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  1. #1
    kevin_c is offline Junior Member
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    ex-wife in contempt

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? georgia

    i have been divorced for 5 yrs. now. about 5 months ago i got primary physical custody of my 10 yr. old son. it took me several months and several thousand dollars, but i got it done. his mother lives on the other side of the state now (6 hrs. away). the custody papers say that she gets him for (2) two week periods during the summer. the papers say that if his mother and I can not agree on the dates that she gets her choice in odd numbered years and i get my choice in even numbered years. the papers say that she has to provide me with her desired dates in writing by 05/15. if she doesn't notify me (which she didn't) by 05/15, she can still have visitation, but i get to choose the dates. there are other stipulations as well, but they are negated by the fact that she didn't notify me by the date the court specified. anyway, she finally contacted me 06/03 (3 weeks after the deadline) to make plans for our son. she wanted to have him 4th of july weekend, but i told her NO, because i had already made plans for that weekend (which i had the right to do, after 05/15). she agreed to pick him up on 06/13 and bring him back on 07/03. the entire 3 weeks my son was there, she kept calling me trying to get me to change my family's plans and let her keep him. i repeatedly told her NO because we had big plans as a family, and had made them weeks ago. to make a long story short (if that's even possible now) at midnight on 07/02, she called me and informed me that she had decided to keep our son until monday. i was blown away. i couldn't believe it. i tried to talk some sense into her, but she just hung up on me. i tried calling my lawyer the next day, but he was on vacation. i called the sheriff's office. they sent out a deputy who looked at my papers and took my statement. he felt she was in contempt. he called her and told her to bring my son home. she refused and hung up on him. she finally brought him home monday (07/06). my lawyer finally got back in town yesterday (07/09). i told him the whole story and he said she is in contempt. he said we can file papers against her. here is my problem: it is going to cost me $2000 for him to file papers and represent me. he said the judge will probably only give her a slap on the wrist and a firm warning. THIS CAN NOT BE RIGHT! ! ! ! ! i have done nothing wrong, but i have to spend $2000. she is in contempt of court and gets a slap on the wrist. this can't possible be right. . . . .this isn't justice.

    what can i do?

    1 - is there a way i can file contempt papers on my own?
    2 - if i do that and then she shows up to court with a lawyer and i don't have one, am i going to automatically lose?
    3 - how can people that don't just have thousands of dollars laying around protect themselves and their rights?

    thank you -
    kevin
  2. #2
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    YOu can file contempt on your own if you read the local rules AND do not have a current attorney on an open case related to this contempt. You will not automatically lose if you prepare but she may be APPOINTED counsel due to the quasi criminal nature of contempt. And yes she may just get a slap on the wrist for her behavior.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  3. #3
    katrinac is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_c View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? georgia

    i have been divorced for 5 yrs. now. about 5 months ago i got primary physical custody of my 10 yr. old son. it took me several months and several thousand dollars, but i got it done. his mother lives on the other side of the state now (6 hrs. away). the custody papers say that she gets him for (2) two week periods during the summer. the papers say that if his mother and I can not agree on the dates that she gets her choice in odd numbered years and i get my choice in even numbered years. the papers say that she has to provide me with her desired dates in writing by 05/15. if she doesn't notify me (which she didn't) by 05/15, she can still have visitation, but i get to choose the dates. there are other stipulations as well, but they are negated by the fact that she didn't notify me by the date the court specified. anyway, she finally contacted me 06/03 (3 weeks after the deadline) to make plans for our son. she wanted to have him 4th of july weekend, but i told her NO, because i had already made plans for that weekend (which i had the right to do, after 05/15). she agreed to pick him up on 06/13 and bring him back on 07/03. the entire 3 weeks my son was there, she kept calling me trying to get me to change my family's plans and let her keep him. i repeatedly told her NO because we had big plans as a family, and had made them weeks ago. to make a long story short (if that's even possible now) at midnight on 07/02, she called me and informed me that she had decided to keep our son until monday. i was blown away. i couldn't believe it. i tried to talk some sense into her, but she just hung up on me. i tried calling my lawyer the next day, but he was on vacation. i called the sheriff's office. they sent out a deputy who looked at my papers and took my statement. he felt she was in contempt. he called her and told her to bring my son home. she refused and hung up on him. she finally brought him home monday (07/06). my lawyer finally got back in town yesterday (07/09). i told him the whole story and he said she is in contempt. he said we can file papers against her. here is my problem: it is going to cost me $2000 for him to file papers and represent me. he said the judge will probably only give her a slap on the wrist and a firm warning. THIS CAN NOT BE RIGHT! ! ! ! ! i have done nothing wrong, but i have to spend $2000. she is in contempt of court and gets a slap on the wrist. this can't possible be right. . . . .this isn't justice.

    what can i do?

    1 - is there a way i can file contempt papers on my own?
    2 - if i do that and then she shows up to court with a lawyer and i don't have one, am i going to automatically lose?
    3 - how can people that don't just have thousands of dollars laying around protect themselves and their rights?

    thank you -
    kevin
    Kevin,

    I will do my best to answer my questions, however I'll tell you right now that this is based on the experiences of my fiance, and it is in a different state.

