custody

‘Nobody dreams of being a single, middle-aged dad swiping on Tinder. When I entered Single Parent Land, half my brain was sobbing. The other half was thinking, ‘I can run free!’

“As a single parent, every decision takes on a new meaning. If I give my child an applesauce pouch made in China, will my ex bring it up in court? But back to the easy stuff. Remember naps? You know, those times when you could sleep in on a weekend without your ex coming in and yelling at you? There’s a silver lining in all this.”

‘I had to leave, I had to be a single dad, to be a better father for my daughter.’: Single dad explains his relationship was ‘vulnerable, beyond repair,’ despite being determined to have a ‘strong co-parenting relationship’

“My girlfriend of 9 months was pregnant. ‘I need to tell you something.’ She slid a card across the table. As soon as I opened it, I saw pink and started tearing up. I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed I was careless. I had always dreamed this moment would be joyous. It was not.”

‘I dropped my 18-month-old daughter off with strangers. She cried and hung onto me. Why was my ex doing this? I hired a private investigator.’: Woman details divorce, custody battle with ex, ‘Even when it doesn’t make sense, keep fighting’

“Panic started to set in. Time went by, and no one showed up. Finally someone answered their phone. My knees buckled. I dropped to the ground. They weren’t coming. They wouldn’t tell me where she was. My daughter cried in the background. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again. He had filed for divorce without my knowledge and was granted full custody. Everything was chaos.”

‘I wasn’t the stereotypical addict on the streets with no teeth, begging for money. I had children. I was functioning. I’d get up, eat, go to the gym. Then, I’d go on a bender for days.’

“I’d do whatever I could to distract myself from the fact that I felt alone. I always wanted to stop, but I didn’t know how. People around me knew, but never said anything. It made me feel like it was okay. I didn’t realize I needed to change until I lost my children. I decided if I couldn’t beat this and see my kids again, I’d kill myself.”

‘I didn’t have a job or a house. My son was put in foster care. I lost everything because of alcohol.’: Father beats addiction after hitting ‘rock bottom,’ celebrates 3 years of sobriety

“I relapsed and spiraled downhill very fast. I stopped going to my drug and alcohol counselor. I started cancelling visits with my son because I was ‘sick’. I felt so hopeless and unworthy as a parent and human being. Then, my case manager showed up and reminded me I was in it for my son. I literally broke down and cried. I told her to leave, and she refused. ‘I will be with you for anything you need.’ She reassured me I had the potential to do this.”

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