One Man’s Story on how he got custody

father cycling with sons in trailer

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A recent Reddit story caught my eye, so I thought I would share what this dad did to gain custody. While there are times where even this would not be enough, i hope that it serves as encouragement to those fighting as well as to provide guidance to things you can do to put yourself in a better position to obtain custody (courses/book at end):

I understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and they have their own reasons for losing custody of their children. I’ll briefly share my own experience. During a difficult period in my life, the day after my grandfather, who was my best friend and role model, passed away, my ex-wife provoked a fight with me. She wanted to push me to the point of physically hurting her, so she could call the police, have me arrested, and take away my child. Fortunately, I didn’t abuse or harm her as she hoped. It escalated to some pushing and shoving, but the responding officer saw a different story and didn’t arrest me. Instead, he advised me to leave for the night. Two days later, my ex-wife obtained an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) from the courthouse without any evidence of abuse. This turned my life upside down and gave her complete control over our child.

We had a 1.5-year-old son whom I loved dearly. My ex-wife knew how much he meant to me, and she used him as a way to hurt me. Although our relationship was rocky, and we argued frequently, physical altercations were rare. We had been together for seven years and married for five. When she obtained the EPO, she took our son to her parents’ house while I was at work. That night, the police informed me that I couldn’t have any contact with her or my son until the court date. I had hoped that this situation would be resolved quickly, and my son would be removed from the EPO since I posed no threat to him. Unfortunately, the legal system was overwhelmed due to COVID-19, resulting in court dates being weeks or months apart.

For eight months, I was only granted limited parenting time of 8 hours per week, which felt unfair considering I had no charges or criminal record. I believed I should have equal say and custody of my child. I spent the next 10 months fighting to see my son again and disprove the false accusations made against me. I had to prove my innocence in court, even though I was the one who was guilty until proven innocent.

After the EPO was dropped two months later, I thought I would finally be able to see my son and have equal rights as a parent. However, the following months involved exchanging affidavits and expensive lawyers to prove my fitness as a parent. We eventually chose a legal mediation/arbitration route, submitting all our documentation to an arbitrator/mediator for a decision.

Now, I understand you’re interested in how I won shared custody despite my ex-wife’s efforts to limit my parenting time. I had to prove that I was an involved parent since day one and would continue to be. Despite her accusations of abuse, I had to show that I had “changed” and would never repeat any past mistakes, if the judge believed even an ounce of her bs!

The first step was to challenge the EPO by proving her lies. I gathered evidence such as screenshots of her social media posts, where she expressed love and admiration for me. I collected text messages, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook conversations that showed her affection towards me and my involvement as a parent. I also documented the negative exchanges we had, where she appeared as the aggressor. Additionally, I obtained screenshots of conversations between her and my sister and close friends, where she spoke positively about our marriage and me. I secured the transcript from the day she obtained the EPO, which revealed inappropriate behavior from the judge who mentioned “courts favor women mostly in these kind of situations”, so quickly granted the EPO without proper evidence.

We ended up taking our child custody battle out of the court system and went through a legal Mediation/Arbitration route where we submitted all of our documentation to arbitrator/mediator, who overlooked our case and made the ultimate decision.

So now I know you’d like for me to actually get to the point of how I actually won shared custody despite all her efforts to not increase any of my parenting time after all those months. I essentially had to prove that I was a fit parent, who was actively involved in my child’s life since day one and will continue to be involved in my child’s life. Even despite her accusation of me abusing her for years and her claiming that I was abusing my son. I made it so that even if the arbitrator had some belief in her ridiculous accusations of abuse, that I was now a changed man and that any claims that were against me in the past can be put aside and that I would not ever do that ever again.

I looked through our text message exchanges and WhatsApp and IG chat and FB posts as to where she was showing me love and affection and saying kind things to me, and also showing that I was an active parent as well. I also noted all the bad text exchanges we had where she would look like the aggressor and abusive/manipulative one in the relationship. I then got screenshots of conversations between her and my sister and some of our close friends where she’s stating how happy she is with me and how she believes our marriage is amazing and loves me so much etc.. I got a copy of the police report of our incident and that also provided some vital information as well. When the officer asked if I’ve abused and kicked her or choked her or sexually assaulted her ever, she stated “no”. This was all helpful in the trail. In my affidavit I gave some background input on my profession and how our family dynamic worked as to childcare and how she had a tendency to act impulsively and use our son as a pawn to manipulate me and get things the way she wanted too. Matter of fact during our altercation by brother came upstairs from the basement and I immediately told him to start recording, the video showed that I was pulling our son away and that she was in fact the aggressor.

