I Got Screwed in the Custody Battle

Guess what, divorced dad, as much as you wish your ex would disappear off the face of the earth, let me tell you a little secret…she isn’t! You are more than likely getting the minimum custody because your child isn’t old enough to decide for themselves. Some judge who has never met you, listens to arguments from attorneys (assuming you can afford one) and could give two shits about you or your situation. You are more than likely going to be on the wrong side of custody unless mommy is a kleptomaniac and had developed a meth habit. It’s time to adjust, deal with it, and be the best damn dad you can be!

Unfortunately for me, I got wiped out fighting for custody of my only child. A game of Risk was less complicated than the two-year saga I went through. I would fortify my position as a dad, thinking I was doing good and then my baby mama would out flank me because she had more money and I was reeling from another court order because I’m a blogger and learned the hard way family law is far from black and white. Long story short, time to accept it.

I wish my daughter lived in the same town as me, but she doesn’t and a clueless judge figured distance wasn’t a factor. Worth mentioning my daughter lives 90 minutes away and that is assuming I’m not held up by some tractor on a desolate Kentucky highway. I get to rewrite the rules of fun with her every two weeks during the school year, it only involves a 3.5-hour round trip drive on a Sunday evening when I must return her home. It sucks worse than a D-list celebrity trying to act, but it is what it is.

Welcome to Co-Parenting, dad. It usually involves dealing with a narcissist who would prefer you got launched with the next rocket that NASA tests. I’m here to tell you it sucks, but you are a dad and you bet your ass you need to #DadUp for the sake of your children. The divorced dad stereotype needs tweaked and unless you are willing to do the work, it isn’t going to get altered anytime soon.

You lost the custody battle, good chance you were never going to win. Sure, a lawyer probably strung you along for a bit to keep the meter running, but they knew all along. False hope is a painful lesson I had to learn. An expensive lesson, but you are blinded by your love for your child(ren), so you get a pass with me if you went this route. Time to mobilize once your baby mama decides she found a new car to drive instead of you. With the way family law is set up, she gets a fully loaded S.U.V. to accommodate the kids and you are left shopping for a vehicle at Big Jake’s Salvage Yard.

Losing a custody battle will literally zap your will to live at times, it will take time to recover from it but dad you will recover. Your daughter has three softball games a week 100 miles away? Unless you lost an appendage in a car accident you better be there if you can. There is nothing more rewarding than driving out of your way to see your child for an hour. The monster size hug you get will at times have you misty-eyed.

Your child just got named Student of the Month and you only found out about it a day before? You tell your employer what is up, and if they won’t give you the time off, you let me know! You claim to be an involved dad, but you must prove it. Showing up unexpectedly will do two things: Make you proud to see your child being rewarded for her generosity and piss your baby mama off. Outperforming your baby mama in the parenting department is considered a dad win. You didn’t choose this war, but you can do your best to win it. That doesn’t mean blowing up your child’s mom, actions speak louder than words. Trust me!

Unless you live in North Korea, any school/extracurricular activity is considered “neutral” for dads. Take full advantage of it, don’t settle for the “weekend warrior” dad moniker. Traveling three to four hours a week sucks, especially during a work week, but you have to do it! Your child depends on you, it is a must that you never miss any opportunity to spend with your child.

The nasty knot you got in your stomach once you learned that you were going to be Mr. Every Other Weekend dad goes away over time. It isn’t a fun process to get over, but eventually you will. Regroup, refocus, and reenergize all your bitterness and use it to make you a better father. People notice, and more importantly your child(ren) will!

This article was sponsored by DivorceForce.com.  If you are going through a divorce or still reeling from this life altering event the Divorce Force community will welcome you with open arms.  Join the conversation today!

