Well, I didn’t get custody but I did get most of my visitation restored today so I’m in a pretty good mood as well.
I had moved in with my girlfriend (met her after the filing of the divorce) and my soon-to-be-ex promptly asked for a “no-contact” order between my 7 year old and my girlfriend. Being concerned that my daughter was truly upset, and not having talked with her, I agreed to return to visitation mediation. Needless to say, my wife went to the mediation knowing that she would not agree to any proposal.
Frustrated, I filed a motion seeking restoration of full visitation, or in the alternative, daytime visits where I could bring my daughter back to my residence.
After 7 hours in court, I finally got my hearing and the judge gave me the daytime visits AND a referral to family services for an independent study on visitation and custody which I had also requested.
The only thing better than the judge’s order was seeing the look on the faces of my wife and her arrogant attorney.
The moral of the story: NEVER NEVER NEVER surrender custody of your child without a fight. In my case, I didn’t dwell too deeply at the initial hearing or I might have deduced that my wife was just out to make me miserable. I naively assumed that there was a problem which, in fact, did not exist.
Second, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure your ex/wife/girlfriend and her attorney understand that you will not just roll over for them – I was too nice to them and they started taking it for granted that I would fold.
Third, no matter how much the expense in terms of time and/or money, our children are the most important things to us (in my case, my daughter is my only child). NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT!!!
To all of you out there still fighting for equitable visitation rights – keep on. A malicious mom will always find a way to shoot herself in the foot.
P.S. – Sorry for the long message.