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Pennsylvania State Forum / Centre County ,PA?
« on: Dec 12, 2004, 11:32:40 AM »
Are there any posters here from Centre County, PA?  I am intersted in obtaining information about current custody cases ( within the last 6 years).

Moms Without Custody / Olanna
« on: May 30, 2007, 03:58:38 PM »
Hi there. Your response was quite lost in lizmiller's post but I wanted to reply.  You were questioning why anyone would take advice from me since I married a man with a mental illness and an addiction.  

And also you seemed to think I was "blowing everyone else off".

First of all,  I married a MAN lving with bipolar disorder and an addcition.  MAN is the first part here.  I am a woman living with arthritis.  I have lived with depression.  I had lived with anxeity disorder in the past.  But first of all- I was a person.  I come from a rehabilitation perspective here, unlike some people who think if one has a mental illness or addcition - let alone both- the person ceases to be a person and becomes an illenss.

My bipolar, recovering alcoholic, husband and I have two children of our own who are doing very well, thnak you very much.  In addition- I have rehabilitated myself as I lost my career as a nurse whan I herniated several discs in my spine.  I am now about to receive my Master's of Edcuation in the next year.

Why did I choose to get involved with a man with "issues"?  Honey- we all have issues.  Some are offically diagnosed and some aren't but we've all got 'em.  I knew that regardless of what my husband did or ddin't do, my life would be a success.  Why?  Because I will settle for nothing less.  I have tremendous internal resources.  Is my life for everyone?  Nope.  But it was right for me and might just be right for Lizmiller.  Unless you're walking in her shoes I don't think you have the right to judge her.

As for divorce being hard enough, well I guess that depends on the person who is going thru it.  For me it had good points and bad.  I lost financial secruity til I could provide it for myself.  I gained independence and freedom from my ex's negative thinking that was very difficult to live with. It took such energy to rise above it that iI had little nergy left to pursue my own passions.  Most things in life have pro's and con's if we are honest about htem.  Would it have be easier if I had just stayed alone- no- no necessarily.  my husband follows his program, I follow mine and we support each other.  I remeber when I was so heartbroken because of somehting that happened to me surrounding my divorce that I didn't remember driving home.  It was my husband who held me and supported me and saw that I had a safe palce in which to process the betrayal that had just happened to me.  In that respect- it was a very good thing that I had him in my life.  Ihavenot forgotten that- I actually owe him a debt for that day and many others.  He is my soulmate- not merely a man with a mental illness and an addcition.

As far as blowing "everyone" off-- I don't see it that way.  What I do see is that I noticed a very prejudicial tone in your post and stepped in to support Lizmiller because I can see her sistuation from another angle.

The "professionals" in my custody case saw things just like you did.  As a result my children are in the custody of a man who doesn't beleive in taking them to the doctor or filling perscriptions.  He sends my DD to school with holes in her sneakers so big her socks were soaked by the time she got on the bus.  And she wore a belt that had broken and was duct taped togehter for a month.  Her dad makes 70K a year and I pay guideline support  even though my income is only from disability until next year.  I had to take X to court to get him to put the medically necessary braces on DD's teeth.  Son had toenails so ingrown they required surgery.  

But my X doesn't have a mental illness so that makes him a fit parent.  He drinks like a fish but doesn't attend AA so that means he's NOT an alcoholic because alcoholics go to meetings and drunks got to bars, right? My X was verbally abusive to me for so many years of my marriage.  I had chronic health problems which cleared up in the first 90 days that I was out of his home.  They have never returned even though I made the by your definition, "poor decison" to live with the man with mental illness and addcition issues.

What I have learnd is this:  I have more respect for a person who admits they have aproblem and is willing to take the steps to deal with it that I do for anyone who likes to sit back and point fingers.
My husband is just such a man.  He's got more class on his worst day that some people have on thier best. He has no need to put others down in order to feel good. He can admit when he's wrong.  He is able to put other people ahead of his own desires when necesary. I think that's a pretty good resume.  One my X didn't have and one lots of people who don't live with diagnosed disabilities could not live up to.

