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Topics - FLMom

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Dear Socrateaser / Landlord/Tenant terminology question
« on: Jan 07, 2005, 02:58:41 PM »
I am helping a neighbor with a dispute with her landlord. I'm having
problems finding the correct terminology in the statutes.

State of Florida.

Neighbor moved into rental home 4/99 under local housing authority
subsidising rent. Her monthly rental amounts have varied betweeen
$54 and $120 since that date.

Landlord has now served (properly) eviction notice stating:
"Defendant owes Plaintiff $3589.00 that is due with interest since

Family was given a three day notice on 12/22/04. Answered by payment
to the clerk of rental monies owed dated by court 1/7/05.

Property has been under the management of three separate individuals
since 4/99. Lease agreement is still carried with original leaser (all
related). Written notice was sent by the second, but not the third
manager. Third manager gave no mailing address for payment and
told neighbor that he would stop by monthly to pick up rent in September and she never saw him after that.

1) Is there a statute of limitations for rent collection? Until this recent snafu she always paid her rent on time and HUD took care of the rest.

2) What is the proper terminology if a landlord is, with no advance notice, allowed into the rental home by an 8 yr. old child?

3) Should pictures of shoddy care of the home by the landlord be included as an exibit in the answer to the Eviction Summons or saved
for trial?

Thank you for being here Soc!!!!!!

Dear Socrateaser / In under the wire?
« on: Dec 03, 2004, 06:23:21 PM »
Brief history:

State of FL. I am NCP, ex is CP. Original Final Judgment visitation split 50/50 visitation w/joint legal. OK until 2003 when ex moves 40 mins away and remarries.

Ex unilaterally changes visitation to standard. I file for modification of custody due to this and other issues. Lawyers (mine especially) file portions of the case only after numerous phone calls and proddings.

Hearing finally a year after move. Judge allows parties to figure it out before he does. Both parties agree to CP remaining as is, and visitation with NCP Wed-Fri one week and Thurs-Sun next. Parties also agree that NCP should carry all of children's insurance, do majority of driving, and pay CP CS.

Ex's lawyer was very adamant that IDO be done instead of direct payments, and ex's lawyer was instructed at that time to file the IDO.

Although lawyers were directed by the judge to get together and file these stipulated agreements they did not. Judge orders telephone conference four months later. Ex's lawyer is there, mine is not.

Ex's lawyer told judge that I had not paid any CS to CP. Six weeks prior to this conference I had begun giving CP bi-weekly payment of CS payments, of monthly CS amount, after direction from the court clerk on how to properly document.

In light of my attorney not joining the telephone conference ex's attorney asks that CS be ordered as agreed upon (lowered amount). Judge then finalizes order as modification of custody denied. Further ordered is CS. And that's it. Nothing of what was agreed upon was entered by ex's attorney.

Final clause of "Order on telephone case management conference" is:

"It appears that the petitioner has abandoned all other Motions or Requests for relief. Therefore, unless the petitioner shows cause in writing within ten days of this order that other matters remain to be resolved, all other motions or requests for relief by the petitioner shall be dismissed without further order."

I knew from the clerk's website that a judgement was ordered, but was told by the clerk's office that it was in the recording department and would not be available until today. Today was the final day of the ten day period. My lawyer was unavailable.

With the help of the courthouse law library and Family Law Assistance Program, I was able to look up in the Florida Procedural Guide what I think was the proper motion. I wrote it out and filed it with 25 minutes to spare. Here is the exact wording of what I filed:

"Petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend Final Judgment

Comes now, the Petitioner, XXXXX, and requests the Court enter an order to alter or amend the final judgement and for grounds says:

1. Parties made certain stipulated agreements during the time of hearing July, 2004.

2. Petitioner requests additional time by the court to enter these agreements into the final judgement.

3. This request is entered within ten days of the final judgement.

4. Petitioner asks that these agreements be considered a parenting plan to further be entered into the final judgement.

Wherefore, the Petitioner respectfully reqeuests the Court to enter an order granting the motion to alter or amend the final judgement."

I will myself be filing Monday those things agreed upon as the basic "parenting plan".


1. Did I file and word this motion properly?

2. Will it be held against me that I did not pay ex direct CS even though ex's lawyer argued and won the IDO and never filed it?

3. Can a judge be hacked off enough at an attorney (mine) that he would go against the stipulated agreement that he made notes on, although the notes aren't entered into the official record?

4. What wording do I use for the motion that I file on Monday for the parenting plan that was agreed upon and witnessed by the Court?

Thanks as always for your help.

Dear Socrateaser / Finalizing Agreement-Lawyer MIA
« on: Oct 22, 2004, 10:08:32 AM »
State of Florida.

