anyone know about custody,plz help! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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#62 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not and never had been breastfeeding.

Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know what happens in court.

I am personally afraid of my ex but I don't have a fear that he will hurt our daughter.
I know that during this time when he was working that he probably had his mother watching her, which my lawyer will also address in court. So it's not that he's capable of being a full custodial parent, he's not. I have been legally advised to not go over there and do anything to make me look crazy since we are trying to get the protective order back in place. And I know for certain that the father would NOT return her, he doesn't have to legally. My lawyer couldn't get in to see the judge til our court date on thursday. I do know that the judge is going to allow him to ask for the motion for temp. custody and the GAl i going to go before the judge prior to all this to talk to him about what happened with the agreement.
Once again, thanks. Ill be back with you guys on Thursday.

And please know that if I had any doubt that my baby wasn't being taken care of I would be over there to get her in a heart beat.
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#63 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One last thing..

From your experience how often does the judge take the GALS reccomendation for custody/visitation ?

Thank you.
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#64 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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From my experience if there is major conflict between the 2 parents deciding for themselves then a judge will weigh on what the GAL says but only as a consideration and not as a actual judgement. I've had friends who in their cases the GAL's said supervised visitation only for dad and the dad ended up with liberal overnight visitations. My judge ended up so frustrated on our case that he finally said "whatever the mediator said is what i am ordering". The judge had previously ordered that i could have a private number since ex was harrassing me and the kids were to call him daily and the mediator requested once a week phone calls from the dad. So the dad actually got even less then before and i can't have a private number to stop the harrassment.

Since you don't breastfeed and the dad has proven he can care for the baby several days in a row then the judge will consider that.
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#65 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:51 PM
 
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Right ,it was a verbal agreement .. But my lawyer had sent a signed letter with all the information to all of us. Even the guardian ad litem, so even though the cops can't do anything about it, it should hold up in court .

Do you guys think he will be able to claim primary caretaker on thursday ? He will have had her for nine days, whereas before this I had her for two months. Not to mention that I was the primary caretaker in our home for the first five months of her life before I left him.

Sure he can. He has taken care of her and can argue that as a self employed parent will be able to spend more time with her than you, who will work out of the home. Could be a powerful argument with the right judge. You also don't know what lies or accusations will be thrown out on Thursday about your suitability as primary caretaker. Don't be surprised if you suddenly become a drug addicted, promiscuous, neglectful mother in court. I could not believe the lies my friends lawyer stated about her. I knew they were lies, but the court accepted it all at face value. Be prepared!

The GAL is pushing for him to have one night I week, I believe. My lawyer is pushing for five hours a week. They both think she should be in my primary care and returned to me on Thursday. Does that sound reasonable.
Even though it isn't court ordered agreement,won't the judge look down on him for not keeping his word, when I did.
Proof the GAL isn't very good. Overnights for a seven month old? Not typical. She should have been up in arms about the traumatic forced overnights all this last week and she isn't -WHY? Usually child is a year old with good judges and if child hasn't seen dad in a while the move to overnights usually starts with incrementally increasing time with dad, but now that he has had the child for 9 full days and nights there is no way to argue that its needed. Suppose the judge looks down on you for being foolish enough to think that just because you and your lawyer wrote a letter it actually meant there was an agreement. Without your ex and his lawyer's signature on it that paper is worth about the same as a used tissue to a judge. As a PP said, her ex used to issue letters to her from his lawyer with what he wanted all the time. She was under no obligation to follow them and neither is your ex. Women in custody disputes with hostile ex's have to get tough and get smart real quick because the system isn't a very good one!

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#66 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The judge almost has to take into consideration the way that my ex bf obtained my daughter. He broke an agreement, no matter whether it was court ordered or not, there is documentation to support it. My previous lawyer, my current lawyer, and the GAL all have copies of the aggreement. He almost cannot deny there not being an agreement because he was following it until last tuesday. Meeting at the police station at the correct times and everything, then he just stopped. And the GAL called and advised him to bring her back,although she couldn't legally make him. And he refused. I don't see how any of this can look good on him. Regardless of the fact that he managed to successfully care for our daughter. He still did a very dishonest thing. The GAL is going to recommend she be returned to me immediately and that he get no more than one day or one night a week. She thinks I should be the primary custodian because of my work flexibility.
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#67 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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I agree with Avani, if there is a lot of conflict the judge may overrule the GAL and rule on his own. If your ex is asking for joint or residential custody there is a good chance he will get at least 50% which would be terrible for a 7 month old IMO. Clarification, I do not mean terrible because she is with dad 50% of the time I mean terrible that she is shuffled between two homes and doesn't have a full-time home.

