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I am posting this here because some of you may have been in this situation, though this situation is reversed, and the laws are different from state to state, but I am hoping someone will to tell me something. I've already posted this in the FL/GA/AL thread, because my family is in Orlando, if I am in the wrong place, please let me know.<br>
I am going to try and make this very long story as short as possible. My bother and his wife have been "estranged" for 2.5 years. UGH... In that time my brother has not seen his children, dd/6 bio and ds/5 who he adopted after dw had an affair. Anyway, he has been unable to get any info from her mother and up until now he has not been able to afford a lawyer, she racked up debt, defaulted on loans, and he's been making child support payments. Rumours abound that she has been with an abusive BF, the father of her 3rd dc. Bro did go to court maybe 2 years ago for child support w/ our step dad, & I guess she looked fairly beat up. At that time I called CPS and they said I couldn't do anything from MA, where I am, understandable. Anyway to bring you all up to date... a few weeks ago, the daughter of a neighbor of theirs (from before all this a happened) received an invitation to Dd's b-day party (sometime in the next 2 weeks) so she passed it along to my Bro. He went to child protective services and told them that he now knew where they were or where they would be and could the proper authorities help him get them back. I guess when they had originally split up she was using meth and drinking, and for some reason there was a deal made during the separation agreement that she would go to rehab or go to jail and if she agreed to rehab my brother would agree to joint custody, however she never went to rehab and when the kids went back to her for a four day visit, she never returned them. Back to the present, today my bro went to CPS in Seminole county and the women that he dealt with was rude and curt and told him to go get a lawyer and take dw to court. SO then he went to Polk county (that is were they had lived before) and there he learned that dw, dd, and ds had all been hospitalized for abuse (a year ago) and that they had told a counselor that it was my bro that did it ( I assume that that is why the lady in Seminole responded the way she did) and I guess this was not the first time that this has happened where she, dw, has told them that it was my bro...who, I remind you, HAS NOT SEEN THEM IN 2.5 YEARS!!!! But from what I understand, the dw said it was "their father", with out clarifying who their father is. ? . SO, back to today, after going from court room to court room and eventually to an emergency hearing the Judge told him to come back in 24 days. What is that??? Come back in 24 days. My brother has been depressed and has felt completely defeated for the last 2.5 years and when he finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel, it's blocked by an oncoming train. What I believe he is going to have to do is hire a lawyer and worry about paying for it later. Apparently this BF of dw's has used my bothers name several times when getting busted for something. I don't know how he managed that. ? . But does anyone here have the name of a local or of any child abuse prevention advocacy group that might be able to intervene, or actually, that might advise my brother in what to do, because we are sure she will run again. I guess she's been to Alabama, where the BF's family is. This is Killing me, I am too far away and do not have the resources to help him, so I am asking for advise, please. If this should be posted elsewhere, please let me know, thanks.
 

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Wow, I'm so sorry your brother is going through this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I have also had a very bad experience with the Florida family courts system, so I'm afraid that I do not have concrete suggestions for you. What if he calls the United Way help line? In Texas is *211. I don't know if it's nationwide but perhaps??? If not that number, perhaps the United Way could help point him to a resource that would be able to at least guide him with better answers. I will add your family to my prayers, especially the kids as they are the real victims.<br><br>
Take deep breaths - they'll buy you a few precious moments of time to collect your thoughts. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Oh man. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so very much for your response, I will let him know to call the United Way.
 

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He needs to get a lawyer and the police involved. Thats kidnapping and if she is using drugs and with an abusive BF, he needs to get those kids (all of them) out of there. What about social services? Isn't that what that is for to protect the kids and they should cover a lawyer. I would call the police maybe they will have some info and then there will be record of his trying to do something. Good luck! It just breaks my heart to hear about those DC in danger and being scarred for life. It's people like that dam BF that screw up this world! (sorry you touched a nerve, it just makes me so angry and sad all at once!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
At this point I may just be venting, but I can't talk to anyone IRL... I spoke w/ my brother an hour ago, he had left the DCS papers, not CPS as I thought it was called, with the Judge who told him to come back in 20 days for a hearing, I don't think this guy read the report. HE went back got themm anyway, a few months ago it was reported that ds/4 had a bruise on his face that covered the whole right side of his face.....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: ....and it looked like a hand print!!!! There was so much more, my bro is faxing it to me... according to the report, the BF was DRUNK when they interviewed him! There are 9 pages of this. BF pulls DD's hair when she gets out of bed at night, threw doll at dd's head, uses drugs in front of the kids, kids have unexplained bruises. Apparently dw's aunt saw her at a store last year and she was so strung out she was unable to hold a conversation. I'm sorry, I am just so overwhelmed that I have been in a fog. Florida actually has one of the worst DFS records in the US, they are extremely overwhelmed, it hurts me to think of all of the children who live like this, unprotected, and feeling alone. What makes this even worse is that her mother will not get involved. She called my mom about a year ago, after the BF put them in the hospital and cried in her ear for an hour, but she woudn't give her any info. I'm realing....My brother will call United way, he has already called the abuse hotline. Her Aunt invited Josh to a B-day party in 2 weeks, and she should be there, maybe they can do something then<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss">.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/splat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="splat">
 

