Thank you, Bobby, for sharing your experience with us. It is wonderful how it turned out for you!
My story’s end is a lot different than how most father’s stories end up. Here is my story, and hopefully it can encourage other dads to never give up the good fight.
It all started one cool October day, my daughter’s mom had lost her mother to an overdose two weeks before this and I tried to give her whatever she needed, but I could feel it coming, my mother was going to take a trip to see some family, and asked if Sara (daughter’s mom) and Lana (our daughter) would like to go. I thought maybe it would be good for Sara, so I said I didn’t mind if she wanted to go. Seeing them off, I kissed them and told them I loved them, but I felt something off about the kiss I shared with Sara, and the way she looked at me, as I watched them back out of our driveway.
A few days into the trip, I get a call saying Sara took Lana and had her cousin in Alabama pick them up, she wouldn’t answer my calls or texts for a week. When she finally did, she said she felt empty inside and that she didn’t love me anymore, only for our daughter. Twice she said I could come see Lana the first time on Thanksgiving, the second for Christmas. Both times I drove down there from Michigan, and both times she wouldn’t let me see our daughter at all, not even to give her the Christmas presents I bought, or to hug and kiss her. I did what any good dad would do and contacted a lawyer. I was able to have her come back to Michigan with Lana to go to court. For the next few months, I worked just to fight, I lived off one pack of ramen noodles a day to make sure I could afford to fight in court and afford to keep a roof and healthy food in my fridge for Lana when I got to see her. I had every other weekend while we went back and forth in court. At no time did I ever trash her parenting abilities or try to get more than she would allow. I fought for equality afterwards.
With so much fighting going on, we sat down (not in court) and talked to each other from the heart, and both of us being products of broken homes knew we didn’t want that for our child. We made a promise to be better than our parents were, and we agreed to 50/50 joint physical and legal custody. I even agreed to pay $50 a week in child support (if that was the price I had to pay for equal rights to Lana it was money well spent) We eventually started sharing that too. Neither of us will let our daughter go without. The court was rough in the beginning and I knew I had an up hill battle, but it was worth it. Now I know most dads stories end more tragically than mine, but if my story can encourage a dad or mom to not give up or encourage them to rethink their reasons for not peacefully working something out fairly, then it’s definitely worth sharing. It wasn’t till Sara and I put our egos aside that real change came about. Yes there’s bitterness in a break up, but when an innocent child’s well being is at stake, nothing should be off the table in terms of doing right by your child. Like I said, I know I got lucky and I wish every story ended like mine for the children’s sake, but more often than not, it doesn’t.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it helps!
Bobby Thomas, the proud father of an amazing and beautiful and happy three year old.
I had the pleasure of speaking with this father, Kyle, about what he has been through. He has great information, as well as strategies he has tried that have worked in his favor. It seems like he is really setting the bar for fighting fathers in Michigan. Awesome job, Kyle! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.
My story started out a lot like anyone else’s I think. I was in a decent relationship, the person seemed fine enough. One thing led to another and she became pregnant, sooner than we expected. That’s where everything starts for me. I used to live in Minnesota during the relationship, which was also where we met. Once she became pregnant all the red flags were there, referred to this child only as “hers” despite me saying this is “our child”. I tried to convince her that we have an obligation to take things a bit more seriously if she’s going to bring our child to term, and we should give the relationship a fair shot, on a high level.
I think that all fell on deaf ears, since mommy already had her clutches back in her daughter. Normally I wouldn’t have problems with a mother helping, it’s what both mothers and fathers do, they help their children. The problem wasn’t the fact she was a mother, it’s that she was a psychology major, and had successfully driven my ex’s father out with every tactic in the book we’re all too familiar with. Parental alienation, parental estrangement, parental enmeshment, etc etc.
