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Anyone that has had experience with custody battles... or knows anything about it whatsoever, help!

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I know it's long but it's important to make sure I get out the pertinent information, please please please give me some advice!!!!!


My boyfriend (and father of my 4 month old son) and his soon-to-be-ex-wife broke up in 2005, and went to court battling for their daughter. There was a lot of he-said she-said on both sides, but my boyfriend's family (mainly his domineering mom) had a lot of 'witnesses' that claimed they saw the ex-wife abuse the child. Plus they had social services called on her many a time during the marriage, though she wasn't ever jailed, she was ordered to leave the home a couple of times but my boyfriend let her back in the home. And the ex-wife claimed my bf wasn't mentally stable because she had him committed to a mental hospital so she could leave. Basically it's a whole bunch of stuff that was said.


So the judge decided to give temporary custody of the child to my bf's mother, the grandmother. My bf and his wife were given supervised visitation at the grandparent's house. Anyhow the grandmother was only supposed to have her for 1 month and then the custody battle would proceed, both parties were ordered to get a psychological evaluation and take parenting classes and get a home visit from social services of their home condition before that date. The ex wife didn't have the money to pay her lawyer however so the lawyer extended the date. Well, 3 years later my boyfriend's mother still has temporary custody and for some reason she thinks that means she controls this whole court thing. She has been talking with his lawyer for the past 3 years, a lot of times behind my bf's back. She would say things such as my boyfriend isn't ready (for custody) and she didn't trust me and everytime she had something she could use against her own son, she would tell his lawyer that. So everytime my bf would tell his lawyer enough is enough, bring it back to court, the lawyer would tell him, no son, your mother says you're not ready. And she definitely refuses to give up the child to the mother, who she claims is so abusive and evil and never bonded with the child (then why does the mother go and visit her?)


I mean, is that even legal?? He was my bf's lawyer, not his mother's, so why was he discussing things with her? Plus, she's been steadily denying visitation to both parties the past 3 years over time. At first she would let her son see his own daughter and talk about how he took care of his daughter and was a good father, and how his wife was this evil creature who was horrible to the daughter. BUT, the more and more my bf would bring up wanting to take it back to court and get custody, the more things she would come up with things to keep them apart. If he dares to stand up to her about ANYTHING, she flips out and tells him that he's not allowed to see his daughter or she'll call the cops, and then after a week of him not seeing her due to such crap, she will then start crying and trying to emotionally blackmail him and say he doesn't care about his daughter and that I am making him behave this way, and she can't allow his daughter to go with him, she can't give up custody to him cause he has to earn trust and he needs to choose between our son and I and his daughter. She is going around claiming that I blocked her # to keep him from talking to his daughter, and that I tell him he is not allowed to see his daughter and get mad if he goes to see her. This is all absolute hogwash by the way, I support their relationship 100%, I adore that child, I am glad she is my son's halfsister, and wish that evil woman would let that poor child be around her brother. And that child adores me. Funny how she claims she can't trust him with his daughter but doesn't seem to mind that her 2nd grandchild is with him and plus, she let his daughter go off with us to the park a few weeks ago. We took pics for evidence. Since our son was born, she's been using that against him too. He's been an excellent father and provider although we are poor, we get our bills paid and food on the table, always have diapers and wipes, but apparently now his mother thinks he should be at her house everyday, ignoring his son in favor of the daughter. He can't help that he has more access to his son and me than he does his daughter. It's obviously just her way of trying to make him look bad, wanting to claim that he has a replacement baby and is choosing the evil stepmom-to-be and his son over his daughter. His mother never had any intentions on giving the child up.


Anyhow, over a year ago my bf paid the lawyer for the divorce, and then some months later the lawyer told him that it was done.


