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Author Topic: Need some serious help here  (Read 3762 times)

BothSides

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Need some serious help here
« on: Feb 09, 2005, 01:56:41 PM »
Ok, long story short, weve been in court over a year.  Im the Stepmom (SM?)... were actually getting married in a month, so whatever.  Anyways, the BioMom(BM?) has "custody", shes the PRP.  Hes SRP.

They drafted up an agreement, it was signed and filed, thats our advice from the atty, but the problem is that it specifies we get 14 weekends per year, plus 3 one week visits to occur at christmas, one over fathers day, and one over another time during the summer.

Well, she proposed a set of dates to replace the 14 weekends per year.  Now shes refusing to sign off on it. (Father is in agreement to those dates).

Now our atty says that hes not doing anything else on the case without an additional 2500 retainer.  Weve burned through 1500 in the past 3 months alone.  Mostly becasue she causes some scene at every single visitation exchange.  She denies, witholds, gets nasty, refuses to meet halfway.  it always works out at the very last moment, but its costing us a fortune.

Now what do we do?  We had severe hurricane damage, we cant afford even the 2500 in retainer, or to get another atty (theyd want the same thing im sure, weve  checked around already and most were very close or at least that).

Our atty rarely returns calls, we try calling and leaving messages, he either doesnt get them, or i dont know what, then gets pissed cause we call every day when he doesnt return our calls.  But like right now, we have to have something taken care of monday, it didnt happen.  We have something else that was supposed to be taken care of by today, didnt happen.  He lets everything slide, but still charges us for his time!

my fiance is hesitant to go pro se.  Should we or what?  Negotiating with them is not an option, evne stuff they propose, when we agree, they change their mind.  Id rather leave it upto a judge at this point.

Im so frsutrated i cant stand it and so is my fiance.  its beena  year since filing and we still dont have a final hearing!

To top it off, the child now has bottle rot that she refuses to have treated.  And we cant even get one day of makeup visitation to get him seen on our time!

HELP!

BothSides...


T0052SC

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #1 on: Feb 10, 2005, 08:57:51 AM »
Do you have family members that can give you a loan?

Do you have friend and relitives that were planning on giving you money for a wedding present?

You may also be able to qualify for Pro Bono depending state.

If your step child is being neglected than you may want to get Child Protective Services involved.  If they feel there is neglect they may place the child with you temp pending district court.  This will also give you leverage because if distric court finds her guilty then you have proof of neglect not just alligations.  If CPS feels there is neglect this could also give you some more time and custody time till the family court hearing.  CPS is free to you just don't make faulse alligations that will back fire on you.

FL_48603

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2005, 10:18:16 AM »
>>Now shes refusing to sign off on it. (Father is in agreement to those dates).<<

I am not an attorney, and I am not giving you legal advice, BUT IF IT WERE ME, I think I might file an OSC (Order to Show Cause) checking off the box that states OTHER: and specify that you are uring expidition os signing the order and stating the best interest of the child being served through continuity and constnacy with the refusal of the opposing party as the CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCE.

>>Now our atty says that hes not doing anything else on the case without an additional 2500 retainer.  Weve burned through 1500
in the past 3 months alone.<<

Maybe hiring another attorney to sub in the day of the event then asking them to work on payments to finish the matter off?  You can even have a SELF-HELP clinic prepare your paper work on a WAIVER, you can submit it to the courts and serve the other party THEN hire the attorney to sub in for you after the fact.

THEN I would recommend you check with the STATE BAR ASSOCIATION and look into UNCONSIONABLE FEES as a possible complaint to file against you attourney.  I think they are bound by law to defend your case dilligently, and as in my case, I don't know that refusing to represent your interests pending payment of moneys is necessarily ethical or legal.  I'm looking into it and think you should too!

>>Mostly becasue she causes some scene at every single visitation exchange.  She denies, witholds, gets nasty, refuses to meet halfway.  it always works out at the very last moment, but its costing us a fortune.<<


List all these in your declaration and then ask for attorney fees and maybe snctions.

>>Now what do we do?  We had severe hurricane damage, we cant
afford even the 2500 in retainer, or to get another atty (theyd want the same thing im sure, weve  checked around already and most were very close or at least that).<<

Go the route of having the SELF-HELP clinic set up the paper work free of cost, then file and serve it on a waiver.

Then ask for 90 day continuance to gain the time necessary to save up enough for a cheap last minute sub-in.  I had one lawyer sub in and out the same day of my hearing just to argue my case so I could get in front of a mdeiator because while there I was able to get my custody back - try it andc see if it works for you as well as it did for me.

>>Our atty rarely returns calls, we try calling and leaving messages, he either doesnt get them, or i dont know what, then gets pissed cause we call every day when he doesnt return our calls.  But like right now, we have to have something taken care of monday, it didnt happen.  We have something else that was supposed to be taken care of by today, didnt happen.  He lets everything slide, but still charges us for his time<<

You've got to 86 the lawyer and get one to work for you who remember that THEY ARE SERVING YOU and not the other way around.

>>my fiance is hesitant to go pro se.  Should we or what?<<

You will be pro se or in pro per for the duration of time it takes you to find another attorney, but if you handle it correctly and line it up in advance, it will work to your advantage.  The other side's "snake in the grass"  will assume you are buckling, this gains you the element of surpirse then, because when you come back in with a lawyer who actually has some teeth to bite with, then they will be more prone to cooperate with you because they will know that you are prepared to do what it take to put things in check.

