A Mom Gave Full Custody to Her Ex-Husband to Make Her Daughter Happy
Ashley Machele had a heart-wrenching journey beginning with an unexpected positive pregnancy test at 18 and unfolding into a ten-year custody battle that left her 3000 miles away from her daughter. Ashley admits that despite her agony, she was relieved when finally decided to give full custody to her ex-husband.
A decision that drastically changed her life.
Ashley grappled with doubt and fear, facing an uncertain future in an unstable relationship, when she found out about pregnancy. But everything changed the moment her daughter was born. “I loved her with all of my heart, and I knew I would do anything for her,” a woman opens up.
The relationship with the child’s father didn’t succeed. After more than a year of no contact, Ashley initiated divorce proceedings in Utah, where she settled her life and got a job. The idyll didn’t last long until she found out her ex-husband had previously filed for divorce and had been granted temporary full custody months before in South Carolina without her knowing.
Ashley’s life was in complete chaos after that.
The woman hired multiple attorneys in both states. But after many hearings, the court required to quit her job and move to the same town as the ex-spouse. Ashley painfully remembers heartbreaking moments when she had to drop off her 18-month-old daughter with strangers for overnight visitations, “My daughter cry and hang onto me each visit, not understanding what was happening or why.”
But even after moving to South Carolina, she didn’t stop fighting. Ashley hired a private investigator, to gather evidence. She worked to prove something she felt was so obvious, her husband didn’t love her child as she did.
The day her daughter was taken.
Ashley opens up about the most terrible experience in her life, when no one showed up at their meeting location, “My knees buckled, and I dropped to the ground, when they answered the phone, and said they weren’t coming, and they wouldn’t tell me where she was until I saw them in court as my daughter cried in the background. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again.”
At this time Ashley had gathered enough documentation to file for an emergency hearing. The former spouses reached a compromise that allowed the mother to live wherever she wanted, but the father could have a daughter for one weekend per month including holidays and long school breaks while Ashley paid for all costs associated with travel.
Ashley’s daughter just started kindergarten when they moved to Utah.
Once a month Ashley booked 2 plane tickets to travel back to South Carolina, spending over 1000$ just on plane tickets. Separated parents still faced problems, the ex-spouse didn’t meet them at the airport and Ashley had to fly across the country to drive the daughter to their doorstep. She explains, “It was an impossible situation from the start. I was leaving my husband and other kids to travel, and it was usually over a holiday, so I was missing that time with our family.”
Although Ashley didn’t want to let go of her child, she started to notice signs of parental alienation. The daughter even asked to live with her dad. Although the answer was always no, the situation got worse when the child began to manipulate situations, using both parents against each other.
Ashley tells, “I felt like I was fighting for someone who didn’t want to even be there. The odds were against me as I looked into all alternatives to any other solution. But it always came back to the one thing I couldn’t bring myself to do: let her go.”
Ashley wanted her daughter to be happy.
After going through such hard experiences, Ashley finally let her daughter live with the father, “An overwhelming sense of peace flooded over me and I knew this was the right decision.” She admits that their lives were not the same since that moment, “I miss her every single day.” Ashley struggles with planning visitation, she still has to pay for plane tickets. Ex-spouses still have questions about pickup and drop off.
The mother-daughter relationship was also damaged, “I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like, and we only FaceTime once a week, sometimes not even that. She doesn’t answer my calls or texts, and we struggle with consistent communication. When she visits us, we have behavior issues, and she struggles to get along with her siblings.”
As Ashley admits, despite all the complications, her daughter’s happiness always comes first, “I know she is where she needs to be. She is loved and well taken care of. She’s happy! She is so much like her dad, and I’ve realized she needs him in her life just as much as she needs me.”
One of our readers, Amy, has a difficult family relationship, which only got worse when she caught a mother-in-law breastfeeding her baby girl.