Hi and welcome to DadsDivorce, the leader in divorce help for men, fathers rights and mens rights. We provide divorced dads with concrete, practical divorce resources to achieve the best results in the courtroom.
I started surfing dadsdivorce.com when my wife of 5 years and I were talking abour getting a divorce. We managed to fix our relationship and I sometimes still browse the forums here about child custody... I have a 6 year old daughter with an exgirlfriend. We were high school sweethearts, never married. She left me when our daughter was almost a year old. I should have gone after our daughter, but I was young, broke, and stupid. That next year I married my wife who is in the military. She got stationed in Hawaii and we've been here for almost 4 years now. She did some kind of application to get us back to Missouri (where my daughter is) and it got approved. We're supposed to leave in August with the 2 daughters we have together. The plan was to go to MO and attempt to get shared custody with reintroduction therapy since I haven't seen my daughter in 18 months now. Most contact has been through the mail. Her mom won't let me talk to her on the phone anymore. I got a letter last Friday saying a child abuse case on my daughter had just been closed. I hadn't heard anything about it before. I called CPS and found out there has been 3 child abuse cases on my daughter involving her mom since Dec 2009... I am planning on moving early now. I hired a lawyer and we're waiting on the reports from CPS before filing for anything... But what can I look forward to in court in your opinion? I know her mom has been the primary parent since we broke up... But this woman has kept these CPS cases from me. My daughter was physically abused, possibly sexually molested, and she ran away from home. If I had known about any of these things when they happened, I would have been on the first flight home to file an ex parte... I hope it's not too little, too late. I can't go back in the past. I just want to make things right for the future. Her mom is also trying to move them to Texas with her fiance. I think it's because she knows I'm moving back. The CPS case worker I spoke with said it's probably because she doesn't want to deal with CPS anymore.
Get back there quickly and start establishing residency. I have no experience here but thinking that keeping up the relationship with the caseworker is probably a good start so that they are aware that the girl's father is involved in her life and is willing to take the reins. Ask questions here, keep us posted, you need to succeed, bro.
Sounds like you're doing the right thing. I would talk to a lawyer about what you need to do legally and get your parental rights legally established. There might be a clause in MO state laws that says that the parent who is most likely to allow a meaningful relationship with the other parent will be given primary custody.. I would work hard at trying to document her refusal to allow you contact with your daughter over the phone etc.
Thanks, everyone. I'm just glad that when she did run away, it was a good samaritan who found her and took her to a police station, not some lunatic. I've built some pretty good rapport with the 2 CPS workers I've dealt with so far. And I was told I'll be contacted ASAP if another case opens up against my ex. The soonest I can get over there is in 4-5 weeks. I should have a rental house and new car lined up by then and all the documentation I need for court too though. I have a 3 inch binder full of phone logs, copies of letters, mediation attempts, emails to the ex, USPS confirmations, and child support stuff that I've been building up. Since my wife has to finish her obligation in Hawaii, our family will be split up (her with one kid, me with the other) while I try to get my 6 year old back, so I'm really hoping it goes well.
I am flying to MO in about a week and I have a rental house and new car waiting for me. The only thing I really need lined up is the CPS paperwork. I've had to deal with a supervisor at CPS because my request for the reports got pushed back since they are under staffed and behind. I've still managed to keep good rapport with 2 CPS workers and now my daughter's principal. I contacted her principal at the suggestion of one of the CPS workers. She said that would be the best way of making sure my daughter hadn't been moved to TX yet... So I've kept emailing my ex to ask to talk to our daughter and she was ignoring me until yesterday. She asked for more child support and was rude about it. When I said a payment was already processed, she wrote back and said I'm not a real dad and that she's sick of me and that our daughter is turning into a liar like her father. This really upset me. I felt like she was insulting our daughter through email. A week ago I was actually considering trying mediation one more time, but now I'm so upset, I can't wait to go to court and fight for my daughter. I'm just afraid I'm going to lose. I don't know how I'd handle that... She still doesn't know I'm coming. Any words of wisdom?
The only thing I was going to add to the above support was to make sure you had written documentation of her refusal to allow phone contact. The primary argument against your asserting your rights as the father is going to be lack of contact in the past. That you have attempted, and had it refused, is key to show to the court.
Also something I didn't glean from your above posts -- has paternity been legally established? Am assuming so, if you are paying CS. So I am assuming some existing court order exists on CS and, hopefully, at least allows you to have some parenting time. Please advise status of any orders that have already been issued, even if its as simple as a CS order or order establishing paternity, as that establishes the "go-forward" base line from which you are seeking modification. Any parenting plan or schedule of any kind?
The board is the sum of all of your great posts...Help divorced men be great dads! Divorce help in a father friendly divorce forum....more tips on how to deal with your divorce at DadsDivorce.com