Question: My soon to be ex is making it impossible for me to speak to my 8-year-old son. He is the world to me and it is killing me not to be able to see or talk to him on a regular basis. I now live in Florida and they are still in Connecticut. I don’t want to have to pull teeth to spend time with my son. I want to be able to raise my son every other year. There are great schools down here and I would be able to spend quality time fishing, doing homework, attending school functions, playing ball, and everything else most people take for granted with their kids. Most people have told me that my plan to raise him every other year down here with me is not going to happen because the court would never take the child from the mother. How can the court justify taking him from the father? I am proposing physical custody every other year, but I am being told that I would need a million-dollar lawyer to accomplish this. I am a Federal Officer and have always been a good role model for my little man. My question is, how do I get this type of custody when she is being so difficult?
Answer: For this answer I am assuming you are in the process of a divorce in Connecticut.Either way, you should seek counsel immediately to ensure that your rights are protected. I am not licensed to practice in Connecticut but here are some pointers.
Given the divorce is pending, you are looking for immediate relief and favorable terms in the final judgment of divorce.Given her lack of cooperation in allowing telephone contact, I can assume you have a battle ahead of you if you would like any sort of a placement schedule with your son.This is a case where you are going to need an experienced domestic litigation attorney in Connecticut to protect your rights and fight for your position despite the fact that you are out of state.
Although I do not practice in Connecticut, most states determine placement schedules based on the best interest of the child.Alternating placement every other year, including changing schools is very difficult on a child.It is especially difficult for a child who has to adjust to his parents divorcing and his parents living in separate states.However, it is most certainly in your child’s best interest to continue his substantial relationship with his father. An equal shared placement would be much easier to accomplish if you lived in the same school district as the mother, however, that might not be possible for you.Rather than a year to year alternating schedule, courts are more inclined to share placement where one parent has the child during the school year and the other parent has the child during breaks from school while both parents share in holidays.
You should contact an attorney to determine whether or not you should be advocating being the primary placement parent. The fact that the mother is not allowing you any phone contact exhibits that she is not fostering your relationship with your son.The reality is that a father is just as important in a child’s life as the mother.As such, you should not just give up because people tell you that a mother has superior rights over a father.We specifically advocate against this stigma.Unfortunately, we do not practice in Connecticut at the present time, but you should research attorneys in Connecticut to ensure you find an attorney who will aggressively advocate your position as the child’s father.
At a minimum, you should seek a temporary order that allows you telephone or electronic contact with the child.And that is most certainly at a minimum.
Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.