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Topics - durandal

Pages: 12
Visitation Issues / Mom is taking me back to court
« on: Oct 03, 2009, 07:08:01 PM »
Hello again,

Its been quite some time (2yrs) but once again mom is taking me back to court.

I am BF w/ physical custody and joint legal custody of a 3 yr old daughter, BM has filed two show causes. All parties reside in Virginia. First show cause is for failure to provide 30 days notice (to court and BM in writing) when leaving for purposes of visiting relatives/vacation. Second is for failure to allow phone visitation on a "every-other day" schedule. Court date is scheduled for early November.

The first show cause is a problem because our trip was planned hastily- I tried to contact the BM, left messages on her cell-phone (which she can always check); but I did NOT follow the court's ruling for the 30 days notice. We are allowed two weeks vacation, and that's how long we were gone, but I did not inform the court or the BM in writing. Why I was not able to follow at this to the letter is explained in the next paragraph. The second show cause for phone visitation has no basis - the phone was available and she didn't (nor does she now) call on a consistent basis. Again, I will explain the main reason why below.

The BM is homeless and currently resides in a shelter, or outside when the weather permits. She has a prepaid cell phone which almost never has time on it to make calls, but she can ALWAYS receive text messages. She calls when she wants to, usually on her two-day schedule but often skipping several days or a week in between. Point is her phone visitation is very inconsistent. She is also supposed to have her for alternating weekend visits and every other thursday overnights, but since she had an apartment at that time but now is homeless, this is no longer possible.   She has been homeless now for over a year, and despite this I make an effort to let our daughter spend as much time with her as possible, usually weekend days (when the BM attends church-outreach functions) or on the rare occasion when the BM can afford to stay at hotels overnight. Her last visit was two weekends ago when BM and daughter attended church on a Saturday - I even went out of my way to pick up and drop off both of them at the event.

So she too is in violation of the court ruling regarding visitation due to the fact that she doesn't keep her visitation schedule, but from what I understand the court won't care if she doesn't choose to visit, just if she is refused visitation, which she is not. Besides, I don't think the court will view me favorably if I decide to argue the case on the basis of her homelessness. She is also in violation because she was ordered to pay child support at the time of the initial court ruling, which has been two and one-half years, was ordered by the court at that time to "find employment" and to pay support, but has failed to do so. I have yet to receive one dime for contribution to our daughter's wellness and upkeep.


1) What do you think the court may do regarding the 30-day notice issue?
2) What ways might the courts modify the current schedule?
3) Do you think I should file show causes of my own, specifically for child support, so this issue can go before the judge at the same time?

Any other advice is greatly appreciated!


Virginia State Forum / Violation of a visitation schedule
« on: Mar 04, 2007, 01:57:17 PM »

All parties reside in VA. CP is mom. Child is nine months of age. CP and NCP have been involved with the child since birth. I am the NCP.

Last week (Feb 24) was the first of my court-ordered visitation, Sat's for four hours. This Sat., CP did not honor visitation, claimed the child had a medical emergency.

CP stated (on audiotape) that the emergency, which was the evening before/morning of Sat., was a fever due to teething. She had means, but did not take the child to the ER or to see a doctor, yet visitation was denied.

CP has a history of frustrating parenting access, however, documented evidence has not yet been heard in court as of yet.

Should I issue a show cause, and what's likely to happen (if anything)?

Dear Socrateaser / Audiotape transcription
« on: Mar 04, 2007, 11:20:56 AM »
Is it acceptable to transcribe audiotape recordings yourself for admission into evidence, or do all recordings have to be transcribed by someone who is certified to do so?

Is this likely to cause more problems than to just pay a professional to do it?


CP, NCP and Child are in Virginia

I was given unsupervised temporary visitation for my daughter while home studies are done and the custody case is contunued until May. The visitation was for four hours on Saturdays, each week, since the child is very young.

I have tried to illustrate to the court that the CP has consistently done everything in her power to limit my access to the child, EXCEPT if it involves spending social time with the CP as well. Of course, the CP claims that is not true and tries to make it appear that she is being cooperative in all regards.

