Trying to get half custody
The father of my child (ex-boyfriend) has had full custody since our daughter was born on October 1, 1998.
As I have had visitaion every weekend for the last year. (According to his schedule)The reason being, I was young and had no means to support a child, now I have a job, very independent and I feel I can now take the responsibility of my daughter. At least half custody.
back in 1999 he tried relinquishing my rights before I was seeing the baby, I have filed a motion to modify this so it never went through and I now have a hearing set in a couple weeks. I spoke with an attorney because I know he is going to fight it and she advised me that basicly I have no chance in getting half custody because the baby is only 2. Is this true and should I look for a different attorney?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Trying to get half custody
You did not say what city your court case is in
and it makes a difference. Albuquerque, Santa Fe,
Clovis (and I think Las Cruces, Farmington and
Roswell) have some system set for for family mediation
where you can request the court appoint a mediator
to assist you and the child's father to reach a level
of agreement for definate and court ordered visitation.
Your note seems to indicate that visitation is only
on his terms. On the one hand a 2 year old child
cannot have the same visitation that an older child
can have or tolerate; however, the law will allow
a set amount of time and the law generally does NOT
favor only one parent being able to call the shots.
Parenting is a two way street. Being frank, and
not trying to belittle you, I will say that because
you are the mother you must have done something
pretty bad to have an infant child removed. From
the lawyer perspective (and this may have been where
the lady lawyer was coming from who you talked to)
that means that you are going to have a few more
hoops to jump through to prove to the judge or a
psychologist that you are a parent who is interested
in your child, that you want to parent and that
you CAN parent. What you will encounter is an
attitude of scepticism and you are going to have
to acknowledge to the judge that "yes" you DID have
problems in the past but that has changed (you will
likely have to point out WHAT has changed) and you
DO want to establish the relationship with your
daughter. The lawyer you saw may simply have seen
that your case will take a lot of time and money and
did not want to spend the time on a harder case.
Don't let that discourage you. Definately go see
another lawyer. There are plenty of lawyers so find
one who will see you for who you are and be willing
to help you take up the banner to be involved in
your child's life. As for how much time you may
have or get - look at this as a thing that is balancing
your desires, the child's father's wishes and the
needs of the child. There are lots of factors to
consider and the process is more of a step ladder
effect rather than an all or nothing approach. Just
like a baby, life comes in little steps. Be prepared
to do this case in little steps. Good luck to you.
Re: Trying to get half custody
What do you mean by "half custody"? In New Mexico custody usually refers to the decisionmakeing power of the parents and the usual arrangement is "joint custody" where both parents must consult each other on important decisions for the child. If you mean visitation, or the time you actually have your child, then it will probably be difficult to get 50/50 time with a two year old. The Court generally feels that a child that young should not be forced to bounce back and forth between the parents. If you want to try for that arrangement, you will probably end up in Court Clinic where they will do an evaluation of the situation and make a recommendation to the Court.
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