The courts are definitely open today where I am - did you visit the courthouse or are these rumors? Generally, I think the courts are open whenever the banks are.
If you cannot see a judge, you should start checking into going with your children, to file where they live for emergency custody, and find out where they are living. As their parent, you have the right to know where they are living, or staying, at any given time. You need to go to the place they live, to make sure that you know where it is, b/c your ex isn't telling you.
You need to follow up on this, so that your ex cannot follow through with his threats.
Then buy yourself a ticket, mama, and go back to your hometown to pursue this matter firsthand with CPS and the local courts.
Your choice - and your fault, if something bad happens.
no stranger on the internet can really help you. You need help IRL. I am surprised you didn't spend the day camped in any lawyers office.
Our intent is not to kick you, and you're not down YET. You haven't put your kids on that plane alone YET. You still have time to decide to do your best to protect them.
You have family, in town, for a place to stay and emotional support while you handle this. In the universe of parents who are dealing with desperate loser exes, that makes you LUCKY. You are an adult, you have a credit card and a driver's license. You can choose to use them to get your butt to the airport and go back with your kids - not to kidnap them, but to be on hand to participate in the CPS investigation, the issues with the school, the hearing in the current jurisdiction, etc. If you are proactive, then something is going to bust wide open here, and you should be on hand to take custody when it happens.
Sounds like a good idea. Maybe spend the time driving to help your kids instead of searching for answers here? Since flying isn't an option and you now have you name on the back accounts I would think that would be the next best step. Assuming your current husband isn't still "dragging his feet"?
No, but the fact is, you waited too long to contact anyone. Thats hard to hear, and I'm not trying to be harsh.
You CAN correct whats wrong. Your avatar says you live in georgia, which means a flight to NY (I think I read thats where your kids live? Maybe I'm wrong) is fairly cheap. I would do (almost) anything to get on one - lie, cheat, steal, whatever so long as it doesn't involve violence. Borrow from family if your husband won't let you use the money. Can he not take care of your other 2 children while you're gone? Are your other children very young and still nursing? If thats whats holding you back, thats not as important as your older children having a stable life. It's very hard to get custody from long distance if you can't be at court appearances (I'm sure Jeannine will agree with me on that - her husband went through a terrible custody fight from 3,000 miles away).
It's a very hard thing to do, to leave your family to fight for your kids - its uncomfortable and its scary. I completely understand that - its a very scary thing. I was terrified of losing my son when my ex and I broke up - absolutely petrified. I was so scared I lost 25lbs in 3 weeks, and I looked like a skeleton. But I fought, and I won. If you fight, you might win. If you don't fight, you will most certainly lose. Which one is scarier? Thats what drove me to fight - fighting and losing was terrifying, but NOT fighting and losing was even MORE scary. Fighting means doing the uncomfortable, very scary, terrifying thing sometimes.
Certainly, the GF - as described by the OP - sounds like an atrocious and unacceptable influence for a pre-teen girl and the Mom is right to want to cut off or at least restrict exposure to her! My point was only that the GF hasn't DONE anything to the kids that would make a judge say, "Well OF COURSE you ignored the court orders and refused to send the kids home after Spring Break! Who wouldn't?" If the OP were to keep the kids and try to justify it - in part - with her concerns/complaints about the GF, she would come across as a bitter ex who's jealous of the new woman. I'm not saying that's all there is to it! I'm just saying it matters - a LOT - how the OP presents herself to the court.
Unless I've missed something:
* For years, the Mom generally knew where the kids were and had reasonable access to them.
* Just before Spring Break, Dad became reluctant to disclose his new GF's address - and threatened to keep the kids from contacting Mom - in response to Mom trying to negotiate with him to get custody back (keep in mind, she had moved out of state) and Mom also expressing disapproval of the GF. Mom makes it clear to us that she has little regard for Dad as a parent and believes he only cares about keeping the kids for financial reasons (i.e., he doesn't really want them). No doubt, he has picked up on her disdain for him, even if she hasn't expressed it in so many words. So, he feels insulted AND threatened with the loss of his kids. And even lackluster parents usually feel genuine love and attachment to their kids and are genuinely upset by the thought of them moving out of state.
* Ultimately, Dad DID put the kids on the plane to visit Mom.
* Mom has been trying to figure out how to keep from sending the kids back to him. In response, he has threatened to cut off her contact with them. People say things when they're scared and angry, but they don't always follow through. Mom doesn't even send them back 'til tomorrow, so what he'll actually DO remains to be seen.