I had been receiving phone calls from the CP (on my old home number) during the first part of the week, stating that the new phone number I had given as part of the visitation agreement was not a valid number. After checking, I discovered that my roomate had mixed up two of the digits in the new number - it was a new number and she wasn't used to giving it out often, hence the mistake.

So, to rectify the situation, I called the CP, and after playing her games of 'I'm not going to let you leave a voicemail message' and 'I'm going to act like we have a bad connection when you call', I wasn't sure what to do. As I document everything, she also gave me an ultimatum stating that if i didn't provide her with a valid number, then she wasn't going to bring the child for my visitation. She even went as far as to say that I can go and tell the Judge I said that.

I corrected the mistake - and honest one, by sending her a letter with the corrected information, express mail with a return receipt upon delivery. I went to the court clerk and filed an copy of the same letter, on the same day that she received the express package. This was all completed on FRIDAY morning - her getting the letter, and the filing - one day after I found out about the mistake.

Also as we have an elderly family member living with us who has Alzheimer's, told the CP not to call past a certain hour, unless it was an emergency involving the child's health or as necessary to care for the child if the CP had an emergency. I also tried to explain to the Judge that the nature of the calls that the CP makes, if answered by the elderly woman, would cause emotional distress and maybe even place her in a dangerous situation. The CP can be very profane, and often makes up situations as she pleases to satisfy her objectives.

Question 1) Is it possible to get the Judge to place stipulations on the time and reasons the CP can call the home in this temporary visitation?

Question 2) Can I make a case during this show cause to get more visitation time? I'm petitioning for full custody, but as a very involved NCP I can provide more than four hours for my child, and my child knows me, I've been there since day one - its not like I'm coming back from being absent.

FRIDAY evening, CP started making annyoing calls again.  Started around 9PM, after I refused her offers to come by and "visit" her on two sepearte calls. She waited for a few hours - then begain calling, saying that if I was going to be a little late for the visitation pickup tomorrow that would be fine. She then called around 4 AM saying that the child had a temperature, allegedly caused by her teething, and that she needed to talk to me. She called back soon after saying that she might not be able (read willing) to bring her for visitation because of the temperature. But the CP's focus during her "emergency" was on the voicemail, and my roomate - tyring to find out as much as she could and leaving profane messages - 10 in all, over the next few hours.
This past Saturday would have been my second visitation, but the CP didn't bring her to the visitation as ordered. She did call several times during the day to say that I was a terrible father for not responding to the emergency, that she doesn't care about the court order, her... HER child, as she put it, was in dire straits from a teething temperature and that she wasn't going to let her go on visitation because of that. I actually did respond, I told her that if she wanted me to come by and take them to the ER, then I would do so - nevermind the fact that her roomate has a car and could have done the same - in a real emergency. All of a sudden, it just became a minor temperatire and the CP didn't want to pay for something like that - I have this on audiotape, all of it -  for the whole week.

Later Saturday afternoon, I spoke with the CP, and she seemed just fine, in fact, she wanted me to talk to the child, which means that the CP puts the phone to the child's ear and I say a few baby talk words. The fever and emergency just 'went away'.

Question 3) I'm obviously going to issue a show cause, but I've had a terrible time getting the courts to hear anything that I say, much less all the hours of audiotape recordings I have. How do I get the evidence to be heard by the Judge, or at least to get the court to see what's going on here?

All they seem to want to do is allow her to make up random lies, under oath, which throws my hard evidence, which for some reason is on the same level as her rants, into the "we don't know who's telling the truth" pile.

The audiotapes should all be fair game... some of them are voicemail messages left by the CP, others are two-way conversations which - at the outset the CP was told that they would be recorded and, in her typical defiance, actually consented to.



I just wanted to know if voicemail recordings made to the voicemail of my place of residence by another party outside of the home are generally admissable in court? I reside in Virginia.

If so, are there any general caveats regarding the use of these messages?


I am contesting custody of my 9mo. old daughter. My first court date is Feb 22, and I have retained an atty. but my atty. is requesting a continuance due to the fact that she is unable to be present at that court appearance.

Up until now, I have been visiting the child at the BM home. I visited quite a bit initially, sometimes for three or four days in a given week. Over the course of several months, that ground to a halt as I couldn't get any cooperation from the BM on visitation outside of the home. I saw my daughter last on Jan. 1st.

