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Yellowbeard
05-06-2010, 02:51 PM
my ex-wife filed a petition to change custody of our 5 year old son. march 10th of last year (2009), we had a trial where i was awarded 50% custody. she asked for full then, and she's asking for it again now.

her grounds for there being a material change in circumstances that warrants this are as follows (XWW = ex-wife, DS = my 5 year old son):

Child is often late getting to school when in the my care.

there's a reason for this. i have to drive down a substantial length of road that has been under construction the whole time we've been divorced. sometimes, from the second i leave my neighborhood, 'til i turn into the daycare parking lot where he goes to kindergarten, i don't get higher than 5 mph. literally creeping along. takes over an hour sometimes. and there's no way to know how bad it is. and the alternates are all just as bad. there's nothing i can do about it. and he's not late every day. and he's not very late most of the time either. there's been a few times where there'd be a fender bender or something, and yeah, it took a really long time to get by it.

i've fought thru some of the nastiest traffic in the local area for 2 years to try to make this arrangement work, going way out of my way. XWW works there. she hasn't had to try to go out of her way at all.

i originally agreed to send DS to the kindergarten at the daycare where his mommy works because i thought it would be for his best interest. i thought it would give DS more consistency in a time where everything he knew kept changing, and changing again. i also thought he'd benefit from knowing mommy was close by. i guess no good deed goes unpunished.

-The defendant does not do the required homework with the child. There is not much homework now, but the school thinks that it is important for the child to begin getting in teh habit of doing some homework most evenings. The defendant has asked the school to allow the child to do his homework at school so the defendant does not have to do it at with him.

Am i out of line thinking this is ridiculous? They offer homework assistance at afterschool care as one of their services that I am paying for. When I get home, usually, it's not long before bed time. we rush thru dinner, bath, and i think it's really nice to have homework done at daycare so i can actually spend some quality time w/ DS. what's wrong w/ me taking advantage of a service this facility offers to me as a paying customer? yeah i do this. me and about a gazillion other working parents.

also, the school thinks?? since when does the school have rank over me in determining how to administer my parenting time? since when does a daycare that runs a kindergarten have that sort of authority over a parent?

-Since the parties divorce, the defendant has had less and less involvement w/ the child's school. The defendant did not attend the child's last parent-teacher conference that was specifically scheduled by the child's teacher because of the academic and behavior problems the child is having (ie - the child's lack of focus, and one incident of the child hitting another child at school)

where to start. how about academic problems. according to his grades, his academics are fine. check his report card that we just got.

regarding that conference...i'm doing two people's jobs right now (while being paid for just one). the guy that hired me quit. all his work got dumped on me, in addition to my pre-existing work load. i end up having to go to client meetings on short notice a lot, and such was the case on this day. i DID subsequently call and talk to the teacher about her concerns, and i also talked to the facility director. i have a string of emails between me and XWW about what the teacher and director said. we set him up in a karate class and he's been improving ever since.

i've been at other teacher conferences,a nd when i can't be there, i do follow up with the teacher and XWW and still participate in solving problems. apparently that i can't always do it exactly per XWW's schedule is a major problem for her.

-The defendant allows the child to watch inappropriate movies for his age, allows the child to watch other chidlren in the house play computer games that are rated M for mature, and allows the child to play computer games on the internet in areas not designated for children.

not sure where to start. she's at one point complained because DS say transformers movies. and cartoon network shows. just like every single other little boy on earth. DS called "teen titans" (a cartoon about teenage super heros) by the name "heroes" for a while. she went ballistic because she thought it was the network show.

she complained about him playing "radioactive teddy bear zombies" on the computer. it's on adultswim.com. anyone that looks at it can see that it is harmless.

there've been a few times when i caught the boys all playing something rate "M", and we made 'em turn it off. can't watch 'em every minute of the day. but most of the time, they play spider man, or something like that.

-there is very little communication or cooperation from the defendant with the plaintiff regarding the child.

i communicate about DS when i need to. and i've got a lot more emails to show i've tried to start dialogues about things than she has. basically, pot meet kettle.

her real complaint is that i don't engage her and try to stay away from her. she tries to use DS as a way to suck me in, and i don't let her do it. again, i can document it.

