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Reged: 03/11/07
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Do I have a shot at custody
      #208305 - 03/11/07 12:59 AM

Ok, I will try to make this as short as possible. My son is 8yo, lives with mother..joint legal and physical custody, but because I live an hour away I only get EOW, one dinner night per week, and half of all school vacations. I never miss any visitation time, and have signed him up for baseball for the last three years, I have made every practice and game (thats two nights a week, and every Saturday morning for four months that I am driving an hour from home to ensure that I am there for him and involved in his life) MY ex and I were never married (two week long relationship..just long enough for her to get pregnant)..She has manipulated and lied for the last eight years. My son has no boudaries at her home, eating problems, is overweight, cries to me about not having any friends, and kids calling him names (wieght)...and problems in school (emotionally and academically). Has already repeated kindergarten, is now at end of first grade and still way below grade level (not at grade level in any subject). Mother doesn't see this as a problem, she says he is improving..I agree he has made progress, but am afraid he is not making enough progress, and he knows he is below the other kids in his class, it is damaging his already fragile self esteem. Two years ago he was tested for ADD/ADHD, all doctors, mother and I agreed that he had some sympotms, but not enough to qualify for diagnosis. I refuse to have him medicated (did a lot of research, and meds seem to dangerous, especially at such a young age). Especially without exploring every other avenue available (one being having him live with me) Both Mother and I are now married and each have two more children (she likes to play keep up),..Anyway at a parent/teacher/principle meeting yesterday the mother advises the principle that there was a diagnosis of ADHD two years ago!!!! And produces a letter from Kaiser that she has given to the teacher. First off the letter is only one page of what was a four or five page report outlining ADD/ADHD, symptoms, and the restults based on the surveys filled out by all parents and teachers. Yes that particular page talks about ADHD, but had she included the next page the teacher/principle would see that he doesn't meet enough of the criteria. For two years now all the teachers have talked about is his attention and have refused to do any further testing (my father has dyslexia). The mother has openely admitted that my son has more boundaries/consequences for his actions at my house, and in return we have less of the "behavior" issues that she and the school have.
I don't see this as anything more than the child needing structure, consistency, and attention. That also hapens to be what two separate counselors have told myself and the mother. I have been contemplating having the custody arragement re-evaluated but have been afraid that my case isn't strong enough. I can't afford an attorney, but last time we went to court (four years ago), I walked away with everything I had asked for, the mother had an attorney, and I didn't. I agreed to settle then, and now regret it.
If the mother is claiming to have known of an ADHD diagnosis for two years now and not done anything about it, will that help me. How can she just continue to let her son struggle to the extent that he is without doing anything? Also, doesn't she require my consent to supply the school with my sons private medical information if we have joing legal cusody? I have documented proof that we mutually agreed that ADD/ADHD wasn't the problem. Also, will the courts give me the opportunity to become the CP before we explore medication if there truely is an ADHD diagnosis??? HELP!!!!!!

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Reged: 08/14/06
Posts: 178
Re: Do I have a shot at custody [Re: timalynn]
      #208976 - 03/12/07 05:08 PM

I cannot tell you what your chances of getting your boy are, although I heard many times that judges do not like the idea of children having to leave their school and the environment they are used to. In fact have you asked your son, if he would like to move in with you and leave his mother?

It does not sound as though you think highly of your son's mother. It does not sound as though the relationship between the two of you could be termed 'amicable'. In fact it sounds as though you look down on her.

Do not underestimate the stress that arises for a child, if his parents cannot stand each other. She is a part of him just as much as you are a part of him. It is easy to tear a child apart without even noticing. If Dad's victory is Mum's defeat, and you as a child are in the middle of this, are the one 'guilty' of this, that is a horrible burden.

You may be totally right, he might need more structure and discipline. But trying to fight down the boy's mother is not the solution. Structure is not the only thing a child needs to be able to concentrate. Peace of mind & heart is another. How can a child concentrate on anything, when his heart is a battlefield?

Before you go and see a lawyer, I would rather try to work out something with your son's mother. And if you two cannot see eye to eye, then try via a third party. I believe the only way you two can truly help your child is by becoming something that obviously you are not at present: a team.
Could that be one of the main problems in your child's life?
That there is this silent, but on the emotional realm unbearably loud dissent and hostility between you and the mother?

I do not know if counseling could help. But I do know that if you do not make the mother feel unfit and like a failure, then she might eventually agree to the boy living with you. After all she loves him as much as you do, and she sees that he is not doing well. When feeling safe and accepted and acknowledged as a loving mother, she might even be able to admit that she does not set enough boundaries, when in fact she should, maybe due to guilt.

If on the other hand you do nothing but convey the impression that you think she is worthless and wrong, then she is right in fearing that you will alienate the child and end up hurting him emotionally.

I truly feel for you and understand your concern, your anger and your frustration, because you want the best for your child. I just hope you will find a different way to solve things than the one you envisage right now.

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Carpal \'Tunnel

Reged: 06/03/05
Posts: 7157
Re: Do I have a shot at custody [Re: timalynn]
      #217689 - 03/31/07 02:05 PM

If the mother is claiming to have known of an ADHD diagnosis for two years now and not done anything about it, will that help me. How can she just continue to let her son struggle to the extent that he is without doing anything?

You admitted to "refusing" to put him on meds, so what was it she was suppossed to do?

That said while I understand your frustration I don't think that there is enough to warrant a change in custody. The burden of proof lies wih the person filing the motion and it doesn't really sound like anything has significantly changed in his life in the past 2 years. You'd probably have to prove that him doing poorly in school is because of her parental neglect. It doesn't sound as if that's the case. You may not agree with her parenting style but she is going to the meetings and Dr's appointments. She's not neglecting the child.

I doubt that the courts will change custody just to avoid medication, but hey we are not dealing with a logical system here so anything is possible.

When we were together, you said you'd die for me. Now, I think it's time you kept your promise.

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