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Legal help question
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anna47



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1
State or Province: Missouri

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:36 am    Post subject: Legal help question Reply with quote

My niece is a single mom, and has a court date Tuesday. The father is making a lot of accusations. She just found out last week about the court date. She was turned down for legal aid, but doesn't have the money for a huge lawyer fee for a retainer. Any suggestions? The father has the money to hire the best lawyers.
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in_their_best_interest



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 3
State or Province: California

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shes going to have to prepare her case herself. she might have a chance in successfully motioning for a continuance given the fact that he was supposed to have served her within a reasonable ammount of time (usually 3 weeks before the hearing). It is likely that the judge will ask if they have come to an agreement on their own. If they havent then the judge will orer a mediator. If they still cant come to an agreement then the judge will schedule another court date (this is how it works in california) at which point, i believe, they will be made to sit down with another mediator.

I was completely railroaded during my meidation and out of fear of losing my chilren i signed the agreement (to keep custody 50/50) and then found that i had a choice, didnt have to agreee and can motion that the mediator be removed from my case. Im in the process of getting things together to go back. I also filed a formal complaint with the director of family services in regard to how the mediator handled the meeting. Which also creates a conflict of interest now and she can not, in good ethics, be a part of the mediation process. SO...

with that said...

tell her to take the motion that she received and pick apart the declaration(s) (if there are any) piece by piece and try to find anything and everything to disprove him or present him as a liar... ONLY if his claims are false. by doing this you have a chance to make him out to be dishonest and the goal is to move the judge to believe that anything that comes out of his mouth is to be questioned as far as credibility.

i dont know if any of this can help or will but if you need anything else, feel free to contact me. either by PM or Email (which is set to private)

im going through something similar in that my ex has all the money and im on welfare. his tactic is to hold to the hope that i am assumed to be a liar an a cheat (like he says) simply because i am on welfare. WHICH he encouraged me to apply for because he didnt feel that he had to pay child support. LOL yeah... hes a real prize too.

just out of curriosity, what state are you in? i dont think i caught that...
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Courtney



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4
State or Province: Washington

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:31 am    Post subject: To Anna47 on friends in custody sitch Reply with quote

My guess is this won't be read before your friends court date tomorrow. However, if either of you read this please post what happened at the court date. I am interested because I went through a similar situation a few years ago and did represent myself, by myself, with no support, and won. In fact, I won every time he tried to take me to court. Which was about 6 times. He had a lawyer every time and his family was usually there to back him up.... Or at least they were the first couple of years. At any rate, I'm not writing to brag, I simply want to share what I learned to anyone feeling as lost as I did. It really can be done. It's just all about presentation, preparedness and decorum in the courtroom.
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stunned



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 25
State or Province: New Hampshire

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:34 pm    Post subject: Legal help question Reply with quote

courtney, please post how you won with the court system. there are a lot of woman who are being taken apart by the fathers, the mediators, and the court system. my daughter will be going to court in May with the father of her baby who did not have any thing to do with this child for 18 months of his life. all of a sudden he walks in to hers and the childs life here i am I am the daddy and I want my rights to be one now. and he gets them.
not knowing this child he was given 3 supervised visits. then after that he is able to take this cild who does not hardly know this man for 8 hours on his own. this was ordered by the courts. the child is only two years old, when he comes back from a visit with his father he is a different child. he is angry his father does not put this baby down for a nap at all. the child has come home saying he was hungry and wants to go to bed. he strikes out at us, he crys and he is just angry. this is not normal behavior for this child. it takes two days for him to get back to normal. also the daycare he goes to said this childs behavior has changed since he has been seeing his father. he has got very aggressive.
this man is a registered sex offender having sex with a child over the age of 13 but under the age of 16, a habitual offender and has been arrested many times for pot and alcohol. the guardian ad liem said all this is not relevent. he wants to be a father now and he has a right to. we are in the state of New Hampshire. and the laws and court systems suck here.
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Courtney



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4
State or Province: Washington

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stunned…

First of all, the fact that this gentleman is a registered sex offender is of utmost relevance. Drugs and alcohol is huge as well. With that being said, I don’t know the laws in New Hampshire, but there are many things you can do between now and May.

#1 KEEP A JOURNAL OF EVERYTHING.

Write down every thing you can remember from the first day the father met the child to currently. Every visit there after, be sure to document that day what transpired. EX: Mr. So & So took ‘Josh’ from 5pm-8pm. Did not arrive until 5:20pm, and returned at 8:30. When Josh came home, he was angry and very aggressive. He has started hitting. Daycare reports ‘Josh’ has become extremely aggressive since visiting with his father. Hitting other children.

