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Please help-post 15-he's at it again.-update 80, 96 - Page 2

post #21 of 119
Thread Starter 

Slight update-he just took ds.

I called the local police to get their opinion. The officer told me that they don't interfere in domestic orders. He said to keep printouts of everything, and he advised me to let ds go, because otherwise there's a likelyhood that I'd lose primary custody, face a fine and face time in jail. He said that the courts probably would reverse our custody order if I keep ds. As I speak, he's putting ds in his car.

I am going to print out our order and his emails and I will be showing up at his house Friday night to get ds.

I offered him to take an extra day for more holiday time and he said no, this was his weekend anyway and there's no reason to bring ds back for just one night. I'm so upset. Ds has never had more than one overnight and I know that he's not going to do well with three. I will be filing against him first thing monday if he doesn't follow court orders. Of course, by that time the damage is done. :-(
post #22 of 119
post #23 of 119
Thread Starter 
Thanks--It's so hard. Ds is still nursing at 2 (a new 2) and so ex took BM from me, which may help ds some. I think ds does pretty well when he's with ex, but when he gets home, he's SO fussy and clingy and sad that I've actually had to stay home from work because day care said it was disruptive and not healthy for ds. So all ex sees is that ds does fine... he doesn't see the aftermath of these visits. Well, tonight I guess I'll focus on *me* and try to see a movie and treat myself to some good wine. It'll be lonely, though. This is the first christmas I've had without a partner/baby with me. So now I'm all alone!
post #24 of 119
post #25 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by TearyCloud View Post
I called the local police to get their opinion. The officer told me that they don't interfere in domestic orders. He said to keep printouts of everything, and he advised me to let ds go, because otherwise there's a likelyhood that I'd lose primary custody, face a fine and face time in jail. He said that the courts probably would reverse our custody order if I keep ds.
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.
post #26 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.
Is the law different from state to state? My GAL also told me they could reverse custody if I ever refuse to hand over ds. We weren't talking about this specific situation in which he was threatening to not bring him back at the designated time, though.

I have a lawyer, a very, very good lawyer. She told me that she would withdraw from my case if I didn't hand over ds because she can't be responsible for giving me advice when I'm going against it and ruining my case.

The thing about this attorney, though, is that she seems to threaten that a lot. If I don't do exactly what she says, she will back out. It finally got to the point that I yelled at her and asked her what the hell I was paying her for if she could back out at such stupid things

I recently switched to a new attorney in the firm who is more personable. My former attorney had a horrible "bedside" manner, and I'm not talking just with me. She had a tendency to be VERY harsh with the GAL, which I think is a bad idea, and ex's attorney. She almost seemed angry in general, and I didn't want that on my side.

Unfortunately, it is christmas day and so no one is available to speak with. It broke my heart to send ds with ex, knowing that he may not bring him back for three days, but I would rather HIM be in contempt than me. The courts have showed great favor for him in ever. single. hearing. I look like the bad mommy who has forced ds to be attached, and that's how I'm hindering their relationship. : The judge even scoffed at me when I said something about how attachment is important, but you can't force it on a child.
post #27 of 119
Yes, laws can vary depending on the state...it sounds like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place but contact your attorney as soon as possible.
post #28 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.
I just wanted to comment on what a thoughtful and generous post.
post #29 of 119
and at the same time I agree with Shayiwn that you should contact your lawayer ASAP.
post #30 of 119
Forward the email to your attorney right now. Call and leave a message at your attorney's office requesting that your attorney call you ASAP. (Many businesses are open tomorrow and/or Friday, because Christmas fell on a Wednesday.)

I would also forward the email to the GAL, with a short note about how you allowed DS to go, because you did not want to be in contempt, but that this is in violation of your custody agreement, as was the previous incident. (Be very neutral and calm, or let your attorney forward the email to the GAL.)

You also need to get some direction from either your attorney or the GAL about how to handle situations such as these, since it has now happened twice in two weeks, and since he is getting away with it, he'll probably continue to do it.
post #31 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.

I forgot to say thank you for taking the time to write that!
post #32 of 119
I just wanted to send you a hugs, and many vibes of love. I hope you are able to find a moment for yourself that's good.

Best Wishes!
post #33 of 119
You did the right thing. It's not a good idea to take custody risks on the advice of a law student who's someplace else and has no practical experience.

What I see here and in the descriptions of custody problems on this board is that courts and other officials won't generally act unless someone has actually done something wrong, and even then it's got to be something fairly serious. Disobeying a custody order is serious (and my guess is your old lawyer has learned through hard experience that if she doesn't make the threat, she has trouble keeping clients in line and helping them win their cases).

I'm sorry this was terrible. It's one Christmas, though, and there will be many more. You did the right thing for the long term.

Please make sure to send emails and document phone calls insisting on the child's return at the appropriate time. You want to make sure he can't make it look like you've acquiesced. And I agree that once the holidays are over, you need to seek, from the GAL, some way of handling this. And you need to document the request.

Please take some time for yourself today....
post #34 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
You did the right thing. It's not a good idea to take custody risks on the advice of a law student who's someplace else and has no practical experience.

What I see here and in the descriptions of custody problems on this board is that courts and other officials won't generally act unless someone has actually done something wrong, and even then it's got to be something fairly serious. Disobeying a custody order is serious (and my guess is your old lawyer has learned through hard experience that if she doesn't make the threat, she has trouble keeping clients in line and helping them win their cases).

