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My Response to did I do?

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NewMom0220 posted 1/9/2014 16:10 PM

This is what I wrote as a response to the part of the interrogatories where I have to explain why I believe I should receive sole or primary custody of our son, 10 months.

I am seeking sole custody of DS (DOB: 02/20/13). I am petitioning the court to request that the non-custodial parent, STBX, be granted supervised visitation due to an established and documented alcoholism/daily alcohol abuse and history of child endangerment due to drinking and driving with DS in the vehicle.

STBX left the marital home in March of 2013 when DS was 1 month old. Since that time DS has only resided with me, NewMom0220, and I have been DS primary custodial parent. STBX has never kept DS for any overnight visits before and has only been responsible for him for a few hours at a time. After he left the marital home, STBX has chosen to have limited to no involvement with his son despite my frequent urging and encouragement for him to spend more time with DS. His only parental participation was to bring DS home to me after daycare once I returned back to work when my maternity leave expired.

STBX has an established and long-term alcohol dependency problem and I have concerns about his drinking, especially while driving with DS. STBX has been cited in the past for a DUI with property damage and driving with an open container. From May 2013-September 2013, STBX was responsible for driving DS home from daycare to my house. During that time, due to his erratic behavior, going to pick up DS late from daycare, and a history of going to happy hour daily after work, I had suspicions that STBX was drinking before traveling to pick DS up from his daycare to bring him home. At the time, DS was being watched during the day by his paternal grandparents, STBXMIL and STBXFIL. STBX would arrive at their home sometime after 7pm and bring DS home around 9:30-10pm.

On August 28, 2013 STBX brought DS home and was stumbling as he entered my home and set DS down in the crib. I asked him if he had been drinking and he said that he had not been drinking, but that he was tired because he took on a second job as a barback at [bar]. The following day, I asked [STBXMIL & STBXFIL] if they had noticed that STBX was intoxicated when he picked up DS. STBXFIL stated, I told the wife, if he (STBX) had one more drink I wouldnt let him leave this house with the baby. At that time I expressed to [STBXin-laws] to not allow STBX to drive with the baby if he had been drinking. In September of 2013, I decided to stop having STBX pick up DS from daycare altogether because of my fears of his drinking and driving.

I have attached 3 months of STBXs bank statements that show that between the months of June 2013-August 2013, STBX was drinking at bars on dates that he was driving with DS to my house. These bank statements confirm my suspicions that STBX was picking DS up while intoxicated and driving with him in his vehicle. These dates only show the times he used his credit card to purchase alcohol; they do not account for the dates in which he used cash to consume alcohol after work. STBX is a known patron at several bars in [town] and he is at happy hour on a daily basis. My concern is that he is not able to take care of DS in a responsible manner when he is drinking to excess. STBXs drinking and driving is a danger to DS and puts DS safety and well being at risk, not only while in the car, but also while caring for him at home.

I attached as evidence 3 months worth of bank records (June 2013-August 2013) that show 17 incidents where STBX was at the bar on days he was driving DS (age 3-6 months at the time) home.

My attorney now understands (even though I've told her these things all along) why I'm hesitant to sign ANY overnight agreements. I've asked her to request his most recent bank statements since I was only able to obtain these because they were sent with his financial affidavit. I don't know why it's been so hard for me to "prove" to my attorney that what I'm saying is the truth, but I feel like now she gets it.

I know this is just the interrogatories that I'm filling out, but I did my best to state my case.

What are your thoughts?

[This message edited by NewMom0220 at 4:23 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Gemini71 posted 1/9/2014 16:40 PM

Sounds good. The only thing I can think of is to emphasize your good qualifications as Primary Care Giver. Spell out all the things that only you do for DS, like Dr. Appts, any Baby and Me activities, baths, bedtimes, whatever you can think of.

betrayedfriend posted 1/9/2014 17:08 PM

I would also include the threats that stbx's has made about kidnapping your son and other children in your family, the harassing and scary behavior , abandonment and anything else that would help you get custody. Of course check with your lawyer first but you're going to have to go balls to the wall nuclear on his ass

Take2 posted 1/9/2014 17:18 PM

Is this already sent, or still in the drafting stages?

I might also add to the following:

despite my frequent urging and encouragement for him to spend more time with DS in my home, with me in attendance.

Or rephrase it so it is clear you are encouraging WS to visit and spend time with you there!

I also second the doctor appts. Has he gone to any?

[This message edited by Take2 at 5:21 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Afraid2LoveAgain posted 1/9/2014 17:49 PM

In my state, NC, a DUI with a minor passenger is a Level 1 offense. The driver can also be charged with child endangerment and/or abuse.

