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Old 10-24-2011, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:30 AM
 
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Before you DO anything, I would seek the advice of a lawyer.  Find a good family law attorney in your area, and talk to them about your options.  Its possible you can give up child support without his permission if you try to serve him.  Anyway, find a lawyer before you do anything.

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Old 10-24-2011, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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Right, SSM, but there is no $ for a lawyer. Maybe I could do "call a lawyer night" which they have here 1x/mo tho, or just have a consultation if they do that for free, but Iam going to have to do the footwork andfiling documents for sure.
Last time we went to court, the lawyers conveniently used every penny of 9G and left me hanging with temp orders which have been standing ever since coz he lost interest. We have been lying low since which has worked until now as the state decided to review his CS.
Sigh. Also, on the court docs it says IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF and I. Never married him but does this mean the state sees us as legally married? Does that nullify my marriage with dh? Does that mean dh's income doesnt count toward her support? Cozmy income alone isnt enough for a judge to end his CS.
argh. I know yall are not lawyers just hoping for some btdt advice or mamas to weigh in with some encouraging wisdom. I really am intimidated to deal with this!


 

No.  It just means they made an error.  You need to go to the clerk and ask what to do if you can't afford a lawyer.  Most of the time, a state won't let you waive child support b/c its not for you, its for the child - although since you are married and your dh wants to adopt you may be able to if you can prove abandonment (but since your ex has been paying child support you might not be able to).

 

TPR is pretty serious, and very complicated - definitely NOT something I would want to do myself - and I AM a lawyer (but I don't do family law - I hate family court with the fire of 1000000000 suns).

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Old 10-24-2011, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:27 PM
 
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I have no advice, but we are looking to do the same thing shortly.  Ex is in Colorado too, we are in Michigan and while he pays a decent amount, he refuses to call DD.   I wish you the best.


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Old 10-25-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Gah! Thanks for responding. TPR is really rough, huh? Gosh, I just was thinking if we could provevabandonment then he might not contest stepparent adoption.


He may not contest, especially since his child support obligations would come to an end.  And if he hasn't seen the child in years and years anyway, whats the difference?  But, some men don't want to do that, b/c it will tarnish their ego or reputation or some such thing.

 

And, I don't know how rough it will be in YOUR state - just that it can be very difficult.  I would say that you should find an attorney, and try to schedule a consultation with them.  Don't hire someone you aren't completely comfortable with, but also know that if you talk to someone who is very experienced in this particular area, you can ask them how easy it is in your state to do a step-parent adoption. 

 

Also, when you say you were passed off to CSE - is that child support enforcement?  Because they won't know a damn thing about step-parent adoption.  And, they won't stop collecting child support out of his paycheck without a court order, most likely anyway.

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Old 10-27-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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You should definitely talk to a lawyer. You don't necessarily need to have big money -- just get an hour consult and discuss what is going on. If you can live without the $83/month, then you can afford an hour of an attorney while still getting the money, right? She or he can let you know your options better than we can.


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Old 10-28-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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I agree that sometimes it is easier to tell the bio father to take the child support and leave us alone. 

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Old 10-29-2011, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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Well, what is the specific wording of the law?

 

DH did some of his own family court document writing/filing (though I have to say he never went to a hearing unrepresented).  And the work he did, plus a couple ways he demanded that his lawyer argue his case (in spite of the lawyer's insistence about "how things are always done") were really pivotal to him winning.  Sometimes, I think attorneys, judges, cops, prosecutors - the whole lot! - can get mired in "standards of practice" that are not always rooted in any law or precedent, but simply "the way things are done" - and the need to get along with each other, professionally; and it is sometimes possible to get a result you're discouraged from hoping for, by doing your research and arguing that a strict, literal interpretation of the law is in your child's best interest.  

 

Both the blessing and the curse of family court is that judges have a lot of discretion to do things differently in each case, based on what they believe is in the best interest of that particular, unique child.  Then again, some judges don't seem to give a rat's behind about what's right or in the best interests of the child, only what's expedient; the path of least resistance.  In that case, the pushy parent who's actually showing up in court has a distinct advantage!

 

Do your homework, three times over.  Not only should you be able to recite the relevant law(s) from memory, but you need to know as much relevant case law as possible (because that can legitimately change how laws are enforced by the courts, even though it can take a while for the wording of those laws to catch up with practice).  And then carefully prepare your argument, that - based on everything you've read - the ONLY reasonable conclusion the judge can draw is that it's in your daughter's best interest to be free from the father who hasn't seen her in years, and to be adopted and financially supported by the father who has consistently chosen to be there.  Don't forget to research the law about what factors your state requires a judge to consider, in determining what's in a child's best interest.  Craft your argument around those factors.


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Old 10-31-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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Were I live you just need a mailing address. We give the address of a friend of mine that lives in a very secured apartment 
 

 

 

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Old 11-01-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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In Ohio, for step parent adoption it is an either or for support/visitation...but

 

 

It has to be the fault of the parent who you are seeking to terminate rights against...basically, if you agree to no support, then you cannot use his failure to support you as a reason against him for the step parent adoption.  If his abuse is the reason that he has no visitation rights with his child, even if there is a restraining order against him, then that can be used against him, because it is fault he has no contact, even though it is court order (his abuse).