I think the world would be a better place if people could just see others as the people they are instead of thier labels.  In the case of LIZmiller, her X never seemed concerend about her judgement in men when they were together. He left the child with her at times.  His fear for his child's saftey only seems to come about when she is in a romantic realtionship with another man.  When the man disappears- so do his concerns- he's dropped cases multiple times and sent the child for visitations in between. if one is honestly concerned about their child's saftey and the other parent's judgement that parent wouldn't send the child at all or would seek supervised visits.  That hasn't happened.

If Lizmiller's BF is guilty he should fry.  But if he's innocent why should he be taken from his family just to appease some guy with an axe to grind?  

Her decison to allow the baby to live else where while she lived with her BF is her own to make. I perhaps ,might have made a different one on that issue. But I'm not her, I haven't walked the proverbal mile in her moccassins.  I am sure that she is doing what she feels is best and i didn't read that she asked for any advice on that situtation. her questions seemed to be centered around whether or not she had a chance with her DD.

Obviously, she's in a tough spot. Nobody can make these decisons but her.  But I believe that she is an adult- so I think we need to respect her as such.

Moms Without Custody / To go to trial or not? All Opinions Welcome
« on: Dec 08, 2004, 05:43:01 PM »
Hi All--All opinions are welcome

I have four children.  Two that I see only EOW( DS1,15 and DD1,12) and two living with DH and I full time( DS2,6 and DD2,2)  So I am both a CP mom and an NCP mom.

The kids who only visit have been having a real hard time lately.  DS1 is suffering mild depression.  DD1 is lying and stealing.  Both are starting to have issues with school.  My relationship with both is suffering due to the long separations.  As well as difficulties with telephone access in CP's home.  Where once we were very close now we have drifted apart to the point that I feel less like family and more like an inn keeper.

The children now lie without batting an eyelid. They are disrespectful. They are not the children they once were.

CP frustrates my legal custody and is very disrespectful to me in front of the children and others.  He blocks mt access to school and medical info as often as possible.  In short I feellike I am no longer a parent.  Or more precisely that if things continue as they are I will loose the kids forever.

I lost custody after 22 months of joint 50-50 due to my DH going to jail for a probation violation.  He had had a long legal history before I knew him.  He has since been clean, sober and out of legal trouble for 5 years.  

The CP knew of his history and had no problem withit while he was dating and his new wife was working long swing shifts.  He let me have the kids for daycare and sick and snow days.  We never had a problem.

That was until the property settled and I moved to a different school district.  Att he time both kids were in school in this district where I purchased my home due to being enrolled in a private school.  At the same time I bought my house the CP's new wife lost her job and wanted to care for the children.  That is when my custody nightmare began.

My question now is do I fight for Primary custody knowing that DS1 is angry at being dragged into court all the time?  I have almost no relationship with him now and fear if the status quo continues I will loose touch with him all together.  DD1 really is aloof as well.  She doesn't even remember livng with me.  Both kids told a custody evaluator they "wanted things to stay the same"  then both admitted they lied and witheld info from the evaluator.

I feel really torn.  I worry about the children both physically ( CP does not believe in docotrs and will give OTC meds instead of taking to doctor) and mentally.  Yet I know there is a real possibility that I could go through a trial,  upset my kids even more and loose anyway.  

I know there is a lot of wisdom out there among all of you.  Please help.

Dear Socrateaser / Make up time
« on: Feb 11, 2007, 01:38:00 PM »
All parties are in PA.  I have joint leagal custody and partial physical custody.  I only see the children EOW and half of summers and half of holidays.  

A GAL was appointed in this case in November.  She has contacted my attorney because my DD who is 14 wanted to particpate in a school play.  The play, which is a yearly occurance takes the bulk of the weekend which is 50% of my parenting time for the month.  During that weekend I have no meaningful time with my DD.  I asked the CP for either two make up days or to switch weekends or to be able to get my DD from school in order to have dinner with her a few nights.

My X refused to reply to my request even though I sent it twice.  Ihad not been informed of the date that DD would have to declare her intention to be in the play or not.  X later said in counseling that he did not reply becasue "She knows I'm not giving make up time.  Why should I have to tell her again!"

I even tried working out make up time with her.  She just said that it was too stressful and couldn't understand why I wouldn't just give up the weekend.

