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Old 11-25-2007, 08:05 PM
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Default Domestic Abuse By Women

This may bemuse, befuddle or anger some of us, but here's some reality. If you read through it and have a comment, I'd love to hear.


Domestic Abuse by Women
When I was very young, I found that it was amazingly hard to get praise from my mother. Lord knows, I tried. As I got older, I found that none of us in the family seemed to be able to get any positive reactions. Years later, I married an abusive man, divorced, and many years after that found yet another abuser to love. When I finally entered counseling for abuse victims, one of the sterling pieces of information given me by my therapist was “Well, your mother sounds like an abusive narcissist.” That thing that no one had understood or named before was the beginning of my personal answer, but it brought another problem with it – the fact that my father endured all that I did and more. As an abused woman, I had many places to turn for help, but my father was also abused – Where could he go then? If he were still alive, where could he turn even now? The misunderstandings that arise when discussing domestic abuse by women are twofold – the ideas that domestic violence is always physical and that because men are larger and stronger they do not suffer from abuse, and therefore do not require any sort of assistance.

To quote Dr. Sam Vaknin (2007):
“While sexual and physical abuse are slowly coming to the open and being recognized as the scourges that they are – psychological abuse is still largely ignored. It is difficult to draw a line between strict discipline and verbal harassment…The professional community is no less to blame. Emotional and verbal abuse are perceived and analyzed in "relative" terms – not as the absolute evils that they are. Cultural and moral relativism mean that many aberrant and deplorable behaviour patterns are justified based on bogus cultural "sensitivities" and malignant political correctness” (p. 135).

Those who have abused a domestic partner are generally classified with one of several personality disorders – narcissistic, borderline, antisocial or Post-Traumatic Stress Disordered. How does one create such disorders? Part of the answer (tentatively) seems to lie in genetics, but the other part comes from trauma or neglect experienced in childhood or later life experiences, as in military service or serving prison time. One of the hallmarks common to all these disorders is extremely poor emotional regulation and impulsive aggression. (Yu, 2007)
A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 6.8-7.8% of the population suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (with a 2-1 ratio of female to male). Other studies put the occurrence of Borderline Personality Disorder at 2-3 % of the population (with a 3-1 ratio of female to male) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder at 1% (with a 3-1 ratio of male to female). Given a U.S. population of approximately 300 million people, we have a group of about 13 million women afflicted with serious mental/emotional issues. Most will marry and have children. And some will, because of the nature of their affliction, abuse their mates and children.

Abuse does not start as beating or kicking one’s partner and “[e]ven though most verbally abusive relationships do not become violent, a good number do” (Evans, 1996, p. 11). Almost always it begins with words and looks and attitude. In fact, the list of abusive tactics starts with:
. Verbal – yelling, silence, put downs, threats, blaming, criticism and name-calling;
Psychological/emotional – these are controlling behaviors used to manipulate, undermine, and confuse a victim:
Sexual – unwanted touching, sexual jokes, affairs, and rape;
Economic – controlling the money, taking the victim’s whole paycheck, excessive spending, denying basic needs and interfering with the victim’s ability to get or keep a job;
Property – throwing or breaking objects, slamming things, hitting walls or other large objects, disabling the car;
Spiritual – misusing scriptures to get ones way, not allowing a victim to attend church, not allowing God to be a part of life and deriding the theology or salvation of the victim;
Animal – kicking, throwing, hurting, or killing a family pet;
and finally ends with the one we all have learned to recognize:
Physical – blocking, hitting, pushing, slapping, scratching and strangling/choking. (Victims Assistance Services, Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc.,2002, pamphlet)

It is impossible to ever measure the number of verbally abusive relationships, but it is easy to realize that all the behaviors above are done by men to women and by women to men; the only leap of imagination necessary is to change the description of the victimized men – from abused to henpecked - and then you can believe that it’s true. Patricia Evans, in The Verbally Abusive Relationship (1996) explains it thus:
“The effects of verbal abuse are primarily qualitative. That is, they cannot be seen like the effects of physical abuse. There are no physical signs of injury, no bruises, black eyes or broken bones. The intensity of anguish which the victim suffers determines the extent of the injury. The quality of the experience of the victim defines the degree of abuse” (p. 19).

