When one parent is always angry and raging toward the other parent. When one parent is constantly downing the other parent and trying to make them feel like the child doesn't love that parent. When one parent ALREADY has custody but that parent is degrading to the other parent, disrespectful, and cruel. When that parent has a history of denying the other parent time with their child.
I am talking about the situation my brother is in with his ex girlfriend. They have a four year together. When the baby was a year old, they broke up. (they actually broke up about 12 times during that year) But it stayed civil between them. Though she kept a good reign on my brother. Not letting him see his kid unless he met her somewhere or went to her house. TSK on my brother for letting her control the situation up until that point. I truly believe he kept it that way because he had hoped to get back together with her after all. She kept him on her welfare case and didn't pursue child support. And my brother gave her money whenever she asked and provided anything that the baby needed.
After a year he must have gave up hope. He met someone. He was honest with his ex about it and she was not happy. She changed her phone number, cut off all contact with him. He had tried showing up at her door a few times, but with no answer. He was 19 at the time. Didn't know what else to do. She ended up going for child support. During that time she was granted sole legal custody. My brother had never been served papers about any court date. He was not involved in the process of determining support, custody, or visitation.
So once he got the papers in the mail saying she had full custody and what his support obligation was, he waltzed down to the court house and filed for custody. They went to mediation. Denied. There was no change in circumstances. At that time it had been 5 months since he had seen his baby.
So he filed for parenting time. They went to mediation. His ex was hostile towards him from the beginning. Even in front of court officials. A recommendation was given from the court for one day a week visitation. At this point it had been 9 months since he had seen his baby. His ex objected to the recommendation and asked the court to deny parental rights.
They went back to mediation. By that time it had been 14 months since he had seen his baby who was 3 years old. His ex asked the mediator about supervised visits. SHE wanted to supervise. Saying that now the child doesn't even know my brother. Which in partial is true, but it was her doing, not his. The court recommended supervised visits through a family and children's center, but the ex objected again.
So, they went to court. His ex threatened (in front of the judge and the entire court room) to leave the state with the child if my brother was rewarded any parenting time. The judge told her that was a felony. The judge ordered the supervised visits through the center because it would give the baby some time to be reacquainted with my brother without it being traumatic.
My brother was to complete 4 one hour supervised visits. He calls the center to schedule and they said they have to contact the mother to schedule with her first and he would have to take whatever she chose as availability. For 4 weeks the center tried to reach his ex. They even contacted her mother, at work. By then it had been 16 months since my brother has seen his child.
Finally the center calls him, sets up a visit and sends a letter to the mother telling her when the visit is and if she is not there, she will be held in contempt of court and face a jail sentence.
The first visit went well. My brother played with his son, and they talked and his son called him daddy.
The second visit is the following week. My brother wakes up with pinkeye. He goes to the med station and got some antibiotics, but was advised by the doctor that it was contagious. So, he calls the center to reschedule, but they didn't have any openings until the following week when his next visit was scheduled anyways. So they cancelled this one and just added one to the end to make 4. I remember my brother saying to me "watch, now that she knows we are allowed to cancel a visit she is going to cancel every last one." And she did. She canceled the following week because the child was sick. Ok, that's understandable. Then she cancels the week after that because she didn't have transportation. And the week after that with no reasoning. Now it's been another month. My brother has seen his son once for one hour in the last 17 months. The center writes a letter to the court about the mother cancelling so many visits. The center also does not schedule anymore visits without further notice of the court. So another month goes by before my brother hears from the court.
Are you keeping track? We're up to 18 months with a one time, one hour visit.
The court schedules a contempt hearing. But she was let off with a warning. And the court reorders the supervised visits. Three visits left and then the court will review. So again, my brother contacts the center to schedule the visits. They try to reach mom first, to no avail. After another 4 weeks of no contact with mom, they send her another letter. This time his ex's mother calls the center. Says she will bring the child to the visit. 19 months now. The visit rolls around. Grandma doesn't show. She calls the center and says she forgot and that she has to go to work now, but will make it next week. She does. She brings him the next three weeks. The center writes a good review for my brother and the court schedules a mediation meeting. That takes up another month.
20 months now, in case you're lost. At the mediation the mother again, asks the court to deny parenting time because my brother doesn't know how to take care of the child's special need. (Allergies and asthma.) The court recommends every other Saturday for 4 hours. The ex does not object. (Later he found out that she did, but she didn't turn it in on time so I was dismissed.) And the recommendation went through as an order. This took about 5 weeks or so because she had the 21 days to object and then a week or two for the order to come in the mail.
21 months now. His first Saturday he showed up at her place, she is not there. He files a complaint with the court. Shows up the next scheduled visit. No one lives there. She moved. They go to court and she is held in contempt and sentenced to 3 days in jail, pending if she ever denies another visit. The following Saturday he takes his visit. The ex has been harassing him every since.
After 3 months of Saturdays, my brother got every other weekend. I just got worse. She even started having my brother take the baby when it wasn't his weekend (that's not the problem, he loved having him extra). But when she asked him to take him early or on her weekend and he couldn't, she would flip out on him. She has always treated him as if he was a deadbeat. Even though he has always paid his child support and even spent thousands taking her back to court just to be able to spend the little bit of time he was given with his son.
It's now been 7 months since he's been doing the weekend thing. He has taken several extra weekends, and has often picked him up 2-3 days early. He lives a distance from the ex and recently had in issue with his vehicle and missed a scheduled weekend. He let her know ahead of time and of course, she made it seem like he is a deadbeat and that he always misses his visits. She actually told him to not bother them for the next 18 years and this is way she didn't want him involved in his life in the first place because he would go back on everything he was supposed to do. And the next scheduled weekend she denied him his visitation. He sent in a complain to the court.
Right now, he may have a change in circumstances. His ex has not had a stable place to live and has admitted to leaving the child with her parents for weeks while she leaves and stays with friends. She has no means of supporting her self or his child other than the child support (and has admitted to selling her mothers prescription drugs). She has no place to live and is bouncing around, with the child, sometimes without. She is denying visitation and is making co-parenting impossible. She also has hidden medical information from my brother. Since the court thing has been going on, his son has undergone 4 eye surgeries. She has not told my brother any thing about them. He has heard from mutual friends or has seen it posted on social media sites. He has collected all of his sons medical records on his own accord.
Is there a chance for my brother to gain custody because of these issues? His ultimate goal is full physical custody. He is willing to work with his ex and try to create a less stressful co parenting relationship between them. But he doesn't think it will be civil. It will probably be worse if he is given custody.