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Custody - How Would You Feel?

Alright, some backstory:

- I had my son at 19.  He was, of course, unplanned.  His dad wasn't exactly someone I would've been proud to bring home to my parents, but we tried to make it work.

- We broke up when my son was almost 2.  If you're counting, I was not quite 21.  When we broke up, I was working part time in retail.  I knew there was no way I could care for my son on my own, so I did the brave thing and left he and his dad in the place we were renting.  A lot of people judged me for this, saying I should've kicked his dad out and kept the place and my son, but I was not paying the rent (nor could I afford to) and I felt I wouldn't be able to provide for myself (let alone my son).

- Depression, among other mental illnesses, exist in EVERY part of my family.  I hadn't suffered from any of it (aside from some PPD) at that point, but it was inevitable that it would happen eventually.  Well, that's when it hit.  I got a little... nutty after the break up, but I ended up in a TERRIBLE rebound relationship that just triggered every emotional problem a person can have.  I won't go into details, but it was an extremely hard year that followed.  My son's dad took away most of my rights and I was able to only spend time with him under the supervision of my parents - who basically didn't let me act like his mother at all, because they felt like I was too stupid.

- I ended up in court-mandated counselling so that I could fight for more than a few hours a week with my son.  It improved my life VASTLY, along with going on anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medications (which I will always be on).  I was able to gain every other weekend through a lawyer who basically half-assed her way through the court process.

- My mental problems held me back from holding down a good job - I would either work part time or barely full time for a very long time, but the counselling and the meds helped me to get better at working, and I was able to work about 38 hours a week (still in retail) like a normal person.

- I got out of the shitty abusive relationship I was in and I met a really amazing guy (who treats me as I should be treated) and we're getting married next year.  This year I FINALLY got out of retail and am making $30,000 as a receptionist - it can only go up from here.

- Meanwhile, his dad has gone through THREE relationships with people who have kids - lets our son get attached to the children and then breaks up with them, and Aden never sees his new friends again.  He's also started smoking IN THE HOUSE in the last couple of years and my son has a permanent smoker's cough at 5 years old.  He lived with his last girlfriend and her two kids - my son had to share a bed with her son.  In the year or so that they lived there he MOVED OUT and back in about three times.  He now lives with his mother and isn't home most of the time, leaving her to take care of him.  We have a "right of first refusal" order in place - meaning if he needs a babysitter he legally has to ask me to take him first, and then if I can't he finds a babysitter.  But this never happens.  His dad is also not working (hasn't been since the summer) and does not intend on finding a new job.  He is 32.

 

So our intent is to fight for custody after we get married.  We think it will help our case if we are in a stable relationship (vs his dad who introduces our son to new women ALL the time).  We also intend on buying a house in 2014 or 2015.  I am mentally stable, 100% - that problem no longer affects my life, aside from the odd day where I just feel unexplainably down, but that's easy enough to cope with.  Basically I have improved EVERY aspect of my life, while his dad thinks he is above making mistakes and is going backwards.  His only arguement against us having my son is that I'm crazy.  Well, I've proven that wrong... so it's going to take a lot more than that to fight us in court.  I've also been taking notes, and saving texts and emails for more than a year now, proving why he's incapable of caring for my son.

But aside from him being a jerk, my parents haven't changed their point of view either.  They usually ACT like they do, but it's very obvious that their support lies elsewhere.  For a long time they wouldn't even allow me to parent him if they were around.  We'd go on family trips (my son and I would go wtih my fiance) and they wouldn't trust that I had packed enough for my son and they would pack their own seperate bag for him too - just as an example of what I mean.  I don't know why they're like that - I've CLEARLY proven that I have changed, and my fiance can attest to that.  I get the majority of my mental ailments from my dad, yet it's my stepmom that doesn't think I can raise my son.  My dad of ALL people should know how this is.  He didn't get to see my sisters and I for awhile after he divorced my mom - but we ended up living with him as teenagers anyway, and he's been a better parent than my mom probably ever was.

