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How to prepare for a custody battle?

My ex and I split up while he was home on R&R from Iraq a few months ago. I ended up filing a restraining order on him because he tried to physically keep from leaving the house and he hit my car when I was pulling out of the parking lot(not the first time he had gotten physical either) and by the time I got to where the kids(only 1 is his) and I were staying there were several threating messages from him on my friend's phone. I had it dropped once he was back in Iraq. He has now been state side for 2 almost 3 months. Has not paid 1 cent in child support or tried to see our son at all even though he knows he is more then welcome. He has told mutual friends that he is going after custody. I know with his past and his actions currently I am in no danger of loosing my son, but I have never been through a custody battle before and am a little freaked out. What can I expect? Oh and we are in MO

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:41 PM on May. 25, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (8)
  • Well, each state is different of course. If i were you i'd fight for full legal custody, and part or full physical custody, depending on how safe you feel your child is around him. Expect for him to bring out the worst in you. Hopefully your friend still has those messages on her phone and any other evidence against him.
    Good for you for not wanting to keep his child from him despite everything that has happend. That takes a strong woman. Good luck to you and your family.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:02 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • Oh. I should add that when in court use the child's name OR say things like "our" child. The child is not yours, or your ex's. It will look better in court if you remember to use the childs names or say things like "I believe it's in our child's best interests ...."

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:03 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • Most likely if he is still military and with the background he you will get primary and physical custody because of the moving he does. When I got divorced that is what I recieved cause he was in the military. He did have our son for holidays and summer if he was willing to come get him. When he had him for the summer my child support did not stop but I did have to pay a % of child care costs. I highly recommend getting an attorney that specializes in military type custody cases.

    Answer by Soniam301 at 2:40 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • ***I should add that he is a Reserve soldier, I guess. Also that he is Pagan and I am Catholic. I know that won't make a whole lot of difference because religous views don't really affect child custody, but thought I would add it for a little more back story. He has been arrested 4 times on the same thing(failure to appear on bounced checks) including the night he was served with the restraining order(Army swept it under the rug so he could return to Iraq). He has punched holes in my walls, been emotionally abusive to me, emotionally abusive to my 2 older children(my ex hubby's kids) and became EXTREMELY controlling just before leaving for Iraq. He has not seen our 1 year old son since he was 5 months old or help with any kind of support since Dec(yes I have spoken to the Army about this too.) Like I said I am pretty sure I will get custody just wondering what to expect during the entire thing.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:50 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • You need to check with an attorney. Also most courts will not play the religious card so just bc he is a Pagan doesn't mean that you will win...
    You should have already started some sort of divorce proceedings to assure that you will continue to have custody until a custody hearing is held....
    Just remember to document everything i.e phone calls, letters, messages and amount if any child support that you recieve.

    Good Luck

    Answer by gmasboy at 4:36 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • Document EVERYTHING. Have the date of the last visit with your child, the date and dollar amount of ANY money he has ever given you, etc. Have tax records, bank accounts, rent receipts, medical bills, etc. If you look organized and on-the-ball, the judge is more likely to look kindly toward you. "you say, he said" never works well.

    Answer by mancosmomma at 4:52 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • Get an attorney, document EVERYTHING he does or says. Document everything that he gives you..amounts and dates. Be prepared for some pretty personal and emotional questions, don't get over emotional during the proceedings.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 8:46 PM on May. 25, 2009

  • Speaking from experience, with husband and his ex. Nothing absuvie just trying to get his daughter out of an unsafe situation. Once the restraining order was in place and for the duration, they will probably give him supervised visitation. I doubt there will be any overnight visits or anything like that.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:56 AM on May. 26, 2009

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