I found out about her not being able to be in the play before the GAL called.  I offered to contact the school to try to get her  into the play by explaining what had happened.  My dd refused saying she no longer wanted to be in the play, but apprarently she communicated her displeasure to the GAL.

The GAL beleives I should forgo parenting time so the children can particpate in any activity at all.

I must mention that thier father supports NO activites unless it is volunteer firefighting becasue that's the activity he himself is involved in.  He rarely attends things the chiildren have at school.  

 My son had to recently quit a job becasue his father would not allow him to work on his father's custodial weekends.  My son had had the job for two years and was never once allowed to go to work on his dad's time.  Dad wouldn't even negotiate the Friday pick up time so son could go to work on time.  He had to be 45 minutes late every Friday night.

I beleive this was becasue the job was on my end of town and I had helped son get it.  Dad refused to allow this 17 year old to drive to the job because he wouldn't support it, but then dad complained because he felt he shouldn't have to drive to get son at 11:00 PM at night on Friday and Saturday nights.

My plan is continue doing exactly what I have been doing for the last nine years which is to allow the children to go to activites which do not take up over 50% of my parenting time and not allow those which keep the kids away for more than 50% of thier waking hours.

If I allow the children to go to all the thing s they should be going to my realtionship with them is weakened.  If I disallow acitives the children don't get to do anyhting age appropriate and are tied up with adults for at least four nights a week going to firefighter trainings.

There is currently no court order in place regarding activites.


Would it be in my best interests to continue to do what I am doing and let the GAL be the one to file a motion if she feels a need to change the order? Or should I pursure something from the judge myself?

If the GAL did file a motion to change the part of the order and require me to take the children to any and all acitvites without make up time where would the burden of proof be regarding the children's best interest?

Do you have any ideas on waht to do since the children miss out significantly on age approriate acitives since they can only do them when with me and dad is so uncooperative?

Dear Socrateaser / GAL Questions
« on: Jan 11, 2007, 12:09:32 AM »
Hi Soc,

Everyone and order are in PA.  Due to the inability of the father and I to communicate and father's apparent unwillinginess to attend counseling requested by me and ordered by the judge the judge had appointed a GAL for the children.

Children are DS 17 (18 in April) DD 14.5.  Loads of PAS in case.  I' ve written to you before.  My Dh lives with bipolar disorder and is a recovering alcoholic.  We have had our share, an possibly more of ups and downs here.

The GAL has gotten an order for her to have complete access to everyone's medical record.  My attorney actually thought the order referred only to the children.  I requested clarification and I was right.  She wants EVERYONE'S medical record.  Office notes, MRI results, Surgery reports, lab tests, the whole shebang.

My Dh adn I are both disabled.  Our disabilities do not affect our ability to parent.  We were recently investigated by CYS due to a relapse on my DH's part.  We we were found to not be in need of services.  In the past two custody evals we have been an open book with regard to both of our medical conditions.  I have degenerative disc disease and a chronic issue with my cervical spine due to a car accident.  Our openess has simply allowed people who are not medical doctors or psychiatrists to misconstrue our information and use it to discriminate against us.

I object to this GAL having all of this information on the basis of it not affecting the children's best interest AND it being a violation of our privacy without a benefit to the children.  Both my Dh and I need to be able to tell our medical providers exactly how we are feeing without fear that the GAL will read this and twist it into something other than what it is.

I am willing to have any medical provider write a letter stating their perceptions of the effect of our medical histories  on our abilty to parent and on the providers perception as to whether either of us is a danger to the children based on our medical status.  Please note:  We have two custodial children here living with us at all times and no medical provider, counsleor, psychitrist or anyone else has ever had a worry about the children's saftey and/ or level of care in our custody.  My X however, has made two unfounded reports to CYS about us.

My DH is a stay at home dad to our two children.  I am an LPN for the last 25 years, parent educator and am currently enrolled in a master's program in rehabiltation counseling. We bothhold child abuse clearances.

I am not seeking to change custody.  I simply want to maintain the status quo for the next three years and eight months.  The children have already been living with my Dh and I with me having EOW and half of summers for the last nine years with no untoward effects excpet for the stress of having thier parents constantly at odds with one another.

The GAL has sent my attorney an email stating that we would have the opportunity to object to her getting any of our medical records before the judge.