I filed for a modification of custody June 2003. Lawyer "misplaced"
papers to serve on ex after receiving retainer. After many phone
calls lawyer served papers in July and ex retained his atty. No action
was taken by my lawyer until the judge requested of both lawyers to
either move ahead or dismiss. Mediation failed end of September 03.
My lawyer "forgot" to call and set hearing date, and again after many
phone calls date was set for March 2004, cancelled, then reset for
May 2004. Hearing in May was brief, final hearing set for July.

Prior to ruling judge offered both parties the option of trying one last time to come to an agreement. During this two hour period I was urged by my atty to not irk the other atty by my requests of equal time and other deviations from the norm. I insisted and ex agreed on what ended up to be a very fair final agreement, with the judge also happy with what we had worked out. Judge then ordered both attys. to file those agreements made and a motion to deviate from child support guidelines.

This was in July. Since then my lawyer has not returned any phone calls, either to me or my ex's atty. I have never received a bill from him. We have adhered to agreements yet ex and I are both in limbo with no finality to this.

I have paid CS during this time after receiving a tutorial from our clerk of court, so that when order is finalized I will not be in arrears.


1) With nothing finalized or filed, can my ex possibly go back on these agreements, reverting the schedule back to the minimum of NCP visitation?

2) Can ex file for state guidelines of CS payments instead of what we agreed on?

3) What exactly do I need to ask the Florida Bar to do to expedite the proceedings?

4) Do I have grounds for legal malpractice as I have had to push my lawyer along every step of the way?

5) Legal wheels are slow I understand, but how long is too long?

Dear Socrateaser / Adoption Questions
« on: Aug 08, 2004, 01:59:46 PM »
We live in Florida, adoptive mother lives in Wisconsin.

During a recent vacation we found out the my husband's
sister is pregnant. She is 25 yrs. old, and educable
mentally retarded. She is about on the level of a 12 yr.
old. She has previously had a son, who is severely
delayed to the point that he has been diagnosed as
possibly being autistic. This son is being raised by the
grandparents, and the mother sees him for visits about
once a week.

Adoptive mother came to us and asked us if we would adopt
her baby, due sometime in February or March. We agreed,
but the sticky point is her live-in boyfriend. He is normal, as
in not mentally delayed in any way. He is living in the US
under an assumed name illegally. He refuses to discuss
the adoption under any circumstances. We as a family
believe that he thinks he will be deported if he has to
appear in court.

I have spoken to case workers here in Florida. I know what
we have to do on our end (home study, background checks,
etc.) but the birth father refuses to acknowledge the situation.
Birth mother knows she cannot raise this child.

Under Wisconsin law both parents have to appear in court
to proceed with an adoption in order to do a termination of
parental rights. Birth mother falls between the cracks, as
she is mentally able enough that her parents are not her
guardians but she will need a lawyer and someone from
social services to prove that she has the mental capacity
to make this decision.

Assuming things move forward, Wisconsin law says that
during the 90 days it takes to make an adoption final the
child must go into foster care.


(1) Can the court find that termination of parental rights are
in order when the birth mother wants the adoption but
the father refuses to be a part of the process?

(2) Can the fact the this able-minded man impregnated a
mentally challenged woman be considered?

(3) Does the fact that the grandparents are already raising
the other child mean anything in a case like this?

(4) During the 90 day waiting period can we be made a
foster home here in Florida and bring the baby back here?

I look forward to any insights you may have.



Divorced in 2000, two daughters ages 15 and 10, son 8.

State of Florida.

Primary residential custody of children to father as directed
by mother at time of divorce due to mother living next door
with maternal grandparents of children. Legal decisions as to
education and medical to be shared.


Mother (me) moved out of that home due to veiled harassment
from ex. Moved in with boyfriend, now husband, together 3 years.

Mother gave father her interests in his home due to a promise to
keep the children in that home and in the same school district
after years of moving here and there.

No support was ordered, but due to father's threats to children
of "I will sue your mother", mother paid off and on support to father,
even though divorce decree stipulated no child support or alimony.

Maternal grandparents both died and home next door (safe zone)
was gone.

Decree stipulates that mother is to be with the children every day
after school and every other weekend.

Father at one point moved psychotic girlfriend into their home, then
moved her out a few months later.

Father rented out home with the kids and moved to a different
county. Married woman he had known only 6 months and moved
into another home with new wife and new step-daughter, age 14.

Immediatly after the move father became unreasonable about
visitation. Enrolled children in new school district conveniently
leaving off any info concerning mother. Mother had to bring a
divorce decree to the school in order to receive any info about
their classes, etc.

