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  • Please give opinions and advice for court North Carolina

    I'll ask for your pardon in advance for the length of this, but trying to squish 15 years of info in isn't easy.

    In 1993 my husband (Ichabod) and I split and I was granted custody and a DVPO. My daughter was 10 months old at the time. Our divorce was granted in July of 94, but the judge at that time marked out the section on custody because he didn't show for court.

    In Sept of '94 I was given sole physical and legal custody with supervised visitation at my discretion due to the judge deeiming NCP emotionally unstable because of his testimony.

    I allowed him to see her a couple of times with his father as supervisor, then he flaked out and stopped showing up when he told her he was. He dropped out of our lives for 9 years.

    Four years ago I remarried and a few months later my daughter approached my (new)husband and me and requested that her name be changed to my husband's. We discussed this with her at length and I located Ichabod to discuss it with him. He agreed and signed the papers without ever asking to see her.

    Up until Sept.05 he didn't even know who she was when she'd see him at stores or on the street, though she recognized him from an old photo album I kept from when we were married.

    March of '06 he petitioned for visitation and was denied by the judge, who talked with my daughter and said that my daughter told her she had no interest in developing a relationship with him so she wasn't going to force it. He was given permission to contact her through US Mail, but he never did.

    Jan of '07 he petitioned for visitation again. Same judge. This time she ordered a "trial dinner."

    When we went back to court in Feb. after the trial dinner, my daughter maintained that she still didn't want to see him. This time the judge basically said that my daughter has been brainwashed and ordered the visits to continue. She told my daughter that if she failed to comply with her visits that I will be held in contempt. Ichabod was to make arrangements with her to meet for dinner on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month for dinner at her choice of restaurants. Cell phone numbers were exchanged so that the time and place of dinner could be arranged by him in advance.

    Out of a possible 9 visits, 4 have happened.
    a. She has cancelled once due to a sinus infection with a fever.
    b. He cancelled once due to being sent to the hospital.
    c. Once when he called her and told her he'd be evicted from his home if he took her out to dinner.
    d. On 2 occasions he did not call to see her until the night they were supposed to have dinner after she had already eaten and made other arrangements for her evening. One of those times he left a message on my phone saying he had forgotten about her.
    The other time I answered the phone and he said he had not noticed what day it was. When she called him back a bit later (she wasn't there when he called) he got angry with her, saying that when he doesn't call her it is her responsibility to call him to see if he plans on seeing her, and that she had no right to make other plans even though she had not heard from him. The call upset her badly and the next day I called him to discuss it. He told me that he wanted to terminate his rights to her. I told him I'd talk to her about it and get back to him.

    I discussed it with my husband who has always been ready and willing to adopt her, and to my daughter who was ecstatic. I told my ex and he said to get it going. I hired an attorney, paid the attorney, and he drew up the papers. I called my ex who said he'd meet me that night to look at them and sign them in front of a notary.

    When he met us that night he asked my daughter if this is what she really wants. She told him that it is. He then said he wanted an attorney to look over the papers and that he would not sign them at that time. He told her that he didn't want to do this because of the money but that his children (he has 3 by current wife) are going without because my daughter needed braces. She told him she didn't care, that she just wanted him to sign the papers.

    He called me 2 days later to say his attorney advised him against signing the papers because his child support won't terminate till the waiting period is over (90 days). He then hung up on me and would not answer my calls. The next day I called him from a different phone and asked him for his attorney's name and phone number so my attorney could contact him. He then told me that his attorney is in VA (we are in NC). I told him that this attorney can't really advise on matters of law in NC and he said for my attorney to call him. My attorney did and got nowhere. He says that he doesn't think I will file the papers once he signs them, and that I'm just trying to screw him out of money.

    Just after visitation was ordered she began having nightmares, outbursts of crying and temper, her grades took a nosedive, and she began ripping off her fingernails and toenails. I was advised to take her to a therapist and have done so. The therapist will not (and can not) go into details with me, but has said that she will be happy writing a letter to the judge giving her professional opinion.

