I am glad PART I, touched so many people, there’s been an overwhelming response to this topic which has only reinforced the importance of discussing this sensitive topic. Here is PART II.
BREAK-DOWN OF COMMUNICATION
Every time I tried to communicate with the father of my child, he turned it into an argument, chastised me, tried to humiliate me, or walked away. I felt helpless trying to have a decent and cordial conversation regarding the needs of our child with him.
At one point, he started an argument with me over the phone and only recorded my response, unbeknownst to me. He tried to submit the recording to the judge in court. The judge refused to listen, as it was inadmissible. He presented a transcript of the recording to the court, which he wrote himself, the judge read a few lines, and announced it as hearsay.
Her father was relentless!
TIP: If you find yourself in these circumstances, correspond solely through email or text message, this way you’ll have documented proof of each interaction. Also, consider using a Log Book to write special notes or instructions. Your child can carry it back and forth each access visit.
In the early stages of our custody battle, my child’s paternal grandparents befriended me and asked to take our child across the U.S border to Buffalo to shop. I agreed. It became the biggest mistake of my life!
When they came back, they refused to return her birth certificate and passport. Soon after, her documents were lost but miraculously, they reappeared in court when they lied to the judge by telling him that they’ve been raising my daughter since the day of her birth!
I nearly fainted, my child was in an incubator for 5 weeks from birth and they denied her until she was 4 months old.
TIP: Draft a Travel Consent Letter and sign it in front of a Commissioner of Oath or Notary Public and have either stamp/place their seal on the letter. You can also request your lawyer to add a stipulation regarding notification and request of travel and the distance (kilometres/miles) away from the child’s primary resident.
SELF ESTEEM & BEAUTY
Little girls love to play dress-up, style their hair and pick out their own clothes. No difference for my little girl, she loved to watch me apply makeup and curl my hair and add accessories (remember butterfly clips?). My daughter knew the routine. Every other weekend she was excited to see her father and his parents. She combed and styled her own hair and put a hundred colourful clips at the end of her braids. She picked out her own clothes that made her feel beautiful inside! Who was I to tell her any different… who was I to tell her that her socks weren’t matching or that she shouldn’t wear pants with the skirt (Kanye does!). Her hair was a little fuzzy from using a brush on her braids, she was so excited getting ready for her visit, she felt beautiful and proud, I wasn’t going to also take that away from her … she already went through so much.
In his court papers he mentioned that his daughter was not dressed appropriately for her visits. Another scheme to win custody.
TIP: IGNORE! At first, I became intimidated by this statement and questioned my parenting skills. I began to pick out my daughter’s clothes for her visits and combed her hair …even though she didn’t want me to and cried in protest. I realized this wasn’t benefitting her or me, so, I STOPPED! And ignored his accusations and instead confronted him in court about the importance of our daughter’s self-esteem in front of the judge! Making sure he wouldn’t tell any more lies about how she was dressed.
… and my daughter, she resumed her every other weekend ritual of dressing herself and styling her hair … the way SHE wanted to! 🙂