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custody advise please

OK, so this is my situation and I really need advise. Please do not respond get an attorney, I cannot afford one (as in I do not have the money, nor do I have anyone who I can borrow it from) My dd just turned 4 the other day. Her father (we have never been married) walked out on us when she was a newborn. He filed papers with the court to take me to mediation where we decided for him to have her every Thursday from 6 am till 2 pm (he always brought her home at 12) and every other sat from 6 am till 12 pm and the opposite sunday from 2 to 5 pm (he always brought her home by 4). He also was ordered to pay child support and he was ordered to pay $5000 back child support (at the rate of $20 per month until paid off). We did this from December of 08 until August of 09 when he went into the Army. Since then he has come back 2 times (once in December then again in Feb.) Both times we agreed on a visitation schedule that was MORE then our court order and both times he kept wanting to change it so that he could hang out with his friends, go out with girls and so on. I was as helpful as I could be with the visits, again he got WAY more then our court order and I switched with him when it he wanted as long as me and my dd didn't already have plans. Since he has come, he calls my dd once a month or so(when he calls, she has no idea who he is and has no interest in talking to him) and sent $100 for her birthday and Christmas and asked me to buy presents for her from him (which I have done) because 1.he is in South Korea and shipping presents would be crazy expensive and 2. he doesn't have a clue as to what she would want. Now he is comming back to the US and will be stationed in GA (we live in FL) so he won't be far. He can't take her to where he lives as he will live in the Army single housing (I think it is called barracks) but he will be having visits at his mom's house, who lives down the road from me. He said he wants to take me to court to get every other weekend. The problem is, my dd doesn't even remember him and has a hard time getting to sleep. She has to have the right stuffed animals, the right blankets and she has to have my cat (real cat, not a stuffed animal) with her to sleep. I have asked him if he could have her every other Sat instead as, being in the military, he won't make half the visits anyway due to duties he will have (he has told me this much). He said no that he would have her the entire weekend, even though his mom would be the one with her at night as he will be going out. I was under the impression that if the child isn't with the parent who has visitation, they are supposed to come home, so he shouldn't be able to do that. My question is if we go to court (he may not even take me) is a judge likely to order every other sat instead of every other weekend because it is in the best interest of the child to be able to sleep at home? Also my ex has been making almost 2 times the amount as he was when our court order for child support was put in, can I get the difference between what he has been paying and what he should have been ordered to pay since he has been in the Army ( I only didn't file for a child support modification earlier because he told me he wasn't making any more money then before) Lastly, was he supposed to file something with the court saying that he was going into the military? Or at least let me know (I didn't know until 2 days before he left and I only found out because a friend told me he was having a going away party, he wasnt' going to tell me because he knew that I went to class on thursdays during his visits and he wanted to leave me hanging). I would love any advise anyone can give.

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Asked by JLS2388 at 8:34 PM on Dec. 18, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 25 (25,280 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • The child resides in Florida so those are the courts with jurisdiction. He has some rights average Moms and Dads don't have. The Soldiers and Sailors act of 1914 protects service member from having time in the military held against them when it comes to their children. The reality though...he is probably not going to exercise his visits all the time even if the court orders them. You don't have a lot of choices. He has a right to know and visit with his child unless you can prove him unfit. You can certainly ask the court for a 'getting to know you" period before overnights begin because she doesn't know him. That would certainly be in everyones best interest. Is her grandparents (Dad side) in her life? If so, overnights with them could be a good start. He could stay with his Mom and she would be just down the road. I hope it works out for all of you.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 8:51 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • She will not be staying with his mom. Like I said, she lives just down the road, well we live in a pretty small town and we see her out in public quite a bit and she ignores my dd when she sees us. She has never shown much interest in seeing her unless they have family over and she wants to show her off. His dad lives in another state.

    Comment by JLS2388 (original poster) at 8:55 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • It's kind of hard to say what the judge will order and every state is different so you need to look into visitation laws in your state. If he is living close enough he probably will get every other weekend. Depending on how many miles away he lives he may get only 1 weekend (at least that's how it is in Ohio for long distance visitation). As far as him leaving dd with his mom when he goes out, that is perfectly legal. Even if the parent has visitation he can still leave the child with a babysitter. As far as child support, you probably can get it modified but it probably wouldn't be retroactive. I know you're worried, but if he is a good guy you should really try to encourage the relationship between him and your dd. In the end, that would be in her best interest. Good luck!

    Answer by MrsMWF at 9:31 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • He is NOT a good guy. He only went for visitation because I started seeing someone and he hadn't and he wanted to punish me. My dd is not taken care of when she is with him and she DOESN'T want to go to his house

    Comment by JLS2388 (original poster) at 12:23 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • If you have evidence of neglect when she is there, there is no problem. If not you have a problem.

    Answer by delilahsmom1177 at 12:49 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

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