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Old 04-22-2008, 08:16 PM   #11
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Re: Single parents?

I'm so sorry you are going through this.

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Old 04-26-2008, 04:50 PM   #12
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Re: Single parents?

I am hoping to get sole legal custody so that I can make all the decisions regarding the boys.

I'm in California and was told there is pretty much no way for to get sole legal custody.
I wrote a long response here about my case and my frustration but it really isn't appropriate to post all that here

SO I would highly recommend asking about an attorney's previous cases, how often was sole custody awarded under his/her representation, and what were the circumstances
What documentation they would recommend and how it should be formatted
Also how you can contact them with questions and concerns (fax number, email, direct phone line) and how much time should you expect to allow for a response.
Do they have any vacations planned, how will your case be handled in their absence.
Ask if you can cut costs by making copies yourself of materials, taking documents to the courthouse yourself, any other suggestions they have to help you keep costs down.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:54 PM   #13
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Re: Single parents?

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Originally Posted by bigfunbums View Post
I am hoping to get sole legal custody so that I can make all the decisions regarding the boys.

I'm in California and was told there is pretty much no way for to get sole legal custody.
I wrote a long response here about my case and my frustration but it really isn't appropriate to post all that here

SO I would highly recommend asking about an attorney's previous cases, how often was sole custody awarded under his/her representation, and what were the circumstances
What documentation they would recommend and how it should be formatted
Also how you can contact them with questions and concerns (fax number, email, direct phone line) and how much time should you expect to allow for a response.
Do they have any vacations planned, how will your case be handled in their absence.
Ask if you can cut costs by making copies yourself of materials, taking documents to the courthouse yourself, any other suggestions they have to help you keep costs down.
Those are some good suggestions about cutting costs and i hadn't even considered that...thank you!

As for the sole legal custody thing, this is something that is so frustrating because every case is different and there is so much conflicting info out there. From what I've read on the internet (and you know if it's on the internet it must be true, right?) in Georgia, the inclination is to give one parent sole legal custody unless you can really prove that your relationship is amicable and that you can work together to make decisions. In other words, you really have to fight to get joint legal custody (physical is a different matter). From what I can tell, the court doesn't want to see you every time you disagree about some decision related to the kids so they go ahead and give one person the authority unless you can really prove to them that you can work together and agree. Then again, I do know a few people who have joint legal custody and have told me that I WON'T get sole...I also know a few people who have gotten sole and they say that it just depends on your situation and your attorney. In one really messed up case, my cousin got sole legal custody of his two boys while his wife got joint physical custody and was the "primary" or whatever. Basically, he had them every other weekend, one night a week, and two weeks in the summer, but he had sole legal custody. That one was really weird! I meet with the attorney on Monday so hopefully I can get some good answers then and figure out how to proceed. You know how when you're pregnant, everyone feels inclined to tell you all the intimate details of their pregnancy, delivery, and any preg-related horror story they ever heard? Well, I kind of feel like divorce is the same way. I appreciate all the help (and in this situation I asked for btdt advice so I'm not directing this at any of you) but it seems like everyone I talk to and everything I read is different and it's so hard to make sense of it all and figure out where I fit. The uncertainty is making me crazy so hopefully once I meet with the attorney, I can get some kind of concrete answers based on my situation.
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:06 PM   #14
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Re: Single parents?

I can't believe nobody's mentioned this yet.

Make sure you have your own money, in an account that is only in your name and better yet that your dh doesn't know about. Cash, even if you don't want to set one up. Same thing goes for emergency credit cards - your name and your name only. He could easily drain all the money out of any joint accounts and close all joint credit cards, leaving you with nothing.

I wouldn't mention anything about medical records (vaxes) unless you absolutely need to. I doubt it would even occur to your STBxH to check into it.
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:42 PM   #15
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Re: Single parents?

The only thing I wish I would have done differently is either done mediation ASAP or had a temporary hearing ASAP. We tried to work it out by sending proposals back and forth and here I am a year later and have no formal decision.

Good luck mama!!!
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:01 PM   #16
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Re: Single parents?

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Originally Posted by Kanga View Post
I can't believe nobody's mentioned this yet.

Make sure you have your own money, in an account that is only in your name and better yet that your dh doesn't know about. Cash, even if you don't want to set one up. Same thing goes for emergency credit cards - your name and your name only. He could easily drain all the money out of any joint accounts and close all joint credit cards, leaving you with nothing.

