Should I prepare for the worst with my child custody case?
I have been pretending all is well and that I have no worries about matters regarding my son’s custody. Truth is, it’s a constant source of worry for me. I need opinions and facts. Please don’t go easy on me just because it might cause me more worry. I want the brutally honest truth, even if it hurts.
I apologize for the length of this but I want all facts to be known. I had a baby 2 years ago with my now ex boyfriend. While I was pregnant, we had problems in our relationship. He was into drugs, lying, cheating, and was verbally/physically abusive. But I chose to stay, hoping for the best, thinking that a baby would change his ways. Very bad judgment on my part. Instead things got even more abusive and violent. A few months after the baby was born the father abandon us. He left to go “help a friend move” and never came back home again. I was worried sick for weeks. I knew he was alive and well because he would contact me every so often to tell me he planned on coming back but needed time to himself. In the meantime, I had no job (he was our source of income), no way of buying diapers or food for our son, no way of paying rent, and I was suddenly raising a baby on my own. I begged, pleaded, and cried everyday for him to come see his son. I found out what friend he was staying with and drove there numerous times so that the baby could see him. He refused it. He would hide in the house and yell out the window to go away.
After this went on for weeks, I finally realized I had to do something or I would be homeless. So I had to pack up my house and move in with my mother. The baby and I stayed in her living room and slept on a couch. I had no way of paying for both cell phones (he was on my plan), so I had his line turned off. The day I shut off his service, the threats started. He used someone else’s phone to call me. He left threatening voicemails stating that if I didn’t turn his phone back on, he’d find me, kill me and my family, and take the baby away. I had started the process of moving my things out of the house but hadn’t gotten everything out yet. I already returned all his belongings to him though (I left it with his friend). That same night of the threats, he broke into the old house and tried stealing the electronics. I had already moved the most expensive items (flat screen, stereo, etc). This upset him. He was looking for things to sell quickly to support his drug habit. He called me, demanding I tell him where I took my things. I of course called the cops to report the break in and threats.
Fast forward 2 years later and the cops just recently found him and arrested him for the warrant issued for the threats and break in. He has been in hiding since that day. There hasn’t been contact with me other than a Facebook message threatening to kill himself and admitting to his drug and alcohol problem a few months ago. He has never seen his son or paid a dime in child support since the day he ran away from us. 2 days ago, more Facebook messages started from him. He again admitted to his drug problem and stated that he sells drugs now as well. He heard through the grapevine that I have moved on and started a life with someone new and that my boyfriend takes care of my son like his own. My son calls him daddy and is all he’s ever known. We will be married soon and he has hopes of adopting the baby. So naturally, the father is jealous and angry. He suddenly is demanding I allow him to see his “son”. Keep in mind, I have tried doing the custody thing several times in the past but the father never came to court. The judge kept rescheduling it in order to give him a chance to show up and fight for his kid. After numerous times of me missing work and sitting in court for hours just for it to be postponed, I stopped going. I decided I would instead hire a good lawyer and go back in the future to try this again.
It looks like now is that time. The father has magically appeared again and wants rights. I however want full custody. I knew this day would come but now that it has, I’m so worried that I could potentially have to allow visitation to a drug addict sperm donor. I have saved every message, I have taken pictures from the internet showing him holding guns, doing drugs, talking about drugs, etc. I have the police reports. He is also a convicted felon with a record of many arrests. I am hiring a reputable lawyer. I feel like my chances of full custody are good. But then I hear horror stories about similar scenarios and I worry all over again.
Has anyone had a custody battle that seemed cut and dry but ended drastically different than expected? This isn’t about me being a selfish parent. This isn’t about me being bitter that he broke things off with me. This is only about me protecting the safety of my son. If he was a normal, hard working, honest man with good intentions, I would be the first to hop on board to the idea of him being introduced back into his son’s life. But that’s not who he is. I can’t imagine handing a 2 year old over to a drug addict, violent stranger and introducing him as dad. Knowing what I know about this man, he is unstable and unsafe and I am genuinely concerned about what this custody outcome will be.
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