Okay, writing the actual time the child was taken and returned is important because your time is important too. If the court is ordering these visits, make sure the father is complying to the letter. It’s also very important to document the emotional wellness of the child. Write down the specifics of his behavior. Don’t generalize too much. What is he doing when you say aggressive behavior? Hitting? Biting? Being specific gives a clearer picture that can’t be ignored.

#2 DON’T TALK NEGATIVELY ABOUT THE FATHER TO OR IN FRONT OF THE CHILD.

Even and especially, if he is talking poorly of you. This is, after all, not about you or the father; this is about the child’s best interest. It’s an extremely confusing time for him. Our responsibility as parents is to protect and provide. When you go into court, you look better and can represent yourself better if you go in to the courtroom with an attitude that you are protecting the child. If you go into court with the attitude that you’re pissed that you have to deal with this b#@%^&*… you look bad. You change your lingo from protective to complaining. The ever-so-educated judge will pick up on this and your statements of concern will have less meaning. What I mean is…. Don’t say things that can have a double meaning. Instead of saying things like… “I shouldn’t have to be here” or “This child was perfectly happy until he showed up”. (I’m having difficulty coming up with examples for this, but read on and hopefully you’ll get my meaning.) When you use statements such as these, the Judge recognizes them as statements that actually say…. “This is an inconvenience and I don’t want to lose control.” Basically, he recognizes that you no longer are speaking on behalf of the child’s welfare, but are making it about you and your vendetta against the father. After all, if he were a proper father, being involved with the child is a positive thing. You simply want the court to see that he’s not only ‘not proper’, but could actually be harmful.

#3 LEARN THE LAWS OF YOUR STATE

Yes, it is cumbersome. However, we’re talking about a little life that we have control over and are responsible for. I studied everything I could get my hands on.

#4 RESEARCH

In addition to researching the actual custody laws, and in your case, the laws governing sex offenders, go to THE COURT FACILITATOR for the court that your case will be heard. Often times, they have someone that can help with advice on what paper work you need, how to fill it out and where to file. Ask people whom you know to be educated for advice. Take what you want, and throw the rest out.


#5 IN COURT DRESS IMPECCABLY AND BRING SUPPORT.

Most family courts are open and you can bring whomever you choose to be with you. DON’T go alone. I had no family available, and many of my friends didn’t want to get involved because we live in a small town and his family is prominent. DON’T be offended by this. Stay focused. (You can get mad at your friends later…Wink Find someone, anyone, who would be willing to go… it will give you strength. When I went to court, he brought his parents, brother and sister-in-law and current girlfriend. They did this as an intimidation tactic. I admit, inside I was a nervous wreck, but outside they saw no fear. I walked into the court room like it was another day, said my peace, and won.

My daughter is now almost 19 and I have to say that dealing with Mark from the time she was two until …. Well,…. Pretty much now… was tough, but my daughter grew up in a good environment and saw a strong mother whom she could rely on to protect her. They can never take that away from me.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

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Courtney



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4
State or Province: Washington

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: oh... i forgot... Reply with quote

also.... get written statements from people who have witnessed the child's behavior such as the day care and any professionals that have come into contact with the child. This can sometimes be difficult. People don't like to get involved in custody case. No matter, be as persuasive as possible, get what you can and move on. Stay focused and it will be fine.
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katysmom



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 9
State or Province: Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

#1, the motion can be thrown out if he failed to serve your niece with enough notice.
#2, while what Courtney says is great advice, and hopefully can help someone, I repeat my mantra "you need a lawyer you need a lawyer you need a lawyer" Some judges are prejudiced against people who presume to know the law well enough to represent themselves, and if you are going against a halfway decent lawyer you will be railroaded without even realizing it. A judge will view an emotional mother as unstable, and a calm controlled mother as frigid. It looks like Courtney won her case back like- 17 years ago or so, and please remember that a LOT has changed in courts since then, such as fathers rights groups pressuring legislation. Mothers are no longer PRESUMED the better parent, and the lawyer is often the deciding voice. I wish I sounded more positive and less jaded, but BE PREPARED!
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Mickeymouse5472



Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 24
State or Province: Utah

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all there isnt much information in this post for anybody to really help. I am not sure what your asking, you dont need to have a lawer, but its best.
What is the father making acusations about? If he is trying to get full custody he will have to prove the mother is unfit and that is hard to do. Other wise he will be granted joint custody or visition, and be ordered to pay child support. Its very unlikly but possible if your neice has been the primary care giver that there will be a change in custody. (This also depends on is she was married or not married to the father though too)



