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Topics - TJRodolph

Pages: 12
Sorry if this is long.....I'm the stepmom, doing all the Pro Se paperwork and research for my husband to try and get custody of his 8 yr old son. CP and NCP split up before the child was ever born. Everyone lived in MN. When child was 1 yr old, CP filed for CS order....and NCP only got "reasonable visitation". Every since then, my husband was only allowed to see his son at the mother's discretion. Mother would up and disappear for long periods of time and not provide address or phone number so sometimes a whole year went by when he did not get to see his son. Husband didn't not make much money nor did he know where to begin to fix the problem. I met my husband in 2002. One month after the CP found out her son spent a weekend at my house with his dad, she upped and moved to Ohio (where she was from orginally) without NCP consent or court order. Mother refused to give him her address. We couldn't even send presents, she just said "don't worry about Xmas presents, just make sure you keep paying the CS."

We wanted the son to be in our wedding in summer of 2004, but CP refused. She did however agree to drive him down after the wedding and we could have him for a few weeks, and we'd drive him back to Ohio. She drove to St Paul, and demanded my husband come and pick up her and son and bring them both to our home, and then to drive her back to St Paul. My husband refused, saying he will come pickup kid, but not her. She said she was taking her kid back home and hung up. It's a 12 hour drive one way. He called back to try and talk with her but no answer.

Thats when I finally stepped in and said we have to file something legal. We cannot afford lawyer to represent us, so I did my own research online and we filed a motion for parenting time assistance. CP was LIVID, mad as hell that she had to come all the way to MN for this. Mediation didn't work, she lied to the mediator, and would not compromise on an agreement at all. So I cancelled mediation. Then the judge had us talk to an investigator. I thought the investigator was on my side, but he wasn't. CP mother lied through her teeth. She had nothing on me. He recommended WAY less time than what I wanted. Everyone told me that most judges award what the investigator recommends. We ended up submitting affidavits in lieu of an evidentiary hearing. CP didn't get her affidavit in on time (she was just waiting to see a copy of mine so she could trash it)...and the referee's order came out, saying she did not consider the CP's affidavit as it was late, and the order further stated that the CP moved without court order or permission, and that what the NCP asked for is not unreasonable and no evidence that it is not in the child's best interest. So we got MORE time than we even requested, 3 times more than what the investigator recommended and the CP is responsible for paying 1/2 the airfare. That order was dated April 05.

We got the child for 4 weeks in June 05....we had to pay for the entire plane ticket, but then her 1/2 ended up coming of husband's arrears (he had a crappy job for about 1.5 yrs a few years back, and wasn't able to pay the full amount every month). We did not get the child for the fall time break as we could not afford the entire ticket again and mother refused to pay her 1/2. Then we bought the whole ticket for our Xmas time (Dec 05), and sent mother the dates/time of flights 3 months in advance...and one month before Xmas, the mother says we have to pay and change the ticket flight times because she started a new job and has to work and no one will pick up the kid from the airport for her. She wanted him to fly on a connecting flight that would involve getting him up at 3AM. We said NO. Court order specifically states NCP is to make all travel arrangements and give CP 30 day notice. Period. We were able to get the outbound flight within the time she wanted because it was a direct flight, but the only direct flight going back wasn't a time that would work for HER. She did not put the kid on the plane. She told the child that his dad bought the wrong ticket and thats why he couldn't come. The kid was devastated.

She still interferes with phone contact. Court order states she was to immediately provide grandfather's # since kid lives there more than his own house cuz of the mother's overnight shift and sleeping during the day. She won't provide the number. Every phone call is monitored by the mother. SHe tells the child he cannot speak to me or his step-siblings, in fact the kid told us his mother told him that he has no other brothers or sisters and no other grandparents, etc. My entire family has totally accepted this kid, and she is confusing him to no end.

Also, the child was moved away in 2002 when he was 4. Since our nwe court order last year, we found out the kid is a year behind in school, in special ed, diagnozed with ADHD, sees a therapist, and has major emotional and behavior issues. The mother was reported for child abuse by a school district in 2003 but she claims it was unfounded. We can't get any info on it. And since we were able to find out the kid's school, doctor records etc from the court hearing, mother has now changed the kid's school, doctor, residence again....to keep dad from knowing anything. When he asks his son what school does he go, he just says he doesn't know. When he asks if he wants to speak to his other brothers and sister he says "I can't." When we had him this summer, he told us that his mother and Grandfather both whip him with a belt frequently, for every infraction. In the therapist records it states mother purposely did not give the child his ADHD meds to try and make it last longer. A lot what the therapist had in her records as comments from CP were outright lies.

