Joined: 31 Aug 2006
State or Province: Kentucky
|Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:50 pm Post subject: Oh girls, you won't believe this!! <long>
|I haven't been on in a long time- with my husband deployed to Iraq I've been so busy with my son- it's hard to be a mom and a dad and all single mom's have my extreme respect!!
So I found out from my lawyer that I had no chance at all to win, even with the positive evaluation from the evaluator I hired. She urged me to come to an agreement so I could get a FEW things I wanted. I assume the agreement was filed, after we hammered out the details I have never heard from her again.
So my husband found out as he was getting ready to come home from Iraq, he's being ordered to Germany, and it's family orders, we're expected to accompany him. Not a hardship, moving with my husband, and Germany is such a great exciting opportunity. But I don't know about my visitation with my daughter, my ex-husband is such a sack (forgive the language but it's the best way I can describe it) and he's not going to let me take her out of the country unless he is ordered to. So before I told him about moving, I decided to contact a lawyer. Not MY lawyer, cause she's never been helping me as much as I think a lawyer I pay $200 an hour for should.
***********************This is the message I sent:
I have a 5 1/2 year old daughter with my first husband. We separated in 2001 and divorced in 2002 (Ramsey County jurisdiction), sharing joint custody of our daughter and I had sole physical custody. I remarried and had a son with my new husband.
My new husband and I had a LOT of financial problems early in our marriage, and ended up moving in with his parents in Miami for a while after the birth of our son. My ex said he didn't want our daughter living with my husband's parents, because they are Cuban and he thought they would treat her unfairly. He ended up flying our daughter to my parents house in Georgia, and she stayed with them until my husband and I moved there.
To summarize a long story, about a year later he flew to my parents house, while I was at work and took our daughter and flew back home with her. He had moved into a new house without telling me, with a girlfriend he hadn't told me about, and decided he wanted to raise our daughter. After talking to legal aid for Georgia and Minnesota, there seemed to be nothing either could do for me. They each claimed it fell in the other court's jurisdiction- the divorce had stated we couldn't leave MN without his written permission, and even though he flew her out himself he hadn't written anything out- meanwhile, we had lived in GA for over a year and were considered GA residents. My ex told me that he was concerned we were living with my parents and wanted temporary custody while I got my own place and could prove my husband and I were stable financially. We got our own place, and I signed a temporary order with the understanding that he would bring her back when he was sure I could take care of her (The marriage was pretty much like that, I had to "earn" everything by satisfying his requirements. Such as, he would take the toilet paper to work with him if he didn't feel I had earned it by making a good dinner the night before or whatever). I didn't like the agreement but signed it because his lawyer wrote me and said if he had to fight me in court he was going to accuse me of abuse and neglect, citing my son's hospitalization for an enzyme deficiency as neglecting him. It turned out had I even gone to court it wouldn't have matter, since his lawyer served me with papers that had the wrong court date on them. I would have been a week early had I planned to fight.
Not a surprise, he never brought her back. I filed for her to be returned to me, and even eventually hired a lawyer who informed me the paper I signed said I agreed to her being integrated into his household, because it had referred to some Minnesota statute by number without saying what it was. I fought him for about 2 years, my husband joined the army to give us financial stability, and they used that against us saying frequent military moves are not a good way for kids to be raised. I talked to a mediator in MN then I talked to an evaluator in MN as well as hiring my own in KY, where we are stationed. No matter what I did it seemed to backfire. My ex's lawyer badmouthed me to my lawyer (she told me when I met her in person the first time) and even said the judge didn't like me, that I said something inappropriate the hearing I tried to represent myself. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I remember being upset the judge allowed my ex's lawyer to talk about things starting with "I know this is inadmissable, but I want to mention..." and told me to be quiet when I tried to object. In fact, last summer, my ex filed a restraining order against me saying I told my daughter on the phone I was going to come and shoot him and his new wife, then promptly dropped it when I came to court to fight it. During that time, his lawyer yelled across the waiting room where everyone was to the court appointed evaluator that when he talked to the evaluator I was hiring to make sure he told her I was bi-polar (which I am not, and never have been- I was treated for post partum depression after my daughter was born but that is it). I was upset he could yell that when the judge could hear and my ex, and my lawyer said there was nothing she could do.
