Custody and Legal Fees

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Latest post Thu, Feb 28 2013 2:05 PM by splum1. 39 replies.
  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 2:21 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    My daughter is always available to her.  I've never not given her access when humanly possible.  48hrs does not go by that they don't have a conversation, but if I'm at the grocery store and she calls me and my daughter is at home with my mother, I don't see that as a violation when I tell her that you can speak with her as soon as I get home.

     

    otherwise, you're right.  It was stupid of me to believe that we could be amiable.  I didn't take her daughter away from her, she chose to leave her here to pursue her happiness with her new fiancé, but I digress.

    On top of that she has gone up to visit for 2 weeks in Christmas with no problems, and would be going for the entire summer.  Though I have made her responsible for flight costs since she does not pay any regular child support.

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 2:40 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    maltomario:
    We were never married.

    If you were never married, are you named on the child's birth certificate as the Father?  If not, was paternity proven and recoginized by the court?

    If Mom had custody by default, why don't you just file for custody with the court and let the court decide?  You get to tell your side, she moved away (abandoned the child?), not paying you any support, etc. and she gets to tell her side of the story.

     

     

     

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

     

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 2:46 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Yes I am, we were never married, but we had lived together up until 5/11.  My daughter started staying with me on 9/21/12.  I was actually away on business and she had dropped her off with my parents.

    Could I file for custody, after this hearing or will it be automatically established since she's now asking the courts to allow her to take her daughter away?

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 2:51 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Has the child always lived in FL?  If so, and so have you, then I would assume that residency would not be a problem as far as filing for custody.  Why not make an appointment with an attorney that handles custody matters and find out what options, if any, are available to you.

    Your situation is so convoluted that there are probably no guarantees either way.  If Mom is out of state, then she is going to have to respond in FL, not where she is currently living.

     

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

     

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 3:17 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Yes, we've always lived in Florida... I will be seeing a lawyer this week that is already familiar with my case, but either way I appreciate the comments.  It helps as I try to establish a defense for myself.

    It's been extrememly hard to establish a structured agreement with the mother.  I'm all for outling what each of our responsibilities are, but lack of funds has gotten in the way of me being able to push the issue as far as I would have liked. 

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 3:17 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    If the original poster (OP) has had the child over six months, then I would think that he has an good chance of formally being named the custodial parent, if he has not already been so named. If he was good enough to be the custodial parent way back then, what has changed in the situation to warrant a change in custody?

    A family court is not going to enforce their private "out of court" agreement, even if it was notarized. If that is what she is alleging in her petition, she likely is going to lose. Looks like she does not have an attorney, if that is what she is saying in her filing. A family court might recommend that the parties come up with some kind of schedule for phone time or a mediator might recommend same. Absent such a schedule currently being incorporated into a court order, there are no contempt of court sanctions to impose on the OP for violating a court order that does not even exist at this point.

    What I would suggest to the OP is that he consult an attorney and ensure that he is named the CP. She gets standard long distance visitation and since she created the distance, she bears the costs of travel of the child. She may well get joint legal custody.

    On the matter of phone time, I recommend that OP propose a schedule for same. Few judges are going to agree to daily phone time since it is so limiting in other ways. But, every Wednesday at 7:30 PM and every Saturday morning at 9:30 am (unless the child is with the NCP) might seem reasonable. Then the OP or his parents, if the child is in their care, must make the child available when she calls as scheduled. When the parents cannot agree on something like this, what family courts generally do is order a schedule.

    As far as the child being in the care of his parents when his job requires him to travel, I would simply note that she apparently is employed (or in school) and likely would have to place the child in the care of someone else during some of those times as well. Just because he is the custodial parent, does not mean that he cannot make alternate child care arrangements from time to time. Obviously, it is one thing if he is on the road 90% of the time, but quite another if he is out of town for two or three days a month.

    Soon, the child will going to school nine months of the year, (if she is not already in kindergarten). Might be a good idea ot think about what the visitation and phone schedule should be once she is in school on a regular basis and incorporate into future orders what that should look like.

     

  • Tue, Feb 19 2013 6:02 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Thank you, I appreciate the response.

     

    Thanks to everyone that took the time to respond.

  • Fri, Feb 22 2013 3:44 PM In reply to

    • kath21
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    maltomario:
    but if I'm at the grocery store and she calls me and my daughter is at home with my mother, I don't see that as a violation when I tell her that you can speak with her as soon as I get home.

    That is overly controling and a court will see it that way, too.  It's not necessary that you observe mother-daughter phone calls!  Especially as you travel and are away at work MANY hours of the day.

    That's exactly the kind of behavior that made Mom angry.  Daughter is capable of talking to her own mother while in the care of YOUR mother.  You need to understand that before going to court with such unrealistic ideas that you have to monitor their communication.