Katys Mom sounds like the court has done a number on you. I know the court systems suck! Especially family courts, but there is always good and bad judges out there. Your right nobody can ever know the out come of a case, because its all up to the judge. (unless you go through mediation)
They could be biased just from personal or past situations.
Best advise is to pretty much, dont bash the other parent, courts are suposed to put the child in the custody of the parent who is most willing to work with the other parent. If that makes sense to you. If you go in to bash the other parent and try to make them look bad, that only makes you look bad. Courtney is right. I wouldnt go to court with out a blood sucker (other wise known as a lawer) myself, but not everyone can afford one.
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katysmom



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 9
State or Province: Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah the court and I aren't great friends. But I say a lot- it depends on the judge. Mine was a d***, as was my exs lawyer and my own, truth be told.

There wasn't really much I could say to the OP, since the court date had passed by the time I saw the thread and they hadn't posted a follow up...

But you're right- for people with this problem in the future- every state has an amount of time that you have to be served with notice of a hearing before the hearing can be held. Usually it's 2 weeks or so. If you received the papers in the mail, hang on to the envelope, the postmark is usually helpful if you're going against someone who "claimed" to mail the papers on such and such a date, but really held onto them for another week or something.

The first thing I would have done in this case was called the judges clerk. This is the person who handles all the scheduling- they also are huge fountains of knowledge, since they are mostly law students. If you were not served in the correct amount of time, they'll be able to help you by letting you know what you need to do to have the motion thrown out. If you feel you didn't have enough time to prepare, you call them and ask for a continuance. This can also be done by contacting the other party's lawyer, if you are on good enough terms. Most judges have to schedule their hearings months in advance so there is no reason to only find out the week before a trial.

After you get a continuance, the next thing you need to do is get a lawyer! Look up pro bono attorney's in the area, and even if you are turned down for legal aid, the legal aid office tends to have a list of attorneys with low retainers or ones that operate on a sliding fee scale. If all else fails, write a form letter explaining your situation, why you were turned down for legal aid, and what you can pay, and asking if the lawyer has a payment plan. Make sure the letter makes you sound like the victim, and the case sound like open and shut in your favor. Google lawyers in your area, and email every one you can find with your email. If you send out enough emails, SOMEONE is going to write back, either with an offer or knowing someone who can help you. Lawyers know each other, remember!

If you are forced to represent yourself, make an outline of what you want to say, and FOLLOW it. Cases are ruined when someone goes off on a tangent and gets lost! And the most important thing (besides not bad mouthing the other party) is to stress how much you just want the best life for your kids that they could get.

My case was ruined when the mediator that favored me was suddenly "replaced" by one who was very anti me, and actually swore at me and used personal attacks. If that kind of thing happens to you, I'd suggest going back to legal aid and explain again what is going on, and see if they can help you now... generally legal aid turns down people who have too high of an income or too complicated of a case. I was turned down because they didn't feel the state it was being tried in actually had jurisdiction, and didn't want to get in the middle of it -.-

Good luck to all you still fighting the good fight! I'll be back in court in 3 years when I get back from Germany- at this point, I guess it was a good thing I settled, considering she wouldn't have been allowed to come with me anyway once I was sent here!

The most important thing is to never give up! You know you're right, the trick is to make everyone else involved in the hearing believe you. And your kids are counting on you to do it!
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Courtney



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4
State or Province: Washington

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Whom it may concern: My last court case was less than 3 years ago when my ex tried to say that I was soliciting myself out in order to pay my house payment. Also, my ex is a cop who has been with the county for about 15 years. He speaks well and appears educated. Two judges recused themselves because of the situation. The first had the integrity to do it himself and the second I managed to show due cause to a panel of court officers why she should. My winning was no fluke, nor was it all that long ago. I went to court on seperate instances over the course of about 15 years. If you had actually read my reply earlier.. you would know that.
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externaltears



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 5
State or Province: Connecticut