What is the best arguement to keep this GAL out of our medical records?

Dear Socrateaser / PA Child Support Issue
« on: Dec 18, 2006, 11:47:46 AM »
Hi Soc!

I am NCM.  Everyone and order is in PA.  I have the kids only EOW and half of all holidays and summers. CP refuses t allow anymore time.

I have been on Long Term disability for two years.  Last year I was in an auto accident ( 100% the other guy's fault) I am still dealing with medical issues from that.

I was afforded the chance to go back to school for a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.  I have an undergrad degree in the same field and was a nurse for 25 years before becoming disabled.

I thought, "Oh good, I'll get the degree, paid for by the state.  Then I'll be able to work for state VR to pay back the grant.  Finally I will earn more than povery level wages. The most I ever ade in my entire life was 18,000 as an LPN.

Of course as soon as I went back to school my LTD company decided that if I could attend classes for nine hours a week I must not be disabled and should be able to work full time.  They cut off my benefits.

I filed a CS modification.  I have a hearing later this week.  My attorney says they will impute my income and I will have to pay as if I was working 40 hours a week due to the fact that I'm attending school.  I am also funded by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation which means that they decided I couldn't be gainfully employed without further training.

I wasn't even able to work 40 hours a week before I went on disability!  I worked a reduced schedule of 32 hours a week.  I have dealt with my back condition for 17 years and am much worse due to the auto accident form last December.

I need Chiropractic care once every seven days and narcotic pain relievers just to continue my classes, all nine hours a week.  I have exhausted my auto insurance medical beneifts of $10,000 and am now paying out of pocket for my care.

X makes about 60 to 70 K. Kids wear hand me downs.  I have pics of DD's shoes with holes in them so large you could fit your fist into them, so what I was paying wasn't going to the children anyway.

I have two other children from my second marriage that I support and my DH is disabled with only a small SSDI and SSI for income. When I got disabiltiy benfits we were sinking further into financial ruins with mounting debt just to pay for necessities.


How do I defend against being imputed for 40 hours a week?

Does the fact that the CS isn't being spent on the kids count toward any of this?

Is there any way to be allowed to finish my degree and THEN pay support?

When is "hardship" an appropriate defense?

Dear Socrateaser / Parenting time suspended
« on: Oct 27, 2006, 08:56:17 PM »
I received a phone call today from my X telling me that I would not have custody of my children today as he had gotten an order suspending any time until a court hearing has occurred.

The reason for this order is that X says my Dh was drinking while the children were here.  This incident occurred in September.  My lawyer sent me a copy of a petiton which was dated 9/29/06.  Then it wasn't filed at the court house. We have never gotten a time stamped copy of the petition.  The order was dated 10/23/06.

Sometime between then and now it must hvae been filed.  However the children have had four visits since the motion was written and my attorney was served.

I am fairly sure that my evidence will support the fact that my DH was NOT drinking on the day in question.  He is a recovering alcoholic.  He has also had drinking problems in the past.  However, he is now clean and sober and has professionals who will back that up.  There was also another adult here at the time my X alleges Dh was drinking.

The petiton said my children did not want to be here unless I was present.  I am always here with them on weekends and i had requested my X change the night of the visit when the alleged drinking was supposed to have occured to accomadate a class I am taking but he refused adn we had to see the counsleor the court ordered for X to finally agree that it was best for the kids if they actually got to see me during the visit.

When I called my lawyer to inquire about the order she said she had gotten "something" but hadn't realized it was an order.  She just realized she was unavilable on the date in question and asked to have it rescheduled.  We do not have a new date as of yet, but it may well be that we will have to wait until after the holidays.


Can I do anything legally to try to get the parenting time started back up before a hearing?

Since I am at home when the children are scheduled to come and the objection had been that the children did not want to be here without me is this reason to say the paretning time should not be suspended?

Is it true that there was nothing my lawyer could have done to fight this until it was filed?

Dear Socrateaser / Custody modification
« on: Oct 04, 2006, 02:00:48 AM »
All parties and order in PA.  I am NCM.  I have parenting time EOW and half of all summers and school breaks.

My X and I have been to court numerous times over the last 8.5 years that we've been separated/divcorced.  Last Februray we had a custody modifcation hearing which I had filed.