Since he is proving he can care for her, and he was in the home for more than half of her life, he is likely to get joint physical custody and possibly residential custody, especially because she is not breastfed so she doesn't "need" her momma in the same way a breastfed baby does - as far as the court is concerned. Plus the court may not want to uproot her again.
I am afraid for you and I hope everything works out the way you want it to.
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#68 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But if I wouldn't have agreed to some visitation with her father during this period up until court then it would've lookd bad on me... parental alienation and such. That was told to me by lawyers and the GAL.
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#69 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Sugar&Spice;10210769]I can't go to his house because my lawyer is working very hard at getting my protective order against him reinstated.


This is why you call the police when you get to the house!
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#70 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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Proof the GAL isn't very good. Overnights for a seven month old? Not typical. She should have been up in arms about the traumatic forced overnights all this last week and she isn't -WHY? Usually child is a year old with good judges and if child hasn't seen dad in a while the move to overnights usually starts with incrementally increasing time with dad, but now that he has had the child for 9 full days and nights there is no way to argue that its needed. Suppose the judge looks down on you for being foolish enough to think that just because you and your lawyer wrote a letter it actually meant there was an agreement. Without your ex and his lawyer's signature on it that paper is worth about the same as a used tissue to a judge. As a PP said, her ex used to issue letters to her from his lawyer with what he wanted all the time. She was under no obligation to follow them and neither is your ex. Women in custody disputes with hostile ex's have to get tough and get smart real quick because the system isn't a very good one!

Yes, well said. The GAL suggesting overnights for a 7 month old makes me question her too. Also that she was not really upset at what this baby would be going through being abruptly ripped from her home.

The agreement is not going to mean anything I'm afraid, if it were an issue his attorney would never advocate for him to keep the child. Never. His attorney has a plan and I would be very aggressive and ready for a fight if I were you and there is no way I would wait until Thursday to get my child.
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#71 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 05:59 PM
 
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[quote=homewithtwinsmama;10213373]
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Originally Posted by Sugar&Spice View Post
I can't go to his house because my lawyer is working very hard at getting my protective order against him reinstated.


This is why you call the police when you get to the house!
Yes!
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#72 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:01 PM
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I don't see how any of this can look good on him. Regardless of the fact that he managed to successfully care for our daughter. He still did a very dishonest thing.
I'm not saying this just to sound callous, although I'm sure it will sound that way. I don't see how this looks all that good on you, if he wants to paint you badly. He could say any number of things, and the fact that you haven't done whatever it takes to get your child back is going to look less-than-stellar for you.

It's difficult to say that you are scared of him and your child is too young to be away from mama on overnights when you allowed him to have her for 9 days.
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#73 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just because her fathers' had her for nine days doesnt mean that the judge is going to grant him joing custody IMO. THe GAL and attorney that I refer to knowt he judge and are familiar with his rulings . They seem to think that he will be looked down for not following through with an agreement.

But I understand what everyone on here is saying. It's not looking so good for me that he had her for nine days. I had her for two straight months before that though. I'm reading about the best interests of the child . Number one is where they reside now... but number two .. is where they've been for the LONGEST most recent period of time. Which would be with me. The GAL clearly feels like she needs to be in my primary custody now..and in the final hearing set sometime for March.

At any rate, there isn't anything I can do at this point. I've done everything I was supposed to. I complied with the GALS visitations, I followed thru with my end of the deal, and I haven't went irrational. It's extremely hard holding it together and all I do sometimes is cry for my baby but I am finding the strength I need to pull it together so I can make this the best case possible in court. I know that most of you think I've went about this the wrong way. Hopefully listening to the GAL and attorney doesn't cost me my baby. But at least I know for sure that the cops wouldn't have gotten involved. I just talked to the officer that instated the protective order that was placed back in november. He said that it's a civil matter without a court order.
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#74 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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But if I wouldn't have agreed to some visitation with her father during this period up until court then it would've lookd bad on me... parental alienation and such. That was told to me by lawyers and the GAL.

Ok, look i did not allow my ex to see the kids when i left because i felt like if he could hurt me then he could hurt them too. It took two months for my ex to find me and then another month for the first hearing. The judge looked at me like i was protecting my kids and the mediator ruled that parental alienation was not a factor because i constantly tried to work things out with him. My ex was granted supervised visits. You say that you are working on a protective order. Those orders protect mom and baby. If i was afraid of someone i sure as he** would not let him take my baby and sit back while my lawyer spends 2 weeks working on getting me an order of protection. You have proven to the courts that you are not afraid of letting dad take the baby and dad has proven he can care for her for days. I would not listen to that lawyer or GAL because in my opinion they just helped the father's case.
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#75 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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I'm not and never had been breastfeeding.



