Spilling my guts . . . sort of

Some facts to begin on:

kaylasmom and I have been working on our marriage for some time now. While there is no immediate prospect of a breakup, there is also no guarantee that we will be successful in keeping the marriage alive.

For reasons that I do not wish to go into right now, should a breakup occur, the potential exists that neither one of us would be able to raise Kayla on our own.

We do not wish for Kayla to enter the foster care system.

My mother (presumably with my father’s approval) has been intimating that should our ability to care for Kayla (age 4) be compromised, my parents would like to raise our little girl.

Both kaylasmom and I are agreed that we would prefer this privilege to be given over to kaylasauntie (kaylasmom’s sister).

It recently came to our attention that my mother is being proactive in preparing to step forward to claim custody of Kayla in the event of a breakup.

So, I’m interested in becoming a little proactive myself. My available resources toward the services of a lawyer being non-existent, I am operating under the presumption that a properly written and notarized document will carry sufficient legal authority to ensure that Kayla goes into the custody of her maternal aunt, rather than that of her paternal grandparents.

In the wording, and form of such a document, appropriate to the laws of the state of California, I will gratefully accept any suggestions that the members of the SDMB care to offer.

Of course, I acknowledge that I am requesting suggestions only, not contracted legal advice, and I agree to hold harmless any person offering a suggestion in the event of any result which may adversely affect my interests.

I thank all of you for your assistance.

I’m just curious as to why the raising of Kayla cannot be done by both parents, jointly. The child shouldn’t go to foster care unless there is some stuff going on with both you and the mother(abuse, drugs, alcohol, Etc.).

I strongly suggest(not a judgement) that you and Kaylas momma try to stick it out and raise her together if you decide to break up. I’ve seen very devastating results of Grandma/Auntie raising their relative’s children.

Best of luck to you sir.


Nobody should ever stay together just for the children. This always results in more trauma for the child in the long run.

Sorry for the hijack there.


Oh the other hand, GaWd, I’ve seen some very nice kids become well adjusted adults, raised by Grandparents and the like. My wife being one.

I’m of the opinion that you should try to remember that there will be a third casualty in this mess, and you all should try to do the best for her. Starting a family-wide fight is not going to do anyone any good. Sounds like your mother is already going to do just that. If she’s that ready, I’d definetly mark her off the list. I believe you’ve already done that tho.

Strange situation you describe. Your use of clear and concise language in your post and the fact that you have numerous posts in the SDMB sandbox and your listed occupation as a “technician” suggests that you are more than intelligent enough to make a living sufficient for yourself and a single child if you so chose. So either you are terminally ill, mentally disabled, a chronic addict of some kind, going to prison or what…little else will do if you are going to give up your little four year old daughter who loves and depends on you as “Daddy”. Overwhelmed, tired, depressed, disaffected, general anomie, want to go to grad school, want to start again in another town, tired of the whole scene…etc etc etc would be well… morally craven to say the least.

If the situation is this dire and if, as you indicate, you and the soon to be ex-wife are incapable of caring for the child it’s really sort of beside the point what your specifed desires are re relatives, regardless of how your document it. If your mother establishes a legal challenge to the assignment of your sister in-law as guardian/mother and your sister in-law has significant, provable negative baggage in her closet your wishes could readily be overturned in favor of your mother if she presses the issue hard enough and can make her case.

You should contact the local bar in your area and look into whatever pro-bono or otherwise free, legal aid resources are available in your area. I paid for part of my divorce with a large network installation. This is heavy lifting and you need a real attorney.

astro, since neither you nor anyone else here knows the specifics of this situation, I think that it’s more than a little unfair to make moral pronouncements about the circumstances under which it would be “acceptable” for kaylasdad and kaylasmom to arrive at such a decision. I can’t imagine that it’s a solution that was easy for either of them to come to. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes first…

That said, I do agree with astro that you will be in better shape to contest your mother’s moves with a lawyer’s guidance, rather than notarized statements you compile on your own. Maybe Jodi can be of some help here.

Unless we’re talking felony charges, I wouldn’t give up so soon. My next door neighbor is raising two kids on what I’m sure is a near minimum wage job; I don’t know what her ex contributes in child support. My previous neighbor raised two kids, one of whom was a special needs child, on only a part time income (sometimes with no income at all) and with no child support.

That said, money will not be an impossible issue. Remember, whoever has custody of your daughter will get roughly 20 percent of your (and/or your wife’s) paycheck.

More importantly, you can be this girl’s father. I’m a tech, and I work screwy hours, and I’ve been just about ready to call it quits with my wife before, but when we were at our worst, I made the decision that even if we did break up I could find a way to share custody, if not take custody. Even if I had to buy a used trailer house to afford child support or commute 100 miles so that my kids could stay with family while I slept, I could do it, and would. You can too. Don’t take any of this as a flame; I mean it as support. It will work out. This is your daughter, and she needs to know that she is your daughter.