* Mom has initiated a CPS investigation. In response Dad has been even more reluctant for people to know where he lives. But he IS communicating with CPS and meeting with them. Once the kids return, he'll have to choose: cooperate and let CPS visit, or go into hiding with the kids. Well, WISHING you could run from the cops to avoid a ticket and actually throwing caution to the wind and DOING it are 2 very different things! Same with CPS. He has no history of "disappearing" and moving the kids state-to-state while Mom uses private detectives to track him down. Moreover, Mom describes him as a lazy, path-of-least-resistance sort of person. Going into hiding with kids requires a lot of EFFORT. Especially with kids old enough to figure out how to contact their other parent, on their own! It is very unlikely he would take that course.
* Mom knows the current GF. Between that, the CPS worker and her own children (who can find ways to call, e-mail or Facebook her, even if Dad doesn't want them to), Mom will almost surely wind up with the GF's address, soon.
* Dad is still communicating with Mom.
Her ex is saying things to try to make the OP feel as beleaguered and insecure as he does, right now. It's childish. It's wrong. It's human. The OP needs to deal with the larger issue of getting custody and not react to every threat from her ex as though the worst possible scenario has actually happened. He wants her to panic and be ineffective. Her kids need her not to.
Amtrak: Savannah Georgia to New York's Penn Station round trip $365 for one adult, available Monday. Travel time is 18 hours so you'd be losing 2 days to travel.
Cost for you and 2 children would be $730, tickets available Tuesday.
Just to give you a feel for another option.
If you do nothing else, OP, please please please do NOT enable your ex by having one your relatives or friends pick the kids up at the airport. If your ex has no valid ID, that HELPS you.
If you put your kids on a plane alone, call the CPS worker you spoke to and inform him that you've sent the kids back and that their might be trouble at the airport because of the ID issue. Then call the arriving airport, explain the situation (ongoing CPS investigation, homeless, possibly no ID, here's who to contact if there's trouble) and give them the number of the CPS agent.
Maybe they'll give him the kids anyway. But maybe they won't. Worth a try.
What I don't understand is why your children, who aren't toddlers, don't know the address of where they have been staying with the GF and their father that you can't get an address for?
I would also instruct them to speak with their teacher/guidance counselor/principal at school daily about where they spent the night, if they ate or not and any abuse they may have endured. All that will be provided to CPS as well for use in the investigation.
Of course I would tell my DH to shove his thumb up his butt and get over it.. you're fighting for your childrens' safety and security here to prevent any further mental, physical or emotional damage and it's worth every cent to do that. That's my opinion for what it's worth.
In the short term, make sure your children know where to get help if they need it. Tell them about all the people in their life that can help make sure they are getting what they need: school personnel (teachers, guidance counselors, asst principals, school psychologists, etc) are all good choices that they should have access to every weekday. Give them the number for CPS, and tell them they can call if they feel like their dad needs help keeping them safe. Make sure they know how to call 911 if they feel like they are not safe and are in immediate danger. Make sure they know your phone number and help them think of places they could go to call you if they can't call from home. Give them a prepaid calling card so they can call you from school, from a pay phone, friend's house wherever. Make sure they have your phone number written down, even if they have it memorized.
If you can't be there with your kids, make sure they know where they can get help and support if and when they need it. Call the school and talk to the people there who can help make sure they are safe and who can help dad take care of them to the best of his ability. MAke sure your kids are on people's radar so they can help you keep an eye on them while they are away from you.
In the long term, listen to Jeanine's advice. She not only thinks clearly and rationally, she knows the system and she has BEEN THROUGH a long-distance custody fight and knows the system. She has good advice that comes from experience. She is straight-forward, and while her advice isn't always easy to hear, I think it is very, very accurate and she communicates very clearly.
I think this is an excellent point.
OP - your ex is trying to make you feel frustrated, he is trying to make sure you aren't able to stand up and fight (legally) for your kids. He does not have authority over you, and you can stick up for your kids. You can be strong. Now is the time to prove it to yourself!!
I just wanted to address this because it seems to continue to worry you. The court cannot tell you or your current husband where to live. You are adults and they have no jurisdiction to tell you you have to live in a particular place. ALL they have a say in is where the children live. So don't let your ex's threats about getting an emergency order to make you move or make your current husband leave his job worry you.
OP ~ i haven't read the whole thread and I really hope it's gotten figured out but I have been in a similar situation (though my kids only visited their dad) it is your job to protect them.Do not let him scare you and if he does try to take you through the mud you really have to stand your ground. these are your babies too! I really hope you didn't send them back to that situation. In a lot of states sending your children (even if its with a parent) into a bad situation<abusive/neglectful/dangerous> can get you in trouble too if something happens and you knew about it. you could both end up without the kids. just an FYI check the laws in the state they are in