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Author Topic: Needing help and suggestions for court  (Read 11245 times)

Heston

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Needing help and suggestions for court
« on: Apr 07, 2011, 02:40:17 PM »
Hi, I’ve posted a couple of times, but am going to provide more background this time, as I really need some help and opinions on a current legal situation and maybe some background information will be helpful.

The BH ended the relationship before my daughter was born.  She is now 8 years old and there have been problems throughout.  The BH is a narcissist.  She may also have other conditions but narcissism is predominant in her behavior.  She’s impossible to reason with, likes to pretend she is a good mother and is an expert at playing the victim.  She has a problem with accountability and avoids it at every turn.  My daughter has been forced into taking the adult carer role and is always worried about her mom.  The BM is an alcoholic who gets forced into rehab every so often but is still drinking.  She has also used many substances.  I am not sure if she is currently, but her behavior suggests she might be.  I am not sure if I need to go into too much detail, but perhaps you get the picture

We first had a visitation order.  Visitation was regularly violated.  When I went to pick up my daughter, the BH and her relatives would do or say things to cause my daughter to be hysterical.  As she got a little older she would tell me about the threatened punishments or the fact her mom told her she was taking the other kids to my daughter’s favorite places and how she wouldn’t be able to go, because she was going with me.  Every trick in the book was used and I had to take a screaming child who took a long time to calm down, but once she did, she had a great time with me.  At this point, she was too young to refuse to go.


The BM moved out of state and I couldn’t find her for a couple of years.  She moved back and I went back to court to get another order.  Basically, pickups were arranged at a restaurant my daughter liked, so she would look forward to the exchanges, but still the same tactics were used to upset her.  The BM would bring various parties to assist in making my daughter upset.  I followed the court orders to the letter, always arriving on time or early and returning my child on time.  The BM does not want me to be a part of my daughter’s life and neither does her husband.


Finally, I got joint legal and physical custody.  It cost me about $15,000 for all the legal work.  A psychologist was involved in setting up the new JCO, who was aware of previous problems.  Amongst other things, the JCO ordered that the BM should bring my child to my house for exchanges, because this would give my child the message that if her mom brought her, it was OK to visit.  Of course the BM didn’t like this, because she was then unable to upset my daughter in the same way.  There have never been any problems with my daughter being upset when she is brought to me and it works perfectly.  I then return my daughter at the end of the weekend.  The BM does always bring her 45 minutes or more late, and always blames traffic.  She could easily leave earlier or use another route and I have suggested both but it makes no difference.


The BM has violated the JCO on many points, for instance vacation time.  She refuses to cooperate on dates no matter how early in the year I provide convenient dates for me.  There is no cooperation and I have never had vacation time so far.  If visitation is missed due to ill health or whatever, she breaks the JCO by not permitting make up time if I cannot do it on the dates she specifies.  She also puts a time limit of just a few weeks during which she states I must do the make up time and if I can't do it, she says my chance of make up time has expired.  In other words, she rewrites the JCO whenever she wants. There is a lot of alienation going on, which is also prohibited in the JCO.  There are a good many other points that are blatantly ignored.


The JCO stipulates my daughter should not be exposed to smoke as she suffers from ear infections and asthma, but she arrives at my house with her hair and clothes smelling of smoke.  The BM smokes and so do others in her residence.  When I mention it in emails, the BM claims it’s me exposing my child to smoke, even though I am a non smoker.


The BM has now filed a motion.  She wants the drop offs changed so that I pick my child up at her place.  The BM claims if I pick up my child the exchanges would be more “timely”, when the only reason they are not timely now is because she doesn’t allow time for bad traffic.  She sometimes takes my daughter to other places after picking her up from school, and leaves whatever place it is too late to get her to me on time.


If she gets her way, it is a big step backwards as we have already tried what she is now suggesting and it didn’t work for the reasons mentioned.  We tried exchanges outside a restaurant and outside a police station.  Every time, the mother has caused massive problems.  As long as I go to her place, she will cause problems.  Before lodging the motion, the BM said my daughter couldn’t see me unless I went to her place and collected her.  Knowing what her tactics are, I didn’t do as she requested and said we should stick to the JCO.  I found out shortly afterwards that if I had gone there, I would not have got my child as she had been told she couldn’t see me that day.  So the point of the motion and the request for me to collect my daughter at her place is so the BM can cause my daughter to say no, she can’t come with me, and cause scenes.  She usually takes video clips or photos when I return my daughter and I am sure she would love to create scenes so she can video and photograph my daughter crying and refusing to leave with me.


I am representing myself this time.  I have a ton of evidence.  The JCO stipulates we must only communicate by email so I have thousands of emails.


I am thinking it might be a good idea to file a motion for contempt of the JCO to show how many points she has violated and also a counter motion to the one the BM has lodged.  Some of the points cross over.  But if I just respond to the motion the BM has filed, I won’t be able to address many other really relevant issues.