    My daughter's outbursts seem to be mostly limited to time frames between the Thursday night when her father calls and the day after her dinner with him. Not to say she doesn't have a temper otherwise, most 15 yr old girls do, but it seems to get worse during those times.

    She maintains to me, her father, the judge, and anyone else who asks, that she wishes no contact with her father at this time.

    She has never been denied access to him by me or anyone in my family, she has always known who he is through pictures, and until visitations were ordered, she would go out of her way to avoid him if she saw him in public anywhere. Since the visits, she doesn't want to speak with him when he calls and will not call him until threatened with punishment.

    Other than these recent dinners, he is a stranger to her.

    I know that whether visitation continues or not is not her choice (even though I think it should be at her age). What I'd like to try and convey is that I think that communication should be left open, but that she should be allowed to choose whether or not to contact him. If we had just split I think I'd feel differently, but he has never been in her life by his own choice, now he walks back in and expects the father of the year award.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can present all of this at the review without seeming petty to a judge I don't have a great track record with?

    I know many of you may not agree with my opinion that she should be given some say so (and it just is my opinion) but, I am truly trying to act in the best interest of my daughter.

    Thank you for any advice or help you can offer me.
    Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


    You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

    Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
    Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
    Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

  • #2
    Been there done that....

    I totally understand where you are coming from. My ex and I divorced when my daughters were 2 and 3. (1998) I remarried about 18 months later to a man who took my daughters in and loved them like his own. He remarried also and the wife controlled when and if he could contact our daughters or see them. For approximately 5 years, they saw him MAYBE once a year and talked with him MAYBE 3 times a year. They knew he was their dad but they also knew that his wife came first.

    Flash forward...He divorced wife #3 and married wife #4 within a month. Wife #4 has gone out of her way to build a relationship with me and with the girls', which I greatly appreciate. She even went as far as cutting her own son's GPs out his life due to things they were saying about the girls. While my ex was deployed to Iraq, she maintained contact with me and the girls, never missed a holiday and always made sure they had anything extra they needed. He was gone for a year and called the girls 1 time. (Yes, I know he was in a war zone. My current husband has deployed 4 times in the 8 years we have been married and is currently in Iraq. Everytime he calls, he tells me he loves me but he needs to speak to his babies 1st.) He calls and asks could he get the girls for Christmas. 1st time in 9 years and I tell him sure.
    He then tells me he is deploying back to Iraq in September and wants to know if the girls can come in May and stay 6 weeks. (Custody papers state 4)
    I agree and even agree to meet him 1/2 way. (I'm in OK and him KY)

    The girls leave and the youngest one has a hard time adjusting to step brother. She calls everyday telling me she misses me and doesn't want to be gone that long ever again. I tell her to stick out and spend time with her dad due to the fact she will not see him for 18 more months. Oldest daughter could care less about her dad or anyone else for that matter.

    I receive a call from him stating that the girls want to live with him. My first reaction is to ask to speak to the girls. Oldest one gets on the phone and in a very hateful voice says, "I have lived with you all my life and I want to live with my dad!" I ask to speak to her sister who gets on the phone crying and says the EXACT same thing. I ask her if she is sure this is what she wants and she whispers, "I want to come home." I get him on the phone and tell him if oldest wants to live with him I will not stop her but she can not move until he returns from Iraq. Of course he is angry. He kept saying that if she moved in with him, he wouldn't seek child support for her and we would just be "even". He also said that she really likes her stepmom and that they could keep eachother company. Another words, she could spy on her stepmom because he is insecure with his relationship. Don't think so.

    I got lucky due to the fact he is military and didn't have to go to court over it. Even if she were living with him full time, when he deployed, she would have to come live with me. Regardless!!

    They are home now and she finally admitted, he gave her more freedom and there was a boy she liked there.

    P.S. They have been home since July 7th and he hasn't even called. They called him and left a message, no reply. Go Figure!!
    Amateurs built the Ark, Professionals built the Titanic

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Suzz View Post
      I'll ask for your pardon in advance for the length of this, but trying to squish 15 years of info in isn't easy.

