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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/saynovax.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="no vax"> Hi everyone! I have been reading these posts over the past few months but this is my first time posting myself. Let me begin by saying that this is a wonderful, wonderful place (MDC) and I have read some really great things that have been very helpful. You are all so awesome with your tips and suggestions and especially with your encouragement. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rocks.jpg" style="border:0px solid;" title="mdc rocks"><br><br>
I'm hoping someone out there can help me with my situation....I'll start with some background info: I have a dd who will be 3 in August. Her father left when I was 6 weeks pregnant and told me repeatedly that he didn't want to be involved and he wasn't ready to be a daddy (this came from a man who said many times previously that he would love it if I would get pregnant and he wanted to have a baby with me!!!!!). At any rate, once he was court ordered to pay child support, which he refused to do on his own, he suddenly wanted to be involved. My dd was 18 months old at the time and she had never seen her father (by his choice). Now he is married to a lady with 2 children (which he has adopted), and they had one together a little over a year ago. So much for not being ready to be a daddy! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Also, he only sees my dd once every 3 weeks (lives 2 hours away).<br><br>
I have chosen not to vax my dd for reasons that you all already know. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/saynovax.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="no vax"> Just for the record, I am also still proudly BF and we both (dd and I) love it! DD is, of course, healthy and happy to the fullest extent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/slinggirl.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Slinggirl"> Unfortunately, the dad is taking me to court to try and force me into vaxing her. At the same time, he is trying to get joint legal custody (no physical custody, thank goodness!). My problem is this....I cannot find a family law attorney who has even the slightest clue that vaccinations are bad, let alone has experience with parents fighting over vaxing (BTW, in case it matters, we were never married). Does anyone have any leads or clues or even information on a similar situation that might help me? I have searched and searched to no avail. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. I live in Tucson, Arizona. I'm certain that a judge will order vax because that's the norm and I am ready to fight this with everything I have. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I feel like I am fighting this battle with her dad all by myself and I can't find anyone out there who will help me, at least not legally. I have found people who agree with me but no one who is experienced with fighting this in a court of law, at least not that I can find in Tucson. I simply do not feel that the father has any right to change this decision that I made long before he ever decided to meet his daughter. I've presented him with all the data against vax and we've even gone through mediation but he won't change his mind.<br><br>
So I am turning to MDC to see if anyone out there can help since I'll be going to court sometime soon (waiting on the date in the mail) and I still don't have an attorney. I will be forever in your debt! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Even just success stories will be encouraging since everyone keeps telling me to give up and just vax dd.
 

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Wow. I am sorry for what you are going through. You may want to visit out vaccination forum and search there. I am sure this has come up before, and if it hasn't there are some very knowledgable ladies there.<br><a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=47" target="_blank">http://mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=47</a>
 

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You might also want to post this in :<br><br>
The Arizona Tribal Area<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=91" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...splay.php?f=91</a><br><br>
Single Parenting<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=234" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...play.php?f=234</a><br><br>
I'm sure you'll get good advice. Good luck!
 

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Didn't something similar happen before in Arizona? I remember reading a story a long, long time ago. You might have legal precedent.<br><br>
Okay, here's a link about it: <a href="http://proliberty.com/observer/20041104.htm" target="_blank">http://proliberty.com/observer/20041104.htm</a> Maybe you can contact these folks and see what the outcome was.
 

