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  1. #1
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    Problems With Daughter's Dad and Stepmother

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

    I'll try to keep this brief. I read the sticky, and I've been reading posts for a few days. Unfortunately for me I cannot find any old posts that pertain to my situation....

    Here it goes (deep breath)....

    I am the NCP of an 8yo girl. She has lived with her dad and Stepmom for a year. I did not willingly give up custody. History: I left dad after I had him arrested for beating on me. He assaulted me after that, and I had him arrested again. He pled guilty to all of the charges, and his sentence was suspended. He was on probation for a year. During that time he would go months without contacting me. Suddenly he would appear out of nowhere demanding time with our daughter. I insisted each time that they have supervision to get acquainted in the beginning. The judge would order it. Dad would have visits and stop coming. After 5 years of this he filed for custody when the judge filed for an evaluation to determine if he should have visitation or lose his parental rights. The evaluation was a joke. I went to all of the appointments. I was not allowed by the evaluator to tke my daughter to the appointment with her father. I had to leave her with the GAL 2 hours prior to the appointment. Then pick her up at the evaluator's office so I didn't influence her in anyway! Anyways, the evaluator asked my ex about his arrest, what kind of mother I was, etc. She also asked my ex about everyting that I said about him. He denied the abuse and said that I had friends at the police department set him up! (I have no friends at the police dept.!)

    The evaluator NEVER asked me about what my ex accused me of, or what he said about me. The evaluator wrote in her report that I made up the abuse, and that I was the abuser! (I was taken to the hospital and have a permanent injury from one of the last beatings) The evaluator said that I am unable to distinguish between truth and reality and that she recommends that dad have sole custody. She also recommended that I go to supervised therapy/visitation with my child until I accept the truth and encourage my daughter's relationship with her father. I attended the visitations. Insurance did not pay for them, and it was expensive. The first supervisor told the court that my daughter and I touch too much, and there is too much physical contact. The therapist wrote a letter to the court that my daughter and I have an excellent relationship, and that there is no need for therapy. She said that we have a very normal loving relationship that she was happy to see, and does not see that often.

    I discovered that during the therpy sessions my ex had given the therapists copies of the evaluators report. I did not think that he should be allowed to do that, but he did. At least she recommended that we have unsupervised vivsts and stated that there was no need for therapy.

    Since my daughter has lived with her dad he uses every chance he gets to show he is in control. He gave me the name of the Dr. office, but not the name of the octor. He does not share school information with me. Our daughter is in a school district that moves kids around, and she is in a new school again this fall. She has one A and the rest B's for final grades, but she has missing homework assignments. She also has F's for homework, and some tests.

    Since her dad got marreid in 2005 he has treid to force our daughter to call her Stepmom Mom. Our daughter does not want to do that. Now that Dad has custody Stepmom refers to herself as Mom to my daughter. She represents herself as my daughters mom at school, church, and Girl Scouts.

    Dad and I were told to keep in contact by email. I emailed Dad about visitation next week. There is a Father Daughter Dance next weekend during my visitation time. Here dad is off that evening, but he does not want to go. I told him that her activity is important and offered suggestions such as I pick her up after the dance, I forgo that visit and reschedule it the following weekend. Instead she is going to the dance with her Stepdad.

    Her Dad works different shift each week. This week he is on afternoons. I got emails in the afternoon/ evening hours. They were from his IP address, and stepmom was online when I called my daughter to wish her a goodnight. The emails I received had proper grammer, puntuation, spelling, etc. Stepmom wrote them and signed dad's name. In one email I told my ex that I would like to have our daughter next Friday since there is no school that day and he is working days. He told me that his wife was off that day. I told him that I am exercising FROR. Stepmom replied (signing dad's name) that "we have plans during the day on Friday. You can pick her up before the dance, or we can drop her off at the dance. Let me know what time you would like to pick her up." I asked what the earliest time is that I can pick her up for the dance on Friday, and I have not received a reply. The judge made a statement before that she does not think that the other parent has the option of ROFR if the Stepparent is available to be with the child.