    Good luck.

  • Fri, Feb 22 2013 3:55 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Wowza! You ever think that maybe my mother doesn't have a cell phone? 

    I do not monitor their phone calls, but She does call my phone to talk to her daughter.  If my daughter is not with me at that moment and will be with me in a reasonable amount of time, then i don't see that as a violation.  Nor if maybe as a family we are doing something that today wouldn't be a good day for them to talk, but tomorrow would be.

    You should read the entire post, before jumping to a conclusion such as that.  My daughter can well talk to her mother whenever she wants, but she can't talk to her on my phone if she's not with me.

  • Fri, Feb 22 2013 4:01 PM In reply to

    • kath21
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Mom doesn't have a cell phone or a landline?  What if there is an emergency with your child?  Not likely she doesn't have either.

  • Fri, Feb 22 2013 4:10 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    She does have a cell...

    I don't see why my ex would have to call her.  I don't call her family when my daughter goes to visit her, I only call her.  If i can't get in touch with her today, then I'll try again tomorrow.  I don't consider that a violation.

  • Fri, Feb 22 2013 4:55 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    I might do some homework as to prevailing wage of an LPN in her area and seek court to impute a pretty decent wage to her if she is ducking full time work....and come up with a more realistice CS due me.



  • Sat, Feb 23 2013 3:25 PM In reply to

    • kath21
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    You should be aware that courts are VERY serious about interference between a child and the non-custodial parent.  When a judge makes a court order regarding specific times, it is an order, not a suggestion.  Courts do not go for such excuses like the Mom and the child can only communicate on MY cell phone nor...

    maltomario:
    maybe as a family we are doing something that today wouldn't be a good day for them to talk, but tomorrow would be.

    It is not the custodial parent's decision regarding what would be a good day and what wouldn't, what is a violation and what isn't.  A court might order you to buy the child her own cell phone to talk with her mother if you insist it can only be YOUR cell phone and you are gone at work, the grocery store or often traveling for business for days.

    The court will expect you to follow the order to the letter, except in TRUE emergencies.  Anything else is a violation and contempt of court.  MANY judges have REVERSED custody on this very issue (relocated parent or not!)  including my own uncle, a family court judge for many years.  They hate to see the custodial parent denying communication with such flimsy excuses, as it is an abuse of control over the child.

    I realize you are not at all familiar with the legal system, but most responders on this site are.  So be advised that what you think is not a violation doesn't matter; it is what the court thinks that matters.  And, as said, they take this communication between child and parent extremely seriously- you are not the first to use the "family time" type of excuse, but it just doesn't fly.

    And Mom seems as if she won't stand for such and will drag you back to court if you violate the order...and a chance to lose custody.

    So the wise thing to do is to be sure there is a phone the child and Mom can use whether you are there or not.  And be aware of the penalties if you choose to interpret what is a violation; anything going against the order is contempt of court.  I'm sure you don't want to keep re-visiting this issue in court over and over.

    Good luck.

  • Sat, Feb 23 2013 4:16 PM In reply to

    • maltomario
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    Ahh... Very true, but the fact is that there is no such order.  No final judgement was entered.

     

    I do take communication very seriously, but I would never agree to communication guaranteed on a daily basis.  This is both unfair to the custodial parent and practically impossible under any circumstance.  If she insists on this, she can very well move back to the state.

     

    Also on the subject of CS, they'll use the income that she was earning here before the move and because she isn't working full time, it won't excuse her potential to earn.  This I know. 

  • Mon, Feb 25 2013 1:26 PM In reply to

    • kath21
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    Re: Custody and Legal Fees

    maltomario:
    but I would never agree to communication guaranteed on a daily basis.  

    Funny how you pretend not to hear...a little passive aggressive.

    An order is an ORDER; it is not up to you to agree.  You follow whatever the judge deems to be fair or be in contempt and risk losing custody...as said, it is not your decision once the court makes an order.  Don't know how much clearer that can be.

    maltomario:
    This is both unfair to the custodial parent and practically impossible under any circumstance.

    Hardly "unfair".  Many orders specify  daily communication, especially when the child is young.  It's hardly "impossible".  Happens every day.

    The law doesn't get involved when a couple can agree on parenting.  But when they can't, the law gets involved and you are bound by whatever decision the judge makes...the law stays in your life from then until the child is 18.

    And remember that bio-parents have superior legal rights to a child; far superior to grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, etc.  Mom's rights trump "family time" with lesser relatives every time.  Sometimes those that have custody think they can control everything regarding the child; they can control much, but NOT the other parent's rights.  It's that attitude that causes a court to clamp down on parents.

    And FL is a state that strives for equal rights betwen parents.

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