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Child Support Issues / A wwyd ?
« on: Apr 18, 2007, 02:49:00 PM »
Child support order originated in WV in 2000. At the time both parents shared custody, child lived with mom, M-thurs. To catch you up to date: custody has been changed several times from joint, her - primary,her primary- residential, joint again, dad primary residential, then dad sole in December 06.

Mom at different times filed in Va (where she resides) for child support modification/enforcement. Va said it's not their jurisdiction as it was never properly brought to Va and dismissed the cases. The most recent was May or June 2006. In August 2006 custody was reversed to primary residential with Dad in Tn and mom having visitation in Va. At the time, dad filed for child support through child support office in dad's state(TN). In November 06, TN had a court case against dad for arrearages and to enforce Va's order. The CS atty dismissed the case, since child now resides with dad. Arrearages were paid up in June. Apparently July and August were not paid up. With me still?

In December 06, when the appeals hearing was held for the custody, sole custody was granted to dad and no support ordered due to mom being on disability and having to travel to TN for visitations. Also, judge ordered dad to make arrangements to pay child support division the small arrearages due.

Had face to face contact with the child support office in TN, the other day. The case is still closed. They will contact their CS atty and figure out what to do. Still waiting for appointment to open case against mom, since Aug 06.

My question is do I go ahead and wait for TN child support atty to contact me with past due amount to pay and make arrangements- to keep it in TN? OR do I go ahead and send payments to Va? I want to comply with the order to pay arrearages and not keep accruing interest on the past due amount. Now what?? It's only a little over $400. I'd like to make monthly payments but where to?? TN CS said if i send checks to them they will just sit there, because there is no case open at this time.

Child Support Issues / Child Support Enforcement/modifications
« on: Jan 10, 2007, 06:16:43 AM »
 A little background history: Our child spent 45 continuous days in the summer with me, went back to mom's for less than a month. I was awarded primary custody in Aug 2006. Mother and I shared  joint custody. Mother appealed the decision in Va. , but I had already filed within my home state an application for child support services, because no order was made re: CS during that trial(aug 2006)- as the judge said they didn't have jurisdiction. (mom in Va, court in Va and I live in Tn) New trial heard in Va Dec 06. I was awarded custody(not joint) and her generous visitations.

Chld Support part of order reads: Given the mother's disabilities and the costs attendant to her traveling to TN, no child support is ordered at this time.

However, it states that there is a duty of support owed by mother for our dependant child.(in the statutory notices section of the order) and lists our information for record.

The judge states in the order that I make approx $280 more per month than I do. Also states that mother has not worked outside the home since 2005 as a result of her disability. This is not true. She has worked through several temp services throughout the year(s) and other employers long enough to earn and claim EIC tax credit.

What can I do to have my home state look at the order to get child support from the mother? She lied to the court about not working. She works long enough to file taxes and get the EIC credit(she's not been entitled per old court order) and the amount it states I make is in error. She does receive Social Security Disability and claims she lost her SSI payments when she married her DH- one week prior to the last court hearing in Dec. though no proof was offered in court.

Tn's guidelines state 15% change for modification. There hasn't been a change, it's just reported incorrectly. If they based it on OT, for a couple of weeks I was trying to make up for missed time due to court, that is not the norm. I normally get 35-38 hrs a week. OT is only during holiday season when the demand is higher and never throughout the yr.

Do I just call the CS office here and explain? What happened with the original CS application I filed in Aug for child support? Can the CS agency in this state order her to pay the minimum allowed by law? I've never heard of ordering NO support, as the guidelines state a min of $65 her state/$77 my state.

Child support would be used primarily to counter the costs of us meeting at the half way point for holiday breaks(a 4 1/2 hr one way trip)

Thanks for any help or insight into your experiences with something similar.

Dear Socrateaser / Motion For Leave
« on: Jan 24, 2007, 02:08:35 PM »
Hi Soc-

To refresh your memory: mom in Va, court in Va, child and father in TN. Final order had typos ,which I pointed out and requested my attorney get straightened out.

I received a 'Motion for Leave to Amend Final Ccustody and Support Order' from my atty's office.