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Old 11-02-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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I did not address the step parent adoption...because I realize that is the long view and we are more likely to get there...if he is not paying any support.
Right now, I am just weighing the cost/benefit of interacting with him to get him to sign a stipulation and him knowing my address or letting them raise the support but thus avoiding contact with him . . . I just hate to be dealing with this all over again!
Does anyone know how to keep him from learning my address?...

If you pursue him not paying support, I don't see how he could later be faulted for not providing it.  My husband voluntarily waived support, when he got custody and he certainly would not be entitled to pursue having me adopt his son, based on his ex's failure to provide any financial support for 4 years.  Again, you really need to know the exact wording of the law.  Does it have to be no contact and no support, or is one sufficient?  If no contact is sufficient (which would be logical, since there is another man willing to take on the legal responsibility of support), why take risks trying to pursue unnecessary additional criteria?

 

Also, based on what you've said above, is there any chance your ex can defend himself re no contact, by claiming you blocked it, by concealing your address and contact info.?  If he claims he has wanted contact, but that you have intentionally "avoid"ed it (your word), you could be the one in trouble with the courts.

 

I'm not judging you or jumping to conclusions about your situation, I'm just trying to reflect back to you how what you said sounds, so you can consider it and proceed thoughtfully.


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Old 11-04-2011, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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I know, I know. However, I was too slow on the CSE no location process and he does have my address now as it is printed on both our copies of the papers, as do I now have his address. Can you blame me for avoiding someone who bashed my head against a ceramic tile floor repeatedly til I thought he was going to kill me, though? No. Neither did I want him around my daughter--I am not the only woman whose life he threatened, and I honestly feel it's only a matter of time til that kind of conflict would happen with any woman in his life, even his daughter. But you are right that the courts may not see it that way.

 

However, I did always forward my mail to my new location and for years kept my name in the phone book (it's not any longer, though). Do you think that's enough to show I didn't "hide" our contact info though I wasn't proactively contacting him and asking him to take parenting time? IDK, that worries me and I wonder if "laying low" is better and avoiding going to court even for the stepparent adoption proceedings. 'Coz what if I get grilled anyway? What if he spins it to where I "withheld" her from him and he's just such a nice guy that always wanted to be involved and it's my fault and by the way, let's set up new parenting time order? angry.gif Scares the crap outta me, the idea of dd being forced to spend time with him and me having to make her go and drop her off and everything *shudder*

 

But if we would sign his consent to the adoption, it would free him from the child support . . . I guess that is my one and only card I have as far as motivating him to cooperate.

 


I think that would depend on what he went to prison for.  Don't post it here, I wouldn't want anyone to be able to identify you in real life on this board (since its not private!), but if he went to prison for something non-violent (I don't know, embezzlment maybe) they might not hold it against him.  But if it was for a violent crime a judge may think twice about giving him visits, and if he asks for visits YOU tell the judge that you agree, but that ANY visits MUST be supervised due to his long absence from your dd's life and that she shouldn't be forced to go with someone she doesn't know and doesn't remember just so he can have his ego intact.

 

However you do it, tread carefully.

 

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Old 11-04-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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I just want to say that for getting your ducks in a row for adoption it can take quite a lot. I am guessing that in order for you to let your DH adopt you will most likely have to involuntarily terminate your ex's parental rights. In my state that means three or more consecutive months of no child support and no visitation. I would double check and see if there may be a time frame like there is in my state. Also if you have any children with your DH, the judge looks at your family unit and will most likely want to preserve that as much as possible. As far as "laying low," I wouldn't worry about it. After seven years of no contact with his child, but still paying the child support, a judge will be very aware that he is the absent parent. He could have found you, but he didn't try. I highly doubt that he informed you of all the times he has moved over the past seven years. 

 

Good luck!


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Old 11-05-2011, 05:27 AM
 
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Can you blame me for avoiding someone who bashed my head against a ceramic tile floor repeatedly til I thought he was going to kill me, though?

Of course not!  One of the things that most infuriates me about those women who falsely cry "abuse", to "win" a custody dispute is that they have created a legal climate where judges don't assume, "If a man beat the mother, maybe he shouldn't be around the small, helpless child..."  Instead, judges think, "Well, she said 'abuse', but who knows what that really means, these days?  Plenty of women say that just to make their ex look bad.  I'll cover my bases and keep him away from her, but I can't keep him from his kid until he actually does something to the kid..."  

 

If other moms would reserve the term "abuse" for those who truly need protection from a man, then it would be safe to assume a man accused of bashing Mom's head against a tile floor shouldn't be given the chance to do the same to the baby!  (Sorry...my husband was married to one of those.  Every time she wanted a leg up in court, or needed to defend denying visitation, it was 'abuse', 'violence', 'stalking' all over the place.  But when pressed for details, or called on her wildly fluctuating stories, it boiled down to her claiming to feel 'abused', 'stalked' and 'potentially threatened with violence', if DH tried to stay in contact with their child when she wanted him out of the picture.  I'm sure she doesn't realize it, but in the grand scheme of things, she is part of your problem, being able to legally and satisfactorily protect your child.)

