For the Best Interest of the Children?

It is so frustrating to see how all this situation continues to develop. I understand the political ramifications of this case; however, being a Father who is presently in a custody battle for my children, I can’t help getting absolutely frustrated with our legal system.

I could possibly write 50 pages explaining my situation in order to cover every little detail I would like to express. Instead I will be brief and try to express in a simple way my frustration. I think that you would be surprised about how many ‘Good Fathers’ are out there that want the best for their children and have to sit around and see their children grow in situations that are not ‘for the best interest of the children’.

I live in the state of Georgia and filed for the custody of my children for reasons ranging from borderline neglect, abuse of power that affected the children, to the children right out asking me to please fight for them. These are just a few examples, and again, I could go on for pages and pages.

My children were both under 14, so according to the law in Georgia they cannot decide where they want to live. Therefore, I filed for a modification of custody stating the facts and proving that I had more time for the children and could give them a normal family life and home to grow up in.

Child support is usually based on income

As well as on time with the child. In most states, both parents income is taken into account, but in some states (I think Indiana is one), only the NCP’s income is counted. So the best legal way is to increase time with the children, and then go to court to modify the order. This is important, because the order does not modify itself. And the CP sees no reason to modify, cause they are getting all of the money. So it is up to you.

Some states also have guidelines as to when things can be modified. Some it is once per year, some it is a certain percentage change in income. Check with the court in your state for details.

It is usually difficult to change custody totally unless the CP is really f**king up. Your best bet is the incremental approach. Get a few more hours or days here and there, until you have more than 50%.

Most states have really cracked down on the “I’ll just quit my job” way of reducing CS. Your income can be imputed (assumed) at the higher level and the CS will not be changed.

You could try to get a job that you could hide some of the money, like something with tips. Again, you may be imputed.

You could move to a different country, so that it would be hard to collect. But your arrearage are still waiting for you if you ever come back.

That’s all for now. If I think of some more, I’ll post it.

Custody was given to her but I appealed

I’m 35/m/Illinois, My custody case for my kids lasted two years and in the end the Judge ruled for the mother.

With all the information entered he felt it would be detrimental to the mother to remove the kids from her. We had two custody evaluations, one was the courts expert, the other was her expert, both ruled that the kids needed to be removed from the mother and custody be given to me.

There was a personal injury settlement involved in the marital property, from a motorcycle accident I was in, that the lawyers on both sides seem to have their hands into.

The evaluations ruled in my favor due to a long history of mental illness the mother has had. There is alot more involved but I will keep this short for now.

I guess I just need someones ear to bend. Thanks for listening.

Thanks for sharing that

I see my kids 50% of the time if not more. I just don’t want to put them in the middle of anything. The decision is really driving me crazy.

It’s one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t. My stbx and I get along good for the sake of the kids and I don’t want to drive a further wedge between us which this would do. If she wanted to be nasty, which she could become, she could enforce minimum visitation which would kill me and the kids. I have to decide what to do by the end of the week.

Thanks again and anything you can offer is appreciated.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news

I don’t know how every judge or court view this issue but I can tell you how it worked in my own. My ex became pregnant with another mans child while still living in my house (I had a vasectomy 7 years previously).

I found a handwritten letter she was in the process of writing to her boyfriend which she clearly documents what had happened. She aborted the child because she thought it would hurt her custody battle.

She also abort another child early in our marriage because she later told me she wasn’t ready for children. Anyway I showed her letter to everyone. My attorney, the guardian ad litem, even the judge. No one took that into consideration in my custody battle. I couldn’t believe it could not be used at child abuse. And this happened in what most people consider a conservative county by a conservative judge.

I would ask your attorney, but in my case it didn’t mean squat. Just shows you what our society has come to. I don’t want to take away your hope or your fight for your children, but also want to prepare you for what the reality maybe.

Take care, Jerry

I just went through the same thing

Here in California, it makes a big difference in custody matters. I am in student housing, so my stbx could not stay there if I was not there. My son’s school was just a couple of blocks away. I was the one that took him to school every day. I only work part time and go to school part time, so I was able to spend more time with the kids.