In court, I presented all this evidence along with character witnesses, including family members, friends, and colleagues, who could vouch for my parenting abilities and good character. I also enrolled in anger management classes and therapy to demonstrate my commitment to personal growth and addressing any underlying issues that may have contributed to past conflicts.

Furthermore, I hired a skilled and experienced family law attorney who guided me through the legal process, advised me on the best course of action, and helped present my case in the most compelling manner. My attorney helped me navigate the complexities of family law, ensuring that my rights as a parent were protected and that the court recognized the importance of maintaining a strong and loving relationship between a father and his child.

During the mediation/arbitration process, I continued to provide evidence of my involvement in my child’s life. I documented every interaction, phone call, visit, and activity we shared. The consistent presence I made and every effort to be an active and engaged parent, and highlighted this in my affidavit with evidence of the important events, doctor’s appointments, and extracurricular activities. I also kept records of financial support and contributions I made towards my child’s well-being.

It would be a good idea for all men to enroll in anger management courses and personal development courses online and bring those certificates to court, saying, “Hey look, I’ve changed.” I started to continue with my routine counseling sessions, documenting every single date and time attended. I began seeking free online courses in personal development, parenting, effective communication with my ex, communication with children, and anger management. I learned a lot about Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) in children and how my actions and words can impact a child’s development. These are all courses you SHOULD enroll in to better understand your kid and look like a rockstar in front of the judge, I have attached a document showcasing the online and local courses I have completed. In total, I have completed dozens of certificates in personal development, brain development and behavior therapy. I have even earned diplomas in cognitive behavior therapy through online universities. All of this was done to prove that I am a fit enough father to raise my child, despite the ridiculous allegations my ex continues to make.

Even with the limited time I had with my son (8 hours per week for a total of 8 months), I made the most of it by enrolling him in programs that coincided with my parenting time. I registered him for swimming lessons, library programs, and attended several parent-child classes through free social support programs in the city. Additionally, I took my child to doctors’ appointments for check-ups, even though my ex was already taking him for routine check-ups based on his age. However, my ex started canceling the appointments I made when the clinic called her number to confirm the appointment time. I documented this behavior in my affidavit when requesting shared custody of my child.

I also secretly recorded every interaction between us during pick-up and drop-offs using my phone. Numerous times, my ex would act hostile and yell at me. There were instances when my son would cry and refuse to leave my arms, screaming and crying when I had to hand him over. This deeply affected me, leaving my heart feeling dark and cold. However, I always remained composed, never raising my voice or saying anything absurd that she could use against me. Rule number one for all men going through a difficult divorce like I did: keep your cool at all times. The last thing you need is to defend yourself over something as trivial as pressing the doorbell too hard and breaking it.

Despite the limited time I had with my son, I started a calendar to record every single thing we did together during my time with him. This included diaper changes, meals, activities, and any observations I made while caring for him, such as behavior changes and tantrums. I also made note of every bruise and scratch on him, as he developed severe eczema after moving to his mother’s place. I was genuinely scared and fearful for his safety, as well as concerned about the lack of attention he was receiving. Consequently, I called Child Protective Services to conduct a wellness check on him and the living conditions he was in. Although nothing came of that wellness check, it did scare her and her family, leading them to take better care of my son. No more bruises or major scratches were noted afterward.

I kept all the receipts for items I purchased for my son, including toys, clothing, and activities I enrolled him in. Not only did I complete the courses mentioned earlier, but I also showed that I have been an active parent in my child’s life since day one. I presented evidence such as old texts, pictures, appointments, and courses I participated in with my son. This included pictures of us at the park, me cutting his nails, or taking him for haircuts. I literally showcased everything in the affidavit to prove that I was indeed a more active parent in our son’s life than she was. I retrieved old text message exchanges between me and my ex, discussing vacations, appointments, and even asking about the status of baby formula at home. I also obtained screenshots of text messages between myself and coworkers, requesting shift changes to attend my son’s doctor’s appointments or seeking help with childcare. Any evidence that demonstrates your past commitment to your child and outlines your future plans to care for them will be crucial during the trial. When writing my affidavit, I wrote about our rocky relationship and how my ex would use my son as a pawn in ways to get things the way she wanted. I highlighted her narcissistic behavior without actually using that word. I highlighted the times she was abusive towards me, by almost pinpointing it to the exact date/time and reason she did it. I lucky took pictures of bruises and scratches I received during these altercations and highlighted every single one during my affidavit.

Ultimately, the arbitrator/mediator recognized the evidence presented and the positive changes I had made in my life. They concluded that it was in the best interest of the child to have both parents actively involved in their upbringing. The decision granted me shared custody and equal parenting time, ensuring that my child would benefit from a meaningful relationship with both parents.