Anyhow, we filed a motion for a change of custody...citing the parenting time interference, and the child's well-being, not a stable home, constant moving of home and school and doctor's, his education being way behind and the fact that all the public schools in Dayton Ohio are rated at Academic Emergency and they live in the very high crime area. I think we have a very good case, but we have never actually file any contempts, and am a bit worried that the referee will want to just slap her hands a few times before changing custody. In the meantime, the child is suffering over there and being brain washed. We don't want to try and push the child for information too much, because he was told not to tell anything, and if he disobeys he will get the belt.

We did send an email to the CHildren's Services in Dayton asking them to check on Neglect....because the child is not enrolled in any Dayton Public school (we checked)...and no one seems to know where he goes to school. He was disenrolled in Oct 05....so there is a truancy issue now. Hopefully they will investigate the mother and then we will find out what school he goes to. We have sent her an Interrogatory Request also, to no avail, but it is more ammo for the hearing.

Our Motion hearing is 2/14. Not even sure if the CP will show up. Better for us if she doesn't. We are not sending her the copy of the motion and affidavit until next week since we legally do not have to. And what if she actually goes and gets a lawyer? We can't afford one. We do have a lawyer that we get advice from, thats all we can afford. She actually knows Referee Leppanen, as they used to be co-workers at the same firm. She thinks, that if the CP doesn't show up for that initial hearing, considering all the problems before, that she will just award custody to us. Especially since she gave us way more parenting time than the investigator recommended.

Anyone got any advice or comments?? Please and thanks.

Dear Socrateaser / Contempt
« on: Jul 20, 2006, 12:36:57 PM »
Hello again Soc,

Once again I am asking for some advice.

Just to refresh your memory, I took your advice and filed a motion to modify child support downward on grounds that the custodial mom refuses to pay her court ordered transp. costs and that it would be more judicially efficient than using the court's contempt powers to enforce compliance.

I'm in MN and custodial mom is in OH.

A magistrate heard the case, not the usual referee we have. Clerk said that was because only magistrates hear the child support cases. Court order came in today, denied.

Order stated it was approving the mom's request to keep the child support as is, and denying dad's request to lower as dad "has failed to state a basis in fact or law for reduction of his support obligation as a result of the obligee's noncompliance with the visitation payment provisions."

I believe my only other option is to file a contempt charge now. I believe I can prove her contempt as she has not paid anything toward airfare...there is also another area of contempt too that I have her written statement of willful disregard and that she is fully aware of what the order states because the judge verbally told her so at the last hearing.  

For remedies in the contempt affidavit I'd like to request mom be ordered to pay a $500 civil penalty, that mom be orderd to give me the info I requested in the interrogatory that judge ordered her to answer right there in the court room, and that mom be ordered to attend anger management classes and a more indepth co-parenting class (we were ordered to attend one at our first hearing. I went, but don't know if mom ever did.

It also stated it this cased was an IVD case, and remains an IVD case until applicant notifies in writing that services are no longer needed. The mom is not on welfare or getting any public assistance.  She has in the past though.

I just want the mom to pay her 1/2 of the airfare as court ordered.

When I filed the motion to change custody earlier this year, the Referee left my request open, as she felt I was entitled to the interrogatory answers first, and that after receiving that info I could submit an amendment to the custody motion. I have not submitted an amendment.


1. What is an IVD case?

2. How can a contempt get mom to pay her court ordered transp costs?

3. Would a custody reversal be easier now on grounds that mom is continuing to frustrate my parenting time by refusing to pay her share of airfare?

4. What is the best course of action here?

Dear Socrateaser / Affidavit with no Motion?
« on: Jun 05, 2006, 12:36:53 PM »
I don't know if you remember my history here....but I am having problems with the custodial mom paying her 1/2 of the court ordered transportation costs. I took your advice and am filing on Wed. a mod to  child support downward since mom refuses to pay her 1/2 and that is equivalent to an increase in her child support award.

I just received an Affidavit in Support of Motion regarding Travel Costs from custodial mom in OH. No motion attached. Affidavit of Mail Service is attached stating they mailed a copy of the Affidavit (no motion mentioned).