      In 1993 my husband (Ichabod) and I split and I was granted custody and a DVPO. My daughter was 10 months old at the time. Our divorce was granted in July of 94, but the judge at that time marked out the section on custody because he didn't show for court.

      In Sept of '94 I was given sole physical and legal custody with supervised visitation at my discretion due to the judge deeiming NCP emotionally unstable because of his testimony.

      I allowed him to see her a couple of times with his father as supervisor, then he flaked out and stopped showing up when he told her he was. He dropped out of our lives for 9 years.

      Four years ago I remarried and a few months later my daughter approached my (new)husband and me and requested that her name be changed to my husband's. We discussed this with her at length and I located Ichabod to discuss it with him. He agreed and signed the papers without ever asking to see her.

      Up until Sept.05 he didn't even know who she was when she'd see him at stores or on the street, though she recognized him from an old photo album I kept from when we were married.

      March of '06 he petitioned for visitation and was denied by the judge, who talked with my daughter and said that my daughter told her she had no interest in developing a relationship with him so she wasn't going to force it. He was given permission to contact her through US Mail, but he never did.

      Jan of '07 he petitioned for visitation again. Same judge. This time she ordered a "trial dinner."

      When we went back to court in Feb. after the trial dinner, my daughter maintained that she still didn't want to see him. This time the judge basically said that my daughter has been brainwashed and ordered the visits to continue. She told my daughter that if she failed to comply with her visits that I will be held in contempt. Ichabod was to make arrangements with her to meet for dinner on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month for dinner at her choice of restaurants. Cell phone numbers were exchanged so that the time and place of dinner could be arranged by him in advance.

      Out of a possible 9 visits, 4 have happened.
      a. She has cancelled once due to a sinus infection with a fever.
      b. He cancelled once due to being sent to the hospital.
      c. Once when he called her and told her he'd be evicted from his home if he took her out to dinner.
      d. On 2 occasions he did not call to see her until the night they were supposed to have dinner after she had already eaten and made other arrangements for her evening. One of those times he left a message on my phone saying he had forgotten about her.
      The other time I answered the phone and he said he had not noticed what day it was. When she called him back a bit later (she wasn't there when he called) he got angry with her, saying that when he doesn't call her it is her responsibility to call him to see if he plans on seeing her, and that she had no right to make other plans even though she had not heard from him. The call upset her badly and the next day I called him to discuss it. He told me that he wanted to terminate his rights to her. I told him I'd talk to her about it and get back to him.

      I discussed it with my husband who has always been ready and willing to adopt her, and to my daughter who was ecstatic. I told my ex and he said to get it going. I hired an attorney, paid the attorney, and he drew up the papers. I called my ex who said he'd meet me that night to look at them and sign them in front of a notary.

      When he met us that night he asked my daughter if this is what she really wants. She told him that it is. He then said he wanted an attorney to look over the papers and that he would not sign them at that time. He told her that he didn't want to do this because of the money but that his children (he has 3 by current wife) are going without because my daughter needed braces. She told him she didn't care, that she just wanted him to sign the papers.

      He called me 2 days later to say his attorney advised him against signing the papers because his child support won't terminate till the waiting period is over (90 days). He then hung up on me and would not answer my calls. The next day I called him from a different phone and asked him for his attorney's name and phone number so my attorney could contact him. He then told me that his attorney is in VA (we are in NC). I told him that this attorney can't really advise on matters of law in NC and he said for my attorney to call him. My attorney did and got nowhere. He says that he doesn't think I will file the papers once he signs them, and that I'm just trying to screw him out of money.

      Just after visitation was ordered she began having nightmares, outbursts of crying and temper, her grades took a nosedive, and she began ripping off her fingernails and toenails. I was advised to take her to a therapist and have done so. The therapist will not (and can not) go into details with me, but has said that she will be happy writing a letter to the judge giving her professional opinion.

      My daughter's outbursts seem to be mostly limited to time frames between the Thursday night when her father calls and the day after her dinner with him. Not to say she doesn't have a temper otherwise, most 15 yr old girls do, but it seems to get worse during those times.

