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Need help for custody case with ex-wife (pro se)

Discussion in 'Child Custody & Visitation' started by Julius, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have a few questions regarding a child custody case between my ex-wife and I. In short, she has modified our original parenting plan (put in place four years ago) to an extreme. As a result, I barely get to see my daughter now (only once a month face-to-face). I miss my daughter beyond words and know this parental alienation is damaging her as well.

    Let me clarify that I DO NOT have money for an attorney, nor are there any pro-bono attorneys available in my area. With that being said, my questions are:

    1. Since it is regarding child custody and a modified parenting plan, would the chapter 39 Florida statutes apply?

    2. I was originally filed in this case as indigent. Since my ex has an attorney and I cannot afford one, if chapter 39 statutes apply in this case, I can request an attorney be appointed to me, correct?

    3. If being assigned an attorney isn't an option, could I get a guardian ad litem involved to help my side? (The reason I ask is my ex has severely limited my communication with my daughter, but with no evidence justifying why) If this is an option, what kind of motion/petition do I file with the court to request it?

    4. My ex knows the judge personally and typically walks right into the courthouse with him. Since her modifications don't have any justification (no evidence for grounds), would it make sense to file an appeal, address that there is no evidence supporting the modification, and request that they overturn the modification and put the original parenting plan back in place? I don't want to upset this judge, but it is clear as day that he is biased and feel getting it in front of another judge would get it tossed.

    5. Am I entitled to an evidentiary hearing in a case such as this one? If not, what do I file in order to contest the fact that there is no facts or basis that the modification is based on?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Money talks mate, nonsense walks.

    Not much a bunch of strangers can do to help you with a complex family law case.

    All I can suggest is start searching the Internet for answers to your questions.

    Some folks like Google Scholar, others simply use Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
     
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  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Only the court can modify a parenting plan. I assume what you mean is that your ex is violating the parenting plan.

    The purposes of Ch. 39 are stated in section 39.001(1). It does not appear that Ch. 39 applies to custody proceedings.

    The purpose of a guardian ad litem is to advocate for the interests of the child, not for anyone else.

    If there's a personal friendship, you need to file a motion to have the judge recuse him/herself.
     
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  4. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks and I am trying, mostly on Google Scholar. Hard to sift through cases that directly relate to mine. Very time consuming, but I am trying. At this point though, I am not even sure what to file. I am thinking I need to request a "rehearing," but not sure how to request evidence in a case like this. An evidentiary hearing doesn't seem applicable.
     
  5. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Sorry, I am not familiar with all the legal nomenclature. It's not that my ex is violating the parenting plan, although she had in the past and when I filed a motion for contempt of court, the judge completely disregarded it.

    But anyway, the issue is her attorney submitted a modified parenting plan to the judge and the judge signed off on it without me so much as giving me a chance to refute it. In fact, I didn't even find out about it until after my ex threw it in my face one day, as the court never even mailed me a copy. I addressed this issue as well in the last hearing and as usual, the judge ignored my concern regarding the matter (no justification for the modification, etc.)

    Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't sure if the explanation in that section meant it *solely* applied to cases involving state involvement, or if it applied to any cases regarding the welfare of children in general. I have solid grounds to argue that the current amount of time with my daughter is inadequate to maintain emotional bonds (have multiple authoritative sources, including DCF guidelines).

    I tried to address this in the last hearing as well, but the judge refused to look at any documentation I tried to provide, even notarized statements. He said he would only take evidence from outside sources if the people who wrote the notarized statements or authoritative documentation was there in person in the courtroom.

    Thanks for the information. I very well might give them a shot. Considering I have a beautiful home, loving family, and my daughter is technically being alienated from me and her twin brothers, it could most certainly be seen as contradictory to her best interest. I'm going to try them tomorrow. They might at least be able to point me in a right direction here if not anything else.

    Thanks again, and I did try that. The judge simply replied to it by tossing a few case laws out there in response and refusing to step down from the case. I even filed a complaint with the JQC afterwards, but there wasn't enough "hard evidence" showing the judge's bias for them to take action.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you grow tired of being ignored, abused, back stabbed; you'll have to find a way to hire a lawyer.

    She's beating you because she has a paid, hired gun.

    Until you have a paid, hired gun, she'll continue to triumph over you.

    What are you being nailed for child support each month?

    Are you current on your child support?
     
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  7. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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    Guardian ad litems don't work for free. Typically when they are involved, the parents both pay a portion of the expense. If you can't afford an attorney, how are you going to afford a GAL? I would suggest you beg, borrow, sell what you can to raise money for an attorney; I fear you are going to be seriously out of your depth.
     
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  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That's true. Pieces of paper cannot be cross examined and a party to litigation has the right to question those who are giving evidence against her.