I am personally afraid of my ex but I don't have a fear that he will hurt our daughter.
I know that during this time when he was working that he probably had his mother watching her, which my lawyer will also address in court. So it's not that he's capable of being a full custodial parent, he's not. I have been legally advised to not go over there and do anything to make me look crazy since we are trying to get the protective order back in place.

I am failing to see how a mother trying to see her baby who has been kept from her for over a week could in any way be crazy. As long as you aren't a raving loon and have witnesses you simply look like a mama watching out for her baby's best interests.

And I know for certain that the father would NOT return her, he doesn't have to legally. My lawyer couldn't get in to see the judge til our court date on thursday. I do know that the judge is going to allow him to ask for the motion for temp. custody and the GAl i going to go before the judge prior to all this to talk to him about what happened with the agreement.
Once again, thanks. Ill be back with you guys on Thursday.

And please know that if I had any doubt that my baby wasn't being taken care of I would be over there to get her in a heart beat.

You could have gone to his mother's when the child was there and gotten her back. She clearly had no rights to keep the child from you. I am amazed that if you think he is violent you assume your child is safe. Many men who abuse women don't begin the violence against the child until they begin to exert will, begin to talk, get to be tantruming toddlers. Just by his violent history with you, he is at risk of being a child abuser as well. I think you need to wake up and think ahead a bit. How would he react to a typical three year old morning where they refuse to eat, dress, speak disrespectfully, make a mess they won't clean up? I would be insisting my attorney make his violence and criminal history front and center for insisting on supervised visitation. Did you get any recommendations on these attorneys you have been using from local shelters or women's groups? They usually know who are smart and proactive and which don't take the threats seriously enough.
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#76 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never said that she is in danger or that he isn't capable of keeping her overnights. We lived together for five months with her and he helped take care of her in all aspects of childcare.

I just think that he should only get one night .. something along the lines that the GAL is recommending. Trust me, the GAL is very upset but she is not directly involved til she makes her recommendation on the 10th since there is no longer a protective order in place. She did however, advise him that this wasn't going to look good in the courts' eyes. No matter how it looks on me,it's going to look worse on him. He is the one that didn't follow orders. I did everything I was supposed to do. I even called the police as advised on this board and they can't do anything. It is not advisable for me to go over to his house. He doesn't have to , and certainly wouldn't return her. It's documented that I've called several times saying that I haven't agreed to any modification of the agreement and asking him when he would be returning her. His lawyers' defense is going to be that there never was an agreement. I already know that. She already told my lawyer that. But my lawyers' response is then why did it get followed up until the second to last visit, according to the way it was written up ?
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#77 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If he would've abused the baby then I could get the emergency order but since he never has, I can't


This is all new to me. I guess I did wrong by listening to the lawyer and the GAL. I just never thought they would mislead me. I guess I am naiive. So you guys are probably right on the outcome. There is no way they could prove me unfit so I guess he just totally screwed me over, lied, and deceived me, and he is going to come out looking like father of the year, with attorney of the year right beside him. I guess I am doomed for joint custody . That's just not the way things are being described to me. Everyone is saying this is going to look so bad on him that he will be lucky if he gets the one day a week.
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#78 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:11 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Sugar&Spice;10213331]The judge almost has to take into consideration the way that my ex bf obtained my daughter. He broke an agreement, no matter whether it was court ordered or not, there is documentation to support it. My previous lawyer, my current lawyer, and the GAL all have copies of the aggreement. He almost cannot deny there not being an agreement because he was following it until last tuesday.

I can write down anything I want and have my lawyer sign it. The other party is under zero obligation to honor or even acknowledge it. You seriously need to come to a reality check! You had NO AGREEMENT. He will say that your attorney sent something he didn't agree with and therefore didn't sign it and he will be right. Just because he followed along for a time doesn't mean you can enforce it now. He can claim he was trying to cooperate, but realized it wasn't working in the best interests of his relationship to his child. It wasn't court ordered and however many copies are out there, none of them have his signature or his lawyers on it. Judges ignore GAL recommendations all the time.
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#79 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:14 PM
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I've never said that she is in danger or that he isn't capable of keeping her overnights. We lived together for five months with her and he helped take care of her in all aspects of childcare.
But YOU are afraid of him??

