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Topics - topnotchdad

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1
Dear Socrateaser / Getting stipulation entered as court order
« on: Feb 15, 2007, 06:22:11 PM »
Soc,

Parents were never married, both parties live in KY.

No custody agreement was in place until 2006, when child was 7.  Both parents (and step-parents) went to mediation, and agreed that as long as both parents remained living in the same school system, they would keep custody as 50/50 (every other week).

In the mediation agreement, a time-sharing plan was also outlined in case one parent decided to move to a different county (BM's family owns land in a neighboring county, and BM claims they plan to move there).  It was not decided in mediation which parent would be the weekday vs weekend parent in mediation, just outlined how the child's time would be divided, and that parents would return to mediation if either parent moved, to decide which parent would have child during the week.

After mediation agreement was signed, BM started saying that BF would be the weekend parent, and she would not compromise.  BF spoke with an attorney about his dissatisfaction with the mediation session (mediator allowed BM and her husband to yell and curse at BF during the session), and about how BM was now insisting that she would be the weekday parent, end of discussion.  Attorney said given BM's history and mental health issues, BF should sue for full legal & primary physical custody.

At the hearing, judge did nothing but scold parents for going to court so soon after mediation, and told parents to take 2 weeks to "work it out" and if they couldn't reach an agreement, come back to court.  BM agreed not to move, and parents have exercised 50/50 ever since.

Now BF is considering moving to the same area where BM's family owns land.  Basically, BM says she will move if BF moves, and BF says he will move if BM moves.  Neither parent trusts that the other will actually relocate.

Questions:

1)  Since the parents came to an agreement after the original attempt at gaining custody, and never went back to court, does that mean that there is no "court order?"  BF and/or his lawyer were never sent any documents to indicate that the judge had entered the mediation agreement as a custody order.

2)  If the parents sign an agreement stating that they intend to move to X county within X number of months, and that custody will remain 50/50 after they move, unless there is a significant change of circumstances, will it be binding?

2b)  Can the stipulation include a "penalty" if one parent decides not to move (i.e.  they would become the weekend parent and/or provide the extra transportation caused by the move).

3)  On this note, if there is no official "court order," if the parents write up a parenting plan, including child support, and both sign it, can they have it entered as a binding custody agreement?

4)  Would said stipulation and/or parenting plan have to be in the language that court orders are written, or can it be in "plain English?"

Thanks!

2
Dear Socrateaser / Question about medical privacy
« on: Sep 25, 2006, 02:41:33 PM »
Soc,

BM and BF share joint legal and physical custody, split 50/50.

BM has scheduled a Dr. appointment for child during BF's custody week.  BM claims that during Dr. appointment, she will have to discuss her own medical history with Dr, as it pertains to child, and the possiblity the child may inherit certain conditions from BM.  Therefore, she is trying to prevent BF from attending the appointment.

BF has a history of attempting to attend all Dr. appointments with child, or sending his spouse or mother in his absence.

BF understands that BM has a "right to privacy" as far as her medical records are concerned, however, he also has a right to be informed of any medical conditions his child might have/inherit from BM.  BF cannot trust BM to report the results of the Dr. appointment, as she has a history of lying about medical conditions, etc.

Questions:

1.  Can BM prevent BF from attending the appointment (short of secretly changing the appointment time)?

2.  If BF doesn't go to the appointment, will Dr. be allowed to discuss the results of the appointment, as it relates to genetics/possible inherited conditions from BM?

3.  Can BM claim "right to privacy" if she is voluntarily sharing her medical history with child's Dr.?  Child's Dr. is not BM's treating physician, so would not be considered to be "BM's Dr."

Thank you!

3
Dear Socrateaser / Question regarding Child Support
« on: Feb 05, 2006, 09:37:14 PM »
Case is in KY.

BM was never married to BF, and has never asked for CS through the courts before.  In 2001, BM married a wealthy man who works for his parents' company.  Before they got married, she quit her job, and has said several times that her husband doesn't want her to work; he feels it is his duty to support her.

BM is now demanding CS, claiming that she is a stay-at-home-mom (with 3 year old son she has with her husband), and therefore she claims she should not be assigned any income.  KY law states that she SHOULD be assigned income, based on her earning potential.  We have a paystub from the last job she had, with which we could argue her earning potential.  Furthermore, her youngest child is in daycare, so she technically doesn't even stay at home with him:  she just stays at home.