It states:
Comes now, the defendant, XXX, by counsel  and moves this honorable court to amend typographical errors in the Final Custody and Support order in this matter entered on Dec 22, 2006 in support whereof, Defendant, states as follows:

(details the errors "mother' in place of 'Father', "father' in place of 'mother', removing Mother from health care insurance)

Wherefore, the defendant prays that leave be granted to amend the Final Custody and Support Order.
It's Signed by attorney, submitted on my behalf, and states certified copies sent to opposing counsel.

I also asked attorney about changing the ruling allowing BM to pick our child up and have her miss school. He said there was nothing we could do about it, that was the judge's ruling and that's what he wanted to order.

I've also asked(at the same time as the typo issue) for clarification on the scheduled weekends vs holiday(3 day) weekends and to determined the location of p/up and dropoffs ie: meeting half way or mom driving all the way to get our child.

I haven't heard back from attorney re: clarification, however MLK weekend came and went without Mom picking child up. Mom was to have notified me at least 2 days for scheduled weekends and 1 week for holidays if she does not intend to exercise her visitations. She didn't notify me she wasn't coming. She did however call to speak to our child that evening, approx 1 1/2 hours after she was to have picked child up. No mention of the pick-up/ weekend visitation to mee, my wife or our child.

1)Will there be an amended final order in this matter, or is this just going to be filed with the original final order at the courthouse?

2) If no 'amended order' is sent, do I just keep a copy of that 'motion for leave' along with the order and show where the typos are to be corrected, whenever necessary?

3) Is there anything I should do to cover my butt re: her missing the scheduled visitation(s), if she somehow tries to turn this on me ? (I'm already keeping log of all calls)

Thank you-

Dear Socrateaser / Final Order Received Need help
« on: Jan 04, 2007, 08:36:52 PM »
Hi Soc. I just got the final order from the case in Circuit court. To refresh you- mom is in Va, dad and child live in TN. Father awarded primary physical in Aug 2006 after mom found guilty of contempt and frustrating custody order, Mom appealed to circuit court. Trial heard Dec 06.

Final Order states Custody vested with father. Joint custody is not appropriate.....    I can post the entire order, if necessary.

Visitation schedule is very generous to mom.  To spare you reading 10 pages worth of Court order I will provide you with exact visitation text from the order. I am confused on the transportation responsibities.

a. Except under unusual circumstances, maintaining close ties with the non-custodial parent is in the child's best interests. Eichelberger v Eichelberger 2va app409,412,345 SE2d 10(1986) The father(*error in order-should state "mother") shall have the following visitation:

(1) Weekend Visitation: On any occasion on which the mother wishes to travel to Tn to pickup the child for a weekend visitation from Thursday at 5:00pm till  8:00pm on the day next preceding the start of the school week, if there is a holiday break from school not specifically provided for hereinafter; she may keep the child out of school for one day incident to such visitation, and she may exercise this visitation twice a month, provided that she give the father seven days notice of this proposed visitation.

(2) Summer vacation--child not in school. The mother may have one period of vacation in the summer when the child is not attending school of up to six weeks, which may be taken in two segments or a continuous period. The period of summer vacation will begin not earlier than one week after the regular school yr terminates and will conclude not later than one week before the regular school yr begins. The mother shall make her selection and notify the father of the dates of the summer visitation, in writing, no later than june 1 of each yr.

(4) Mother's day, Father's day: regardless of any schedule of visitation set forth herein, the child will be with the mother on mother's day weekend Likewise, the child will be with the father on father's day weekend from 5:00pm Friday until 8:00pm on Sunday.

(5) Christmas Holiday Season: The mother may have visitation with the child from noon on Dec 26 until noon on Jan 1, except for Christmas 2006, which shall be from Dec 21 to Dec 30, unless parties otherwise agree.

(6) martin Luther King Day(jan) and President's day(february) If the child is off from school in Jan and/or Feb on these days, the mother will have visitation with the child from Friday at 5:00 pm until 8:00pm on Monday or the day next preceeding the chiild's regularly scheduled school day.

(7)Easter. in Odd-numbered calendar years, the child will be with the mother from 2:00pm on Friday unil 8:00pm on Sunday. If the child has a spring or easter break from school, the mother will have visitation from 2:00pm on the day after school recesses until 8:00pm on the day before school reconvenes.

(8) Memorial Day: The mother shall have visitation from 5:00pm on the Friday before Memorial Day is observed until 8:00p, on the day Memorial day is observed.

