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Author Topic: Any advice for a mom locked in a custody battle?  (Read 3941 times)

dsimms9

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Any advice for a mom locked in a custody battle?
« on: Apr 12, 2006, 01:08:00 AM »
I am a single mom who is drowning in legal fees due to a horrible custody battle for my daughter. I anyone has any advice, knows how I can apply for grants or low interest loans, or even has any advice to keep my emotional sanity please respond.

Also, if you or anyone you know may want to donate to my cause please go to my website. Thank you.



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4honor

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Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2006, 06:11:51 PM »
I suggest you settle for 50/50 with no CS changing hands -- as this is the least expensive way out of your custody battle and for children with TWO FIT parents this is the custody arrangements that BEST support mental and emotional stability in growing children.

If each parent takes care of the child while with them (whoever has access to health insurance should provide it -- especially if they have other children covered already) then the children live at the same level as their parents, but it is closer to reality. ( I lived at a lower level when I went away to college than when I was at home with my parents -- so life is  not so unlike a joint physical custody arrangement.)

The conflict diminishes and you co-parent, both because you HAVE TO and because you want to.

That frees up your time and money for the important things, and makes each parent only responsible for one half of any childcare bill.

As for emotional sanity, I suggest a single mom's group through a church or your local county. Most are low or no cost. Also, see if your job has a mental health program. I suggest a talk with your human resources person. (My husbands's work provides 5 free sessions per person per issue per year with a mental health therapist/counselor through an EAP program.)

Submitting to joint custody is not LOSING. It is a win for most children. If it is feasible in your case (i.e., distance and no abuse or substance abuse on either side) then demand it. Your child needs you both... but only if you are both FIT parents.
A true soldier fights, not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves whats behind him...dear parents, please remember not to continue to fight because you hate your ex, but because you love your children.

Gram

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RE: Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #2 on: Apr 13, 2006, 08:36:58 PM »
As a retired teacher who has worked with many children of divorce, I disagree that the 50/50 custody solution is in the child's best interest. These children are frequently in need of greater consistency and structure in their homelives. They aren't sure where their backpack is, who to call for permission to go with a friend, what to say or not to say about their family, etc. They often need an inordinate amount of attention and support from their teachers, even as compared to children of divorce who live primarily with only one of their parents.

The current attitude/belief that children's time should be divided equally between both parents, is in my opinion, misguided. This seems fair to the parents, but I believe it is not a good situation for the child. It probably serves to eliminate a lot of child support problems, but money really shouldn't be the issue. There is much more opportunity for conflict between the parents in a 50/50 arrangement, and this is evident in the classroom where the child's ability to focus on his learning is often impaired. I had many kids who were physically and emotionally exhausted after yet another mid-week or bi-weekly change of address.

Think about how well you'd like it if you had to move everything that you needed or wanted twice a week! Growing up is difficult enough without this unnecessary and harmful custody arrangement.

To the single mother who started this thread, my advice is to look elsewhere for support. This forum is really about the "rights" of fathers. You'll hear from a lot of stepmothers here, who are advocating for their husbands and themselves.

IceMountain

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RE: Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #3 on: Apr 13, 2006, 09:15:35 PM »
OK, this is IceMountain's wife...and I have to disagree with Gram!!!  I work with 3-5 year old children in a Head Start program.  My position requires weekly home visits with the children and their parents.  

I work with 11 children.  3 of them live with both parents.  5 of them live with 1 parent (2 with a step-parent in the home).  2 of them have 50/50 custody.  1 lives with a grandparent who has custody.  So I also see the different sides of custody... the only difference is that I have an 'inside view' of how the whole family unit functions.

Two of the families I work with share 50/50 joint custody and I tell those parents several times a year how well-adjusted their children are... and how much I appreciate the working relationship between the parents.  They are secure and well-behaved.  I have worked with both of these families for 2 years.  One of the families separated this year and the child has actually improved in many areas, including his own self-esteem.

50/50 custody is NOT about the child support.  Anyone who believes that, or is seeking it for that reason... is very sadly misguided.  It is about the children having the support and love of both parents as equally as possible.  It is about always knowing that both parents are available when needed.  It is about doing what is in the best interest of the child.  Minimizing one parent's role to 'just a visitor' or a 'weekend' parent with no good cause... is that in the child's best interest?

