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Author Topic: New to this and so completely lost  (Read 7128 times)

CartersMom0905

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New to this and so completely lost
« on: Aug 11, 2009, 06:30:15 PM »
I'm brand new to all of this, and by that I don't mean just this site. I mean having to fight over custody. Let me introduce myself first. My name is Sharon, 26, mom of one, from California.
His father and I have been apart for almost two years now(Never legally married). We were together for four years before he left. It was rocky at first, but him and I were able to mostly remain friends through it, and never had an issue as far as custody went. It was the one thing the both of us agreed on, and never had trouble with. He'd give me a call when he wanted to hang out with the kiddo, or I could give him a call when I needed to do something and wanted him to take him for a bit. No big deal on either of our sides.
Now all of a sudden the past few months it's becoming a problem. The only thing that has changed with us is he just graduated from boot camp for the Marines, and I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it. But now everything is just angry with him. Last minute changes with our son, not keeping his word about when he's bringing him back, doing things like cutting his hair with out talking to me, which might not sound like a big deal I suppose. But the big deal right now is, last week, when we yet again had an issue with him bringing our son back when he was supposed to(wanted to bring him two days later), I told him that maybe it's time we go ahead and get a custody order in place, just so we can be clean about where our son is going, with who, when, and for how long. So we don't keep running into this problem. His first reaction was to start yelling, cussing, and to tell me that he was going to take full custody of our son and that I would never see him again.
It's not like him, and I'm not sure what's going on. I've never had a problem with our son spending time with him, I've always encouraged it, he loves his dad and I know his dad loves him. But now with the threats he's been making, I don't feel okay with sending our three year old back over to that house with out the protection of a custody order. I have no way of knowing that I'll ever get him back otherwise.
I need to know if any one has any advice on this situation. Or if any one knows how to get a custody order in place with out an lawyer, which is something that I have no way of affording right now. I'm a full time college student, lost my job three months ago to down sizing, and I don't even have child support to lean on because he's never paid a dime of it in two years(another story for another time).
Any advice anyone can offer would be a great help and I thank you all in advance.
-Sharon


Davy

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #1 on: Aug 11, 2009, 10:08:02 PM »
Cartersmom
 
I hope I can help with this situation but don't know if I can .... my post will be based on my opinions and personal experiences.  I really love the demeanor you've reflected in your post toward yourself, your son and your son's father.
 
Let's first clarify some terminology.  You could have easily posted on the Father Issues board.  Legally, you are the custodial parent and have been since your son's birth.  Because you were never legally married, as such, each state will have requirements for the father to first determine paternity and secondly to define the father's legal relationship with his son.  Each state may be different and I do not know Ca's requirements but it is likely another poster will know.  The fullfillment of those requirements will likely be necessary before your son can be paid child support (with you as the responsible party) or your son has legal access to his father. Also, if what I said is not technically correct others will usually and gladly provide the correct info.
 
Your son will be the big WINNER in the short and long run if you and Dad work together on ALL matters.  Generally speaking, it behooves you for the sake of your son for you to continue your ENCOURAGEMENT of the son's relationship with the father.
 
You didn't say if there was a new relationship in the picture ... I wouldn't comment.  I know a little about getting out of boot and the probable different emotions and upheaval.  It was during Nam and my beautiful bouncing little girl was born a few months after boot ....we had been married approx. 18 months.   His immediate plans are likely to be unknown.
 
Look, I'm not very good at this.  All I'm try to say is, if you can, try to stand near him and show a little grace and understanding letting him know the son ya'll had together will be available to him.  He likely is capable of sucking up whatever is bothering him.  You may consider getting to know (if you can stand it ..ha !) some of his Marine buddys and any girlfriends.  Ya'll be at ease and confortable.  Oh...require mutual respect  AND...keep posting.
You're good !!