(9) Labor Day: The mother shall have visitation from 5:00pm on the Friday before Labor Day is observed until 8:00pm on the day labor day is observed.

(10) Columbus Day.The mother shall have visitation from 5:00pm on the Friday before Columbus day is observed in October until 8:00pm on Monday.

(11) Thanksgiving: In odd numbered calendar years, the Mother shall have visitation from 2:00pm the day before Thanksgiving until 8:00 on the following Sunday. In even yrs the child will be with the father.

b telephone calls. When the children are with one party the other party shall have the right to talk to the children on the telephone between the hours of 6:00pm-8:00pm. Unless the parties agree to otherwise, the calls shall be of reasonable duration and be limited to no more than three calls per week of no longer duration than ten minutes each.

c. Notice and modification: The mother shall notify the father at least two days in advance that she will not be exercising a scheduled weekend visitation and one week in advance of any holiday visitation so that the father may make appropriate plans. The parties may agree to such additional periods of visitations as they deem advisable.

d, Pick up and Delivery. The parties will meet at a McDs Restauarnt just off the interestate in XX , Va or such other place as they agree to in writing to exchange the child for holiday and summer visitation. The transport for any weekend visitation shall be the sole reponsibility of the Mother.

e. Special Conditions
(1) Pursuant to Va code20-124.6 each parent is entitled to see all records of his children and discuss the children's situation with any school, medical, hospital, or otehr health care provider.

(2) Without the mutual consent of the parties, visitation may only be canceled by the custodial parent for medical reasons. If the custodial parent(mother) *( error in order) cancels a visitation for medical reasons, the father(*error in order) shall have a visitation time of his selection within the next two months equal to the period of visitation which was cancelled.

(3) Each party will give the other party the information necessary to contact him or her in the event of an emergency affecting the children.
3. Child Support: Given the mother's disabilities and the costs attendant to her traveling to Tennessee, no child support is ordered at this time.

4. Health Care:
a Father shall maintain health care coverage on the Mother*(error in order) and the children on his current health insurance policy or an equivalent policy, until further order of this court.

6 Transfer: This matter is hereby transferred to the court in XX, Tn, which exercises jurisdiction over child custody and support.

7. Guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is directed to file a DC Form40 for payment of her fees and expenses.

III. Statutory Notices
The Following Notice isprovided to the parties pursuant to section20-60.3 VA Code ANN:

A. A duty of support is owed by XX(mother) to the following dependant Child: XXX, DOB
B The following information is provided on each parent:
Mother XXX
Current address SSS
Residential telephone number 1231234

Father XXX
Current address XXX
residential phone number 1234567

Questions are:

1. Visitation states the mother can take the child out of school 1 day per visitation she wishes to exercise 2x per month with notice.

Legally, who will face the truancy board when the child misses more than the allowable amount set by the state(in TN it's 10 missed - non medical) if mother doesn't have the child in school on Fridays? Can this removal from school be denied?

2.  At one point (letter c and d addressing modification and pick up and delivery) it states mother and father to meet (at the 1/2 way point) for holiday and summer visitation, but then states that for any weekend visitation the mother is soley responsible for transporting child. I am confused about this. If you read further to the child support issue - where it states no child support is ordered due to mom driving to TN, it would appear that the judge is not ordering support because of mom's responsibility to travel to Tn. The only place mentioning TN is 'if mom wants visitations on other weekends', unless it is meaning that she will be responsible for 'all weekend visitations" including M-day, Col. Day, etc'-

In paragraph C- it states she has to provide notice if canceling any 'scheduled weekend visitation' . The optional visitations, aren't scheduled, right? So would that mean that the Memorial-day, Col-day, etc are actually being considered 'scheduled weekend visitations?
How do you interpret the driving reponsibility for those visitations? I don't want to be in contempt if we are supposed to be meeting 1/2 way and i am expecting her here at 5pm and I don't travel. I also don't want to make a habit of driving 1/2 way to cover my rear and let her off the hook for picking her up, if i am not supposed to be.

3. If the judge is actually meaning for the child to be exchanged at 8pm- 4 1/2 hours from our home(putting child into bed after midnight the night school begins), and to be exchanged at 5pm 4 1/2 hrs away- which would require an early removal from school for EACH of those breaks, how can this be changed to prevent all that disruption in her schooling and bedtime?

