New here needing advice on custody issues!

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Latest post Wed, Mar 14 2012 11:01 AM by eaglesguy1981j. 10 replies.
  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 3:11 AM

    New here needing advice on custody issues!

    Im sorta going though something right now and need some help. My kids mother and I have 2 kids together. We are no longer together and havent been for 6+ years. We have never had a custody or visitation order. But I think its time to. Long story short for 10 years I have been playing this same song and dance. Where Ill get them on my weekends then she will get in a mood or get upset at me for some reason then I go weeks sometimes months without seeing my kids. And in between that time I spend it walking on egg shells so I don't rock the boat and end up not getting them on my weekends. Her familes activities and things always trump mine. Last weekend was my oldests birthday and was suppose to be my weekend. I simply got a text saying they weren't coming because the decided to throw a birthday party. I just want to see my kids on a regularly scheduled agreement without having to jump though hoops just to see them.

    Recently I was laid off for an unemployment was exhausted before I found something full time. So Im a few months behind 5 to be exact. Something Im not proud of and have always done what I can to fulfill my obligation. I know I'm behind but would I still have a leg to stand on if I tried to go for joint custody and court ordered visitation?

    All I want to do is spend time with my kids on my weekends (more if I could), not when it works for her or she is in the mood to let me. What are the odds of being able to get a joint custody arrangement? I'm not looking to take the kids away or point her out to be a bad mother. Just something court ordered and concequences if its not followed though. I rarely miss a weekend when Im able to see them, I also lobby for extra days or times when she has something going on and needs me to take them.

     

    Before it makes me sound like all a "Saint" or something. Our time together was not good. Fights some times physical fights something I'm not proud of and nothing or no one to blame but me. Ive moved on from that person. Matter of fact my wife and I now have a great relationship. I just want the time I feel I deserve and tired of not being important.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR THOSE THAT DONT WANT TO READ ALL THE ABOVE!

     

    Is it difficult to obtain joint custody?

    Is there anything different between joint and Full?

    Does being behind in CS effect my chances?

    While the process is going will I get to see my kids? Like a tempory visitatation?

    Do I have anything to lose?

     

     

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 3:58 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    eaglesguy1981j:
    Is it difficult to obtain joint custody?

    In some cases yes.  It is very fact and case specific.  In order to have the best chance you really need to hire a family law lawyer.

    eaglesguy1981j:
    Is there anything different between joint and Full?

    Yes, in joint custody the parents split the parenting 50/50 in full custody the parent awarded it gets 100% of the decision making and physical custody of the children.

    eaglesguy1981j:
    Does being behind in CS effect my chances?

    If you are working to repay it probably not.  Generally courts have ruled that not paying support does not mean visitation is suspended.

    eaglesguy1981j:
    While the process is going will I get to see my kids? Like a tempory visitatation?

    You have the right to see your kids but until you have a formal court order spelling out the visitation terms then she can likely legally withhold them until the case resolves unless you do get a temporary order.  A skilled lawyer would know how to do that.

    eaglesguy1981j:
    Do I have anything to lose?

    Only visitation with your kids if you don't try.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 6:28 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    You have every right to a set custody schedule.  According to state law- there are usually two different types of custody- one is concerning decision making- that is usually joint so both parents have a say in medical/schooling/religion, etc concerning the children;  the other is physical- who has the children when. It sounds like you are seeking joint legal or decision making and partial physical custody by having them every other weekend.  Sounds reasonable from here.  Some courts have a procedure to have a temporary order entered pending the actual full custody hearing.; you would need to consult with local counsel concerning the procedure in your courts.  Child support shouldn't have anything to do with your custody rights. 

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 7:55 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    Absent a formal custody order which spells out your visitation rights you simply don't have any legal leverage as to visitation and you are destined to be her human doormat--you sort of have no choice but to seek a formal order.

    In theory CS and your being behind is not a factor as to  visitation--but she is sure to try to smear you a bit.  Best way not to go off track is to use counsel.   Working on catching up  does help as to clean hands.

    IF your wages have been cut it might be appropriate to seek a modified  CS order based on new facts --a lower future committment might help?   It won't erase you back due problems .   It may or may not be appropriate to address both topics at same time ---best discuss that with counsel.