CartersMom0905

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #2 on: Aug 11, 2009, 10:30:40 PM »
Thank you so much for your quick reply Davy.
   Just thought I'd address a few things so every thing is clear for any one else offering advice.
I know that when our son was born, his father signed a declaration of paternity in the hospital. But there may be some complication with that.(Long story short, my ex's parent's lied to him his whole life and it wasn't until my son was almost a year old we found out that his father wasn't his bio father, and he actually had a different legal last name that what he had gone by his whole life. Way more complicated, but I'm summarizing for the sake of time).
   So I'm not sure if signing the declaration of paternity meets any sort of legal requirement of establishing paternity for his part, or if the document is even legal because it wasn't signed with his legal last name, but rather the name he thought was his.
   As far as relationships go, he hasn't had a serious relationship with any one since he left two years ago. I have had two I guess you would call it "boyfriends" in that time. We both set up a rule from the start that the kiddo wouldn't be allowed to meet any one we were "dating", unless it was serious and we talked to the other first about it. Our son has met those two boyfriends, the first one because he was a family friend that he already knew from before, and the most recent one, because it has become more serious, and with my ex's approval the new boyfriend has been interacting with our son for about 4 months now. They get along great, and my ex seems to have no problem with it as far as I know.
  As far as I know, my ex has no real interest in "dating". He has ( and honestly I think just to get under my skin) messaged me a few times to tell me about random women he's "hooking up" with, and to tell me how great it is to not be tied down. He's admitted to 9 women in the past 7 weeks. Which I understand has no bearing on the kind of father he is, but it is still a source of tension between him and I.
  At this point, it's almost starting to feel like a teenager rebelling and acting out more than anything, and I'm not sure if I should go ahead with this custody thing, or even if I need to. I don't want to do anything that I can't take back, and I don't want to harm the peacefulness we've had up until this point.


Thank you for your kind words Davy, I appreciate that you took the time to reply to me. Hopefully all the posters on this site prove to be as helpful and thoughtful as you've been.
-Sharon

CartersMom0905

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #3 on: Aug 11, 2009, 10:38:54 PM »
Just to clarify because I realized how it sounded after I read it lol, it was my ex who found out his father wasn't his bio father, not my son. There is no question who my son's father is. Just realized it might have been a little confusing after I posted it :)
-Sharon

mafitz

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #4 on: Aug 12, 2009, 08:28:14 PM »
Your ex may be worried about child support too.  Per the military without a court mandated order of child support your ex could lose his entire housing allowance to child support.  But I think he was clearly blowing off some steam. 
 
I will tell you first and foremost that your ex being in the service can not have custody of your son.  It is a common knowledge thing for them, and that may be bothering him. 
 
See if you can just sit down and talk to him.  Ask him directly what is going on with him.  Is he worried about the effect having a dependent would have on his career or pay?  Is he worried that you may railroad him?  (A lot of soldiers get the shaft by an ex and the war stories are all over the place because of it)  How can you make things better?
 
Also tell him you want to come to an agreement that both of you can live with.  You do not want to make his life hell, you just need to know what he would consider fair.
 
Sometimes they are scared, and they just need to know you are not going to make their life a living hell.  My hubby's ex made his life miserable.  Everytime he turned around she was writing letters to his commander accusing him of not paying child support, calling the post police to be with her when she picked up their daughter etc..  She made it so bad that to this day we still have every single check that was paid out for child support and this is over 10 years after the fact.
 
The BAQ is housing allowance and the soldiers can not afford to live without it.  The problem is if they are getting BAQ for dependents they can't live in the barracks, and have to live on the economy.  So you want to keep the BAQ out of it.  Just calculate what the child support is, and come up with a custodial agreement that will give him visitation when he is available with 48 hrs notice, and stipulate in that agreement that that is only in effect when your son does not have other plans, and agree as part of that that if your son is unavailable for a certain time that you will give a minimum of 5 days notice prior to his father making notice of any plans.  You agree to give this notice in writing as well as phone call.
 