I'm sorry this was terrible. It's one Christmas, though, and there will be many more. You did the right thing for the long term.

Please make sure to send emails and document phone calls insisting on the child's return at the appropriate time. You want to make sure he can't make it look like you've acquiesced. And I agree that once the holidays are over, you need to seek, from the GAL, some way of handling this. And you need to document the request.

Please take some time for yourself today....

Thanks... I'm just so irritated that they won't do anything until after the damage is done. Ds has such a hard time with one overnight s I know that if he keeps him for three days it will be hell when I get him back. I've left voice mails for the GAL (who doesn't really like me and thinks I'm too attached) and I tried to sound calm and concerned rather than seriously upset (which is how I actually feel).

I'm going to take myself to a movie tonight and then drink some really good wine that a friend gave me for christmas. I may as well enjoy the free time tonight and worry about this tomorrow.
post #35 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
Please make sure to send emails and document phone calls insisting on the child's return at the appropriate time. You want to make sure he can't make it look like you've acquiesced. And I agree that once the holidays are over, you need to seek, from the GAL, some way of handling this. And you need to document the request.
This needed to be repeated.

Send a neutrally-worded email back to your XH that says something to the effect of, "Our court-ordered custody agreement states that DS is to be returned to my care by XYZ date and time. I expect that he will be returned to me by then."

And then sit down tomorrow after you've calmed down a little bit, and put into letter form - to both your attorney and to the GAL - that this is the email you received (and quote it, with the date and time), and that it is your understanding that the custody agreement states that your child is supposed to be returned to your care as of XYZ date and time. I would also put in there the basic details - date, time, method of communication, etc. - of what happened the last time he pulled this. And then say, "Please advise as to what is expected of me, should XH violate the custody agreement again."

It DOES need to be in writing. Create a paper trail.

It doesn't matter if the GAL thinks you're "too attached". A court order is a court order.
post #36 of 119
ginger_rodgers and AlwaysByMySide have you given you excellent advice. In the eyes of the court, two wrongs do not make a right, and you will lose any credibility if you go down the road of violating the order. It's a tough lesson to learn, but the courts will do nothing to help until and unless a violation occurs. It sucks, but if you mind your p's and q's while your ex doesn't you will eventually gain leverage.
post #37 of 119
i was in the same boat and please please dont let your anger make decisions. it's hard to see your child suffer, i too had to deal with dd's behavioral issues everytime she back from her dad. it's tough but hang in there and hopefully there will be a resolution soon...
hang in there...
post #38 of 119
Mods -- yep, this is mama41; please contact me if there are UA/username problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysByMySide View Post

Send a neutrally-worded email back to your XH that says something to the effect of, "Our court-ordered custody agreement states that DS is to be returned to my care by XYZ date and time. I expect that he will be returned to me by then."

And then sit down tomorrow after you've calmed down a little bit, and put into letter form - to both your attorney and to the GAL - that this is the email you received (and quote it, with the date and time), and that it is your understanding that the custody agreement states that your child is supposed to be returned to your care as of XYZ date and time. I would also put in there the basic details - date, time, method of communication, etc. - of what happened the last time he pulled this. And then say, "Please advise as to what is expected of me, should XH violate the custody agreement again."
Yes, I think this was good.

Quote:
It doesn't matter if the GAL thinks you're "too attached". A court order is a court order.
It is, but I also think that what the GAL believes matters. What that means is that you have to agree with the GAL and see the error of your ways, and reform. So don't run to her with more of his threats unless your ex has already made good on the threat, and unless the child's in mortal danger, keep it light and neutral.
post #39 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
It is, but I also think that what the GAL believes matters. What that means is that you have to agree with the GAL and see the error of your ways, and reform. So don't run to her with more of his threats unless your ex has already made good on the threat, and unless the child's in mortal danger, keep it light and neutral.
Oh, I think what I said didn't come out the way I meant it. I DO think what the GAL thinks matters, in the grand scheme of things. (Been there, done that.)

That said, it's a lot easier to fight on black and white issues. And with this particular black and white issue, that should go before the court the next go-round, is that the court order says what it says. Period. And the XH willfully violated it. Thought about beforehand this time, even. (And was dumb enough to put it in writing.) So, on the issue of violating the court order, the GAL really shouldn't be standing up in court and saying, "Oh, it was okay for the XH to violate the court order, because the mom is too attached." That's nice that the GAL thinks that, but that's not this particular issue. It's not what the court order says. A court order is called an "order", not a "suggestion".

I hope that makes sense!
post #40 of 119
Thread Starter 

Just talked to X-not sure what to do

Ex just called from his house (couple of hours away). Like I said before, the court order stated that ds was to be returned tonight at 6, which is clearly not going to happen. Ex called because ds said, "Call mama phone" over and over. Ds got on the phone with me and kept saying "mama? Come." It was really sad. He didn't seem necessarily upset, just really missing me.

The police said to call them if ex doesn't return ds and the police will file a formal complaint. I am really feeling like ex is probably going to return ds tomorrow, even though he said Sunday. He said it was obvious that ds misses me even though he's behaving ok. I think that ex just wants to prove that he can keep ds if he wants to, but I don't think he'll keep him through sunday if ds is clearly wanting me. I'm afraid that filing the complaint is going to make things much, much messier, but if I don't file a complaint, then I don't have a leg to stand on when I later complain about this.

Suggestions? If I do call the police, it should probably be soon. WWYD?
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