My X insisted the children speak to the judge.  My 17 year old son was highly and visably upset and acted like he wanted no part of it.  My 14 year old DD is all for her dad and was saying terrible things about me.

 There was no change to custody, but at my request the judge ordered X and I to counsleing.  The counsleor and I both thought it was good idea to include the kids. X refused.

So far, the counseling has only produced one face to face session between my X adn I.  In it I was asking that a biweekly week night two hour visit be changed from Tuesday night to another week night as I began taking graduate classes and a required class met on the court ordered night for the visit.

I had emailed my X previously about this and he had refused to change the night of the visit but agreed to meet with the counsloer about it.

I thought the session went well.  There were two visits prior to the session with the counsleor which my Dh exercised in my abscense.  There are half siblings here in my home, so the kids all got to spend the time together.  I got to see the children for about a quarter of the visit before having to leave for the class.

Well, X has filed a custody mod based on the NC kids telling him that my DH was drinking during the visit and that I had refused to change the night of the visit.

This is totally false.  I have documentation that I did agree to change the night of the visit.  And had my X just agreed to the switch when I asked we would not be in this perdicament now as the children would never have been with my Dh instead of me.

My Dh was not drinking that night. I talked to him and to the two NC kids during the vist by phone and my 78 year old aunt was here and with Dh the whole time.  But she is my aunt.  There were no other witnesses.

My X never informed me of the alleged drinking and turned the kids over for my parenting time the following Friday.  The children never said a word about the alleged drinking to me or to anyone else except thier dad and his lawyer.  The weekend visit was unremarkable.

My X did not come to get the children early from the Tuesday night visit.  They apparently did not call him to say they were uncomfortable during the visit.

My X had filed a reprot with CYS against me in August. This was due to an incident of drinking by my DH.  Dh received treatment. i filed a PFA which would make it possible for me to havehim removed from the premesis if he drinks again. The case was closed on September 20.  CYS did not feel my family was in need of any services at that time.  This is the second report X has made on us. The last was unfounded and called a "spite" report.

My DS told me at the time of the custody hearing in February that he would say whateverhis dad told him to say. Whne I saked why he said, " Becasue I know that no matter what happends, you will alwsy love us".  I am scared to geath about what my children will say to the judge this time or what "evidence" may be manufactured by my X.


Other than calling my aunt as a witness, how can I prove Dh was not drinking?

In your opinion, would my aunt be considered credible?

Do my other facts suggest that the chidren may not have really been in any discomfort or that the X was not actually worried about thier comfort or saftey?

Any other words of advice for me?

Dear Socrateaser / Confidentiality and billing concerns
« on: Sep 24, 2006, 09:49:53 AM »

All parties and order are in PA.  I have posted previously about being court ordered to counseling and having the counselor go behind my back and email the kids then lie to me about it.  You suggested I request another counselor.  My attorney feels the judge will look at this as my just looking for a counselor who will agree with my point of view.

Currently, I have issues with the counselor regarding a summary she wrote in Auagust and billed me for.  When I realized I had been billed for a summary I had neither contacted for nor requested I placed a stop payment on the check and reissued a check for the amount of the counseling only.

I received a bill where the counseling center is insisting I pay for the summary and charging me a fee for a returned check from when I placed the stop payment on the original check.

When I called to complain the bookeeper informed me that since I was court ordered to the counseling the provider would periodically write reports that I was bound by the service agreement to pay for. When I aske dhow often these reports would be written I was told as often as the counselor felt the need to write one.

What I discovered when I dug out the service agreement is that under confidnetiality it says that if one is involved in litigation the counseling center was obligated to provide records which were court ordered.

The judge in my case ordered the counseling but never wrote in the order than any reports were to be issued.  I neither requested nor consented to the report.  When I began the session, the counselor told me"Everything in hereis confidential".  I knew better than that, but I beleived that confidentiality would be in force except in the case of homicidal statements, suicidal statements, child or elder abuse.

On the report the counselor indicated it was released to my X and to me. It covered the history of our custody issues detailing that two custody evals had been done, that CYS had become involved and that I had filed recently, a PFA against my DH. The counselor also suggests that the children's best interest need to be redefined and makes reference to my DH's alcohol issues.