But I found out different 2 weeks ago, while I was at home and my bf was at work, his supposedly ex wife shows up wanting to talk to him. She told me that she wants her divorce, has been waiting these past 3 years for it, and also wants to proceed ahead with getting 50/50 custody of their now 5 year old daughter. I told her that his lawyer told him the divorce was done, but she said there were no such records and that his lawyer told her he didn't even know if he was representing him anymore. So after 3 hours of girl-talk, and comparing notes, it seemed quite apparent that my bf's mother was pulling all the strings back then, and pretty much ruined their relationship with her controlling, manipulative behavior. His mom has been trying his damndest to do the same to us as well and a lot of the things she claimed about his ex wife, she is now claiming about me, I discovered as we compared notes. I found her nothing like they all claimed she was, it was quite apparent the mother was the one who ruined it all. Plus the wife told me how his mother wouldn't cut the apron strings and would freak out if he stood up to her and had an opinion that differed from hers, and this is very true. He wouldn't stand up to her then, but he does now, thanks to me. And his mother can't stand that and blames me for eveeeery little thing. She won't let him see his child and then she turns it around and blames it on me. (People have told us to get her psychologically evaluated if she battles them in court.) His mother told him she would use her claims against me in court to win custody from him. She already has a notebook full of stuff she is gonna claim about the wife. His mom told us that over her dead body would my bf's wife ever get custody of the child. But the wife told me that she told her the same thing about her own son! Interesting indeed. Also his mother has told both he and the ex wife that the judge would listen to what she had to say and that she had say over who got the daughter. And my bf's lawyer told him the same thing, for the past 3 years every time he demanded it go back to court, the lawyer would say no, your mom says you're not ready and I trust her, and the judge will listen to what she says. Also my bf's mother has been teaching the daughter to call her mother by her real name, not mommy. And the wife told me that she too is so tired of that woman pulling the strings and trying to get info from her everytime she is there to visit her daughter, to use against her. She is sick of them all acting like she isn't that child's mother, like she has no rights.


And just a couple of weeks ago, after much fighting that she started after our son was born, his mother told him that she had talked to a lawyer and was going for Full Custody of he and his wife's daughter.


Well the soon-to-be-ex told me that her lawyer told her that my bf's mother would have no say over ANYTHING like she claims, it's just her way of intimidating her son into not taking it back to court. She said that his mother wouldn't even be in the courtpapers and thus, would have no say. She said her lawyer said that all the judge wanted was for them to come to a civil agreement over custody of their daughter and that temporary custody didn't mean ANYTHING at all, although his mother sure thinks that it does. So my BF and his still-wife talked (though he was furious to find out his lawyer lied about the divorce), and my bf agreed with doing the 50/50 custody thing because he is sick of his mother. So that following week in court, her lawyer was trying to add it to the docket and my bf tried to fire his lawyer since he wouldn't proceed with the case. His lawyer refused, saying he would have to withdraw, and said he refused to withdraw and that he wanted to talk to my bf's mother. (Um, whaaat??? My bf is not a minor nor legally handicapped in which he would need a adult speaking for him, by the way so it makes no sense) My bf told him no, to put a gag order on it, that it had nothing to do with her, it was between he and his wife. The lawyer also tried to claim that he himself thought the divorce was done, yeah right. He is the lawyer, he would have known. We suspect my bf's mother has been paying him behind his back and held off the divorce for some reason or another. Anyhow they couldn't get the divorce and custody done that day, because of his lawyer, who left the courtroom shortly after, saying he didn't have time to read the drawn up custody papers and for her lawyer to send them to him and if he didn't like what he saw, he'd withdraw. We believe he was rushing out to go call my bf's mother to warn her and that's why he stalled.


Of course, although they were trying to keep this hush-hush, to keep my bf's mom from pulling some last minute crap, she found out somehow magically. And his whole family is angry at him for trying to take HIS OWN DAUGHTER away from his poor sweet innocent mother. They act like she has more rights over that child than the parents do, and she's been trying to say that she has rights over them this whole time. She has been controlling everything and says the judge will listen to her and that she even has say over when it went back to court, but apparently not!


So my bf's lawyer, now ex lawyer, called him telling him that he was drawing up the withdrawal papers this week and sending them to his lawyer. We wonder if he was trying to buy my bf's mom some time to gather up some legal aid or whatnot. Anyhow the wife's lawyer says that his mother will not be in the courtroom, that she can go up there all she wants but she won't be involved in the custody thing whatsoever, because my bf and his wife came to a legal agreement, and she has no say over the matter like she's been claiming these past 3 years. But however, I know of this lawyer, and he's a bit dopey, is he right??? Although my bf's mom was given temporary custody and they had supervised visits and she's raised her for 3 years, will a judge still grant them their 50/50 like they have written up in the papers they are set to file? His mom says that because she's been raising her for 3 years with no support and also supposedly both parties never saw their daughter like they should have, and that they had "replacement babies" and they both supposedly have evil bf's and gf's (all which are lies), that a judge would never give their child over to them, especially with the allegations both sides made in the previous court battle. But his wife's lawyer says differently, says she has nothing to do with the matter. He also said that the past custody case file wouldn't even be read by the judge, that the judge would just sign off on the 50/50 and they would have the papers and be able to go immediately get their daughter.


So... is that true??? Please give us some peace of mind, especially my bf, who is anxiety-ridden and half sick to death over all of this. He is so worried that his mother is going to be able to pull some last-minute crap and get their daughter for good. A lot of this is due to way she's been brainwashing him the past 3 years though, with help from his own lawyer. But is there any truth to what she claims?? Please explain.

