My ex-husband fought for custody and won. I was in a terrible place financially and newly unemployed when our divorce hearing was held- I think this was the deciding factor as the judge wrote that we were equally capable as parents (that and he hired the lawyer in the tiny jurisdiction we were in that wins all cases he’s involved in…but that’s another discussion).
It’s been the greatest heartbreak of my life, and I’m sure he fought for custody to hurt me. I’ve worked as hard as I can to be a constant source of love and support to our children. My ex-husband, by all appearances, hates the responsibility of fatherhood and is supremely neglectful: he expects the kids (who are only in elementary) to basically take care of all of their own needs, leaves them alone for long stretches, and drinks heavily/nurses hangovers around them pretty much every day. He’s also extremely impatient and hypercritical of them. My kids have begged both of us to live with me; he ignores it and I tell them it’s not up to me.
Recently I said to him that I don’t even want child support (which is true), but that I just want the kids back. He said that he was open to discussing this. FWIW all of his animus toward me seems to have faded and we are on friendly enough terms. He’s said he doesn’t want to have to go back to court and I agree (I’ve been through three lawyers; he’s still paying bills for his one).
How do I sweeten the deal so he just does it?
|I am in the same boat, but we are not on good terms. Just be careful he does not dangle it, get you to let your guard down, and then yank it away. Mine has and will keep doing that.
I’m so sorry to hear that.
How long ago was this?
Are you employed now? Do you have stable housing? Do you have visitation at all?
I honestly don’t understand how a parent (who wants it) doesn’t get 50/50 custody. If his lawyer argued that you couldn’t adequately house the children I could see it temporarily.
You seriously have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
File for joint custody.
Yes I have visitation, a well-paying job, and am remarried. He lives very far from me, and this is not going to change. If I file for custody, our rebuilt bridge will be destroyed again.
Divorce was four years ago.
Wait so you moved away from your kids to remarry? The judge is not going to uproot the kids for a parent who abandoned them —the bar will be very high for abuse and neglect for them to be uprooted. I assume that’s why you don’t want to go through judges or lawyers.
The answer to your question is, you can offer to take them for the entire summer and then enroll them in school where you are. After they have been with you for six months it is considered their new jurisdiction but if you simply don’t return them in violation of a filed existing custody order it is kidnapping if it’s without his consent.
|And he can file an emergency custody order to get them back.
I did not leave my ex to remarry. I left with the kids. When I fell on hard times my ex kept the kids under the guise of giving them back after a year so I could get back on my feet - but then filed for custody. Covid also prolonged the time between his time getting them and is having our case heard. We were separated for years before we got divorced.
|So in the span of 4 years you lost custody of your kids and got remarried? These kids are doomed
OP - what I would do is move in increments. Start with proposing that they come stay with you for a month (enroll them in school) and go from there. Don’t even bring up formal custody because you don’t want to trigger whatever oppositionality made him do that in the first place. But do make sure you have it in emails so he cannot accuse you of anything.
|You moved AWAY from your children? Are you in a different state?
|Whatever you do get it in writing, preferably through the court. Do NOT do this in an unofficial way. He can nail you for it later. It does matter where you are and how far away you are. Are you in the same state?
OP, you say you do not want to FILE for custody again or go back to court, but I do think you need to do something with a lawyer or mediator and get it in writing.
Otherwise, as PPs have said above, he could accuse you of kidnapping them
Don’t go to court
You don’t need a court system to reach your goals. You don’t need a piece of paper. You can get there voluntarily. You may have to undue some of your legalistic - thinking.
Think about it. Keep being nice to your spouse and be the best helper you can be. That will improve your entire families lives and your own.
|Fighting got you into this mess. Now you play nice. Think about how you got into marriage. Find those qualities again!