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What would you ask for in court?

Old 06-12-2014, 06:14 AM
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What would you ask for in court?

As of last week I have an emerg order so that xAH can not drive the kids or exercise his overnight parenting time (that he hadn't used anyway).

My lawyer has since told me that to wrap this up once and for all (the divorce) I should withdraw the emergency petition (scheduled for hearing in July) and come up with terms that need to be a part of a permanent parenting plan.

My feeling is that I do NOT want to look less than credible to the court by withdrawing this but if xAH is willing to agree to agree to permanent terms around the girls safety, then I will...

Here's what I have told my lawyer I want... But since I feel like I get one shot at this, ANY other advice or opinions would be great!

1) No overnights until there is a period (6 months for ex) of objectively proven sobriety (via breathalyzer/interlock etc...)

2) He needs to demonstrate he is sober (interlock/breathalyzer etc.) before visitation, immediately upon getting the kids and while he is with them. Failure to do so ='s no visitation

3) An interlock on his car

My lawyer doesn't seem to understand that everyone BUT her sees this as serious and that he IS a threat to their safety.

Protective services, their therapist, the court and I all see it and my goddamn POS lawyer continues to minimize and pressure me to settle for less than their safety.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:27 AM
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I want to puke just reading that. Sorry, I know that's not encouraging, but I can almost feel the stress.

But I also feel your anger and your commitment and your... power. You sound powerful and determined. I think the things you are asking for are reasonable. I also think a decent lawyer would request NO VISITATION until the allegations of sexual abuse have been thoroughly investigated. I might add no OVERNIGHT visits until that has happened, if your lawyer isn't going to be supportive.

I still don't get this lawyer. It sounds like she's scared of him.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:36 AM
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Whatever details you come up with, I would keep one thing in mind. Do.not.give.him.one.inch. You know from experience that whenever you try to give him any benefit of the doubt, he pushes and pushes until he either gets what he wants or makes things so difficult for you that you and your girls are all miserable.

Getting everything you want regarding your daughters' safety is paramount. It will be an order from the Judge and enforceable by law.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:36 AM
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My lawyer is either

a) a drunk herself
b) stupid
c) scared of xAH's lawyer
d) a lazy pos b*itch who once my pockets became less deep decided that pressuring me to not fight for my kids was best
e) all of the above...

So, it would be totally insane to agree to remove the ex parte without a permanent agreement around parenting time right?

The sh*t my lawyer said yesterday via phone would have gotten ME arrested if she'd said it to my face bc she was so nasty...

Telling me that xAH's lawyer reports that the child protective services reports are "unfounded" (as if believing his lawyer makes sense!!!!!), telling me that I should be happy xAH is agreeing to let me "police" his sobriety bc after all it gives me "control" and that's what I wanted...

She DOES NOT GET IT.

I WANT him to be a good dad and involved BUT it has to be as a SAFE parent and he is not.

She doesn't care and bc court is in less than a month the judge would not let her withdraw.

It is a nightmare.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:37 AM
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Yeah I get the not giving an inch-- and I am not going to. My lawyer however does NOT get that and continues to argue with me about being "cooperative". LMAO.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:54 AM
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I would keep in mind that your lawyer works for you and not the other way around. You do what YOU feel is best, not what the lawyer feels. Let her argue with you but stand your ground. You arent budging when it concerns the safety of your children.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
My lawyer is either

a) a drunk herself
That's actually the VERY first thing I thought.

The second thing I thought was, what you have asked for is not unreasonable at all.....and I AM an alcoholic.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:06 AM
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So, it would be totally insane to agree to remove the ex parte without a permanent agreement around parenting time right?
F**k yeah. In my mind. But I'm not a lawyer. I'm just a really angry fellow mother.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Croissant View Post
That's actually the VERY first thing I thought.

The second thing I thought was, what you have asked for is not unreasonable at all.....and I AM an alcoholic.
Yeah all this time and it never occurred to me why she so minimized his behavior and tried to make me doubt my serious concerns that are backed with oodles of evidence.

I am good and pissed now and all f'ing done with her.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:58 AM
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WTBH, I don't think what you asked for is unreasonable at all and to be honest I don't think it goes far enough.

Due to all the allegations of abuse and an ongoing official investigation I would ask for no parental or visitation rights for him. I would keep the current order in place as well.

First that is the safest for the girls, second you can fall back to requirements as you stated in the original post if the court thinks you are being to harsh. This way you can be seen as reasonable and open to compromise while not exposing your girls to harm.

This is just my opinion, not experience, and I hope things work out for you and the girls. Your strength is amazing.

Your friend,
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:34 AM
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I do want zero visitation but this state is insane in their allegiance to maintaining parental rights so I worried that asking for him to have zero rights would get him more than if I ask for huge limits.

My hope and guess is that the limits will be restrictive enough of his drinking that he will just fail to exercise parenting time anyway.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:41 AM
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wbh----you are right....the great majority of addicts do not even exercise their parental rights even after they get them.......

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Old 06-12-2014, 08:45 AM
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I understand. But remember you are just asking and there is the issue of the open inquiry. From what I understand this whole thing is a negotiation process. One rule for negotiations is always ask for more than you want. That way you have room to give and still get something reasonable.