Sending good thoughts your way. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have to turn your angel over to that drunk SOB. If it ever does happen I would call and report him as a drunk driver immediately. I wish we could trust our courts to keep innocent children safe but sadly that's not always true.

Nature_Girl posted 1/9/2014 18:00 PM

Please do emphasize the threats he's made about taking the baby. Include copies of his texts or other rants.

JerseyCowgirl posted 1/9/2014 18:02 PM

You did excellent. Finally even made your attorney take notice. I had an attorney like that so instead of telling her the same facts over and over, I sent her an email every day with a new picture, voice mail or evidence. You did a great job.

ItHappened2Me2 posted 1/9/2014 18:43 PM

I don't have a lot to add -- but I second the advice to highlight all the things you've done to make you the PRIMARY (only) caregiver. And, the threats he made about taking your son and taking your sister's kids.

Very good start though! Glad your lawyer is starting to pay attention!

Holly-Isis posted 1/9/2014 19:05 PM

It pisses me off when attys don't fight for their clients.

Can you get your sister and anyone else that was threatened or witnessed the threats from your STBXWH write letters also? Or is that not appropriate at this point?

I always assume that more evidence is better than not enough.

NewMom0220 posted 1/9/2014 19:33 PM

Hi All,

This is my answer to HIS attorney's request for me to explain reasons why I should get more than 50/50 time sharing and to produce documents/evidence to support my request.

Holly-Isis: That's great advice about having my sister write a letter that details his threats.

When I received this notice to produce in November my attorney just forwarded it to me. I honestly don't even think she read it. So in December as I was going through each bullet item of what I had to include I noticed there was a question about custody and time sharing. I then panicked and emailed my attorney and said, "Isn't this section REALLY IMPORTANT? Is this where I state my concerns about his alcoholism?"

She replied, "Oh yeah, go into as much detail as you can."

Well I asked for an extension and pulled out the bank statements that he submitted from his financial affidavit.

You really have to be your own advocate. I thought in the beginning that I had a great attorney, but I have been doing most of the work. She basically sends emails back and forth. But I'm hoping that the longer she works on my case, the more she understands that I'm not just some jilted mother who wants to keep her baby away from her cheating husband. I have valid concerns. I spent an hour and a half with her this morning going over all of this stuff and went back to work to rewrite some of it.

Thank you all for the notes. As you all know, dealing with the legal stuff is like another full time job. And I'm hustling to keep my current full time job and my employers happy.

You all are worth more than 10 of the best Attorney's in town, so I always come here to make sure I'm doing things correctly and I don't miss anything.

[This message edited by NewMom0220 at 7:35 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

ChoosingHope posted 1/9/2014 19:43 PM

I hope it's not too late, but I just wanted to reiterate all the other posters who said you should add information about how you have always been the primary caretaker and decision maker.

My attorney wrote mine and included a shopping list of everything I've done for my children from preparing their meals to "monitoring their hygiene" (whatever that means in legalese), to bringing them all ALL doctors appointments, etc. Perhaps add a list of everything you've done for your baby.

I've avoided overnights for more than two years now, though it's been a combination of luck and other factors. Good luck to you and DS!

DeadMumWalking posted 1/10/2014 01:15 AM

I think that instead of saying that you have always been the 'primary caregiver', you should say that you have been the SOLE caregiver.

Yeah, I don't think an hour or two of asshole playing daddy counts.

Also, are you breastfeeding? If you (still) are, that might be another argument in your favor.


Amazonia posted 1/10/2014 03:35 AM

Do you have records/documentation of the times you have offered him visitation that he has refused? I would attach a list of dates that you offered visitation and he refused, if you can (emails, texts, etc.). I would also add the date of his DUI and attach any documentation you have to back that up.

Finally, I'd include/attach copies of his emails threatening to take your child. He sent some pretty nasty ones, didn't he? And yes, definitely get sworn statements from witnesses like your sister!

NewMom0220 posted 1/10/2014 10:43 AM

Hi All,

We haven't been to mediation yet and that was my response to the interrogatories. Reading your suggestions I feel like I left a lot of stuff out. I was thinking that I would have the opportunity to go into more detail and add some of this other stuff before I get in front of a judge.

I asked my attorney to read it before she submitted it and let me know if I was missing anything. She went ahead and sent it without offering any feedback and now I'm wondering if it's too late to bring those points up.

How much does my response factor in when we go to court? And did I have to include everything at this point?

I'm really starting to think I should find a new attorney. I feel like I'm doing all of this on my own. She did not suggests any of the things you all suggested, like adding the things I've done or stating that I'm the only parental guardian, or providing copies of the emails where I asked him to come visit with DS, etc.

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