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Really? A judge can force this?!?

post #1 of 131
Thread Starter 

In our court order it says nothing about living with a partner without being married. But apparently shortly after we got that court order the Judge started putting it in every court order that you can't have overnight guests of the opposite sex with your children in the house. This includes long term relationships and living together.

 

DS and I have been living with dp for over 3 years.

 

I just talked to my lawyer and she said that the Judge made an offhand comment to him like "she'd better be married before she steps foot in my courtroom again" (she being me). Seriously?!? I told her that dp and I are getting married on January 1st. She said that will be a problem if we end up in court before that (and it's likely we will as ex's lawyer contacted my lawyer today). WTF?!? Am I really risking upsetting the Judge over 2 freaking months? LESS than 2 months? And how in the world is me not being married for the next 2 months detrimental to ds?!? Getting married even 1 day before January 1st will mean we (as a family) will lose over $10,000 next year (with my grant money for school and with my tax returns). That's bullsh*t that a judge is going to give me a hard time about this.

post #2 of 131

It's not in your order though, so I am not sure how they can force that.

post #3 of 131

don't even stress about this right now!  hug2.gif  and don't even think about what it would mean to you financially to get married this year.  why on earth would you?  there would have to be a court order not for you to get married but barring you from living with dp, and then that would have to be enforced, and how on earth would anyone even know at this point?  and if it came down to it and you really had to either live separately or get married - uh, wouldn't you save your $10k and have him sleep on a buddy's couch for a few weeks?  i'm sorry this even came up, your lawyer shouldn't have bothered mentioning to you, imo.

post #4 of 131

I don't understand how this can be legal. People with children cohabit all the time. I could understand prohibitions against spending the night with a casual relationship but with a long term one. Doesn't that violate your civil rights?

post #5 of 131

Um....whats the judge gonna do?  Flip custody over it?  I don't think so.  I wouldn't worry about it, and make it VERY clear that if that goes in your order, you will be appealing the ruling to a higher court.  I don't think it can be enforced, not on you, since it wasn't in your original order.  The comment made to your atty by the judge was also HIGHLY unprofessional, and the next time he says something like that (hopefully its on the record), your atty should say something about it (backed up by law, and precedent).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
he said that the Judge made an offhand comment to him like "she'd better be married before she steps foot in my courtroom again" (she being me).


Or what?  Seriously?  Did the lawyer say what the law says the judge can do if you are not living up to her personal values?  (I say this because if it's not in your original order, it seems to me it would have to be placed in an order before a judge can do anything about it.)  So lets say you go into court before Jan 1st.  The judge would have to issue an order for your living arrangements to change.  Then you could have DP crash on someone's couch until Jan 1st. 

 

It seems like it will take a bit of time to get this on the docket - even if it's a week or two that takes you to the beginning of December.   After you go to court she has to issue her ruling/hand down an order.  You're closer to Jan 1st than it feels like right now. 

 

I'm not saying this as lightly as a written method makes it seem.  I know that I would do anything to make sure that my kids didn't end up with someone that wouldn't take care of their individual needs.  (I've read about your ex in other posts.)  But I do think this is another way to cause you stress.  You are living within the order that was issued.  You've documented everything.  Unless the judge issues an order in the next couple of days, I don't think you should run out and get married on the THREAT of something legal happening.

 

Now I'm not a lawyer and your lawyer can help you with this much more than anything a stranger could say.  I just can't believe this is something that should be hanging over your head or changing your plans because it was so offhanded.  Judges have rules to live by too - even if they don't do it very well, all the time.

 

post #7 of 131
Thread Starter 

I agree, this is totally bogus. Unfortunately, as we've seen before in this forum, some judges are highly unpredictable and can make your life hell for no reason. Sure, we could appeal it. But by that time we'll be married and it will be a moot point. All we have to do is fly under the judge's radar for another 51 days and then we're good (eta- actually only 46 days as dp and I leave days before our wedding for our honeymoon so the judge sure as heck can't tell us what to do then).

