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out of state mom needs help

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i live in ny state and my ex lives in tx. our marriage was a huge disaster and at the end things were getting violent between us. before i left tx he filed for divorce, it became final when i was in ny. i left my daughter with him because he would have come after me and done god knows what to me in front of her. he was never physically abusive to her so i was not worried about her being with him. later i found out i could have been charged with kidnapping if i had taken her with me. naturally, when the divorce was final he got residential custody of her.
he is not married, but he lives with a woman and her children. i am happily married and i am an at-home mom.
i want to raise my daughter with her bio. brothers here in ny. but more my concern is that she is always sick..always...now she has lice and ringworms...she sleeps in the same bed as one of his girlfriends children (these things have been confirmed by my sister and mother who live in tx), he smokes pot, at least he did when i was there, i just assume he still does. she has trouble with her behavior in school, she spends most of her time living at her grandparents home. my family has to beg to see her, she rarely gets any letters that i send or any other member of my family sends. in short, she is just a pawn for him.
i don't pay cs because he waived it in court and like i said i am an at home mom.
did i waive my custodial rights at the get-go? is there a chance i could get custody of her? i can't afford an attorney, plus the trip to tx(divorce jurisdiction). i need help on what my options are. Thanks!


Senior Member
what type of custody was established?
did you receive any form of visitation?

to modify cusoty there has to be a significant change in circumstances.

from your post, i can see several.

GF is living with him with her children.
she is always sick, lice, ringworms, etc...possible neglect?
sharing the bed isn't a real biggie - same sex, close in age?

the part that might hurt is that you actually left her in that situation and that you were not present for the hearing and therefore did not appear to "fight" for your parental rights. the court may view it that you suddenly want to play mommy.

you will need to present your case strongly. show that he has a tendency to become violent, he has a problem with anger management, that there is the possiblity of neglect, if you can prove that he is using drugs, they are present in the house, she is having behaviour problems in school (what's the root cause?).

you state that she is living with her grandparents? how is the lifestyle there?

if you want to file a motion to modify, the hearing would have to be in texas. they have jurisdiction. you need to research and locate a texas attorney. try running a search for the texas state bar association and locating links for sliding scale attorneys, etc.


We have joint custody, but he has residential custody of her. Also, I have her during the summers...if I lived closer I would have every other weekend...it is the standard custody arrangement. I don't pay formal cs, but I send her care packages, letters, pictures, etc. We talk online, on the phone...I'm just not physically there. She lives with her father...but the majority of the time is spent at her grandparents...her grandmother understands that she misses me, so she goes out of her way to have my daughter call or send cards and letters, pics. Her father is a different story altogether. He just tries to shut me and my family out of her life. Mostly, I am concerned about her physical and emotional health...she seems to me to be sad and lonely...and that hurts me. Thanks for your time.


Senior Member
it's going to be tough because she has established her home there since you have been gone. judges don't like to tamper with that stability.

you really need to find a lawyer and get the ball rolling if you are serious about this. the longer that you leave the child in that situation, the harder it will be to remove the child. plus, it would be hard to explain that the living conditions at dad's were like that and you leaving the child in that situation.

come back and let us know how things are going.

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