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Condensed, although maybe not as interesting version:


I know that is extremely long but I felt that if I didn't explain everything then any response to my query might not be accurate. But to make a long story short and condensed:


My bf and his wife separated in 05 after much fighting between her and his family, and their claims that she was abusing her daughter, social services got involved several times and although she was made to leave the home twice, and take anger management, she was never jailed or convicted of any abuse.


They battled for custody of their then 2 year old daughter, the stuff about the abuse was brought up, stuff about my bf's mental state was brought up, and the judge ended up awarding my bf's mother temporary custody, with a date set to determine actual custody one month later. The wife had that date put off due to no funds.


3 years go by and the grandmother still has the child, and also notebooks full of allegations against both the father and the mother. Says she wants full custody, has been telling her son that she has say over when it goes back to court and what a judge will decide, but the wife talked to her lawyer who says that is not the case.


They decided to file for 50/50 custody, a civil agreement, and my bf's shady lawyer refused to withdraw and her lawyer said he can't go ahead with it unless the lawyer represents him or withdraws from the case. So that's put this mess off for another week or so.


Does his mother have any say whatsoever in court like she claims? She wants full custody now, despite both the mother and father having had children by other people. Me and my bf have a 4 month old who is well taken care of, and the wife and her bf have a 9 month old who hasn't been abused and who seems to be taken care of. Both parties have jobs and significant others who also want what is best for this child.

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If his mother has full custody now, she has the most say in this situation. You can fire your lawyer, my bf is a family law attorney and I used to work for him. Just petition the court and say your lawyer is not working in your best interest. If you don't owe him any money, you should be able to replace him. It happens all the time. It is harder for a lawyer to dismiss his client than for a client to fire their lawyer. It happens quite frequently. Of course, the judge has the final say.

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The lawyer refused to be fired, (I'm not quite sure how that works) but he said that he is drawing up the withdrawal papers this week. I think maybe he did it this way because it makes my bf look bad, the fact that his lawyer is withdrawing and dismissing him as a client, rather than being fired. It seems obvious that my bf's mother is paying this man and that he is a shady lawyer.

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Your BF needs to get a new lawyer for starters -- if the lawyer representing his mom doesnt get the withdrawl finished, your BF should petition the court to remove that lawyer from his representation, and that should be a slam dunk under these facts.


Your BFs new lawyer should investigate (1) what can be done under the laws of your state to overturn the temp custody order in favor of his mom, (2) whether he can sue his mom's lawyer for violating the ethical duties he owed to your BF (he may, for example, be able to claim back his additional attorneys' fees, and also other damages relating to what has happened -- it depends on the state and the local law).

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Well that is the thing, that lawyer WASN'T his mom's lawyer- but it sure seems like it. He was hired by my bf, he has been his lawyer for years in fact, for traffic violations and other things. He was his lawyer before the custody battle. His mom went to court with him and talked to the lawyer at that time, pretending to be on her son's side in the manner, but it seems rather obvious now that she had her heart set on winning the granddaughter. (She's a control-freak of the worst kind.) Over the past 3 years in which it hasn't gone back to court, his mom has talked to his lawyer behind his back, saying "he's not ready" and blah blah blah, anything to keep it from going back to court and for her to lose the granddaughter. But the soon to be ex wife's lawyer has drawn up custody papers and it IS going to court. The issue is however, what can the temporary guardian do? What sort of say, if any, does she have? She claims to be the one who has say if it even goes to court, but that's bull, because the exwife's lawyer has said so. But we are all still worried that his mom will pull some last minute crap to keep the daughter. Even if they do win 50/50, the grandmother might try to take them to court for custody, as grandparents are able to do in NC if they have a reason as to why the parents are unfit. The parents are not unfit, but she would lie until she dies if she had to. His lawyer said he is going to give him part of the fees back for the custody & divorce, but my bf doesn't have his receipts and I think his lawyer is BS'ing once again.

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In North Carolina law it states that parents have rights over all others, and blah blah blah. Which is why I think the grandmother tried so hard to keep it from going back to court, and tried to brainwash her son into thinking she had say over everything, because she knew the mother would end up having some custody and she doesn't want her granddaughter to know her own mother.


Just like when my son was born, she did a 180 on me and started telling lies about me. And tried to tell me that I couldn't tell her what to do with MY OWN SON. Tried to tell me that she had rights over me even though my son is in my custody. She would never get my son. Tried to dictate to us that her husband was going to be my child's grandfather whether we like it or not, and he is a mere step grandfather, he has a real grandfather. It's all about control, not about love.

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