The baby had her 9 mo. well-baby immunizations scheduled for Feb. 15th, but the BM cancelled the appointment and told the doc's office that she would reschedule. She hasn't rescheduled, and the BM doesn't know I've been in constant communication with the pediatrician. This comes after the BM telling me that her and Jasmine were going out of town last weekend, which I have found out was also not true. I'm very afraid that she has some unknown medical reason for not taking the baby to be seen by the doctor.

When in court my atty. suggested that, in addition to the continuance, I ask for temporary visitation. I also have scheduled a doctors appt. on Feb. 23, the day after the court date. I want to ask the judge that I be allowed immediate visitation starting on that day (Thurs.), or Friday morning, so I can take my daughter to the doctor, and have at least the remainder of the weekend to try to 'rebond' with her.

Question #1 - Is it feasable that, given the circumstances, the judge is likely to grant this request? (Note: I also have photos of my living arrangements and the baby's room complete with photos of furnishings, clothing, food and essential supplies necessary for the weekend visit.)

Now, over the past nine month's, I've had the 'perfect storm' of financial woes (child support - which I initiated, student loan payments, and an auto reposession garnishment). After struggling for several months trying to juggle everything (and still buying items for my child outside of my cupport obligations) i finally was evicted from my apt. It has forced me to begin steps for filing for bankrupcy. In fact, I've already paid the atty. fees for filing and fully intend to follow-thru with this.

If left with student loans, I could very comfortably afford another apartment, and to take custody of my daughter and care for her. I already have moved into a much improved, smoke-free home in a good neighborhood, and can stay there as long as necessary (rent-free) until I can get past the financial hurdles.

I also have made arrangements with my work supervisor, who, along with his wife who takes care of their four daughters during the day, to provide free day-care for my baby for as long as necessary. In addition, I have a stand-by sitter who I've known for several years, also with two preschool daughters, just in case.

Question #2 - I'm thring to get my financial house in order - will the bankrupcy issues hurt or help? (Note: The BM is on welfare, smokes in her home, has worked for two months in the four years that I've known her.)

Thanks for the response!

Dear Socrateaser / New father, new custody case, old troubles
« on: Feb 06, 2007, 05:32:32 PM »
I am a 40 year old, single non-custodial father of a nine month old infant girl – my only child – I am seeking custody thru the courts here in Virginia Beach, VA. Two weeks after birth, I filled out papers with the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) to confirm paternity, and, if positive to begin support payments. This I did of my own free will for my daughter’s sake. I declined signing the birth certificate at the hospital because I was uncertain that the child was my own.

Since birth, I have been as responsible as possible – I have been there since birth trying to participate in her life. The CP has been using the child to manipulate me in attempts to foster a relationship that will not work. I have not been allowed to spend time with my daughter outside of the CP’s home since birth, and to this day have had to parent my daughter at the CP’s home under the mother’s watchful eye. The mother has told anyone who will listen that I am an absentee father, and has been able to generate plenty of outreach support and welfare payments during this time.

In October while visiting my daughter, the CP and I were in a heated argument about this arrangement and I left. Later that week, I was arrested for assault and battery, and released on recognizance. The case was later dropped by the Prosecuting Attorney’s with the CP’s agreement. I refused taking anger management classes since I didn’t do anything wrong – and her written statements are so blatantly false that I believe any judge reviewing them will see them for what they are.

She even violated the restraining order of no contact issued against me as a result of this. She called asking me to call her – in essence soliciting me to violate the restraining order – which I did not do. After that incident, I filed the petition for custody. My court date is Feb 22 – just a few weeks from now.

Since then, my situation has gone from normal to SNAFU. I was living with roommates at the time, but the combination of support payments, school loan repayments and an auto repossession have crippled me financially. I have been forced to move in with a co-worker and share a condo with her and her grandmother. None of us smoke in the home – I don’t smoke at all.

I will need to file bankruptcy to get back on my feet. I am employed full time with the same employer for over four years. I have had difficulty with paying bills, traffic tickets, etc. (and still have some outstanding) but have never missed any support payments. I am seeking forebearance with the student loans but haven’t heard anything yet.