Anyway I want to wind it up, due to the way I was treated and the lack of action on my lawyer's part to help me, I realized quickly I was going to lose, meanwhile I was being denied visits with my daughter since there was nothing written out for them, so I asked my lawyer to just come to an agreement with his lawyer. I was unable to go to court when the agreement was submitted, my husband was deployed to Iraq and I had no one to watch my son. I never got a filed copy of the agreement either, so I still don't know what it included, but my lawyer sent me a copy before she went to court with it, so as long as no changes are made, I know what it says.
Currently the agreement says that I can have visitation in my home as long as I live in the US. I have Thanksgiving OR Christmas break, AND Spring break and 8 weeks in the summer, and I have to pay for all transportation costs. But right before my husband came back from Iraq he received orders to go to Germany. He is scheduled to report in April. I have a few months to try to get visitation changed to allow her to travel to Germany for her visits, but I'm not sure what I can do, considering the court's past inflexibility with me and seeming prejudice against me. Do I have any rights at all in this matter? And what about having my ex pay for part of transportation costs? I have to pay for me to go to MN, then both of us to fly back home, then both of us flying back to MN and me flying home. I can't afford all that from Germany, and my ex has stated his income many times as 60-100k annually, so he could afford to split it with me. I currently am not required to pay child support but I would rather pay that than all the money required for the airfare!! I plan to go back to court when she's a bit older and gets to state her preference, but until then, I don't have a leg to stand on...
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you!
PS I have not told my ex yet about the move, he and his wife hate me (I'm not exaggerating, they told our daughter this, and she was crying to me about it during her last visit) and will not be helpful so I want to know my options first.
***************And THIS, my friends, was the reply I recieved (any spelling or grammar errors were the lawyers and left in intentionally, to keep the flow of the letter)*********
There is a great deal that I could respond to in your post. It sounds like a series or porrly thought out moves and far too many failures to react to issues that were critical at the time. Unfortunately, most of that is academic at this point since your opportunities to seek return of the children to your home have eroded with the time that they have been with the other parent. In short, you are where you are.
Relocating out of the country inevitably creates a great many problems with regard to parenting issues.
1. First, most courts will not consider frequent overseas travel to be in the best interests of the child. the flights are long and arduous. What is in the "best interests of teh child" is the standard that will be used, not what is in the best interests of either parent. In short, you can expect few trips on an annual basis.;
2. Second, there is a question as to whether it is safe for a child to fly such distances unaccompanied by an adult. You will have to address that issue as part of any Motion. If you intend to fly with the child, it will undoubtedly be an expensive proposition. Any parenting agreement or order, should also allow you to spend large blocks of time with the child whenever you are in the U.S.;
3. Third, there will also be school concerns and concerns about taking the child away from her friends in her now established home. Be prepared to respond to that concern;
4. Finally, since you are choosing to move, most courts would require you to pay the airfare for any child visits. The theory is that you created the distance by moving away from the child and, as a result, the other parent should not bear that financial burden.
To proceed, you must file a Motion to modify the parenting schedule. The court may send you to mediation first.
I am afraid that I will have to be blunt here. You have placed your life and your new spouse's career before your child. The unfortunate result of that will likely be a significantly decreased parenting time with your child.
***** ??? Am I missing something? We are CHOOSING to leave the country? My husband should maybe just quit the army then? That's called going AWOL and it's sort of frowned upon. Or what? The courts think I should leave my husband? So BOTH my children can come from broken homes? This is ridiculous. I really am at the end of my rope with all this. All I know for sure is THIS lawyer is not going to be hired...