-the child has serious allergies and is supposed to take a prescription singulair and nose spray every night. based on what the child has told her, and based upon the prescription refill records, the plaintiff believes the defendant is not making sure the child receives his medications on a regular basis.

i have a medicine cabinet full of hordes of allergy meds. we have zyrtec, allegra, benadryl, two different types of nose spray, eye drops, etc. we HAD singulair until about a month ago. i don't know script refill records from squat, but i know i was giving him the stuff i had (had a bunch of it somehow, not sure exact details). then when he did his allergy skin testing, XWW provided me w/ a written note w/ directions from the allergist on meds. singulair isn't on it. iv'e got the note. so yeah, since then, i've gone by teh directions XWW provided. i'll be providing the note as part of my response to this.

in addition, i don't think his allergies are as bad she claims they are. at least they aren't when he's with me. he's not ashmatic. they don't interfere with him playing outside. they don't interfere w/ his normal activities. he doesn't have a history of being sick from it (i'll be getting his medical records to prove it).

now, his mommy lives in a house that she had trouble buying because it couldn't pass a home inspection as being fit for human habitation at first. she had to repair work to it just to get it to pass inspection so she could buy it. carpets were soiled from past animals. you could smell it wafting out when you stood at the front door. it's an old house. can you say mold? she also has 3 cats that are all indoor cats. and yeah, cats are one of the things DS is most allergic too. so maybe DS does have more problems at her place. she can't deny the thing about the condition of the house. i've got proof of it. she can't deny the problem w/ the carpets. i've got proof of that too, and she's been ripping the carpets out and replacing them, which i can also prove.

one of the things that you should do as part of treating allergies is minimize the allergens that are around. she hasn't. she's known he was allergic to cats for a long time (i've got a blood test somewhere we had done on him a year or two before the skin testing and it showed it was allergic to cats), but she still has three of them and they've been allowed to roam all over the house (at least in the past they were).

and not that i can really use this in court, but XWW is a total hypochondriac. she uses it as a way to get attention. and she's projecting it onto DS now.

-The defendant often does not answer the telephone when the plaintiff calls to speak with the child and does not return the call or allow the child to return her call. further, whent he child is with the plaintiff and calls the defendant to say goodnight, the defendant does not bother to answer the telephone or to return the child's call.

many aspects to this. one...she usually tries to call after he's in bed and asleep. two...when he does talk to her, he's usually upset afterwards. not from anything she says, but it reminds him she's not there. same thing when he talks to me i'm sure. three...i only have a cell phone, and i don't carry it with me every where in the house. i don't always hear it. i'm usually in the process of chasing 3 different kids to bath, dinner, bed, etc. during the nightly grind. sometimes, w/ 3 boys in the house, it's loud. we'll be down in the basement doing something, and i don't hear the phone ring upstairs. and you know what, i don't check it constantly for missed calls.

i've actually been backing off the calls at night because DS reacts badly regularly to them, at least at my place. it reminds him one of us isn't there and upsets him. i'm also secure enough personally that i know he loves me, he knows i love him, regardless of a phone call.

also, the nightly calls are disruptive. the boys, if still up will be playing or something, and DS has gotten so he's a bit put out when i pull him out for the call. i mean, the kid's best interest is at heart. XWW sees him EVERY DAY at daycare anyway. he's not lacking for contact w/ her.

ultimately, this is XWW being needy. she's taking it personally as a stab at her, and it's not. it's about not upsetting DS.

also, getting back to the whole communication thing, if she was this put out about it, she should have said something on her own. she's made no attempt to express a problem and try to resolve it prior to this filing.

-The defendant sends the child to school with his lunch full of junk food like twinkies and pop-tarts; never any fruit or vegetables. the child has a history of dental problems, and does not need to be eating a lot of sweets and junk food.

i send him w/ home made PB&J, yogurts, premade uncrustable PB&J, vienna sausages, apple sauce or other fruit cups, and sometimes there's lunchables in there. and yeah, sometimes there's chips, and the occasional goodie like a twinkie.

his latest doc check up shows he's not malnourished. it shows he's fine nutrition wise. yeah, i use prepackaged stuff sometimes, and put a treat in sometimes. just like a gazillion other parents that pack their kid's lunches.

regarding dental hygiene, we brush teeth every morning when we get up, and every night before we go to bed. IIRC, i've got emails between XWW and i expressing concern why he's had so many cavities at times. i believe i've got her in writing saying she had lots as a kid too. just something that runs in her family. i've also talked w/ the dentist and the dentist says they've got kids that no matter what parents do, they get cavities. some kids are just predisposed to it.

i'm gonna have to go get something in writing from the dentist about that, and look up those dentist emails between me and XWW.

his kindergarten teacher has even commented to me how she thought herself that both XWW and I provided good lunches for him.

and further...does she really think she can order me around to feed him exactly what she wants?

and yet again, she's never once expressed a concern about this to me. this filing is the first i've heard of it.

and that is it. that's what she's basing this all on. this is long enough for now, there's problaby more i can add in (and document).

so any lawyerly types, is it okay to ask for some thoughts? i don't think an internet chat board could be considered a medium where you'd be on the hook for any sort of professional responsibility. i have no expectation of that anyway.

i do have a lawyer (whose initial response to this filing was to respond "This is so silly!"), but i find it's always a good idea to bounce ideas off other smart people too.

