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Rights for disabled parents?

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  • Rights for disabled parents?

    HI, I feel like I am in a really bad position, and I need help. (The custody side is the most important, but the judges actions in the financial part are relevant).

    I have extensive illnesses that prevent me from working, though I am able to take care of myself and my daughter (and we live with my parents). My doctors have provided info. that I unable to work, but I can still manage daily activities.

    My ex husband owes me tens of thousands in arrears, and he makes about $100,000/yr now. Our custody time is 42% with her dad, 58% with me (though he takes far less). And he currently pays $300/month in child support (way below guideline). My lawyer and I filed for child support modification over 6 months ago. His income was verified by his pay stubs and W-2. I had no income. But my ex demanded to impute me for $4000 a month. They suggested that my illness was not real (despite concrete diagnoses described by my doctor).

    And we had also filed contempt charges for payments he withheld over the past couple of years.

    The judge refused to rule on the matter of child support, said to refile. He refused to give us a long cause, saying there was not enough evidence and that the facts were in dispute. He denied me all attroney's fees, even though we had to discover his new income (it had nealry doubled) during and Order of Examination. He even denied attorney's fees for future child support motions.

    My lawyer said his rulings were very unusual and we thought he may be biased because of the contempt charges (which I understand judges don't like) or because of my illness.

    My lawyer filed a motion requesting asking why he would not rule, and he responded with a refusal to explain.

    Finally, my lawyer felt like she could not help me without having to charge a lot, and it was clear that I could never pay her. So now I have no attorney.

    I have refiled with DCSS, and support modification is in motion there, but my ex wants us to go before the other judge first.

    My ex is requesting a vocational evaluation, to see if it's reasonable to impute income. I understand that I need to do that, but they have stated on more than one occassion (and even in moving papers), that if I am found too ill to work, they do not believe that I can effectively parent such an "energetic" child. Previously they specifically said that if I would not drop my protest to impute income, they would have to question my parenting ability. (And I'm desperate for money at this point, so dropping my request for child support, isn't a realistic option).

    So now I am communicating with my ex's lawyer myself. And when i expressed concern that they would use the medical information from the vocational evaluation to attack custody- he just repeated "well, she's a very energetic girl..." And assured me that no mediator would do anything like give me only one day a month.

    I feel like I have to comply with what they're asking, but at the same time, that will jeopardize my daughter's stability (she is doing very well, but she would be extremely upset if she had to go to mediation again and deal with that.) So I feel like I'm being put in a position where I have to turn over my medical information, prove to the evaluator that I can't work, knowing that they are going to use that information to challenge my parenting time if they don't like the outcome of the work evaluation. It's causing me serious anxiety to try to figure out how to handle this, and that aggravates my existing problems. I feel like thye are putting pressure on me purposely because they know I have health problems.

    I have no lawyer, and no means of getting one. The local pro-bono school is booked until next year. And, the judge has already denied me attorney's fees. And it's clear the judge has some issues with me, and going before him for a custody issue is just terrifying.

    But there is so much at stake here, and it seems to me that there should be some protection for parents with disabilities- but I can't find any codes addressing that.

    I am really nervous- this judge clearly doesn't like me, and I don't feel comfortable at all dealing with this alone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, please!!
    Last edited by daisy2377; 09-29-2007, 10:58 AM. Reason: correction

  • #2
    Please do not post the same question multiple times. The only thing that accomplishes is to confuse the responders.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      sorry, i'll take it down from the other wasn't clear when i posted that there were multile sections i needed to consider. i assume posting specifically in california law is better than in the custody section. How does one know where best to post?


      • #4
        You have to make a judgement call since you are the only one who knows the entire situation. But the same people will be reading it no matter where you post it.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        • #5
          Okay, thanks.


          • #6
            As far as communicating with the other attorney, all you have to do is acknowledge receipt of any documents that might be turned over to you or respond to appropriate discovery of what they want you to submit to. If you feel it's not appropriate, file a motion to dismiss it.

            If they file a motion to take your kids based on your disability, you file a motion to dismiss it and build your case (including witnesses ie your parents, statements from the child's school about her progress and her attendance, etc.....) that support your contention that you are able to handle the daily activities of your child. Also get the statements from your child support agency from the very first time you filed for CS and how behind he is. This will show that he is not concerned about his child's well being and may help to persuade the judge that he is wanting custody to get out of paying his child support.

            He has to prove that your daughter's living conditions have changed in a negative way since the original custody agreement. Even if your financial/living conditions have not changed at all and he is now a gazillionaire, it should not matter. Likely the judge would even more-so question why he is even behind one cent on his child support, much less "tens of thousands" of dollars.

            In fact, seeing as you live with your parents (the child's grandparents), the court would really have to consider whether or not it would benefit the child to sever three major relationships in favor of giving custody to her father. You would have to be a homeless/drug addict/alcoholic/stripper/in the process of being sentenced to prison for years before that is likely to happen.

            I can't stress this enough, DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THINKING THAT HIS ATTORNEY HAS YOUR OR YOUR DAUGHTER'S BEST INTERESTS AT HEART. HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. MERELY HE IS AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR CHILDS FATHER. DON'T SPEAK TO HIM!!!!! Don't tell them what you're afraid of because that is exactly what they will hit you with next.

            Here is a link to free and reduced legal help:
            Don't listen to a word I say because ya know I've gotta be crazy to be a Brown's fan.


            • #7
              Family Law information in California

              You will first want to visit California Courts: Self-Help Center at

              Every county has a family law facilitator who will help you for free to:
              • Prepare forms,
              • Explain court procedures for getting and changing child support orders,
              • Calculate child support using the guideline, if you have the necessary financial information, and
              • Explain how the court makes child support decisions.
              The facilitator can also help you collect child support or change a child support order.

              To learn more about the family law facilitator and find the facilitator in your county:

              Every county also has a local child support agency to help you get, change, and collect child support at no charge.

              To learn more about the local child support agency and find the local child support agency in your county:

              Other Links:

              * California Family Code: See DIVISION 8. CUSTODY OF CHILDREN
              * (Through the Looking Glass).
              * (Pacific Justice Institute)
              * (See Chapter 6: Parental Rights - p.54)

              II. CHILD CUSTODY
              In California, child custody decisions are made according to the best interests of the child. A person cannot be denied custody solely because he or she has a physical disability. A parent's health or physical condition may be considered in the custody decision, but cannot be presumed to affect the child negatively or to make the parent unfit to have custody. The special contributions a parent with a disability may give to the child's development must be considered. A court may deny custody to a parent with a disability only if the parent's condition will have a substantial and lasting negative effect on the child. (In re Marriage of Carney (1979) 24 Cal.3d 725.) A parent with a mental disability may be denied child custody only if suffering from a mental incapacity or disorder which renders him or her unable to care for and control the child adequately. (Fam. Code, ' 7827.)



              Hope that gives you a start ...
              Last edited by aeh4543; 11-21-2007, 08:43 AM.


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