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Hi, from my experience, though I'm in Vermont, he would have no rights to take you to court. I think this is only to get at you, a power thing not in the best interest of your daughter. Again, this is from Vermont's stand-point, your ex gave up all rights by walking out before this was an actual child born. He doesn't have a leg to stand on (wish I could send you my lawyer!). Unfortunately you didn't get that in writing and unfortunately the courts don't approve of not vaxing. There's no legal precedent set. I know this isn't helping, just tossing out what I think.<br><br>
I have to leave right now but I'd love to do some legal digging for you when I get home later. Hang in there! Look for special interest groups in your area and for any cases in the lawbooks there. I realize the hard part is not having a knowledgable lawyer but the thing is I wouldn't even delve into the vaxing issue until you can determine whether he has the actual right to take you to court. That's first and foremost. He's probably naturally concerned that your daughter isn't vaccinated and so he's doing all he can about that but again, I think because he hasn't parented your daughter at all he has no right to take you to court. That's the place to start.<br><br>
Hugs and good luck, Kitty (courtroom vet)<br>
going back tomorrow for 2 more motions on my ex...will it ever end?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mauijules</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">At the same time, he is trying to get joint legal custody (no physical custody, thank goodness!). My problem is this....I cannot find a family law attorney who has even the slightest clue that vaccinations are bad, let alone has experience with parents fighting over vaxing (BTW, in case it matters, we were never married). [/b]</div>
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It would be <b>ideal</b> to find an attorney who understands these things, but it's not absolutely necessary. You need to find an attorney who has a lot of experience fighting custody challenges, primarily, against deadbeat dads. If you can successfully stave off his challenge for joint legal custody, then you have a lot more standing than he as regarding the decision whether or not to vax. You need to do this ASAP! Can't stress that enough! The last thing you want is for the time in which you have to file an answer to run.<br><br>
I'm not an attorney, but my gut tells me that you need to focus primarily on his lack of presence in her life as a reason he should have no decision-making power. If you can bring in witnesses who will attest to his pattern of behavior from the start, then you'll stand a better chance.<br><br>
Open the phone book and start making calls. Contact your local Bar Association (you should be able to find them either by calling information, in the book, or on the internet) for referrals. Remember that you can consult with multiple people - you may not want to go with the first one you find who seems at all promising. You want an attorney with a lot of experience in your jurisdiction (so they'll know the judges) and one who's going to fight tooth and nail to get you what you want, regardless of whether or not they agree that vaccinating is harmful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow! That's a lot of great information in such a short time. Thank you all so much!!!!<br><br>
Annettemarie and TiredX2 - thanks for the links and suggestions. I have spent many hours reading the vaccination forum here and even referred the father there as one of my sources of information. I haven't, however, posted there or the tribal or single parenting areas. That's a great idea and I will do that if I need more info.<br><br>
Paquerette - That article about the incident in Arizona where the judge ordered vax was <span style="text-decoration:underline;">very</span> helpful and I will contact that lady as soon as I'm done writing this. I'm very excited to talk to her. I hadn't heard of this case before, probably because I rarely ever watch TV. I guess I've been so focused on finding an attorney that I never thought to search the newspapers for similar cases. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> Oddly enough, dd's father lives just a few miles from Tempe. I'm so ecstatic to find even a reference to another case, especially one here in Arizona, and especially one where there is evidence of harm done to the children as a result. This will be so helpful in a court of law. Thank you! Thank you!<br><br>
Aeriane - I, too, thought that he would have no rights if he didn't have legal custody but apparently, according to the mediator who is in the same court district, the custody issue and the vax issue will be considered seperately and even if they do not award joint legal custody, the judge could still order vaxing since we cannot come to an agreement about it. Basically, from what I understand in Arizona, the courts will stay out of everything unless you can't agree, then they make the decision in the "best interest of the child", regardless of custody status. It is, fortunately, on record with the courts that he had not been involved as of the court hearing date when dd was 18 months. He testified to that. But the Arizona courts look at it as he is now involved and they are very, very favorable on fathers being involved. I just hope that the judge will consider the past history, and if so, then like you said - he won't have a leg to stand on. Yes, I do think this is a power thing which is pathetic. He is mad because he asked me to take the child support case out of the criminal division (which is where I had to put it because he refused to pay) and put it into the civil division. I refused because if he defaults, I have to start all over again, which last time took 18 months, three times of filling out paperwork, and a hundred phone calls. He has made his payments faithfully for just over a year now and even took out a loan to pay off the arrears. He does see dd consistently every 3 weeks and has only missed one visit since April of last year. I'm still not convinced of his comittment and will keep the case where it is for a while longer.Note of interest - he has never spent a visit, or even an hour, alone with his daughter. His other family is always, always there. He refuses to see her without them around. IMNSHO, Any man that can say he wants a baby, then turn around and abandon the baby, is not morally or ethically in any position to make decisions for that baby. Let's hope the courts agree. BTW -good luck tomorrow!<br><br>
Dragonfly - you have good gut instincts! I'm hoping that since he only sees her 5-6 hours every 3 weeks, the court will wonder what the heck he's thinking and not give him any percentage of legal custody. He has made it blatantly obvious that his other family comes first. He won't say that outright and will actually deny it, saying the kids are all considered equally, but his actions speak much, much louder than his words and I have specific instances documented that I fully intend to take to court. I'm not too worried about the joint legal custody...I think I can fight that. But since I found out that the judge will consider the vax issue seperately, I'm worried. That's why I was trying to focus on an attorney that had experience with this. The local Bar Association and all the referral agencies that I've spoken with, and all the searches I've done online, do not have a classification of vax cases so none of their attorneys have that listed as a "specialty". I even spent time reading through some of their bios and histories of cases but still couldn't find one who even mentioned the word vax. I have personally called about 50 family law attorneys in Tucson, none of which are aware of any danger but all of which are willing to fight whatever cause I pay them to fight. I may end up with one with no experience, and I'll go that route if I have to, but I've got plenty of research saved to get them started. I was just hoping to find one who already at least had knowledge.<br><br>
As I knew, you gals are awesome and I have some great leads to go on. I should have posted here first and saved myself a lot of anxiety! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/happytears.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="happytears">:<br>
I at least have another shred or two of hope (I was just about completely out of those) and I will keep you all "posted".<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grouphug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="grouphug">
 