4. As you see, the judge ordered no support. Can this be changed to the minimum support allowed by law or is a material change required first?

5. The judge ordered the case transferred to TN jurisdiction. What do I need to do re: the order- do I need to take the order to the courthouse and register it ?

6. The order states that either party must file any objections within 10 days of receipt of the order. Is this the opportunity to file for clarification of the confusing drop-off/pick up issue and to correct the typos in the order- like 'father in place of Mother' and to take out Mother- in the health insurance part?

7.Is it possible that the mother can file objections and continue this even longer or is this truly 'the final order' on this particular issue? My understanding -through reading the appeals process in Va, stated that the order of the appeals/circuit court are final and can not be appealed again. What's the difference of appealing and filing an objection?

Sorry these are heavy questions but I don't know how else to ask them.

Thank you-

Dear Socrateaser / Court Update and Questions
« on: Dec 23, 2006, 05:57:11 AM »
Hi Soc, hope you're enjoying your Holidays.

Just wanted to give you some great news. I retained custody during the appeal trial. After an hour of trying for a settlement prior to court, she refused to compromise on anything, so my attorney said we're going to trial. One that lasted 3+ hours.

Once again in court she fumbled and made herself out really bad, by lying and then telling on herself. Her stories were so full of holes and once dug into- were proven to be lies and inconsistent.

Court ordered that custody of our daughter remain with me in TN and the mother gets visitations and pay child support. Transportation issue is unclear, because my attorney requested 1/2 & 1/2. Her attorney requested I do all the driving, because I chose to live out of state. The GAL said transportation has been on me, but that can change with this order. Anyways, I have to travel back to VA to pick my child up from her mother, following her visitation for Christmas.

I recieved a phone call yesterday(one day after court) from the mother and her new husband(not married a week yet) informing me that HER mother is going to seek Grandparent's rights and ask for every other weekend visitation. Mom and or her new husband(then boyfriend) filed harrassment charges against BM's mom the day before Thanksgiving this year. Grandmother has had no relationship with the child  since August and no phone contact since October. The distance between homes is 465 miles one way.

My questions are:

1. The BM is going to allow our daughter to visit with her mother (without BM being there) while she has her for this Christmas visitation. Should the grandmother keep our daughter and fail to return her,either to her mother or to me, would it be kidnapping, since she is not a parent?

2. Would I file charges against both mom and grandma for interfering with Child Custody and visitations since it's BM's responsibility for our daughter during her visitations?

       2a- Would that be grounds for supervised only visitations if it had to go before a judge again?

3. What rights does the grandma have in pursuing grandparent's rights/ visitation rights? She has more money than sense and would fight me in court for spite. I understand she 'can' motion for visitation rights, but what's the liklihood that would happen with a long distance between homes?

4. Would it be wiser to move jurisdiction to my current state(6 months residency will be end of January), to prevent easy filing of petitions in Va- or let the Virginia court system retain jurisdiction, since they are well aware of the situations and I have an attorney that can not practice out of state?

     4a Mom and her new husband are offering to help me pay counsel to prevent the Grandmother from getting any rights, stating they know she will poison our daughter against both parents, like she's been trying to do all along. My attorney can not represent me and the BM- but in the event it DID go forward, my attorney could use them as witnesses to prevent extraordinary contact, right? I do not want to end the relationship with her grandmother, I just see no reason why BM can not allow her contact while she has HER visitations. BM already gets every extended break from school, the majority of summer and every holiday break from school. There is no room for MORE visitations.

5. The mother resides with her husband, another unrelated male, a female and her husband. If these people remain in the home, during her visitations, isn't that considered a violation of the court order preventing co-habitation?

     5a She admitted in open court that the unrelated male lives there and pays rent. She denied that the other parties lived there during her last visitation. Contempt wasn't brought up for those issues, but if this has to go before the court again- will it be a wise/unwise to bring up the issue that she is cohabitating against orders?

6. Child Support will be based on her SS payments because she lost her ssi when she married her BF (CS=approx $65 month- the lowest it can be) , though she has and does work whenever it's convenient. Can I petition the TN(my state) or the Virginia Child Support Agency to require her last 2 years taxes or do I have to wait until a change occurs first?

