I’m a Single Father trying to fight for my kids. The Arizona legal system and judges are very biased towards fathers and it seems that no matter how many horrible things the mother does, nothing happens to her.
My kids, Kimberly age 3 and James age 7, have been in their mothers care 5 days a week, for a year now, since Arizona Family Court Judge Deborah Pratte awarded her primary parenting time. She is incompetent to be the primary care giver and proves it over and over again.
It started out with their mother leaving them unattended at the playground. Neighbors called the police. I filed emergency custody papers and was given the children for 3 days. After we went to court they were given back to her. I have since been back and forth to court trying to get my kids back safe where they are cared for. They are in danger physically and mentally in her care and I fear for their wellbeing and development!
She lies under oath in court and breaks court orders. She basically does whatever she wants. I have proven in court that she has lied on the stand and lied on police reports. She was ordered by the court to take the kids to family therapy sessions about a year ago. My medical insurance would pay for it. She has not attended even a single appointment. My son has 4 cavities that need fillings. She told me that she refuses to take him or pay for it. With the dental insurance he has, it would only be 60 dollars to take care of it but she refuses to take him and pay or let me take him.
She fails to produce any requested documents for the courts. My lawyer and I have requested her pay stubs and tax returns W2’s. We haven’t seen a single document. I have gotten her charged with contempt of court 3 times!! Judge Pratte says “She is in contempt but appears remorseful” Really!! She just gives the courts lame excuses and empty promises that she never keeps.
She was evicted from her apartment for having too many people living there, drug addicts mind you. While she was homeless and couch surfing from place to place she let me have the kids for a few months. I had everything worked out perfectly. My son was on the verge of being help back a grade, under my care, his grades were improving and he was enrolled in after school tutoring, I took him to the therapy sessions, my daughter was enrolled in preschool and attending speech therapy. When she got a place to live she quickly, and without notice or warning of any kind, took the kids from me. She took my son out of tutoring and my daughter out of preschool and speech therapy.
My daughter had earrings that kept falling out and getting lost, so her mother made the earrings stay on by attaching a rubber backing. It was on so tight it cut into the back of her ears and her ears got infected very badly. It took the judge ordering her to remove the earrings to make her do it. The next week they were right back in her ears though.
She is mentally destroying the children. She trash talks me to anyone who will listen in front of the kids. My 3 year old daughter cusses constantly and has told me many times that she hears this from her mother. She also does disturbing and inappropriate things such as referring to her privet parts as her “cooter”, she pulls up her shirt and says “boobies” and plays with her nipples. She shows her underwear to my son and his friends, and much more equally horrible things.
My son is an emotional wreck. He tells me all the horrible things she says about me, she has absolutely no filter. She refuses to let my son contact me during the week. I know this is destroying him because he loves me very much and looks up to me. He is saddened and confused to hear her say these things about me but worse, he feels that he is being stuck in the middle and made to choose sides. I have tried countless time to tell her not to discuss our issues in from of him. He is 7 and should not be exposed and feel the stress of these adult situations. I make certain to do not speak about the divorce or say anything negative about his mother in front of him.
She is extremely bitter and spiteful. She changes her whole outlook on the divorce literally day to day, depending on her mood. She tells me I can talk to my son if she “feels like letting me.” These kids are in harm’s way. She does not care about the kids one bit or what’s best for them, just what will screw me over the most and what will get her the most money, both from me and all the assistance she receives (lying to get substantial government assistance, multiple churches helping her, etc.)
She has very questionable people watch the kids on a daily basis. They smell like smoke when I pick them up. My son has had to change schools twice and bus routes 4 times this school year because of the inconsistency in her living arrangements and childcare. There is documented use of illegal drug use in her home. Note, I have a very stable home a 2 minute walk from his school and a stable job. She has went through multiple jobs and places to live in a very short time, ripping any stability they may begin to have out from under these kids on a regular basis.
She is willing to live her life in this fashion, living off handouts and spending her time with drug users and people of poor morals. One gave my son a knife which he took to school and was suspended for.
She got mad at me last month because I took the kids to get a haircut that they both needed. Well she didn’t care about my son but she was furious about my daughter getting a haircut. Funny thing is it took her 2 days to notice that they had haircuts, it was merely a trim. Anyway, I have not been able talk to or see my kids since. She went to court and made up ridiculous lies and got an order of protection against me that I am waiting to get an appeal date for before I can see my children again.
I am made to follow the letter of the law exactly without the slightest change. She follows the rules until something doesn’t suit her, then the rules go out the window. Everyone including her lawyer sees this except the judge. I’m told that Arizona is one of the hardest states for a father to get custody of children in. Judge Deborah Pratte chooses to overlook obvious details where the kid’s wellbeing is put at risk. I have created massive debt trying to fight for my kids with no real end in sight I could have put the kids through college for the amount of money I have in this. I have drained any saving I may have had and gone into massive debt. I have taken out cash advances out on several credit card and borrowed money from my father who lives on social security to fight this battle. I have her charged with contempt of court a 4th time to be heard in July.
Pratte was put in another area and her case load was given to a different judge. I would like to think this new judge might have more sense. But here’s the kicker, my lawyer told me he cannot see the end of this battle because he is retiring and I have to find a new lawyer which will cost a new retainer fee and many thousand dollars just to get the new lawyer up to speed with everything.
I cannot afford this fight, but I cannot give up on my children. They are in grave danger in her care and honestly stand no chance of growing up to be decent adults with an influence like that. Their mother has serious mental issues and she needs psychiatric help. She cannot care for herself, let alone children, on any level: medically, financially, academically, mentally, etc.
This whole process has been very painful, drawn out and complicated. I could go on forever with all the details. I beg for your assistance.