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Q: I’m an unmarried mother of a 20 month old and his father is very emotionally/mentally/verbally abusive towards me. He doesn’t hit me but threatens to. Recently he drank half a bottle of brandy by himself and threatened to kill me. Any time I disagree with him on something he threatens to take my son from me. He says I have nothing and no one and he would get the baby. He’s 27 with no job, no high school diploma and an expunged record. He has awful anger issues and explodes over the smallest things. I’m 23 and do everything for our son. Buy his food, his diapers, his wipes, change him, feed him, I basically do everything. I have a part time job that I only work twice a week because my son’s dad won’t let me find anyone to watch him so I can work more hours. Can he take my son from me under these circumstances and does verbal/emotional/mental abuse even matter to a judge? Also, because we’re not married and have no custody order, would he be able to take the baby without my consent?
A: First, you should begin audio and video-taping him. Capturing his threats & verbal abuse would be good evidence in court. Second, if he drinks to the point of intoxication, you should get a video of him in his drunken stupor. Third, you don’t have to put up with domestic violence. Put in writing to him that you feel he’s been abusive & cite specific instances. State to him the abuse must end or you must separate yourself from the situation, if he threatens you again, it’s best to leave & go to a domestic violence shelter. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.