This fundraiser is for ongoing legal fees in my fight to keep 50/50 custody of my daughter, Karisa.
Divorce is always an ugly thing, even the most cordial cases. Families are essentially ripped apart because two adults cannot coexist. Karisa's mother and I split up in July of 2015 and were divorced by March of 2016. When the final divorce decree was signed, we were getting along and co-parenting for the most part. So we agreed to joint legal custody (50/50.) Since our split in July of 2015, Karisa's mother and I have shared time with her, getting 3.5 days a week with her. Karisa was 3 at the time so she doesn't remember much and adjustment to the changes very well.
Trusting that Karisa'a mother would stay in Leeds or in the Birmingham area near Leeds (where Karisa has attended school her entire life,) I agreed to let Karisa's mother have "primary residence." What that means is- where Karisa's mother lives determines where she will attend school. I soon regretted that decision. I just wanted to end the back and forth, and be divorced.
A month or so before the finalization of our divorce, Karisa's mother started seeing a man who she met online from Madison, AL. There was no problem with that, we were both moving on and I was glad that she was making an effort to be happy again. But some problems started to pop up. I got wind from Karisa that she and her mother were living with this man at his home in Madison, AL on her custodial days. Karisa's mother barely knew him and I didn't know him at all. To this day, I've met the man once for 2 or 3 short minutes. ONCE. There is only so much you can take seriously coming from a 4 years old's mouth, but there are only so many details that a 4 year old can create without there being some truth ties to it. So I started to listen. Long story made short: WE NOW KNOW that Karisa was telling the truth. She has been commuting a total of 4 hours a day with Karisa in the car, from the home in Madison to Karisa's preschool and back again at night on her custodial weekdays. This is an incredibly dangerous and unstable situation for a small child to be in. It breaks my heart because there's nothing we can do until the court makes it's ruling.
In September of 2016, I received a certified letter in the mail, it was a "notice of relocation" from her attorney. The letter stated that Karisa's mother would be marrying this man in November of 2016 (7 months after the finalization of her divorce,) she would be removing Karisa from her preschool in Leeds and enrolling her in another preschool near Madison, and she wanted my time with Karisa cut down to every other weekend. "To ensure the strong bond with the father" I believe was some of the rhetoric used. I absolutely fell to pieces. She wants to strip me of time with Karisa because she was getting married. NOT BECAUSE I'M AN UNFIT FATHER. Because she was getting married. I of course appealed the relocation. But like most domestic cases, the courts sit on their hands for way too long. Another grueling, expensive and emotional draining process had begun.
Parents who see their children every other weekend get 4 days a month, 48 days a year with some holidays mixed in. That's only about 13% of a child's life from birth until high school graduation. No child deserves their father only 13% of the time.
I've had an attorney on retainer from July of 2015, and I'm now out of funds. I'm a very hard working and prideful man who hates asking for help. But I have no other options at this point. I need help. If my time with Karisa goes to every other weekend, it will go from 50% to 13%. She doesn't deserve that and neither do I.
I have to keep fighting to be a father. Anyone who knows me personally or follows me on Facebook knows the special bond that I have with that little girl. I am her hero and she is my princess. If you are unable to contribute financially, please contribute by sharing my story.