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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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I have a 4 year old daughter. Husband is bi-polar but well

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I have a 4 year old daughter. Husband is bi-polar but well spoken. He wants 50/50 custody but does not want to move to area child is currently living.He is about 2 hours away. What are his chances? I do want him to have a strong, on-going relationship, but feel that his concept of 50/50 is not in our child's best interests.

Thank you for your question.

I will do my best to assist you with your issue. While I am permitted to provide you with legal information, I am prohibited by as well as various state bar associations from giving specific legal advice, provide representation, or enter into an attorney-client relationship through this open and non-confidential forum. Do you understand and agree to these provisions as well as's disclaimer?


Dimitry Alexander Kaplun, Esq.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I understand the parameters are informative and not legal advise.

I am so in need of help. I think you will need more information, but I will let you ask the pertinent questions
Thank you kindly for accepting, and you are absolutely right as I will need more information.

I assume you are divorcing, is that correct?

Is husband on medication?

Is your husband a fit and attentive parent?

Do either of you ahve a history of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, criminal record, probation, parole, history, or moral turpitude?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We are divorcing with hearing set for Sept. 21. I am terrified. My husband is on medication, but has a history of not taking recommended medication. He is probably taking what is prescribed right now. My husband is a "suddenly" attentive parent with modest interaction before now. He is fun, and loves his child, but says inappropriate things (visit last weekend), "You can only love Daddy," for instance. Daughter, who arrived happy to see him, cried all the way home. I strongly suspect my daughter is also bi polar and has been an emotional wreck since last weekend. Neither of us have a formal history of any of the above, but he has been verbally abusive, calling me things like a "sticking c**t" in front of our daughter. He can and does present himself very well.

My daughter and I live at my parents home, and have since July1. My daughter is in a pre K program and has her own room.We were teacher's abroad, but this location is where my daughter has spent nearly of year of her life already. My husband is moving to San Diego, about 1/1/2 hours away. He is renting a room from a surfing buddy. It defies reason to me that a court would order a child of this age to be driven back and forth. I will be a stay at home mom this year, to be available to my daughter. My mother, a retired educator, makes any unfamiliar babysitters unecesary. I want primary physical custody with specified visitation rights for my soon to be ex.

He is so erratic, but has never physcially abused me. Recent incident of some physical abuse of his own mother so all indicators lead to that direction. He could NEVER be found mentally incompetent by court and I really prefer not to go down that road. I want him to see his daughter.
Thank you for your patience.

First of all, please do not be terrified. Lack of knowledge or direction breeds fear, and hopefully I can help to provide you with information that arms you for the next few weeks.

From what I read I do not see CPS or other agencies getting involved. It has been a fairly civil separation to this point, correct?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, it has not. Husband held daughter and I hostage (took baby's passport) so we could not leave (we were teachers in Saudi Arabia. He threatened to have me expelled from country without my daughter. Had to involved US state department. Then agreed to my having primary physical custody, then changed to wanting 50/50 custody which denies her the stability she so desperately needs. After last weekend with him, her emotional response was so severe I feel I will now have to seek counseling for her. She would not come into home from carseat (Daddy said Hemet (where we live) is awful. I hate Hemet. I hate you. etc.)
My attorney notified his attorney that visitation would have to be set by court. I can't take her back to that. He is using his anger at me to torture her. I think he will settle down once rules are established, but I worry about being accused of not facilitating the relationship. For example, I was unable to get daughter to preschool today. "Daddy hates my pre-school." He is trying to start her in another school in San Diego. I know this sounds "competitive", but my mother is a retired special educator, and we both feel strongly this creates great instability and additional stressors on her right now. I have to think of her first, and keep her stable. I speak kindly of her father, however.
Thank you for your patience.

Kindly forgive me for this question, but does religion also play a part in this? I notice that stated Saudi Arabia, and wanted to know if there was a religious element to this separation.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, religion has no part. We taught for an American Oil Company. The big piece is what is going to provide stability for our daughter.
Thank you for your patience.

First of all, it is unlikely that a parent that moves out from the location where the child resides gets custody. Second, a parent that has a medical history of mental illness and is on medication is also less likely to receive main custody. Finally, if you can show that you are more "fit" (you have no history of being bi-polar or of being difficult or irrational), you will have no issues with sharing custody (something the courts also look at, as they prefer parents who share, and not those that control the child), and you will spend more time with the child, it is highly likely you will be granted main custody.

I do not foresee sole custody, however--I expect that the courts will possibly grant him overnights for the weekends and possibly summers as a means of equalizing custody.

If he continues to subvert the child, consider taking her to a specialist, and then filing for an emergency custodial petition requesting guardianship--if your child is really being used as a pawn, you may want to get the courts involved and then force them to grant you custody as a means of saving your child's mental health.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 9/1/2010 at 8:18 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Great answer. Just a clarification to see if this changes the dial in your opinion.
Both parents are moving back from Saudi Arabia. However, I returned earlier by about a month, and returned to the place(and home) where our child has spent all summers, vacations, etc. My husband is moving to a location (2 hours away) where our child has no history of residence. Does this change anything? My attorney says he thinks he would need to move to where she currently lives to be awarded 50/50 custody, even though she has not been living here long. Do you agree?
Thank you for your patience.

I completely concur with your attorney. As I stated, parents who live elsewhere are generally treated less equitably than the other parent, all other factors being equal--if I did not say it, my apologies, as I meant to bring that point up. Because your ex will be living in a strange environment, the courts would deem that to not be "in the best interest of the child", as the child would already be going through a traumatic breakup, and would need to be in a more stable and known environment that she was already more comfortable with.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 9/1/2010 at 8:31 AM EST
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