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    Parajewels's Avatar
    Parajewels Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Apr 26, 2014, 08:33 AM
    Child custody issues
    Hello everyone:) I'm trying to get some good advise on what to do in my custody situation. My ultimate goal is to have the parental rights of the father of my 3 kids terminated.
    So, we were together for 12 years, never married, with 3 children, ages 11, 9, and 5. It was an abusive, (in all ways) on/off relationship. I stayed so long because I felt stuck, and thought he would change.
    In 2011, I moved back to Idaho, from Washington, to get away from him for the last time. He followed me. I gave it one more try for the sake of our kids, he agreed to go to counseling, stop using alcohol and drugs. We went to 4-5 counseling sessions, then he refused to go any more. He started using meth. I kicked him out and got a restraining order because he repeatedly threatened to kill me in front of our kids if I left.
    Over the first year, he continuously stalked, harassed, and threatened me. One time even telling his family that he had been sitting on a hill above my house, looking at me through my bedroom window, through the scope of his rifle.
    At first, he claimed he wanted visitation with the kids. I refused to let it happen without him passing a drug test. He would not take one.
    So, here we are, almost 3 years later. He has not seen our kids in over 2 1/2 years, has not paid one dime of child support, and has completely ignored our eldest daughters attempts at reaching out to him.
    He has moved back to Washington and is working under the table to avoid paying child support. He is over $28,000 behind.
    I need to know the best course of action in getting full custody of my kids, and if possible, assuring he has no rights. He has completely abandoned them in every way.
    Here are the problems... I can not, at this time, afford an attorney, not even a cheap one.
    He is hiding completely under the radar, I don't even have an address for him, so how will I have him served?
    All I know is that he is back in Washington, working for his cousin under the table, he is still on meth, and is also growing pot.
    Please help! Any good advice will be so appreciated!
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #2

    Apr 26, 2014, 09:18 AM
    First, are there any custody orders issued by a court at this time? You said you refused to allow visitation unless he takes a drug test, but that is not your choice, that's up to a court. If a court agreed to that condition you are fine.

    Bottomline here is you have full custody by default. He is not exercising his rights at all. So if you go into court, the likely response is that, since he isn't exercising his rights, why do you need to do anything? You are not going to get his rights terminated unless you remarry and your husband wants to adopt.

    So before we advise you how to proceed, we need to know what court orders, if any, currently exist.
    Parajewels's Avatar
    Parajewels Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Apr 26, 2014, 09:46 AM
    Thank you ScottGem:)
    To answer your question, I don't have formal custody in place. I have tried through DHW, but since they can't serve him papers, they tell me I am stuck.
    Yes, the drug test was court ordered, during one of the times he was charged with defying my restraining order. He had told the judge he just wanted to see his kids. The judge asked me about it, I told him I didn't want him around the kids while on meth. The judge agreed and ordered him to take a drug test. He refused, and moved to Washington shortly after.
    Finally, yes, I met the most amazing man:) We have been married for a little over a year. He has been so awesome to my kids, treating them as his own, and has certainly been a much better dad to them than their biological father. He does want to adopt them. And I feel they deserve closure and safety. I have waited almost 3 years for their bio dad to pull his head out of his butt and get off meth so he could be involved. But it's obvious to me now that that is most likely never going to happen.
    Basically, I want him legally out. So I don't have to worry about him trying to come back into their lives years down the road, and completely damaging them all over again.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man
     
    #4

    Apr 26, 2014, 10:17 AM
    Ok, Then you are approaching this from the wrong angle. You need to have your husband pursue the adoption. But frankly I would not do this without an attorney. I would start shopping around and find out how much it would cost to process a step parent adoption. Then if you find you can't afford it, start saving up.

    You can try checking with local law schools, many have clinics that will help prepare the paperwork and strategy.

    But the bottomline here is you aren't going to get his rights terminated unless its to clear the way for an adoption. You probably aren't going to get a court to agree to a custody hearing unless you can serve him. However, you probably can get a court to agree to an adoption if you can show you have made a good faith effort to serve him notice of the adoption and he doesn't respond.
    Parajewels's Avatar
    Parajewels Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Apr 26, 2014, 11:40 AM
    Thank you ScottGem!:) Very helpful advice:)
    stinawords's Avatar
    stinawords Posts: 2,071, Reputation: 150
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    #6

    Apr 26, 2014, 12:53 PM
    I agree with scott. Start shopping around for a layer. I will never recommend trying an adoption without one. That is the route you need to approach this from. As of right now he isn't bothering with you or the kids so find out what a lawyer is going to want paid and start saving. Not all but some will even take a down payment (around half) to start the process then you will have a couple months to get it paid off before going to court. One idea that you can bring up to your lawyer about him working for his cousin you might be able to send papers there (might not work but it's something to bring up).

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