 

I've got to talk to my lawyer more about it but I think we have a plan. If it works then it'll get us through the end of the year without going to court. And I'll only have to be somewhat nice to ex

 

Worst case scenario- dp moves into his parents house until the end of the year. No biggie as they only live 5 minutes away. However, I get the impression that the Judge will still be pissed about that just because we aren't married. And the messed up thing is I've been living with dp longer than ex has been married to Chickadee. I've known dp for WAY longer than ex has known Chickadee. And yet just because they have a little piece of paper signed (that they've already said wouldn't have been signed had she not gotten pregnant) they are seen as "better" or "more stable" in the eyes of the Judge than dp and I. Messed up, huh?

post #8 of 131

I was just thinking....if the judge has been putting it into orders since just after yours was issued, maybe he/she thinks it's in yours too?

post #9 of 131
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vannienicole View Post

I was just thinking....if the judge has been putting it into orders since just after yours was issued, maybe he/she thinks it's in yours too?



No, I know my lawyer pointed out to him that it wasn't in our order. He said he didn't care, that he had "given them enough time and leniency" (meaning dp and myself). My lawyer tried to explain the whole financial side of it but the Judge didn't care at all.

 

What really sucks is that the Judge is apparently going to make THIS a battle, but is totally letting ex get away with not providing ds with insurance (which was court ordered over 6 years ago and he still hasn't done it). Ex even told me this summer that he does have it available through work and "I'll look into it" (aka "there's not a darn chance I'm getting ds on insurance"). If he's going to make a battle of something, why the heck not battle over something HE ORDERED and ISN'T BEING FOLLOWED! The insurance is the reason we didn't get married years ago (dp was working as a contractor back then so had crappy insurance and it wouldn't have covered ds's therapy- which he needed a lot of). Ex has refused to get insurance for ds even though it's available to him and he was court ordered to do it so ds has been on Medicaid. Now dp has a good, stable job with decent benefits (not wonderful, but good enough). Now we are confident that we can get married and ds's therapy won't suffer. Before, there would have been no way to afford all his therapy and ex sure as heck wasn't offering up any money (even though, again, it was court ordered he pay 76% of uncovered medical expenses). Isn't it wonderful how ex can totally ignore all court orders but when I do something that wasn't even in a court order I am threatened? Lovely system we got going on here.

post #10 of 131

Question: does all that stuff he hasn't paid go on one big bill he has to pay later, or are you just SOL?

post #11 of 131
Thread Starter 

Since ds is on medicaid currently (since ex won't get insurance for ds and dp can't put him on his insurance until we're married) then Medicaid pays for most expenses. The stuff it doesn't pay, dp and I do. I've never asked ex to reimburse for anything (and we see how much it pays to be nice, eh?).

 

But I'm done playing nice. He will get billed for his portion of every single thing. I think how it works is I submit the bills to the friend of the court and they just take it right out of his paycheck and deposit it into my bank account. That's how they do child support currently. When January hits and ds is on dp's insurance the friend of the court will re-evaluate the child support and raise it so ex is paying me back a portion of the money we'll be paying for insurance for ds) and they'll raise it for cost of living increase since we haven't had one in 3 years). Then he's also responsible for his portion of uncovered (76% is what it's been for 6 years, I don't know if it'll change). So I should get reimbursed for a portion of the insurance and uncovered. Whether that happens or not is anyone's guess.

post #12 of 131

Ugh a friend of mine got divorced earlier this year and has the same in her order. The judge was originally willing to agree to no guests that are not relatives in the house EVER. So even her female friends in the neighborhood would not be allowed to come in and have a cup of coffee, which her ex requested but backed off of. Sorry you are dealing with this.

post #13 of 131

I live in a very liberal state and you still come across judges who feel being married is more significant than a "healthy" long term relationship.  In all fairness a judge can only go by what is on paper filling the gaps of that with their own personal experience and belief structure.  They can't take your word for Jason being a healthy partner, they can't take your word for ex's marriage being doomed.  And honestly once O's dad got married it did change the game in regards to court......  Given your positive history with the judge have you considered that maybe the judge is not trying to make this thee battle but level the playing field between your ex and you.  Even though he is a judge he has to dot his "I" and cross his "T" should your ex appeal decision, request a different judge, etc.  He could be suggesting you tie up the only claim your ex can bring (since you withhold ds will be laughed at)  I say this is true respect for you it will look better in court for you to be married but don't stress out over something so minor.