I will agree that some 50/50 arrangements do not work.  For 50/50 to work, both parents have to be willing to co-parent, communicate and support each other... and provide a positive, loving environment for the child(ren).  

In my experience, children in 50/50 custody arrangements generally do not change addresses twice a week.  

I'm not surprised you feel 50/50 is a bad idea.  From reading your other posts it is obvious that you are in a situation where you/your daughter do/does not want the father involved.  

I just re-read your post again and I have to say I can't believe how narrow-minded it is.   A teacher should know better.

Stepmom0418

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RE: Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #4 on: Apr 13, 2006, 09:17:39 PM »
I am sorry Gram I respectfully disagree with you!

First of all, why would a child have to "move" anything?? With 50/50 each parent should have a home full of the things the child wants and needs. As for whom the child should call for permission ........the child should be familiar with the schedule and would know whom to ask permission from! (especially if it has been a long term arangement) My son plays baseball and has practices at diffrent locations. He knows the ball schedule and where it is and also which place we are going. He is only 8. You cant tell me that children can't adapt to change or to a schedule!! Children adapt to many things including change.


You also stated..... There is much more opportunity for conflict between the parents in a 50/50 arrangement, and this is evident in the classroom where the child's ability to focus on his learning is often impaired.

Why would conflict be more in a 50/50 arangement unless one parent or the other was trying to over power the other?? How many children are from a divorced family, that have a "primary parent," that also have a learning impairment??


There are alot of Cp's in this world that try to eliminate the NCP totally from the childs life. I tend to think that this would cause serious harm to a child where as if 50/50 was the situation it there would not be a CP and BOTH parents could parent their child just as they would have BEFORE the divorce!!

I would also like to say that I do not believe that Sparc or the members of Sparc are here to advocate to fathers rigths. This is about the children!! Why is it fair that BOTH parents were fit to raise the child before divorce but after the divorce one only gets to be a visitor in the child life. How would this situation NOT harm a child??


Gram

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RE: Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13, 2006, 11:03:11 PM »
SPARC states in its introduction on the home page: "SPARC recognizes the value of fatherhood and supports the concept of true joint custody, where parents work together for the best interests of their children. When joint custody is not possible or workable, we often advocate for fathers as custodial parents. Statistics show that custodial fathers are the most likely to encourage a positive relationship between their children and the other parent and to raise happy, healthy children."
That sure sounds like a "father's rights" advocacy site to me.

In reference to your first point, children have to move things between homes because they want to have favorite objects with them, things that give them comfort, or things they need for school or sports. Obviously everything will not be identical from home to home. There are of course solutions to some of this...duplicate copies of baseball schedules, one for each home, similar toys and clothes, etc. In my experience though, this rarely happens and the kids are forced to tough it out until they get to the home that has what they want.

As to your question about learning impairments, children of divorce have them as often as children from intact families. Learning disabilities are not caused by divorce. But kids do need to be physically and mentally available for learning, and in my experience most kids who switch homes mid-week or even every other week have more problems learning.

Generally speaking, I doubt if both parents equally participated in raising the child before the divorce. In many cases one parent provides most of what the child needs and the other is less present in the child's life. Then divorce happens and the less involved parent is afraid of losing touch with his kids and doesn't want to write checks to the ex, so he goes for joint custody. What often happens with 50/50 is the child is left in the care of a stepparent or family member while the parent is at work, out of town, or doing whatever else they used to do when the original family was intact. In these cases, I think the child is happier and better off living with a primary residential parent. Neighborhood friends remain consistent, homework, eating and sleeping routines are unchanged at least during the school week, and the parent who has in the past provided for most of the child's care is present. The non-residential parent likely spends more time with the child after the divorce than before.

You asked "why is it fair that both parents were fit to raise the child before the divorce, but after one gets to be only a visitor in the child's life?" It's not fair to the parent. But this isn't about the parent's rights, it's about what the child needs. Yes, children need both parents in their lives. But "equally" is the non-custodial parent talking. It's rarely equal, not in intact families or divorces. One parent is usually the primary care-giver, and that parent should be the primary residential parent, in my opinion.