I think that's all for now. I am just happy my daughter is not in that hostile environment anymore. The GAL spoke with her just before entering the courtroom and stated the custody will not change.

I appreciate all your hard work on this site and by helping me along the way. I bet you don't realize just how much you are helping families out!

Thank you Socrateaser and have a very Merry Christmas!

Dear Socrateaser / Continuation
« on: Dec 05, 2006, 08:39:45 PM »
VA appeals case. Mother in VA, father and child in Tn.

Trial was continued, mother and her atty objected. GAL didn't care one way or another and stated the child WOULD NOT be returned to mother IF custody were changed that day anyways and my atty motioned to a continuation of case, since mother has recently moved and GAL wants to evaluate people in mom's new home.

Mom is living with her boyfriend(that has an extensive criminal history, including, evading police, filing false police reports, bad checks, obtain by fraud, failure to return rental property, uttering, driving on suspended license(several of those) and a report coming up as fugitive from justice in another state. I believe those are what we have so far. Mom has assualt and battery charge- domestic violence, she plead guilty to.

She is also living with 2 other males and a female not related and never introduced to child prior to this visitation. Unknown criminal records.

Orders specifically state no cohabitation while with the child. Child was with her mother for 5 days during t-day break. Child reports all these people LIVE with mom, spent the night- daily and ate dinner, described  household routine, who sleeps where, etc.

Mom called tonight wanting child to be there prior to the next court hearing- on a specific date- for what I believe is going to be a wedding to this man, to portray a stable married life.

1. If a private investigator was to prove the people our child described living in the home, actually reside there- how do the courts usually handle PI investigations/investigators?

2.  Since she, imo, is planning to marry days before court- to appear as a stable person in a commited relationship- can she use that in her favor, or do/can judges see that it's an attempt to 'play' the courts?

3. Given that the mother has violated the different orders of the court, and if she actually does marry this 'felon' - I would hope that this will crush any hope of her standings, that this is for her child's benefit. What weight do they(courts) put on the 'new parental figure/ spouse' in the home esp one with this type of record?

4. How can I find out of a person has a record in other states? I know some states have online databases to search through(done that for the counties I believe he lived in that have searchable databases). I'd like to find out if this person is still wanted, in another state and any other criminal history.

5. The location of the home is inaccessible to me, it's behind a gated(code access only)- wooded, very rustic private community. How relevant would this be in court if I have no access to retrieve our child, in the event she tried to keep her, etc and I can not drop her off at the home(per court order), know the condition of her home, safety of being in a rustic community with no way out in an emergency,  etc....?

6. She's now trying to twist words around to appear that I shower with my daughter. Mom continues to ask child about showering alone, if i or anyone else bathes/showers with her-including her sisters, child told mom that my wife or I go into bathroom to help with shampoo and now mom is trying to play on it. As of late, child hasn't needed help. Would it be unwise to ask my wife(if I'm not home) to continue to help if child requests it? Child is 7 with really long hair.

Thanks again for the help!!

Dear Socrateaser / Stipulated Agreement
« on: Nov 18, 2006, 07:14:07 AM »
Looks ok to me. Hard to say without knowing exactly what other issues might be potentially in dispute between the parties.

Dear Socrateaser / GAL's Report to the Court.
« on: Nov 10, 2006, 05:46:22 PM »
Hi Soc, Thought I would post you the GAL's Report and get your take on the situation. Mother lives in VA, court is in VA and father and child reside in TN.

Comes now your gal, xx, esq. and submits the following report:

Your GAL met with her ward, xx, with her mother, xx, with her father, xx, and had a telephone conference with the maternal grandmother. Your GAL has also reviewed all pleadings, correspondence, prior orders, school records and medical records provided to her.

This matter was litigated in the lower court on AUG 22, 2006. Prior to that littigation the parties have been in and out of litigation fairly often. However, the issues are ordinarily resolved between the parties. Father believes he has acquiesced to Mother's demands for modification too often. Mother believes that Father's motivation in the current action is largely support. Mother in fact requested that father give up his parental rights in January of this year to forego child support.

