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Desperately need prayers! (We have 5 days)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
His bio dad is taking us to court for 50/50 custody and to take him out of homeschool. He has been homeschooled all along and will be in 4th grade.

I trustingly signed a joint custody agreement under the belief that is would keep the court out of our business. I was lied to. He was a very religious man and I never thought to question his motive.

I should have

Please cover my family in prayer. This is going to be a very messy and long battle. He has had limited involvement by his own choice. We waived over 8,000 of child support. He is still behind over 10,000.
Apparently this means nothing to the courts.

Now we have 5 days to have an attorney and all of our paper work together to fight this. He filed while he knew we were out of town on an annual business trip.

My son is so upset! We all are.

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 31
*prayers* for you.

Do what you can but stay CALM in court and lay out both a statement from your son, what you said here, etc. and I pray you come out on top in this needless battle.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
At what point does my son have a say? He is nine. I signed this for him so that things would be HIS choice. But his father does not see things that way. He said kids should be forced to do things they do not want to do even if it is causing emotional distress.

Obviously NOT into AP or GD.

I am just so heartbroken!
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 31
I'm sure there are laws but in reality your son has a say when he can be calm, coherent and express his opinion in court in writing or speech. The judge should want to hear his side, maybe through a GAL?
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
My lawyer is out of the office today
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Dom can explain his wants pretty well.

Part of my worry is that his father is very manipulative. That was a major issue when we were together. It is to the point of being emotional abuse. He can get people to go along with what he wants. I did

He was offered a job with the government to do just for a living.

I am worried that Dom would have trouble holding his own if father is involved in the conversation.
post #9 of 31
Often times in custody battles the child is seen in chambers, no parent present. A GAL may be appointed to help, and both lawyers would be present. The judge wouldn't allow the child to be battered by either attorney and often this is the childs oppurtunity to tell the judge what he wants. As far as the age it depends on the state as well as the maturity of the child. My sister was a well spoken 10 year old when the battle begin and even though the law said she couldn't decide what she wanted and where she wanted to be until she was 12, the judge heard her and was shocked at how well she spoke for herself. This is what we heard from the lawyer anyhow. So due to the maturity she showed and inspite of her age, the decision was basically hers. The judge did what she wanted. Prayers for you and your family as you go through this.
post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you. My son is 9 but is an older spirit, so I guess it will depend on the judge.

This is so overwhelming.
post #11 of 31
Go to the court, explain that he filed whilst you were out of town on business, you hadn't been anticipating it and ask for an adjournment so you can have time to prepare. If it doesn't work, you lose nothing. If it does, well, you gain both time and a chip in his arrogance.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post
Go to the court, explain that he filed whilst you were out of town on business, you hadn't been anticipating it and ask for an adjournment so you can have time to prepare. If it doesn't work, you lose nothing. If it does, well, you gain both time and a chip in his arrogance.
There is no court date. They are setting up mediation. Which I have set up and tried to set up for 3 or so years with little cooperation with father.

Then we go to court if I don't respond in the next 4 days. But I first need to get a lawyer.
post #13 of 31
I am in your state and DH recently obtained 50/50 custody. The biggest reason that it was possible for him to do so was that he had 50/50 informally when the parenting agreement was filed, and he and DSD's mom were in agreement on the arrangement.

In doing research, we discovered that it is fairly difficult to get 50/50 if the parents do not agree on it. The court wants to see that parents with 50/50 will be able to effectively parent together. The court heavily favors the status quo - they are of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset. So you have that in your favor.

To keep your son with you, would you be willing to compromise on the homeschooling, for a while, at least? That might give you a bargaining chip.

I can't believe that this man is that far behind on CS in MN! DH was *not* behind, but since the county was not taking it out of his paycheck (he writes DSD's mom a check each month), they nearly started garnishing his wages when DSD's mom applied for MN Care last fall. It took a ridiculous amount of effort to stop them.

Good luck!
post #14 of 31
Huge hugs to you and your family!
Hope it works out for you.
post #15 of 31
So, it sounds like he's doing this to avoid racking up anymore child support. I think you should not respond and take this to court. Maybe they can get him on this child support issue.

Can you agree to disagree during mediation and then take it to court, or is mediation a done deal decided by the mediator?
post #16 of 31
Your family is in my prayers...
post #17 of 31
I think it is highly unlikely that anything will need to happen really in 5 days. Mediation is just to see if you can come to an agreement, if you come to an agreement with teh mediator then they will present that to the judge who can sign off on it and it will then become binding. If you don't come to an agreement they will sent it for court. You don't need a lawyer for mediation but if you feel concerned about holding your own with ex you should bring one. Good luck Court will take a long time if yougo that route and the judge is unlikely to change a situation that a child is thriving in.
post #18 of 31
pinksprklybarefoot says you're in MN, OP. That's easy:

A Court may not change physical custody from one parent to the other unless the change is in the best interests of the child.1

Furthermore, even if the change of custody is in the best interests of the child, the Court cannot order a change of custody unless:

a) both parties agree to the change; OR

b) the child has been integrated into the family of the non-custodial parent with the consent of the custodial parent; OR

c) the child's present environment with the custodial parent endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or impairs the child's emotional development, and the benefits of a change of custody outweigh the harm.2

Where the parties do not agree to a change of custody, and the child has not been consentingly integrated into the family of the non-custodial parent, a change of custody can only be accomplished by proving that the child is "endangered" in the current custodial environment. In practice, this means that there must be strong evidence in favor of the change of custody. Examples of such evidence are:

a child's strong desire to live with the non-custodial parent combined with at least some additional evidence
physical, sexual or emotional abuse by the custodial parent
neglect or very poor discipline in the custodial home that adversely affects a child's grades or behavior, etc.
In practice, it would be the rare case where custody is modified contrary to the child's preference, at least for older children. In Minnesota, there is no particular age at which a child gets to decide which parent he wants to live with. Generally, the older the child, the more weight the child's preference carries, whether in the initial custody determination or in the context of a motion to modify custody.3 Still, the child's preference alone is an insufficient basis for modification of custody.4 There must be a showing of endangerment, at least on an emotional level, in order to modify custody.5 The child's preference is an important factor and often a sine qua non of a showing of endangerment.
post #19 of 31
Okay I just re-read your responses. Did your ex file a complaint and you have 4 days to answer or 4 days before mediation. If you have four days to answer then you should have your lawyer file for an extension which is pretty simple and if you can't get ahold of your lawyer in that time period you should be able to go to the courthouse and do it pretty easily yourself. Good Luck
post #20 of 31
*hugs* Thinking of you and your family.
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