Everything is notorized in OH. Obviously no court date since no motion. I thought all motions have to be filed in person (or by lawyer) in the court house.

Case is in MN. Affidavit states she wants her portion of travel costs to be reduced from my arrears because she cannot afford to pay anything. I already pay the extra 20% for arrears every month for over 3 years now. She makes more money than me and judge already said she took into account our finances and that she is the one who moved withOUT court order or consent.


1. Can/would the judge even consider this affidavit with no motion?

2. Can a motion be filed from out of state, such as by mail?

3. Can/Would the judge consider this when we go to court for MY motion to reduce child support?

Dear Socrateaser / How to get copy of hearing transcript
« on: May 16, 2006, 08:22:24 AM »
Hello Soc,

I want to read the transcript from my custody hearing in March. I do have the court order the Referee sent out shortly after the hearing.


1) What is the proper form to use to request a copy of the transcript from my hearing?

2) Is there usually a fee for requesting a copy?

Dear Socrateaser / Possible remedies to ask for in Contempt Motion
« on: May 15, 2006, 12:08:50 PM »
Hello again Soc,

I'm NCP in MN, MN court order, custodial mom in Ohio.

Went to court in March for change of custody and get court to compel mom to answer my interrogatories. Referee ordered mom to answer the interrogatory within 30 days and was said I could file an amended motion after I receive the answers to the interrogatory. Referee also ordered a Parenting Time Expeditor, both parties to split his cost.

I didn't have to say much of anything during the entire hearing, it was mostly the Referee getting irritated with the mother. Mother tried to bring up how she cannot afford to pay 1/2 of the child's airfare, as was court ordered previously. She has never contributed to airfare.

Referee told her correct way to address the court is to file a motion, but keep in mind she already took into account both parties incomes (mother makes more money) and the fact that she moved without court order or consent.

Next pareting time is in June....I notifed mother of price of ticket with 75 day notice. Court order says for her to pay within 15 days. Mother contacted Expeditor, says she can't pay anything, will pay 1/2 of every OTHER visitation in 2007, or else she will file a motion.

I responded with: Not acceptable and not in accordance with order, however will give you an additional 2 weeks to pay before I file a motion for contempt.

Considering the mother's frame of mind, I am assuming she will show up for court, rather than pay her share of airfare ($200). I have a waiver of fees to file motions. I will be filing a contempt motion if she does not pay at the end of the extra time I gave her. She will have to fly to MN again.

Court order says for mother to provide me her father's phone number immediately, as child routinely spends the night and several days there due to mother's nightshift at work. Mother refuses. Petty I know, but I'd like to add it to the contempt motion for non-payment of airfare to add to the overall effectiveness.


1. What can I ask for as remedies in my motion for contempt in order to get the mother to pay her 1/2 of the airfare?

2. Can I list additional contempts (same court order, different topic) in the same motion?

Dear Socrateaser / Motion to Show Default
« on: Mar 10, 2006, 05:30:46 PM »
Hello again Soc,

My change of custody hearing date is 3/23. In the motion it states if the other party wants to submit a response to it, she must have it in the mail 8 days prior to the court date. (which would be next week). She has not done so yet.

All she has done is send a letter to the judge asking to have the court date delayed......which was granted and is now 3/23.

Custodial mom never bothered to file a response for my motion for parenting time assistance. I expect that she will not file a response for this change of custody either. She does not have a lawyer representing her.

I was thinking of filing a Motion to Show Default (on the appropriate date), just to bring to light to the court that she failed to submit a response.


1. Would there be any benefit to it?

2. Is it assumed by the court that everything I said in my motion and affidavit to be true since the other party did not deny anything in a response?

Dear Socrateaser / Affidavit of Service By Mail
« on: Mar 02, 2006, 09:17:59 AM »
The Affidavit of Service By Mail form that I use I got from my county's website.....and it says

 "....I served the attached documents, namely ______________ upon the Plaintiff by mail service including a true and correct copy of the documents in an envelope addressed to the petitioner at her last known address of _______ and depositing the envelope with sufficient postage in the US Mail at the Post Office located in the city of ____ State of_____."

I have used this form numerous times but have never included actual copies of the motion, affidavit or enclosures when I send it in to the courts as proof of service. I figure they already have all the copies since I filed the motion, affidavit and enclosures with them to start with. Court has never questioned me regarding the form.

