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Messages - topnotchdad

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Dear Socrateaser / RE: Getting stipulation entered as court order
« on: Feb 17, 2007, 04:58:22 PM »
BF doesn't want to go back to court to sue for full custody at this time, as he acknowledges that, while BM is not exactly "mother of the year," it is important for child to maintain a relationship with BM, BM's other kids, and BM's family.

Also, BM's family is friends with the judge in our town, so BF doesn't feel he has much of a chance of getting full custody at this time.

1)  So, since the parents came to a verbal agreement and never went back to court, you're saying that technically, BM has sole custody?  This seems contrary to what our attorney has told us in the past.

2)  So regardless of whether anybody moves anywhere, BF should sue for 50/50 custody, so that technically BM doesn't have everything anymore?

3)  Would BF have to "sue for 50/50 custody," or can BF and BM present a shared parenting plan to judge and ask him to enter it as custody agreement.  Isn't this what divorcing couples do if they agree on their parenting plan?  BF would have a hard time explaining to BM that he's not asking for anything more than what he has now.

4)  As for the "plain English" question I asked before, can we just use one of the examples of shared parenting plans from this or other sites, and tailor it to suit our needs?


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

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.


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?"


Dear Socrateaser / Thanks, that's what I thought. EOM
« on: Sep 25, 2006, 07:22:50 PM »

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

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.


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!

Dear Socrateaser / RE: Step Parents
« on: May 05, 2006, 08:54:45 PM »
If I may butt in here....

As a step-mom, I feel like it's okay for me to sign the reading logs and homework sheets, etc.

BUT, if it's a legal form, for example, a school permission slip, waiver, etc, I make BF sign it.

Probably, BM is just jealous because step-mom is "parenting" the child.  I know that's how it goes in our household.  If child asks me to sign the reading log, etc, I do it (again, unless it's a legal-type form).  Especially if I'm the one that read with her or checked her homework!  But if she says, "one of our parents is supposed to sign this" then I just defer to BF.

Dear Socrateaser / RE: Question regarding Child Support
« on: Feb 11, 2006, 09:18:16 AM »
>You seem unusually well informed.

I will take this as a compliment.  This is an extremely important issue for us because we don't want the child to grow up to be like BM.  Furthermore, we live in a town comparable to Mayberry, so everybody knows everyone else's business.  BM is notorious in town for drug use, promiscuity, etc, so we have a lot of help.  On the other hand, BM's family is high on the totem here (she has stated that the judge is an old family friend), so we have to make sure we have all our ducks in a row before we do this.

Character evidence is
>generally inadmissible to prove present conformity with past
>behavior. However, character is admissible when it is directly
>at issue, as is the case in a custody dispute. Fitness to
>parent is largely a question of character, so under this
>theory, character evidence of the other parent is admissible.

So if BM has previously accused a well-liked sports figure of violating her, and this never went to trial because the county prosecutor and the commonwealth's attorney refused to prosecute b/c all the evidence pointed to BM lying, and in the comm. atty's report, he stated that BM's credibilty is "questionable at best," I think we should make this an issue at custody trial regarding character and fitness to parent.  

BM called the paper and local news stations to "leak" the story, etc, so it does involve the child, in that BM went public with her problems, and now the whole town hates her and this is why she wants to move to begin with.  Neighborhood kids aren't allowed to play w/child because of mom's noteriety.  Not to mention the fact that this was at least the 3rd time she'd accused someone of committing a crime against them and the charges being dismissed or never filed (this includes having BF thrown in jail 7 years ago--charges dismissed).  Our lawyer doesn't seem to think that it's that big of a help for us.

My next questions are:
1)  Should we bring up the false accusations and the prosecutor's statements regarding BM as evidence of her character?

2)  Would it help if we brought in a slew of folks from our town who have told us that she uses drugs, neglects her kids, lies about medical conditions, is crazy, etc.  Or does this kind of stuff annoy judges?  Would it be better to just have people write letters?

3) BM has claimed that she doesn't go to child's school/sports activities because of a major illness she has.  Should we bring that up as making her unfit to parent if a lot of days she "can't even get out of bed" or will a major illness (be it real or imagined) just make the judge show sympathy toward her? (I know you don't read tea leaves, but you have seen a lot more inside a courtroom than I have--just trying to get a feel for whether the poor, sick, helpless damsel in distress card is likely to get sympathy or not).

I appreciate all your advice!  This site is the reason we're so well informed as to our rights (and lack thereof).

Dear Socrateaser / RE: Question regarding Child Support
« on: Feb 10, 2006, 08:09:24 PM »
Hey Soc!

Our case is moving very slowly b/c  BM had to reschedule mediation b/c of illness.

Today we read in the paper that BM has been charged with "Theft by Deception" for $250 (we assume this is for passing bad checks), a misdemeanor.

If we bring this up in court, will it help us or hurt us?  I am thinking that this reflects negatively upon her character (which could help us gain custody), but also shows that she needs money (which wouldn't do much to convince the judge that she doesn't really need CS).

1)  Assuming that we can't reach an agreement in mediation, would it be wise to bring this up the Theft by Deception in our custody/CS hearing, or should we just ignore it and stick to our main points?

2)  Could the repeated fender-benders she has help us on custody issues (i.e. child isn't safe driving around with mom)?

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!

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.


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.

Dear Socrateaser / RE: Questions about Mediation Agreement
« on: Jan 13, 2006, 04:43:36 PM »
Dear Socrateaser,

In regards to your response to my question about first refusal:  

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

You wrote:
>If a party has custody and that party has four hours before
>he/she must offer parenting to the other parent, then during
>that four hours, the party may delegate guardianship of the
>child to whomever the party wishes -- stepparent, babysiter,
>doctor, lawyer, indian chief.

My question was really regarding AFTER the four hours.  Mediation agreement reads:  "We agree that if either of us is unable to keep Child for more than four hours when we are scheduled to have her, that the other parent will have the first option of keeping her before we make other arrangements for babysitting."  

The mediation agreement is "In the Matter of Mediation Between:  Mr. and Mrs. Dad, and Mr. and Mrs. Mom."  Both parents and step-parents signed the agreement, and the language in the agreement is geared towards both bio and step parents.

BM is saying that, according to her attorney,  the (Kentucky) law states that step-parents are baby-sitters, not parents, and so BF has to physically be with child or else first refusal applies.  Step-mom being at home with child would be "baby-sitting."   I searched KY laws and couldn't find this anywhere.

So my question is:
1)  Does BM have the right to insist that daughter stay with BM when BF is at work at night?  

2)  Should we agree to go back to mediation, but to change the agreement so that step-mom counts as a parent in right of first refusal?

(We wanted first refusal b/c BM tends to go on weekend trips and leave child with grandparents without telling us about it).


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