Custody and Legal Fees

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Latest post 02-28-2013 2:05 PM by splum1. 39 replies.
  • 02-19-2013 12:08 PM

    Custody and Legal Fees

    Backstory:

    Went to court for a petition for relocation.  She was denied her petition to relocate.  She still moved, and I took over care of my daughter.  No other court papers were filed or signed except for a visitation document that we had notirized.  It was never filed with the court as part of our settlement.  Custody technically was nether granted nor denied. 

    Present day:

    We are going back to court because I allegedly violated our agreement by not recieving every phone call she has made, nor answer every text that she has sent.  At least once every 2 days they have an extended conversation with facetime when available.  She does not call everyday, and there is no set schedule for conversations.  I give her as much access as I can.

    I also do travel for work.  It has been reduced since I took over care of my daughter.  But I have always traveled for work with no promises that the traveling would stop.  During my time away, my parents babysit within my home so that her school schedule is not disrupted.  My parents have been caregivers in the past taking my daughter for long periods of time when we were still together and after, so that is no change of what has been established as normal.

    My question is: 

    How legitimate is her claim for a change of custody because of communication?  Especially since we have not agreed upon any sort of schedule.  No child support is being paid for the 5 months that she has resided with me.  Also she claims that my parents spend too much time with her.  This situation previously existed before she moved away.  Reasons for moving away did not include any promotion in her job or schooling.  She applied to school once she was up there and got accepted it was not a reason for relocation.  Unfortunately this puts a lot of stress on my family here since we would sacrafice anything to keep my daughter with the family that she's always been with.  Also it makes me feel like a failure as a father to provide everything my daughter needs in leiu of an absent mother.  Should I be worried?   

     

  • 02-19-2013 12:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    I also wanted to add that can I counter sue her for attorney's fees?  It's a huge burden to add to supporting a child alone.

  • 02-19-2013 12:24 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    maltomario:
    Went to court for a petition for relocation.  She was denied her petition to relocate.  She still moved, and I took over care of my daughter.

    Was any custody arrangement ever ordered by the court?  I kind of assume that there was since Mom petitioned the court to relocate.

    What was the custody arrangement?  Mom was CP?  You were CP?  50/50 custody?  Explain.

    maltomario:
    Custody technically was nether granted nor denied. 

    Originally or at this relocation hearing?  Explain.

    maltomario:
    We are going back to court because I allegedly violated our agreement

    Unless this "agreement" was court ordered, enforcement is between you two.

    maltomario:
    How legitimate is her claim for a change of custody because of communication?
     

    Who had court ordered custody to begin with here?

    maltomario:
    Should I be worried?
     

    Depends on if there was ever court ordered custody arrangement.  If not, file for custody yourself and let the courts sort it out.

    Your post is a bit short on details and confusing.

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 02-19-2013 12:33 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    I suspect you will give her an advantage if you fail to use counsel! She is likely to win all the wrong points if you so fail!

    The legal strength of a private agreement is near zippo and not being there to answer every phone call is a ridiculous point on her side but if you give her a free shot she might convert for a point.

    You are not entitled to CS unless you petition for same and get it by order --I suggest you go that road IF there is any ability of Mom to pay .

    Visitation is whatever the order says it is and you would be smart to have an order on point.

    Status Quo with you is probably is a major point in your favor to keep most of same--but if you are away from child a lot that may give Mom a window for more time ...

    Focus on what is best for child and lean that way

    Use counsel!  You need to be worried enough NOT to go there w/o counsel!

     



  • 02-19-2013 12:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    1. No custody arrangement was made.  She petitioned to move, then decided not to, then ended up moving.  We had paperwork that went over custody, but neither one of us agreed on the wording.  She just called up on day and said I'm leaving in 2 weeks.

    2. Mother was CP before, I had been trying to petition for 50/50.  Since she left the state, I did not pursue the custody hoping we would be able to settle matters outside of court.

    3.Custody was not an issue, only relocation.  I was happy with a 50/50 custody that i would filed after this hearing.  Once she left the issue seemed mute.

    3.We never had a custody hearing, nor issuance from the court.  A time sharing plan was agreed upon outside of court.  It only stated visitation for summer vacation etc.

    Going deeper into the story:

    She was denied her petition to relocate.  So she was going to stay.  I wanted a custody hearing, but due to lack of funds I could not continue right after the hearing.  Within 30 days after the hearing she decided to relocate without our daughter.  We were working on an agreement to be filed, but we never agreed upon the wording.

    Custody by default is mine, since she decided to leave without her daugher. 

    Please let me know what other information I can provide.

  • 02-19-2013 1:01 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    maltomario:
    1. No custody arrangement was made.

    maltomario:
    2. Mother was CP before

    Court ordered or informal? 

    maltomario:
    I had been trying to petition for 50/50

    If you felt the need to petition, then it must have been court ordered.  Yes?

    maltomario:
    We never had a custody hearing, nor issuance from the court
     

    Either you had a court hearing or you didn't.  If you never had a custody hearing, then there was no custody order and there would have been no need to petition to relocate or ask for 50/50 custody.  Am I missing something?

    maltomario:
    She was denied her petition to relocate. 