Since the early 1970s, with the beginning of the women’s movement, feminist perspective has dictated that patriarchal social structures are the primary reason for the abuse of women. It has assumed that both verbal and physical abuse are always perpetrated by men and always toward women. Initially, because of the clear horror of the pictures and stories of abused girlfriends and wives, this was simply accepted as revealed truth. Slowly however, questions began to arise – about violence in homosexual couples, about men who reported abuse. The concept that “women usually use violence as a reaction to men's violence against them" was prominent for about 20 years and has been well-accepted (Walker, 1989, p. 652).

Further exploration however, and carefully designed studies that clearly separated the who/what/why of abuse, began to consistently find that men did indeed suffer from abuse and that women did in fact abuse. Stets and Straus (1992) compared couples where the violence pattern was male-severe/female-minor, with those where this pattern was reversed. They found the female-severe/male-minor pattern to be significantly more prevalent. For dating couples, 12.5% reported the female-severe pattern and 4.8% reported the male-severe pattern; 1.2% of cohabiting couples reported the male-severe pattern compared to 6.1% reporting female-severe; 2.4% of married couples reported male-severe and 7.1% reported female-severe.

In fact, studies compiled by the U.S. Department of Health regarding what they designate as “Intimate Partner Violence” find that at least as many women as men self-report starting physical violence without previous emotional or physical violence having been directed at them, and that “5.8 million incidents of IPV occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older and 3.2 million occur among men.” Further, “[i]n the United States every year, about 1.5 million women and more than 800,000 men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. This translates into about 47 IPV assaults per 1,000 women and 32 assaults per 1,000 men” (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006, ¶¶ 3,4).

Female abusers seem to fit into one of three categories: dominant aggressors (much like male abusers), women who fight back in self defense but who are primarily victims, and women who are in mutually aggressive relationships. The data from a recent meta-analysis indicates “Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases” (Whitaker, 2007, p. 942).

And why should any adult actually submit to such abusive behavior, whether verbal or physical, in the first place? Simple unsophistication is an answer, but there is also the victim’s childhood experience to be reckoned with. Common to both male and female abusers are their histories, which lead them to expect that “they will not be cared for, that they will be taken advantage of, and that they have learned to expect that they are not worthy of being treated otherwise” (Egeland and Farber, 1984, p.756). It has been clearly understood (Jack and Dutton, 1995) that early exposure to regular abuse and/or neglect of any sort creates one of two usual personalities. The first variety will become a mirror of the abusive parent and repeat the behavior in his or her adulthood. The second variety becomes withdrawn, submissive and of “low affect” and low expectations. These children exhibit what is called “learned helplessness” and compliant personalities, with poor emotional boundaries – perfect victims (Golumb, 1992).

What help is there? It’s only been a few years since the concept of abused men has begun to gain any traction at all. Even now very few men will voluntarily report abuse. According to Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE), there are currently no more than 5-10 shelters in the entire U.S. for men.
“Not only do you have no place to go, if you're a man, you also have no one?to talk to. I would call DV hotlines and they would ridicule me, telling me that I was the only MAN ever to call them claiming that a woman had been?abusive. Also, when I finally got my ex to go to counseling, the counselor excused her from taking any responsibility for her abuse, telling her that our marriage was causing her to hit me. I would walk in to the session with bandages on my wounds and he would console HER as if she were the victim. Really sick, if you ask me. When I went to the court for protection, the judge told me to get out of his court, in spite of the fact that I had numerous police reports and ER documentation to back me up” (Anonymous, 2005, p. #4).

So we can come to a simple conclusion – large numbers of emotionally disturbed parents exist, who will produce emotionally disturbed children who will become emotionally disturbed parents who will . . . the cycle doesn’t end. It operates for girls and for boys, for men and for women. Women can verbally assault, they can economically abuse, they can stalk, they can have affairs and they can hit. And they do. Why do men stay? Their reasons are fundamentally the same as those abused women cite – it’s economically difficult, they don’t like to leave their children behind with an adult who is abusive, they are embarrassed and ashamed, and they especially fear the ridicule of the world at large.

