My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Colorado
Hi group, Please forgive the length of this post...
I am a single parent and have had physical custody of my now 2 year old daughter since October 2010. Mom married a man from Germany and has lived with him in France since that time. She pays no child support as she claims she has no income. She sent her three other children (whose fathers have no involvement in their lives) to live with friends and relatives during this time. She has been here twice for a short visit (1 hour and 3 hours) and has had minimal phone contact during her time away. She then came here to Colorado in April and stayed for three days at my house and spent most of those three days applying for a passport for our child. I now have possession of that passport. She had it ship here to my son's attention.. Our parenting agreement and court order states that she and I work together to change her last name to my last name, but Mom says that she has changed her mind. We were working on an agreement for my daughter to visit her in france (with my 25 year old son accompanying her) for three months this summer; however, after some thought regarding how it might affect our daughter, I felt that a 30 day visit would be a better starting point and voiced it to Mom. She was anything but happy.
She indicated to me that if she did not get her three months, she would sue me for full custody and that "things would become ugly".. The next day she called Human services (CPS) and made a complaint/s that our daughter was living in an unsafe environment and that she was being abused, undernourished and possibly even molested. Human services visited our home and refuted every one of her claims. In fact, she (the social worker) even said that if it were up to her, she would not let a trip to France happen so fast. She concurred that the complaints were likely anger based and not necessarily out of concern for the child since she based these "concerns" on the trip that she made here two months earlier. Our Doctor and several others feel the same way as they have had the opportunity to talk to her personally. At this point, I am seriously concerned that any visit to France would be out of the question until we iron out the hostility. Her two younger children, 4 and 5 years old are now living in France with her and her teenage son is visiting but wants to return to the US to be with his friends and go to school. Now, she thinks that since she is married and has her other children living back with her, she will have no problem proving to the court that the situation they have now is far more beneficial to the best interests of our daughter than what she has here with Myself and my son who is 25 years old. I want my daughter to have a relationship with her mother, but I feel that it is unreasonable to just ship her off for extended periods of time at such a young age. I me'tioned to Mom that I was all for shared custody, but that was only if she lived close enough that our daughter had consistent access to both of us. France? That's a bit out of our zip code. At this point, I would feel a lot better if she invested in coming back to the states to build a relationship with our daughter. We are supposed to initiate mediation services and a topic at the top of the list is to discuss changing her primary residence to France which, to me, is out of the question.
My question is:
Can she be granted extended visits or even custody just like that? I don't know what to expect.
Thanks much for the advice.