    Who denied her petition?  You?  Court?

    maltomario:
    Custody by default is mine, since she decided to leave without her daugher.
     

    If there is a custody order in place, issued by a court of law, it remains inplace until that court changes it legally.  What you and your ex (I assume) do informally means nothing in a legal sense.  It is just an informal agreement.

    Answer these questions:

    Were you and Mom ever married?  Are you now divorced?  Do you have a divorce decree?  If so, what does the diorce decree say about custody, visitation, child support?

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 02-19-2013 1:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    I will be using counsel.  Subjects like this are worth the cost being paid.

     

    Mainly, I like to prepare myself in general.  To have every viable arguement covered. 

    So, even though traveling was part of my schedule to begin with before she left, she can use that to her advantage?  My travel consist of a max of 3 days for work, no more than once a week, if that.  I normally get a week off of travel, then a week on.  It is never extended stay (2 weeks).  The longest has been a vacation that was 5 days.

    The communication allegation is silly, since I give her every opportunity to speak her daughter that I can, I have never denied her communication, nor visitation.  If she wants to buy the tickets she can see her.  We do not have any other agreement aside from a general parenting plan.

    I'm looking for diffrent angles that maybe I can help my counsel with... no one's perfect, although she is very capable.  I will be using the same counsel that I used during the relocation hearing.  Which I will say that I did not have to testify at all, once her counsel rested we went to an immediate verdict, without any of the "defense" have to come into play.

  • 02-19-2013 1:01 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    This layman reads your post in your favor as to each point with possible MAJOR loose end if there is an order in place as to Mom being CP

    Her relocation reads like abandonment but it won't sound that way when she tells it.

    I repeat--you need to use counsel on this one.

    And you risk some problems if you send child out of state and Mom refuses to return child under color of moldy old custody order if there is such.

    And do not shy away from seeking CS if by now Mom has an education that does or could produce a decent income.

    Look, If some parent has a license to practice law and a history of earning $ 250/hr and 60 hour weeks but they perfer to stay home and bake brownies  for $ 40/wk  which number counts?



  • 02-19-2013 1:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    No court order has been filed giving her primary custody, that I know of, aside from what was established during the CS that I was paying previously.  My CS has been suspended and I have filed for CS.  

    Really the only defense that I have is that she is not allowed to travel out of the state without my permission. Custody Was never established, except by default. 

  • 02-19-2013 1:27 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Was school an excuse to not work or was it preparation for a well paying career and where all does that stand? And what was moms earning capacity before she left?



  • 02-19-2013 1:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Correct

    She was informally.

    I started with a petition for custody, then she responded with a petition to relocate. 

    A court denied her petition.

     

    We were never married. 

     

  • 02-19-2013 1:42 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    As a layman I don't see anything in your posts which would support you getting any of your costs covered--generally each side bears own costs of debates.....



  • 02-19-2013 1:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    She's an LPN.

    CS, honestly, is the least of my worries, keeping my daughter is what matters. 

    The fact that she hasn't provided much except $300 in the last 5 months, hopefully will work in my favor.  I've been waiting for us to have a formal agreement, I felt kinda bad that I would be imposing CS on her while she was getting herself accomodated up in her new home, but now that there seems to be no amiable agreement, I've moving forward with getting whatever I can.  The state of Florida is notorious.

  • 02-19-2013 1:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Ok, now I see what youre saying...

     

    So, she can continue taking be back to court over and over again and I'll have to grin and bear the cost of a retainer every time? 

  • 02-19-2013 1:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    It's convoluted as technically she still has custody- should have gone to court when she moved to establish custody for yourself....etc, etc.

    maltomario:
    I allegedly violated our agreement by not recieving every phone call she has made, nor answer every text that she has sent

    maltomario:
    How legitimate is her claim for a change of custody because of communication?  Especially since we have not agreed upon any sort of schedule. 

    Big mistake; obviously she is going to miss her child terribly.  Insteasd of playing games about not "receiving" her calls and not answering texts, you should have made the child available every time it was humanly possible, esp as you lacked an agreement.  After awhile, she would have gotten busy with school and communication would have slowed as well as being more secure with the child's situation.

    Ignoring her is what made the situation more expensive now.  You might want to assuage her fears and give as much communication as possible to leave it at status quo. ..that's what I would do.   No one can say what a judge might decide, though the fact that she lost relocation and left her child anyway, works against her.

    But now you will have legal bills you say you can't afford.  Never pays to ignore a mother!  Simple understanding and accommodation could have prevented this and could possibly do so now.  It is almost always these irritants that complicate the situation needlessly.  Good luck.

     

     

     

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