I am in need of advice/support on my custody issue. A little history, I was with my husband for less than 2 yrs after we married, but lived with him for 2.5 yrs before that. We have one daughter who is now 7 1/2. I left my husband in Oct 2002 because he had become mentally and emotionally abusive, and he was unfaithful; he then became physically abusive when I said I was leaving. I had 2 protective orders against him( I cancelled the 1st in an effort to reconcile), I moved out of the marital home b/c it wasn't affordable. When I realized I was going to live in a shelter I moved from VA to SC. I did all this to make a better life for my daughter, who was 3 at the time. I didn't want her to grow up and think she should be treated the way her dad was treating me. I moved in Aug 2003, in Mar 2004 he took me to court for custody and won!! I was totally floored. I lived in public housing and had not been able to find a job yet(I found one a week after the hearing). The judge decided she should be with him because he still lived in the home, had his family around, and because I didn't give 30 days notice before moving. I have been fighting every since then. I have been steadily employed, have moved out of public housing, and provided a much better environment for my daughter. At first I thought this next hearing would be fine b/c my ex doesn't let my daughter participate in extra activities, and then boom!!! One week b4 the hearing he put her in ballet class, the hearing was postponed by the court from Sept 24 to Oct 17, then fri Oct 12 I got another postponement letter til Feb 20. My ex is now trying to get her into an afterschool prog. I am glad that she is happy but I know it is just a tactic he's using for court, I have no doubt that it will all stop after the hearing. The problem is now I feel like he will win b/c he is doing these things. He has an extensive criminal background and that is really all I have against him. I cannot live without my daughter, and I certainly cannot let this manipulative criminal raise her. What can I do, I don't have the money for a lawyer, and although I went to Legal Aid they can't come to court with me if he doesn't have a lawyer and I think he knows that. To top it all off I am 7 mths pregnant. I feel guilty that I will be with this baby and not my oldest. I feel like I have no right to be happy in my new relationship. It makes me question my abilities as a mother, which I have never questioned b4. I have lived my life to make the best life for my child and if the court keeps telling me I'm not good enough to raise her, what qualifies me to raise another child???Please help with advice, support, anything, I am really starting to lose it.
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