    Most evening my daughter spends with her stepmom and stepbrother. Her dad is at work. I live an hour away from her. I do have a midweek overnight. I was ordered to pick her up at her daycare for that visit. My husband picks her up on his way home from work. I take her to school in the morning. Since her dad is working days next week he said she will not be at the daycare, and my husband will have to pick her up from him. Because of the Domestic Violence (that the evaluator decided as a judge a jury didn't happen) we do exchanges at a Police Station 1/2 way between our homes. Dad is the one who moved and created the distance.

    Should I insist that he comes to the 1/2 way point if our daughter will not be in the daycare? I did drive to his town to pick-up our daughter from stepmom directly once before, because I wanted her early on a 1/2 day of school, and he was at work and his wife was too.

    Can I file something about dad and stepmom trying to make my daughter call stepmom Mom?

    Can I file something with the courts to make dad offer me FROR before Stepmom? I have the day off work.

    Can I do anything about the evaluator who decided without anytesting at all that my ex did not commit a crime that he was convicted of? A crime that he pled guilty to! I have looked for information about filig a complaint against a Psychologist in Indiana, and I cannot find what I am looking for. Another thig that bothers me is that the evaluation that was supposed to take 6-12 weeks took 4 years! Yes, I am serious.

    I do not have an attorney. The evaluaton and the custody case used all of our savings and more. Everything I do will have to be pro se. That worries me.

    Was it improper for the judge to hear our case since the evaluator was her associate for the GAL Training committee? Our previous judge assigned the evaluator. My ex filed for a change of venue before the custody hearing. That judge had a heart attack and our case was assigned to the judge we currently have.

    I used my change of venue 5-6 years ago, because the attorney I had wanted to move my case out of the Juvenille Court into a different County Court with a Special Judge. Can I somehow get moved back into the Juvenille Court again?

    Any suggestions? If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. For those of you wondering, I do not dink or use drugs. I have worked fulltime since I was 18. I do have ac ollege degree. I also have Graduate Studies. I pay child support, and I have always encouraged a relationship between dad and daughter.
    Last edited by NC Mom in Indy; 10-17-2008 at 11:53 AM.
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    I think that you need to be discussing everything with a local attorney. I think that if you had had an attorney the first time around things might not have gone the way that they did.
  3. #3
    tiredofdrama is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    I think that you need to be discussing everything with a local attorney. I think that if you had had an attorney the first time around things might not have gone the way that they did.

    I agree. My first thought was, after the judgment came down, why didn't you appeal immediately? It seems to me that the evaluators recommendations could have gotten thrown right out due to the fact your ex pled guilty to abusing you! AND, I would think that the accusations he made that the police department was involved in something shady wouldn't hold up too well either. I don't understand why you didn't immediately appeal this? I would would have fought that all the way.

    Unless there is more to the story. Not trying to be rude, but I just don't get it.
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiredofdrama View Post
    I agree. My first thought was, after the judgment came down, why didn't you appeal immediately? It seems to me that the evaluators recommendations could have gotten thrown right out due to the fact your ex pled guilty to abusing you! AND, I would think that the accusations he made that the police department was involved in something shady wouldn't hold up too well either. I don't understand why you didn't immediately appeal this? I would would have fought that all the way.

    Unless there is more to the story. Not trying to be rude, but I just don't get it.
    An attorney could have easily impeached the evaluator's recommendation. She has hospital reports that prove she was physically abused.

    Therefore I am nearly certain that she did NOT have an attorney, and did not subpeona the evaluator to testify in court.
  5. #5
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    I had an Attorney

    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    I think that you need to be discussing everything with a local attorney. I think that if you had had an attorney the first time around things might not have gone the way that they did.
    Quote Originally Posted by tiredofdrama View Post
    I agree. My first thought was, after the judgment came down, why didn't you appeal immediately? It seems to me that the evaluators recommendations could have gotten thrown right out due to the fact your ex pled guilty to abusing you! AND, I would think that the accusations he made that the police department was involved in something shady wouldn't hold up too well either. I don't understand why you didn't immediately appeal this? I would would have fought that all the way.