I hate Cali's child custody laws with a passion, and I am begging you to continue to stay neutral and fair to your son's dad.  If he wants to push the issue then it will hurt him and he knows it.  If he wants a paternity test tell him to get it but he pays for it.  Its a thousand dollars so not out of the question to get. 


brwneyedmom

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #5 on: Aug 12, 2009, 11:59:28 PM »
I would also add that when you consider what would be a "fair" parenting time period for your child's dad, then flip it around.  Would you consider it to be fair if that was the time alloted to you if you were NCP?  If not, why?  Then revise until you think it would be a good time spread for you.  It really does help to try to stand in the other parent's shoes and see it from their side.
You might check to see if mediation is an option in your state.  Here in Oregon, both parents are court required to submit to 8 hours of mediation to try to work out parenting/custody issues between them.  If they need more time, the court generally approves it.  That was the ONLY time that I felt that we both came out win-win rather than lose-lose.  If the parents cannot agree, then the judge decides.  It may take your ex some time to get to that point that mediation is trying for a winning solution that PARENTS come up with rather than the court.  Judges don't give a rip and lawyers only want the money.  The more cash, the merrier.  I spent over $25000 over 14 years.  What a waste of college money for our son.  It bought my attorney a very nice car, however.

mafitz

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #6 on: Aug 13, 2009, 11:22:28 AM »

I would also add that when you consider what would be a "fair" parenting time period for your child's dad, then flip it around.  Would you consider it to be fair if that was the time alloted to you if you were NCP?  If not, why?  Then revise until you think it would be a good time spread for you.  It really does help to try to stand in the other parent's shoes and see it from their side.
You might check to see if mediation is an option in your state.  Here in Oregon, both parents are court required to submit to 8 hours of mediation to try to work out parenting/custody issues between them.  If they need more time, the court generally approves it.  That was the ONLY time that I felt that we both came out win-win rather than lose-lose.  If the parents cannot agree, then the judge decides.  It may take your ex some time to get to that point that mediation is trying for a winning solution that PARENTS come up with rather than the court.  Judges don't give a rip and lawyers only want the money.  The more cash, the merrier.  I spent over $25000 over 14 years.  What a waste of college money for our son.  It bought my attorney a very nice car, however.

 
Hubby's lawyer racked up $9000 in fees in a period of 2 years.  My attorney racked up $6000 in under a year.  It really does get up there, and I totally agree, its not worth a penny either.  Lawyers and judges should be the very last resort for separated parents. 

Davy

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #7 on: Aug 13, 2009, 05:03:45 PM »
Cartersmom ...
 
... and Dad if he happens to be reading
 
I'm posting to try to reenforce what has already been said.  I thought Mafitz's advice on 08/12 was not only relevant but full of good practical common sense and I want to repeat some of that advice :
 
"Your son will be the big WINNER in the short and long run if you and Dad work together on ALL matters.  Generally speaking, it behooves you for the sake of your son for you to continue your ENCOURAGEMENT of the son's relationship with the father"

"See if you can just sit down and talk to him.  Ask him directly what is going on with him.  Is he worried about the effect having a dependent would have on his career or pay?  Is he worried that you may railroad him?  (A lot of soldiers get the shaft by an ex and the war stories are all over the place because of it)  How can you make things better "
 
I'm assumming mom is not hiding anything causing CPS to be notified and if there is something to do whatever it takes to make corrections out of love for your son and yourself.  Otherwise, don't let CPS enter especially if they didn't call first for an appointment and also get a copy of all accusations and reports.  My take is that mom is fantastic and dad should be estatic she's his son's mother.
 
I, for one , have the upmost respect for dad ... not only for being a marine but also having a son he is ultimately responsible to in his upbringing and the importance he has in his son's life.  You definitely don't want CPS in you son's life.  I have a dau and two sons ... all grown and gone.  I know well the look of integrity in dad's eyes.  The look today is probably greater today than it was 6 mos. ago and is likely to be even more intense 6 mons. from now.  When I was in dad's station in life I would go onto post about half the time with only 10 cents to buy a soda pop after mess.  These days when I go to the VA hospital, I can guarantee you we're all brothers (and sisters) like before and only now we spread at least 4 generations.  Starbucks coffee is over $2.
 