I should add that BM also has argued that she is disabled, and has a Dr.'s note that qualifies her for SSI/disability payments from the gov't.  However, she claims she does not collect them b/c she would rather collect CS from BF.

We have the child 50% of the time (week on/week off) but our lawyer advises that we probably still have to pay child support.  Our arguement is that BM quit her job BEFORE she even became pregnant with her young child, so when she and her husband decided that she would not work, his income becomes HER income.  Furthermore, she has always claimed child on her taxes, even after she quit her job.  If she is filing jointly with her husband (b/c she has no job, therefore no income, therefore should not be filing income taxes and claiming the child), and her husband is claiming the child on his taxes, his income should be used to calculate child support.

Furthermore, if BF has to pay the amount of CS according to KY law (assuming BM's husband's income is not counted), the child's lifestyle will become significantly altered.  For example, BF may not be able to afford to take family vacations, continue saving for child's college at the current rate, may not be able to replace his old car that keeps breaking down, will have to sell child's pony b/c can't afford to pay it's board, etc.  BM doesn't NEED the CS; she lives a much more luxurious lifestyle than BF b/c of her wealthy husband.

My questions:

1)  Is it reasonable to argue that since she quit her job BEFORE she even got pregnant with her young child that she "stays home" with, and that her husband urged her to quit so he could support her, that her husband's income should be considered as her income as well?

2)  Since her husband is currently claiming the child on his income taxes, shouldn't his income be the one used in calculating child support?

3)  If his income is considered, and part of his payment from his parents' company is "off the books" in the form of direct deposits into a bank account for him, gifts of cars, vacations, property, etc, can the "off the books" compensation be counted towards income and therefore child support payments?

4)  If BM truly is disabled, can she be compelled by the court to collect her SSI, since KY law states that any payment she receives based on the fact that she has children can be deducted from CS payments from BF?

5)  Can the judge make his own decision about CS based on the interests of the child instead of the "plug and chug" chart devised by the state?  Can we argue that it is not in the best interests of the child for BF to pay CS to BM?  Or are the state statutes pretty much the final word on the matter?

Thanks for your time!

4
Dear Socrateaser / Questions about court vs. mediation
« on: Jan 23, 2006, 10:16:03 PM »
Dear Soc,

We have a court date for this Thursday to tell the judge if we are willing to go back to mediation to try to settle our issues, or if we want him to decide what the custody/CS should be.  We are willing to keep our original mediation agreement intact (mediation was voluntary, not court ordered), but we want the judge to designate father as "weekday" parent (mediation agreement only divides the time and says that we will decide at a later date who will be weekday vs weekend parent).   Case is in KY.

Questions:

1.  If you mediate something, does that mean you have to mediate everything.  We will never get mom to agree to be weekend parent.....so if judge doesn't designate this, then mediation is pointless.  Can we ask him to make the decision for us?

2.  We found out mom's been lying about taking child to the dentist, and child now needs root canal.  Should we bring this up in court as evidence that mother is negligent and/or untrustworthy?

3.  BM stated in a taped phone conversation that she and her husband are old friends with the judge.  Shouldn't he recuse himself?  There's only one family court judge in our county (and we've been told this guy is good to fathers, which is why we had so much hope).  Should we bring this issue up?

Thanks for your advice.

5
Dear Socrateaser / Questions about Mediation Agreement
« on: Jan 12, 2006, 08:34:59 PM »
Dear Socrateaser,

DH and I went to mediation in Dec with BM and her husband.  We came up with an agreement which involved shared custody, right of first refusal, and a stipulation that both sides would consult with their attorneys/county enforcer regarding child support, and if mom and dad couldn't reach an agreement, we'd go back to mediation.

BM gave misinformation to county attorney in order to try to get child support computed at a higher rate.  County attorney advised BF to file petition for custody.  BM responed to petition with a motion for child support which included the misinformation.  

Court date was today.  In court, BM argued that she is primary custodian b/c she keeps child for 1 hour after school during BF's week (custody is alternating weeks).  BM also insists that step-parents "don't count" in right of first refusal, so when BF goes to night job, the child should legally go to BM's house, not be watched by step-mom.  