    Unless there is more to the story. Not trying to be rude, but I just don't get it.
    I did have an attorney. She was supposed to be a good attorney. My ex subpeoned the Evaluator, and my attorney did try to impeach her. She testified as an expert witness for my ex. When my attorney asked her on the stand why she testified for him as an expert she replied that it was because he paid ehr fee. I do not understand the "impeaching" the witnesss thing. What did my attorney do wrong?

    When the judge issued her order my attorney had severe pnuemonia and was in the hospital. She was very ill for over a month. I tried to talk to her and sought help with 2 different attorneys. Neither of them thought that an appeal would be winnable, because the order was written in 2 pages. there were a list of reasons that judges can change custody in Indiana, and then there was a quote from the evaluation when the evaluator said that she is worreid that I really believe the things I say.

    My attorney failed to resent the hospital records or medical records from where I was treated. My attorney mentioned his arrest and then his attorney objected, because it was prior to the order giving me sole legal and physical custody.

    My attorney called me when there was 30 minutes left to file an appeal and told me that if I wanted to file an appeal she would file it, but then she would be withdrawing as my attorney, because she knew that the order was not appealable the way that it was written.

    I thought that it was illegal or at least unethical for the evaluator to make statements that my ex was not abusive to me. I told her how he became abusive to me after I was pregnant. The abuse escalated once I brought our daughter home from the hospital.

    I only had 30 days to appeal, and those days were up before my attorney ever came back to work from her illness. I would have gladly hired a different attorney if I they would have said that they could win an appeal.

    My case is bad. I have had bad representation from supposedly the best attorneys. The evaluator is a quack. My daughter lives with my abuser. His wife has already had broken bones since they have been married. She swears he is not abusive, but I already know. I once lived in her shoes.

    Is there anything that I can do about dad and stepmom trying to force my daughter to call stepmom Mom?

    If I file contempt against dad for refusing to allow me FROR and the judge finds in his favor can I appeal that with the State, because the law says a blood relative living in the same house, and the State of Indiana considers Stepmom a legal stranger?

    Can I do anything about the evaluator now or is it too late? What about sanctions by the State Board?

    My expensive attorney screwed up. Our evaluator is a FR advocate and went right along with the abusers story that he didn't do it. I provided the evaluator with letters that my ex had written to me apologizing for hitting me. Letters stating that he just wanted me to respond. Talking about how I never hit him back. How I had stopped even yelling back. Letters that said that I just took it. My attorney still has the original letters. She failed to use them in court. She said we didn't need them. Why? Now it's too late.

    Anyone with any ideas or any way to help me out, please....
  6. #6
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    Ex and His Wife Fighting

    My daughter's school counselor told me that my daughter told her that her dad and stepmom have been fighting a lot a her dad hits her stepmom. She said that it is not enough to report to DCFS, but that she will continue to see my daughter every week to check on her. I am very concerned. I still do not have the money for an attorney. The counselor asked why I have not filed for sole custody. The decision the judge made was not appealable, and the changes in my daughter's life have been substantial in my eyes, but not in anyone elses. She has changed schools, is not allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities, had to stop ballet, tap, and jazz. Her dad has had 3 jobs this year. Her dad makes it difficult for me to obtain necessary information about our daughter.

    No one ever replied to my questions about impeaching the evaluator.

    I am scared for my daughter's safety, and that of her stepbrother. can someone please help me? I really need to know if I can file for emergency custody. Do I have enough to file? How can I find out if my ex has been arrested for abusing his wife? The county they live in does not have an on-line docket.
  7. #7
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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