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29 Comments

  1. In all honesty you didn’t stand a chance of getting full custody. Most of the courts decisions are made based on the fact that the mother gave birth to the child and so they have some kind of “stronger bond”. At least that’s what the decision making seemed like it was in my case.
    I hardly knew anything about my father until he left a voicemail at my mothers home stating I was old enough to make my own decisions. That’s when I learned I was missing out on half my life and family. At that point I knew next to nothing about my fathers family except I had half siblings and my grandfather had passed away.
    Now several years later I have a stronger bond with my father than I do with my mother.

    Be the best Dad you can and don’t say anything about your kids mom. Believe me, we hear everything and the bullshit stress the kids out thinking we can try to fix it to make everyone happy.

    From a Daughter of a Divorced Father.

  2. I love the mix of real advice and real anger. Showing up because it’ll piss your baby momma off…

  3. Those pesky exes! Actually I was lucky in that respect because regardless of my personal opinion of my ex and his actions, he hasn’t actually let our children down with the coparenting lark (although the timetable of when he saw the children was influenced by his work patterns,we were fairly amicable when swapping weekends). In fact he saw more of the children and spent time with them once we parted than before we parted (especially once they reached the age of 16!!) I am pleased that my contact with my ex is now minimal as our youngest is now 19. I am pleased also that The children still keep in regular contact with their father, through choice. I have been divorced for 15 years now though and am grateful to my now husband for the last 14 years of helping to keep things on the straight and narrow. I am sure your bride to be will be a big help to you too – you need that rock.
    Linda Hobden recently posted…Comment on Seaside In The Spring by LindaMy Profile

  4. There are so many changes that need to be made across the US. We are in NC. MOst of my divorced friends here split custody 50/50 and have agreements written in as to how far they can move away. One day all of your devotion to your little girl is going to pay off more than you know.

  5. Yep, those exes just don’t disappear! Good advice on making the best of the situation though. Plus all evidence shows that you are completely right in terms of how children react – it isn’t the amount of time you get, but how you spend it and interact that determines how good a relationship kids have with non-resident parents.
    Silly Mummy recently posted…Friday Frolics – 19th May 2017My Profile

  6. We need more dad’s like you telling their stories. Such a painful, broken system.
    Mandi recently posted…Birth and Mothering in America: Mothers Deserve MoreMy Profile

  7. I’m sorry for all you’ve been through! I live with these agonies every day through my lawyer husband who handles what I think should be called “dismantling family” law. I wish you would have had his excellent counsel way back when it started, but I sounds like you are moving on to the best future you can under the circumstances. Many hearts go out to you…and wish you well!
    Sharon Duerst recently posted…Sway of InfluenceMy Profile

  8. This has got to be one of my favorite pieces of yours. So much of THIS! This this this this this. It needs to be said, it needs to be heard, and we need to know we are not alone on Team Dad.

    Thank you.
    ShopGirl Anonymous recently posted…An Inside Look at the New FYE ExperienceMy Profile

  9. Good luck with this awful scenario, it sounds very draining.

  10. I’m sorry about your crap Gar. But you are right, your daughter knows the score and as soon as she has rights, I’m sure she’ll be living with you. 🙂
    dgkaye recently posted…Win A £50 Amazon Gift Card And A Signed Copy Of Glimpses – Hugh’s Views & NewsMy Profile

  11. You are the clear winner in this on-going war. It’s just a matter of time before the borders are reassessed and the new home Capitol is assigned.

  12. Sucky.
    Just so incredibly sucky.
    I know one day, she’ll choose you. I’m sorry you’ll both be less happy until then.
    joey recently posted…Share Your World — May 15, 2017My Profile

  13. Your little girl knows the truth and wants to live with you and your soon to be new wife as soon as possible.
    hallenterprises132 recently posted…Have You Ever Had an Earworm?My Profile

  14. I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know what having a kid is like, let alone losing custody of them through court battles. I am sending you loving thoughts 🙁

  15. How long before your daughter is old enough to choose where she wants to live Gary, and can you go back to court to have the order amended?
    Hugs

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