My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Tennesse
I am a single mother of a 4-year old boy. According to Tn law, I automatically have sole custody of my child unless the father petitions the court for parental rights.
The father lived with us up until about 8 months ago. When our son was 3, he had hit him across the back with a leather strap leaving 2 large welts. There were also issues involving loaded firearms and failure of the father to supervise.
I have been allowing the father to have generous supervised visits with the child, but due to his anger issues, I requested and got him to agree to a pyschological evaluation. He attended an 8 week Prevent Child Abuse class BEFORE the ealuation. The evaluator diagnosed Antisocial Personality Disorder and recommended that his visitation remain supervised until he gets therapy. This was done in June of this year. The father has refused therapy (now he denies that he refused, but is still not seeing anyone).
He filed a petiton in family court asking for full custody. I have an ex-parte order of protection against him, and I hired an attorney. I tried to offer him an agreement, but he says that he wont neogiate because I have an attorney, haha. The evaluator has agreed to come to court. After the deposition, it seems his attorney is basing their request on the fact i'm unemployed, that I was once accused of embezzlement (never charged or convicted), and that i have poor moral character because Ive been married twice (no children) and I lived with my childs father and never married him. I do own my home and have a good amount of equity in it, he owns nothing.
Otherwise, I am a very good mother and my child is well provided for. We live in a rural county with a conserative judge who has served for like 30 years.
My question is this: Since I already have custody by default, under what grounds could he take my child from me? My attorney seems to think that standard visitation is likely and that he will proably get ordered into therapy. Im just confused as to why ANY attorney would advise him to pursue full custody? Also, he is 17 years older than me... age 56... would this matter?