A military mother who lost her child
Middle school sweet hearts, love at first site, then comes the baby in the baby carriage -- at 16. But, wait, where is daddy? Daddy comes and goes as he pleases leaving his wife and his baby to fend for themselves. He leaves the bills, housework, and childcare to his full-time student/part-time working wife. Mommy and Daddy decide that a change would be good for them so Mommy signs up for the military (because Daddy wont). 3 months into the marriage violence insues and mommy decides its time to go. She deals with threat after threat and moves from house to house to try and get away until the military gets her in and moves her away. She lives minimally and barely makes ends meat. Finally, the military calls and she was leaving in 2 weeks. What great news, right?
She calles Daddy, who still doesn't have a job or a house, and asks him to watch the baby (now 2) at his mothers house so Mommy can go to basic training and tech school. Despite that daddy didn't pay a dime of child support or even have a job, mommy said she would send money every month until she was done. When she got to her first duty station she would take the baby and he could visit whenever he wanted and that he still would not have to pay child support. Daddy agreed. During Tech School Mommy filed for divorce and requested a joint custody agreement with no child support and was awarded such. While Mommy was away Daddy filed abandoment charges, and requested full custody of the baby. He said he did not know Mommy's whereabouts and Mommy was not notified of the hearing until 1-2 days prior. The one-time use attorney Mommy hired for the divorce had emailed me.
Mommy got there in time for the hearing and was able to scrounge enough money for a crap-hole attorney to represent her. The attorney was able to get the abandoment charges dropped, but Mommy was sued for back child support and primary caregiver was given to Daddy (who won). Daddy still didn't have a job nor a house to live in. The reason Daddy won was because Mommy was going to Japan. The crap-hole attorney (who took more than 10000 dollars from mommy) failed miserably in representing her.
The argument today is that the military is an unstable lifestyle for a child hindering their development and social well being. This is obviously not true because thousands of kids grow up in the military life style and do very well. Mommy's argument is... Why should a child who has been hit, neglected, and is currently unhappy not be able to voice her own opinion (at the age of 7) as to where she wants to be. From the beginning of the court hearings... "baby" has voiced out loud that she wants her mommy. The baby girl, not a baby anymore, is suffering miserably because of three things...
1. She wants her mommy, who she still can't have
2. She is neglected and abused and not being raised properly, but her mommy can't prove it (other than listening to her daughter)
3. Her Daddy uses her to get at her mommy, which also can't be proved.
My opinion to you, is never trust anyone or take for granted that the courts will award you custody. I thought I had it in the bag because I had an agreed upon joint custody order, a stable job, a house, a stable relationship, an attorney, and my daughter wanted to be with me... unfortunately for her and I... I was wrong. I spent every dime I had to try to keep her, but had I known then what i know now... I wouldn't have played nice in the beginning. I would have taken full custody and put the courts in my favor. Its better to take more and give back where you can, than to give it up and take the chance of never getting it. My daughter and I live thousands of miles apart and only phone calls, tears, and minimal visitations hold us together.
My other advice to you, is no matter how much you hate that other person, never ever ever use your child to get back at them. That also happened in my case... and now that my daughter understands, she hates her dad and herself. She hates him for doing what he did, and she hates herself, because she thinks that because he used her to get back at me, its her fault for things being the way that they are. SO PLEASE NEVER USE YOUR CHILD AS LEVERAGE AGAINST A SPOUNSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.