      She maintains to me, her father, the judge, and anyone else who asks, that she wishes no contact with her father at this time.

      She has never been denied access to him by me or anyone in my family, she has always known who he is through pictures, and until visitations were ordered, she would go out of her way to avoid him if she saw him in public anywhere. Since the visits, she doesn't want to speak with him when he calls and will not call him until threatened with punishment.

      Other than these recent dinners, he is a stranger to her.

      I know that whether visitation continues or not is not her choice (even though I think it should be at her age). What I'd like to try and convey is that I think that communication should be left open, but that she should be allowed to choose whether or not to contact him. If we had just split I think I'd feel differently, but he has never been in her life by his own choice, now he walks back in and expects the father of the year award.

      Does anyone have any advice on how I can present all of this at the review without seeming petty to a judge I don't have a great track record with?

      I know many of you may not agree with my opinion that she should be given some say so (and it just is my opinion) but, I am truly trying to act in the best interest of my daughter.

      Thank you for any advice or help you can offer me.
      Get the records/letter/therapist into court. (Although it's good to have the records, testimony directly from the therapist is the best.)

      Is the judge aware that your ex wanted to TPR, but welshed because he is sure you are trying to screw him by not actually filing (although for the life of me, that has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. If he DOESN'T TPR, he still owes child support, right????)

      I know from the other site you are going pro se. Is there ANY way you can get an atty? Have you contacted the bar to find an atty on pro bono rotation or reduced fees?

      Have you requested a GAL for your daughter? If not, you need to. She is 15. She IS old enough to express her wishes in court.
      Last edited by mommyof4; 07-27-2007, 02:10 PM.
      HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
      How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
      (unique up on him)
      How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
      (same way)

      Comment


      • #4
        Lawyers and Money

        Originally posted by mommyof4 View Post
        Get the records/letter/therapist into court. (Although it's good to have the records, testimony directly from the therapist is the best.)

        Is the judge aware that your ex wanted to TPR, but welshed because he is sure you are trying to screw him by not actually filing (although for the life of me, that has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. If he DOESN'T TPR, he still owes child support, right????)

        I know from the other site you are going pro se. Is there ANY way you can get an atty? Have you contacted the bar to find an atty on pro bono rotation or reduced fees?

        Have you requested a GAL for your daughter? If not, you need to. She is 15. She IS old enough to express her wishes in court.
        I'll have to research that because the only cases I've ever seen a GAL appointed in NC were abuse or neglect cases.

        Unfortunately, I have no more money to give an attorney. The $ I paid the attorney was all that had been left over after I took a 2nd mortgage out on my house to pay off my daughter's braces since my ex is $1800 behind on his part, and some other bills that had gotten behind when my husband had a heart attack a couple of years ago. That attorney wants another grand just to represent me in the review, and all the attorneys in my county start at $2500 just as a down payment. I know a few attorneys, but for the most part they are criminal attorneys (not criminals themselves LOL), because I work at the courthouse.

        The judge isn't aware of the TPR stuff yet, I'm trying to figure out how to work it into my presentation to her without her jumping down my throat. I just can't seem to win with her.
        Last edited by Suzz; 08-01-2007, 10:59 AM.
        Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


        You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

        Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
        Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
        Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

        Comment


        • #5
          I fully agree at the age of 15 your daughter should have the primary say in IF she wants anything to do with her bio sperm donor. Hang in there even if she is forced to wait until she is 18 hubby can still adopt her and give her his name. She wouldn't be the first over 18 year old to be adopted.

          Good luck to you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Update ... well on hold

            Originally posted by BnThrDnTht View Post
            I fully agree at the age of 15 your daughter should have the primary say in IF she wants anything to do with her bio sperm donor. Hang in there even if she is forced to wait until she is 18 hubby can still adopt her and give her his name. She wouldn't be the first over 18 year old to be adopted.

            Good luck to you.
            A sperm donor is about all he was ... he never really had anything to do with her even when we were together. Luckily she already has my hubby's name. Ichabod signed papers for her to change her name in 03.