All of these factors worked into the judges decision.

She figured that she would get them because she was the mother. I ended up with 70% time. And it really didn’t cost me that much. I have spent about $3,000 for the whole thing so far.

This is the most important thing you will do. You can do it.

My situation was considerably different. My Ex was not a good mom, but she was the primary care giver. She disappeared with the kids one day and had gone to a battered women’s shelter and filed suit against me. I was facing false allegations of spouse abuse. I decided to fight for the kids because I knew what she had put them through. I discovered that I was not just fighting my wife in court but an entire system (and industry) that thrives on the breakup of families and targets men because they are most often the “deep pockets”.

The advise that I would give you is to fight for your kids. The times the are a changing. If you were the primary caregiver and intend to keep the children in the family home with everything that is familiar to them then I would say that the odds are a little more in your favor then 50/50. Of course, you’ll need a lot of money for lawyers, but I repeat – FIGHT FOR YOUR KIDS! Take a $3000-$5000 loan if needed (here is a website I recommend), but don’t give up!

Especially if you can document her intend to move and that you were the primary care giver and that the kids want to live with you. Our judge talked to the younger kids in chambers and they were able to tell him what they wanted and why.

I was facing long odds! When allegations of abuse are made you have to not only prove that you are innocent but then prove that you are a better choice for custody. Even if I would have lost, I still would have fought because I would not have been able to look myself in the mirror otherwise.

There is alot more to my story, hope I didn’t throw too much at you, but I say once again: IF YOU FEEL IN YOUR HEART THAT YOU WOULD BE THE BETTER PARENT TO HAVE CUSTODY THEN GO FOR IT!!!!!

I agree with you 100%

Hi. I agree with you 100%! My wife and I have been moving towards separation for about a year now, but we haven’t made it legal yet. We just received an offer on our home, and she put a purchase offer on a townhouse, and I am looking for an apartment.

But, out of all of this craziness, the most important thing to me is my son and having joint custody and having him with me 50% of the time. My wife said she didn’t want that because “she needs him.” I didn’t understand that and I pressed the point of what’s best for him, but she still hasn’t gotten it. I told my lawyer to get the custody thing out of the way first and that I wanted him half of the time.

I was hoping that she’d agree to it since our son needs both of us in his life, but I also understand that if she doesn’t agree that I will have to take her to court argue about it in front of a judge. I told my son a long time ago that I was going to ask for him to be with me half of the time and he said that that would be great. My wife hasn’t even asked him about things.

She basically tells him. The other day we were talking about the apartment I am going to get and hoe things are layed out she said, “…well, you will be living alone, so it’s not a problem.” Our son was there and popped up and said, “Well I’ll be there too.” She looked at him and said, “Oh? You think so? Only on visitation days. Every other week or so.” I was so angry that she did that to him. He just said, “Oh.”

She thinks only of herself and not of him. Anyhow, I’m getting off of the subject….I don’t care how much it costs, I am going to get my son half of the time. It’s what is best for him.

P.S. Sorry if I sound angry, but it’s an important subject and I sort of get worked up! 🙂

Maybe you should seek full custody if she is that kind of person. You can never tell what she would do in the situation. Have you considered that even if you have 50/50 one of you would be primary. If she is the primary and decides to move a long distance you couldn’t stop her. I have full custody of all four of my children and love every minute of it!

Some advice

Hey, Rick…welcome to the club.

I understand that you feel torn right now with your decision about what to do for your kids. You mention in your posting that one of your main concerns is spending time and money, only to not get custody of your kids in the end. It’s interesting that you put it that way, because you may not realize it now, but you will most likely be putting in all kinds of time and money on this divorce from here on out.

You might as well spend your time and money on something of great importance to you…your kids! And invest NOW, not down the road when you get on with your life, and your soon-to-be ex decides that she is not pleased with the terms of the split. (Hey, it happens…especially when you get together with somebody else and are happy.) You are probably in a stronger negotiating stance than most DDs I know, since you suggest that the divorce is your wife’s idea; you actually may be dealing from a position of strength. She may be feeling some guilt along with that and may be willing now to let you take the actions that you feel in your gut are the right things to do for your kids: keep the house, stay in the same school, maintain some constancy.

