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Main Forums => Father's Issues => Topic started by: buckhntr on Jun 02, 2008, 12:40:03 PM

Title: Help!, Thinking of Pro Se action
Post by: buckhntr on Jun 02, 2008, 12:40:03 PM
Wife left with 2 of 5 children almost 3 months ago to live in another state with relatives.  I have the oldest 3 only 1 of which is a minor.  Need to file soon before she has standing in the state she is in.  Hoping to restrict movement of children, she can go ------ wherever.

Big problem- burdened by debt and unable to afford the several thousand dollars required to get an attorney to start action.  Doing research and can usually figure out things for myself.  Anyone have experience with this who can give guidance.
Title: RE: Help!, Thinking of Pro Se action
Post by: FatherTime on Jun 02, 2008, 07:25:46 PM
My biggest advice is to pick your battles, losing a few battles is ok.

If you can, go and visit a courtroom proceeding in family law and get familiar with the ambience, aura, or feeling in the room.  Watch the other attornies and learn to mimick them, but no pickpocketing, stepping on little children, or smiling at someone while you stab them in the back.  But just get an overall feel for the room and get comfortable being there.  

Going into court as your own attorney means that you have a fool for a client.  But, that doesn't mean that you will lose. :-) You just have to work harder, prepare better, and control your emotions, like the character Spock from Star Trek.  (you can cry later, sadness or joy, it's  ok to cry)

This site has a tremendous amount of information and links to other sites that will help you to get prepared for court.  Always mention the county and state when you are asking questions in order to get more pertinent information for your area.

My brother was going to go with an attorney.  But the more he though about it, the more convinced he became and he decided to go pro se (pro per).  The spouses attorney knew that he could barely afford an attorney and the immediately the other attorney started playing the musical court date game.  Postpone, wait, hurry, wait, postpone.... on and on to make you burn through your money, and THEN BAMMMM!!! you have to drop your attorney and start solo from scratch.  Instead, my brother is representing himself, and the shenanigans only hurt the other sides pocketbook.  He is also better prepared from the start.  

Preparation is vital.  No he said, she said.  No Interrupting the other liewyer or commissioner(judge?).  Control your breathing, control your thoughts.  There is a certain feeling that you get when you know that you have prepared as best you can, you have communicated your exact wishes to the court, and that all that there is left to do is to go into court and say simply (under 5 min., if possible) what it is that you want the court to do for you and more importantly for your children.  Confidence through preparedness.

You CAN do it. YOU can do it.  You can DO it.  You can do IT?
What is IT?  That is your biggest question.  What is it, that you want?  

Be as sure as you can be about what you really want and then go for it.  But you have to know where you are going. You have to know what you need to get there.  (This site for one)  

Also, you need to care for yourself.  Regular sleeping habits, regular meals, happy fun time for you to get your mind off of the stress, and pointing out to yourself the good things about you and your children's relationship.  Because you know that all you are going to be reading from the other party is about how much of a devil, fiend, abuser, and/or deadbeat that you are to your children.  

Fight the good fight,

Break a leg,
Title: GREAT start, FT...........
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 02, 2008, 07:53:56 PM
I would also add that you must understand that you should treat this like a business negotiation.  Each side puts on the table what they want and eventually (hopefully!) they meet somewhere in the middle.  Usually both sides are on opposite ends of the spectrum at the start.

So if you haven't researched what your state minimum guidelines are for visitation (I HATE that term....I prefer parenting time, because that's what you're really doing), I suggest you check into that.  Whatever you do, DO NOT ask for that!  Remember that you will hopefully meet in the middle somewhere, which means you will end up with less than what you originally asked for.

So what I suggest to everyone is to ask for it all.  In your case, the return of the children to your custody for starters, since they have been ripped away from everything they've ever known:  family, friends, school, etc.  Judges like to maintain 'status quo' and continuity for children.  She's seriously disturbed that.

Maintaining an objective front while going through all this will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do.  Keep your eye on the goal:  the safety and security of your children.  Don't ask for what YOU want, tell them what YOUR CHILDREN need and must have:  both parents in their lives with constant and continuous contact.  And if you file an initial petition, do it before she's been in the other state 6 months, or that state will have jurisdiction.

Good luck to you and your family and come back here as often as you need to, whether it's for information or even just to vent.  We've all BT, DT and we understand!
Title: RE: GREAT start, FT...........
Post by: Davy on Jun 02, 2008, 10:55:07 PM
and ... check out the 'Divorce and Custody Legislation" section in the articles section (bottom of this page) and familiarize yourself with terminology, etc.   The Criminal Custodial Interference dated 2003 outlines relevant statues for all states.  The UCCJA (check each state involved) and the PKPA (Federal statues) are suppose to govern these matters.  The very first thing you need to do is establish your state as the jurisdictional state or 'Home' state usually by filing a motion and DEMAND the children returned to the responsible and proper jurisdiction and parent..  