The mediation agreement is not worded to include or exclude step-parents.  It says, "If we cannot keep child for a period of longer than 4 hours, we will call the other one before making other childcare arrangements."  Step-mom has been in child's life for 6 years, and is actually the one who takes child to lessons, practices, etc. more than BM or BF.

BM called BF after court and offered him a "compromise" if he would pay her $XXX a month for child support, she would not move out of county like she had planned, and we will keep custody 50/50.  Her "offer" was higher than what what BF will probably have to pay if support is set through the courts.  We think she made this offer b/c she knows she wouldn't win custody in court.

Questions:

1)  Is a mediation agreement (which was a voluntary session, not court-ordered) legally binding?  In other words, since we signed it, does that mean that we can't change our minds about it and file for custody?

2)  Do you think the judge will consider the fact that BM is trying to deceive the courts in order to get more child support?  Are they allowed to take this into consideration when ordering support?

3)  Do step-parents count in right of first refusal?  

4)  Is BM's "private offer" extortion?

6
Custody Issues / What do you think we should do?
« on: Mar 19, 2007, 08:58:14 PM »
I need some advice....

We currently have 50/50 custody of DSD alternating weeks, and have been doing 50/50 for the last 4-5 years.  We established this plan through mediation, which was later entered as a custody order by a judge.  BM and DH were never married.

Over the last 2 years, BM has really started displaying mental and emotional problems and is abusing drugs, both prescribed to her and marijuana.  Her husband also smokes pot and may use other drugs as well.  He has a criminal record for possession of cocaine, about 6 years ago.  In addition, she complained to DH several months ago that she suspects her older son (from another man, not DH) is using drugs as well.

In the last 3 years, BM has "faked cancer" (shaved her head and told people she was getting chemo), accused a local sports hero of raping her (the county and state prosecutor refused to press charges due to the overwhelming evidence that BM was lying and sex was consensual), been prosecuted for passing bad checks, had their house in foreclosure (they resolved that one), and caught their house on fire (more on that later).

BM's drug abuse causes a real lack of "parenting" on her part.  She is usually either asleep or "smoking in the garage" when DSD gets home from school, has only come to 1 (of 9) soccer games last season, misses conferences with teachers, etc.  She "helped" DSD (a 3rd grader) with her subtraction homework one day, and told her she was supposed to subtract from L-R (hundreds first, then tens and then ones), so DSD got every problem wrong.  Seriously, she is so stoned she can't do 3rd grade math!

What really causes concern is that BM drives around while high or on prescription drugs (she has a prescription for Valium and Xanax).  We are really concerned that she will have an accident while DSD (or one of her other kids) is in the car.  She has a fender bender about every 3-4 months, but just says she's a bad driver, or is unlucky.

In addition, in Nov, she fell asleep with a cigarette and set her couch on fire.  They claimed that the entire house suffered smoke damage, and so they got all new furniture, carpet, paint, etc.

Also, she signs DSD out of school for no reason, with no note, just b/c she feels like picking her up early, or she has errands to run; and DSD has been late twice as well during BM's time.  We got a letter from the school that DSD will be considered truant if she is late or gets signed out unexcused (without a note from an actual physician) 2 more times.

On top of all this, BM claims that she will be moving next year, and wants us to sell our house and move to their new town as well.  We bought our current home 3 years ago, b/c BM moved here (her hometown) and claimed that she was going to live here the rest of her life.  We worry that if we do move, she will back out, and she will win custody on the grounds that it's in DSD best interests to stay in the same school w/her friends, etc.  But on the other hand, we don't really like the town we live in, we only moved here b/c it was best for DSD for us to live close to BM, but we'd like to be able to choose where we life, not wait for BM to choose for us.

Lastly, BM has asked if she can take DSD to a concert this summer with a friend of BM's, it's a weekend trip 5 hours away.  We think that DSD would enjoy the concert, and we want her to spend time "bonding" with BM (since it rarely happens), but we don't think it's safe to send her on a weekend "drugs and booze" trip with BM, and there's really no way for BM to "prove" she didn't use drugs on her trip short of demanding a urine test upon her return.

So my questions are:

Should we go ahead and find a place we like and move, thus providing the "change of circumstance" we need to sue for full custody?

What should we do about the drugs?  Should we call in an anonymous tip to CPS or something?

Do you think we should let her go to the concert?  Is it unreasonable to ask for a drug test as a condition?

Thanks for your advice!

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