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My friend went through something similar his childs mother abducted him.<br>
No family courts do not move quickly...<br><br>
He can file his own family court paperwork he does not need a lawyer.<br>
If he does it that way keep it simple he's paying support has there been a custody decision or is it still up in the air? My friend so similar CPS, BF in jail STILL for what he did to the mother... CPS would not give information nor would the police. You need him to get a custody order granting him some form of custody, visitation that can be enforced until that is in the courts no one will budge. Mind you it works both ways your brother could also take the children (if there is no final custody order in place) and not return them until a court hearing (doesn't work well for men that tactic mind you seems not to hurt women much..)<br><br>
He also needs to go on record at the children's schools, CPS as being thier father this woman told the CPS the father was dead, unfindable etc...<br><br>
24 days is good relax. Gather information get brother to get letters from people sign avadifids (sp?) he doesn't need a lawyer for family court I did my first one without it and had no issues just make sure he uses the proper forms, shows up before time, serves her properly etc.<br><br>
But until there is a custody order she can keep running as 'no one has custody' when you are married...silly I know.<br><br>
He should see if there is a children's lawyer in the state and see if he can get one appointed for the kids. They can compel a custody evaluation. He needs documentation of how he has tried to find the kids, that he's not motivated by paying less support etc. He should get the CPS' workers name and suppenea her if possible, also start calling the people who are incharge of watching the CPS (local government, news stations (If your brother has a clean record), anyone who will listen or has pull)<br><br>
Good luck if you want any further advice PM me.<br><br>
Tell him to call the police locally and give them the situation tell them he expects problems and if they can do anything if they occur. They might be able to come and document what is going on or even step in.<br><br>
But 24 days your brother has much work to do.<br>
1. get copies of charges, criminal proceedings *usually most are public if convicted about the BF.<br>
2. Print out contact information of anyone and everyone involved<br>
3. Have custody plan that involves the mother and show how he will take care of them, there's a room for them, beds, clothing, schools, churches, counsellors, doctors all set up and in place. Give detailed proof of payments, give employer letters, bank letters, character references.<br>
4. Write letters to the school, church, family doctor anyone who has contact with the kids explaining who he is (the father, providing the adoption papers) his information and his brief concerns. Explain they can call him anytime and collect if they have any suspicions about the children.<br>
5. Pack the courtroom with family and friends to show he is supported and the children are missed (leave small children at home)<br>
6. Have brother write letters about the impersonation of the BF as him (if he has a record that will not be good for him and probably violates his probation, bail etc)<br>
7. request drug testing and outline suspected previous drug usage and anyone who might have witnessed it. request psych evaluation.<br>
8. request the passports of the children be turned in.<br>
9. copies of any family court proceedings anything using original lawyers<br>
10. if he's paying support who is he paying it to a government service? they will have records of addresses.... is he being garnished? it might be worth asking to withdraw and pay her by cheque <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> so he can see where she's cashing it. if she moves no support<br>
11. ask anyone who has not reported seen abuse to do so to the authorities<br>
12. can you find out his parole officer if he's been convicted?
 

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First I have to point out that Fla DCF (Official title is Dept. of Children and Families) has the most <b>public</b> bad record, but not by far the worst. Rilya Williams was just a poster child of the overworked, overcrowded CPS system. NJ has had much worse issues as have several other states.....BUt it is now privatized and a PITB to manuever. I know no one in Orlando/Sem. CO. but at Florida State there is a Children's Advocacy Center run by Paulo Anino. They specifically do work with children in the dependency system in Leon and surrounding counties, and might be able to provide you with a name or number to look up in Seminole. He's definitely a bulldog for children's rights as I've been in court with him many times in the past<br><br><a href="http://www.law.fsu.edu/academic_programs/jd_program/cac/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.law.fsu.edu/academic_prog...cac/index.html</a><br><br>
That's the website<br><br>
Also, look up the Seminole County Guardian Ad LItem. They may be able to give you information specific to the area on who to contact. Good luck!<br><br>
OH, and if he can find their local school and there is no current court order in place prohibiting it, he has the legal right to pick them up from school. JUst a thought. If no court documents exist and he is the father named on the birth certificate, he has equal rights to them...Same is true in reverse though so...YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much, to both of you. I have heard lately that my own state, MA, has a not so great reputation either. So many systems are overwhelmed and the people who handle the cases are so overwhelmed... So for some reason, the lady at Seminol told him that he would need a court order to see his kids. But they are still married, and there are no restraining orders against him, he is on DD's Birth certificate and he is the legal adoptive father of DS.<br><br>
I'm sorry, I didn't mean 24 days, it is actually 20 days. But either way, it feels like a long time. Though I am sure it will give him the time he needs to get everything in order. I am send all of this info to my mom, so thank you so much...
 
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