It was a long and challenging journey, both emotionally and financially. It required perseverance, patience, and a strong support system. But with determination and the right legal representation, I was able to overcome the obstacles and secure a fair outcome for myself and my child.

I share my story not as legal advice, but as an example of how one person navigated the process of regaining custody rights. Each situation is unique, and it’s crucial to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on the specific circumstances.

If you find yourself facing a similar situation, I encourage you to seek legal advice and support, gather evidence of your involvement as a parent, and focus on demonstrating your commitment to your child’s well-being. Remember that the court’s primary concern is the best interest of the child, and by consistently showing your love, dedication, and positive changes, you increase your chances of obtaining a fair custody arrangement.

Please note that laws and procedures may vary depending on your jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult with a local attorney who specializes in family law for accurate and up-to-date information.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey, and I hope that my story can provide some encouragement and guidance. God bless and stay strong kings!

Courses Completed:


Anger Management Institute LLC, West Midland Violence Prevention Associations, Guelph/Wellington University, University of Oxford, in partnership with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, Families Matter Alberta, Family Resource Networks Alberta, Alison College, Families Center Calgary, CUPS Calgary,

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Responding to Your Child’s Meltdowns AM for Parents of Children 2-6 Years

When your child is having a meltdown, (in any way) are you “co-escalating or co-regulating”?   In this parent tip time, we will explore ways to support a child (and parent) through their intense emotions. This class supports parents of children ages 2 – 6.

Circle of Security for Dads

Program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children in a father-specific environment. Decades of university-based research have confirmed that secure children exhibit increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure.

Be A Great Dad

The program focuses on building your confidence by offering you a chance to learn and try out effective strategies for communication, positive discipline, role-modeling as well as fostering self-esteem. The program will help you put the limited time you do have to good use, creating positive experiences for you and your child

Parenting After Separation for Families in High Conflict

Parenting After Separation for Families in High Conflict

Anger Management Class

Introduction to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Early Trauma

Learning about negative, stressful, traumatizing events that occur before the age of 18 and confer health risk across the lifespan.

Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE’s)

To better understand the development of my son, and the impact family conflicts would have on his development.

Adverse Childhood and Experiences & Resilience Module

To better understand the development of my son, and the impact family conflicts would have on his development

Adverse Childhood and Experiences & Resilience-Specialized(reduce stress a science reformed approach)

To better understand the development of my son, and the impact family conflicts would have on his development

The Brain Story Certification

Working to share knowledge about the science of brain development of children in families that live in high stress environments. This is important information for myself to understand how our earliest experiences can affect our long-term mental and physical health.

How to Talk so Little Kids will listen

Understanding different stages of development and key communication methods needed

The Triple P Online course for learning new parenting skills and co-parenting

How to Talk so Little Kids will listen

Understanding different stages of development and the different approach to each stage. How to communicate with your partner when you’re not on the same page regarding children

The Principles of Personal Development

Focusing on development of self and achieving personal goals/satisfaction in life

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Diploma

Learned fundamental conceptual and intervention skills that are applicable to myself with a wide variety of problems including depression and anxiety, as well as other problems that come along in co parenting and relationships. Specialization for Anxiety, had an opportunity to explore the basic theory of anxiety from a CBT perspective, learned how to distinguish between the various anxiety disorders, and develop specific techniques applicable to each of them.

Anger Management and Conflict Resolution

Learning to cope with your anger as well as responding to high conflict situations

Dealing With Difficult People

Learning to manage and control conflict and resolution strategies at work/home

Having The Conversation

Effective communication. Knowing how to express yourself verbally and non-verbally is important when dealing with conflicts. Listening, meditation, assertiveness etc..

Conflict Resolution-Building The Essential Skills

Learning how to approach difficult conversations and appropriate response techniques

Conflict Resolution-It Starts With You

Ways we can manage and control our actions, thoughts and emotions in conflict. Do’s and don’ts of communication

Super Dad’s Intro Session

Child development Communication with kids

Understanding Emotions in your child

ACEs and Resiliency

Physical health & many more

Caring Dad’s

Caring Dads is designed for fathers who want to change behaviors that can lead to violence or are at risk of exposing their children to abusive or neglectful behaviors. Fathers participating in the program will learn strategies to cope with frustrations, develop realistic expectations and change their perspective to better understand, and meet the needs of their children. Caring Dads means safer children.

Papa Bears and Kids

Engage in different play experiences and an interactive song/circle time. This is a great opportunity for socialization and community connection. A chance to complete a developmental screening for your child is also available

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