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Old 09-07-2014, 01:30 PM   #1
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Default Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

Hello Everyone,

I've had custody of my 6 year old daughter since she was two. My ex moved out of the state when she was two and I've had her full time since as a single dad.

The ex didn't ask to contact or see our daughter for almost a year. After that she would see her once ever 6-8 weeks for about two days. She is very sporadic about calling. She will say that see will call and then never does. Then calls a few days later.

Before she left the state she stopped working and slept most of the day while I took care of our two year old daughter. We ended up doing joint custody even though she had already left the state. She was threatening at that time she would not leave the house and make it difficult for us if I didn't sign for joint custody.

So here am I today about 3-4 years later thinking about going for full custody (I live in Virginia). I recently got married and my daughter adores my wife (calls her mom). She has been in her life for about two to three years.

My daughter is in school and my ex is wanting to know when teacher/parent conferences are and wants to speak with the teachers even though she lives in another state and has no idea of the day to day activities.

I want full custody because I want to be able to control what my ex can due when it comes to accessing her school and visitation. Of course I would allow her to visit and speak to our daughter as I have always done. I'm already doing everything the only contribution from the ex is $200 a month.

What are my chances of getting full custody and should I pursue that route?

I do want to reiterate that since the ex left when my daughter was two, she has not returned to the state and has moved a few times.
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

You need full physical custody, and it sounds like that is what you have. That's what counts. You need to be sure that this is court ordered and documented as well established. My advice is based on that being so.

Joint technical custody...or however it would be said...really isn't worth fighting over IMO. Why do you care if she sees school documents or even talks to teachers?
The power joint technical custody gives her is really quite limited...especially from out of state.

Even if something came up that, say, maybe your child needed therapy or a medical proceedure for some reason. You might have to get your ex to sign something that she agrees. If she refuses, though, then she is open to a possible case against her for child (medical) neglect or endangerment or something along those lines.

If you wanted your daughter to do some kind of sport that was potentially dangerous your ex could object, but she would have to take you to court to stop you. If you wanted to enroll her in a special school you might get some flack...but again, for a parent as uninvolved as your ex seems to be, I don't think the amount of harm she can do with this is worth the potential for opening up other closed doors that are currently keeping her as...powerless...as she is.

As for visitation, do you have an order that spells out what your ex gets? It seems like you are already controlling much of that, no?

You don't have to change technical custody to modify visitation, but if you are just worried that she will want more, then unless you have an order that actually gives her more than what she already has been getting then I don't think it would be worth opening that door.
If she wants more, then she will have to take you to court to get it.

Document her visitation history and keep a record from now on. You are wanting to show her sporatic and inconsistant nature. Keep it impersonal, no emotion. It's just about the facts.

I must stress, I am not a lawyer. This is just my personal opinion based on my experiences and the experiences of those here that I have observed over the years.

Your best bet would be to consult with a lawyer in your jurisdiction and see what they say....though we do have a lawyer here who will certainly know more than I do. She will be along eventually.

Welcome to SFV! (and again, this is assuming you do not have joint physical custody....but with her living out of state that would be impossible now that your daughter is in school.)
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

You know, I could have just said that I don't believe it is "wrong", but I do believe that the trouble the attempt could cause would not be worth what you would gain if you were successful, .
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

Any legal parent regardless of custody has a right to access education records, medical and mental.

My question to you is this: what do you think sole custody means?
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

That makes sense that it's probably not worth the trouble. I understand that she has rights to education, dental and so on but she is the type of person that will send lots of emails to the school and teacher. She says she is a co-parent but she does nothing to contribute to my daughter 's daily life since she is not even in the state.

I thought if I took full custody I could set some ground rules for her contacting the school.
The decree states that I have custody and all contact/visitation is based off of what works for me.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

I don't think you can get any better than what you've got for a spouse with a difficult ex.
If she bombards the school with nonsense then she will just be building a beautiful case for you should you ever have to defend the current status.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wanting Full Custody. Is that wrong?

The only other option, in my opinion, given what you have written is a step parent adoption. But that is for an attorney in your state to advise you about.

You might explain the situation to the teacher. Just a beginning of the year type of conversation/email so that the teacher does not feel obligated. That is what I have suggested my clients to do -- though I would have the conversation in person versus email. Email is evidence in court trials.
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