The current matter began as mother's action requesting that Father's visitation period be shortened and that he not be permitted to leave the state with the child. That action was filed in April of 2006. The matter was heard pretrial and an Order was entered spelling out Father's summer visitation. While this matter was pending Mother non-suited her action and father moved for custody. Father was very upset that mother had non-suited stating to this GAL that the mother constantly files with the court and then either enters and agreement or pulls the action.

Father's biggest complaint is that Mother intereferes with his time with the child. Apparently every time father is to retrieve the child for visitation mother goes to the school and picks her up early. Father is clearly supposed to get the child from school. When questioned about this, mother, at first offered explainations then admitted that she just didnt like that father got her from school and believed that he should pick her up from home. Further, at the pretiral hearing of this matter mother explained tht she was planning to take the chiild to xxx from May 26th thru June 2nd. Given that father lives about an hour from xxx some conversation was had about him retrieving the child early for summer vacation while in xxx, TN. Mother refused and judge xx ordered that the child was to be in school during the week of the 26th of May. Again, when asked by your GAL, why mother didn't just allow father to pick up the child while she was already down there mother explained that father should have to pick the child up from home.

During the course of her investigation your GAL became concerned about Mother's ability to adequately plan for and care for the child. This case was heard on AUG 22, 2006, one week prior to xx public schools commencing. At that time, Mother was unsure when school was supposed to begin. She had not done any school shopping for the child and denied being aware that school supply lists were available at the local stores. Further, mother is currently involved with a gentleman by the name of xxx. She plans to marry him at some time and move from her mother's home. She has not however secured a place or set a date for the wedding.

Father lives in X, TN a suburb of X, Tn. Over the summer your GAL intended to visit the father's residence but was unable. Father did, however, provide this GAL with photographs of the apartment. He further represented that he had hopes of moving to a larger residence in the near future. Father has four other children in the home. (names and ages listed) In addition father is remarried to xx. Both father and step-mother are employed. Arrangements have been made however for father to get *child* to school in the morning and for Step mother to care for her in the afternoon until father arrives home. Your GAL understands that Mother currently lives with her mother. Mother is not employed but reports seeking work. Mother's boyfriend has 3 children but your GAL is unsure what if any involvement those children have with her ward.

Since this matter was heard in Aug, *child* has been residing in TN with her Father. She is doing well in school and has made new friends. She reports missing her Mother but also reports being anxious about talking to her mom because of pressure being put on her about where she wants to live.

Statutory Factors:
1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child's changing developmental needs:
*child* is currently seven years old and she is in good physical and mental health. This factor is neutral.

2. The age and physical condition of each parent:
Father is currently 30 yrs old and mother is 31 yrs old. Father is in good physical and mental condition. Mother reports suffering memory loss due to a car accident but denies that this affects her ability to care for the child. This factor is neutral.

3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child's life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child.

Both parents have demonstrated an ability to assess and meet the needs of the child. Both parents participate and encourage the children to participate in extra curricular activities which are age appropriate. However, this GAL questions mother's ability to accurately assess and meet the child's needs. This is largely due to mother's apparent dependency on her mother as well as her inability to articulate any type of plan for her daughter in the upcoming school year. Father on the other hand had prepared and planned for child to reside with him. He knew where she would attend school, when school started, preliminarily set up counseling services for her and set up her room. This factor weighs in favor of Father.

4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members.

The child has siblings in Father's home. All parties, including mother report the child having a close relationship with these children. In mother's home *child* has her grandmother who she is also close to, in fact grandmother reports to this GAL that she is the one who cares for *child* much of the time. This factor is neutral.

5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child.

Both parents have played active roles in the lives of the child and your GAL believes this will continue to be the case. However, mother has been the primary care giver since birth with the exception of some extended time periods with father. This factor weighs in favor of Mother.

6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child.

From all appearances mother has not actively supported the child's contact with Father. Mother claims however, that much of the disruption with respect to Father's visits is caused by her mother and not her. Mother has suggested to this GAL that but for her mother things would be fine between her and *father*. While *child* has been with father, father has actively supported mother's relationship, he has kept mother updated and allowed for liberal phone contact. Your GAL is hopeful that this vane will continue if he is granted custody. This factor weighs in favor of father.

7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child and the ability of each parent to ccoperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child.