Father now says mother may only see children every Wednesday
for a four hour period, and only every other weekend.

Against mother's wishes, father had new wife add kids to her
medical insurance. This forced a change in dentists. Father refuses
to give mother any info regarding this insurance.

New step-sister has ADHD and has been caught stealing among
other things. New wife, her mother, has allowed this 14 yr old to
date a 16 yr old dropout. This dropout, according to oldest daughter, "practically lives with us".

New step-sister has been abusive to younger children in the past,
going as far as throwing 10 yr old daughter into the deep end of a
swimming pool when no adult was home.

Mother has two documented cases of father ignoring one child's
health problems. Only seen by doctor and diagnosed as ill (meds
prescibed) after mother saw symptoms and took daughter to

Father ignored one child's bad tooth, and called and cancelled a
dental appointment made by the mother because "new wife's dentist
is cheaper because he's covered under her policy". That dentist would
have had to refer out to ANOTHER dentist because he doesn't "do that
kind of work on kids". Mother made sure that tooth was taken care of.

Children are all left out in the boondocks alone until parents come
home in evening, and during school holidays are left home alone
all day long. Father refuses to allow mother extra time during these
days off.

After father told daughter that if mother gets custody she'll never
let them see him, daughter has been brainwashed (?) into changing
her mind about wanting to live with mother.

Father had oldest daughter call mother and beg her to stop
proceedings. Says that if mother persues, new wife will divorce him
and sell their home and they will have no where to live.

I have now gotten a lawyer and filed a motion for custody. It's a long
drawn out process that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.


How far do things have to go to prove medical neglect? Does the
paperwork from two doctor's visits and one interference with a dental
visit amount to anything?

If he has primary residential and he moves against what we agreed
upon, is he allowed to enter the children in another school district that
I do not agree on?

Does it matter if this school is now almost an hour's drive from my
residence and his place of employment?

Is he allowed to negate the divorce decree and decide that I can
only see our children at his whim? My research says no, but if the
decree has to be upheld, does that mean that he now has to share
in the driving time due to the fact that he moved 40 mins away?

Is he allowed to let his wife add the children to her medical insurance?
Even if I've said that I will provide the medical and dental and I have?

At what point do I have a legitimate concern about the step-sister's
irrational behavior? You can't document things when you find them
out 3 days after the fact. How DO you document something like that?

Can I bring up in court the psychotic girlfriend that he kicked out?

Can I bring up the fact that father had daughter call crying about
new wife divorcing him and losing their home? Does this constitute
psychological abuse?

I appreciate your time. I did research through the old posts and
didn't find anything appropriate to our situations.

FL Mom

General Issues / Man to get child support back
« on: Mar 06, 2008, 08:53:27 AM »
Man to get child support back
Parents owe $14,460 in case of mistaken paternity, judge says

Judge David Roper said he felt badly for Kenneth Samuels when he learned the child he had fathered for 11 years wasn't his.

Justice was also shortchanged, the judge said, because Mr. Samuels had been paying child support all of those years.

Last month, Judge Roper ruled that Jamie Hope, the child's mother, and Oba Wallace, the child's biological father, would have to repay Mr. Samuels $14,460 in child support he had paid since 1997.

more at link:

General Issues / Moral Quandry
« on: Feb 11, 2007, 07:11:59 PM »
I'd really love to get some advice on this.

In 2000 my ex and I divorced. We shared pretty much equal time with our kids and there was no CS either way.

Then, in 2003 both my ex and I remarried within a month of each other. That's when things went downhill. His new wife was well versed in the ways of CS and custody, and because I had stupidly made him the primary even though we both had joint legal and joint custody, she showed him how to use it against me. Thanks to the lawyer he found, he was advised to only let me see our kids EOW.

It took a year to get to court, and a year of sheer hell of only seeing the kids EOW. We hammered out an agreement that in exchange for me paying him CS I could have the kids more. Within a month of that agreement going into place, I realized that it was a dumb move for me to agree to pay him CS. I soon realized that with the amount of time I have the kiddos and the amount of money the ex and I make, he should be paying ME CS. I have kept my mouth shut since 2004 and just paid the CS----afraid that if I balk he'll find a way to take the kiddos from me again. Luckily I have a wonderful hubby. My check largely goes for just CS, and my hubby takes care of 95% of everything else, including all of the little things teens need.

I saw my lawyer last fall, and explained the CS thing and why I had decided to do nothing about it until our oldest turned 18 (also last fall). He fussed at me, saying that I should have started filing a mod prior to the b-day, so it would go into effect by the time she graduated this summer. Court cases take that long here.