I would NEVER let my child go with somebody who I had a protective order against or was afraid of!! : I just do not understand this, unless the protective order is purely strategic. In which case it's going to be completely transparent and won't work.
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#80 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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Ok how bout this, you are just doing what your lawyer and the GAL said to help your case,right? Well what do you think his lawyer is advising him considering he has now just kept that baby for such a long time? He has a lawyer too and considering he hasn't given the baby back i guarantee his lawyer is telling him not to. DOn't you think if it was going to look bad in the court's eyes then the lawyer would have told him to give back the baby immediately? I bet they have a plan, so be ready.
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#81 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the reality check.

I try to be nice and do the right thing and I can see clearly that this is going to come back to bite me in the butt.

I'm sick to my stomach and at this point I guess it's all out of my hands.. I messed up by agreeing to anything. But even at the time of the agreement my old lawyer said if he didnt give her back it would look bad on him. She also pressured me into doing it by saying that it would look back if I didnt allow any visitation from mid december til jan 10th.
I guess they will let him keep her and turn around and grant me visitation at this point. My lawyer wants me to come in wednesday to make a list of things that prove I am the primary caregiver,which is easily done. I have all her shot records. drs' appointments, health records, im the one with he SS card, BC, and everything related to her care. I've done over 90% of all the tending to her, changing,feeding, bathing, dressing. I have documents for just about everything. But all they are going to look at is these nine days and just let her keep residing with him. My lawyer seems so competent. I can't believe it. I really feel like I've screwed our lives up now.
I guess someone needed to break it to me. All my family and friends are being so supportive and attorney and GAL have me feeling like I have nothing to fear, but this paints a different picture. One that sadly enough , is probably closer to actuality.
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#82 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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You wanted advice on custody, we have given it to you. We have all BTDT. Personal experiences with varying judges and lawyers and GAL's. Everyone here has told you what they have done and what works. In my experience sitting back and remaining in compliance of whatever a judge/lawyer or GAL says when it goes against what is ok for you will get you nowhere. I had to fight and educate myself on my situation and that is how i got sole custody.If that meant lots of ex parte hearings because we didn't agree with what the judge ordered then i did it. I fought hard and didn't stop until i was satisifed with the judgement made.
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#83 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Avani-
I already know their plan. It was told to my lawyer. They are going to claim there was never an agreement.


No the PO wasn't a strategy. In his criminal case the pictures didn't get entered as evidence and no one could seem to tell me why. But we have the pics now and when we go back to court for the PO appeal the officer will be presenting him.
Everyone involved says that if hes never laid a hand on the child then he cant be treated as though he would. Plus since he got off of those charges it made it harder for me to request supervised visitation. I truly do not feel that he would hurt our daughter .
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#84 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No don't get me wrong. I appreciate all the advice you have given me. Its just an awakening .. Now I don't know whether to trust my lawyer or what.. Whether to call him up and tell him that I think this is going to backfire.. I just don't want to mess myself up in case my attorney does have a plan and is as sure as he says that I will have her back Thursday. It's just a situation where I really have to make sure I'm doing as I should. Terrifying situation.
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#85 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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#86 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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If he would've abused the baby then I could get the emergency order but since he never has, I can't

I think others here clearly explained that a mother who feels in physical jeopardy can very well get TRO that includes mama and baby. Violent men are unpredictable and most judges would err on the side of caution until there is time to gather facts, have psych evals, etc. At least two women here told you that they were able to do so because of personal abuse they experienced. You don't know you can't because your lawyer never tried.

This is all new to me. I guess I did wrong by listening to the lawyer and the GAL. I just never thought they would mislead me. I guess I am naiive. So you guys are probably right on the outcome. There is no way they could prove me unfit so I guess he just totally screwed me over, lied, and deceived me, and he is going to come out looking like father of the year, with attorney of the year right beside him. I guess I am doomed for joint custody . That's just not the way things are being described to me. Everyone is saying this is going to look so bad on him that he will be lucky if he gets the one day a week.
I think that it is possible that you might get a judge who does think he was a jerk about keeping her this week and reward you with full temporary custody with minimal visitation for him. Course it is possible, judges are totally unpredictable. That doesn't mean he will permanently give you full custody at the final hearing. You don't know if his lawyer has a golden tongue and can make this sound like it was a necessary act of a desparate father.

I think many of us here just believe that you were naive to trust one lawyer and one GAL without looking at all your options within the law(a PP even went and looked up VA law and showed you that your lawyer didn't give you all the facts). You don't seem trusting other mothers who are telling you that you have NO guarantees even if you had an actual enforceable agreement. That by not going over, not asking for your child back, not getting an emergency hearing, you may have made it easier for a judge to look favorably on joint physical AND residential custody. And whether he is a good dad or not, splitting a baby in two places just isn't developmentally appropriate. It also makes it harder if he later becomes abusive of an older child if he has had so much time with her, to get the custody changed if he has joint custody at the outset.