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Hi again, you're right that the legal custody issue and vax issue are indeed seperate but the custody issue'd have to be determined first. In Vermont no judge will allow to share legal custody. Again I don't know what your state is like. I think sharing it would be fraught with difficulty, don't you? Again since he really isn't a father to dd only biologically I still don't think he has a right to take you to court. I agree with doing the legwork though. Never can be too careful!<br><br>
Talk again later, Kitty
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Kitty!<br><br>
Unfortunately, Arizona <span style="text-decoration:underline;">does</span> allow shared legal custody. And yes, I think that does make it extremely difficult, not to mention ludicrous, especially in a situation like this where the dad is involved very little. Your state's rules seem to make a lot more sense! Maybe I should move to Vermont? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> It sure is hot here, anyway.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mauijules</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I, too, thought that he would have no rights if he didn't have legal custody but apparently, according to the mediator who is in the same court district, the custody issue and the vax issue will be considered seperately and even if they do not award joint legal custody, the judge could still order vaxing since we cannot come to an agreement about it.[/b]</div>
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I don't know the way the law works in Arizona (in that "legal custody" can have different definitions depending upon the state). Here in Virginia, legal custody basically means having the right to make medical, legal, and other life decisions for your child. Joint legal custody is the standard but no means the rule. If I had sole legal custody, that means that I would have the right to deny vaccinations for my child (that being a medical decision) and my husband would have no legal standing to protest. Furthermore, if the court attempted to force me to vaccinate, they would be going against my rights as a parent to refuse them for my child.<br><br>
You'll definitely want to double check what the mediator is telling you. Mediators are not always (or even often) lawyers and do not always understand legal definitions and the application of law. Then again, if the definition of legal custody is different than that in my state and/or there is precedent saying that a court can overrule the custodial parent's wishes (which I would fight like hell on appeal, if necessary, btw), then you could have a tougher battle.<br><br><b></b>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I may end up with one with no experience, and I'll go that route if I have to, but I've got plenty of research saved to get them started. I was just hoping to find one who already at least had knowledge.</td>
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One thing I would suggest is that you hand them the NVIC's Lawyer Referral list. It may be that they can consult with one of these attornies to bring them up to date:<br><br><a href="http://nvic.org/lawyer/dptdtap.htm" target="_blank">http://nvic.org/lawyer/dptdtap.htm</a><br><br><br>
Btw, has he already filed the papers, or is he just talking about it?<br><br>
Best of luck to you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I remember reading somewhere about a strategy to keep someone from being forced to vaccinate (I don't believe it was by the courts though). The strategy was to ask for, in writing, a guarantee that the child would not be harmed in any way by the vaccination. This is obviously a guarantee no one can make.<br><br>
I know a lawyer who practices family law in and around Philadlephia who is also a LLL leader. I don't know her position on vaxing but would be happy to pass on her info to you if you PM me. She's obviously not where you are, but she may know someone.<br><br>
Best of luck to you and your daughter.<br>
Sus
 

