By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW
You better get a good lawyer! If you have any friends who will say he has had no contact with you and the kids since he left that will help. I had a friend who was going through this but her lawyer helped her a lot and the husband did not get custody of their child. In fact he came out worse than he was before he decided he wanted custody. She has everything set up through the court system now and it works out great.
Did your husband abandon you and his children for another woman? You say that the two of you broke up - does this mean you divorced or separated (if so, was it a legal divorce/separation?). Was he court ordered to pay child-support, but neglected to do it? Do you have legal custody of the children?
You've left out too many details. First thing I'd do is consult an attorney - most do not charge for the initial consultation, and may even tell you how to proceed over the phone. However, if he is taking you to court for custody, you will need an attorney immediately. If you have led an upstanding life (no drug convictions, no legal problems, no child abuse/neglect issues, etc) it is doubtful that he can take the children from you, but you may have to do legal battle with him.
Definitely consult with the attorney about him stalking the children, harassing them, abandoning them, and now trying to uproot them and removing you from their lives. Children need emotional support and stability - you have provided it, not him. Good luck.
I see you are Australian, Go to Legal aid, I dont know if they do custody disputes, but you can have a one off appointment for advice for $5 (well it was three years ago), tell them what is happening and they will give you advice on how to proceed.
I did that four years ago when I was having problems with my ex, not only was the advice good, but next time he start with the threats I was able to state, I have had legal advice and you cant do that. It was great, it completely stopped him in his traps. You said your life was good before and it will be again, I hope everything works out well for you.
Yes, sounds like he wants to get out of child support, and living next door, he would expect you to babysit and he wouldn't pay anything. No different than what he had been doing. Get all your facts down on paper before consulting anyone in the legal profession, will make it cheaper. In some states, children can decide who they want to live with. Depends on the age of the children. get child services involved if necessary. Do not ignore this or he will get the children, then move away.
You DO realize that no one on this site can help you don't you? Except to tell you to see a lawyer. That is what you need to do. I would guess that the two years he ignored the kids would be in your favor. But if you don't get a lawyer he will win.
First make a police report explaining what you just mentioned here and any other details possible (get a copy of the report) and then talk to someone in your local family court and then find two or three family court lawyers for a consultation (there are many who give free consultations just ask before scheduling the appointment). This change in his behavior is creepy so I would also find out if it might be wise to get a restraining order.
Did you have a custody agreement? See if you can find out what he's been up to since you split: any legal problems, bankruptcies, etc. Do you know anything re the woman he's with? Google both their names. Do as much research as you can before you go to a lawyer.
Try to find a woman lawyer with a reputation in your area for winning/being aggressive on behalf of single mothers. In USA you can usually get at least 15 minutes free to tell
your story briefly.
It sounds as if he wants a way to weasel out of paying child support now that he has a babysitter. If you can find out how long they've been together, maybe it's just a matter of time until they break up. You'd know more than anyone else if his history with relationships is self destructive.
Get going and try to find legal aid or income based help/advice because it can take time.
It's weird he moved in next door. Why don't the kids like him? Is there something abusive you can corroborate [witnesses who knew you when, etc] and get sworn statements in advance?
Do you have a friend who knows how to drop to the bottom line in facing things and isn't passive who could hear you out and give you a word or two. You sound kind of defeated and that won't do you a bit of good. If you aren't working full time, maybe you could trade housework for some of your legal fees or some such.
Some law schools make free help available to those who need but can't afford an attorney. I hope all goes well for you. Thanks for being a good mom.
Consult an attorney. There are times a person has to pay for help. You also might be able to find a place for free help, if you qualify, income wise.
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