Your GAL finds that both parents have demonstrated an ability to maintain a continuing relationship with the child. While your GAL is unaware of any particular instances of dispute resolution she beleives both parents would be willing and capable of resolving said disputes. This factor is neutral.

8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understand, age and experience to express such a preference.

In this case the child is below the age of discretion. However, *child* has expressed at different times a preference to stay with her Father and a preference to stay with her Mother. After the hearing in Juvenile Court, your GAL went to *child* to advise her that she would be returning to TN with her father. Your GAL fully expected the child to be upset about this having been here with her mother for nearly a month after her summer visit with dad. She however, smiled and expressed her excitement at living with her sisters. She also expressed that she would miss her Mother. I weighed this factor neutral.

9. Any history of family abuse as defined in section 16.1-228.

Your GAL is not aware of abuse in either home. Therefore this factor weighs neutral.

10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

There are no additional factors considered.

With regard to the foregoing factors your GAL believes that factors 3, 4,5 and 6 should be given the most weight. The fact that Mother did not have a plan at the time of trial and seems to continue to change her plans based on her Mother's desires is particularly troubling to this GAL. Mother is an extraordinarily likable young woman and your GAL believes that she wants to move out on her own and marry *boyfriends name*  and begin a new life. Futher mother states that she does not wish to interfere. Unfortunately, however without working Mother is not in a position to support herself or her child without the assitance of her mother.


Based on the foregoing analysis your GAL recommends that physical custody remain with Father, subject to Mother's reasonable visitation as listed below.

1). WEEKEND VISITATION: Mother shall have visitation rights with the Child every weekend the child has a school break in excess of two days except for the hollidays listed below. Additionally, mother shall be entitled to visitation during any weekend she chooses, from Friday at 6:00 pm to Sunday at 6:00pm so long as the child remains in TN for that weekend. Mother must give Father seven days notice before exercising the aforementioned weekend visitations.

2) Summer Vacation- Child not in School: Mother shall have custody of the child for the summer months to begin not earlier than one week after the regular school year terminates and will conclude not later than one week before the regular school year begins.The father must check with local school authorities to determine exactly when the regular school period ends, and the new school period begins in the Fall. The father will have one two week period of vacation during the month of July. The Father will make his selection and notify the Mother of the dates of the Summer visitation, in writing, no later than April 1 of each year.

3) Mother's Day, Father's Day: Regardless of any schedule of visitation set forth herein, the Child will be with Mother on  Mother's Day Weekend. Likewise, the child will be with the Father on Father's Day weekend from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Sunday.

4) Christmas Holiday Season: The Child will be with the Mother from 2:00pm on Dec 26 until 2pm on January 1.

5) Easter/Spring Break The Child shall be with Mother from 6:00pm the day school recesses until 6pm the day prior to the Child's return to school.

6) Thanksgiving: In Odd numbered calendar years, the Father shall have visitation from school dismissal the day before Thanksgiving until 6:00 pm on the following Sunday. In Even years the Child will be with the Mother.

d. Notice and Modification. Father shall provide Mother a school calendar at the beginning of the school year as well as any adjustments therto as they become available. The Mother shall notify Father at least 7 days in advance that she will not be exercising a scheduled visitation so that the Father may make appropriate plans. The parties may agree to such additional periods of visitations and adjustments of the visitation schedule as they deem advisable.

f. Telephone calls   when the child is with one party  the other party shall have the right to talk to the child on the telephone between the hours of 6:00pm and 8:00pm Unless the parties agree otherwise, the calls shall be of reasonable duration.

Signed GAL,

Served on Defendant and complainant's attorney.

The GAL changed the visitation schedules -I believe that is mainly to have the mother do the transporting now, as the times wouldn't allow for me to transport her out of state, though it doesn't say Mother to provide transportation, it's obvious from the times.

1. The court order states we have 10 days to respond to the report. Is that to deny or correct the facts, state in agreeance with visitation schedule, or what?

2. Do you believe given the facts contained in the report- that the court will follow the GAL's recommendations?( I know you are not a mind reader, just asking if it's enough to make a change of circumstance or substantial changes to award the change in custody)

3. Can the fact that the child has NOW resided with me for 3 months in another state, constitute a material and substantial change in circumstance?

4. The mother has a brain injury- memory loss- affecting her life- and ability to care for the child... can I write that in the response to the GAL's report?