    In this country courts are biased in favor of awarding custody to the mother. You will be steamrolled without a lawyer.
     
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  9. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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    Because mothers still provide a majority of the daily care of the children. When fathers start taking time off/quitting work* to take care of children like some/many women do, then that will change. It's not any particular bias, it's the way the 'best interest of the child' works.

    *Which contributes to the 'women make less than men' statistics
     
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  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    My brother was awarded custody of his three children in 1977, when the allegation against courts claimed they were biased in the mother's favor.

    Our parents hired him the best lawyer in the county.

    His issue was litigated during their divorce.

    She also had to pay child support, he declined alimony.

    You receive custody of your child(ren) because you hire a good lawyer and your case is solid.

    The law and our courts are as fair as humanly possible.

    Females tend to prevail in many of these kinds of cases because most of them care enough to find a way to hire a lawyer.

    There are some studies that allege women love their younger children more than males because they've carried them to term.

    I believe an outcome before a court is decided because a person has a better fact pattern, is determined, and hires a good lawyer.

    As is the case in some of these matters, they remarried in 1983, and remain married to this day.
     
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  11. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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    For a very long time, even during the beginning of the last century, men were routinely given custody of the children of a marriage during a divorce (since the State considered them 'property' at that time). Over time, the 'Tender Years' doctrine took hold, and mothers were routinely given custody. Now, it's all about 'Best Interests of the Child'.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I have practiced law for more decades than I dare reveal.

    I can admit to practicing law in the 20th century of the last millennium.

    As long as I've practiced law, and in every jurisdiction in which I've practiced, it has always been about the best interests of the child (with certain exceptions for mothers and babies who suckled).

    People seem to perceive bias when the result they seek isn't granted.

    The only thing that keeps our nation from anarchy is that we seem to still believe that we are a nation of laws.

    My faith is renewed each and every time I empanel a jury and watch those 12 strangers decide justice.

    In Texas, a jury can be empaneled for any offense, criminal charge, or civil matter, including a divorce.

    Like it, hate it, our constitution and our body of codified law is one reason that our little republic thrives 237 years after it was ratified.
     
  13. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    For starters, I want to thank all of you for your feedback.

    Secondly, I completely respect your insight and perspective army judge. One thing I would remark on is this...

    I can absolutely see how people's perception would be altered by a case not turning out in their favor. However, as you also stated in a previous post in this thread:

    and:

    You are absolutely right in the fact that a significant factor is hiring a good lawyer. I have to respectfully disgaree, however, that it is about the best interest of the child. More than anything else, it seems to be about hiring the best lawyer possible that is the most well-versed in case law and other legalities. After all, no matter how bad a person's circumstances, a great lawyer can guide them in doing what they need to in order to make the case as strong as possible, along with poking holes in the opposing party's case.

    It disheartens me beyond words that my biggest priority in life has always been my family, but because I am currently unable to afford an attorney, I am left completely helpless as my ex alienates my daughter from me and this side of her family.

    I have a great home that is well more than able to accomodate my daughter and an amazing relationship with my fiance and soon-to-be stepchildren that are all dying to meet my daughter. However, because of my ex and her upper hand thanks to her attorney and personal relations with the judge, they can't even meet my daughter face-to-face.

    I just can't agree that our system is "just" based on my personal experience. My ex failed to show substantial and specific proof that the modifications to the parenting plan were in the best interest of my daughter. She also failed to show substantial changes that even warranted a modification to the parenting plan to begin with.

    I did find a legal clinic last week, where I was able to discuss the entire case with an attorney. She indicated all I needed to do back then was file a motion to vacate, but now, it's too late. She also indicated that if I could even find a half-decent attorney at a reasonable price, it would be easy to fix under the circumstances. However, per the advice of another attorney I spoke to quite a while back, I worked hard to stabilize myself financially again (literally lost everything I owned and had my credit destroyed two years ago thanks to an ex). I worked hard to get back into a home that could accomodate my daughter. In turn, finances are tight now. So, I have the home and I have the circumstances, but I don't have the money for the attorney.

    The legal clinic gave me some advice, but finding the right information is very difficult. What's even more frustrating is that I have already done some of the things the attorney already suggested, and was completely disregarded by the judge. We are trying to budget for an attorney, but with our current financial circumstances, it is going to be at least six to eight months before we would have enough for a retainer for an attorney (assuming best-case scenario and no unexpected expenses). We have even put our house on the market and are looking to downsize, but we are worried that might hurt our case regarding my daughter having her own bedroom. I tried to make a Go Fund Me page, but with work and family, I haven't had the time to promote it enough to get anywhere with it. I have spent countless hours trying to find resources to no avail. I just can't agree with a system where it is primarily about who has the money for an attorney (or the best attorney).