Ishara
05-06-2010, 07:04 PM
Christ - sounds like fun...

I have nothing constructive to say, so I'll just say sorry it's come to having to pull emails to prove discussions. That sucks.

Sinistrum
05-06-2010, 07:58 PM
Yeah, my hands are tied here. First off, I have no idea what jurisdiction you are in, so I can't really say anything because of that. Furthermore, as a condition of my employment, I can't really offer any sort of legal advice that might be construed as forming an attorney client relationship. My best advice would be to consult the lawyer you've retained, and to document EVERYTHING, regarding all the allegations she's made (including any contacts you have with your ex. I'd recommend buying a tape recorder as long as your jurisdiction permits recording of a conversation with only one party's permission.). Divorce courts are notoriously female biased when it comes to child custody, and it sounds like your ex has an axe to grind. Be careful and good luck.

fdsaf3
05-06-2010, 09:42 PM
Yeah, my hands are tied here. First off, I have no idea what jurisdiction you are in, so I can't really say anything because of that. Furthermore, as a condition of my employment, I can't really offer any sort of legal advice that might be construed as forming an attorney client relationship. My best advice would be to consult the lawyer you've retained, and to document EVERYTHING, regarding all the allegations she's made (including any contacts you have with your ex. I'd recommend buying a tape recorder as long as your jurisdiction permits recording of a conversation with only one party's permission.). Divorce courts are notoriously female biased when it comes to child custody, and it sounds like your ex has an axe to grind. Be careful and good luck.

While I have your attention, I have a friend who is in law school now. He's great, but I think he takes the "I can't say anything which can be construed as advice" a bit too seriously. Two questions for you. First, is that just ridiculously pounded into the heads of law students? Second, is it really that big of a deal? I know you have to be protective of yourself as a lawyer, but it just seems overprotective to me. Then again, I'm not a lawyer.

Thoughts?

Sinistrum
05-06-2010, 09:47 PM
No its not being overprotective at all. Any for of legal advice given can lead to an attorney client relationship where you are on the hook if something goes wrong for malpractice. As for your friend in particular, most jurisdictions treat unauthorized practice of law as not only a grounds to prevent admission to the bar but also as a criminal offense. A law student simply isn't allowed to do anything that might be construed as practicing law as such. So yeah, it is pounded into our skulls, and with good reason.

Hopper
05-07-2010, 10:43 AM
No its not being overprotective at all. Any for of legal advice given can lead to an attorney client relationship where you are on the hook if something goes wrong for malpractice. As for your friend in particular, most jurisdictions treat unauthorized practice of law as not only a grounds to prevent admission to the bar but also as a criminal offense. A law student simply isn't allowed to do anything that might be construed as practicing law as such. So yeah, it is pounded into our skulls, and with good reason.

If you work for a law firm, would you be putting them on the hook as well?

Sinistrum
05-07-2010, 12:01 PM
As is usually the case the answer to that is "it depends." (You have no idea how many times I said that while speaking in front of a local high school government class this past wednesday.) It depends on a. whether you are an attorney or law student, who is supervising you, whether they knew or should have known what you are doing, and if they tried to stop you but failed. There are situations though where you can get your firm in trouble for either inadvertently forming an attorney/client relationship or doing unauthorized practice of law.

Ishara
05-07-2010, 07:57 PM
As is usually the case the answer to that is "it depends." (You have no idea how many times I said that while speaking in front of a local high school government class this past wednesday.)

Ha ha! I'm not even counsel, and I say that at least 20 times a day. The kind of job I have means that I have to provide case specific advice based on precedent, case law and legislative authorities. Can't do that unless I have ALL the facts. Can't do 'what if's'. Pisses the clients off, but then I remind them that I'm more than happy to provide them advice for specific situations, with a cheeky smile. Usually works.

JSUCamel
05-07-2010, 09:01 PM
then I remind them that I'm more than happy to provide them advice for specific situations, with a cheeky smile.

You're good at that.