If the X is already apprehensive about going it alone and needs to move closer to family for support, she may be relieved that you are willing to take the big step and stay put. You’ll probably realize in the months and years that follow that you are not now “getting over” the emotional heartache: it’s just beginning. All kinds of things that don’t seem important now may turn out to be a really big deal later on, and this decision your family has made will affect you for the rest of your life. Double that to your kids.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic or put out a lot of negative energy, but I would encourage you to continue to put your kids first and go with that gut instinct you have developed from investing so much time in them in the past. Always fight for your kids. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to destroy your ex in the process…this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, although most people act that way. If you haven’t done so already, please read “Father’s Rights” by Jeffery M. Leving (or at least visit his website) for a pretty fair perspective on the situation at hand. Best of luck to you and your family always!

Need some advice

Hello all. My name is Rick. I am new to this club and need some advice. My wife and I are in the final legs of our divorce which up until now has been very amicable. Recently though, we currently live in Indiana, she has told me that she plans to now sell the house, as opposed to buying me out, and move, with my kids, 2 girls ages 5 and 8, to Illinois. This would only be about 30 mins away. Her entire family lives on the SW side and that’s where she would like to move for support etc.. I currently live with my parents in Chicago about 15 mins away. I’ve discussed pursuing custody with my lawyer.

I have been the primary care giver of my kids since they have been born. We always have, and continue to do everything together. He tells me my chances are about 50/50. I would buy my wife out of the house and keep the kids in their school and their nieghborhood. I do know that it would be an uphill battle because Indiana is a very mother friendly state. She is a good mom and I would have nothing on her except the fact that I do a lot more with our kids. I do know that this would cost a lot of money and my kids would have to be pulled in. I’m really torn as far as what to do. On one hand I know they belong with me and I want to go for it.

On the other hand, I don’t want to spend a lot of time and money if I’m not going to be granted custody. Myself and the kids, my wife wanted the divorce, are finally getting over all the emotional heartache that comes with something like that and I don’t want to go down that road again. Has anyone else been in this same situation before. If so, I would like to hear your advice and the adivice of anyone that can offer some. I’m really torn at what I should do. Thanks for reading this and I appreciate any feedback.

Can anyone help here?

My husband has not seen his son since the first of February because his ex said the son had hockey every Sat and Sunday until April. Well, now its April, and she says hockey goes till the end of May now, Sat. and Sunday!

The biggest problem is that they have no court ordered visitation. The original agreement, made at the time of separation (on fairly good terms) was that he could see his son “whenever convenient for both parties”. He is Definitly going to court for visitation now, but in the interm, is there anything he can do to see his son?

Should he demand a schedule of hockey games and practices and show up there? It could take MONTHS before this goes to court! Isn’t there anything he or his lawyer or the courts can do so that he can see his son? I would appreciate ANY advice, any suggestions! Please help! Kelly

The situation you describe illustrates the major point

The situation you describe illustrates the major point that is often overlooked. Child support is often used as a smokescreen when what we really should be discussing is the welfare of the child. People often apparently take the position that child support and child custody are equivalent.

They’re not. Since they are not the same, it is pointless to try to create a “reasonable balance” of payments to compensate for time. And it is this confusion of child support and child custody that gets carried over when determining what actually is in the best interest of the child(ren). I’ve seen and heard of this often; a parent goes to court fully believing that once the judge learns about how the child is treated and the environment s/he lives in, surely the only course of action will be to move the child to more healthy surroundings, right? No.

Somehow it turns into a discussion about money, and the parent’s motives for even bringing up the issue are cast in doubt. (I.e., the only reason they are putting up a fuss is to avoid paying child support at all to the no-good worthless ex.) And to teach them that the court is not to be trifled with, the child support obligation is increased.