When society at large begins to understand that abusers and victims can each come in either sex, there will be hope of actually getting help for female abusers and for male victims. Without that help there can be little improvement in their families, or in the lives of the children who live in them. If that understanding does not come, then they will continue to perpetuate the emotional and physical violence they have learned.
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Last edited by nimuay; 11-25-2007 at 08:08 PM..
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2007, 10:51 AM
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Great post and very informative!

There is no question that women are just as likely to abuse their partners AND their children as men are. I have seen it too many times to deny it.

The only difference I have seen is that women tend to use their "feelings" as an excuse for throwing things, slapping and slamming doors. That they are somehow more entitled to use physical/emotional violence BECAUSE they are physically weaker. Remarks like: "yeah I had pms" or "well I'm pregnant and my hormones are running like crazy" or simply "I'm a woman! This is how women are!" are common excuses. It's disgusting and no one should laugh it off like it's nothing. It's time that women recognize their oftentimes subtle part of condoning and/or performing domestic violence.

I once believed that women couldn't abuse because men are physically stronger and therefore the physical threat wasn't there. The fact is that narcissistic people (and the entitlement that goes with being that way) WILL find a way to abuse their partner/child with any means available no matter what gender they are. Everyone needs to speak up about it and make sure men don't have to be ashamed if they're being abused.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:21 PM
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This is great! So much needed info. I have said this before , my mother was an abuser and had been abused.. I had a childhood friend who married and very kind, sensitive and caring man. She beat the crap out of him and dominated him all the time. I was sickend ,everytime I went over and had to stop. She ended up in prison about 4 times, last I heard she was back again, had a girlfriend there. The husband had a heart attack and cont. to raise the 3 kids alone.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:06 PM
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my role changes depending on th eman and the circumstaces i came from a home with a abusive parent my father would beat the hell out of my mother sympathizing with mama (big Baby) what i affectionatly call her i vowed not to be like her. she never received help later turned to alcohol/illicit drugs she was verbally abusive and at times physically abusive i would run away from home all the time and go to live at some boys mom house or adult male in his own place only to feel more unwanted and unaccepted and used i was very naive and vulnerable i have been in (2) physically abusive relationships and (2) verbally abusive relationships in the violent relationships i retaliated i always wanted to be like my father he appeared to be the stronger one in the relationship in actuality big baby is she is a survivor

sharing my story is therapeutic for me i was always putting myself in unhealty relationships in search for toxic love there was comfort in familiar pain then i met mr dallas williams he loved the walls around my heart down he melted the ice behind the walls with his warmness and loving nature. i actually trust him to hold my heart and not to break who said he wasnt the gift i couldnt have i had to earn when i count my blessings i count him twice...

thank you for allowing me to address this topic its sensitive matter its love tured into obssession and the fear of not getting what i feel i deserve or receiving something that i dont deserve god is all knowing and all powerful i am not
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:02 PM
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Oh yes women can abuse!

I spent 10 years wasting my life on her while the abuse crept up on me and even at the end with my face bruised and lip split and the police on my doorstep she still had the nerve to blame the break-up on me.

I too am a woman - it happens everywhere.

I offered her my life and she very nearly took it.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:10 PM
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Wow! I've been thinking about this a lot lately and it's funny that I came upon this thread. I was raised by and abusive and emotionally disturbed/ unavailable mother. My dad died when I was 12 so, even though he didn't do anything to protect me, he was a buffer and did what he could to make me feel better afterward. But I grew up thinking I couldn't do anything right and I know that has a lot to do with the problems in my relationship. I'm a victim of dv and I know it's not all his fault even though everyone says that it's not mine. I know it's not all mine, he grew up being emotionally abused by his mother and was sexually abused for over a year by a boyscout leader. That's one of the things that brought us together was that he also felt he couldn't do anything right. That's also what tore us apart. We were mutually abusive to the point that I found myself name calling and taking out my anger and frustration over the relationship on him and the kids. I can't say I'm proud of the way I acted and now that I'm out of the situation I can see the forest for the trees. I'm hoping to find some sort of dv group for women...not a support group, already in that...an anger management group. I know the whole reason I called the cops on him wasn't because he was hitting me but because I was afraid that he would leave and was trying to control the situation and now it's just a mess. The whole family has been torn apart. I know it was both our faults. He's even saying that I hit him first. I don't remember much of what started the argument, we'd both had a few to drink. He's probably right. I probably got so frustrated with him that I slapped him just like he says I did. That doesn't excuse him beating me up but that doesn't excuse me either. I know I need to get help and am now on anti-depressents, going to individual therapy and group therapy. My kids are in counseling too. I don't want them growing up this way. I have already raised two kids who are self-sufficient and doing well, but that was with a different man and we gave them a stable environment. So I know it can be done.