5. The GAL didn't include other facts, including abuse in the mother's home(I have copies of the court records where she punched her mom and was arrested for assault) I told her about the court record, or that she admitted to frequenting pool halls and the local bar,etc in court. How do I bring up these facts? Can these issues be raised during the response to the GAL's report or do I have to wait to do this in court?

Thank you Soc.  

Dear Socrateaser / Dropping the case?
« on: Nov 01, 2006, 06:15:50 AM »
Va appeals case.

Recieved phone call stating she wants to 'drop the case'. She stated she wants child to reside with me and visit with her. She and her current boyfriend want to move in together, then marry(court order states no cohabitation, unless related by blood or marriage) and her mother is in the way of that. She stated she had an appointment with her atty on Nov 2 to discuss dropping the case.

I paid for a consult fee and was told- do not show up to circuit court without AN ATTY- whether it be him or someone else- that circuit court is not family friendly and without counsel- good luck. The GAL will look out for the rights of the child, but that circuit court is a fact driven, law book court(this particular judge anyways).

The price of atty- is beyond our means. This, unfortuntely, IS the rate for attys in this particular area. (we've done everything from applying for loans, to title loans to get the funds and even doing that doesn't give us the amount for the retainer fee. I've spent $$ for a consultation- he said there's no doubt the child belongs here(sent him all the court papers, evidence, etc) but he needs to prepare the case from new- since it's being heard as a new case.

The GAL's report is due to the court on Nov 3. GAL is the one who recommended the custody change, based on testimony during the Aug trial (she admitted frequent trips to the pool halls and bar w/ child, to being involved with someone who has an extensive criminal history, including drugs, not being physically there to care for child because she is transporting the BF, that her memory loss is severe- can't remember even 5 minutes ago, sometimes, intentionally withdrawing child from school to prevent/frustrate the visitations,  etc).  To my knowledge, the mother has still NEVER met with the GAL(outside of the courthouse), she cancelled each meeting request(unless she's done so since Aug).

I've informed the GAL of the mother's recent phone conversations about dropping the case, about discussing the issues with the child, about the letters my daughter(age 7) wrote to me asking me to talk to her mother- to stop upsetting her with the moving back conversations(sent copies to the GAL). As far as I understand the GAL still holds with her original recommendation that our child live here.

1. What actions or steps are taken for her to drop this action(an appeals case)? Can she even do that? My understanding is- is that the appeals process was already granted and now we are facing the original hearing all over again- which was MY case against her(because she requested the judge dismiss her petitions for her original amendment case against me).

2. As you can see, this is a big jumbled mess and I don't know what steps to take, without counsel, other than wait for the GAL's report and a call from the mother(which even then-I can't trust that she's telling me the truth).  

3. If the mother DOES not want to pursue the case, is her attorney required to notify me PRIOR to the court hearing, in writing?

Thanks Soc.

Dear Socrateaser / Filed in wrong court?
« on: Oct 25, 2006, 08:10:07 PM »
Va Case. Child and I reside in TN.

I just realized the interrogatory was filed in the wrong court. There's several different courts operating within same courthouse building on different floors including for city and for county. The information on the heading of the interrogatory states the wrong courthouse. Instead of 'in the circuit court for the city of xxxx' , she put in the circuit court for yyy county'.  When calling the courthouse, if you ask for information re: the case number in the court listed on the interrogatory, it's not my case information, it belongs to another case in that court.

Also, the mother has made numerous phone calls to me this weekend stating she wants to drop the case now. That she wants to keep things as they are, talked to my daughter about it, wants me to speak to her about it, and today just stated that she has an appt with her attorney on Nov 2 to talk to her about dropping it.

1. Is the interrogatory void because it wasn't filed with the correct court or written with the correct court's information at the top(in the court of: xxxx is incorrect) when sent to me?

2. I don't want to respond to something, that I don't 'have to', but I also don't want to get in trouble for not responding, when the attorney's made a mistake. Her mistake= my luck or should I answer it anyways?

3. Is it even possible to pull a request for an appeal this far into the game? If so, what does that do for the other issues at hand like the child support to be heard during the same hearing?

4. Is there any way to prove she is saying the things she's saying on the phone? What about tape recording the conversations, is that legal? shes in va im in tn.

Thank you-

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