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Divorcing father was primary caregiver before separation; mother made false accusation and took child; father's odds at getting custody?


Your Question:
My wife had false domestic violence charges filed on me that are going to be dismissed. She found a boyfriend and has taken up the bar scene while I was at home raising our child. I filed for divorce she was granted temp custody. I am reduced to weekend visitation. I am legally blind so I was our childs caregiver for her 4 years of life while the wife works 14 to 16 hour days, which means my wifes grandmother who is in her mid 70's is watching our 4 year old and my wifes sisters 2 year old all day. Our child will be going to same school and my new house is in much better condition as well as a better neighborhood as the marital residence. What are my chances at getting primary custody or even 50/50 time?

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My Answer:
Hi,

Thanks for writing.

There are a couple concerns I'd throw back at you, and you can think about them.

First, having a disability is completely irrelevant to a custody ruling UNLESS such disability can have a severe impact on one's ability to raise a child. You have a visual impairment, but it didn't interfere since you were the primary caretaker for 4 years. The only concern I'd have is how your ex's attorney will argue that you're incapable of doing everything a growing child will need-- due to you being legally blind. This includes school transportation, doctor appointments, household safety (i.e., can you see if the child is juggling with butcher knives?), etc.

That said, plenty of blind people raise kids. You just need to be prepared to point out how ridiculous a position it is that you're not a capable parent due to visual impairment (e.g., you use taxis, you have accessibility devices, whatever).

The BIGGER and MORE REAL concern you face is the passage of time. You were the primary caretaker for 4 years. But how long has the child been primarily in the mother's care? Every passing day is your enemy. The court is most likely to favor the status quo parenting arrangement to which the child is accustomed, and it's hard to argue that the status quo is "Dad as primary parent" if that took place a year ago.

I'd encourage you to look into the book Win Your Child Custody War by Hardwick. It's on my Recommended Books page. It'll help you with strategies and guidance. It's a monster of a book at 600+ pages, and I don't know if there's an audio or braille edition. But hopefully you'll find a way to get to read it.

When false allegations have been made, it's a signal that the other parent will stop at nothing to win; even if it means completely destroying the other parent. You need to up your game and play it right.

If you sit back and hope that your attorney will argue well enough to convince a judge that you should have custody, I don't see you having very good odds at that, or even at 50/50.

YOU need to build your case effectively, and your attorney is your mouthpiece to execute your campaign (e.g., evidence that you'll build). If you don't have an attorney, your chances go down significantly.

This is a straight-forward reply without much wishy washy good vibes, I know. But it's reality. While your case has its merits, you're really going to need to put this altogether right, else the mother has a good shot at ending up with majority of custodial timeshare-- per the status quo.

Good luck... just do your best, and that's all you can do.

Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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