Originally Posted by Amanda L
I forgot to add that the "supporting documents" with the Order were just the page and a half hand written statement. Nothing else. Nothing from doctors or any other professionals. No journal entries or logs. Nothing. That's why it kills me that we can't see Cameron. There is no proof of my husband not caring for Cameron's needs because it isn't true.
She has refused to let us see Cameron since he was released from the hospital. This makes it hard to prove that we can take care of his new medical needs. We do not have any medications, since the hospital would only write scripts to the parent with sole custody.
Certainly, this does not sound like sufficient evidence to go ahead and suspend visitation before
the hearing. That's not how it's supposed
to work. But one reality of family court is that things OFTEN don't work the way they're "supposed" to because judges are human - in the case of family court judges in big cities, they are overworked, overbooked humans who sometimes become desensitized to the heart-wrenching issues they deal with every day and who sometimes just rubber-stamp things that come their way, like your husband's ex's request. I believe
she had no secret, damning evidence and that it's just a sad, unfair, ill-timed temporary ruling.
Also, there's nothing wrong with you helping with your husband's court case. You're partners. If you
invest the (considerable!) time to document and research things, make logs, etc. that does not mean
he's indifferent toward his son or his case. If he could afford to pay a lawyer to do all those things for him, so he could spend his time earning a living and interacting with his family, I'm sure he would. But no average family can afford that much of a lawyer's time. You're not pushing
him to pursue his parental rights. You're just helping him manage his time. I'm sure he helps you, in other ways.
#1- Of course you need to document his/your own involvement with your stepson's hospitalization, attending the class and anything else that's relevant along those lines. You both need to be prepared to speak intelligently about how to care for him. You've already received good advice about this.
#2- You need to document every instance where the Mom has refused to share information about your stepson's condition or appointments, or blocked your husband's access to his medical records or acted to prevent your husband from communicating with his doctors. Even if there's no way to get third-party verification of these problems, there IS value in you simply, succintly listing each time these things have happened
. There is credibility in keeping logs. These problems show the court that the mother is not interested in making sure your husband is educated and properly able to care for the child. Instead, her larger interest is in finding excuses to limit his contact with the child. If she were genuinely just afraid about the diabetes, she would welcome
your husband attending doctor's appts. and learning more about the disease - and being able to witness for herself how he reacts to the information (Is he attentive, or is he blowing it all off?) Also, there would be NO excuse for failing to offer your husband SOME access to the child - especially on his birthday. Even if she were genuinely afraid of being away from the child for long periods
, she could still offer SOME father-son contact before the hearing. Her motives here are clearly not pure. I suspect this has a lot more to do with the kid's behavior problems at her house than it does with the diabetes.
#3- You need to write out your basic arguments. Think of it as a cheat-sheet for your attorney. The atty. may even want to submit a version of it, as a Statement of Issues. Include what the prior visitation schedule was (i.e., how much access the child was accustomed to having with his father before the mother interfered); how reliable your husband was about exercising his visitation - and the fact that the mother made no effort to warn him of her request for supervised visits before cutting off his visitation, nor did she make any attempt to discuss and resolve the concerns she allegedly had, about the child's care at your house. Cutting off contact was her first course of action
. That's cruel, grossly disrespectful of your husband's role in the child's life and not in the child's best interest
#4- You need to make a limited list of people who can be relied upon to provide good, solid testimony about your husband being a good father. The more objective third parties, the better - like teachers, coaches, doctors. But if you're not sure what those people would say (such as, "Well, I don't really know Johnny's Dad. I've only met him once."), stick with friends and family.