No damage done. All are welcome to post their opinion and advise per se.
Reason is that, abandonment is one side of the coin, this is how the other party may see it. In court, judge and lawyers will seek the intention behind why mother left. And there was no mention of that why she left from your statement, It was a concept or assumption that is yet to be proven and scrutinized in court. There is a need to prove that it was a full a abandonment and not temporal. If it was abandonment, court seeks if there was valid reason to do so.
Since visitation whether timely or not by the mother to the child was particularly mentioned on your statement. Then imho it was not an abandonment yet until court declares so. That is my basis on my reply. If there was a valid and compelling reason behind that temporary abandonment (lie or truth) and presumably you may not be able to disprove that since you were not directly around with her that time, then maybe mother could possibly have the right hand. So your aim is to gain that upper hand, you have to prepare full evidence and prove that it was an abandonment.
Once there was a case in Supreme court, where a full time prostitute seeks full custody over her child which she 'temporary' abandoned with valid reasons. According to her boyfriend, it was full abandonment but to her, it was temporary while she fights guilty sel-fconscience of doing her work. Boyfriend has steady job. Mother lost on lower court but appealed on higher courts. In the end, Supreme Court reversed the decision and granted her full custody and full parental authority over the child. She won. If I find time, I would get the SC decision link on that case.
So you see, inside the court, it is case to case basis as it progresses. The progress depends on the reply of both parties, not only one of them. And you must prove your stand and disapprove the other one's claim as well. You would need a very good attorney.
The general rule is applicable but you have to prove that in court and gain upper hand.
My reply was not to discourage you. I would also suggest you do not mention in court that she visits the chid even once if that is your interests. You have to prove all your statements and claims however she would reply on that in court. Get a good lawyer. GL