  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 8:54 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    Thanks for the kindly replies. More reassuring then anything. But that is exactly what I want. More involvement in there lives. More decision making involvement. I really hate watching my kids grow up 2 weeks at a time sometimes more. I just always thought it takes a "special" person to be granted that. Any advice on choosing an attorny? I need one that is affordable but effective. Is there such a thing? Can I do some of the leg work to help with the cost?

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 9:37 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    I'm not sure how to chose an attorney --ask about--seek somebody who has done the drill many times before and been a general winner for his clients --ask.

    And "cheap" does not always mean better --the guy or gal with the higher hourly rate might be more skillful and get it right the first time with less actual time .

    I'm not sure how much leg work there is for Dad to do in a case like this--and sometimes it takes more time to sort thru a laymans legwork than it may be worth. My guess is that this is pretty routine case for a seasoned divorce/family lawyer.

    But if your ability to pay is modest and needs some payment plan--be honest up front--that probably will help a lot  to secure talent or at least narrow down the options



  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 10:24 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    Before it makes me sound like all a "Saint" or something. Our time together was not good. Fights some times physical fights something I'm not proud of and nothing or no one to blame but me. Ive moved on from that person. Matter of fact my wife and I now have a great relationship. I just want the time I feel I deserve and tired of not being important.

     Just curious will the above come back to haunt me? I do have a criminal history. But everything is 7-10 years old. All fines paid. I do have a domestic that was amended to a simple assault. Which was 11 years ago. Like I said Im not proud of it. A totally different person then I was 10 years ago. But though it all ive always been there for my kids. No periods of abandanment on my part. I understand that there is no way this couldnt hurt things. And Im not going to lie about them. But never towards the kids. I dont even spank any of my kids.

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 10:30 AM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    First question that needs to be answered to determine the path to follow.  Has paternity ever been legally established?  I assumed from the way you posted that you were never married.

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 10:46 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    Well thats a different subject all its own. But I guess since Im needing help I guess the facts are needed. So here goes and please dont fault me for this. I felt it was best for him. I have legally acknowledged that the children are mine. The oldest is 11 the youngest is 9. And also on both birth certificets. But heres the truth and I am the only one that knows. The girl is mine the boy is not. I had them both privately tested about 5 years ago. I never told anyone about this. I was the father he had grown to know. Right or wrong i havent decided to expose this in the future when I think he could best handle it or take it to my grave. But hes my son ive never treated him any different before or after. This is something I would like to remain quiet about. The mother doesnt know either.

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 10:47 AM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    It does not look as if your criminal history ever involved your children.  I am sure that she will bring it up, but given that it never involved the children and that the history itself is pretty old, I doubt that it will prevent you from getting a visitation order. Worst case scenario, it might be supervised in the beginning. However, given that you have seen your children off and on over the years and she had no concerns about you doing so (even if she was tempermental about granting you visitation), I doubt that a judge would go that far. (Obviously, there are no guarentees. I don[t know the family court judges in your neck of the woods.)

    If she really has concerns about meeting you, specifying in the order that the drop off and pick up location be the police station or some other neutral and public place, would be a way to address that concern. Or you could have someone else to pick up and take the kids back. However, if you are seeking what often is termed joint legal custody, you are going to have to speak with her from to time. You can't co-parent in a vacuum.

    Getting joint legal custody, for example, would allow you to see your kids' report cards from school and their schools should allow you to schedule parent-teacher conferences, even if she is not present. These schools, however, will want to see a court order. What the school cannot entirely solve for you are any problems that surface during these discussions. It is hard to deal with these problems unless both parents truly commit to trying to solve them.

    Since you mentioned that you were behind in your support, I am assuming that somewhere along the way, you were determined to be the father and a support order was entered.

  • Wed, Mar 14 2012 11:01 AM In reply to

    Re: New here needing advice on custody issues!

    I pick them up and drop them at home for my visits. I've never had a problem with that arrangement. Usually Friday night to sunday night. I have no problems talking with her. Just not interested in fighting with her. And yes paternaty was the same time as the support order. I'm the one that tries to get more info about whats going on with them. Just last week I called to see when my daughters school musical was she said she didnt know. Then I find out its was friday and never botherd to call me to tell me. I bend over backwards to appease her making myself flexible.

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