My ex’s mother was the centerpiece to all conversational pieces on the most gruesome levels when it came to her extended family on her fathers side, her father, and all the kids. We couldn’t spend a day without hearing who this woman was, and how she had once had her evil clutches in my ex’s life. Once my ex started speaking differently and the signs were there that her mother was speaking through there. I started mentally preparing myself for the worst. The power plays started coming out, threats of abortion. I was told “If you don’t move to Michigan (where mommy was), I will move there with or without you and you will never see my child”. What choice did I really have at the time, she was in utero, and there was no legal foundation for me to keep the case in Minnesota, which probably would have been better quite frankly.
So I packed up and moved my entire life in a matter of a few weeks. Found a temporary apartment, got a job, and started the normal process of living once again. Once I had gotten there, more red flags kept popping up. Signs of cheating had occurred, so I hired a private investigator. Turns out I couldn’t have been more accurate with my beliefs. Upon moving back, she was already setting up shop to find a “replacement” father for our child. Which didn’t pan out for her. When attempting to confront about the cheating, she claims “she left me”. That’s what she tells everyone at least.
Now we move onto the hard part of the case. I started to gear up knowing just how vile the mother of my ex was, and being a professional alienator. I start preparing myself for how to protect myself against false allegations, lies, etc. I started sending checks to her mothers house weekly, and sent weekly texts, inquiring how both she and our child was doing. Never heard back from anyone but her mother with black mail, threats, and of course lies. Her mother eventually sent a blackmail letter to my parents saying (paraphrased) “if you throw your son under the bus in court, we think you’re good people and see no reason you shouldn’t have access to your grandchild. If you don’t comply with our demands, you won’t see this child”. My parents simply sent it to my attorneys and the family made damn sure they kept their end of the bargain, too this date, they have never given me or my extended family any extra time for most people to properly meet my son. Just to back track for a second, we’re still in week 20 of the pregnancy at this part of the story.
Then week 20 of the pregnancy hits. A while back we had discussed when the appointment was. Before I had caught her cheating etc. I showed up to the appointment, but not empty handed of course. I had my recording devices on at all times, video/audio for proof of location, and anything that did or did not transpire. Which later this ends up being a hilarious story piece. I get there, and you could tell they were scripted on how to act if I showed up. I was confronted by a manager at the OBGYN and was told I was requested to leave by patient. I gracefully accepted the answer, and left with disappointment anyone would behave this way, let alone a full grown woman at the age of 50.
Eventually we skip the middle here, and my son was born. I had my P.I.s try to get in front of it, but sometimes you just can’t beat sociopaths. I found out only about 2.5 months later that my son had been born. Of course against my best efforts I desperately wanted to be there for my son. But never had the opportunity. That amongst many other precious moments have been robbed from both my son and I for the rest of our lives. Eventually we subpoena her and her family to show up for court, and get ex parte motion etc. We’re met every day with sticky notes on their doors reading “we don’t open the door for strangers”. We’re continually met with some of the most freakish and bizarre behavior you could imagine. Cell phones and fingers sticking out around doors in attempt to record, etc. Then we finally get our court date at long last.
Now I’m met with mountains of false allegations, slander, defamation, the list goes on for miles. One of the days in question, which they thought I was ill prepared was at the OBGYN (told you this was important). I was told on that day in question, I came in yelling and screaming, I made a huge scene, police were called, and I was eventually thrown out. When they were confronted about a police report, they said they didn’t want to do one. This was obviously to hide the fact it never happened, and couldn’t prove a paper trail here anyways. So, I happily chimed in and said, I hope your client realizes perjury is very serious, as I have a recording of that day in question, and I couldn’t have been more kind, quiet and cordial to all who was there. I even left when asked. Well, that conversation was stopped pretty abruptly as you could imagine, they wanted that to go away quickly. The false allegations by the handful start to get shut down, and I feel it mostly fell on deaf ears. Despite constantly disproving these lies, perjury of course is never brought up, and she just gets to keep driving as much animosity as possible.