Thanks for this thread...it really opened my eyes and my mind.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:39 PM
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Good going! It's not easy to admit that you have the problem. My mother never could (she's the one who started me on the thoughts that led to that paper),but blamed anyone and everyone else. It is a devastating kind of parenting, so the more chances you get to re-program your behavior away from fear and anger the better you can be for both yourself and the kids.
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:41 PM
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Good Luck
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:35 PM
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yeah good thread I hadnt realized until rrecently that my mom was abusive towards me she never told me that I was a good person until the other day I thought she hated me well I knew there was love there somewhere but wow reading your thread opened my eyes on how not to treat people also I have post traumatic stress disorder and Ive been in counseling for awhile and just this year I have been aware of my wrongs it does take alot to admit your own mistakes and try to move forward i was abused in my first relationship then I ended up beating him up. And my anger got worse and I didnt deal with it for along time . But thank you for the reminder on being aware of how to not treat people thank you.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:07 PM
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It is discouraging to read all the different stories about abuse. It always seemed a world away from me/ my son that made some mistakes spent time in prison for crimes he was guilty of and we have no complaints about that: sorry it happened but he would be dead if they hadn’t captured him when they did. He came home with a different attitude and the desire to get his life back on track. He was working 2 jobs and going to college. His girlfriend started running with her sister who is a drug runner and a user. He told her he couldn’t be involved with that or around anyone that was. So they split and he quit paying the rent and canceled the car insurance. She told him they needed to talk and he got in the car with him and she proceeded to beat the tar out of him. She went to the police and told them she was afraid of him. The cops photographed his bit marks and the claw marks but the she wouldn’t allow any pictures because she told them he didn’t hit her. But the country attorney charged him. She handed him a list of charges and said pick 3 and plead guilty or I will trigger the PFO L(Persistent felony offender) and any conviction carries a 20 year penalty. The county attorney is still whispering in the parole boards ear and he is still in prison 4 ½ years: Over 50% of the time sentenced. In Montana you are eligible in 25% of your sentence. You can imagine what I tell people when they call and want a donation for agency’s that support domestic violence against women. In fact it is against the law for a government agency to pick and choose who they help. Domestic violence is domestic violence no matter who the victim is. The women in charge should be ashamed of themselves.

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:20 AM
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How does the man prove to the court he's the victim when she says she is, but he has the claw marks and bruises? It seems the men are automatically charged even if the woman cries wolf, I just don't understand how they have a chance, do you?
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:57 AM
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It's pretty tough . . . generally, I suspect that it will hinge on the testimony of the kids in the house. Occasionally, it will be friends. It's definitely tough.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:23 PM
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I know someone this is happening to and nobody ever sees it, but I've heard it over the phone. He has gave up everything for this woman including his friends. Of course this never happens in front of anyone and they have a six month old baby together. I did take pictures of the claw marks and bruises, but that's all there is. She threatens to take the baby away and that's why he stays. She says he has no rights, he is the father and his name is on the BC but they are not married. Do you know if that's true?
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:55 PM
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Of course he has rights!
He's the father both biologically and in the eyes of the law.
She's crazy and cruel to say otherwise and he should slip out for a consultation with an attorney who specializes in custody matters.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:41 PM
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He definitely has full parental rights. The lawyer is totally a necessity. Meanwhile, he can ask her sometime if they can video a few nights, and hope to get one of these fights on there, just so they can review it and see how to fix the situation next time. Then give the tape to the lawyer

