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Messages - meet virginia

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I was searching abstracts from the VA court of appeals the other night and I finally found a case where the father won just because the mother was being a b****.   The case was in Fairfax county in 1996, Etter v. Etter.  In a nutshell, the parties entered into an agreement instead of letting the judge decide their fate.  They agreed to joint legal with mother as primary physical.  Mother refused to consult father on required issues such as medical care, education, etc.  She even changed one kid's school and refused to discuss it with him afterward.  She refused to communicate with him face to face, only by letter, phone and fax.  She refused to let him pick the kids up just one time and he had to call the cops to get them.  The trial judge found that the parties could not have forseen their inability to get along when they entered into the agreement, and although the father was not blameless, the mother was resisting all of his efforts to get along and follow the agreement.  So the father got legal and physical custody from her, and the VA court of appeals upheld the trial court's decision.  I hope someone out there dealing with this type of situation can use this in their case!!!

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Virginia State Forum / RE: Anyone out there?
« on: Apr 24, 2006, 10:08:52 PM »
I will try to give you the back story without rambling too much!  My husband and I dated on and off for three years, with me always leaving bc he wanted to get married and I did not (talk about a role reversal!) I left again in fall of 04 and he had a rebound relationship with a pub wench who thought she was cool for experimenting heavily with drugs, getting random piercings, and passing out drunk in her own place of employment after legal drinking hours.  Yeah.

She lost her apartment and was actually living with DH for several weeks.  Soon after moving in, she discovered she was pregnant and ended the relationship, moved onto the sofa and had her friends in at all hours.  Also, she chain smoked and smoked pot, when confronted by DH said "you don't know how hard it is to be pregnant."  DH offered for her to live in spare room and them raise baby, when she refused, he paid $1000 for her to get her own apartment, also paid $360 a month for entire pregnancy so she would have medical insurance.  She started screwing someone else before she even moved out.  DH went to several of the dr appointments until BM quit telling him when they were.

Sept 05 BM's dad called DH from hospital so he was there for birth, and visited the next 2 days.  When BM took SS home, she refused to let DH come over and see him, refused every offer of help he made in response to her whining about how hard it was.  After 2 weeks of her refusing, DH filed for Joint legal and joint physical.  Dec 05 DH was awarded 4 hours per week of visitation at pre-trial hearing.  BM lied to judge and our lawyer did not catch it.  She said he had not met the baby (obviously everyone at hosp saw him there) and that he never called (we had cell phone records.)  Lawyer paid no attention to detail!  BM's boyfriend moved in in Nov and has been playing daddy to my SS and no one cares!!!!!  We got married in Nov bc we figured if we were surviving this together, we might as well, and SS should have at least one stable family.

They negotiated an agreement in March, just before actual trial date.  They gave us more than the standard bc we had proof BM lied and that she tried to keep DH away from baby.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough to take him, as she stopped drinking and drugging and got a day job.  At least she is now trying to be a competent mom.  We now have Tues and Thurs pm for 2 hours and alternating Sat 9 to 4:30 and Sun 9 to noon.  Overnights to start at one year of age, once/2weeks.  We are told that this is excellent for his age and Virginia usually gives much less to dads.  Be aware that the right of first refusal in a joke.  She only has to call my husband to baby sit if A) it is not for work, B) her mother and live in boyfriend are unavailable.  So she sends baby off to trailer daycare of her choice, where he has caught every virus going, and we pay for it.  While I am sitting home (I work nights) in our nice big house and I'd love to care for him.

You are lucky that you have third party witnesses (the sitter, etc.)  I cannot believe that the judge gave you so little time with your daughter, considering the circumstances.  You got royally screwed!!!  The judges automatically assume that the man must be at fault and the child should be with the mother.  I am a feminist and that p***es me off!!!  Equal rights means that we can screw up just as bad as you all.  I really, truly feel for you and your wife in this situation.  As far as PI's, it sounds like you definitely need one, expect to spend at least $2000 to get all the evidence you need.  Winchester is about an hour from Frederick, and I'm sorry I don't know anyone up there.  It seems to me that her refusing you access to your daughter is at least as big a strike against her as her lifestyle, so make sure you have 3rd party witnesses to this, not just your wife.  Keep me posted on your story, and if you get any stellar advice from your lawyer.  We are looking for a new one and I will let you know how that goes.  Maybe someone out there has a magic cure for injustice.

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Virginia State Forum / RE: Anyone out there?
« on: Apr 24, 2006, 09:25:57 PM »
Tell me about it.  As a step mother, we might as well be the mailman, or some random stranger. The BM of my stepson has every right to put him in crappy daycare (he's 7 months, long story, read my post to dadinva if you are interested) while I am home all day every day, in our nice big house, and I have my degree in psycholgy/education.  NO ONE CARES about the father and even less about his wife, even though we love these kids like our own.  I would die for my SS without a second thought, and the mother is glorified for getting off drugs and getting a "straight" job, and warehousing her baby all day rather than let me care for him.  

