Any one have experience with family court?

Melissa - posted on 06/15/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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In Aug we have our first case conference. I am not happy that we are leaving decisions into the hands of a man/woman we don't know "judge" to make some serious decisions on our family. I trust that it will work in our daughters favor though. Her father has not picked her up to take her on any one on one time in 10 months. He has not visited to see her in 10 weeks. I stopped allowing him to pick her up after 6 months of not picking her up and spending one on one time, he attempted to say he was going to randomly pick her up and I told him that at the age she was in (currently she is 15 months old) she had major attachment to her sole caregiver *me* and unless he was willing to have me come along, it wouldn't work.
I have offered him to come over to my home any time to start re-building relationship before taking her off property.
I am even taking a 1 hour transit ride tomorrow to give his mother the opportunity to see our daughter. He has emotionally abandoned his daughter and I have made MAJOR attempts at including him the best I can within reason. He has denied all communication and has made no attempt to see her or talk to me in 10 weeks. Actually longer than that.

So now he is in agreement of me having full custody yet he wants to fight for 1 over night every second weekend. Yet, he has not spent time with her (personally) in 10 months and she has yet to ever be at his home since her birth.
People tell me that he will probably be granted supervised visits to rebuild the relationship and than move forward to visits off property to eventual over nights. I really look forward to the point when he can have her for over nights.... that would be a success.

Do you know anything on how a judge goes about this matter in regards to supervised visits? Am I aloud to request us to meet in a public place while I am there or will they choose someone he is comfortable with?
Please share with me your experiences or thoughts.

Thanks

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Heather - posted on 08/19/2013

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I suffered through 6 years of domestic violence. Emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual. During the time of abuse I actively sought therapy. Seeking therapy is now being used against me in court. It is the ONLY thing they are using against me. The GAL on my case refused to look at my mental health records, DV calls to 911, previous court transcripts, contact my therapist, investigate the father's mental health records (he was ordered by another judge to get DV counseling), look into background checks (which I later provided), or speak with my children about their daily life with their father or with me. I provided my mental health records once I became aware he refused to do so. I reviewed them. My therapist also reviewed them (having more access to things than I do) she told me there is NOTHING in it that raises a red flag or any need for concern about me taking care of my children. The GAL recently made a comment about how my ex had a way of "getting to me" and that the effects of that (I experienced depression and developed an anxiety disorder) is why I am not custodial parent to our 3 young children. The father is not held in anyway accountable for his actions and is instead rewarded.
We were sent for psych evals with a Dr. Timothy Saar. After I obtained the legal transcripts dating from 2007 to present I found an incident I mentioned in court under a different judge. In 2006 I had scheduled an appt with Dr. Saar through Westbrook in Jackson County. On the way to the appointment I was violently attacked in the car, had my head slammed against the window and told to get out of the car in the snow. Our two children ages 2 weeks and 14 months were in the backseat. Once I arrived at Dr. Saar's office he took us into a room to "diffuse" the situation and told me that my ex (boyfriend at the time) was just "really stressed out". I saw no benefit in continuing therapy for abuse with a man who was making excuses for my abuser and even telling me it was "normal" or "acceptable"... Fast forward to 2012 and this is who we are sent to Psych Evals to... and of course he recommends therapy for me and none for the father. I tried to submit the previous transcript as proof of this guys unethical behavior and views towards abuse and abusers, but was not allowed to show it in court. I begged the GAL to look at it to help me throw it out... but no one will listen. The GAL has refused to ask my children questions, but recently asked them where they wanted to live... with the father standing on the opposite side of the table!! My daughter has bawled her eyes out repeatedly stating she was scared and that she wishes she'd just told the truth.

The teachers backed me up that the father had ZERO interest in my children's education (he was court ordered custodial parent last year) and that there were hygiene issues. (I also backed this with photos and medical records of bacterial infections my 7 year old son has had in his armpits). My children state that he does not wash their hair, bruth their teeth or provide them soap during their 5 days a week with them. He sleeps all day. He threatens them.

I also presented my ex's criminal background check from PA where he grew up. He was a wanted felon for 12 years. He also lied on the children's birth certificates stating his place of birth as Ireland.

I have concerns that my children are being molested. Their behaviors and conversations are beyond bizarre and inappropriate for children of their age. I am also fully aware first hand of my ex's sexual nature. (He preferred to injure my genitals until I bled. This was victory for him. Also he was into bondage and age role play). My daughter has drawn photos of a tongue licking an anus and a naked person with another person, clearly showing the anus. She is 6 years old. I presented screen shots of his Facebook timeline. Included in this evidence were NUMEROUS bits of evidence of his sexual nature and often the posts represent children. (After reviewing it my therapist cried and told me that he COMPLETELY represents himself as a pediophile). CPS in Jackson County has been infiltrated by a woman he is friends with who once worked for CPS. They refuse to investigate, speak with my children, or take any of my claims seriously. CPS in Roane County where I live was horrified by the evidence and told me they would have absolutely investigated the situation based on the evidence I provided.
The judge on the case attacks me every hearing and he goes entirely untouched. I am to blame for being effected by his abuse. She mentions in the first hearing a desire to contact his ex CPS friend. (I believe she did OUT of court) In the hearing we had AFTER this occured she asks me questions that lead me to believe she obtained info from this ex CPS buddy of his (long story but she was involved with my family when I was 11 years old. My parents were having trouble with my 16 year old sister. It never had anything to do with me. I was asked by this judge if my parents had lost custody of me when I was 11 years old. They did not lose custody of me, in fact it was never in question. Proof to me she got misinfo from this CPS pal who was on the case back then and who is a family friend of my ex's).

My rights are being stomped on. It was hard enough to survive years of abuse, but to have my children handed to this man and for the court to empower and condon his alienation of me because I sought therapy for being abused..... well, it's like they have become the abusers themselves. I feel powerless and hopeless. I can not afford legal representation. I can not be appointed legal representation because this GAL who will NOT do his job is on the case. I have contacted nearly 100 lawyers, everyone just wants their money.. a few have wished me luck and stated how "tragic" this case is. I can not save my children. I am desperate for any assistance or even an advocate that can explain to the system what domestic abuse does to a person and defend my rights to raise my children. I went to legal aid... they can only ADVISE, not represent. I was told by the legal aid lawyer that I had one helluva case with all the evidence to back me up (I sent a disc with EVERYTHING)... yet I keep losing with this judge. I was warned before appearing in front of her by a custody evaluator NOT to mention being abused. How sick and wrong is that???

Melissa - posted on 06/15/2012

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I have a lawyer though he doesn't predict much and is acting as though this is going to be a pretty cut and dry proceeding. What happen in your case? If you don't mind sharing.

Dove - posted on 06/15/2012

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I don't know if you would be granted supervised visits or not. It's possible, but it's also possible that he will be granted unsupervised visits immediately. Short ones, at first, but quickly building up to the visitation he is asking for... Or you could get a judge that immediately grants the visitation he is seeking without any 'warm up time' granted. It's really hard to predict what a judge will decide. Your best bet is to seek advice from a lawyer that has personal experience with which judge you will be dealing with for this. Even that is no guarantee though. Our judge made rulings that shocked my lawyer....

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