Assuming it’s appropriate to file two separate motions, I am now trying to prepare them and gather all the information for court.
I am thinking that because I have previous CO’s and none of them worked, this history will show that no matter what is ordered, the BM won’t follow it.  It will also show it’s a step backwards to something that previously failed.  I am trying to work out arguments to succeed on this particular point.

I wondered if anyone has any ideas on how to convince the judge, arguments to present, etc.  And whether anyone knows about filing two motions at the same time, and whether a counter motion is possible or do I just respond to the motion filed by the BM without submitting a counter motion to it, as well as a motion for contempt. Thanks in advance.


ocean

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #1 on: Apr 07, 2011, 04:32:49 PM »
Could you get child from school? Have to be very specific so the school follows the court order. "Father will be pick child every Wed, and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of the month. Child will not be released to mother on these days" .. also say "if child is not at school for any reason or no school, mother will meet father at police station. Mother/other adults will not get out of car. Child will get out of car and go to father's car. Mother will not speak with father for any reason at exchanges."

What else do you want to bring up? Start filing those contempt charges when she does not follow them.

When you get to court on her stuff, just say it is working out really well and it is working for the child as she has not been upset in months...BUT mother has been consistently late and taking child XXX after school instead of coming straight to my house. I suggest that if mother is one hour late to my house, then I drop her off an hour later on drop-off. Until the court date, tape her coming in late... she can use the traffic excuse only so much. If you can do the school thing then do that...then have her pick her up! LOL

Maybe ask for the same law guardian or whoever gave you the joint physical...have them reassigned to the case?

Since vacation has always been denied. Ask that you pick her up on the last day of school and keep her for your summer visits? Since you missed some this year, ask for make-up time...

Heston

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #2 on: Apr 11, 2011, 04:48:02 PM »
Thanks, these are good suggestions and I will definitely incorporate them into my court motions.  As far as picking my child up from school, the BM ruined that.  Going back a few years, I did collect my daughter from school on a couple of occasions but the BM would show up and cause a scene.  She is someone that goes totally out of control.  I didn't argue, she just went nuts and got very loud.  After a couple of these incidents, the principal explained to me that he could not subject other students and parents to the BM's outbursts and asked me not to attempt to collect my daughter from school again, rather than dealing with the BM.  I guess this would be a good thing to mention in my response.  Just about everything has been tried and has failed, due to the actions of the BM. 

The only place she does not cause a scene, is at my residence, when she drops my child off and this is why it works.  I guess if I can show that all the other court ordered drop offs didn't work out due to her behavior, and that the current plan works well, there is a hope the judge will decide the current order should remain unchanged.

Everything the BM has requested in the new motion is unreasonable.  But in my experience, the person bringing the motion is not denied every request.  The requests should be denied but I will most likely be asked to compromise a bit.  I don't know if the principal of my daughter's school would have to allow me collect my daughter, if a court ordered it.  I could suggest that as a possible compromise ...as you suggested, with specific wording, banning the mother from being there when I was due to collect my daughter from school, perhaps once or twice a month.

The mother is currently totally ignoring my requests to see my daughter.  I am working on a motion for contempt at the moment as well as a counter motion. 

tigger

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #3 on: Apr 12, 2011, 08:00:19 AM »
If there's a court order for you to have your child at specific times and you pick her up at school, the school has to comply.  If the BM is making a scene, the police should be called on her for disrupting the peace and for being unable to behave as an adult.  You shouldn't be penalized for her unruly behavior.  She should be held accountable.
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Heston

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #4 on: Apr 12, 2011, 10:58:24 AM »
Thanks for that information.  I have so far thought I couldn't return to the school to pick my daughter up.  The BM has ruined every plan to date.  When I respond to the BMs motion to change the handovers, I think I might come up with the suggestion that I can pick my daughter up maybe once a month from her school, for weekend visits.  I won't volunteer that, but will come up with that suggestion as a "compromise".  The way it stands, the BM was ordered to deliver my daughter to me for any weekend visits and also a midweek visit, with the reasoning being that nothing else worked because she caused a scene everywhere else, and particularly outside her home, as she was on home turf.  And more importantly, to protect my daughter from witnessing such upsetting behavior, and to give her a message that its OK to come and visit me.  All the other behavior had a very negative impact.
 
The BM has always delivered my child late, but has not made a scene upon arrival.  Now she has filed a motion in court to change things so I pick up my daughter and of course this is so she can threaten my daughter and tell her she is not allowed to leave with me and record the scenes she creates, to make it appear that my daughter doesn't want to visit.  And her offer of collecting my daughter is futile, because the BM plans on my daughter not leaving with me, so she won't need to be picked up.
 
I will try and keep things as they are, because there are very valid reasons for the way things have been court ordered, but to show that I am flexible and to show goodwill, I can offer to collect my daughter say once a month, at her school.  I see my daughter every other weekend so in effect, by doing this, I would be helping the BM 50% of the time.
 
