Blended Families

Court ruling for visitation vent

First off, we are in Michigan. DH has two children from a former relationship. BM has barred contact between my DH and the children for far too long. DH took her to court to establish a visitation order, and the judge was clearly bias. See once apon a time BM and my DH lived within 30 minutes from one another. BM got a boyfriend and moved almost 3 hours north because they wanted to live near his mom. According to the law, there has to be things met to allow a move, including substantial increase in income, best interests in the children, etc. None of these were met. The judge was not concerned when this was brought up. This woman has moved 3 times, each time farther away than the last. If we had a choice in the matter, she would have never been allowed to move knowing how much harder it is to see the children. We are low income and making a trip out to see the children is like taking a vacation (money wise). The judge just ordered DH to one weekend a month meeting halfway (but in reality is much closer to BM's place) and to do the visit in the half way city. The order specifically says the visit must be in that city.

So, what ticks me is that BM moves and DH then becomes responsible for driving way out of the way because of her choice to move. Maybe this is where some of you will not agree with me, but she moves without prior approval from the court, and DH becomes responsible for the added expense of the trip. He is already garnished 52% of his wages, and he is struggling with bills enough, now here is this added expense. Wow.

Re: Court ruling for visitation vent

  • Do you have overnights?  So if you have to do a visit in the "middle" city you also have to get a hotel?  That is ridiculous.
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  • Are you using lawyers?
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  • Order is not clear about overnights It just says he gets "one" weekend on either the second or third week of each month in (such-and-such a city). Forgot to mention, even after child interviews were conducted between the judge and the children, it took the judge almost 3 months to provide us with a ruling. I don't think we would have even got it this soon if DH hadn't been calling the FOC leaving voicemails, and going up there trying to follow up. Nowone seemed to know anything, and kept brushing him off.

    No, neither party are using lawyers. DH cannot afford it. I tell you though, if we could afford it, DH would have had a lawyer a long time ago. In the court room, the judge even said to BM "How long have you been married? You know your husband can adopt the children if certain criteria have been met, its something you might want to look into". My jaw about hit the floor. This judge was so bias she was suggesting taking DH's rights of his children right from under him. He was there fighting to see his kids and the judge was siding with mom the whole time.

  • May I ask if this is Wayne County?

    I'm about to puke reading that statement about telling her the new husband can adopt.

  • DH & I live in Wayne county, but when support was established, BM lived in Ypsilanti, so the county of FOC is Washtenaw.

  • imageLiebeMama:

    Order is not clear about overnights It just says he gets "one" weekend on either the second or third week of each month in (such-and-such a city). Forgot to mention, even after child interviews were conducted between the judge and the children, it took the judge almost 3 months to provide us with a ruling. I don't think we would have even got it this soon if DH hadn't been calling the FOC leaving voicemails, and going up there trying to follow up. Nowone seemed to know anything, and kept brushing him off.

    No, neither party are using lawyers. DH cannot afford it. I tell you though, if we could afford it, DH would have had a lawyer a long time ago. In the court room, the judge even said to BM "How long have you been married? You know your husband can adopt the children if certain criteria have been met, its something you might want to look into". My jaw about hit the floor. This judge was so bias she was suggesting taking DH's rights of his children right from under him. He was there fighting to see his kids and the judge was siding with mom the whole time.

    Legal aide society in your area can help you.

    I won't even touch the TTC issue. You can't afford gas to see kids already established.  

    image
  • imageMysterious_wife:
    imageLiebeMama:

    Order is not clear about overnights It just says he gets "one" weekend on either the second or third week of each month in (such-and-such a city). Forgot to mention, even after child interviews were conducted between the judge and the children, it took the judge almost 3 months to provide us with a ruling. I don't think we would have even got it this soon if DH hadn't been calling the FOC leaving voicemails, and going up there trying to follow up. Nowone seemed to know anything, and kept brushing him off.

    No, neither party are using lawyers. DH cannot afford it. I tell you though, if we could afford it, DH would have had a lawyer a long time ago. In the court room, the judge even said to BM "How long have you been married? You know your husband can adopt the children if certain criteria have been met, its something you might want to look into". My jaw about hit the floor. This judge was so bias she was suggesting taking DH's rights of his children right from under him. He was there fighting to see his kids and the judge was siding with mom the whole time.

    Legal aide society in your area can help you.