Yeah, I know, I’m bleeding all over this thread, but you raised a pretty hot subject and you’re asking us to give the benefit of the doubt on a story with a lot of holes in it.

I’d get in touch with a lawyer, and talk to that aunt about parenting, as well as custody. It sounds like you really care for this girl; that’s always a good thing.

(ps. Who mentioned foster care? Here in Texas, it’s only an option when there is no family member capable of caring for a child.)

Be a man and do the right thing. That does not include abandoning your child to a relative. Do I know all the facts? Nope. Only the ones you stated. Does it sound fishy? You bet it does. It stinks to high heaven. “For reasons that I do not wish to go into right now…” Seems to me if you want good advice that you SHOULD go into the reasons that are making you consider abandoning your child. Sounds like another selfish person to me only thinking about how much they will have to suffer if they have to raise a child alone. BTW- What was the reason that both of you won’t be a part of her life again? Selfishness? Lack of care? You’ll have to sell your BMW and get a Chevy? I realize I could be off on this one, yet I offer no apolgy for this reason: You make no effort to explain what would make you leave your child to be raised by a relative as opposed to why the relative can’t help you be a parent (i.e. financial help, a place to live, whatever help you need in remaing a proactive parent). Do your relatives not like you? Are you a heel and they know it? “Give me the kid, but as for you, BE GONE you bad man!” Is your wife a complete moron too? Does her family hate her too?

Sorry if I sound like an asshole, perhaps I am. But I’m not the one considering this.

Hope you think long and hard about it before you do it. I suppose another reason is that your life and your wifes life are so screwed up that you don’t have the capability to be a good parent. IN WHICH CASE you shouldn’t wait for the marriage to dissolve, you should give the child up now!

That’s the pivotal statement. You haven’t given people enough information to reply with sound advice for your situation. Please find an advisor that you can completely confide it and do the best thing possible for your daughter.

ONe thing that strikes me is that your screen name is kaylasdad and has been for a significant period of time. when this means to me is that you have taken your role as a parent seriously (at least to the extent that when you were asked to make up a screen name, you identified with your daughter).

I’d rather believe that some one who did that, and is now saying “for reasons I’d rather not go into now” can’t raise said daughter, they must be castesrophic indeed.

my sympathies.
It also speaks highly that both of you seem to be in agreement on who.
Based on my limited experience in this matter (I’ve seen a number of people who were going to prison or whatever), do a transfer of guardianship to other folks. seems that $$ may be of concern, call your local Probate court and see if there’s forms available.

guardianship can be given over on a temporary basis and for whatever reasons to whom you choose. (IIRC, and IINAL and other qualifiers). My recommondation is to have it for a finite period of time (say 6 months or whatever), do NOT take the step of signing off parental rights lightly. best of luck to you.

I hope that somehow you and your wife can work out your problems, and if not, that you or she will be able to keep Kayla. I was just reading over a thread that explained user names and noticed a link to this:

Forgive me for asking, but does either of you have a vision impairment or does your wife just work at the Braille Institute? If some of your problems relating to being able to keep and provide Kayla pertain to this, I would think there would be help available through your county social service agency.

Also, here in Minnesota we have an agency called “First Call for Help,” which has a listing of all kinds of resources for just about any problem you could imagine. Maybe there is something like that where you live?

I hope some of this has been helpful and you are not offended by my somewhat intrusive question.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Why are yall giving him so much trouble? It dosen’t MATTER why he doesn’t think either his wife or he ought to raise thier daughter after a seperation. He has obviously given it some thought, and whatever his reasons, merely the fact that he is willing to entertain the thought suggests that they are valid. Even if they want to place thier daughter with someone else for the worst possible reason–they don’t love her enough to put up with her (I am not saying this is true, kaylasdad, just giving an extreme example), then isn’t best for them to place the child with a trusted family member who WILL love the child?

I honestly think too many people in this country keep children that would be better off somewhere else because of the attitude that putting a child into a safer, better enviroment is some how a selfish thng to do.

He likely feels pretty bad about this, guys, and he dosen’t appear to be acting impulsively. Berating him isn’t going to introduce any new light on the situation, but it may well make it a lot harder.

Oh yeah–I forgot to add my advice.

You might try talking to someone at Catholic Family Services or another large, established, non-profit adoption agency. THey likely know a good deal about custody laws and custody battles.

Second, a lawyer may not be as expensive as you think. YOu basically just need one document drawn up and noterized–It might just cost the two of you a hundred dollars or so. Not cheap, but possibly affordable.