 

All that said, I suggest delaying court until after the new year when you are married.  You can use a number of reasons such as O's school schedule, your work, etc.  Hopefully the court calendar will not have anything until early January due to the holiday / vacations / etc. IF you do have to go before you are married I would show up with Jason and your engagement band on your finger and IF questioned you can state your wedding date has been set for 1.1.11 and that you had to book the location a year in advance but you are both sooooo very excited about it.  Also have the teacher you just spoke with write a letter about O's relationship as told to her by O with his dad (dad meaning Jason) and doctors,etc. who can say Jason is hands on in O's life do the same ---- after all it's better to have it and not need it than to want it and not have it.

 

On a side note: I do value a judge making a conservative ruling in custody orders and I would respect it if it was added to mine.  While Jason has been wonderful to you and O I have read many stories here on MDC and elsewhere where "shacking up" has been more stress than good for the child.  IRL I know one mom to a three year old and the mom has had three live in boyfriends - the child felt abandoned already by the father and now she faces further abandonment when each boyfriend leaves.  I also have a friend my age who was sexually violated by a live in boyfriend her mom had when she was young.  It sucks to have someone else tell you how to live your adult life but there is some merit to it and there *must* be something that made the judge decide to add it to all his orders when he was not doing it before.  He may have good intentions even if it does not feel that way.  But all of that is mute since it's not in your order.

post #14 of 131

It seems to me that judges can pretty much do whatever they want, until they get slapped down for it by a higher court.

 

That being the case, I would do whatever it took to actually be married before setting foot in that judges courtroom again. The financial hit you might take this year if you have to get married before 1/1/11 will probably be less than the cost of appealing a bad (for Owen) judgement. Especially since much of that $$ you can someday recoup indirectly from your ex because he will owe you a lot more... even if it means getting aggressive about his paying you what he owes.

 

Ask your lawyer to be "unavailable" when scheduling the hearing until after 1/1. Between the holidays and the court's schedule, you might be able to get away with just delaying on scheduling until after the fatal date of 1/1/11.

 

In the mean time, has Owen started kindergarden (or even pre-K) yet? Because it seems (from what I gather from various moms I know with kids with autism here and in other states) that many school districts offer the appropriate therapies for free to school-aged kids. Does your local school have a social worker on staff? You could set up an appointment with them to discuss what the school system can offer.

 

Another thing to check. Does your STBDH (soon-to-be-DH)'s insurance through work have open enrollment (i.e. enrollment any time of the year)? Or are there specific times of the year for enrolling? If it's the latter, you might be able to make a case with Medicaid to maintain O's coverage through them after you get married until the next enrollment date. 

 

As for tax returns, did you calculate the financial hit based on 'married filing jointly' or 'married filing separately'? If you only calculated it with the first, re-run the numbers with the second. It might not be as bad of a hit that way.

 

In regard to the grants, not much you can do, I suspect. 

 

All that said, I do have one question: on the $10K you say your family will lose, is that $10K you need to re-pay? Or $10K you just won't get? If it's the latter, it still sucks but isn't quite as bad as the former. 

 

Good luck.

post #15 of 131
Thread Starter 


I have no idea how this new board will work with this so I'm going to try to answer all questions in a different color so it might make sense!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post

It seems to me that judges can pretty much do whatever they want, until they get slapped down for it by a higher court.

 

That being the case, I would do whatever it took to actually be married before setting foot in that judges courtroom again. The financial hit you might take this year if you have to get married before 1/1/11 will probably be less than the cost of appealing a bad (for Owen) judgement. Especially since much of that $$ you can someday recoup indirectly from your ex because he will owe you a lot more... even if it means getting aggressive about his paying you what he owes.

 

Ask your lawyer to be "unavailable" when scheduling the hearing until after 1/1. Between the holidays and the court's schedule, you might be able to get away with just delaying on scheduling until after the fatal date of 1/1/11.

 

Great idea. We will do what it takes to delay being in court. I don't know how it will work, but it can't hurt to try! We might have some leeway with the delaying because we live out of state so it will be a burden to just randomly go up there for court, ya know? I have a feeling ex is going to insist on it being in court before our next visitation date (December 10/11/12). So if I can hold him off for 4 weeks then even if he files after that visitation date it probably won't end up in court before the new year (we can stall/delay until then).

