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Started by silvertone, Sep 02, 2004, 03:18:41 PM
Sep 02, 2004, 03:18:41 PM
To whom it may concern,
I am searching for advice, counsel, and eventually representation in a family court matter in which I am seeking visitation/custody.
I have received results of a paternity test as of Feb 2, 2004, which revealed that I am the father of a ten-year-old boy, named Nick. (I was never married to the birth mother). I traveled from Batavia, New York to Lexington, North Carolina and was allowed to meet my son Nick, on May 9, 2004, in his home environment. Nick's biological mother (Leigh) had given me the impression that she would help maintain communication between Nick and I.... So I hesitated filing for visitation fearing that Leigh might alienate me and breach court orders with impunity. This would make visitation difficult and costly, if not impossible. The family court system appears to be bias against non-custodial men.
I also figured that financing trips to North Carolina to spend time with Nick would be more productive and achievable than going into debt with attorney fees, trips to N.C. for court appearances, and filing fees. I now realize that I must file for visitation/custody in order to play an important role or have any positive influence in Nick's life. I have sent birthday gifts; written letters with my return address, telephone number, and a request that they make collect calls or help Nick write letters in order to help facilitate communication between my son and I. I have not heard from Nick since May 9, 2004 or since the day he was born. I was unaware that I even had a son.
At one point during Leigh's pregnancy I thought that Nick might be my biological son; but when Leigh refused to allow a paternity test, then put another man's name on the birth certificate, and made an admission that the child was not mine, I believed her. Leigh said that she was trying to "get me back" by saying Nick is my son. I had plenty of reason to believe that too! Leigh's parents were also at the hospital upon delivery telling me that Nick was not my son... I was convinced because I had already discovered that she was having an affair with the man whose name she put on Nick's birth certificate as the father. I wasn't around Leigh during most of the possible conception dates.
I have attempted to build a relationship with Nick as opposed to entering a custody battle. Leigh and Forrest did not have a phone service for their house, I wrote Nick, but I haven't received any letters in return. I'm sure that Leigh, the biological mother wants to avoid any type of relationship between my son and I. I believe that Leigh is aware that her parenting skills aren't up to "par"; and that Nick doesn't know her that well because she left him at his grandparents' for the first eight and a half years of his life. Leigh realizes that she could lose a custody battle against me. It appears that Leigh fears losing a custody battle would jeopardize her financial standing. She would lose her child support payments and financial leverage on Nick's grandparents (Leigh's parent's); i.e. reduced rent, Forrest's employment through the family business... It is my opinion that Leigh probably has little or no maternal instinct because she abandoned her son for eight and a half years.
During my one and a half hour visit to Nick's house on May 9, 2004 my wife Pam and I noticed a few disturbing facts about Nick's home environment. I discovered that Nick had been told and believed that his biological grandparents were his biological mother and father as Nick was in their custody for the first 8 1/2 to 9 years of his life. Nick actually believed that his biological mother (Leigh) was his sister throughout the nine years that the grandparents raised him. Leigh mentioned being unemployed since she was fired for cashing unauthorized checks from her family's business. And it was around that time she took custody of Nick.
Leigh and Forrest started having Nick refer to Forrest as "dad" around the time they removed Nick from the grandparents' home. Nick had been referring to his grand parents as mom and dad... Forrest and Leigh were never even married ... so technically Forrest doesn't even qualify as Nick's stepfather. During the time frame of approx one year Nick has known three men as dad. I believe that the deception of conception could have harmful consequences that may negatively effect Nick's psychological and social development. I mentioned to Leigh that it would be wise to get Nick into counseling. She replied, "Nick's fine with it". I am worried about Nick becoming traumatized due to being deceived by his entire immediate family since the day he could understand language; because the first words spoken and understood are mom and dad!... I ended the relationship between Leigh and myself once I realized her deceitful nature toward her friends and family.
I saw a marijuana pipe on a coffee table, in plain view for the children to see, if they noticed. Her partner/boyfriend (Forrest) of ten years spoke of crack cocaine, a lot, in a particularly defensive manner. i.e. Forrest mentioned that he frequently worked on crack dealer's cars with out getting paid because he was a nice guy and they would only offer crack for payment. He spoke of "crack stories" constantly, even though the topic was never brought up. Forrest talked so much I hardly got the chance to have a conversation with Nick. I believe he would fail a hair follicle test.
I also met Forrest's seventeen-year-old biological son who lives in the residence. Forrest's son appeared to be emotionally disturbed i.e. collecting Poke-e-mon cards and we were told that he didn't play w/friends his own age, special classes for behavioral children, and he was prescribed a regimen of psychotropic drugs. He also asked Forrest, "Why did you hit me?" Forrest replied, "They were just Charlie horses". Leigh and Forrest forgot to pack Forrest's son's asthma inhaler with his school supplies. The grandparent's had to be notified to get the inhaler and bring it to school because the boy was having an attack and Leigh didn't have a phone where she could be notified.
My visit only lasted an hour and a half. I'm not perfect by a long shot but the dysfunction I witnessed in such a brief visit was amazing. The house was filthy. There was animal hair, dander, and dust was everywhere. Plus dirty dishes, clothes, and toys were all over the place as well. I am sure that a parenting evaluation would demonstrate that my son Nick is living in an unhealthy, unstable, and unsuitable environment.
The purpose of discussing the information written last four paragraphs is to demonstrate some facts which could be revealed in court through the teamwork of a parental evaluator and a family law attorney working closely, in concert, together... Possibly in front of an unbiased jury? I really don't know what is the best course of action for me or what options are open to me at this point.