    I won't even touch the TTC issue. You can't afford gas to see kids already established.  

    I didn't ask for an opinion on my TTC plans.

     It isn't just gas that is an issue. Its getting a hotel as well. Did I mention the area that we have to conduct visitation is a tourist destination? Talk about prices three times what they would be in just a regular city.

  • imageHopeforthebest:

    May I ask if this is Wayne County?

    I'm about to puke reading that statement about telling her the new husband can adopt.

    Washtenaw.

    Yeah I don't even think it is legal for the Judge to give such advice like that to BM. Maybe I am wrong...

  • Once again, if there were normal circumstances in this visitation, it would be affordable. But the city we are supposed to visit in is a tourist destination and hotels in the area are three times the amount that they would be in any normal city.

    My TTC planning is my perogitive. I'm not popping out 10 children on a low budget and making the state pay for it, so don't assume that you know half of my situation. There are plenty of people that cannot afford to do a mini-vacation so to speak every single month. BM moves and we have to take the fall for it.

  • Who gives a flying flip if you can or can not afford the gas or if you have TTC plans or NOT.

    The fact that BM is moving and a judge is MAKING the father not only drive but enforce visitation in a particular city makes me REALLY wonder what the hell is going on. Is there more to this story? Allegations of abuse, something weird that makes your DH look like the bad guy to the court?

     

  • Nope, there is nothing more to the story. I wish there were a possible explanation for this, but it took #1, a long time to even get a ruling, and the ruling on paper is so vague... It just says "weekend visitation on the 2nd or 3rd week of each month in such-and-such a city". It doesn't mention overnights, it doesn't mention why it has to be in that city, etc. The city is what BM told the court was half way. It is closer to BM, but whatever, the more irritating part is having to drive out there due to her move without prior permission through the court. The visitations are not supervised and never had been, but I don't understand why they have to take place in a certain city. It would be cheaper to find a hotel close to that city to make it cheaper since it is a tourist spot, but I don't know if that is even allowed.

    So what would you all suggest? Making arrangements to see the children and appeal at the same time, or just appeal and wait on visitation? Being that we're already in the 4th week of July, August would be the first visitation, 2nd or 3rd week.

  • I would continue visitation as planned so he doesn't miss out on time with the kids and appear to not care and look into legal aid OR see if there is something you can do (borrow money, sell something, etc) to get a lawyer ASAP.  
    image

    "To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue...gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."
  • Def. see the kids. Your DH is being railroaded.

    Get an atty. Any way,shape or form that you must. Appeal appeal appeal.

    I am so sorry this is happening. Please don't lay down and let it happen. Fight!

  • When you all say legal aid, is that the same thing as a public defender?

     

    Before this all came into play, BM had sole custody, and the support was just "as the parties agree" in the order. DH and BM have not agreed upon anything in a long time, so thats why it came down to trying to get some kind of order enforced. I think if someone had represented DH, it would have gotten a fair ruling. I helped my DH prepare what to say in court, but he froze up and couldn't even think to look at the paper in front of him that had all his important key points on paper. I felt so bad, but I was only allowed to watch from the back of the room.

  • imagewendilea:

    imageCheerilee:
    I would continue visitation as planned so he doesn't miss out on time with the kids and appear to not care and look into legal aid OR see if there is something you can do (borrow money, sell something, etc) to get a lawyer ASAP.  

    All of this.  Many judges seem to not own maps (DH's CO is proof of this).  But it really seems like you are getting screwed.

    I thought there was a max of 40% that could be taken for CS from a paycheck?? 

    In michigan if I recall, the maximum amount allowed to be taken is 65%. I know I read it somewhere but I cannot find it now.

  • How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

  • imagexmaryrickx:

    How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

    I wish the court would have realized when writing this up that clarification is especially needed when parents cannot agree upon anything. It is easier to follow something when it is clearly indicated. DH is going to have to call the court on the technicalities considering it didn't mention an exchange in the city, but mentioned visitation will "take place" in the city. We will look into the costs of a legal aid. Just because we are low income doesn't mean we cant afford children, but the court is making a rediculous hike in the amount it is going to take just to see his kids. If we moved a farther distance away it would make perfect sense to me that we be responsible for the added cost, but why she isn't entitled to the same responsibility is beyond me.

