Bridgette said Ralph did not show any interest in their baby during the first seven months of her pregnancy.
Bridgette: I know this was not something either of us wanted at this point in our lives. We are both college students, but I didn’t get pregnant by myself and he is the one who insisted we not use protection. Once I realized that he was not planning to step up to the plate I left him alone. You can look at my phone or any of my social media. You will not see me doing anything to reach out to him. I got a baby to raise. I don’t have time to raise a grown man or to force a grown man to be a father. As far as I am concerned, that was his parents’ job. I had assumed up until the very end of my pregnancy that he was not going to be in my child’s life.
Her lawyer asked her if something happened to change that assumption.
Bridgette: Yes. That is why I am here filing for sole custody and a restraining order, to make sure he never comes near me or my son again. About two weeks before my son was born, he pops up at my house. Totally out of blue. I open the door and he is standing there with a stupid look on his face. The only thing he said was, “What’s up momma?” My first instinct was to slam the door in his face. But I didn’t. I asked him what he wanted. He said he knew the baby would be arriving soon, and he wanted to drop of some baby gifts from his family. Someone in my family had posted pictures from my baby shower on social media, and he had seen them. I decided, for the best of my child, that I would not act ugly. I just said thank you and turned to go back inside. He said he was sorry for not being there, said he wanted put the past behind us, and asked me what he could do in moving forward. I told him he should ask his dad what he needed to do to be a father. I closed the door and went inside.
Bridgette said later that night she started feeling guilty about how she acted. She said she sent a message to him through a mutual friend that she would let him know when the baby arrived.
Bridgette: I didn’t want him in the labor room, but I was okay with him seeing the baby soon after delivery. His response was that if he could not be in the delivery room, he didn’t see any point in coming to the hospital. Knowing the kind of person he is, I was not surprised by his response. So I put it out of my mind. My son was actually born the next day. Everything went great. Healthy baby. Happy Mommy. The day after we get home from the hospital I get another unannounced visit from him. Once again he has an armload of stuff for the baby from his family and he asks if he can come in and see the baby and maybe take a picture to show his family. Stupid me. I said yes.
Bridgette’s attorney asked her why she agreed to let him come inside the house this time.
Bridgette: I did it because I did appreciate the gifts from his family, and if they wanted to be a part of my son’s life I didn’t have a problem with that. The visit actually was going so well that I decided to step out of the room to go to bathroom and to give him a chance to bond with his son. I was gone for only five or ten minutes, at the most. When I get back he was gone and he had taken my two-day-old baby with him. I was so scared I almost passed out. I managed to call the police and my parents who live right around the corner.
Judge: How long it was before you got your baby back?
Bridgette: I did not see him again until four days later. Those were the worst four days of my life. I get weak even thinking about it. He left my house, jumped on the interstate and headed to Georgia where his family is from. One of the reasons it took me so long to file for sole custody is that I had to hire a lawyer to file papers here in North Carolina, and then I had to hire another lawyer in Georgia to get a Georgia judge to give the police the authority to take my baby from him and return him to me. I went with the police to his mother’s house to get my son. His parents acted like they thought I was okay with him bringing the baby for a visit. I am not sure if I believe them. Ralph said he took the baby because that was the only way his parents were going to get to see him.
Jackie’s Note: The cases posted in Courthouse Chronicles are real-life court cases that involve real people. For the record, I do not include any of the cases I have actually worked. If I hired a lawyer to represent me I would not want him or her writing about me so that’s why I don’t write about any of my clients. My research for these posts consists of sitting in the back of courtrooms listening to the testimony and witnessing the antics of other lawyers, their clients and people who chose to represent themselves.
Photo Credit: marcoverch on Visual Hunt