1. Could it be a problem if I don't attach anything to the form, as long as all the documents are listed after the word "namely"?

Dear Socrateaser / Interrogatories
« on: Feb 27, 2006, 01:56:05 PM »
Hi again Soc,

I have sent a 2nd request telling the custodial mom to respond to my interrogatory or I will file a Motion to Compel. She finally responded. But she didn't give me the info.

I asked what the name of her various employers, address and work schedule has been for past 2 years, and her answer was : This is not your concern.

I asked how many hours a week my son spends at his grandfathers house. Her answer was: This is not your concern.

I asked for my son's school address and teacher. Her response was: will be discussed in court.

I asked what health insurance our son was covered under since she doesn't use my insurance that I provide. Her answer was: Will be discussed in court.

I asked how many times our son has been to see the therapist in the past year. Her answer was: he does not see a therapist, he attends group therapy at school.

She further states in her letter that she does not appreciate me making false allegations against her, that I am being vindictive because she won't pay her 1/2 of the airfare and that I should spend all my time, energy and money into working overtime to pay for my son's airfare rather than harassing her.


1. Since she did send a response to my interrogatory, does this mean I cannot file a Motion to Compel since she refuses to answer the majority of the questions?

2. Considering her defensiveness, unwillingness to cooperate, and trying to blame me for her actions, could I bring up in the 1st hearing that I want her psych tested for some sort of Borderline Personality Disorder and or High Conflict Personality Disorder?

Dear Socrateaser / Requesting later date for a hearing
« on: Feb 04, 2006, 04:38:53 PM »
Hi again Soc,

Our 1st hearing for change of custody is 2/14. I mailed (served) the custodial mother her copies of the motion and affidavit within the allowed time by MN law (17 days). I could have mailed the papers earlier, but figured it in my best interest to wait till I HAD to. Which only gives CM 2 weeks notice.

Today I received a copy of a letter CM wrote to the judge directly, requesting to reschedule the hearing as plane tickets for her would be $1000 or over since it is less than 21 day notice. And that any other form of travel would make her miss too many days of work thus lowering and/or forfeiting her health benefits and therefore is requesting a later date so she may be present for the hearing which was totally unexpected.

She also asked in her letter if a phone hearing is possible.

I sent a letter once to this same judge during my parenting time hearing, and the clerk sent it back saying I cannot communicate with the judge that way.

The CM was allowed to interview with the parenting time investigator by phone, but she had to show up for the actual hearings. I totally object to any phone hearings and I object to rescheduling the hearing date.


1. Doesn't the CM have to file an actual motion for continuance in order to get the date changed?

2. Assuming CM's letter just gets sent back to her stating she cannot communicate that way, and she does not show up for court....CAN the judge reverse custody based on my affidavit and motion and supporting evidence, even if only by default?

3. Are phone hearings allowed in family court?

Dear Socrateaser / Interrogatories
« on: Feb 02, 2006, 12:37:06 PM »
Hi Soc, You have helped me out enormously in the past! Thank you! I do have a question or two however. My 1st hearing for my Change of Custody Motion is 2/14/06.

I sent out a 1st Interrogatory request to the custodial mother asking questions like "what is the child's school name and address, what is the child's doctor name and address, etc. The 30 days is up and the CP has not responded as expected. I am getting ready to send a 2nd Request (going thru the motions so I can file a Compel Discovery).

I also want to know her employment dates of how ever many jobs she has had in the last few years, and also what her work schedules were for each job. I also want to ask what insurance the child has been covered under the last year, since I provide court ordered insurance, but she has never used it. I did not ask those questions in the 1st Interrogatory.

CP and child live out of state from me, they moved without court order or my permission and the courts have stated that in my parenting time order I got last year. Neither me or the CP has a lawyer.

I am not too worried about her requesting a change of venue, as I don't think she realizes she can. However, I can argue that the child was born in my state, I live in this state still, and they moved without court order and have ruled on other motions regarding this case in the past year.

My questions are:

1. Can I add a new question to the 2nd Request, or do I need to do up a separate new one?

2. Do I need to bring any evidence to this 1st hearing other than the big stack I submitted with the motion/affidavit?

3. Assuming the judge will suggest or order a custody evaluation, what is the process being that the CP and child live out of state?

4. Since I have received a waiver of fees from the court, can the judge actually order something that I would have to pay for?

Pages: 12
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