  • imageLiebeMama:
    imagexmaryrickx:

    How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

    I wish the court would have realized when writing this up that clarification is especially needed when parents cannot agree upon anything. It is easier to follow something when it is clearly indicated. DH is going to have to call the court on the technicalities considering it didn't mention an exchange in the city, but mentioned visitation will "take place" in the city. We will look into the costs of a legal aid. Just because we are low income doesn't mean we cant afford children, but the court is making a rediculous hike in the amount it is going to take just to see his kids. If we moved a farther distance away it would make perfect sense to me that we be responsible for the added cost, but why she isn't entitled to the same responsibility is beyond me.

    life isn't fair. Yes in an ideal world she would be held responsible bc it was her choice to move. We don't live in an ideal world. Babies cost on average something like $700 a month. That is $700 that could be going to legal fees to fight for fair and reasonable visitation with the children he already has. There are a million examples of inequities in blended families, unfortunately it's part of the deal. I find it telling you didn't answer my question. Lead me to believe you have plenty of time to have children, you just want it now, so screw paying for a lawyer, jut head to legal aid and see if you can qualify for a crappy overworked attorney who won't be able to put up the fight the kids deserve. Brilliant 
  • I will say that when it comes to attorneys, especially family law, you get what you pay for...ie. legal aid = you aren't a priority. Pay some $ to have a lawyer work for your DH = more chance of getting a more equal agreement.

    AS for how you figure out to pay for it and rearranging priorities, that is on you and your DH, none of anyone's business, but seriously it's economics 101. Pay now or pay later is what we've learned.

  • imagexmaryrickx:
    imageLiebeMama:
    imagexmaryrickx:

    How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

    I wish the court would have realized when writing this up that clarification is especially needed when parents cannot agree upon anything. It is easier to follow something when it is clearly indicated. DH is going to have to call the court on the technicalities considering it didn't mention an exchange in the city, but mentioned visitation will "take place" in the city. We will look into the costs of a legal aid. Just because we are low income doesn't mean we cant afford children, but the court is making a rediculous hike in the amount it is going to take just to see his kids. If we moved a farther distance away it would make perfect sense to me that we be responsible for the added cost, but why she isn't entitled to the same responsibility is beyond me.

    life isn't fair. Yes in an ideal world she would be held responsible bc it was her choice to move. We don't live in an ideal world. Babies cost on average something like $700 a month. That is $700 that could be going to legal fees to fight for fair and reasonable visitation with the children he already has. There are a million examples of inequities in blended families, unfortunately it's part of the deal. I find it telling you didn't answer my question. Lead me to believe you have plenty of time to have children, you just want it now, so screw paying for a lawyer, jut head to legal aid and see if you can qualify for a crappy overworked attorney who won't be able to put up the fight the kids deserve. Brilliant 

     

    I would really like to see that $700 per month for a baby broken down.  Because I am pretty sure my expenses after having Z did NOT go up that much, or even anywhere near that much!  Granted I breastfed and did not have to buy formula, but still. 

    Did any of you harping on OP about her TTC even read what her siggy says?  They're going to TTC in 2013.  Next year.  It doesn't say they are TTC right now.  There is nothing wrong with her wanting to plan on TTC next year when they could be in a totally different financial situation.

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  • imagelax15bsu:
    imagexmaryrickx:
    imageLiebeMama:
    imagexmaryrickx:

    life isn't fair. Yes in an ideal world she would be held responsible bc it was her choice to move. We don't live in an ideal world. Babies cost on average something like $700 a month. That is $700 that could be going to legal fees to fight for fair and reasonable visitation with the children he already has. There are a million examples of inequities in blended families, unfortunately it's part of the deal. I find it telling you didn't answer my question. Lead me to believe you have plenty of time to have children, you just want it now, so screw paying for a lawyer, jut head to legal aid and see if you can qualify for a crappy overworked attorney who won't be able to put up the fight the kids deserve. Brilliant 

     

    I would really like to see that $700 per month for a baby broken down.  Because I am pretty sure my expenses after having Z did NOT go up that much, or even anywhere near that much!  Granted I breastfed and did not have to buy formula, but still.

     

    A quick google search led me to about 100 reliable sources that say $700 on average for a baby. That said of course everyone's expense will be different. But that is the average. For many its way more. For many it's less. It into account paying for everything and does not account for being gifted things or buying second hand. Your particular areas COL will impact that as well as your child care areangement (maybe you have free child care or maybe you have to pay big $$$ for care). There are lots of factors.  

