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Main Forums => Father's Issues => Topic started by: ilovesavannah on Nov 13, 2008, 09:18:23 AM

Title: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: ilovesavannah on Nov 13, 2008, 09:18:23 AM
Hello, I have a daughter that is almost two now. Me and her mother were together (not married) for a little bit over the first year of her life, and we haven't been together for about seven months. I have been there since DAY ONE! During the time we were together, I would give her a check here, check there, but a lot of the money I gave her was "off the record". You know, buying diapers here, dinner there, Money for the baby and all the etc's.

I know I have equal rights to my child in theory, but every since she was born, I have always felt like a visitor to my daughter. Yeah I can take her here and there, but they (her family) always has the final say. I want to take her out of town, and she just says no... and the next week she takes her to a family reunion. I want to visit her, and I'm left in limbo allllllllll day on if I will be able to see her or not because her mother says "I may be busy, and I don't know what I may have going on".

When she is really not doing anything and doesn't want to make any kind of effort to help me see my child. She just always wants to make it difficult. So, I have been giving her money since her birth, and at least I can pull up most of the checks from 07 and every single one from 08. As far as the off the record money, would bank statement withdrawls be proof enough? So, really she's just so mean and vindictive and it just really makes no sense... I've been giving her a steady amount of money every month, but I told her "Lets work something out out of the courts to where we can have set days that I can visit Savannah, and I will give you even more money"

Honestly, I was giving her about 250 dollars a month plus diapers and all the errands she would ask me to run before I visited my diapers. I refused to give more than that because she didn't want to sit down and work something out. I would have been breaking the bank and still begging to see my daughter in a fair manner. So, I looked into child support, but didn't do it because it really seemed as if it broke up the family... But, then, I call her, let her know I'm on the way to give her a check and she says... "that's ok, just get some diapers"... I'm like what? Why don't you want the check, so I pry until she says that she has filed child support papers and she won't be able to accept money from me from the date of her filing. Is this true?

She wanted me to get the diapers though, because when I buy diapers they are once again off the record... So basically where do I go from here? How can I equip myself to get joint custody and proove all the things that I have done as a father and monetarily? I don't care about the increased money, I just want to come out of the court room knowing that I don't have to go through her to see my daughter...

I want something legally in place that says this is my time, this is what is to be done. She won't be civil and listen and reason with me, so I just want a judge to settle it... I'm so upset that I'm all over the place, but someone please answer all of my questions... It would be greatly appreciated.

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Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: Ref on Nov 13, 2008, 09:46:57 AM
My first advice is to get a lawyer who specializes in Family Law. If you can get one that focuses on Father's Rights, even better. Even though they cost a lot, it is worth the investment. Many people here have tried to go the less expensive (representing themselves or getting cheap representation) route in the beginning only to have it cost them thousands more down the road. My Dh is one of them. Not only did he pay excessive amounts in CS, he also had a bad visitation schedule which cost him years in time with his daughter.
My second piece of advice is to document everything. Put together all the copies of cancelled checks to her and all receipts for diapers etc. I have to warn you, many judges will not see the checks that you wrote or any other items you purchased prior to getting CS established anything more than a gift. They may have you pay back support without regard to any of it. It is worth a shot to have all the information together anyway.
If you lived together after the baby was born, try to find good evidence of how long you lived in the same home. Many judges will only have you pay CS based on the time you moved away from each other.
Document all the time you have spent with your child. Get a calendar for each year she was born and document each time you say your child as much as you can remember. Put detail in the calendar like if you spent time at your place or BM's place or if you took the child to the Dr.
Keep a notebook by the phone and document everything you speak with your ex and what the conversation was about. List dates and times and who called who.
I would recommend that you do not pay anything more to your ex. Instead, put the money you would have spent in a savings account so that when the CS order is established, that money can go to back-support.
As far as parenting plans go, I would find out what the standard is in your area. I found DH's jurisdiction's Standard Visitation by googling "standard visitation" AND the name of his county. If that doesn't work, check with the court house. Once you know what the standard is, you will know the bare minimum that you can get (assuming no abuse or other extreme conditions). You can then add to it.
Your lawyer might want to just go with the standard. It is easier for them to file and know that they would win. If you want added items, you need to press your lawyer.
Thats all I have right now. Welcome to this board. It is a great place for information and support.
Best wishes,
Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: MomofTwo on Nov 13, 2008, 09:57:06 AM
You need to retain counsel.
Until a visitation order is set, Mom does not have to let you see your daughter so till then, you are under her scrutiny.   Be aware though, after you file for visitation, she will file for support and that child support most likely will come out to much more then $250/month. Child support does no such thing to break apart a family, it helps consistently the CP be able to provide for the child, no matter if that CP is Mom or Dad.   Most judges will not consider what you have done as child support.  On the flip side, they cannot order child support prior to the date she filed for it.  If she filed for it today and your hearing is not till June, they will order child support effective from today, not years back.
This has nothing to do with Father's Rights, this is straight forward family law and any qualified lawyer can handle your case.
Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: ilovesavannah on Nov 13, 2008, 10:01:36 AM
thank you so much... I knew that they just looked at whatever money I gave her as a gift... that's why I wanted to establish something outside of the courts... but she would never go for it... this is really just an unfortunate situation... I didn't document anything either, so I will actually just go back since the day she was born and just fill things in to the best of my memory... thanks so much for everything... I Really think they need to look into changing child support laws for "good" fathers because if the woman just wants to be vindictive it is so unfair and lopsided... oh well, I'm the one that laid down with her. lol. thanks.
Title: Momoftwo
Post by: Ref on Nov 13, 2008, 11:04:52 AM
I thought that in some states the initial order of CS can be retroactive to the birth of the child.  I think that Florida has something like a 2 year retroactive for the initial CS order.
I think it is the case with modifications that you can't go retroactive prior to the filing date, but I think the initial CS filing is a different animal.
Can anyone clarify?
Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: Kitty C. on Nov 13, 2008, 11:30:30 AM
First of all, ALL the money you have given her to date is considered a 'gift' by the courts and will not be considered in the support order, regardless of whether you have proof or not.  With all the money you've already given her, I'm sure that's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's also reality.