>>Negotiating with them is not an option, evne stuff they propose, when we agree, they change their mind.<<

Never negotiate unless it's on your terms.

>>Id rather leave it upto a judge at this point.<<

Thats what I'm doing.  The lawyers are just going to cut deals anyway, cut deals and kiss each other's bar cards.

>>Im so frsutrated i cant stand it and so is my fiance.  its beena  year since filing and we still dont have a final hearing! To top it off, the child now has bottle rot that she refuses to have treated.  And we cant even get one day of makeup visitation to get him seen on our time!<<

Fight for the rights of the child, and don't stop fighting until you win and the child is safe and properly cared for.




BothSides

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2005, 12:21:41 PM »
Thanks to both of you for your help.

We will have no choice but to go pro se . Were letting him finish this month, paying his bill, but asking for as little of his services from here on out as possible.  However, if he fails to return our calls even toady, which im sure he will out of spite, then hes fired as of today.

We have several contempts we need t ofile, that the attorney refused to file.  Im worried the judge may wonder why some of them are just now being filed when some of the contempts occured months ago.

Do you think an explanation would be necessary, or maybe a letter to the judge?

Now, shes planning on taking him to the dentist on friday - seems shes had a sudden change of heart after letting her atty know about the situation.  Even if she takes him friday, its been left untreated for over 2 months.  Should we file contempt on that as well?  would taht seem petty?  

Even if she does eventually have it treated, could we use that as leverage for going after custody?

Thanks so much!

BothSides

skye

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2005, 02:10:57 PM »
1. why does the agreement specify a certain amount of weekends? every other weekend would be 26 .. and I believe that is pretty standard unless there is a great distance...

you can file show causes you do not need an attorney present ...

2. what are the holidays schedule?

3. what about summer one week out of 3 months?


something just does not seem right with that... You can go pro se many have just read up on the state codes ... have some knowledge of what the law is.. you can learn alot here go to the articles archive and read as much as you can




BothSides

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #5 on: Feb 11, 2005, 07:48:35 AM »
There is an 8 hour drive between them.  The agreement, IMO, is stupid, and doesnt make sense, youre right.  She asked that it specify 14 weekends per year, because she wanted it to be every 3rd weekend.  He was in agreement to every 3rd weekend, but its an atty mishap that it didnt get in there, mostly.

For holidays, he gets him Wed - Sun (5 pm exchanges) for Thanksgiving,
Noon on christmas until Jan 1 at noon.
and thats pretty much it.

He also gets one week at fathers day, one week during the summer.  (the 3rd week is his week at christmas).

Our attorneys have done nothing but ass kissing IMO (to each other), and so we are pro se as soon as we can get this atty to withdraw.   Its a mess.

So, we have it set up right now for the current stipulation to be clarified at the final hearing, and anything they dont agree on before it goes to final hearing, the judge has reserved jurisdiction on all matters, not just particular areas, so he will decide anything they cant resolve.

She doesnt want him to have him one single day more than the agreement states now, she doesnt want him to have summers, the only thing she wants to change are the exchange times.  Currently it states excahnges take place on fri at 5 pm and mon at 9 am.  She wants it changed to fri at 5 pm and sun at 5 pm (b/c 9 am excahnges mean we leave at 5 am).  SG is willing to return him sundays at 5 pm and has so far, but wants to get him thurs at 5 pm or friday at noon to compensate.

Shes refusing.

And as i mentioned, she proposed a set of dates, he accepted them, she refused to sign off on them.  Those will be the dates we ask for in the final hearing.  There are more than 14 weekends though, (16?) and it follows every 3rd weekend thing.  But, were afraid the judge is going to say, no - you agreed to 14 you only get 14 unless you petition to modify, even if that is what she proposed.

So... well see.  Ive done pro se on my custody/visitation/CS case, but he has not so far, and is not as confident about it as i am.

Do folks here seem to do prose a lot, and are they generally successfull as long as they are well prepared and well informed of the statutes and procedures?  Cause ive got the statutes and procedures pretty much down pat.

Rain...

skye

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #6 on: Feb 11, 2005, 09:51:05 PM »
Currently it states excahnges take place on fri at 5 pm and mon at 9 am. She wants it changed to fri at 5 pm and sun at 5 pm (b/c 9 am excahnges mean we leave at 5 am).


While I understand this I am assuming the child is very young ( not in school yet) ... he will want the Monday at 9am so he can be involved with the school IMHO.


there is a very standard visitation in some states ... have you checked into that?

I would also want some clause that the order will change as time goes on and child gets older...

sounds like he is taking an offer that truelly sucks for him and this child ...kids need both parents as much as possible ...

BothSides

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #7 on: Feb 15, 2005, 02:44:56 PM »
Right now the child is 19 months old.  So obviously not in school yet,  but even once he is, being involved with the school wont matter with that exchange time, since the 9 am exchange takes place at a halfway point and they live 8 hours apart.

9 am excahnges right now have us leaving the house at 5 am to be at the xchange on time, which isnt the best for the child right now, esp at his age.  

BothSides

skye

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #8 on: Feb 15, 2005, 06:10:32 PM »
what state are you in?

BothSides

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RE: Need some serious help here
« Reply #9 on: Feb 16, 2005, 08:48:55 AM »
Florida

 

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