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evil2's avatar

Should i allow my exwife to have sole custody of my kids?

Asked by evil2 (1023 points ) February 15th, 2010

my ex wife who lives about 400 miles away with my two daughters, and my step daughter. Wants to have sole custody, I am afraid this means i would give up all my rights to the kids. does anyone know what this would mean to my rights as a father. on a side note i like to spend time with my kids when possible(usually for about a week at a time 5 or 6 times a year) and i do help her out financially.

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22 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

I suppose you can allow it as long as she agrees in court to let them go visit and anything else you might want with the kids.

All I would really know.

Cruiser's avatar

You do not give reasons to consider why you would want to relinquish your custody rights.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There are two forms of custody – physical (where they reside, eat, sleep) and legal (medical, educational, etc. decisions)...I’m thinking it makes sense to give her 100% physical custody but if you want to stay on top of your kids’ lives and will actually do this, then ask for split legal custody.

SuperMouse's avatar

She could have primary physical custody while you share legal custody. You might want to speak to a divorce attorney who specializes in father’s rights.

evil2's avatar

she wants full legal custody because then she can make decisons for the kids without having to fax all the parental forms to me….we have joint custody legal custody and she has full physical custody

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@evil2 this, now, is up to you to decide

evil2's avatar

i think my question was more of if giving her sole custody was the same as giving up my parental rights to the kids.

trailsillustrated's avatar

it’s not the same as terminating your parental rights. I would only do it if you get along and work well with your ex. My ex has sole custody and tries to lord it over me constantly

Darwin's avatar

If you no longer want to have any say in what goes on in your daughter’s lives, sure, relinquish all custody. Also be prepared for your ex to gradually cut you out of their lives completely.

Certainly the wisest course would be to go talk to a lawyer and find out what happens to your rights if she gets full custody. Since sole custody is generally only granted when the other parent is unfit, I would proceed cautiously. Certainly visitation can be written into any agreement, but is that really all the say you want to have in their lives?

This site discusses the differences between sole custody and giving up parental rights.

john65pennington's avatar

You still have not told us what has caused this situation. you just left us hanging and wondering what the heck you did wrong to warrant this decision. tell us more.

evil2's avatar

i did nothing wrong, she feels that in the best interest of the children , she should be able to make decisions without going through me first, our eldest has medical issues and the other two were molested by their great uncle…so counselling is needed for them.

filmfann's avatar

I cannot improve on @Simone_De_Beauvoir ‘s answer. It’s perfect.

ETpro's avatar

You need to run this by an attorney familiar with family law. I know it costs a bit, but this is a momentous decision and shouldn’t be undertaken without good solid information on what the change would mean.

Nullo's avatar

Remember that a kid needs both parents to grow up healthily. Mothers may be the more immediately necessary of the two, but that doesn’t mean that fathers are superfluous.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I have joint physical and joint legal custody of my son. His mother is noted as the primary resident. Our time and decisions are split right down the middle. It cost a lot of money and 3 years to win that for my son.

Did you get that? I didn’t win it for me. I won it for my son.

Your situation is different because you live so far away. But never let your children get the idea that you “gave them up”. No person wants to live with the knowledge that they were given up on… even if it seems like the right thing to do.

In court, you must go for more than you want, because as a Father, you won’t get what you want. It’s the old cookie jar scenario… ask for two, hope for one.

Children need strong Fathers. If it were not so, this nation would be very different today.

Good Luck

simpleD's avatar

Remember, as has been alluded to above, there is a difference between custody and access (formerly known as visitation.) It is up to you and your lawyer (and possibly a judge) to determine how much of both you want to preserve. If you give up joint custody, then you will have no say in issues such as what schools the children attend, what religious upbringing they may have, when and what jobs they might eventually take as minors, and any other major life events and decisions. You can can give up custody and still have an access agreement – guaranteed time that you will get to spend with them.

Do you already have a separation agreement or divorce settlement in place? If so, you’re both bound by that unless you go to court to change it. Please be careful, and become as informed as you can be. Talk to your lawyer or a mediator, and be aware of the laws and rights you have. And don’t assume things will just work out. Prepare and get it all in writing now so there will be no confusion or hurt resulting from unforeseen circumstances.

ETpro's avatar

Here’s a good discussion of what sole physical custody (which she already has) and sole legal custody (which must be what she is seeking) means. All the more reason to do as I suggested above and get competent legal advice.

SuperMouse's avatar

As a divorced mom of three little boys, let me tell you, dealing with their father can be a true challenge and makes me crazy a lot of the time! I have primary physical custody, we have joint legal custody and discuss all the big parenting decisions. This has a tendency to drive me out of my mind! Would I change it? No. I want him involved with his children. I think it is important for them to know their dad loves them and wants to be as big a part of their life as possible. Before you give up your legal custody rights please give it some serious thought, keeping in mind that children need both parents – even if they are not in the same city – to guide them, have their best interest at heart, and to participate in making decisions that are always in the child’s best interest.

If you love these babies, and are being honest that the main reason she wants full legal custody is for convenience, fight for your rights as a father. You will not be sorry and those kids will be better off for it.

thriftymaid's avatar

Custody does not necessarily affect the visitation and it does not dissolve your right as a father. It has to do with where the children live and who may make decisions affecting their lives.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@thriftymaid I think that if she gets 100% legal and physical custody, that, in effect, does dissolve his rights as a father – in that he can’t contribute to any important decisions legally.

evil2's avatar

talked to a lawyer today and he said i could get a letter notarized giving her the ablitliy to sign for medical and educational needs of the children without disolving my rights and without giving her sole custody…thanks jellies for the input

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@evil2 is that because you live far away? cause I’d like to do this with my ex husband.

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