From the cases I am familiar with, I can tell you that the opposing attorney will not hesitate to use the potential of an increased obligation as a negotiation tool and a threat to discourage the other parent from voicing legitimate concerns.

If, however, child support was harder to get and shared custody was the norm, there might be less of this game-playing and everyone would have to find something else to hide behind and quit using children as human shields in the divorce wars.

Child Support Must Be Accounted For

I think every kid deserves “reasonable” child support from the non custodial parent dad/mom. However i feel the parent receiving the child support should be required to keep record of every cent spent, including receipts. I don’t accept the fact the mother is always the best parent. I have seen to many times when just the opposite is true.

As a matter of fact I can give a “family incident”. My daughter and my granddaughters father we were divorced when she was a baby. My ex son in law is a real good guy. my daughter was hanging with a jobless, dirty druggy next door who also had two young kids. We went to court “with” my ex son in law we too felt he should have custody. Not a chance. Instead my daughter filed for and got “more support money”.

When she was ten he went back for a third try. We were supporting him again. This time they “Child Protection Agency” felt he was “to violent”. This stemmed from an issue almost ten years before. What I am about to tell you is the truth as weird as it sounds. While my daughter and “J” were still married she was crawling all over Mr. Sleeze. “J” went home from work one day and found a note telling him to go to his brother in laws house, (his wife was there). He got there and low and behold my daughter and granddaughter were there with Mr. Sleeze and his two boys. “J” ask what was going on. Sleeze came out in the yard starting trouble by telling him how bad he “J” was to his wife, and that he “Sleeze” has been visiting while “J” was at work.

Sleeze got up in “J”‘s face and starting his BS, then he swung at “J” and missed him, “J” picked up a board as a “defense” move. About that time here comes the cops, (my daughter called them “J” went to jail. “J” is a good guy and got a dirty deal 2days and a $50.00 fine. (his wife and daughter) I intervined when they tried to say “J” was to “violent” to have custody, (10 yrs, ago his wife and daughter) Over a 10 yr. period i had filed “22′ complaints with the children’s service my ex son in law and the boys real mom also filed. Each time nothing was done. “Proven Facts”.

It is the policy of the Child “Protection” Agency to pay very little attention to complaints made by a “neighbor” OR a”family member” They feel all such complaints are made due to a “personal vendetta” or custody issue’ so they are “ignored” My ex son in law has remarried, has a nice home, good job, nice wife another daughter and a step daughter who adores him. We have supplied prooof of abuse, neglect, failure to provide necessary medical attention, 12 evictions in 9 yrs. Not adequate food, the hubby “Sleeze”, don’t work does drugs, Money paid for my granddaughter goes on gold jewlery for her, drugs, and play stations for him. they party, go out and eat, but no food at home.

AND STILL the court says she is better cared for living with her mother He has court ordered visitation rights, but when she chooses to ignore them she is not held in contempt of court, he is told to “get a private attorney. She has had 5 support increases. “J” has been locked up 3 times for not paying child support. (He had changed jobs once and had to wait on his first check. Twice due to a lengthy illness which kept him from working. THIS NEEDS CHANGED NOW!!!.

This is what can also happen:

The unstated 1st Principles

The main problem with calculating child support seems to be the underlying assumptions (which are more basic than the ones stated previously as “first principles.”) I believe the unstated principles are as follows:

  1. Divorcing parents are not reliable. Married parents are reliable.
  2. Divorcing parents will not be able to act in the best interest of the child unless intervention is made or they are forced to by rule of law. Married parents are presumed to always be able to do so; intervention requires extensive justification and should only be pursued in extreme circumstances.
  3. Children of divorcing parents should always spend the majority of their time in the physical presence of one parent, usually the mother. Where or with whom children of married parents spend the majority of their time is of no consequence.
  4. The divorcing parent who is “awarded” custody of the children should be repaid monetarily for all or most of the time they spend with their children. A married parent does not require any such payment. I do not believe that any parent should be given the opportunity to “opt out” of responsibility for their child(ren). But I also do not believe that divorcing parents should be held to a higher standard than married parents. Most of the efforts at determining child support award levels are wrong-headed, IMHO, because they buy into the principles outlined above without examining whether they are in fact true in the situation at hand.