I am concerned with Nick's education. Nick is already one tear behind in school. He is ten years old as he is about to enter fourth grade. I don't know why. Nick menti0onesd that the Mexican kids give him a hard time. I'm sure he wouldn't mind switching school districts if he did move to my house. So Leigh said that Nick was aware of two shootings. One occurred in school and the other happened on the street he live on. Leigh mentioned that Nick is "scared of his own shadow". Leigh apparently finds humor in this and will not be seeking counseling for Nick.
I am concerned with Nick's physical development. His biological mother, Leigh has become extremely overweight and appears to live a sedentary lifestyle. Leigh also mentioned that Nick spends a lot of time in his bedroom playing video games because he doesn't have anyone to play outside with him. I think Leigh was hoping that Forrest would "get the hint" and play with the kids once in a while.
Leigh's parents, (Nick's grandparents) employed Forrest after Nick was removed from the grandparent's home against the grandparent's wishes. Forrest admitted that Leigh's family did not want him around their property; but once Forrest had custody of their grandson, that changed. The grandparent's agreed to finance a home to make sure that Leigh and Forrest live in close proximity were the grandparents can keep an "eye" on Nick. These were all facts told to by Forrest (who couldn't stop talking) and Leigh herself admitted to these facts. It appears that material/financial gain was the motive for removing Nick from his grandparents' house after approx nine years. Leigh also complained about the fact that she is ineligible for social security income benefits. Leigh admitted that Forrest could not earn enough for Forrest and Leigh to live on until they had Nick in their home. Leigh only had baby pictures and very recent third grade pictures. How well does Leigh actually know her son? Leigh and Forrest had no difficulty telling us this information until they felt vulnerable to a custody battle. Once again, the reason I have even written this paragraph is because I feel that many of these facts could be revealed in court through the teamwork of a parental evaluator and an attorney working together...Still I don't know the best way to handle these family court matters.
I believe that Nick's grandparents feel that Leigh and Forrest are not capable of raising a healthy child. And I 'm sure that Nick would realize that living with my wife and I would be a much better situation "all the way around". Leigh and her family covered up the fact (or possibly didn't know) that I was Nick's biological father. Leigh knows I'm good with kids and I would have taken custody of Nick from the grandparents and she would lose leverage over the grandparents for monetary/financial support; In fact the grandparent's and the rest of the immediate family would have wrote her off as the thief/ liar who allowed their grandchild to be taken to N.Y...
My wife Pam and I have been together for 8 yrs. we both have a stable home and stable jobs. Most of my friends have kids around Nick's age. Nick seems to enjoy dirtbikes and four wheelers and he would probably love snowmobiles. I own two dirtbikes, a three-wheeler and a four-wheeler and a snowmobile, which I would be able to teach Nick to ride and maintain. I can teach Nick simple algebra, how to read sheet music and tablature, how to use computer software write a document for school ect. I was involved in football and wrestling at his age and through much of high school. I still play softball with my union. Pam has played basketball and was on colorgaurd. She volunteers her time and skills doing hair and makeup on cast members for high school plays sponsored by the Rotary club, as well as other community activities/functions. (Family autobiography available upon request) Pam also participates in other positive community functions. Nick may not wish to participate in any of these activities; but he would be living with positive role models. The simple fact is that Nick would have many opportunities for learning and play, which are just not available to him in his present situation. I can't prove but I highly suspect the only thing that Leigh and Forrest are interested in is "getting high". Pam and I can provide a much more comfortable and stable home environment than Leigh and Forrest and we are prepared to prove it.
We are about to complete all the requirements for foster care; We have completed MAPP training for foster care; We have written a family autobiography complete with photo album which can be submitted in family court; I am a certified occupational therapy assistant employed as a child care aide for New York state; My wife Pam and I have plenty of professional and collateral references. In other words I play w/ children my sons age as a profession. Kids love Pam Plus Nick stated that he enjoyed schoolwork but he hates his school district. I know there are schools that Nick would prefer in my district compared to the school he is currently attending. (Leigh stated that Nick is afraid because of a shooting at school and a shooting in their neighborhood. Should I go for custody outright, or file for visitation first.
Sep 23, 2004, 10:23:47 PM
It was difficult to get through your posts, being long and without paragraphs. So it is probably why you haven't been responded to as yet.
With all said and done, I believe you should go for custody outright. Good Luck.
Been hanging out since 1998... I think.
Hire a PI first to get the info you need.
Sep 24, 2004, 03:17:08 PM
When you have the PI's report that BM and/or her SO are the crack heads you think they are, file for full custody. Maybe make a deal with her parents that if they will support your bid for custody, that you will support their relationship with Nick.. specific visitation during the summer, a Christmas visit (at their expense) and frequent ongoing telephone calls.
The g'parents may not have known who was actually the biodad of Nick, so don't fault them for stepping up and becoming Nick's parents when their daughter failed to be... would you want to admit to your son that Forrest was his dad? I understand the lie (do I agree with it, no.)
You will get further if HER parents suport you than if you have to fight the whole family.
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.
Sep 24, 2004, 05:30:46 PM
I would file for modified custody and let the court figure out what is in the best interest of the child.
You do realize you have to file for custody and hire an attorney in NC where the child lives.
Its sad that it took so many years for you to find out that you had a son. I have a sister who did the same thing to a man, its sad for the child.
Also, I agree with the posting before mine, the grandparents can be a lot of help to you. If they had custody last, if they supported you getting custody that could be a feather in your cap!
Good Luck, keep us all posted!
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