I sounds to me like you have an open and shut case, especially with her criminal record and getting kicked out of the program.  Also, her being homeless should be a no-brainer, but I wonder if the judges actually have brains, or hearts!!  My biggest piece of advice to you is to get it spelled out in the court order that you are the primary care provider while your husband is deployed.  It seems that if you can accomplish that, the BM can't take you all back to court at least until he returns, because he couldn't be present for a trial.  Once things are settled (for now) there shouldn't be a big legal mess for you to handle on your own, just the crappy situation of dealing with visitation.  Although you may be able to get her visits supervised depending on her history.  Did you call CPS about the litter box?  It's good to have an independent witness to such things.   As far as your SD's attitudes, you have my sympathy.  If they have biologically inherited their mom's personality, there is little you can do to shape them into decent, feeling people.  But maybe they are just reacting to the lies they have been told by her and will see the truth when they are older.  I hope for your sake this is the case, and I wish you the best.  Oh, and get the best lawyer you can find.  

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Virginia State Forum / RE: Anyone out there?
« on: Apr 21, 2006, 01:37:29 PM »
OMG Thank God someone replied!  We live in Frederick County.  Not too far from you at all.  Sounds like you really got screwed in court.  Did you have any evidence or testimony to prove you were the primary caregiver during the relationship?  Also, if your wife is still partying hard, you can use that against her.  Like if she leaves your daughter with someone else to go out all the time, or if she is engaging in really reckless behavior, like passing out drunk or using drugs.  A private investigator can be your best friend.  But make sure you get recommendations.  We really got screwed by a PI out here in Winchester.  

How long to you have until your next court date?  Did you file for joint or full custody?  For God's sake, get the best lawyer in the county.  Sell your car if you have to, it can make all the difference.  We talked to a lot of lawyers who told us not to file at all because we'd totally lose and then be paying a ridiculous amount of child support.  Which we are, but we see my stepson (seven months yesterday, long story if you are interested let me know) three times a week, which is a lot for an infant in Virginia.  How old is your daughter?  How long were you all a family unit, and how long has it been since the breakup?  

Sorry I've gone on so long, I really have been looking for someone to commiserate with about this awful mess.  I can't talk to anyone I know because the mother and I have a lot of mutual acquaintances, and my very best friends are getting tired of hearing it!  If you care to email instead of posting in a public forum, just let me know.  I wish you all the best in your efforts!

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Virginia State Forum / Anyone out there?
« on: Apr 14, 2006, 09:14:21 PM »
Is there anyone else in Virginia going through the same hell my family is?  I'd love to chat with anyone else about the lack of father's rights in the commonwealth.  My husband and I have just been through round one of the campaign to have equal rights to his son.  He was never married to the mother, she was seeing someone else while living with him, and she took off right after discovering she was pregnant.  Now she is raising his son with another guy playing daddy (one she can control) and NO ONE CARES!!!  We were told we were lucky to get the agreement we did, and my husband only has his son an average of nine hours a week!  I'd love to share experiences with anyone else living through this.

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Dear Socrateaser,

I am new to the forums and am hoping to benefit from some of your brilliant advice!:)   Long story somewhat shorter...We live in Virginia.  My husband got a girl pregnant in December 2004, before we were married and I had called a "break."  She had been staying with him because she lost her apartment, but as soon as she discovered she was pregnant, she freaked and left him for another guy.  He paid all of her medical costs for 9 months and went to all Dr visits until the girl stopped telling him when they were.  Fast forward to 9/05, he and I are back together and baby is born with my husband and her boyfriend both there.  

Girl has history of mental illness, domestic abuse from ex, use of heavy drugs, problem drinking, etc.  None of which we can prove without testimony that no one is willing to give, or without her medical records. (her divorce record makes no mention of abuse.)  She has straightened up considerably, but is now raising my step son with her new man playing daddy, and my husband having him Tue/thur eves for 2 hours and every other Sat for 7.5 hours.  Lawyer says we were lucky to get this much time with a 6 month old and should be happy.  The agreement (railroading) husband signed says she only has to offer him extra time if she will be using a sitter for more than 4 hours and for a NON WORK RELATED REASON.  Meaning she can send SS to trailer daycare even if husband is off work.  Meanwhile, I am available all day every day.  I have a bachelors degree in psych with a minor in education and dearly love this little boy.  He has had numerous eye, ear infections, colds, stomach flu etc just in the past 4 months from day care.  Lawyer says in Virginia dad has no rights to over ride daycare, let alone step mom.  Is there anything we can do?  Mom is psycho control freak and will not listen to reason.  I don't want to replace mom, just be daycare.

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