If she's filed with the court to request a support order, you don't have to give her ANY more money, unless you truely want to do it out of the goodness of your heart until the court orders you to.  If she can't even afford diapers, then a shared physical custody arrangement should be petitioned with the court.

As difficult as she is making it for you, unfortunately the only way you can possibly have a say-so in this is to file a petition for custody.  Always remember that support and custody are 2 completely separate issues and a parent cannot hold the other parent 'hostage' over parenting time to blackmail for more money.  Any withholding of court-ordered parenting time is considered contempt of the order.  Also, there's physical AND legal custody..the former pertains to exactly how the child spends time with either parent and the latter is determining how the parents make decisions about the child (medical, school, etc.)

But you have to have something ordered by the court.......only then can you get any leverage to be a parent.  You are right, you are currently at her mercy in regards to the child and NO parent should have greater control than the other.

First and foremost, you need an atty.  Beg, borrow, or find the money somewhere but I would not suggest you try to do this on your own.  Like the saying goes:  He who represents himself has a fool for an attorney.  And I would recommend filing a petition for custody if she is determined to file for support.

Above all else, come back here often.  There is a ton of information on this site and many posters who have been where you are and lived to tell about it.  There are sample parenting plans available here to give you an idea of where to start.  Remember that legal information can be very state specific, so if you have questions in certain areas, we also need to know what state you're in to help you better.  I wish you the best.....your little girl is very lucky to have a daddy so devoted to her!
It took me a while to get this posted, and it appears you've already been given a lot of information.  But when it comes to children's rights, I feel that you can never have too much information.  So if you have any question any time, don't hesitate to ask!
Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: Kent on Nov 15, 2008, 05:46:58 AM
You need to get proof of your allegations that she won't let you see the child.
How to do that?
Check whether you are in a one-party or a two-party state. If you are in GA for example, you are in a one-party state. Check here:

If in a one-party state, you have the legal right to record any and all conversations you have with the mother without her knowledge. If in a two-party state, you can call her, record the call, and tell her at the beginning of the call that from now on all conversations between the two of you may be subject to being recorded, and then you are in the clear.

Record any conversation, verbal, via phone, in person, etc. etc. Save all recordings and have them transcribed.
A good recorder is the Olympus WS-300M. It is small, good quality, and records up to 11 hours in MP3 format, with a USB connection so you can easily transfer to your computer. Just keep an ample supply of AAA's as it is a battery hog. It empties your battery within a week, even if you don't use it.

Start reading for tipe on how to record and how to conduct yourself:

Good luck!

Title: Re: I need help in the worst possible way...
Post by: ilovesavannah on Nov 16, 2008, 02:46:26 PM
Thanks so much to Kitty C and all of the rest of you guys for giving me so much info that I didn't have!!!!!! I have one more question though, and I will ask it in the form of a brand new post... :-) Thank you guys oh so much.