I wouldn't mention anything about medical records (vaxes) unless you absolutely need to. I doubt it would even occur to your STBxH to check into it.
Yeah, I was kind of surprised no one mentioned money either. I've always been the one who does all the finances in this relationship (I swear he's like my third child!) and everything's always been in my name. We've been married five years and I just had his name added to my checking account back in December when we refinanced our house Of course, now that I did it, I can't undo it without his permission or a court order. Last week I opened a new checking account in just my name and had my direct deposit changed to that one. My line of credit is still linked to our joint account and the bank said that all I can do is close the line of credit and apply for a new one (which I doubt they'll give me right now). The line of credit is within $200 of being maxed out so he can't do a whole lot of damage with that but still I'm going to see what the lawyer says about whether to close it or if there is some way to get him off my checking account or what. Other than that, we have a Lowe's card that has both of our names on it and he has a Brandsmart card but everything else is in my name alone. I'll find out from the attorney whether I need to try to get those two store cards closed now or if I should just leave them alone. I had taken a chunk of our tax refund and put it into an emergency fund (that account only has my name and he doesn't even know what bank it's in) and that's what I plan to use to pay the retainer for my lawyer. The boys each have savings accounts but my name is on those, not dh. I kind of feel bad about leaving him with no money and no way to get any till he gets paid in two weeks but he came into this relationship with NOTHING so it's fitting that he will leave the same way. Honestly, I don't have much either...I've only got about half of what the lawyer wants as a retainer ("our" emergency fund) and although I get paid this week, that check will cover the boys' tuition and either the mortgage payment or the first month's rent on an apartment. If I do wind up moving into an apartment, I'll have to have all the utilities here turned off (they're all in my name) in order to get them turned on in my name in an apartment. And he'll have no way to get them turned back on...he wouldn't even know where to begin! I guess that's one difference between us though, I can survive...whether I have to take a job waiting tables or throwing boxes in a warehouse on third shift (neither things that I can easily do with two toddlers but I'll have the kids, not him) or sew or babysit or whatever, I know I can come up with something somehow....I always have. He's always found someone to take care of him so he doesn't have to deal with it.

And believe me, I don't plan to mention the boys' medical records! I just used that as an example here to show that he's never been involved in any decisions regarding the kids and doesn't even have a clue what's going on with them. He knows where their school is but to be honest, I'd be surprised if he could tell you the names of their teachers! I don't think he even knows who or where their pediatrician is. And DJ had been in school for a month before dh even knew which school he was in...when I tried to talk to him about it, he didn't care to know and just told me to put him where I was comfortable. That's why I want sole decision making authority...he doesn't know or care what is involved with being a parent so I'm not about to let him start calling the shots!

Suzi, I'm so sorry you're going through that! I've read that with kids you should request an immediate hearing to determine temporary legal custody and I'm definitely going to do that. I don't know what "immediate" means though when you're dealing with the courts. I just know that I want something on paper saying that I'm their legal guardian and I plan to take that to the school and let them know that on the off chance that dh or his mother show up, they should call me and then call the sheriff and under no circumstances should they let the boys leave with anyone but me. A few years ago, mom was doing daycare in her home and had some parents that were going through a very ugly divorce and custody battle. The mother had temporary legal custody and mom knew that, but when the father showed up and she refused to let the baby go with him, he called the police and they made mom release the baby to him. He was gone before the mother could get there with the paperwork and it took her several weeks to get the baby back, even though she had the documentation saying that she was supposed to have custody! No way I want to go through something like that!


Thank you to everybody for your advice and the hugs and prayers. I'm meeting with the attorney in the morning so at the very least maybe I'll have some answers then and have a little better idea how things are going to proceed. I'm dreading having "the talk" with dh but I think all in all it will be better to do it that way than to just have him blindsided when he's served with papers. I've been very close to telling him several times but I really want to wait till I talk to the lawyer and make sure that all my ducks are in a row before I give him any warning and a chance to make things harder for us.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:02 PM   #17
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Re: Single parents?

Well, I met with the lawyer on Monday and got a few answers and a whole lot more questions. This afternoon dh came home for lunch so we had "the talk". I was shocked by his reaction...he was actually very mature and reasonable about it. He never said he loves us or doesn't want me to take the kids away from him or anything like that. All he had to say was if we're having trouble making ends meet with both incomes, how do I think I'll make it on my own (pretty ballsy considering that I make nearly twice what he does and could be making a good bit more if I looked for a job in the corporate world instead of working for higher ed). He said there's no reason for him to contest it because he "can't" have custody of the kids so let's just get it over with as cheap as possible without running up more debt and ruining our credit. That's totally unlike him but I'm not complaining. So now I have to figure out how we do this the "easy" way. The lawyer said that we should "agree on everything" and then he'll review what we come up with and draw up the papers and file them. But what does that really mean? Do we go through the house putting sticky notes with our names on them? Can we make whatever rules we want regarding visitation or are there guidelines? Of course there's always the chance that he'll come back to himself and try to mess things up or that his mother will get involved so I want to get this going as quickly as I can before that happens. For now, as long as he behaves, we're all going to stay here in the house but we're going to try to sell the house. I'm going to see how he is with the kids and me the rest of this week and this weekend. I've got some money stashed aside so that if it does get out of hand, the boys and I can leave. I think he might talk to one of his coworkers this afternoon about crashing at their house for a while. He doesn't want me to get an apartment because if I let the bills go here, it will impact his credit but he doesn't want us all to stay here together either. He wants me to take the boys to my parents' house but I told him no. When I move out, it's going to be to our new "permanent" residence. When he left to go back to work, he told me "This is your thing...do what you gotta do." and slammed the door. So now I have to figure out the next steps...
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:53 PM   #18
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Re: Single parents?

I don't have personal advice, but my friend who is a child services attorney recently told me that in bitter divorces one of her most consistent pieces of advice is, do all your communicating by email. That way your ex can't say, "I never said that. She's lying." or "She never told me."

Hugs, mama. Sorry!
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:33 AM   #19
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Re: Single parents?

I just wanted to give We are all here for you! Stay strong, you can get through this
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:49 AM   #20
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Re: Single parents?

Biggggg hugs mama. You will be in our prayers.
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