I’m regularly met with cussing in front of my child, belittlement, told I’m shit, and this awful thing to him. Despite the fact, I’m clearly a great father. The courts eventually awarded me a whopping 30 minutes of parenting time for my 3 month old son. I couldn’t imagine how 30 minutes could possibly be enough bonding time for a child at any age… Mother also admittedly tried to create nap times around my days and times, as to be a deterrent to me actually spending time with my son. Mother consistently admits “I will never co-parent” “You’ll have to make me co-parent”, “talking about the weather is inappropriate” “I will never talk to you”. It goes on and on and on, but you get the idea.
One thing to note, that I strongly disagree with here. I’m going to side step for a moment and just touch on how to gather evidence, because moving forward this becomes a powerful tool they use to paint me as a monster to all who will listen to their stories, and to my son. When I show up at their house to do the exchange, I’m met with 3 house cameras, all facing the exact same spot on the door. One’s inside the house, 5 feet away from the door, so all can clearly see it, another is about 20 feet to the right. This is where my biggest problem is, the one camera that goes everywhere with her is her cell phone. This one she will literally tie around her fore-arm, clip to her chest, anything to aggressively assert she “must” have this to protect herself. Which mind you she only started recording because I did. The difference was that I record strictly audio from my pocket, as a way for no one to know if I’m recording, it also makes sure my son stays out of the conflict. I sacrificed a lot of evidence and quality to make sure I always put my son first. Sometimes my audio recordings come up with nothing because of this concept, other times I get a jackpot. One for instance was that in an email, when we went to a doctor’s office. I sat next to my son of course, in his time of need at the urgent care. She meets me with “don’t sit next to me” “go across the room”. I kindly refuse, and inform her to keep our child out of this. She relocates both him and herself across the room, as he yells for his daddy. Which was pointless because we were called in shortly after, but hey, anything to use my son as a weapon and hurt us both right? I confronted her in an email about it, as to keep my son out of it. I of course had audio recording in my pocket, and snapped a quick pic to verify the timelines of the event to match my recording with time stamps. She avidly denied ever doing those things of course, which is hilarious, because I informed her I had the recording. They are pathological liars, it’s quite sad.
She’s given my son second degree burns, and tried major medical cover ups, on many occasions, despite constantly being caught red handed, no one does anything. These people are a danger both physically and mentally to my sons health. Every brainwashing tactic in the book has been done. Her shaking her head no when my son called me daddy, which was his first word. A man who had 30 minutes of time, got his childs first word to be daddy, you have to stop and think about that for a minute. They mostly just put a tablet or tv on and let him sit. My ex has been proven to not really be the “mother” as far as the evidence shows, it appears the grandmother is the one who spends all the time with my son. Despite the fact I’m clearly able to spend more time with my child than either of them combined, the courts still don’t allow the father to step up, or step in. I’ve burned hundreds of thousands of dollars in only a few years, and have hundreds of insane stories to tell.
Despite how hard it is to see your child suffer so brutally. I could only imagine what his life would be like if I had stepped out like the courts wanted. The first two greetings by the FoC when you call is “how to throw father in jail” and “how to take time away from the father”. Yes it targets fathers only, and specifically, and that’s the literal translation to what they say. “If fathers name begins with a-I, press blank”. I’ve been told by personnel in that courthouse how fathers are unimportant too. 2 female judges, 95% female staff, excluding 1 employee and the guards.
You have only one job, to love your child unconditionally, always put your child first, and never stop protecting yourself in the smartest ways possible that keep your child out. After all your child needs you, protecting yourself, is protecting them. Never talk about your case around your child, it’s about earshot, not if you see their body or not. Remember, your child needs and loves you, it’s your job to help them beat the brain washing, and alienation, and you pray that they beat it with your guidance one day. This will be the toughest thing you ever do, but we can continue to change the system by working hard at it and never backing down. I now have 8 over nights a month. I know it’s not 50/50, but in that court house it’s a miracle. It took years, and lots of positioning. But my son will get me 50% of the time or more one day.