us e-mail first. Then he takes a print out of the e-mail to court where it shows how unreasonable and explosive x is. The part where he keeps us out of court is that if it looks like we are headed in that direction he will contact x's lawyer and try to work something out. Or he will try to help with the e-mails to x to work something out to keep us out of court. He has been able to reduce the time in court to every few years.

    Even if we win in court and the judge orders x to pay my lawyer it still costs lots more than the judge orders. And, the stress on our family is huge.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That reminds me. Most courts mandate mediation before a case even hits the actual court. It saves court time because normally the mediator can get the parties to agree to a compromise. If she insists on not listening to what the mediator thinks is fair, it wont look good on her. And if she loses and it is found to be a frivolous case she can be made to pay his attorney fees.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    This again is where a therapist for his son would have come in handy because the therapist could go to court to say what's best for son. A GAL would be good here if he can get one.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, she's not a reasonable person nor does she have common sense or she'd never go to court so early after a divorce with no abuse to allege. There have been some nasty comments going on between them and my son did agree with his son that ex's boyfriend M. is He's made a few fat jokes about M. The daycare worker is huge. My grandson is always excited when Daddy is coming and goes around saying "I love my daddy." When his mother comes, he is quiet. ANd she has gone off in a big way, in front of a bunch of other employees and kids and parents, on the daycare worker. She acted nuts. That is not a he said/she said. A lot of people have seen her going off. She's a loose cannon and wants to control my grandson 100%. That's what this is all about. She's very angry that J. loves my son so much and talks about it to her.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Anger is the beginning of emotional abuse... OMG. This is sounding horribly familiar. MWM, the daycare worker is HUGEHUGEHUGE... with a reasonable judge. I hope this is the worst that she gets, thenm there is a chance... She's not going to get anywhere except maybe told she is being frivolous and wasting time... She does have to prove your son is awful and she can't unless he has done something.

    Sigh... This is just awful. Let me do a little digging for info... It may take a day or so because I want to find some stuff from husband.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Step. oh, she screamed in front of everyone. My grandson covered his face, he was so embarassed.
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Good news? Judges usually don't like to change custody agreements without very good reasons, and those reasons have to be backed up with proof, not just hearsay. This will most likely go before a mediator before a judge sees it.

    It usually doesn't take the court long to figure out someone is trying to abuse the system, especially if the other spouse is documenting everything they can. CYOA (cover your own rear) is top priority for your son.

    I HATE this sort of nonsense. Not only is it petty and mean spirited, it makes the situation so much harder on any children. This is why I took great pains to be very friendly with Katie's biomom. When Fred and I divorced it was so friendly it stunned everyone. Divorce is painful enough without adding salt to the wounds on a continual basis.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She won't mediate. Even if she is forced to go, she won't agree to anything that gives my son equal rights to her. She does have text messages and possibly phone calls recorded. But he has a copy of her Face Book page from a while back when she was trashing him to everyone and again sounding livid and angry. I don't know how much stock judges put in these things unless they are about the child's safety. She has found a lawyer though who is also a judge, although I know that's more common than people think. But he is in a small law firm and we are guessing that she approached a few lawyers who wouldn't take the case. She was very vague in the summons my son got. She didn't give any concrete examples as to why it was so urgent to change custody. She did say it was urgent and that my son was "irrational and unstable" (very vague) and not co-parenting, which she isn't doing more than him. The other reasons, the lawyer that my son saw just dismissed out of hand. My son DOES have mental health issues, but could get a letter from a psychiatrist saying he's stable, I'm sure. He's no more mentally ill than she is, that's for sure.
  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    And this thing about her wanting to only take son to her therapist? Your son needs to talk to his lawyer about that, too.
  18. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    My anecdotal experience w custody battles is that the court will appoint a GAL and order them both to mediation & parenting classes.

    Sole custody is virtually unheard unless there was undisputed abuse of the child. Joint custody is the norm even if one parent has primary physical custody. Usually time is equally split and both parents signatures are required for important school forms, school applications etc and schools are instructed to share information equally- grades, conferences etc.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Sig. That's the most probable type of outcome. Neither parent can claim they have witnessed abuse and, as you know, it has to be witnessed. My son doesn't believe ex or her boyfriend are physically abusing him and my son never lays a paw on his son in anger so she has nothing there. Neither side will complain about sexual abuse either. From reading, those seem to be the two big areas that can give one parent sole custody. That or legal problems, which neither have. I'm almost glad she's doing this now. It's so early in the divorce and so unconventional to try to get custody this soon and she has so little that likely the judge will see her as a loon for future court trips. I believe there is only one judge in that particular area for family court so he can get to know the ex.

    Nobody who meets son's ex EVER thinks she's wrapped the right way. She is very unintelligent, pointless, and illogical. Hard to explain her.
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Who does the child live with most of the time.?