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Main Forums => General Issues => Topic started by: annemichellesdad on Oct 15, 2006, 07:53:23 AM

Title: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: annemichellesdad on Oct 15, 2006, 07:53:23 AM
On September 22, 2006, after eighteen months of legal research (and personal hell), a lawsuit was finally filed against the mother of my child. However, it was not your typical custody lawsuit. The whole thing may end up failing miserably, but something had to be done.

My daughter was born in Virginia in 1997. Although her mother and I were not married, we legitimated our child at the time of her birth using that state's administrative processes. And because we also cohabitated, we were both recognized by state law as "equal legal parents with equal legal powers in regards to [our child]".

When our daughter was one year old, we moved to Georgia, which has no administrative processes for legitimation; a court order is mandatory. Thus, when the mother of my child decided to leave the family (taking my child with her), it was difficult, if not impossible, getting my rights enforced in the state of Georgia. For at least two years, however, she was more or less tolerant of my relationship with my child, and our daughter actually spent MORE THAN HALF of that in my own direct care.

Finally, however, as the mother became increasingly controlling (and the child became increasing verbal about wanting to live with me all of the time) I went to court to get my rights recognized. Even found a federal law (OBRA 1993) that required all states to recognize actions establishing legal paternity from all other states, whether by administrative or judicial processes. The judge, a "good 'ol boy", defiantly said "I don't follow Virginia law. And I don't follow federal law."  He ordered child support but dismissed my case.

After that, the mother refused to let me see my daughter AT ALL. Letter after letter was sent to her attorney requesting that I be allowed to at least see my child, all the time maintaining that I had rights (the judge didn't take them away, he simply didn't recognize them in the dismissal). NEVER a response.

After two years of this, I had enough. The mother had moved to a different county (different judge, no pending case), so I filed a lawsuit for PARENTAL INTERFERENCE AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS. In it, I allege that the mother intentional interfereed in my parental rights, that she did so without the protection of a court order (she has NOTHING saying that she has sole custody, and I have nothing restricting or terminating my rights), and that she did so with malice and intent to cause me emotional  distress (extensive facts and evidence support this claim). All of the elements of a legitimate tort are here. There is also included a motion for DECLARATORY JUDGMENT for an enforcable recognition of my parental rights as established in Virginia and, as yet, legally unmodified.

It is uncommon for situations like this to exist because courts commonly intervene and issue custody orders or other others affecting parental rights. Not so here. The mother didn't bother obtaining the "protection" of a court order, and my own attempts to obtain an order protecting my rights was malicously thwarted through the only legal remedy I had available.

A response is due soon, but I have already been, for the past six months, preparing evidence and witnesses. I'm not certain what chances a case like this has, but again, something has to be done; I receive email and phone messages from my daughter crying that she wants me in her life. A tort lawsuit, even if successful, certainly won't solve all of the issues involved, but it may just put this case back on track towards real negotiation or settlement as opposed to simply a unilateral decision by one parent to totally alienate their child from the other.

Please wish me luck!
Title: RE: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: jilly on Oct 18, 2006, 09:28:27 AM
Sending good luck vibes your way!

I hope you filed a complaint against that judge.
Title: RE: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: annemichellesdad on Oct 18, 2006, 10:16:19 AM
Thank you.

And yes, this judge will not get off the hook quite so easily.

Title: RE: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: dancurry on Oct 20, 2006, 09:45:28 AM
I filed a lawsuit against my ex for $1.18 Million dollars with multiple causes of action. Naturally knowing full well that my ex habitually tossed legal papers in the garbage. This habit was formed because she knew that Child Support Services was working on her behalf and she need not pay an attorney to represent her interests.

Well, thanks to DCSS, I now have a default judgment. My next step will be difficult. I must prove to a judge that I have suffered damages and that I deserve a money judgment.

It won't be easy. Case law overwhelmingly supports the concept that torts against exspouses are suppose to be dealt with in family court. We know that's a joke. There are some exceptions and the case will rely entirely on expert testimony and hopefully an impressive trial brief for the prove-up hearing which will be prepared by me.

If I prevail, I will have all the leverage I need to relieve myself of any obligation that she wrongfully obtained in family court.

Wish me luck and good luck to you as well.
Title: RE: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: annemichellesdad on Oct 20, 2006, 03:58:21 PM
We should communicate ideas. It's an uphhill battle, but not without precedents. Be sure to look at a federal case for intentional infliction of emotional distress that was successful at the appelate level: Raftery v Scott.

I got to speak with my daughter for the first time in three weeks today. It's been three months since her mother let her see me at all. She told me how much she wants me to make her Halloween costume for her (I made her costumes meticulous by hand for four years). Her mother walked in and my daughter asked her when she would get to see her daddy. I could hear her mother's cold voice sternly say: "That's not going to be happening any time soon."

Good mother?
Title: RE: Rare type of lawsuit filed
Post by: dancurry on Oct 20, 2006, 04:18:34 PM
Lets do communicate, my e-mail address is Drop me a line so I can add you to my address book.

Tell me about it. I went at least 3 years without talking to my daughter and 4 years without seeing her. I went to her Graduation last year and she hasn't spoken to me since.  I imagine this will be the norm for many years to come. It truely is sad.

I once made the comment to Glenn Sacks that my ex was basically a good mother, then he corrected me, if she's withholding your involvment then that cancels out everything else.