There will, of course, be questions about why you would be on the phone with him and why you were the one taking pics. You'll have to have a good reason.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:54 PM
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Well I really hate to say it, but it's my youngest son. He just turned 21 and she is 20. She says she was abused growing up by her father and never wants that to happen to her child. She called me in hysterics saying my son wouldn't give her "my baby", she says it's not his in the eyes of the law and she has full custody. She told me he is a mother f.....r and he picked me up and threw me down the stairs, if he doesn't give her to me I'm calling the cops. He never touched her and admitted it the next day, yet he had claw marks all down his back, arms and a bruise where she punched him. So I went over there but she had already taken the baby and left, I took pictures. He was only trying to feed the baby before she took her and she didn't want to wait, got upset and she got out of control. This isn't the first time she's done this to him and there's many other things she's done and continues to do. This is his first real relationship and she treats him awful! I can't get through to him.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:09 PM
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She's uninformed and also in deep need of counseling. Any programs around that can do sliding scale fees? She needs it badly. Obviously she is reliving her own abuse, deflecting it onto your son and their daughter. I'm sure it's not conscious, but the parallels are psychically sufficiently close.

Regardless, she needs to understand that such behavior with a baby around is horridly scarring. Tell her of my son. We left his father when he was 9 months old, but there had been a lot of hitting and yelling and name-calling by then. When he was 10 (cutting a lot here to make a long story short) we had a conversation that ended up with the revelation that he associated his father David with 'angry colors flying around the room'. It truly has scarred his entire life; he is 39 now, and is an angry man, frightened, insecure and emotionally blocked. Most of it has to do with that ugly start.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:18 PM
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Thank you so much nimauy! My son is so afraid to leave her with the baby because she has such a mood change from one minute to the next. She is not abusive to the baby but this does go on in front of her and it is a concern of my son and mine. I don't think she will take any advice from me. She was on medication and she did great but is now refusing to take it. I think my son may be the only one to convince her, he is trying. She told him she was insecure and getting married would be the one thing that would make her change! I totally disagree! I don't want him to take this chance and they have been engaged for about a year now.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:43 PM
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I'm still trying to figure out how she figures he's got no legal rights regarding his daughter. I'm truly sorry that this is gong on in your family, it must be so, so wrenching for you and she absolutely MUST come to grips with the fact that she IS abusing the baby. Surely she remembers that awful knot in her gut when similar things were happening in her childhood home?
Your son needs to consult a lawyer and get her assaultive behavior and threats about the baby into some sort of record even if he won't call the cops. It will be helpful later to have the record of a consultation and those pictures you took.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:44 PM
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Marriage is a terrible substitute for medication!

What was she taking? She sounds either BPD or Bipolar.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:16 PM
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They had her on cymbalta after she had the baby, she had severe PP depression and then became very moody and hateful. She had a reaction because she drank alcohol with it and of course blames the medication so she quit taking it. She was a different person when she took it the way it was prescribed. My son says she is bi-polar, but I think that's just my son's opinion. As far as the rights of my son being the father, she told me that when he signed the BC he was told he had no rights to the baby and she had full custody since they were not married. I have never heard of such a thing! I told her that but she insists and says it's the truth. All I knew to tell my son was to get a paternity test done, but that cost a lot of money that he doesn't have. So I don't know!
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:24 PM
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His name is on the birth certificate, he's got legal rights, married or not and if she wants to contest that fact SHE can demand a paternity test.
His name on the birth certificate means SHE would have to prove he NOT the father, not that he must prove he is.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:27 PM
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That is such a relief to hear Lebeau! I knew there was something not right about this. I can't wait to tell my son this! Thank you so much!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:14 AM
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The only way he'd need to prove paternity in order to assert his parental rights is if his name were NOT on the birth certificate- That's a very serious legal document and his name and signature are legal proof of paternity until and unless (after a lot of paperwork and lab costs) a court order is issued to amend that fact....and they've been living together as if married, which really weakens any claim she might make that she's had "sole custody" since birth- You can't really claim you've bourne sole responsibility when the other parent has, quite demonstrably (sp?), been sharing very much in both financial support and day to day caregiving.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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He has supported her and the baby since she had the baby and took pregnancy leave from her job. He got an apartment, paid all the bills including her personal bills she had before they moved in together. I knew in the back of my head she was full of it, I just didn't understand the crap she was saying about the Birth Certificate. Now I just need to get my son alone for five minutes so I can talk to him. Thanks Lebeau!
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