 

In the mean time, has Owen started kindergarden (or even pre-K) yet? Because it seems (from what I gather from various moms I know with kids with autism here and in other states) that many school districts offer the appropriate therapies for free to school-aged kids. Does your local school have a social worker on staff? You could set up an appointment with them to discuss what the school system can offer.

 

He's in 1st grade so he's been in this school for preschool, Kindergarten and now 1st grade. He has been receiving therapy though the school district since he started preschool and it's helping a lot. But they do not offer all the therapy he needs (such as feeding). So ds still needs to receive some outside of the school. Before he started the school he was in 5 hours a week of outside therapy (at $140-190/hour, depending on which therapy it was). Then he went down to 3 hours a week outside the school. Now he's down to 1 hour a week for the moment. His therapist wants to bump him back up to 2 hours a week but we're having trouble fitting it into her schedule. During summer breaks he bumps back up to 3 hours a week of outside therapy.

 

Another thing to check. Does your STBDH (soon-to-be-DH)'s insurance through work have open enrollment (i.e. enrollment any time of the year)? Or are there specific times of the year for enrolling? If it's the latter, you might be able to make a case with Medicaid to maintain O's coverage through them after you get married until the next enrollment date. 

 

They do not have open enrollment. They have once a year enrollment and then you can do another enrollment if you have a "life changing event" (such as getting married). I've talked to the Medicaid office and they don't give a darn. They say that once we're married dp's income counts and ds gets kicked off Medicaid immediately.

 

As for tax returns, did you calculate the financial hit based on 'married filing jointly' or 'married filing separately'? If you only calculated it with the first, re-run the numbers with the second. It might not be as bad of a hit that way.

 

Both ways. Either way we do it, we take a big hit.

 

In regard to the grants, not much you can do, I suspect. 

 

Nope. The only way I can get the grants it to file single. The only way I can file single is if I'm not married on December 31st.

 

All that said, I do have one question: on the $10K you say your family will lose, is that $10K you need to re-pay? Or $10K you just won't get? If it's the latter, it still sucks but isn't quite as bad as the former. 

 

Thankfully it's the latter. It's not money we would have to repay, but we will be in big trouble financially without it. We count on that money to keep us afloat while I'm in school. Without it I don't know what we'll do. I'll have to find a full time job, which will create all sorts of headaches with what to do with ds after school (he can't go in the after school program at his school because the supervision sucks and with his autism he's a runner/wanderer so he'll escape in no time). Most daycares won't take him because of his behavior issues. Obviously if it comes down to it then we'll do whatever is necessary.

 

Good luck.

post #16 of 131

I don't see how your lawyer discreetly telling the judge that you *do* have a wedding date could be a problem.  You booked the tickets (he doesn't know that people aren't invited) but it could be some big elaborate ceremony, what is he going to do?  Tell you to scrap it and get it done faster?  I would explain the reason you didn't get married previously was because you couldn't afford therapy for your DS because ex wasn't doing his court ordered duty.  Throw that right back at the judge. 

post #17 of 131

Good grief...this new board...OK, from what I know in Virginia--it has to be in the court order...my lawyer originally said to add it in to ours...but I didn't do it because I thought, what if a friend is traveling from somewhere and comes to see us...it would be on the off chance...but still.  I'll be curious to hear what else you find out.

post #18 of 131

Cool...where did the peace sign come from?  Very me...who knew.

post #19 of 131

How does the $10K balance out if you factor in the higher child support and more of the co-pays being paid that you'll get once you get that re-evaluated?  Does it even out enough to make a courthouse wedding worth it if necessary?

post #20 of 131
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

How does the $10K balance out if you factor in the higher child support and more of the co-pays being paid that you'll get once you get that re-evaluated?  Does it even out enough to make a courthouse wedding worth it if necessary?



It doesn't come close to balancing it out. In order to re-coup $10,000 next year his child support would have to increase by $833/month. Obviously that isn't going to happen. Or anything close to that. The increase in child support will probably *just* barely cover the increase in health insurance costs. Then for co-pays I'll cover 24% of it and ex will cover 76% of them (well, I'll cover 100% of it and then wait to be reimbursed).

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