    Apologies for the ramblings. This entire situation is just like a deep, dark nightmare I can't wake up from. What worries me most is the impact this is going to have on my daughter when she is old enough to understand the truth of this entire situation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    We live under a capitalist system, which has recently been hijacked by the globalist cabal.

    My brother's fact pattern is based solely on the actions of the mother, his spouse.

    The mother was awarded "temporary custody" even after in an angry, illegal drugged up, a belly full of alcohol, depressed condition she tossed her 2 year old son from his second story bedroom window through the glass onto the lawn below.

    My brother was a firefighter at the time about 16 hours into his mandated 24 hour shift.

    Thank God for the emergency medical personnel even in the 1970s, deputies, and hospital personnel my nephew recovered after 9 months in hospital.

    Over the next year my parents helped by brother fund a lawyer who finally proved the mother to be unstable even though "child services" thought otherwise.

    In fact, the lying mother told the deputies and medical personnel her FOUR year old daughter, my FOUR year old niece threw her brother out of the window.

    You are free to believe whatever you wish.

    There isn't one day of my life I have NOT been thankful to my parents and Almighty God for being born in this country.

    I felt that way as I fought as an Army ranger for FOUR years in Nam, and other hell holes on this planet.

    Yes, our system isn't perfect, but its the closest thing to perfection in government that humans can create.

    I wish you well, as you struggle with the issues on your plate.

    God bless.
     
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  15. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Julius, you need to keep all of your discussions in this thread where all the background is. Now you have 3 threads with parallel discussions and we can't have that. I'm reproducing the other two here and deleting them.

    You wrote:

    Mightymoose replied:


    You also wrote:

    Zddoodah replied:

    And Mightymoose replied:

     
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  16. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Apologies and thank you for moving them here. I have been used to different forums in the past where moderators wanted each specific question posted in a separate thread.
     
  17. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You've been asking about general legal research but have only made vague references to what actually happened. Let's get back to basics. Explain in detail the current custody and visitation order. Never mind your feelings about it. Best to quote it word for word, or better to upload a copy after you have redacted identifying information.
     
  18. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks again for your feedback and sympathies army judge. I greatly appreciate it. With the circumstances with your brother, now that all makes perfect sense. It is definitely disheartening that even under the circumstances, it took such efforts on your brothers part, but glad it worked out for him in the end.

    I completely agree. Of all the countries to have been born in, I am definitely thankful for being born in this one.

    I think in a truly fair justice system, the playing field should be leveled (aka not dependent on who can afford an attorney/better attorney). I appreciate that at least in criminal cases, there was an attempt to do this with public defenders. However, I am sure you know well more than I do how much those attorneys get bogged down with cases and as such, cannot represent someone even a fraction as well as paid legal representation. I do feel that similar appointed representation in family cases such as this would at least be a step in the right direction.
     
  19. Julius

    Julius Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I tried to focus on what the attorneys I have talked with in the past advised I focus on. Despite having been a physics major at FSU at the top of my class back in the day, it is extremely challenging to find the information I need. It has definitely given me an even deeper appreciation of the amount of information attorneys are required to learn.

    Regarding the details of the case, I will try to cover what needs to be covered while being as succinct as possible...

    Back in late 2015 and mid 2016, I had two incidences with an ex-girlfriend where police became involved. She was mentally unstable (later diagnosed bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, and a few other issues as well). She was the type of person who would make up lies about you out of spite when angry, then rescind the allegations later after the anger subsided. She made allegations that I physically assaulted her in both cases, yet they were false allegations with absolutely no evidence supporting them. As such, while LEO in that town was quick to arrest me both times on a whim, the state never actually filed the charges. My ex admitted to the state that she lied about me when angry, but the state simply assumed she was a stereotypical battered woman rather than someone who is malicious when angry.

    Yes, I was VERY stupid for getting back together with her after the first allegations. She was a very manipulative and charismatic sociopath, and I was a credulous bleeding heart who hated giving up on someone, particularly because we have a child together (took it upon herself to come off her birth control to intentionally become pregnant). I can at least say it taught me a lot personally, but not without severe consequences.

    I am in my late 30s and have never once been arrested prior to these two incidences. I actually have decades of community service, volunteering for various non-profits, and even served as commencement speaker for my graduation ceremony. The allegations were completely out of character for me, but it didn't keep DCF from getting involved thanks to our sons being there in both incidences.