  • imagelax15bsu:
    imagexmaryrickx:
    imageLiebeMama:
    imagexmaryrickx:

    How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

    I wish the court would have realized when writing this up that clarification is especially needed when parents cannot agree upon anything. It is easier to follow something when it is clearly indicated. DH is going to have to call the court on the technicalities considering it didn't mention an exchange in the city, but mentioned visitation will "take place" in the city. We will look into the costs of a legal aid. Just because we are low income doesn't mean we cant afford children, but the court is making a rediculous hike in the amount it is going to take just to see his kids. If we moved a farther distance away it would make perfect sense to me that we be responsible for the added cost, but why she isn't entitled to the same responsibility is beyond me.

    life isn't fair. Yes in an ideal world she would be held responsible bc it was her choice to move. We don't live in an ideal world. Babies cost on average something like $700 a month. That is $700 that could be going to legal fees to fight for fair and reasonable visitation with the children he already has. There are a million examples of inequities in blended families, unfortunately it's part of the deal. I find it telling you didn't answer my question. Lead me to believe you have plenty of time to have children, you just want it now, so screw paying for a lawyer, jut head to legal aid and see if you can qualify for a crappy overworked attorney who won't be able to put up the fight the kids deserve. Brilliant 

     

    I would really like to see that $700 per month for a baby broken down.  Because I am pretty sure my expenses after having Z did NOT go up that much, or even anywhere near that much!  Granted I breastfed and did not have to buy formula, but still. 

    Did any of you harping on OP about her TTC even read what her siggy says?  They're going to TTC in 2013.  Next year.  It doesn't say they are TTC right now.  There is nothing wrong with her wanting to plan on TTC next year when they could be in a totally different financial situation.

    Thank you. And if plans to TTC have to be pushed back because we are still in the same battle we are now, it can be pushed back. the TTC for 2013 is a plan, but nothing is set in stone. I'm 26, so things could wait, but I would "like" to TTC sometime next year depending on how life is going. Life is never a for sure thing, and is full of ups and downs. I would have never had children if I listened to everyone saying how expensive they are. I have no problem and have never had a problem with the expenses of my child. I mainly posted our situation to vent, but I had no idea my point would end up so scewed. If my signature was non existent, maybe the focus would have been on what it was supposed to be all along. Sigh.

    I do still appreciate the posts about appealing and really considering lawyering up regardless of finances knowing these children need a "fair" trial.

     One more thing I forgot to mention, or maybe I did. A phone interview was done by the judge with the children. She wanted to see if the children wanted to see their father since BM kept saying in court they don't want anything to do with him. The judge asked DH if it was okay if the interview be conducted by phone in the BM's home so they wouldn't have to drive the distance down here for the interview. My DH agreed. I had spoken with my grandmother who used to be a case worker and she explained this to me: The interview should have been conducted in a neutral setting where neither party could influence the answers of the children and done by a child psychologist. Thankfully, the children still agreed that they wanted visitation with their father. I am very thankful they were still able to give an honest answer to the judge given the circumstance.

  • imagelax15bsu:
    imagexmaryrickx:
    imageLiebeMama:
    imagexmaryrickx:

    How far is BM from you? I read it as the exchange takes place in middle city. Where you spend your weekend is up to you. I would look for clarification from the court. 

     

    Please get a lawyer. Do this right. These are kids he needs to fight for them with everything he has. Diverting funds to another child at this point is not a good idea. If you can't afford legal counsel now how will you after a baby? Are you reaching an age where conception might not be able to happen anymore? If not, is putting off a baby until this is settled really not doable?  

