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Author Topic: Advice Still Sought.....  (Read 3456 times)


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Advice Still Sought.....
« on: Jun 10, 2009, 07:43:59 AM »
I've been posting about my current plight over the past several months so I'll address most current stuff first, brief history at the bottom.

Went to court on Monday for 'final orders' hearing before the judge.  This is the follow up hearing to an Emergency Motion hearing in March to suspend last ordered parenting plan (50/50) and grant 100% custody to me, minimum 2 hours supervised visitations by mother with expectation by judge that the 2 hrs would gradually be increased.

WHAT HAPPENED SINCE:  Mother never requested any increase in her supervised parenting time, not directly to me, not through either the supervisor or the children's therapist (LCSW).  However, mother through her lawyer made repeated attempts to collect child support via my employer under guise of never ordered wage assignment (this happened 2x over April and May).  LCSW DID request a jump from 2 hours to 6 hours around mid-May.  She sent her request via fax to my attorney and to mother's attorney.  Mother's attorney never acted on this recommendation either through my attorney or through the courts.  I expressed verbally my concerns with to LCSW and attorney this requested increase:  (1)  mother has not shown any interest in additional time, (2) 2 hours to 6 hours was not gradual as we agreed on 23 March, (3) step-father has not been present to any parenting time to date [Note:  majority of problems result from arguements between mother and step-father].  While I agreed that I too was surprised that we were still sitting on 2 hours of visitation, it was my opinion that it was the mother's responsibility to ask for more if she wants it.  LCSW argued that there were 3 parties involved here, me, mother and children and it was her opinion that the children needed more time with mother.

WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT:  Things started out okay.  We proposed a modified schedule moving from this min 2-hours per week to 4-hours (supervised initially) every other weekend with 1-2 unsupervised dinners during the week.  Then LCSW takes the stand.  Initially she agrees with the proposed plan, then opposing attorney pulls out her request from mid-May which was much more agressive.  (6 hours 'lightly' supervised one weekend, followed by 6 hours the following weekend, followed by 6 hours on Sat and Sunday in same weekend.  LCSW would monitor progress/problems and would base recommendation on what next).  LCSW said that she still agreed with her proposed plan, but if all parties were in agreement w/4-hr plan she was happy with that too.  Then, LCSW trashes me in court, paints me as unsupportive of her recomendations (but makes no reference as to WHY, nor give her opinion as voiced to me verbally that it was indeed strange that mother isn't requesting additional time w/children).  Judge, tosses out agreed to 4-hr plan and orders plan proposed by LCSW.  Further, judge orders that parties comply w/LCSW recomendations, and if either disagrees then we have 5-days to appear before court to explain.

CONCERN:  (1)  LCSW has too much power, too much sway over court.  I suspected this and tried but failed to find equivilent expert who could counter balance her somewhat.  (2)  LCSW stated in court that she did NOT want this responsibility and that she was concerned about the appropriateness of her acting as Parenting Time Coordinator [I will follow up with LCSW licensing board on whether this order is even valid].  (3)  LCSW has always had sympathy towards mother and in this case has placed children's emotional needs to be w/mother more above risk posed by repeated DV calls to 911, suicide attempt by mother in presence of children, and 18 months worth of examples of overall volatility in the house.  She said in court that the children were 'thriving' with me 100%, and they seemed more relaxed, less stressed and better behaved.  (in my mind these are contradictory things).

WAY FORWARD:  We are supposed to follow judge's laid out plan for 3 weeks, then see what LCSW 'thinks'.  We have another status conference in August....presumeably for judge to decide final orders.  After this last court fiasco, I am of the opinion that ALL correspondence w/LCSW from me has now got to be in writing.  She selectively remembers facts and conversations, often omitting the 98% good things I do as a parent and only comments on the things she thought could have been done differently/better.  She also failed to comment on the fact that whenever she's provided us parenting suggestions/feedback we've tried to adopt her suggestions (I am a hell of a great Dad, but I am not perfect). 

ANTICIPATED/DESIRED OUTCOME:  I think because of comments from the court, there is strong likelihood that the final custody arrangement desired would be something like 25/75.  But could go all the way back to the 50/50.  This of course is all based on there being some kind of stability in mother's home, which hasn't ever been the case in 3 years!

WHAT I NEED:  Advice/help.
- I think that there should be consideration for the fact that kids have been with me since 14 Feb 2009.
- I think that I still could use some other independent expert to weigh in.  I've tried the avenue of foster home assessment, and while I think that worthy and a good process, don't know how to have such an assessment made as to whether or not even foster kids would be placed in this home.
- Strategy/plans that have worked in the past.
- Suggestions on how to soften LCSW if possible.  But as said above, she has repeated demonstrated selective recall so i think putting my communications IN WRITING is a good idea.

HISTORY:  On 14 Feb 2009, a minor arguement between mother and husband resulted in children calling to be picked up (with mother's permission), while making 20 min drive from my house, mother escalated to point of attempting suicide.  Police came, ambulance, she went to mental hospital for 3 days evaluation.  I've had 100% custody since.  She attempted to exercise her parenting time, despite objections from LCSW and from me, so went to court for temporary orders (which were granted).


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