I need advice. PLEASE bear with the length. I have joint custody of my son, and my ex-wife had the "physical residence" only because I was in the army. I have now honorably discharged from five years service and have settled in Overland Park with my fiancé. I need to file either a Modification order or an Emergency modification order to have physical custody of my seven year old transferred to me. My ex wife’s husband was incarcerated for armed robbery ( for min. 5 years) a few months before I was discharged. I could not file for emergency modification at that time because I was en route coming back from Iraq. Since she just had another baby & could not support my son & her other child alone, and because her health was suffering from continued meth use, she enlisted herself in the army. She has left my 7 year old son (and her other 6 month old infant) with her very elderly grandmother in extremely rural Moberly, MO when she left for boot camp. (the nearest neighbor is 2 ½ miles away, the grandmother is late seventies, the school is unaccredited, No friends, etc. )
I agreed to my son temporarily staying there-as I was not discharged for a few months. I also asked her to wait till I discharged so my son would not have to stay in the middle of nowhere, alone (nearest neighbor is miles away). She refused to wait to enlist as she had no place to go. Because her husband is incarcerated, the army would normally consider her “single” with dependents, and would not have allowed her to maintain custody of any dependents per regulations, she would have had to sign over her infant to someone, and release my son to my "physical" care (as we have joint custody) She told me she signed over temporary guardianship to the grandmother till I could get out. Now that I am out, I find that she has NOT signed the paperwork over, just left my son (& the other child) with “guardians” (her elderly grandmother). I also find out that she never told the recruiter her husband was in prison-she told them she was married & showed them the certificate-so they never had her sign a parenting plan, this causes a massive hold-up, she continues to collect marriage pay & child support (of which she sends NONE to her grandmother!!).
I love my son dearly and have always maximized my visitation when on leave & summers. Last summer when I picked him up-he was very upset because his “New Dad” said he couldn’t call ME dad anymore because I was shot & died in the war”!!!!! It took me a week to convince him I was really there (not an angel) and that he was to still call me dad-always & forever. When I confronted my ex-wife-she told me literally “Whatever…”
I travel over 800 miles per weekend now to pick up my son. B/c the grandmother is so old-I have noone to help with the drive (except my wonderful & very supportive) fiance. Because my ex-wife moved over five times in three years & had my son in & out of school, I have retained tutors & speak with his teacher bi-weekly for updates. (the teacher has never heard or met my ex) I also have him seeing a nutritionist (My ex wife only fed him ice cream & fast food and his primary care physician has him at 50 lbs. overweight. Additionally, I am taking him to specialist to fix the glaucoma & lazy eye he developed from her giving him adult strength cough syrup for over a month straight. He is in hysterics every Sunday when I take him home. My ex wife has insisted that she is either taking both children (& I do NOT care what she does with her other child) with her to Virginia or signing custody over to her grandmother. I have notified her commanding officer & nothing has come of this yet. When she calls my son every so often & he begs her "Mommy, I want to go live with daddy" she tells him flat out no & as he puts it "gets mean"
I am terrified she will attempt to kidnap him in the meantime causing him even more stress & mental l harm. If anyone has any advice, any other help, please let us know. We will be speaking with an attorney soon but it costs $2500 retainer, we are almost there.....
Thank you and I look forward to your reply.