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Lowest allowed amount of CS / CP Voluntarily lowering it, questions, LONG Texas

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  • Lowest allowed amount of CS / CP Voluntarily lowering it, questions, LONG Texas

    CP is in Texas.

    NCP is as well. NCP is on SSI and court order is for $78 a month with standard visitation/posession schedule (1st/3rd/5th with Thursday evenings). Actually he's ordered to pay $120 but part of that is for medical support (child is currently on medicaid but has not been on it for most of the last year).

    NCP is in arrears for $1400-2100 depending on which figure you use ($78 or $120)... that part confuses me.

    LONG story, lots of issues, but in an nutshell; NCP always had liberal visits (more than the order) until child was 2.5 years old. When she was 2.5, he "parentally abducted" her and hid her away, moving about 5 or 6 times, and kept her hidden for almost a year. He was found via a "tip" from his ex-wife and the assistance of a pro-bono attorney and that attorney's Private Investigator.

    Child is now back with mom (CP). Court order NEVER changed. Due to a long list of issues on Dad's part, CPS case was open on the child during the absence (he told them he didn't know where mom was and that she'd abandoned her child).... so for various reasons, Mom was never able to legally "get him" for custodial interference. There are plenty of records/witnesses/etc. though to prove that this was a case of parental abduction.

    Anyway, child has been home for 4 months and has talked of various frightening things that happened while with dad and Mom does not want him taking her overnight/unsupervised. Child hides when she sees police cars, talks of being hit with a belt for peeing her pants (when she was with dad)... even the CPS worker for her case noted that the child was chronically dirty, dressed inappropriately, and left with a constant variety of "caregivers" while with him. Even the CPS-mandated daycare noticed the hygeine issue.

    Due to this, when CPS closed the case and the child was returned to mom, Dad was not allowed (per CPS) to have her for overnights until he acquired housing with running water and such, because he was living in a trailer with holes in the floor, no working tub, and no running water when this case "wrapped up". It was a stipulation that he not be allowed to take her for more than a few hours until this was handled. CPS (case is long closed but the stipulation remained in effect) now says he has an apartment so it's okay. CPS caseworker DOES say that she understands the apprehension of mom considering the fact that he "took her for several months with no contact" and urged her to get an attorney ($$$$$$) to modify the order but other than that, she can do nothing.

    For the past 4 months he has not attempted to exercise visitation rights at all. He has called a couple times wanting to see her then cancelled... once he even left voice mail saying he couldn't show up because he was visiting his girlfriend in jail instead (!) as the jail only has visitation on Thursday so he couldn't be in both places on a Thursday evening. He calls often, but never to talk to his child... just to harass and leave bizarre voice mails about how the CP is "ruining his life" via the Attorney General's office, how he is going to lose his SSI due to her, going to go to jail, and a bunch of made up nonsense.

    CP refuses to get into nonsense arguments with him. When he does (rarely) call to talk to the child she just puts the child on the phone and doesn't talk to him herself because it's the same thing every time. Oh, and he denies ever "taking" her. He swears he "didn't know where mom was" even though before he took her he'd picked her up from MOM's house for a 2 week summer visit!

    Now, he has been to court on the child support thing and the Attorney General's office has scared him into making a $78 payment so all of a sudden he wants her for the weekend. He says they suspended his license... I think they just threatened to do so. She (CP) is understandably TERRIFIED that he will take off with her again. When he did it the 1st time he told a mutual acquaintance "She will never see this child again!" She doesn't have any sort of "record" of what he did in a legal sense (as in a finding or judgement or whatever), and when she got her child back, she just hoped he'd back off, which he did do up until last week. He only is making noise about a visit because he had to pay. Her numerous attempts at getting the police involved were met with the same answer: "Well, she's with her dad. You need to take this up with the family courts"... so there is nothing aside from informal "reports" with the police department. They REFUSED to report her formally as a missing child because she was with her father, even when she brought the court order in and showed it to them. She went higher up and was still just told "Get a lawyer, we can't help you".

    It is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY and control in this case, and Mom wants to know, if she voluntarily gave up arrears (minus what he owes the state which she cannot waive), and asked him to voluntarily agree to supervised visits only and minimal monthly support (like $10??), if this would fly. She wants to see if he will agree to modify the court order this way. He has done nothing but complain for the past 4 months about the child support, how she's trying to "put him in jail" (she's done nothing of the sort, the AG's office is just doing their own thing), how he has had to sell everything to come up with this $78, blah blah blah.

    The whole time he had her he didnt' pay anything although the CPS worker told him he needed to, since it was still a valid order. She told him to go to court to modify it if he wanted to be legally free of paying. During that time, Mom received a notification that they were to begin garnishing his SSI checks and right after that she was served with papers for court to determine custody/child support (modify it)... but when there was a court date set, he didn't show up, TWICE. Both times the mom showed up hoping that this would help her find her child... but when the AG's office tried to serve him to get him to come back in court they could not find him either. I guess he got the notification of garnishment, went to the AG"s office to protest, asked them to modify based on the child living with him, then realized that if he did this, mom could LOCATE the child this way and he changed his mind.

    So anyway, can this be done if all parties agree? If so, how to do it? Does she need a lawyer? Any ideas on making it more likely that he will just voluntarily agree to her terms? She will drive whereever, meet with him, pay for supervised visits at a "visitation place", whatever, just to keep him from being able to drive away with the child alone.

    Will the courts allow her to WAIVE support completely? If not, what is the minimum? I know that the guideline is 20% but it's just a guideline, right?

    It's sad but it seems that he would do this, because its' all about the money. Child support was established when the child was about a year old and mom waived all previous arrears and he only had to pay the $78 a month from that point forward. Prior to that she'd just asked him for money once in a while and he'd occasionally buy diapers... then when he'd take her for a visit he'd leave her with a female relative the whole time anyway. She has no trust in him now after what has happened and hopes that if he will go for this, she can protect her child and the lack of support payments will mean he will stop his harassment and carrying on about how he's going to "lose everything", blah blah blah. She doesn't want the money from him. She just wants to know her child is safe and it seems like this would be much much easier than trying to hire a lawyer and "fight it out in court".

    He told her he plans on picking her up this Friday and if she doesn't make the child available he will bring the police. She is scared and doesnt' know what to do and has no money, no lawyer.

    Is there anything illegal about her proposing this to him?

    Last edited by needanap; 12-26-2006, 11:48 AM.

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