My question involves a child custody case from the State of: California
My wife is 7 months pregnant and after some disagreement on many things she is basically demanding I agree to cutting my family out of the picture due to my brother being a jerk to her. She wants my brother to stay away from our son. My brother no long treats her badly and has tried numerous times to show heís changed, but she will not accept it. She has a series of hoops she expects my family to jump through in order to be in my sons life, and this is something that we discussed early on and she knew going in I wonít be playing this game.
The last 3 months have been constantly filled with her rage and/or emotional outbursts, and has made life a literal living hell. Iíve offered numerous compromises and concessions, Iíve bargained and bartered, absolutely nothing less will suffice, and I will not let my son grow up without knowing his grandparents or his uncle or any other of the family.
She told me last week that if I donít commit to her wishes that she may leave before the baby is born and go back to her home state (North Carolina), as she says that if she stays here until heís born, that she wonít be able to stop me from taking him on my time to spend time with my brother or anyone else, but has said that she would find a way no matter what to keep my son from my brother and my parents (she blames my parents for not taking her side, as they vowed to stay neutral and only intervened in severe situations).
My brother was a jerk for a long time, we had periods early in our marriage where we didnít speak to him, but he has changed and I believe it to be genuine. The change took place before the baby was announced. On the flip side, my wife engaged in the Johnson measuring match with him and always tried to get revenge for his attitude or smack talking, and it became a brutal rivalry. I was caught between standing by my wife and spending time with my family. Iíve given far more than I should have and now she wants it all now that our son is almost here.
Iím looking for insight into California. Is there anything legally I can do to prevent her from leaving the state before she gives birth? I know I can file for divorce and serve her before she leaves, but Iím afraid of how itís going to look to a judge that a man divorced his pregnant wife right before the baby comes. Iíve fought hard to keep it together but once you threaten to take the kid away from the father thatís enough. Iíve tried to convince her to enter into marriage counseling but she refuses, she says thereís no point, she doesnít need to change, I do.
If I file and serve her and she leaves, she will be required to come back for court and my child will be required to come back once heís born, and that the divorce/custody case wouldnít be able to be settled until heís born, is that correct?
My family has been supportive and tried to help appease her, but nothing works, and when they stop trying she all of the sudden freaks out because they werenít trying anymore. Itís beyond frustrating and scary. Iím also concerned about timing. My family says that they will play pretend and give her what she wants until the baby is born and I end my paternity leave from work so I can get that full time bonding in. My parents have offered to give me the detainer for an attorney and I have been compiling a list to begin the consultation process. I also have begun to move funds to a different account so that on day one of me leaving I can provide her a check for child support so that she canít petition the court that Iíve abandoned my child (she suggested that she was likely going to do something vindictive like that if we ever split up).
I intend to fight for 50/50 legal and (50/50 physical custody) of course with the acknowledgment that once he is old enough for school Iím understanding that weíll have to decide which home he lives in full time for stability purposes.
I also would like to know, CAN she petition the court to order me not to let my child to spend time with my parents or his uncle or cousins or anyone else for that matter? There was never any violence, it was more of a verbal bullying situation, but again, it has been stopped and my brother has attempted to talk out their problems but she refuses to take any personal responsibility for her part in the satiation. My brother is diagnosed bi-polar and hasnít had any manic episodes since beginning treatment two years ago, can she use that to ban him from being our my son?
Also, Iíve been told by a friend to buy small audio recorders and hide them around the house so that I can show the court how aggressive and violent she has become, but itís my understanding that itís not admissible in court unless I tell her Iím making the recording, he told me that it canít be used specifically as evidence but it can show a judge now unstable she is which might help me out. I also have literally dozens of people in who would be a character witness for me in a heart beat. But I donít want to take custody from my wife either, I want to share custody, my son needs both his parents in his life. Neither of us have criminal records, I have a DUI arrest from 2011 where I was never charged due to the low level. We are both working professionals, she makes more money than I, and I make good money.
Iím really scared about taking the first steps, Iím hoping someone can help me with some advice so I have some things to discuss during my attorney consultations in the next few weeks. My ultimate goal is the happiness, health, and welfare of my child, and not being with both his parents is detrimental to all 3.
Currently Iím on my best behavior to keep her calm, but Iím concerned that whatever I give in to her demands, the judge will use that as terms for custody, am I better off losing a few months with my son and ripping the bandaid off ASAP, or will be in a better position if I appease her until heís born?
I do not take the notion of divorce lightly, I have spent the last 4 years fighting to try and make it work, but she has given the ultimatum and demands practically zero contact with my side of the family. She said if my parents were to baby sit him and she found out they let my brother (who lives with them) spend as much as 5 minutes with him while heís there, that sheíll see to it that they never see our son again, ever (she was very clear about the ever part).
Please, any advice would be so helpful and Iíd be forever grateful.