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Author Topic: Documenting  (Read 1954 times)

Crockpot

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Documenting
« on: Jan 29, 2007, 10:58:02 AM »
I am NCP.  I share legal custody.  My story is not unique.  I regret not fighting for custody when we divorced.  I was hoping my ex would improve as a parent and get herself together.  She hasn’t in my opinion.  

My hope would be to some day get custody of my girls.  I had some very damning evidence on her about a year ago, but from some bad advice from my attorney I didn’t act on it.  

I keep hearing ‘document, document, document.’  I keep a log of things I believe may be of importance in a custody fight.  But I’m not sure at what point I can do something about them and what/how to track.

We are going to court in February to establish my parenting time.  Our divorce did not indicate any specifics.  CP was moving out of state when we split.  She came back a few months later.  I don’t believe I have enough evidence to try for custody at this point.

I am concerned that by going to court now and agreeing to just the standard EOW, holiday plan it may negate any future custody battle since some of the negative behavior is currently happening.

I’m stuck between what is worth bringing to court and what is not.  
     
1. What types of things should I keep track of?  Should I assume more is better than less?

2.  Do I bring any of it up in court next month?  I will have an attorney, my ex will not.  
     
Thank you.


socrateaser

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RE: Documenting
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 2007, 01:47:08 PM »
>1. What types of things should I keep track of?  

The objective is to show that the other parent will affirmatively act against the child(ren)'s best interests. Evidence of emotional or physical abuse against the children (or entering into a relationship with a convicted sex offender/abuser), or evidence of the child(ren) being in emotional or physical distress, from which a court could reasonably infer that the custodial parent is the cause (failure to thrive, severely underweight/overweight, horrible grades in school, failure to socialize/no friends).

Those are the best arguments to change custody. Everything else is pretty weak by comparison.

>1(a). Should I assume more is better than less?

Compound evidence is usually inadmissible, unless it shows a habit of behavior.

>2.  Do I bring any of it up in court next month?  I will have
>an attorney, my ex will not.

I don't know what evidence you would seek to introduce, so I can't speculate.

Windd

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RE: Documenting
« Reply #2 on: Jan 29, 2007, 04:34:39 PM »
Soc I have a question on the abuse thing when one professional's opinion is in conflict with another.

Medical doctor calls in report to child services. Child says parent did something although no evidence, marks, bruises, cuts. Dr and NCP have a cozy relationship. Child services does their investigation and says findings are unfounded. One other parent wants to use doctors report while the othere will use correspondence from child services.

How would you play your cards if you were representing the parent who will have the child services correspondence?

socrateaser

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RE: Documenting
« Reply #3 on: Jan 29, 2007, 05:26:59 PM »
>How would you play your cards if you were representing the
>parent who will have the child services correspondence?

Physician's statement is that of a legally mandated reporter -- he must report any reasonable evidence of abuse -- even the unsubstantiated claim of a child.

The physician's statement is hearsay, unless the child was in extreme distress at the time of the statement, in which case it's admissible as an excited utterance, which is trustworthy because of the inability of the witness to have time to invent a story. It appears the child disclosed the alleged abuse as part of an ordinary exam, so it's not an excited utterance. So, the statement could be admissible to prove the child's state of mind at the time of the statement, but not to prove the fact of the abuse.

And, you could counter the inference of abuse by presenting the CFS report finding no evidence of abuse, which should put the matter to rest, as the product of an active imagination.

The court will usually err on the side of caution, so, I would suggest that you come straight out and offer to submit to a polygraph on the question of your inappropriate touching, and/or ask the court to appoint an independent evaluator to investigate the child to try to determine why he/she made the statement.

That way, you will show the court that you're only interested in the child's welfare, and you can't imagine why the child would say such a thing.

You could also call the other parent as a witness, and ask about the relationship with the physician, and you could call the physician to ask about the relationship with the other parent -- but, you're likely to get stonewalled, so it's probably a bad tactic, because neither witness is likely to help your case, except by inadvertant admission or conflict of testimony.

What I would worry about is that by dragging so many witnesses in, you will be making the issue bigger than it really is. Better to just be surprised at all the turmoil and be equally interested in getting to the bottom of it.

Windd

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RE: Documenting
« Reply #4 on: Jan 30, 2007, 11:33:23 AM »
I can imagine that child is coached/influenced to say this and other things.  Child was unruly this morning. Sent to school. Child called other parent from school. Othr parent instructed him to leave school come to their house. They talked some more, went out to breakfast to talk some more. Went to the police station so “child -12yrs” could file report. It was written off as a disciplinary issue by the police.  Other parent took son back to school. After school took son to physician, where document was made and filed.

This is not the fist time the physician has assisted the other parent. The physician in the past has provided notes that child could not be out in the cold due to recurrent respiratory condition; although lungs were consistently clear and she had not seen son in a year before other parent called in to request this note. All this is in medical documents.



socrateaser

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RE: Documenting
« Reply #5 on: Jan 30, 2007, 12:51:47 PM »
>I can imagine that child is coached/influenced to say this
>and other things.  Child was unruly this morning. Sent to
>school. Child called other parent from school. Othr parent
>instructed him to leave school come to their house. They
>talked some more, went out to breakfast to talk some more.
>Went to the police station so “child -12yrs” could file
>report. It was written off as a disciplinary issue by the
>police.  Other parent took son back to school. After school
>took son to physician, where document was made and filed.
>
>This is not the fist time the physician has assisted the other
>parent. The physician in the past has provided notes that
>child could not be out in the cold due to recurrent
>respiratory condition; although lungs were consistently clear
>and she had not seen son in a year before other parent called
>in to request this note. All this is in medical documents.
>
My advise is the same. If it comes up in court, object to the physician's statements as hearsay, introduce the result of the CFS report, and ask the court to appoint an independent investigator if there is concern about your treatment of the child.

Your trying to cast the physician as a co-conspirator will be viewed as paranoid and then the court will start wondering what's up with you.

 

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