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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-30-2012, 11:56 PM
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Default Custody and supervised access questions

Hello All!

I had been living common law with my ex for about 2 years when I left with our infant in May. He agreed with me and has since terminated our leased apartment and moved out. My counselor called aCAS on my ex due to some of the circumstances surrounding the reason I left. CAS confirmed my concerns, discussed the issue with my ex and closed the file.

We are scheduled for mediation but I have a few questions.

I have never denied my ex visitation, but I have had the visits supervised by either myself or my ex's parents, who share my concerns although are not concerned to the same degree I am. I was actually considering backing off with the supervision until something happened again last week. When I try to discuss my concerns with my ex he just blows off what I say.

I would like to have joint custody with my ex but my gut is telling me to go for sole custody. I would still consult with him regarding major decisions. We do argue a lot about parenting. I prefer to discuss things in person or by phone, but he is requesting all communication occur by email or text so that he has a record in case we ever go to court. I have gone over and beyond trying to keep my ex involved despite the supervision because I know my son needs his dad around.

Do I currently have sole custody since I left with the baby and my ex consented? Will having his visits supervised come back and bite me if we ever go to court? Given what I have written, do I have a shot at sole custody? I would be willing to reconsider joint down the line if circumstances change. If I had to, would it be easy to go from joint to sole in case things didn't work out?


Thanks so much!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:53 AM
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You are going to have to prove to a court why you think sole is the way to go. You had CAS involved and they closed the file so that may not help you too much. What is the nature of the complaint? You cannot play gatekeeper and decide to give him supervised access, he is the father and it should be 50/50 unless there is a danger to the child. Just remember to keep emotions out of it.

As for him requesting contact just by email, that is what is stressed time and time again on this board. Cuts down on conflict. You may want to see him face to face or talk on the phone but he he just "blows" you off then why??
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:12 AM
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If CAS had concerns about the child in his father's care did they share this in writing? In my experience, CAS workers (esp inexperienced) will say one thing but deny it later because they usually do not get involved in access/custody issues. If they have closed the file, does that mean they no longer have concerns about the child in his care? Have they recommended that the contact should be supervised?

No, you do not have sole custody just because you left with the baby. You are confusing custody which relates to legal decision making and residency.

Communicating by text/email is probably a good thing for both of you.

Last edited by Nadia; 10-01-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
CAS confirmed my concerns, discussed the issue with my ex and closed the file.
So basically your concerns weren't sufficient to cause them to be involved. So as per CAS, he isn't a danger to the child.

Quote:
I have never denied my ex visitation, but I have had the visits supervised by either myself or my ex's parents, who share my concerns although are not concerned to the same degree I am. I was actually considering backing off with the supervision until something happened again last week. When I try to discuss my concerns with my ex he just blows off what I say.
You insisting on supervised visitation, without having hard evidence to back yourself up, can and most likely will bite you in the ass and paint you as controlling. What happened last week?

Do you have police records? CAS reports? Anything that proves he is a danger to the child? If yes, then you can argue the supervised thing. If NO, then you can't. Stop doing it. He has a right to 50-50 access, you unilaterally took the child out of it's habitual residence and began playing gatekeeper. If your ex grows a brain, or has a half decent lawyer, this angle can be played against you.

Remember, kidlets do NOT come with instructions, you have to learn and make it up as you go along. If he's that much of a doorknob, look into and suggest that he take local parenting classes to ensure that the child's best interests are looked after.

Quote:
I would like to have joint custody with my ex but my gut is telling me to go for sole custody. I would still consult with him regarding major decisions.
What can you prove? Those are mutually exclusive statements. You either want sole, or you are willing to consult with him.

Suggestion...do JOINT custody (this gives him a voice in major medical, educational and religious decisions.) but request that YOU have residential care and control. The terminology on that may vary depending on the province you are in. Basically he gets a vote, you get the veto. (Barring a court order from him of course) It means you are obligated to consult and seek his view, but at the end of the day the decision rests with you.

Quote:
We do argue a lot about parenting. I prefer to discuss things in person or by phone, but he is requesting all communication occur by email or text so that he has a record in case we ever go to court.
He's being smart, you aren't. There are such things are "parallel parenting" that can be used in a parenting plan. Basically you do things your way when you have the kidlet, he does them his way. You aren't together anymore, so you don't have a say in how he parents. (Unless as mentioned, it places the child in danger). Works both ways, he doesn't get to dictate your parenting style to you either.