The CP has five children, ages 4, 5, 12, 14 and our girl. CP has lost custody of all four and only has my daughter. She is a convicted felon for domestic violence. She owes $3K of back child support for her two youngest, and would have been jailed save the fact that she was pregnant at the time of her trial. I feel she is going to try to use last year’s taxes (since I now cannot say that the child was with me at least part time) to pay her past due support. She always comments on sending their father a empty envelope for payment.

The CP lives with a sixty year old man (she’s 34) who she claims to take care of. They both smoke in the home, at least a pack a day for each of them. He has COPD (chronic bronchitis), receives S.S. for his disability, and can’t even lift the baby up much less offer any real assistance in caring for her. In the five years that I’ve known her, she’s worked a total of two months at a job and quit because she couldn’t get along with management.

I charged her with annoying ringing in December to stop her from making excessive calls, sometimes 40 to 50 times a night in the middle of the night, always swearing, making statements about moving out of town with my daughter, saying that she doesn’t trust me with taking my own child out of her home, having men call at 4 am, etc. I have this all recorded – she left messages on my answering machine leaving her name clearly in the messages. But because I could not afford an attorney at the time, she was able to lie and manipulate her way out of the charge – the judge dropped the case.

I was unfamiliar with the subpoena process and failed to get the tape evidence admitted to the courtroom. Prior to this trial, I had went before a magistrate twice in the past and was told that I couldn’t do anything about her phone calls until the time she violated the restraining order. I don’t want to make that mistake twice. She has since called my job and lied, telling an office worker that I stole something from her home.

Since then, I have been buying baby furniture, clothing and joined a group called Fathers In Training sponsored by the Virginia Dept of Social Services. Its for fathers who have been court ordered to attend conflict resolution classes and to learn better parenting skills – again I did this of my own free will. I haven’t been to see my daughter for about a month now – I don’t want to risk the CP fabricating some trap to get me in trouble – and of course it hurts me to be away from my child. Although I’m no stranger to raising kids (I’ve helped with my brothers’ and have two godchildren), I also have a network of friends and several babysitters lined up who are also close friends.

My questions are:

1) Given my severe financial difficulty now, which would be alleviated with bankruptcy, reduced or eliminated support payments, and forebearance (or at least reduction) in loan payments, do I have any chance of gaining custody of my daughter?

2) Will my financial status outweigh her attempts to frustrate my parenting?

3) In the event that I am unable to secure the attorney I have chosen (I have about half of her retainer’s fee), is it likely that the courts will grant an continuance for that reason? They haven’t been very understanding up until now.

4) I want to be *as ready as possible* given the situation, but any fees I pay for subpoena’s now comes out of my retainer savings. Do I need to subpoena people, documents and evidence now, at this stage, or will their likely be hearings, court ordered tests and visits, etc. before I get to subpoenas?

5) I don’t see joint custody as a viable alternative – she will only use it as a tool to create a crisis and try to do damage to me or to get the child back. What are the courts likely to think - given our history?

6) I’m not trying to remove the child from the CP’s life, I just feel that if I were the CP, I would be more fair and willing to share the responsibility equally, something her mother is not able to do. What weight will this have in the courts view?

If you have any other advice (other than get that retainer fee – doggedly working on that) I would greatly appreciate it!

Visitation Issues / QUESTIONS: VIRGINIA Parenting Plans
« on: Apr 11, 2007, 10:47:16 AM »
I recently had my interview with the LCSW that is doing my home study, and she asked me about the BM's visitation schedule should I be awarded physical custody of our child. I was somewhat unsure on what a good schedule would be. This is in Virginia.

I had thought about this, but the LCSW got me to the point of seriously thinking about this - I really should have a solid parenting plan submittted to the court before the next hearing date. I've tried to find the necessary court forms for parenting plan motions which are Virginia specific, but to no avail.

I can't really afford to buy one (the family court system is a grotesque cash cow for the legal profession anyway), so I decided to make on of my own.

I did find others, and specifically I found one from the state of Oregon -they had several - and the one in particular adresses domestic abuse, substance abuse and im my opinion addresses our circumstances well.

