My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Missouri.
I have two children ages 7 and 8. I split up with their father right before the youngest turned 1 and the oldest was 2. Their father developed an alcohol and drug problem. I had to leave
After the breakup, I did continue to allow him to see his kids for some months after. Though he wouldn't pay me any child support always had some excuse and then a relative of mine told me they saw him with our kids at a well-known heroin addict/dealer's house. We fought some more and I eventually cut all contact off with him and denied him to see the children. Good thing I did because of months later on the front page of the paper I see he is sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary, theft of a firearm, evading police officers and some other things I don't remember. It wasn't categorized as a drug crime, but the actions were a result of him being so strung out. He later told me in a letter that he had stolen the firearm to kill himself that night.
Fast forward to today, he was released from prison about a year and a half ago serving about 4 out of the 10 years. He's been doing all the rehab programs, meetings, counseling and all that. I want to trust that this is for real this time, but I can't help but feel worried because this is a repeated cycle with him. He does have a good job though and a reliable vehicle now so I had proposed we start with supervised visitations just to introduce him slowly back into the kid's lives since they don't really know him and when he comes around all he does is make them watch him watch youtube videos on his phone, rough house until one of them gets hurt, or plays video games with them. He's not invested in their education and when I showed him a bad report card from our youngest. He said, right in front of our child, "Oh who cares it's just 1st grade." I was furious and I do NOT want him influencing our children that education is not important. So after that, I did sort of start brushing him off and purposely missing our scheduled visits. The boys never ask for him they are closer to their grandfather who has really stepped up and played the father role in their lives taking camping, fishing, taught them to ride their bikes takes them to work with him sometimes and really has instilled the value of hard work in them.
Also, yet again I have not received a dime of financial support from their father either. He's always got some excuse even though on social media he's showing off each new pair of shoes, and tech gadgets, and expensive dinners he's eating with this new GF. So I said enough is enough and filed for child support. His attitude TOTALLY changed and every visit he showed up to he spent arguing with me IN FRONT of our kids to the point where I had to text him and say look either start helping out, stop harassing me, or don't show up here again and he has taken that text message as proof of me denying visitation rights to his kids and is now trying to turning around on me filing for joint custody JUST so that he doesn't have to pay full child support. Everything in this petition is incorrect from our home address, to the hospital the kids were born in, to their ages which is COMPLETELY unacceptable because he was JUST at our youngest child's birthday party a few months ago. So that should show he's not thinking about our kids he's thinking about how he can best keep his money in his own pockets.
Somebody PLEASE tell me I'm not in danger of him actually winning joint custody of our children. I've never done drugs, I rarely drink, I have a great job at an amazing company. There's nothing in my history outside of denying him visitation (for good reason I think) that he can use against me in court. BTW I do have a meeting with an actual lawyer but it is not until 2 weeks and I'm so stressed and anxious for at least SOME sort of advice hoping it will calm my nerves until then.