 

I am not the only woman whose life he threatened...

Don't underestimate the relevance of that!  Patterns can matter, in court.  Even if you don't know any of the women, in the unlikely event you had to argue against him resuming visitation, it's significant to be able to truthfully say, "Every other woman he's had a long-term relationship with has also accused him of violence."  Again, family court judges have a lot of discretion.  They're not sending a guy off to prison, so they don't have to meet the same standards of proof as if they were.  So much of family court is how you present things.

 

However, I do not think that will be necessary.  I think, if your name has been in the phone book all this time and he's made no effort to see the child, then when he receives notice that his C/S will double, he will be all too eager to get out from under it.  

 

You need to be ready to act quickly, though.  If he's a creep, then that time when he first finds out about the C/S increase will be critical.  He will feel angry and powerless.  He will assume you orchestrated this in some underhanded way, to get back at him.  He needs to know immediately that:

A- This was out of your hands - the bureaucracy did it automatically;

B- He has a way out.  You will fix all C/S problems, if he will agree to the adoption.  

You can't control how quickly the C/S withholding is increased.  And I don't know how long the adoption will take.  If you wait to tell him A & B, he may want to show he still has some power, by demanding time with the child, if he's forced to fork over so much of his paycheck.

 

Even if there's a gap (between the C/S increase and the adoption), you could offer to him - now - that you'll return the money after he signs off on the adoption.  That's not a bribe.  If he chooses to remain the legal father, then it's in your daughter's best interest to keep his support money.  But if your husband becomes her legal father, it would be OK to return the money...but not until everything is signed and certain!

 

However, I did always forward my mail to my new location and for years kept my name in the phone book (it's not any longer, though). Do you think that's enough to show I didn't "hide" our contact info though I wasn't proactively contacting him and asking him to take parenting time? IDK, that worries me and I wonder if "laying low" is better and avoiding going to court even for the stepparent adoption proceedings. 'Coz what if I get grilled anyway? What if he spins it to where I "withheld" her from him and he's just such a nice guy that always wanted to be involved and it's my fault and by the way, let's set up new parenting time order? angry.gif Scares the crap outta me, the idea of dd being forced to spend time with him and me having to make her go and drop her off and everything *shudder*

 

I think it is relevant that you kept your name in the phone book.  Can you prove that?  If HE stopped showing up and then went to prison, no, I don't think anyone would say it was your responsibility to track him down and beg him to visit his daughter.  If he were to complain that you haven't been in the phone book recently, you could say, "Funny.  I had no idea.  But I must admit I haven't checked recently.  For so many years, I was in the phone book and he never tried to arrange visitation, so naturally after a while, it stopped being a primary concern of mine.  Had he cared enough to file something with the court, to try to get access to his child, he would have been successful.  I've certainly never tried to conceal my whereabouts, or avoid being served with anything from the court!"  Then the ball would go back in his court, where it belongs:  "So, if you wanted visitation and you had trouble finding her, why DIDN'T you ask the court to intervene?  We had no trouble notifying her, when we reassessed C/S."

 

But you can't very well lay low.  If you do nothing, his C/S will double and he will be angry.  Unless he earns so much that he won't notice (which is doubtful), he will react somehow.  You need to get involved and help channel his reaction in a direction that's good for you daughter, not destructive.


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Old 11-05-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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However, I do not think that will be necessary.  I think, if your name has been in the phone book all this time and he's made no effort to see the child, then when he receives notice that his C/S will double, he will be all too eager to get out from under it.  

 

You need to be ready to act quickly, though.  If he's a creep, then that time when he first finds out about the C/S increase will be critical.  He will feel angry and powerless.  He will assume you orchestrated this in some underhanded way, to get back at him.  He needs to know immediately that:

A- This was out of your hands - the bureaucracy did it automatically;

B- He has a way out.  You will fix all C/S problems, if he will agree to the adoption.  

You can't control how quickly the C/S withholding is increased.  And I don't know how long the adoption will take.  If you wait to tell him A & B, he may want to show he still has some power, by demanding time with the child, if he's forced to fork over so much of his paycheck.

 


This. I had a situation where XH started an application in court to be excused from paying child support for four years. When I received my copy, I emailed him and proposed that DH adopt the kids, to end his obligation permanently, and tell him that I'd agree to his parents continued contact with the kids, as well as his own contact with the kids on the same terms that were laid out for him previously (he's chosen not to follow through on what's required of him, so he hasn't seen the kids for nearly 3 years now) His response was about needing to get legal advice. It turned out that he hadn't made his application properly, so it wasn't filed and we never went to court. Eventually family maintenance caught up with him, forced him to start paying support again and he's up to date now. We didn't get to do the adoption, but there has been NO fallout from putting it on the table. You don't have anything to lose by making the offer, send him a letter and see what he says!

 


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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