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Why do mothers train their kids? Why don’t they just leave them be? Why do parents have to control everything?
Children come into this world knowing absolutely nothing about life, about how the world works, about how to take care of themselves. Parents begin training children to deal with reality starting day one, when the infants learn that they can count on Mommy and Daddy to meet their needs.
Over time, the training changes, adapting to the children’s increasing levels of understanding and responsibility. Eventually the kid will be able to make all of his own decisions and take care of himself. Of course, most children believe that time has come years before they are actually prepared to chart their own life course.
Are some parents control freaks? Yes. Is that excess of control better than the alternative, abdicating the role of parent to a child not yet ready for the burden? Almost every time.
I let my daughter’s father take our 9-month-old for a two-day visit. The night of the second day, he dropped the girl off with a sitter so he could attend school the next day. He did the same thing the day after he was supposed to bring my daughter home, refusing to allow me to pick her up. I called the sitter, who said she had returned the baby to her father. I called the father, and he wouldn’t tell me where she was. I called the police, and when they asked the father, he said the girl was with a sitter. Citing my lack of a custody arrangement, the cop said he couldn’t help. I’m trying to find a lawyer, but the custody process can take time. What can I do right now to get my daughter back?
You are correct that custody disputes can take a long time to sort out.
However, a competent lawyer will not treat this as a custody dispute from the start. As of now, consider it a missing-persons case.
Your child’s father refused to tell you where the girl is. The officer who responded probably had some latitude to act, but the amount of latitude will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. And regardless, the cop did not take action.
So you must force the issue. Call a lawyer immediately. Don’t ask about custody. Instead, ask the attorney to help you find your missing child. With your lawyer’s help, file a missing-persons report with the police, then let them do the legwork.
Without a custody agreement, you cannot legally insist that the girl live with you, any more than the father can demand that the girl live with him. Assuming the child is somewhere safe, I cannot say what the authorities will do once they discover her. Let your lawyer take up that issue once the child is found.
Making a stink may not get your daughter back in your home right away. But it will highlight the importance of custody in this instance. Your ex has made a tactical move by denying you access to your daughter. You respond with a tactical move, getting the police involved. Once both sides are on high alert and everybody is looking in the same direction, your lawyer and your ex’s lawyer can start talking.
Remember that while it may take months to resolve a legal custody dispute, nothing can stop you and your ex from coming to a negotiated arrangement that will suffice until a court verifies it. Once the police get involved, your ex may become more willing to negotiate.
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