    I wish the court would have realized when writing this up that clarification is especially needed when parents cannot agree upon anything. It is easier to follow something when it is clearly indicated. DH is going to have to call the court on the technicalities considering it didn't mention an exchange in the city, but mentioned visitation will "take place" in the city. We will look into the costs of a legal aid. Just because we are low income doesn't mean we cant afford children, but the court is making a rediculous hike in the amount it is going to take just to see his kids. If we moved a farther distance away it would make perfect sense to me that we be responsible for the added cost, but why she isn't entitled to the same responsibility is beyond me.

    life isn't fair. Yes in an ideal world she would be held responsible bc it was her choice to move. We don't live in an ideal world. Babies cost on average something like $700 a month. That is $700 that could be going to legal fees to fight for fair and reasonable visitation with the children he already has. There are a million examples of inequities in blended families, unfortunately it's part of the deal. I find it telling you didn't answer my question. Lead me to believe you have plenty of time to have children, you just want it now, so screw paying for a lawyer, jut head to legal aid and see if you can qualify for a crappy overworked attorney who won't be able to put up the fight the kids deserve. Brilliant 

     

    I would really like to see that $700 per month for a baby broken down.  Because I am pretty sure my expenses after having Z did NOT go up that much, or even anywhere near that much!  Granted I breastfed and did not have to buy formula, but still. 

    Did any of you harping on OP about her TTC even read what her siggy says?  They're going to TTC in 2013.  Next year.  It doesn't say they are TTC right now.  There is nothing wrong with her wanting to plan on TTC next year when they could be in a totally different financial situation.

    Thank you. And if plans to TTC have to be pushed back because we are still in the same battle we are now, it can be pushed back. the TTC for 2013 is a plan, but nothing is set in stone. I'm 26, so things could wait, but I would "like" to TTC sometime next year depending on how life is going. Life is never a for sure thing, and is full of ups and downs. I would have never had children if I listened to everyone saying how expensive they are. I have no problem and have never had a problem with the expenses of my child. I mainly posted our situation to vent, but I had no idea my point would end up so scewed. If my signature was non existent, maybe the focus would have been on what it was supposed to be all along. Sigh.

    I do still appreciate the posts about appealing and really considering lawyering up regardless of finances knowing these children need a "fair" trial.

     One more thing I forgot to mention, or maybe I did. A phone interview was done by the judge with the children. She wanted to see if the children wanted to see their father since BM kept saying in court they don't want anything to do with him. The judge asked DH if it was okay if the interview be conducted by phone in the BM's home so they wouldn't have to drive the distance down here for the interview. My DH agreed. I had spoken with my grandmother who used to be a case worker and she explained this to me: The interview should have been conducted in a neutral setting where neither party could influence the answers of the children and done by a child psychologist. Thankfully, the children still agreed that they wanted visitation with their father. I am very thankful they were still able to give an honest answer to the judge given the circumstance.

  • piffle42, They do, I just googled it right from the internet and it was on their page. Here is what it says:

    The Friend of the Court is required to provide Domestic Relations Mediation. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party assists in voluntarily settling a custody dispute. Both parties must agree to participate in this process.

    (Only problem is, i'm almost positive this woman would not agree to this. It is worth a try though. I'm wondering if there is a fee for the mediator/meeting with the mediator...I'm wondering if this will be an alternate to appealing, or if he should appeal just in case no agreement can be made between a mediator.) And I'm wondering if this is just for custody battles or if this can be used for visitation battles as well. So many questions that the FOC is also reluctant to answer.

  • imageHopeforthebest:

    I will say that when it comes to attorneys, especially family law, you get what you pay for...ie. legal aid = you aren't a priority. Pay some $ to have a lawyer work for your DH = more chance of getting a more equal agreement.

    AS for how you figure out to pay for it and rearranging priorities, that is on you and your DH, none of anyone's business, but seriously it's economics 101. Pay now or pay later is what we've learned.

     

    Just wanted to say that this is not necessarily true.  While I was in law school, we had a clinic where we represented low-income clients in family law matters.  I wiped the floor with many an "experienced" family law attorney because as a student I took things seriously that some practicing attorneys felt like they could blow off.   

     OP: You should check local law schools in the area and see if any of them have a legal aid or other similar clinic that does family law.  I'm not sure if all states have laws that allow certain law students to practice while in law school, but it's worth looking into.  If you meet their requirements, you may be able to get fantastic representation for free (obviously depending on how good the clinic is).  

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  • imagewendilea:

    imageCheerilee:
    I would continue visitation as planned so he doesn't miss out on time with the kids and appear to not care and look into legal aid OR see if there is something you can do (borrow money, sell something, etc) to get a lawyer ASAP.  

    All of this.  Many judges seem to not own maps (DH's CO is proof of this).  But it really seems like you are getting screwed.

    I thought there was a max of 40% that could be taken for CS from a paycheck?? 

    In MI they can take up to 65% of your paycheck.  Sad

     

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