So, last fall I finally screwed up enough courage to call the ex and see if we could come to some agreement. Before I even made the call, the kiddos told me that he and his new wife were splitting up. I didn't believe this at first, until I went to pick them up and saw a for sale sign on their house. Back into wait mode I went. Even though he's a so-and-so, I couldn't see compounding his issues then, cause it would come back to add more stress to an already stressful situation.

Fast forward to now. It's now February, and I still haven't approached him. Although per the kids, the divorce papers are filed, they can't sell their house. I know why----and it's not gonna sell for months at this rate. Everything they have is tied up in that property.

I've GOTTA get this stuff in the works. GOTTA. But here we are, with the kiddos not even knowing where they're gonna live in the next few months. It'll be the same county, but their whole worlds are in upheaval. I feel like a skunk if I hit him with a mod during this low point, but my lawyer has said that now IS the time to hit him with this to get what I want. I've been trying to wait this our since last fall. I really want to do the right thing here, and so far I feel like waiting HAS been the right thing, but has anyone here had a senior in high school? The amount of the CS alone is what she needs to pay for everything from a prom dress to the senior trip. Not to mention the needs of the other two!

Then last night, I had a horrific thought. You know the old saying, "The devil you know is better than the devil that you don't". OMG. What if the next future Mrs. X that comes along is even more cutthroat than THIS one was?! Maybe I should approach him now, even though my gut is still telling me to wait.

ARGHHHHHH. This has been killing me for weeks now. Add to that, ex and I are actually waving to each other at drop-offs and pick-ups now, and having moderately pleasant phone conversations, albeit one minute ones.

I need some advice and outside reasoning here. Any help or opinions are greatly appreciated!


General Issues / DecentDad---Good Luck!
« on: Jun 05, 2006, 11:16:27 PM »
Haven't had a chance to ever talk with you before, but I've followed the latest annals of your story---I'm a faithful Soc reader.

Just wanted to wish you luck---same duck, different pond with me. Ex husband did the same stuff too, but it took me a YEAR to right things. I wish for you that all goes in your favor and that your little gal gets a happy life out of today. . . .


General Issues / Courtroom Hints and Wisdom
« on: Jan 31, 2005, 03:19:08 PM »
I recently saw a post in Soc's forum about courtroom behavior and decorum.

I'd never been in court before, not even for a traffic ticket, and I had the same questions that I've seen others ask here. Just thought I'd pass the knowledge along and hope all mothers and fathers that want to be in their children's lives find something they can use. The following is a synopsis of things I've read and some of my own personal experience combined. When you have a full year to search the web you tend to absorb a lot of what you've read.

1) Expect delays. Court time is unlike real time. You may have to wait five minutes or five months and you won't know until the day of the hearing. Don't get frustrated, just think of it as extra time to get all of your ducks in a row. And don't call the clerk's office every day either. It's just like any other office--there is gossip and you don't want to be the subject of the eye roll when their phone rings.

2) Dress:
Men: Dress like you are going to church on Sunday. Clean and pressed but not over the top. That Armani suit you wore out on your date last week might look very spiffy, but to a judge you will look like a walking dollar sign. It will then be very difficult to be Joe Average when it comes to alimony and support. Charcoal, grey and navy blue are good neutral colors.  Go easy on the cologne if you wear any at all. Also, keep in mind that facial hair makes one appear to be hiding something--clean shaven is the best option.

Women: Think church/schoolteacher. Wholesome. You may look sharp in a business suit and heels, but that's not the "image" of a mother. A mother wears sensible shoes and doesn't have time to fuss over herself. Avoid excessive jewelry and make-up. If your hair isn't short then pull it back--no retro 80's hairdo's or anything that looks like it requires more than one minute to put together. If you wear hose then it should be a natural color, and your dress color should never be black or red. Both imply "a night out on the town".

3) While in court and in the waiting area, do not speak to your ex directly. If you have lawyers let them do the talking, and if you do not, then wait until you get into the courtroom. You do not want a baliff telling the judge about the pre-show he or she just witnessed.

4) Treat this as a business matter, regardless of how painful it is (and everyone knows it IS). This is the time for all of those manners that your mother taught you to come into play. Even though it may cause you to bite a hole through your lip, address your ex as "Mr.",  "Ms" or "Mrs.". Say "thank you" and "please". One of the things a judge is looking for is who will facilitate contact best with the other parent for the sake of the children. You want the court to know that, while there are difficulties, that you have the utmost respect for the other party.

5) No matter how hard, even if your ex tells the judge you've done every despicable thing in the book, DO NOT under any circumstances interupt. The judge is the Grand Poobah of that little room, and it is his or her domain. Show that you have the patience of a saint. When your ex is done, and if the judge does not then turn to you and ask if you have any response, then ASK the judge if you can answer in response to what was said.

