Father, seperated, 1yr girl, custody problems
Hello, my name is Matthew. I have a beautiful little girl who's 1 year old this month. I have separated from my wife Sept 2011 and she currently has custody where as I feel I have little visitation. I have started the divorce process, and the court gave me just a little visitation. I apologize in advance, I have a bit to explain to set up my story so bear with me if you will.
Or you may skip ahead to the spot indicated below for a quicker version. I have included this background information to hopefully get a more knowledgeable response based on the history.
Also, please no comments about my own stupidity for staying with my wife as long as I did. I was in love with someone who didn't respect me and I should have left some years ago. I have a daughter now and wouldn't trade her for anything.
I met my wife in 2007 and we had lived with each other for about 4.5 years. She has cheated on me many more times then I care to remember, she always told me when she did it. Her guilt always got to her and I found out within a week.
Through out our relationship, mainly the last year we were together, she had been physically violent with me to the point of me having to defend myself by fighting back. I don't mean lightly. I hate violence and would never have laid a hand on her, but it became necessary at times. Mostly I tried to stop her from hitting me by holding her down. Trying to calm her down some, but it never worked. Hitting on someone you love is not right, and I felt terrible that she had caused such problems for herself and me.
Now I know there will be people that disagree with hitting in defense, but you would have to have a very good understanding of how things were. If I didn't fight her, I may very well could have ended up in the hospital. You may wonder why I didn't leave.
Leaving her was also a problem. There was never an opportunity to get my daughter out of the house without her being violent with me and I did not want my daughter getting hurt. I chose to stay and live in our place so I could protect my daughter.
It is interesting how much I continued to love my wife, no matter how horrible she was to me. That alone prevented me from doing what I should have done, leaving, calling police, pressing charges for assault, and the thought of Child Protective Services never occurred to me. There are about 7 police reports showing that my wife had assaulted me 4 times, she assaulted her own mother twice, and even was charged with "Attempted" Assault on a police officer.
Thank you if you are still reading.
Now in Sept '11 I was feeding my daughter some carrots. These were small soft carrots, and my little girl grabbed some and dropped one of them on the floor. My wife yells at me from across the room to pick it up. I told her to hold on a minute. She replied by demanding I do it right now. When I didn't comply, she stood up from the couch came over to me and started hitting me and wouldn't quit. Her mother was there and took our daughter out of the room and we had yet another fight. This fight was the best one yet because it led to us splitting up. Now she wouldn't stop hitting me, she banged my head into the floor, so I threw over me into the wall. She stood up and got a knife from the kitchen and tried to stab me. I got the knife from her, hid it under a recliner and only then did I make it out the door.
I was attacked. I was almost stabbed with a knife, and then I went to jail for 2 days. Only because I wasn't at the house to defend myself when the police arrived. All because a few carrots fell on the floor. Then I wasn't able to see my daughter for almost 2 months because my wife had her.
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Now, in that 2 months time I got myself a home, I am still working my job of almost 3 years. I am able to provide my daughter with everything she needs.
My wife still lives with her mother, has no job, and hasn't had a job for 2+ years.
The courts were told about the violence and the way she had assaulted me time and time again. They know I have been providing for both of them for years.
So the courts have decided that because my wife was at home with my daughter while I worked, it should make her the custodial parent. Also because I had not seen my daughter in 2 months I couldn't have 50% custody either. $127 in child support from me to her.
We live about 15 miles from each other.
I have Tues & Thur 10am - 3pm
(4hrs + 1 hour drive time)
I pick her up and drop her off.
I have Fri 9pm to Sat 9pm
I pick up, then she picks up.
I get about 1.5 days of time per week. or 34/168 hours per week. Meaning I see her about 20% of the week.
How may I ask is this fair for me or my daughter. She will not nap because she know she has to go home just after. When I pick her up she runs to me. She doesn't run to her mom when she picks her up. It seems to me that she is happier here then at her mothers.
Last pickup for my wife (saturday) she came 30 min early, I invited her into my home. She realized our daughter was napping and got mad that she shouldn't have been napping that late. She rushed into her bedroom grabbed her out of the crib and startled her awake, my daughter started to cry and she also was wearing only a diaper. My wife told me she was going to tell the courts to take away my overnight visitation then grabbed a blanket or two and rushed out the door into 12 degree snowy weather with my unclothed daughter. She will obviously not be allowed in anymore.
I am not sure my wife is handling things properly, yet she seems to be winning where it counts. I'm aiming to have a good relationship with my girl and her mother for many years to come as there is no reason to have it any other way. Even our psychological exams showed me looking average, and much bias was placed on making her sound better to the court. Physical custody was recommended for her and legal for me. The report was full of mistakes. Stuff I told him got twisted around in the report.
So whats everybodys thoughts here? I feel like I just keep getting stepped on by everyone including the courts. I just want what is best for my daughter and to be an equal part of her life. I would also like to be sure she's being treated properly but there aren't any legal ways of doing this for me.
Thank you, thank you for reading, please help if you can by providing some detailed comments about anything I've written here :)