Quote:
I have gone over and beyond trying to keep my ex involved despite the supervision because I know my son needs his dad around.
The fact that CAS closed the file means your concerns weren't of sufficient merit to have them involved. Given that, he's not a danger to the child, you still insist on supervised?

Quote:
Do I currently have sole custody since I left with the baby and my ex consented?
No. You have joint, which is the defacto legal status that occurs when a couple with a child separates. Your ex was a fool. If he had a brain, he would have hauled you to court on an emergency motion and forced the return of the child to it's habitual residence.

Quote:
Will having his visits supervised come back and bite me if we ever go to court?
Unless you have some hard evidence to back up your stance, yes, yes it will.

Quote:
Given what I have written, do I have a shot at sole custody?
Not unless he agrees to it. If he grows a brain or has a decent lawyer, I'd actually peg his chances at sole better than yours.

You unilaterally moved the child out of it's home.

You then unilaterally decided to play gatekeeper and insist on supervised access, despite CAS closing the file, and without any hard evidence that he is a danger to the child.

Unless there is a LOT more to this story, you are setting yourself up to get reamed in court.

Quote:
I would be willing to reconsider joint down the line if circumstances change. If I had to, would it be easy to go from joint to sole in case things didn't work out?
Here's what he's legally entitled to, from the second you two split.

JOINT Legal, 50-50 physical. That's the law, unless you have evidence that proves him unfit. He pushes it, that's what he'll get.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:02 AM
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I was gonna post my two cents - but then read what NBDad had to say and realized there no reason to repeat him.

But I will say this, the supervised visit angle is just dripping with offensive cannotations to me. You don't say what the 'issue' is, but it seems CAS doesn't care. So maybe you're over-reacting? Or looking for excuses/justifications to follow through with what you FEEL like doing, instead of what you SHOULD be doing?
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:16 PM
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Sorry, I have left out a lot of details. I did not just up and leave on a whim. I had left due to some undesirable behaviour on my exs part. I had intended to ask him to seek counseling and then return with our son. Unfortunately, he ended our relationship. He moved out and we terminated our lease. The baby and I are staying with relatives.

CAS told me that I did the right thing by leaving but that their hands were tied because I had not called the cops and so much time had passed after the incidents. At the time, I did not want the cops involved as I thought I could talk to my ex about the situation once he had sobered up and that he would realize what he did. I sought counselling due to my distress of the situation and to try to figure out how to communicate with my ex about his actions. He would never intentionally hurt the baby, but he is careless with him at times. He does not have an alcohol or drug problem. I had hoped that all of this would resolve itself and we could go back to being a family. Luckily, our baby was not hurt, but he could have been and this situation would have been a lot worse. I just want to make sure my son is safe when my ex has him and I worry that I am too paranoid now because of what happened.

CAS was able to confirm the incidents took place but did not tell with me what was discussed with my ex. The social worker told me to do what I felt I needed to protect my son and not to give the baby to my ex under certain circumstances. I called the worker after she talked to my ex and said he admitted to consuming alcohol around our infant. Unfortunately, their closing letter to me was very vague and didn't mention anything we had discussed.

Right now, he is only seeing the baby once a week at his request. I have asked him to visit more, but he says he is too busy . I have been asking him to let me know when he wants to see the baby so I can work around his visits, but it is still just once a week.

Should I continue to ask him when he wants to see the baby or ask him for a schedule? As of today, I have no idea when he would like to see him next. I do want him to spend time with our baby. It's so sweet to see them together. I just worry for my son's safety at times. If I try to discuss the safety issues with his father, my concerns are dismissed.

What is considered a danger? I stayed in the relationship longer than I should have because I worried that my ex would not be able to care for our son if we separated. My ex would go to sleep and leave the then 3 month old in my 10 year old step daughter's care. Last week I found my stepdaughter and her friend feeding the baby pizza unsupervised. I was worried that he could have choked. Are these legitimate concerns?
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:03 PM
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How old is the kidlet now? The risk of a child choking while gumming on a slice of pizza is fairly small. Was your ex in the house at the time? (Ie. if the child DID start to choke, was he in earshot so the stepdaughter could call out to him?)