6) Do not sling mud in a courtroom unless you have the documentation to prove without a doubt what puddle that mud came from. Period. Judges do not have time on their dockets for he said/she said.

7) Eye rolling, deep sighs, gasps and dirty looks towards the other party are a one way ticket to losing.

8) Attorneys:

Opposing Attorney:
Your opposing attorney put his or her shoes on this morning just like everyone else did. They ate their corn flakes and listened to the radio while driving to work just like everyone else. In other words, just because this person is paid a large amount of money to ask you questions does not mean that they are larger than life. Do not give them too much power in your own head. He or she is not someone to be scared of---they are doing "a job" much like you do. It's up to you to show them, in very kind and considerate answers, why their facts are incorrect. Be succinct in your answers, and keep an even tone. Also, keep in the back of your mind that it's almost guaranteed that your ex did not "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" to them. In other words, they don't know what you know.

Your Attorney:
Your attorney can only do for you what you do for him/her. They are not going to go out and hunt down information for you---it's up to you to bring it to them and have it organized so they can go through it quickly. It's up to you to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" to them. The last thing your attorney wants is suprises, especially bad ones.

9) Shoot for the moon but settle on a cloud. No one ever walks out of a courtroom, especially in custody matters, with everything they sought going in. Those who do are EXTREMELY lucky and few and far between. Have a back up plan set with your attorney ahead of time. If the judge and the opposing attorney make an offer that you know you can live with, it may be worth taking. The last thing you want is a judge that wants to go to his Rotary meeting making a decision in haste that will blanket the lives of you and your children for years to come.

10) Even if your ex is the devil incarnate, you will work with them in whatever way possible for the sake of your children. Any attack on your ex that is viewed by the judge is tantamount to an attack on your children. Whether a judge is pro father or pro mother, the party that makes the other party cringe will NOT come out of a courtroom happily.

11) The judge is always "Your Honor".

12) Do not ever use the phrase "My children". Instead, use "Our Children". This is a joint venture, not a monopoly.

13) Stand up when the judge enters and leaves, and sit when the judge sits.

14) Be on time, and have all of your paperwork with you. If you will be presenting evidence, be sure you or you and your attorney have at least three copies of everything---one for you, one for the opposing side and one for the judge.

15) Do not reek of cigarette smoke, and do not chew gum or carry any drinks into the waiting area or the courtroom.

16) When leaving after the proceeding is over, again do not speak directly to your ex. If they approach you tell them you will speak to them later. Remember, the ink isn't dry on the proceedings until it's been filed days later by the court clerk.

Just my inner thoughts and a hope that others here end up with at least some of the happiness that they and their children deserve!


Custody Issues / Need Georgia Help and Ideas
« on: Oct 05, 2007, 05:53:23 PM »
It's been a while since I've been on. For some reason I keep getting booted off of this site randomly. I'm typing hoping that it doesn't happen again!

I've met another mother in a web community who is desperately searching for her son. Any ideas would be great!

Thirteen years ago, when her son was three years old, he was taken by his father. She has not seen him since. They were not married at the time, but he IS on the birth certificate as the father. There was never any court action to "legitimize" him as the father, as required by GA law.

She became ill after the birth of a second child. The missing son was in the father's care for visitation. There was never anything written out, she and he were working on a reconciliation plan out of the courts as he had been out of the son's life for some time.

He did not return the son. She called him and he said that he wasn't bringing him back. She went to look for him and his family and found that they had completely moved out of the area.

This was thirteen years ago, and she hasn't seen her son since.

When she went to the police, she was told that it was a situation of whomever has the child has "keepsies" on the him. I don't know how to say it better than that. The mother found out that state law says different, but that was years down the road and she went all the way up the ladder in GA to the Atty General. To this day there has never been a missing poster on NCMEC done on the child, because without a police report, he isn't "missing".

Where do you go, when everyone from local law enforcement to the state's top officials, blow you off? I've been on this site for years now, and I honestly am baffled as what to suggest for her to do next. It all starts with the local police. . . . if they won't take a report, then there isn't anywhere to "start". Thirteen years later and they still won't!

She has exhausted all of her funds and savings over the years. He is sixteen now, and she's still looking for him. The closest she's gotten is finding the father through skip traces, but he takes off before she can get to him. She even found him on Classmates one time, and as soon as she did, he went POOF and deleted everything from that site.

Guys, can someone give me some useful info to give her? I've been around the block with custody issues, but never anything as tangled and profound as this. Any help would be appreciated!


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