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Wow! I am so excited I found this forum. I have been an on and off member of JM for a long time now.
So here's a little into my situation.
My husband and I decided to divorce back in 08, he came home from Iraq and I moved out with the verbal agreement we would share custody of our daughter. He would get her first since he had been deployed and wanted to catch up. The first few weeks went fine and I got to see her on my days off from work but she never spent the night at my house, he always had an excuse, they had plans to do something. A month went by and he tells me I can't have her. I called the police and they said there was nothing they could do, I could go get her myself but they could not physically go get her themselves.
Long story short I go to get her and it turns physical, the cops are called and I was arrested for domestic assault even though I was just defending myself. The state places a COR and I'm told no contact with my husband until it's dropped. I couldn't even have a family member contact him for me.
I get a lawyer for the domestic and took his stupid advice and accepted a plea bargain of 11/29 probation and anger management classes. Throughout the court process I kept asking for advice on how to see my daughter. The lawyer said he couldn't help I would have to get a divorce/custody lawyer. I tried to file a motion for emergency custody but just to start that motion was $3000. In the state I live in they don't have legal aid for divorce or custody. The cheapest I've been quoted to take my case was a $2500 retainer fee plus the other $2500 after it was settled. I simply do not have that kind of money. Tried for a loan and was not elligable.
When the COR was dropped I immediately called my husband and asked to see my daughter, he refused. He wouldn't even let me talk to her on the phone. I went to the house hoping to talk face to face and he was either never there or wouldn't open the door. The last time I saw her was Nov. 08 and didn't get to speak with her on the phone until May 09. I was served with divorce papers Dec. 08 and responded stating I contested and could not afford a lawyer. In Aug. 08 on one of my ritual "go to his house see if he'll talk to me" days the neighbor told me they had moved. I went to the police, his unit commander, JAG and they all said there was nothing they could do! He dropped the divorce in Apr. and I wasn't even made aware.
I finally found out that he had relocated over 3,000 miles away and also had changed his last name. Nov. of this year will make it 2 years since I saw my daughter last. I work, but I barely make ends meet as it is. I've lost hope. I feel like I have no rights to her at all. I still talk with lawyers but now they're all saying I have no hope of ever gaining any form of custody of her because of the domestic, my financial situation, and also because it's been so long since I saw her last. Not to mention the ones who do have any hope require an even higher retainer fee and will take payments but only AFTER that initial payment is made up front. I am in debt. I work 2 jobs and barely scrape by. I don't know what to do anymore. So ANY advice at all or even just a place to vent can't do any harm.
I feel like a bad mom. Like there's some solution out there and I've just given up. No matter how good my life is I will never be happy until I see my daughter.
Thanks for listening and sorry that this is so long and probably scrambled.
I agree with Rebecca...if you can't afford a lawyer, research what needs to be done and see if you can do it yourself. Also, see if you can find a law student to help you. They may be willing to get their feet wet on something like this. If nothing else, they may be able to help you write whatever needs to be submitted to the courts.
Your ex is the lowest form of life. How dare he keep your daughter from you! I can't believe that there is no one to help you--I think you just need to keep bugging people. Get creative. I know it's a contradiction in terms but surely there is a lawyer out there with a heart! SOMEONE who'd be willing to take on your case just because you deserve to have your daughter back! There has to be SOMETHING that can be done since there is no custody agreement in place--and he needed to get YOUR permission to take her from the state and he didn't do that. Also did he change her last name as well? He also had no right to do that without your consent. You've got to be able to find a lawyer or someone who can help you. Make noise--like I said get creative. See if your local paper will do a piece on your situation. The media loves "helping" and maybe some lawyer will see it and decide he can get enough publicity out of the deal to waive his fees. It can't hurt to try, right?
Let us know how things go. You're in my prayers.
Last edited by Blondzilla; June 25th, 2010 at 03:06 PM.
Wow. My heart breaks for you and I can't imagine the pain and frustration you are going through. It's not fair..... and I don't understand how no one is able to help. You have rights!!!! How he can just erase you from your daughter's life and get away with it is beyond comprehension.
I really don't have any advice other than what was already given .... I just want to say you'll be in my thoughts. I hope there is someone out there that can help you.
Interesting that he dropped the divorce. Do you have to file an Intent to Relocate with children in your state? Sounds like that's why he dropped it? That, or the military would require a care plan or something saying he had custody so he dropped it? INTERESTING. Or the state the child last resided in? Im shocked, really. All the things that were requested of you, the anger management class, etc...did you complete that and go through all those hoops?
From what you say, it sounds like he had no right to take her and move to another state without your knowledge or consent...or withhold visitation-at least not without a court order, parenting plan or restraining order. And from this, it sounds like kidnapping. Find out what your rights are. Dont get discouraged when attorneys tell you there is no hope. Dont give up. This is your child and she deserves to know her mother.
I dont know, if it were me, I would stop at nothing to at least see her. Try to find an attorney that will work with you. If you cannot find one that will accept a life-time payment plan, try to find one that will do it pro bono. But whatever you do, make sure it's logical, calm, and goes through the process. Everything you say and do would be used against you given previous charges/accusations...
I would try to get a parenting plan in place. If your courthouse has a court facilitator (or maybe it's called something else where you live?), they can guide you to the correct paperwork, and even make sure it is filled out correctly before going before a commissioner/judge. If that didn't work, or he couldn't be located, or whatever, I would probably go to the paper....calmly share my story like Dani is saying, and see what happens. And dont forget to mention all the steps that you went through previously before the paper........the chain of command....JAG.....the police,etc.
And (I hate to say this) but I would report her kidnapped (as in taken from you) as a last resort. I would ONLY do this as a last resort and ONLY if there were no reason (ie, a court order, parenting plan, restraining order in place, and I had gone through all the hoops required of me.) and NO ONE was helping me to at least KNOW and see my child. I really hate to say that, but I probably would. Like I said, I would stop at NOTHING.
And that's if EVERYTHING you stated was exactly what it was...nothing left out, you know? doesn't seem right or fair to you or to your child. And dont do anything anything wild...lol...nothing out of emotion. NOTHING. Remember, there are things against you already, and it's my opinion that there is a soft spot for people in uniform when requesting the courts. A few of them are the most nasty disrespectful, disgusting, undeserving jerks that dont deserve jack $#@% for respect. But they still receive it, because of what they do and they can put on a uniform and stand up on two feet. Be appropriate. Be aware. And be ready to go through the process and fight to see your child.
No it's not hopeless. Dont EVER believe that. Keep trying every day to see her, never stop. One day, if you later comes before sooner, she will find you or you will find her depending on anything she has been told, and she will know that through those years you DID care about her, DID think of her, DID try to see her, DID try to find her. Who do you think she will be upset with then? Patience. But whatever you do, do it sooner rather than later. It's been a little while too long....
I can't imagine your pain that you go through every day. My heart goes out to you. Dont give up. Close your eyes and envision her the last way you saw her, the smile, the laugh, her eyes....that will keep you going.
Im so sorry.
Last edited by hopenot4gotten; June 29th, 2010 at 01:47 AM.