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mauijules I've moved your discussion to the Vaccinations forum. I think you'll get some good advice and support here. Welcome to MDC. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You might.. as a second best solution... try to find a doc near you (search the vax forums archives for a start!) who might give you a letter saying that giving enough vaxes to "catch your dd up" all at once would be dangerous. (At least that way, if the court orders you to vax you can do it very slowly and give her body time to recover between each shot.) Hell, see if you can't find a medical practitioner who will sign off that your child has a medical reason not to be vaxed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
He has actually filed in court. They made us go through mediation first and since that failed, it has now been sent back to the courts, officially. According to our state laws, he has the right to request a modification of the original legal custody order one year after the original order was made. It has now been exactly one year (in May).<br><br>
Arizona's legal custody is the same as what Dragonfly stated - basically just decision making powers for medical, educational, religious, and other "major" things. I'm not sure about the court's right to override the custodial or legal parent's requests, I'll definitely have to check further into that. And yes - I will appeal this all the way to the supreme court if I have to. I hope he's prepared for a big fight!!! Also, thanks for the link to the NVIC's lawyer referral list. That's a great resource!<br><br>
Mama24-7 - I like your suggestion about asking for a guarantee. That's great advice and I think I'll do just that. That'll stump 'em! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I would love it if you would pass my info on to that attorney...I'll PM it to you.<br><br>
Kama-aina mama - another great thing I haven't thought of. I'll check with her pediatrician (she's only seen him once, a year ago). He's an MD but he's okay with not vaxing and seemed like, without actually saying it, that he agreed with me. My dd is so incredibly healthy (gee, wonder why???) that I might have a hard time getting a medical exemption but at least a letter about not getting them all at once would be some help. It's good ammunition to go into court with.<br><br>
Thanks to everyone and have a great day!
 

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I'm sorry you have to go through this.<br><br>
Arizona does have a <b>philosphical exemption</b>, which is to your benefit legally, so you wouldn't need to prove to a judge that your reasons for not vaccinating are religious.<br><br>
Do <span style="text-decoration:underline;">not</span> go the medical exemption route though - it will backfire on you. Medical reasons for not vaccinating can and most certainly will be challenged.
 

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no advice- just a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Dragonfly - you have good gut instincts! I'm hoping that since he only sees her 5-6 hours every 3 weeks, the court will wonder what the heck he's thinking and not give him any percentage of legal custody.</td>
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Maybe because you don't have much experience with this, you don't realize that that is actually quiet a bit. I seriously doubt any court will label him a "deadbeat" father. He has been seeing his child regularly, and he has been paying child support on time for a year. What the courts are going to believe he is thinking is that he cares of about his child and is worried about her health. Most people as you well know aren't aware of the dangers of vaccines and believe parents who don't vax are neglectful.<br><br>
DD#1's father has never ever seen her. She is almost 12. He was ordered to pay child support but I have never seen a penny. Because I believe his presence in our lives would do more harm the any money he might possibly toss our way, I have NEVER taken him to court over the money.<br><br>
If you believe your baby’s daddy is just trying to punish you; you need to decide if the money is more important to you than your baby’s health. If you think he will drop this case if you move the child support case to civil court, personally I would do it in a heart beat. I know most people wouldn't agree with me and think the father must support their children. But sometimes, the support isn't worth the pain it eventually inflicts on the children. No dad is better than a half assed once in a great while dad. Trust me. Especially one who uses child support as a threat.<br><br>
I am sorry I am not offering you much help. But I believe the courts will unfortunately side with him. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The Philosophical exemption is what I intend to use when dd goes to school. I'm glad that Arizona at least allows that exemption. I think I will still have to prove my reasons to the judge since the other parent is trying to force me to do otherwise. It would be nice if the judge couldn't make that decision since I have (and hopefully will keep) full legal custody but as evidenced in that article that Paquerette referenced, that probably won't be the case.<br><br>
I agree with aniT - he won't be labeled a dead-beat dad since he's been paying and visiting, but seeing a 2 year old child for a few hours every 3 weeks is certainly not very "regular" and I would hope not enough to warrant joint legal custody. He spends less than 1% of his time with her. Maybe I'm being delusional but I can't see how that qualifies for someone to make life decisions for a child. But like you said, the courts will most likely think I'm neglectful for not wanting to vax and will probably side with him. If I thought he would drop the case at this point, I would certainly move the support issue to the civil court, and would have immediately in the beginning if I thought it would change things. It's not about the money; my child's health is much more important and I would forego the support all together if it meant he would back off. He is of the opinion, by his own words, that if he doesn't push for vaxes on dd, that would mean that he didn't agree with his own decision to vax his other child. What kind of nonsense is that????? It means, (insert nasty name here), that new information has become available to you that wasn't before and now you're actually thinking for yourself instead of listening to what everyone tells you!!! I tried explaining that to him but he still is pushing it.<br><br>
My other hope is that he will back off once he realizes how much this will cost in attorney's fees. He already claims that he can't afford to pay support for dd. That would be the easy route, I just don't want to rely on this hope.<br><br>
BTW, mom2tig99Nroo03 - thanks for the hug! I really needed it this morning!
 
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