My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Massachusetts
First posting: here goes,
Ex hubby lives in a different state (approx 5 hrs driving distance). There is an active restraining order in place against him for physical/emotional/verbal abuse. Divorced approx 2 years ago when he was living in Mass. At this time, being in the same location, I agreed to joint legal. However, since moving to this other state, he is no longer very involved in his child's life and sees her 15 days per year. He went approx 8 consecutive months with no contact with his child citing it as my fault because of the restraining order. Given the following facts, what are my chances of obtaining full legal custody...? Was pro-se in divorce, but now looking at representation to assist with this. Interviewing a lawyer tomorrow.
Attempted to make it work with joint custody in order to give him the chance to make decisions in her life, but it has proven a hinderance to getting our child the help that she needs (developmental delays, anxiety d/o, special needs, gastric issues). He disputes medical and therapeutic recommendations by professionals thus making advocacy difficult.
Communication via email only per orders: He uses the email communications meant to be about the child to continue this pattern of abuse. Blames our communication problems on the fact that I have a restraining order and has used this against me numerous times. He has threatened me in writing to drop the restraining order or he will file purgery charges against me with the intent to "ruin my reputation." Emails...when I send emails asking questions about DD wrt religion, schooling, extracurriculars, he doesn't respond to the questions. Instead he uses it as an opportunity to critique me as a parent. Blames my parenting for her behaviors as he has no knowledge of what developmental delays are and does not agree with educating himself on her diagnoses. Would rather refute the observations of all the professionals instead of using their information to get our child the help that she needs.
History of minimalizing medical and behavioral concerns for our child. When provider advised to try a no lactose diet, he refused saying that if the doctors do not call it an allergy, he finds no reason to do this diet. Does not acknowledge (and has never in the child's history) the developmental challenges she has despite numerous professional recommendations. Due to his continued denial about the services that the child needs, it makes it diffiucult for me to advocate for her in her educational, medical, and emotional needs. He has never been involved since she was an infant in her care and has not attended appointments for her care.
Mental instability...angry...took an anger management course but one would think that over time animosity would diminish, but he continues to hold this against me and relays it via emails that are supposed to be related to the child. What is scary is that he isn't aware of his anger and the hostility continues.
Upon returns, child returns with tantrums, severe sleep issues, lack of structure, crying, stomach aches, urinary incontinence upon her returns. She says she sleeps with other children in their beds at her dad's friends house having sleep overs instead of where she is supposed to be with her father at his work (where he lives). She is bathed in a jet tub with the woman's children without my concent for co-bathing. Her father is not allowed to stay at that house when child stays over his friends' house so he leaves her there overnight. I never agreed to any of this for the visitations.
Has gone in and out of her life. Went 8 consecutive months without even contacting her blaming the restraining order (my fault) as the reason. No christmas card, no birday card last year. Completely stopped all contact with her. No predictability in his seeing her and only recently has he started seeing her again this year in April but it is too sporadic based on his schedule. She has to wait long periods of time to see him again and then goes through depressions during the longer periods of no contact with him. Unpredictable for her.
Gives her information that she should not know about. Poor decision making to her emotional well-being. Has told her when court dates are scheduled and the reasons for these court dates (she was 5 years old when he provided her this information). She has come home and stated this to my brother and other family members. She is told that she has no allergies and can eat whatever she desires despite doctor recommendations to limit dairy due to gastro needs by her father. It appears he does not know how to decide what is essential information for a 6 year old to have and lets out everything he is thinking regardless of how this affects her.