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:01 pm    Post subject: lost!! Reply with quote

i am a 20 year old female with a 2.5 monthy old baby...
i am not rich by any means today i was handed papers saying my sons father was takin me to court oh may 22end....he wants sole custody...we werent together very long before we got pregnant with my son jaiden he was not around durning the pregancy....he has money well his parents do..i have been so nice to them and letting him take him for 5 days and i would have him for five days....i recently well when my son was born started seeing my best friend who lives in mass and i live in ct....he is moving back to ct where he is origally from to be with me..... my sons father went to a lwyer and asked for sole costody i new he would do it but he kept saying he wouldnt....when he served me with the papers to go to court he brought up things that i had been throught before i had my son or even dated him...i dont have the money to see a lawyer i am 20 years old and i dont want to lose my son to him...i have been nothing but nice to him and told him he has a son and let him come see him in the hospital and after wards now i tried to put my foot down tell him he could take him for less days i told him last week it would only be 3 days this week 5 was to long...i had to many negitive feelings about it...he was supposed to brhing him home today and now refuses i had the police at my home but was told they could do nothing about it....i am so upset and dont know where to start tommrrow i have to go to legal aid i am so upset i dont even know what to say or even where to begin....any adviser on how to win this care??? i am not a bad mother at all my child is clean he is safe i am a great mother i do not drink i do not do drugs or anything else....when i go to a familys house he comes with me those are the only places i go to familys house and home.....when my son was 11 days old i took him to get his pictures done so family who lived out of state would get them done and also so his father would get one in a frame for his birthday.....i am so lost and confused and dont know where to help please someone help


thanks
external tears!!
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stunned



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 25
State or Province: New Hampshire

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 6:07 pm    Post subject: tears Reply with quote

Was there any court orders before this happened? And why were you letting him take this child 5 days out of 7? That has only left you caring for this child two days a week. is his name on the childs birth certificate?
the police will not get involved it is not their jobs to do so, The only thing they could do is go to the fathers house and suggest that he give the child back to you. if he refuses to do so there is nothing they can do.
The father has just as much right to this child as you do.
tomorrow you could start by going to the court house and request a emergency hearing, Explain how you have tried to work visits out with the father of your child and things were going good until the father decieded to keep your child and refused to give him back to you.
bring with you a list of the times he had your child, and a list of when you had your child. go back on the calender and write dates and times. write down every thing he had said to you. and from this point on write down every thing that was said between the two of you.
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externaltears



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 5
State or Province: Connecticut

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is the first court order we had it worked out on our own he had 5 days and i had him 5 days! he made me feel like i had to give him to him i tried to work with him and see things his way when all along i knew he would do this...his family is so rude to me...do u think it would help if i brought the babys birth certificate and showed them he has my last name not his and do u think it would help if i told the judge that when i know they are home they wont pick up the phone so i can see how he is...do u think that would help at all....

he is not on my son birth certificate yet it is in process....i went to to legal aid so i am waiting to find out if they will help me or not... he says he will give him back on friday if he does not i will call the police and tell them he kidnapped them.....he is never going to win this or at least thats what i am tryin to convince myself!!!! i hope this ALL back fires on his face!!!
also when he drops him off to me on friday do i have to give the child back to him or and i allowed to keep him till the judge says otherwise???
i am not sure if i can trust him anymore...
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stunned



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 25
State or Province: New Hampshire

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: tears Reply with quote

first he has to prove he is the father. if he is not on the childs birth certificate. the judge will order a test done to prove he is the dad. You may have to say you are not sure he is the father. If he agrees he is the father and you also agree he is the father a judge may not order any tests . But you say having his name put on the birth certificate is in the process. it sounds to me that this man has done more research than you have. and has been planning this for a while.
You did not have to give the child to him. he is a bully and he has bullied you into doing things you did not have to do.
google your state laws on child custody, and see what your state laws are. in massachucettes a child born out of wed lock automaticly the mother has full custody of the child until the father is proven to be the father. Do not go into the court saying you do not want him to see the child. Let the court know you tried to work visits out with him .
it seems to me like they are trying to keep your child from you. the courts will frown on him for doing this.
if you go to the police on friday. you may have to tell them that you are not sure he is the father. but if it is in the process of his name being put on the birth certificate. this makes you out to be a liar. and that is not good. whos idea was it to put his name on the birth certificate? I bet his.
him and his family sound to be very sneaky vicious people. Do not trust them as far as you can through them.
you want to put the childs best interest before yours or his
your child has the right to know both his mother and father. this child also has the right to have a mother and father that don't try to undermind each other.
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externaltears



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 5
State or Province: Connecticut

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks stunned....
well my mother spoke to his mother last night and while they were talkin his mother told my mom he is willing to come down to 50/50...yesterday i went and got the birth certifacte his name is not on it yet.....he was the one who wanted it done....i am really tryin to deal with this i am waiting for legal aid to call me to let me kno if they will approve me or not i am glad his mother swore to my and my mother that they will return him tommrrow..thank god i hope they do...she also told me that their lawyer cuz they cannot represent themselfs that i have to give the child as it was planned and so do they or myself and my sons father would go to jail for contesting.....i am deffitaly going to do more research before we have to go to court....thanks for the advise again...
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