 I find this very damaging. There is no way at all for me to know who has read this report. The counselor answered my question of who this was being released to with , " To both of you.  You can show it to your atorney and anyone else you want to."

  Also, CYS has completed thier investigation of my case and have determined that my family is in no need of services.


What recourse do I have in not paying for this report?

What can I do in veiw of the fact that my confidentiality was violated?

To whom should I report this issue to, besides my lawyer?

Dear Socrateaser / Protecting myself
« on: Sep 11, 2006, 05:28:59 PM »
Hi Soc,

I have read your board for a few years now and have learned a lot.  Thank you for the service you provide.  I have not seen this problem mentioned before, but its an issue for me.

All parties in PA.  In Feb 06 judge ordered counseling for both Cp and myself. I am NCM.  The order was based on the fact that for the last 8.5 years CP and I have been to court numerous times for things most adults could work out on thier own.

CP refused to participate in choosing a counselor.  I chose one.  he refused to attend the first two appointments.  Finally showed up for the third.  The joint session was not good as he refuses to speak to me, even when we are in the same room.

This resulted in the counselor requesting that she meet with each of us privately.  I hesitated as X is very manipulative and things generally go south for me once he gets any professional behind closed doors.  But I agreed because I trusted the counselor who seemed to understand the situation.

Well, true to form, once he spoke to her behind closed doors she refused to put us in the same room together again.  She also did not do any counseling with me on the individual sessions she had me schedule.

FOr the most part she just attempted to intimidate  me into dropping a contempt motion I had filed agaisnt Cp. On four occassions she told me I had betterdrop it becasue it would "come back to bite me in the behind."

Ihad explained to her that I was still observeing the very same behaviors in CP that led me to file the motion and so would not drop it without seeing some progress towards cooperation.

I won the contempt.  X never showed up.  The judge asked me how the counseling was going and i gave him a breif accounting including that we were not meeting face to face, that the counselor had done no counseling with me except to tell me to drop the motion for contempt four different times and that there was no plan that I knew of for face to face sessions.

The judge was very angry and made part of the order for "Meaningful counsleing aimed at preventing behavior leading to more contempts".  My lawyer got a copy of the transcript and asked me to give it to the counselor.

After that she wrote a summary which in my opinion was very biased against me adn aimed at covering her own behind with regard to why she wasn't doing face to face counseling.  She stated that she thought the children's best interests needed to be redefined.

I had caught her in a bald face lie in that she was emailing the children while there were with the X.  She told me she wasn't communicating with them.  I had wanted to make them a part of the counsleing adn X had refused.  yet wanted them to email the counselor behind my back adn she apparntly participated.

I confronted her about this and told her I lacked trust in her adn had lost confidence in the therapeutic process.  SHe poo pooed this notion and called me "nit picky".

I refused to pay for the summary she had written on the basis that I had not contracted for any report writing and had not asked for it.  She left a voice mail message asking to discuss this with me.  When I tried to call her back it took in excess of two weeks to hear from her again.

This time in, another voice mail message, she said that X and i were to be scheduleing appointments face to face an were to agree on the dates betwen us and that she wasn't going to do this for us.  She made no mention of the fee for the summary or my issues of trust.  This is the first I knew of her intention for us to meet jointly with her except for a line in her summary.  Nowhere in it did she suggest we were to arrange our own appointments.

So, now I have an issue with needing a minor schedule change due to some graduate classes I am taking that cannot be rearranged.  X refuses to discuss alternative times and says he will discuss only with the counselor.

I made an appointment for us to meet with her in about two weeks.  I have concerns that she may try to frame me as the uncooperative party.  I feel if this were to happen there would be no way I could prove other wise.  I mean, she could say anything she wanted  and I would have no proof otherwise.  

I have already pulled the consnet I had signed for the counselor to speak with my attorney.  My hope was that it would prevent any more reports from being written.


1.  How do I protect myself during the session with X and counselor?

2. Is there a way to get her to withdraw from our case?

3. Can I file something with the court that would protect me in the event that this biased "summary report" gets shown to the judge.

4. Since the counseling is court ordered can I somehow get out of it without being in contempt of the order.

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