Arguments about how child support awards should be determined often depend on assumptions that treat monetary support as the logical equivalent of “care and maintenance.” Then the argument degenerates into either “I pay for this, so you have to pay for that” or “I invest my time, so you have to invest your money.” That’s only if the argument didn’t completely stop at “You make X amount…hand Y% over to me!” To take a mental detour for a moment, we’ve all read that factoid that the human body is worth approximately $2.98, from a chemical standpoint. This is usually pointed out as an irony, given that we place so much value in our bodies.

However, the way monetary value is assigned depends on the context: Cadavers are invaluable in medical research, and they are obviously made of the same $2.98 worth of materials. And functioning organs are more valuable still. The point I want to make is that child support awards, like the human body’s value, needs to be viewed in an appropriate context. To a custodial parent who has been abandoned by an irresponsible partner, that award might make all the difference in the world in whether what is left of a devastated family will be able to make it this month or next. Unfortunately, if the other parent was irresponsible enough to leave without providing adequately for the children in the first place, no amount of mathematical gymnastics will be successful in putting food on that family’s table.

To a so-called “non-custodial” parent who pays everything that the law requires and pays more still voluntarily, that award may seem to go not to the children, but to an undeserving ex-spouse. Perhaps that money could be better invested in the children’s future needs, or “saved for a rainy day,” but there is no choice in the matter. And there are lots of little inequities that make it difficult to accept the proposition that the child support award is made “in the best interest of the child(ren).” Bottom line, I think it should be a lot harder to get child support, and a lot easier to get child custody.

The end result in court today…..

Well, today the judge took my baby boy away and said to the both of us the testimonies we presented were not believable i.e. the DV incident.

She did say my wife could move back to the marital APT. and that she now has temp. full custody, and I am awarded temp. unsupervised visitation, I can pick him up Fri. @ 7pm, and return him Sun. @7pm at the Police Precinct…

She gave the child back the person who secretly planned for months to abduct him to Ireland, has a drinking prob, and shows extreme signs of PAS. To all of you Fathers I have on brief and blunt mesage… there is no justice in our system.

To believe you have a fair chance is to dream a little dream. It is a lawyers’ game as the judge was once and still is a lawyer. She told me outright the child should go to the mother even though I have a spotlessly clean history. No justice….. NO PEACE!!!!!!!!!

You seem to have a pretty strong case

You seem to have a pretty strong case. He has full custody. In most jurisdictions, the ex will need to prove that there is some reason that custody should be changed. The longer he has custody with no child problems, the harder it will be for her to take them away. Her DV will also weigh against her.

Couple of other things you might document. Has she moved around a lot since the split? Has she had multiple BF since? Any arrests? Conversely, how about your son? The court in most cases looks for the parent that offers the most stable environment for the child. He needs to make sure he is the one doing this.

I would just sit tight. You never know what the judge will do, but it looks pretty good from here. You may not need to use any derogatory (sp?) information about her, but it always helps to have it. Just in case. “Pray for peace, but prepare for war”

Some help needed…

Hi all, I have a question. My son is going to court soon and has a handwritten entry from his wife, it states she was very depressed and was drunk while writing it, and on her own admission confirmed a suicide attempt a few years ago.

Also said she was at the same point with her emotions as she was at the time of the attempt. This girl has been previously arrested for Domestic Violence. We stand to loose the temp.

Custody of the child if she cant be proven unfit. How can we admit this evidence along with what he already has on record to the discovery portion of this hearing?

His wife was arrested for assaulting him. She tried to kidnap the child but he served her with an order barring her from leaving the court jurisdiction. She flipped out and made life hell for that week. Meanwhile, people all over where he lived began threatening him. I week later she provoked a fight and in turn was locked up. The court gave him temp.

Full custody and barred her from going near them both. He found some papers she wrote in the trash indicating she tried to commit suicide. What else can we do now?