Gram

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RE: Unless your child is in physical danger with your ex
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13, 2006, 11:38:30 PM »
To IceMountain's wife:  While I have enormous respect for the work you do, and the experience you've had with the families you've known, I think my 32 year career in elementary education offers me a larger data base than you present. Certainly there are exceptions to my position that 50/50 custody arrangements are in the parents' best interests not the child's.  I'm talking about hundreds of families that I've known and worked closely with over several years. My experience with those children and their parents has formed my opinion about custody. If both parents have always been equally involved in the child's life prior to divorce, then it makes sense that they should continue to be. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Mothers alone attended most of the parent-teacher conferences. I never once had a "room father"; that responsibility was always a mother's role. When a child was sick, it was most often the mother who left home or work to come and get them. Once in awhile there was a father (usually divorced) who wanted to come along on field trips, but the large majority of volunteers were mothers.

I completely agree with your statement, "For 50/50 to work, both parents have to be willing to co-parent, communicate and support each other... and provide a positive, loving environment for the child(ren)." I wonder why a couple that could do all of this would want a divorce in the first place??

As to your reference to my own situation with my daughter and grandchild, there is no reason to think we don't want the father involved. We do. Our issue is that he has no clue how to care for the child and only wants custody to save money and to give his own mother a grandchild. There is no divorce or prior intact family involved. Much like the situation of the original poster.

Everyone is somewhat "narrow-minded" when it comes to important issues, especially those involving children that we love. To lack an informed opinion is hardly in the child's best interest. As loving adults, it is our responsibility to look out for them. Yes, that includes hearing the other side of the argument. There's room for compromise, compassion, and change. I feel strongly about this issue because I'm a teacher who cares about children and have known many who have suffered due to their parents' misguided decisions.

Ref

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Your definition of 50/50 is pretty limited
« Reply #7 on: Apr 14, 2006, 11:27:00 AM »
There are families with mid-week exchanges. There are kids with one week on one week off. There are kids with 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. There are arragements with every other weekend, one night during the week and a bigger chunk of the summer.

I personally think each family has to decide what is best for the child. Some may benefit from the every other week thing but others woulddo much better with the EOW during school and longer summers. What I don't think is right is when a parent only gets to share their experiences and life with their children 1/10 of the year. The kids deserve to spend much more time than that with BOTH parents. I can't imagine even the most hands-off parent in a marriage only spending 1/10th of the year with their child.

My challange as a child was that my family moved around a lot, almost every 1.5 years. I had to pick up and leave all my friends and all my familiar surroundings. It probably wasn't the best thing for me to have to do that so often, but that was the family I was born in and I adapted. I don't see any difference with shared parenting. Sure it is not ideal, but it may be the very best thing for the child. Kids are a hell of a lot more resilliant than what people give them credit for and if this is the worst thing that they have to deal with, they are blessed children.

By the way, DH's ex is a crazy bi!ch and she keeps sueing us and she keeps losing but we have to pay our legal bills anyway. Does anyone want to donate to MY cause?

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msme

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About your opinion.....
« Reply #8 on: Apr 17, 2006, 07:38:30 AM »
Opinions are like butts. Everybody has one & most of them stink, yours included! That being said, I can tell you from experience that the courts have been consistantly unfair & often place children with unfit parents, simply because they have the title "mother" attached to their name.

My son worked nights, took care of the kids, cleaned the house & did most of the cooking. He went on every field trip, both before & after the split.

When the police removed the children, from her, for abuse & neglect, my son did everything in his power to keep their lives running smooth. Then the %!tch judge turned it right around & gave them back to her, stating that he had no right to take her children from her, because she needed them.

So, get off your high horse & stop whinning that mom's are better CP & that very few dads fully participate in their kids lives. There are lots of them & they are not going to go away just because some old school teacher who is living in the dark ages says so.


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Stepmom0418

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RE: About your opinion.....
« Reply #9 on: Apr 17, 2006, 09:24:50 AM »
Well stated msme!! I decided to let this one go because it isnt worth my time to try and change someones mind about something that is in such a mindset as gram is!

You said it better than I could! Thank you from me and Dh!!

 

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