I don't know if anyone knows the answer to this, but I am drafting a counter motion.  I am guessing I need to address the points raised in the BM's motion, and then raise a few points of my own.  What I need to know is, for instance, on the issue where the BM wants to change the parental exhanges back to how they were when things didn't work out, should I simply say in my counter motion that I wish to keep things the way they are, and will provide information relevant to my request at the hearing.  Or as well as stating I wish things to remain the same, should I state reasons why?  For instance, the BM is stating that drop offs would be "more timely" if I were to collect my child instead of her dropping my child off at my residence.  In fact, drop offs should be timely no matter who is driving.  Both the BM or I would face the same Friday evening rush hour traffic.  If the BM left enough time to allow for traffic, drops offs would be timely.  Should I draw attention to this in my Motion?  Or should I just state that I believe things should remain the same and also state that I will provide reasons at the hearing?
 
Does anyone know also, whether I can bring other points up on the counter motion?  For instance, raise some additional issues to be addressed?
 
I do also plan on filing a motion for contempt.  A few of the points will cross over and I will reference that in the motion by saying I have filed a contempt motion relating to a particular issue.  I am assuming this is how to do it, but if anyone has filed motions without the help of a lawyer and knows the answers, I would be really grateful for advice.  I realise it's pretty basic, but not being a lawyer, I am not sure if what I am doing is correct.
 
The BM has consistently delivered my child late and sometimes extremely late, and one time claimed to have brought my daughter but didnt.  So on this point the BM is in contempt (as well as on a lot of other points).  It is relevant to her now wanting to change things so she no longer brings my daughter to me, especially since she is claiming if I collect my daughter, the parental exchanges will be "more timely".  So I will draw attention to this in the Motion for Contempt.
 
I am not sure how much information I should divulge in either of the Motions.  I feel I should just give an outline, as totally forewarned is forearmed.  Any suggestions on this would be much appreciate too.  Thanks.
 
 


ocean

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12, 2011, 02:22:13 PM »
You can have it state:
"father will have pick-ups at school and mother is not allowed on school grounds during his parenting times" Then be specific so the school knows which weekends are yours...

Your response should NOT be detailed...she will get a copy and then have a heads up on what you are thinking. You can respond something like:
"father requests that  exchanges remain the same as this has been the best for the child as she has had anxiety issues in the past. Since the mother started dropping off at fathers house, child has had NO issues and understands that mom is allowing her to go to dad's since she is driving her. However, father is asking the court that if mother drops off child late to him, he be allowed to keep the child the same amount of time at the end of his parenting time. Mother has been over 30 minutes late with the child XX times in the past 3 months."

if you want to switch to school your can file:
"father requests that exchanges be the same as it is working for child and there have been no issues of the child picking between her parents when mother willingly brings child to fathers house. If the court agrees, father is willing to pick child up from school BUT the court would have to stipulate that mother be not allowed at school on fathers parenting days due to mother making a scene at the school on numerous occasions in the past when it was fathers parenting day."

then add to either one

"mother is in contempt of court on numerous issues including not bring child to fathers residence at court ordered time. Mother brings child to stores/outings before bringing child to fathers residence making child very late for parenting time with her father. Father has file contempt of court charges on XXX (add file number if you have one...).

Heston

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #6 on: Apr 12, 2011, 04:05:33 PM »
Thanks for these suggestions.  I am going to incorporate them into my draft.  It's a great help.  If I succeed with this, I will definitely report back on it all.  No doubt I may have more questions before I reach that point!  Thanks again.

tigger

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2011, 10:13:34 AM »
So if he offers to pick up the child from school, shouldn't the mom be the one to pick the child up from his residence at the end of the parenting time?
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Heston

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #8 on: Jun 06, 2011, 02:30:10 AM »

So if he offers to pick up the child from school, shouldn't the mom be the one to pick the child up from his residence at the end of the parenting time?

 
Yes, it should be that way.  But the mom is very difficult.  She goes against the CO constantly.  She has tried to stop me collecting the child from school by making such a scene that the principal asked me not to go there again, even tho it's the mom who caused a problem.

gemini3

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Re: Needing help and suggestions for court
« Reply #9 on: Jun 06, 2011, 05:48:08 AM »
Just a thought... since you want the pick-up's to remain as is, and that is what was recommended by the JCO.  I would ask that the motion be dropped because the mother has not met the change in circumstance test.  Any time there is a change to a CO, the petitioner must first prove that a "substantial change in circumstance" has occured.  If one has not occured, then the judge usually won't hear the case.  Sometimes, if it's unclear whether one has been met, the judge will hear the case and then deny the motion based on failure to prove a change in circumstance.
 
So, for me, the first step would be to request the motion be denied for failure to meet change in circumstance test.  If that doesn't work;
 
Regarding dealing with her narcissism.  I recommend reading "Splitting:  Protecting Yourself When Divorcing a Borrderline or Narcissist".  You're not divorcing, but it has some great tips on dealing with this kind of person in court.  This site also has a good article on dealing with a Narcissist in court:  http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/narcissist.php
 
I'm am also a huge fan of low/no contact.  This may work for you as well:  http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/appropriate-means-of-contact-with-high-conflict-personalities/

 

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