Jurisdiction: North Carolina
My sons father and I have never been married. He broke up with me when he found out I was pregnant (after shoving me into the clothes hamper and throwing me on the bed and pinning me yelling to the point his dad came in there and got him off of me) and had nothing to do with me and was out partying/drinking all hours of the night then we got back together once our son was born because he said he had changed. Obviously he had not..still out partying/drinking all hours of the night, sleeping around with older women and stealing peoples four wheelers and wrecking them etc. and after a week or two of living with him he didn't help me a bit with the new born and was verbally abusive toward him yelling at him at night to shut up and suck on his damn pacifier, so I packed our bags and moved in with my dad. For the next three years he had very little to nothing to do with his son but his fathers mother would get him every other Sunday, I do not know if his dad saw him over there or not or how often if he did. Once my new boy friend and I moved in together and he found out about it he text me and said we needed to meet and catch up on things, so my new boyfriend and I met him for dinner and he decided he wanted to be a part of my sons life..ok, so we decided to try my son staying with him every other Saturday night and he would pay $300/mo child support. My son stayed twice and both times came home traumatized the first time he had fell out of bed and said he cried and screamed and no one came in the room and the second time when he got home he was so dead tired we could not wake him to get his pjs on him for bed so I know he had been up the entire night and it took over a week after this to get him back on his regular schedule and to break his acting out antics. So that was the end of the over nights and he paid 5 months of the $300 and stopped and hasn't paid anything else ever. My son is now 4 1/2 and for the past year and 1/2 he has been going over there every Sunday and every other Saturday and usually his dad or grandmother would pick him up and then grandma bring him home because his dad had ditched him there is my guess. Two weeks ago his dad randomly asked me if he could start spending the night every other weekend and go on a week long vacation with him to a lake 300 miles away for a fishing trip. I am completely uncomfortable with this. He doesn't even spend the night with him now so I cannot imagine sending him off with him for a week on a fishing trip on a lake which is coming up in a few weeks. Well the father did not like my decision and decided to file for joint custody to prove to me that he is going to get his way because hes bull headed and determined to run over me like he always has. I am concerned because I know of the drinking/stealing/abusive ways in his past and I do not know what goes on now. I tried to talk to him and work something about to start my son off slowly getting adjusted by doing every other Saturday night for 3 months then every other weekend for 3 months then we would discuss vacation but he didn't like that either so he is wanting to get it done legally through the court. Well that didn't settle too well with me after he has had very little to do with his son for 4 1/2 years and has paid little to nothing to help with him. I'm not comfortable with him being away with him because I'm not sure he even knows how to care for him! I have raised my son alone for his entire life and he is doing very well in pre-school,t Ball, swimming, etc. With such little contact and support from his father I am wondering if I have any case to pursue for sole custody with visitation? I do not think it is in my sons best interest for his father to just now jump into the picture and try to run the show, he doesn't deserve him 50/50 because he has not had anything to do with him for the most part.
The likihood of shared custody is very strong unless you can "prove" he is (the child) at risk with Dad. If you want any chance to avoid this consult an Attorney
First you need to understand there are two different types of custody. Legal, which means medical, school, religious decisions and then there is residential or who the child lives with. Legal custody is most often split 50/50. Residential is usually with one parent or the other, with the other parent getting visitation/parenting time, unless the parents agree otherwise.
Don't think of going to court as a bad thing. It will set in writing what you & the father can or cannot do. It is usually not very quick. Nothing is going to change tomorrow or even next week.
One other thing.
This won't be about what you think Dad deserves. It's about what he's legally entitled to and what the court thinks is in your child's best interest. You do need to understand that on a very deep level, otherwise you're going to be miserable for a long, long time to come.