I suspect both mom and dad have the strength to get thru everything together just like they did when they brought this child into the world.  Each should focus on their child and get things in ink together without interference from CPS and the courts. etc.  Sometimes moms and /or dads need a little nudge.
 
Best of everything to your child and mom and dad ... ya'll are loved !!

mafitz

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #8 on: Aug 13, 2009, 10:00:03 PM »
This is true Davy.  Something that both parents need to remember is that one day those children are going to not only start asking questions, but they are also going to start LOOKING for the truth.  EVERYTHING you as a parent do even when you are going through a divorce will be called into question by your children.
 
It may not happen while they are young, but it most certainly will happen.  The other thing that custodial mothers need to keep in mind is that if you push the other parent out of the child's life, you are going to end up with a load of baggage that you are carrying on your own.  Children who are denied access to one or both parents end up with very serious emotional issues.  Its not just some myth, its real life. 
 
My husband last saw his daughter from his first marriage when she was 4 years old.  She is 15 now.  His ex finally became very civil towards him about 2 years ago.  Their daughter she explained to him, had grown up without her father and she now wanted my husband to be in her life.  Problem is, it doesn't work like that.  See what happened was over the years the bond that existed between father and daughter deteriorated and eventually just disappeared.   He knows biologically she is his daughter, but he doesn't think of her as his child anymore. 
 
And while the wounds from that period of hell in his life did finally heal and scar, he never forgot them, and the trust was destroyed. 
 
So what happens?  The kids grow up without a perfectly functional father, the other half of their identity, believing they are unwanted, they have a hole in their life literally, because the other half of their very identity is absent, and statistics bare out the road that the majority of these kids end up travelling.  All for what?  Even if you got $600 a month in child support that doesn't even come close to covering rent, utilities, the clothes, toys, healthcare, childcare and food that child will consume.  You will still find yourself working more than living just to make ends meet each month.  But if you force the dad out, you are also screwing yourself out of room to breathe.  You have no one coming to take the kids for the weekend, or the week, or the month. 
 
No one to step in when the kids are going through one of their many difficult phases, or having trouble in school.  It will always be on you, solely on you, and that is the kind of martyr's walk that no one in their right mind wants to take.
 

CartersMom0905

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Re: New to this and so completely lost
« Reply #9 on: Aug 14, 2009, 12:50:53 AM »
Whoa... it's a lot to take in guys. I am so grateful for so many of you reply to me though, so thank you for that first of all.
I'll try to address as much as I can.
   
   To the person who mentioned not getting CPS involved... it's like your a mind reader. I had a knock on my door from.. guess who? I posted it about that as well on a separate thread if you'd like to read how that went. I don't know if it was him that called or his mother, but I tend to believe this is the kind of thing that his mother is more capable of. But the worker came and went and found nothing.
   To the person who posted about fair time with each parent, I should point out that I would absolutely have no problem at all with our son spending a week with his father and week with me, or how ever it would work out. I think that he deserves just as much time as I do. But the catch is that he is just not able to do that right now and we both know that. He's just graduated from boot camp in May, he's still going through his MOS training right now, they won't even let him buy a car. They own his every move right now, and he doesn't even know when he'll be able to get liberty. Some one else made a beautiful suggestion about making it so he has weekends when he's available with 48 hours notice to me, just so I know what's going on. I would love to work with that for now until my ex gets more freedom and we can work something else out.
   This board has been so helpful so far, and I really appreciate all of your comments, well wishes and great advice. I'm sorry if I've missed any one at all, but I am dead on my feet right now, just spent my first day at the court house, (which you can also read about in my post about loosing my mind lol). So thank you again to any one who's replied, and keep em' coming guys, the more the merrier. And what's great about this board is by answering questions that I or others have already posted, it's possible we're answering question that many people have but haven't asked yet. It's a beautiful thing helping others ya'll :)

-Sharon
"I believe that everything happens for a reason.
 People change so thatyou can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate themwhen their right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trustno one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so betterthings can fall together."

 

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