            As things stand now, I found out today that somehow our case didn't get put on the final calendar so now we are looking at having to wait until call on the 15th to even get a chance to be put on the calendar again. That means another visit opportunity this Friday ... and one of us (her or me) telling him that she won't be available for his visitation in 2 weeks. She has to be out of town for a convention. just bloody lovely:P~

            Oh well perhaps I can use the time to figure out how to word my case so the judge doesn't bite me head off for sounding petty. I'm just a mother who doesn't like people playing head games with my child ...
            Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


            You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

            Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
            Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
            Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

            Comment


            • #7
              I strongly suggest that you find another night to make up for the visitation she is going to miss. I know it sticks in the craw, but you are already dealing with a difficult judge. You don't want to provide any more ammunition to be used against you.
              HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
              How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
              (unique up on him)
              How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
              (same way)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mommyof4 View Post
                I strongly suggest that you find another night to make up for the visitation she is going to miss. I know it sticks in the craw, but you are already dealing with a difficult judge. You don't want to provide any more ammunition to be used against you.
                Yeah, I know ... I've been contemplating that this afternoon. I figure I'll just tell him that she won't be available that night and let him know that if he wishes he can make arrangements with her one other night that week.

                Interesting thing ... yesterday was her birthday ... she never heard a word from him all day. She said that when he called Fri night (insisting that it was his weekend to have dinner with her) that he said he thought her Bday was coming up so "Happy Birthday" and hung up. Yup, that a REALLY interested father.
                Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


                You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

                Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
                Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
                Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

                Comment


                • #9
                  the best thing you can do is petition the court to assign a guardian ad litem and keep detailed lists of when he calls, sees her, etc

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Documentation

                    Originally posted by milspecgirl View Post
                    the best thing you can do is petition the court to assign a guardian ad litem and keep detailed lists of when he calls, sees her, etc
                    I have a journal with every phone call (date, time of day and minutes of call, and when possible a general idea of what was said with exacts when I can remember them) and every visit, where it was and who was there, time I dropped her off, time she called to ask me to get her,and time I picked her up. Overkill? maybe, but one of my instructers at an inservice training once told us that "if it ain't written down, it didn't happen" so I try to keep good notes.

                    As far as the GAL, I am unable to find documentation where in NC GALs are assigned in cases other than abuse or neglect. I have called the GAL office twice today but gotten no answer and I have yet to catch the VA who works in my building without someone in her office today. So I'll try again later this afternoon.
                    Last edited by Suzz; 08-02-2007, 08:55 AM.
                    Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


                    You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

                    Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
                    Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
                    Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Keep Your Fingers Crossed!!!! Please!!!

                      Ichabod gave me HIS version of TPR papers over the weekend that are supposed to be his solution to the whole mess. My attorney advised me not to sign them because they stray so far off guidelines. Ichabod refuses to understand why.
                      I tried talking to him today and really got nowhere so I suggested making an appt with a judge so the judge can tell us which papers are correct (we know mine are, but he won't believe that)
                      I called in a favor, and one of our judges has all the paperwork now. I am supposed to peep in his court tomorrow about mid day and he will let me know if he can see us at 2 to hopefully, maybe, get this all over with.

                      Please Please keep your fingers crossed for me. My daughter and I so so so want this all to be behind us so we can move on with our lives.
                      Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


                      You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

                      Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
                      Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
                      Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Woohoo!!!!!!!

                        HE SIGNED!!HE SIGNED!! ICHABOD SIGNED THE TPR!!!
                        Doing what I can ... one deadbeat at a time ...


                        You think condoms are inconvienent? a mood killer? expensive? Try children!

                        Average Cost of Condom ... $.75
                        Average Cost of Child Support ... $75,000.00
                        Making your own choices in life ...Priceless

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CONGRATS!!! MAY YOU AND YOU DAUGHTER HAVE A HAPPY FULFILLED LIFE
                          Amateurs built the Ark, Professionals built the Titanic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            that is so awesome- congrats!!!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              congrats to you, your husband, and most especially, your daughter. May y'all have a wonderful life.
                              HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
                              How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
                              (unique up on him)
                              How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
                              (same way)

                              Comment

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