It would not be wise to appear in the "abscounded to" state for fear of  arrest warrants (false accusations) and you may unknowingly hand jurisdiction to the foreign state.

It should be fairly inexpensive for an attorney experienced in interstate custody matters to file/argue initial jurisdictional issues ... liken to a speeding ticket ... the statues are fairly clear and black and white but an out-of-state opposing attorney will want to dive right in to the custody issues prior to establishing jurisdiction (that is why it is important and give substantial crediblility to the home state.

If you know the children are endangered (especially if evidence is available) do not hesitate to SAFELY retrieve the kids before ANY orders are entered anywhere.  This lady should have a difficult time prevailing ... she's stolen 2 children and abandoned the other children thereby disrupting a lot of life's.

Best to you and yours.      
Title: RE: Help!, Thinking of Pro Se action
Post by: buckhntr on Jun 03, 2008, 06:05:19 AM
I live in ND.  The dragon is now in TN.  

Began last night, (our 26th aniversery BTW) by gathering up any important mail and other paperwork laying around and am going to sort it by sender and date order along with the mess of bill statements.  We have lots of school IEP meetings that I have been to. there is no way she can say I was not an engaged parent as she cant drive and I have to take her to all the meetings.  
I will likely file for a custody hearing first to order the children be brought back to ND. then work on the divorce crap.
Title: RE: Help!, Thinking of Pro Se action
Post by: MixedBag on Jun 03, 2008, 01:24:56 PM
I'm no attorney...


Here everything is done using a "pleading"

In WV, there are forms at the county courthouse that are available.

Here you file for a divorce and ask for primary residential status for the children and then a "pend ad litem" hearing gets scheduled which is the initial hearing to determine TEMPORARY custody.

And then later you get a full hearing for the divorce.

You start with the same paperwork for it all.
Title: RE: Help!, Thinking of Pro Se action
Post by: buckhntr on Jun 04, 2008, 03:15:42 PM
Well my plan is to fill out divorce and custody pleading forms and file them and ask for a temporary orders hearing requesting an immediate order to return the children to the jurisdiction of this court.  

Question?  Can I serve papers myself?  Thought is, that a stipulation be in the TO judagment (if I can get an ex-parte hearing) that if served personally by the plaintif (ME) the children are immediatly transfered to my custody pending a full hearing, or if served by a third party or by registered mail 7 days from date of service to return the children to the marital home and custody of the father.  That way I can have mini vacation with kids on way back from TN.  (sample temporary parenting plan will be included in pleading)

Else if the TO request is not granted and she is served with divorce papers to try and convince the wife to let me take them since she will have to file an answer within 35 days since she is out of state.  It will be a big stink if I show up with intent to bring them home.

What I do not really want to do is sneak down there and tryand abscond with them.  First it is unfair to them to have them choose to get in my car or stay with mom and more importantly I should be provided with a more dignified means of otaining access to them.

Any assistance or stories of your experiences would be helpful
Title: Serving papers...........
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 04, 2008, 09:43:48 PM
That can differ from state to state.  Call your local law enforcement office, they should be able to tell you.  Some clerk of court offices have local LE do the serving as a rule, usually for a fee.  It's possible just a friend can do it, but from what I've seen, most jurisdictions don't want someone who's actually named in the case to serve papers.  Hint:  regardless of who does it, if you go to the door, and she actually comes to the door and opens it, you need to ask her name ('Are you ***  ***?') and if she says yes, you hand her the papers.  If she tries to slam the door shut, you say immediately 'You have been served' and either shove them in the door or drop them right in front of it.  It is considered a proper service, even if she tries to say otherwise.  You might want to pass this on to whomever you get to do the serving...they may need the info!
Title: RE: Serving papers...........
Post by: knoot7 on Jun 05, 2008, 05:17:11 AM
If there isn't much information from the law enforcement there are two ways to get the papers to can hire a courier service which can do the same as Kitty Explained. From experience - I do not suggest using certified mail unless she has to actually go to the post office to pick up her mail. If BM is not there both times the mail currier goes to her house, then the letter will be at the post office for a week ( it is a business week not a calendar week) for her to pick it up. With our case it took more than 8 weeks to get the returned letter that BM did not go to the post office to pick up. Instead we used FedEx or UPS to obtain her signature the third attempt (yes we tried two times to send it certified) and get the "package" to her. They are a bit more persistent and accomodating than the Post Office processes.

Title: RE: Serving papers...........
Post by: SAHD on Jun 05, 2008, 06:45:22 AM
My Attorney said that we could fight the serving of a restraining order in CT becasuse it was served via Certified Mail.
Usually people use a Sherriff or Marshall Deputy to serve process papers .....