Although my main motivation is twofold 1) maintaining a mother-child relationship; and 2) protecting the physical and emotional well-being of our daughter, I can't deny the fact that I think it will help show the court that I am serious about my daughter's welfare and not just looking to fight.

QUESTION 1: I was going to use the forms as a TEMPLATE to develop a viable plan, and was wondering if that would be a good idea. Of course, I don't plan to actually use the Oregon documents.

QUESTION 2: Although the Judge has the power to throw the document out anyway, what potential pitfalls might doing this pose?

Any other advice would be appreciated.

durandal - in my own private thermopylae

Visitation Issues / Q about Show Cause and visitation
« on: Mar 12, 2007, 03:24:15 PM »

NCP here. All reside in VA.

Have a Order of Visitation (temporary) pending a continued case. Seeking full-custody.

Week two of the court order, CP violated order (no show) for visitation. Claimed child had a fever, but not a medical emergency. Days' prior had suggested in various ways that she would not be at visitation - have CP admissions and documentation. Challenged the Judge both in court by protesting any visitation, and later outside of court, by documented admissions. Basically just manipulated the situation so she could get away with denying visitation.

My problem is - I've retained a laywer have not fully paid the retainer fee... so am not really represented yet. Will have this paid in a few weeks. Can I issue a Show Cause order on my own or does my atty. need to do this?

Does the fact that the Show Cause is a few weeks old diminish the seriousness of the violation in the eyes of the courts?

I've bothered Soc enough, just looking for opinions from you folks.


Custody Issues / Questions on Relocation and Major Name Changes...
« on: Jun 12, 2008, 04:52:34 PM »
Hello SPARC Members & Guests,

I'm here to ask for opinions about two things. One of the things that I didn't fully comprehend during my initial custody dispute was that they (disputes) often are ongoing and surface again - sometimes years later.

Just to get some facts out of the way - I am the bio-dad, and have primary physical custody and joint legal custody of a two-year old child. I have been the primary for about a year - before that the bio-mom was the primary. We were never married - nor have we ever lived together, and we all reside in Virginia. During the first year, I maintained frequent and close contact with the child, filed my own child support papers/dna testing apps two-weeks after birth, and never missed a single payment - in fact I overpaid every month. I was granted custody because the bio-mom refuses to work, chain smokes in the home, has a criminal record and routinely engaged in manipulation/frustration of my access to our child. I know what you're thinking, but its water under the bridge...

Since I have been granted custody, I have been the parent to provide for 95% of the childs' financial needs, and the majority of her other needs as well. The bio-mom misses visitations sporadically, sometimes frequently, still doesn't work, still smokes in her home, and is now almost a year in arrears on her very modest (in comparison to my past) support payments. She has never paid even a penny of her support payments to her child, not to mention her other four - you read it right, (4) support obligations. Once again, water/bridge...

I'm contemplating going back to court to get our child's last name changed. The last time I asked about this, I was attacked by a very angry person who knew nothing about my case history. Please, if you need background information just ask, or better yet, check my posts - they tell *most of* the whole story. I want to do this for a few reasons - first is that I'm finding it very awkward when it comes to daycare arrangements - some of you know the drill- people mistakenly assume we have the same last name..., funny looks..., gossip..., etc. Now I can stand up to this, but what about the child, what happens when they're old enough to comprehend the subtle (and not so subtle) snubs you get?
My second reason is that the child was not given my last name as an attack - it was a deliberate act meant to harm me and to be used against me whenever she so chose. In not so many words (and not as nice ones either), she has made it clear that this was one of her modes of manipulating and aggravating me.

The other thing I'd like to get some advice on is relocating. I've wanted to leave Virginia since before our child was even conceived - for reasons both personal and financial. To put it mildly, I don't see myself staying here, the culture is very different from my own upbringing, and my opportunities for financial prosperity here seem exceedingly distant. To add to this problem, I have no relatives in the area, with the exception of our child and her mom. In essence, my support network is hundreds of miles away. This was not a problem when it was just me, and it would have been okay with the right mom, but not as it stands. I am planning to relocate to a city where my relatives live, and where I stand a chance of making a good living. Keep in mind, the childs' mom does nothing to support her child other than her occasional visitation.

So, having said enough, what say you?

Pages: 12
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