Quote:
My ex would go to sleep and leave the then 3 month old in my 10 year old step daughter's care.
As opposed to? Bringing the child into bed with him? At 3 months old a baby isn't crawling. You'd be lucky if it can roll over. Asking a 10 year old to sit in the room and watch TV while the baby drools on the floor isn't a huge deal. Personally if he wanted a nap, he probably should have done so on the couch/in the room with the baby/10 year old, but again, as long as he's IN the house and within earshot in the event of an emergency, it's NOT a game breaking issue.

At 12, technically he can have his daughter begin babysitting. It depends on the maturity level of the kid, but you get the point.

That isn't a danger. Maybe a little bit questionable, but certainly not grounds to restrict his access to the level you have.

A danger would be...he drinks (to the point of drunkenness) with the child AND you have police reports/etc to prove it. He drinks/drives. Or gets high and drives.

He's a sex offender, or cooks meth in the kitchen. He doesn't give the child medically necessary prescriptions. Things like that where the child's LIFE is in danger.

Do you have concerns? Sure. Are they to the point that you should be restricting access to supervised? No.

To redress those kind of concerns, you might get better traction by requesting he take some sort of parenting course or infant CPR course. Look into what is available in your area, and give him a couple of options.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wretchedotis View Post
I was gonna post my two cents - but then read what NBDad had to say and realized there no reason to repeat him.

But I will say this, the supervised visit angle is just dripping with offensive cannotations to me. You don't say what the 'issue' is, but it seems CAS doesn't care. So maybe you're over-reacting? Or looking for excuses/justifications to follow through with what you FEEL like doing, instead of what you SHOULD be doing?
To build on WO's wise observation about the OP the case of an over anxious parent?

Parenting Anxiety - Coping with Stress and Anxiety

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6620793/...overparenting/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/arti...anxious_parent

http://www.parents.com/baby/new-pare...nxious-parent/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...al-development

Last edited by Tayken; 10-01-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:36 PM
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You have not said what it is that you claim your did such that his access should be supervised. Like the others here have said, the fact that CAS closed the file without taking any further action clearly means that they did not see any evidence of behaviour that would warrant them to take action. Just because you say CAS "confirmed my concerns, discussed the issue with my ex and closed the file" doesn't mean anything. It's, in my opinion, a clumsy attempt to try and dress up words, when even a 3 year old could tell you that what it actually means is NOTHING....the CAS found your ex did nothing. I don't know if you're new here, but this the wrong site to come on and try and justify doing something you know is wrong.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:09 PM
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The point of CAS being called was to discuss drinking while caring for the baby. I did not call CAS, my counselor did because I was unable to get through to my ex that this was a huge no-no while caring for a child. My ex's parents had the same discussion with him. He only took it seriously once CAS got involved. No further action was necessary because he finally understood the gravity of the situation, not because they didn't find anything wrong. I did not take leaving lightly. I wish I never had to leave. I wish things had worked out so that I could have gone back. I called crisis lines and phone counselors several times because I was so distraught and their advice was to leave.

It's sad that I have to justify CAS being called. I didn't get away scott free from their investigation either. They dug into my background and my relatives background. They poked around the house and brought a nurse to examine the baby. It was no picnic. They threatened me that if anything like this happened again it would be MY fault. I realize there are some women who trump charges to take the child away. In fact, I wish they were made up charges because then I could sleep at night. I wish I could unsee my child being manhandled by a drunk and the fearful look on my baby's face. That moment has been seared into my brain. I agonized for days whether I was doing the right thing or not. I spoke to friends, relatives, counselors, and only after lots of tears and sleepless nights did what I felt was best in my heart. This has not been easy for me, and frankly, it's breaking my heart.

I have already told the mediator in my intake interview that I wanted joint custody. My son needs his father in his life. I just want my son to be healthy and safe. There is no ill intent towards the ex. I asked about sole custody out of curiosity. I will back off of the supervision and work with my counselor to get my anxiety over what I witnessed under control.

This is far more information than I had wanted to reveal, but maybe, in the future, another poster might be given the benefit of the doubt when they say they left with the baby and CAS was involved.
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