Besides, you may get it. If you don't ask the answer is always no.

Your friend,
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:09 AM
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For money and assets? Outside of child support, whatever. It's not worth fighting over.

What I asked for was two tiers of supervision. If I couldn't get X, I wanted Y. My lawyer kind of hemmed and hawed about it, but I knew (see, this is where trusting your gut becomes so important) that unless my ex was really working a program, his failure to follow through would shine. Point blank: he starts stuff, but can't sustain anything. It's his super power.

What they instituted instead (with the help of a GAL) was a period of supervision (only three months!), that we split payment for, so he would show he was really invested in working a program and capable of having unsupervised visitation. He failed to show up to appointments immediately and the court was notified. They haven't made the official recommendation yet for how to proceed going forward, but it can't be good for him and his unsupervised request.

Considering your STBXAH's history, my direct requirements for CUSTODY would be:
* Joint custody is whatever. If that's the sticking point, give it to him. Legally all that means is that he gets a say-so in major decisions, which is so wishy washy it means nothing unless he is motivated to keep you in court for the next fifteen years over things like doctor appointments and their religious training.
* Supervised visitation indefinitely. He is a drunk who is under investigation for molesting his daughters. This should be obvious.
*** This leads to the question of who supervises. His parents? His current or future girlfriends? The court? Who pays for a court-appointed supervisor?
* No transportation. He is a history of transporting them while drunk, which is criminal.
* Supervised visitation SCHEDULE by the state guidelines (do you have these? they're a godsend), provided he meets the supervision requirements. Every other weekend, split holidays.
* No extended parenting times on breaks.

WISHLIST:
* Mandated parenting counseling for X sessions, monitored by the court.
* If he wants to move off of supervised visitation, what would that "proof of evidence" look like?

And really, you're betting that whatever he gets is too difficult for him or gets in the way of his drinking schedule that he doesn't take advantage of it. As they do.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:10 AM
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I am really just shocked at your lawyer's behavior. I would keep the emergency order in place and work from there. Your daughters' safety is the most important thing. Who cares about how fast this divorce goes through, if in the long run they are as safe as they can possibly be? Do not back down.

And fire the lawyer.

Sue
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:11 AM
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I am confused. I thought a third party was investigating him for sexual abuse of one of your girls. Doesn't sexual abuse end parental rights? There is a whole other ball of crazy around that stuff. What does the judge or his lawyer say about that? A third party suspects it and initiated an investigation, not his ex-wife, the third party has no reason to make it up.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:14 AM
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Laws are different everywhere but where I live I would ask for no overnights and supervised visitation due to alcoholism, abuse concerns, documentation of current sporadic visitation/responsibility, and reports from therapists etc. I'd add on the breathalyzer at pickup and return (if the supervision is done by some random 3rd party and not a visitation center) because even with supervised visitation he should be sober.

I would make/request that be the permanent plan without any stipulation regarding months of proper behavior. If he wants to change it down the line place the burden on him to start that process and pony up evidence that circumstances have some how changed - not that he just towed the line for 6mos.

I hope you can find a better lawyer.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:25 AM
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FWIW in the back of my mind I had child support as my trump card. If my ex ever created to much trouble in our life I was fully prepared to give up child support (which I hardly ever get anyway and is not that much when I do) in exchange for his signing away his parental rights - and I know he'd have done it. That was not necessary in our case and I don't even know how your ex would handle that notion so I'm not recommending it as much as sharing some of the things I considered when going through the process.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:37 AM
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Who cares about how fast this divorce goes through, if in the long run they are as safe as they can possibly be?
While this makes absolutely perfect sense -- my best friend said the same thing to me during my divorce -- my personal experience was that the divorce became not just financially stressful, but also emotionally/mentally exhausting to the point where I was frankly fearing that if I couldn't get it settled and done with, I would end up in a mental hospital. And that was the one thing I could not let happen. I'm not mentally unstable; I suffered from situational depression while married to AXH and haven't since; but if he could prove that I was unstable enough to be hospitalized, that would outweigh my allegations that he was an alcoholic. I don't know if that's a fact, but that was my fear. That's how close to the breaking point I felt I was.

So I chose to agree to things that weren't ideal for my children. I'm not proud of it, but it was the choice I made then and the choice that I could handle at that point in time.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:40 AM
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I am so sorry you are dealing with this. There's been no greater stress in my life than a custody battle.

I was told repeatedly by people with experience (personal and legal) to stick to my guns and not back down. Yes, my lawyer (and lots of divorce attorneys) wanted to just come up with an agreement. Also if you withdraw it could be months before you get another hearing and as we all know, lots can happen with an A in that time!

As far as your lawyer goes, there is absolutely no reason why it is acceptable for her to be nasty to you. If you can get another attorney, you certainly can try and that new attorney should be able to file appearance. The judge probably won't let her withdraw bc you'd be left without a lawyer.

Also, research your state bar association. There should be a number you can call and discuss this attorney's behavior. It's absolutely unacceptable for you to be mistreated. I understand you may not want to now, but you should report abusive behavior. It makes all attorneys look bad : (
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