It is not advisable for me to go over to his house. He doesn't have to , and certainly wouldn't return her.


No, but then you could say (esp. if you took a witness each time who could say baby cried or reached for you if he answered the door with her) you tried to see your child every single day and were rebuffed AND if he did get threatening or try to hurt you then the police would have had to come and if he was acting crazy or violent then they may well have handed the baby to you. Just going over and asking to see your child isn't crazy, not if you act normally and keep your voice at a normal level. Saying you can't get a TRO because you did so is crazy. Most mother's would face down a hungry lion to get their child back even if they would be eaten. So you say, yes, you were very afraid, but were more concerned with the trauma your daughter was feeling not seeing you for over a week with no way of understanding why and felt compelled to try to ease what you were sure was a very confusing and upsetting time for her...


It's documented that I've called several times saying that I haven't agreed to any modification of the agreement and asking him when he would be returning her. His lawyers' defense is going to be that there never was an agreement. I already know that. She already told my lawyer that. But my lawyers' response is then why did it get followed up until the second to last visit, according to the way it was written up ?[/QUOTE]

"He was trying to be cooperative with you but realized that he wasn't getting enough time with his daughter and she was forgetting him because she is so young." This is so easy a non-lawyer could figure out how to trash the non-agreement agreement you are counting on. Hindsight is 20/20, but you came here to ask for advice from women who have been there and seem to discount almost all of it.

If his lawyer pulls some dirty tricks on Thursday and your lawyer doesn't mount a vigorous defense/counterattack(and based on your description so far I am not very impressed) then you may just need to look a little harder and longer for a new one before March. A great lawyer makes all the difference in a lot of cases. This is why I paid for my friend to have a private attorney when she got some legal aid flunky who was just letting her daughter sit in a home with her molester cousin and a grandma determined to circumcise her as she had all her own daughters--going so far as to fly them back to Somalia at age 8 to do what she couldn't legally do here. It wasn't until we got a lawyer who took the threats seriously that we got her protected from both by court order and back to joint custody that she had lost using the crappy attorney. Just something to consider.
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#87 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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Wait a minute, listen...i did not get my restraining order granted even with a bunch of witnesses but i was still granted sole custody with supervised visits to him because i showed the judge i considered him a danger enough to keep him from the kids. The judge saw this. Your lawyer telling you to not keep the babe from him because you weren't granted the PO in the first place is a bad call.

We gave you a reality check but don't despair. The big thing here is that you can never truly know how a judge will rule. Don't rely on the lawyer and GAL's words. Keep fighting and don't give up.Even if the judge gave him more custody tell your lawyer to file an ex parte and say you don't agree. You have the right to appeal anything. But you can't sit back you will have to fight.
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#88 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One point I want to mention again, My PO was dropped when he got out of all of his criminal charges. So therefore I didn't get anymore supervised visitation. Now all that may change after I go to court for my appeal.

No I am taking everything everyone is saying 100% seriously.

I got rid of the first lawyer that got me to agree to that arrangment to begin with . The new one said he never would've had me agree to it but since it was in place and everyone was aware of it I needed to go through with it.

Don't think that I don't care about my DD. I want her back and every part of me aches every second. Im just doing what I'm being informed by my lawyer and GAL will work in my favor.
I don't fear that the Ex will hurt my daughter or I would be knocking down the door. No one else involves fears this either.
As far as them giving him full custody because he tricked me and didn't bring her back and broke an agreement, that would be a lousy ruling, but I am starting to realize it's a possibility.
Something I would definitely appeal
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#89 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. I keep checking this thread for updates and everytime I read it, I get a sick feeling. I'm so sad for you.

I wonder if you could call your lawyer and ask what you can do with regards to your MIL being the one watching your daughter. Can you get her from there with the police?

I'm praying for a good outcome on Thursday.
Lisa

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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#90 of 172 Old 01-07-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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So your new lawyer told you he wouldn't have advised the first recommended visitation agreement but to stick with it since it was already in place but in all actuality this isn't even a legal agreement and you took that sh*t? He told you it was not a good agreement, which you knew, and then he told you to do it anyhow and it wasn't even legally binding. That is one messed up lawyer. I wouldn't have done a single visitation while i was also appealing a PO against a man. You do have that right and it is even outlined in the VA law. You aren't married and she is your child until an agreement is in place. Be ready for his lawyer to attack you. I too would go to MIL's or his place if MIL is watching and take my baby back. That lady has no legal rights to the baby and if you went to get her and called the police the legal rights are with you and not the MIL.

Just don't give up custody battles are excruciating we here all have been through it. You will get through this.
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