    My fiance is currently representing himself and, although I don't recommend that, sometimes you simply can't afford otherwise. It can be VERY difficult going up against a seasoned attorney, but in this case I believe that you are definitely in the right, and it seems very unlikely that the judge will say otherwise. Although she may only get a slap on the wrist, it will hopefully scare her enough to where she doesn't try it again; if it does happen again, she could get fined or even jail time (although I don't know how likely that is).

    Now, in answer to your questions:
    We were able to get contempt papers from the Indiana state website, and when we had questions as to how to fill the forms out, the clerk at the Juvenile courthouse was able to answer the majority of them.

    You won't automatically lose if you show up without an attorney, but you have to be careful in how you prepare when you are representing yourself. I would suggest writing down a detailed report as to all the things she has done to be held in contempt (even if there weren't any other occasions) so that you can present your evidence in a thorough manner.

    As far as how you can protect your rights, document all the things she has done and said. If she tries to hold on to your son again once again during your visitation, get the police involved. Even if they are unable to do anything, they will have a report that the police were called. If this happens enough times, you may want to request that the mother's visits be supervised, but I would only recommend doing this if you actually believe she won't return him (e.g. parental kidnapping).

    Good luck and I hope I've helped at least somewhat. I hope things get better; for the child's sake, try to get along with the mother. You sound like you're doing a great job, so keep your head up.
  4. #4
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Nov 2007
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    i for one would need to see the exact wording of your court order. something tells me you are mis-interpeting the wording.

    if no agreement is made by 5/15 then mom gets default request on odd years, you get default request on even years.

    it's mom's year this year. she gets to pick any two weeks.

    can you file for contempt on your own? absolutely.

    if she shows up with an attorney and you do not, it does not automatic mom wins. (my ex found that out the hard way )

    what matters is you knowing the law and codes as well as the attorney.

    and in answer to your question about not having money and protecting your rights.....it comes down to you knowing your rights.
  5. #5
    kevin_c is offline Junior Member
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    ohiogal - thanks for your reply. is there any way that i can get a free court appointed attorney? i mean i'm the victim here. i don't think it's fair that i would have to pay thousands for an attorney and she could get a free one. all of this is her fault. it seems like everything & everybody is against me, but i didn't do anything wrong.

    katrinac - thanks for your reply. that's what i am concerned about. even though i KNOW i am right, i know lawyers have ways of making you look foolish in a courtroom. as far as documentation goes, i have plenty. i was married to this woman for 16 years. i know how she is, so once i got custody, i knew to be prepared for things like this. i have 30 printed pages documenting every phone call (date, time & dialogue) leading up to, during and since this situation occured. i also have the police incident reports stating she was rude and hung up on them while they were attempting to discuss the matter with her.

    IsabellaSoriano - thanks for your reply. i know that the wording of legal documents can be confusing. i specifically asker my attorney about the clause concerning the date (he is the one that drafted the papers and presented them to the court). he said that date trumps anything else the papers say concerning visitation. he said that it's like that because even in odd numbered years, i have a right to have a life and make plans with my family. i also have to be able to make child care arrangements for my son when he's going to be with me, because i work 6 days a week. there is no way for me to do that if i don't know when she intends to get him. on odd years, she can pick her dates, whatever dates she wants, but if she hasn't done so by 05/15, i can make plans and then she has to plan around them. atleast that's what my lawyer says.
  6. #6
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    ohiogal - thanks for your reply. is there any way that i can get a free court appointed attorney? i mean i'm the victim here. i don't think it's fair that i would have to pay thousands for an attorney and she could get a free one. all of this is her fault. it seems like everything & everybody is against me, but i didn't do anything wrong.
    The reason she MIGHT get a court appointed attorney is due to the fact that contempt is punishable by jail time and due to that deprivation of liberty, the US Supreme Court has determined that indigent defendants deserve to be represented. She can be forced to pay your attorney fees IF you win. However you would still be responsible for retaining the attorney. She would then possibly be ordered to reimburse you for the money you spent.

    katrinac - thanks for your reply. that's what i am concerned about. even though i KNOW i am right, i know lawyers have ways of making you look foolish in a courtroom. as far as documentation goes, i have plenty. i was married to this woman for 16 years. i know how she is, so once i got custody, i knew to be prepared for things like this. i have 30 printed pages documenting every phone call (date, time & dialogue) leading up to, during and since this situation occured. i also have the police incident reports stating she was rude and hung up on them while they were attempting to discuss the matter with her.
    Police reports are hearsay. You would have to subpoena the actual officers to testify about what she said and did. Her statements would be admissible as statements of a party opponent. Your 30 pages may be used to help your recollection but they are not evidence themselves.

    IsabellaSoriano - thanks for your reply. i know that the wording of legal documents can be confusing. i specifically asker my attorney about the clause concerning the date (he is the one that drafted the papers and presented them to the court).
    Ask him about the idea that ambuiguities (or contradictions) go AGAINST the drafter. That is a basic premise of contract law. Which means that this:
    he said that date trumps anything else the papers say concerning visitation. he said that it's like that because even in odd numbered years, i have a right to have a life and make plans with my family. i also have to be able to make child care arrangements for my son when he's going to be with me, because i work 6 days a week. there is no way for me to do that if i don't know when she intends to get him. on odd years, she can pick her dates, whatever dates she wants, but if she hasn't done so by 05/15, i can make plans and then she has to plan around them. atleast that's what my lawyer says.
    What EXACTLY does your order state. WORD for WORD.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.

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