 

So it feels like the ONLY support I'll have when we get a lawyer next year will be that of my future husband.  Which obviously is the most important, but I'd really love the support of my family too!  They KNOW how stupid his dad is - they know he smokes, they know how disgusting his mother's house is, and they know how they treat my son - yet they can't bring themselves to be supportive about us trying to improve his life.  I don't want to take my son from his dad 100% - but I KNOW that we can provide a better life.  All I want is to switch the current situation.  I want him most of the time, and he can have him on weekends.  I want to give him healthy meals and healthy air to breathe, and I want to put him in extracurricular activities and support his interests.  I want him to always have his own room and his own space and his own things.  HIs dad doesn't/can't provide any of that for him, and I just want what's best for him!  I KNOW custody battles can be hard on kids - I've been that kid... but would that really be worse than what he's living in now?  I really don't think so.

 

Sorry this is so long, but I'm pretty sure it needed a lot of backstory.  I'm just not sure if I'm taking my parents' lack of support too hard, or what?  My fiance HATES that they act like this.... they've been on the wrong end of more than one custody battle, so they should understand, shouldn't they?  It's almost like they think I'm a ticking time bomb, and I could revert back to that TEMPORARY time of my life at any moment.  Do I have to prove them wrong before they'll support me?  Shouldn't parents support their children through these tough situations??  Wouldn't YOU support your children?

Answer Question
 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 1:53 PM on Dec. 18, 2013 in Relationships

Answers (14)
  • You can't make your parents change you need to stop seeking their approval and move on. Yes it may be sad that they can't/won't support you but you don't NEED them to. YOU have changed your life and you know you have so just forge on and do what is best for your son and yourself.


    Good luck.
    tntmom1027

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 1:58 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • I think the CHILD is who needs to be supported. You're an adult, and while I understand you would like some moral support, if they feel that this wouldn't be best for the child, then I don't think they should blow smoke up your ass just to make you feel better. They should stand by their opinion, even if it is against you, if they really believe that what they think is what would be best for your son.

    Ultimately a judge is the one you have to convince, not them. Don't worry about proving them wrong. Worry about whether or not you can prove to a judge that you are the better parent for your son.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 2:03 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • And btw, I didn't mean that to sound like you aren't a good parent - I just meant that you should focus on having the things you need to show the judge that you're the better parent. Your parents opinion doesn't really matter (unless of course the judge will be asking their opinion), so you should ignore them and focus on having the proof for the judge.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 2:05 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • I say who cares what your parents think. Be that support that you long for from your parents for your son. Go fight for him and just be the best parent you can be.... learn from your parents short comings.
    amazinggrace83

    Answer by amazinggrace83 at 2:12 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • If your parents went to court and testified for you, it wouldn't mean much. But if they go and testify for your ex, it will speak volumes. What they do out of court doesn't matter. You know you've changed, they may never change.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 2:16 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • Thank you ladies, that helps a lot. I've tried so hard to win my parents over for way too many years, and at 25 it's truly hard to let go of that desire. My fiance helps a lot. He's shown me that I have him for support no matter what, so I shouldn't seek it elsewhere. When I was in those previous shitty relationships I did need the support of others... but you're right, I really don't anymore. :)
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:25 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • Only thing you need to do is prove to the court you have changed for the better. And your ex/father of your child. Is not the right person to take care of the child. Everything else is not important. Once you get custody. who you want in your life is your choice.

    louise2

    Answer by louise2 at 2:34 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • You need to prepare for a social worker coming into your life when you go to court. The judge will most likely order an investigation into both sides to give their unbiased opinion and what they feel is best for the child. The fact that your child lives in a home with a smoker won't count. Sorry it's not illegal to smoke in your own home. Not the smartest thing to do but not illegal. They will look more into stability, who can provide what, etc. Something else you need to consider is that IF the judge were to have the child stay with their father he could also order child support since you say the dad isn't working and you are. Not trying to scare you but you have to go into all of this with your eyes wide open. Get all the "dirt" you can on the father before you go to court. Something else and it may sound strange but go to court looking nice. No short skirts, tops cut low, etc. Your future hubby needs to go in nice slacks.
    baconbits

    Answer by baconbits at 2:49 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • It may sound crazy to worry about your dress but when my dd went to court the first time she looked a little "under dressed". The judge wasnt' to happy with either one as her future ex came in looking like he just crawled out of bed. The next time she listened to me and the judge's attitude was totally different with her especially since the ex still looked bad.
    baconbits

    Answer by baconbits at 2:51 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

  • Craving the approval of your parents is natural. It's the hardest thing in the world to get over. It's like a powerful drug. I sought after it for many years, sometimes I find myself still wanting it. But making myself quit chasing after it was the most liberating thing I ever did. Let that drug go and move on!
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 2:57 PM on Dec. 18, 2013

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