    DCF removed my son from my home. Thankfully, I was appointed a great attorney for that case. Six months later, I had my son back and was primary custodian for numerous reasons. I had psychological, bio-pyschosocial, and several other thorough evaluations that all conclusively showed the same thing – my only issue is moderate depression that I take a mild medication for (Citalopram). Those same evaluations required of my ex-girlfriend are what exposed her numerous psychological issues. I took a hair follicle test to show I am completely drug-free. I completed a BIP program in half the standard time by paying out of pocket to double up on weekly sessions. I did everything my attorney advised me to do and then some. Between that and showing in a myriad of ways that I am a fit father, we had virtually no difficulty getting my son back in my home.

    Around the same time that DCF got involved with my son, my ex-wife filed for a modification of the parenting plan we had with my daughter (even though my daughter was not present during either of the incidences). Our original plan was pretty standard, with my ex-wife as primary custodian (simply because I was attending college at the time).

    The main modifications were the following:

    1. Reduced my Facetime communication with my daughter from daily down to once per week.

    2. It brought my face-to-face visits with my daughter down to one two-hour visit per month in a supervised visitation center that I am forced to pay for myself. I have found countless authoritative sources (including DCF and similar organization's documentation) indicating that a bare minimum of four hours per month is required at her age (5yrs old) to maintain emotional bonds. The judge refused to accept any of the documentation without the authors of the material being present for cross-examination. Additionally, in the case with my sons, even when things were at their worst, I was always able to see them weekly for two hours face-to-face.

    3. I am the only one allowed to see my daughter at the center, hence why she has never met her soon-to-be stepmother, stepsisters, or stepbrother face-to-face yet. She has also not seen her brother face-to-face since this all happened back in mid 2016.

    4. The judge refuses to put anything in place requiring my ex-wife to allow our daughter to communicate with anyone on this side of my family. As such, she has been alienated from her grandmother, grandfather, and aunt.

    5. My ex-wife has sole decision making.

    6. My ex-wife is not required to inform me of anything related to my daughter, including medical emergencies and health issues.

    This case with my daughter originally blindly piggy-backed on the case with my son. My ex never filed any evidence at all whatsoever. All she did was simply point out to the judge that DCF got involved with my son and was taken away from me at that time. However, even after getting him back, the judge has not allowed any modifications whatsoever to the parenting plan, despite me filing multiple motions to attempt to do so. Every time, the judge says he will "think on it over the next few weeks and notify us" and within a week, files a notification that he is making no changes.

    I could get countless character witness statements, from fellow CEOs and VPOs at previous workplaces and non-profit organizations, to the president of my college (who I worked with directly as president of multiple college honors and other organizations). However, from my understanding, none of that would make any difference considering they are not authorities on the case at hand (legal, family, etc.).

    I feel my biggest obstacle at this point (besidies not having legal representation) is that I have to show some type of evidence that the current parenting plan needs to be modified for my daughter's best interest. It is easy for me to show there are absolutely no grounds anymore for there to be restrictions as there are currently (I only get to see my daughter once a month for two hours in a supervised visitation center). However, there aren't anymore "significant changes" on my end to show other than what I already have. While that same evidence easily got my son back in my custody, this judge for my daughter refuses to budge whatsoever.

    Hopefully, that gives some more insight as to why I feel there is favoritism here due to my ex-wife knowing the judge. In the last two hearings, the judge even walked into the courthouse with my ex-wife and her parents. The attorney for my son's case tried to be helpful back in 2017 during our case, but even she was at a loss as to why the judge in my daughter's case was blindly piggy-backing on my son's case with no evidence having been presented to him. After we won our case with my son, she assured me that there is no reason that the other judge shouldn't lift the modification with my daughter. A year and a half later, and I am still fighting the same case with absolutely no progress.

    The majority of what I research ends up being irrelevant to my case, and I simply don't have the spare time to study the field extensively myself. Maybe if I could find a few decent textbooks that were relevant to family court custody cases, it could be useful. However, I would imagine it would take at least a half a dozen textbooks to even touch the tip of the iceberg.

    My family is incomplete without my daughter. I am a family man who has always prioritized family over everything. When I knew my ex-wife was pregnant, I spent countless hours of my spare time studying child psychology to be the best father I could be. My daughter was a large part of my inspiration to further my education, as both an example to her and to better provide for her financially. However, I have exhausted all resources I have come across so far and feel helpless without legal representation that I simply can't afford at this time.
     
  20. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    This country was founded on many principles, one of them being capitalism.

    What you posit is what is done by socialists, communists, fascists, and other totalitarian systems.

    Frankly, many of us have become governmental sheep, expecting Uncle Sam to do for them, rather than relying on themselves.

    There are no free lunches, if you don't pay for what you're eating, you're being fed by the money CONFISCATED from others.

    Free this, free that, gimme, gimme, gimme attracts ne'er do wells from all over this planet.

    Our ancestors relied upon themselves to build this nation.

    Sadly, we've become a nation of timid, begging sheep.
     

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