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  1. #1
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    One Strange Custody Case

    From Colorado:
    I will write in 3rd person as to keep this simple.

    Petitioner (Mother) filed for divorce from Respondent (Father) in 2013. Respondent had one child, only child, with Petitioner but ended up agreeing to pay child support for Petitioner's other three children because their fathers were out of the picture; also agreed to pay for all the rent and household , utility bills, car payment, insurance, phones, internet, cable, and food because Petitioner was a homemaker during marriage. The agreement was that Respondent would pay until Petitioner became steadily employed.

    Since Respondent worked a full time job and the Petitioner was a homemaker, the Petitioner was granted primary custody and Respondent visitation three weekends a month (however not specified which weekends in minute order and left up to the descression of Petitioner, along with holidays).

    In late 2015, Petitioner still had not become employed and Respondent noticed that Child was not receiving proper care such as hygiene, education, and even basic necessities such as clothing or proper nutrition. Thus, Respondent would have to provide child with hygiene products, new clothes and shoes, jackets and coats in the winter, and even proper food. Child also slept in the same bed as older half brother and would constantly complain of having to deal with his brother's bed wetting. Child also spoke of abuse from family members including being hit with a baseball bat which Petitioner claims did not happen.
    With that, Child also proved to be extremely developmentally delayed, struggled in school socially and academically, was moderately illiterate with a severe speech impediment. Respondent requested that Petitioner take Child to a therapist in which Petitioner would sit in on therapy sessions. Respondent was not notified of therapy sessions and was not apprised Petitioner sat in sessions with Child.After a year of therapy, Child became withdrawn and angry. Respondent decided to withdraw Child from therapy after Child vehemently expressed his anguish about therapy and the constant ridicule and belittling he would receive while in session. About the same time, Respondent noticed extreme dental decay and took Child in for dental exam which resulted in two extractions, five fillings, and antibiotics to treat severe gum disease. Meanwhile, Child also had missed fourteen days of school mid-4th grade, making a grand total of fifty-three absences from school since the finalization of the divorce.

    In December of 2015, Respondent filed Motion to modify Child Custody and requested full physical custody due to possible neglect and abuse of Child. Petitioner immediately filed Response denying all accusations of neglect or abuse. Respondent replied again asking the court to grant a CFI. Petitioner responded saying there was no need for a CFI. Magistrate denied the CFI.
    Respondent requested a reconsideration of CFI and provided the court with 280 pages of evidence of neglect, including medical records, dental records, school records, and her previous child abuse charge as evidence. Petitioner responded a lengthy letter denying all the allegations and made it explicitly clear no cooperation would be awarded unless Court finds it absolutely necessary and Respondent pays all fees in full. The Magistrate denied the CFI once more.
    Respondent requested a PRE or GAL in lieu of the CFI to represent the Child. Petitioner responded that there was no need for such representational experts and Child was fine in the full care of Petitioner. Again the magistrate denied the motion for representation. Respondent then requested magistrate to speak directly to the Child in chambers.
    Meanwhile, Respondent noticed drastic changes in Child's behavior as the Child stopped sharing things, became quiet, and would instead shrug his shoulders and say, "I don't know" to questions.Petitioner wrote a response to the Court again asking that Child not be put through the ordeal and Child is happy and healthy in current parenting arrangements. Magistrate denied private chamber discussion with Child and demanded a court hearing to be set immediately.

    More strange happenings occurred right before the court date, including more missed days of school, a strange phone call from Child at 11:00pm, and extreme behavior changes, pathological lying, and mood swings exhibited in Child. Child also became combative and stopped trying in school.

    The Respondent gathered 586 pages of evidence proving neglect and possible physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. However, there were indications that the Child had been possibly lying about certain things such as being pushed off the roof by his half brother, being locked in his room without food or water, and being denied appropriate private time during baths. These stories became destorted and eventually details forgotten as time moved forward. Respondent had no choice but to hit upon only a dozen key points on the stand, including dental, education, and last physical indicating obesity affecting pre-existing heart condition. Despit the evidence, the Court awarded 50/50 with a reduction in child support to reflect only one child, not four children as in the original order. The magistrate annotated that 1) there was no reason for the Petitioner to be unemployed, and 2) there were possible signs of neglect, however the Respondent failed to file the correct paperwork indicating the reason for custodial change was due to the Child's dependence. Thus 50/50 proved reasonable in this case.


    So the question is what went wrong here? What could have been done differently for best interest of child?


  2. #2
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue3807 View Post
    From Colorado:
    I will write in 3rd person as to keep this simple.

    Petitioner (Mother) filed for divorce from Respondent (Father) in 2013. Respondent had one child, only child, with Petitioner but ended up agreeing to pay child support for Petitioner's other three children because their fathers were out of the picture; also agreed to pay for all the rent and household , utility bills, car payment, insurance, phones, internet, cable, and food because Petitioner was a homemaker during marriage. The agreement was that Respondent would pay until Petitioner became steadily employed.

    Since Respondent worked a full time job and the Petitioner was a homemaker, the Petitioner was granted primary custody and Respondent visitation three weekends a month (however not specified which weekends in minute order and left up to the descression of Petitioner, along with holidays).

    In late 2015, Petitioner still had not become employed and Respondent noticed that Child was not receiving proper care such as hygiene, education, and even basic necessities such as clothing or proper nutrition. Thus, Respondent would have to provide child with hygiene products, new clothes and shoes, jackets and coats in the winter, and even proper food. Child also slept in the same bed as older half brother and would constantly complain of having to deal with his brother's bed wetting. Child also spoke of abuse from family members including being hit with a baseball bat which Petitioner claims did not happen.
    With that, Child also proved to be extremely developmentally delayed, struggled in school socially and academically, was moderately illiterate with a severe speech impediment. Respondent requested that Petitioner take Child to a therapist in which Petitioner would sit in on therapy sessions. Respondent was not notified of therapy sessions and was not apprised Petitioner sat in sessions with Child.After a year of therapy, Child became withdrawn and angry. Respondent decided to withdraw Child from therapy after Child vehemently expressed his anguish about therapy and the constant ridicule and belittling he would receive while in session. About the same time, Respondent noticed extreme dental decay and took Child in for dental exam which resulted in two extractions, five fillings, and antibiotics to treat severe gum disease. Meanwhile, Child also had missed fourteen days of school mid-4th grade, making a grand total of fifty-three absences from school since the finalization of the divorce.

    In December of 2015, Respondent filed Motion to modify Child Custody and requested full physical custody due to possible neglect and abuse of Child. Petitioner immediately filed Response denying all accusations of neglect or abuse. Respondent replied again asking the court to grant a CFI. Petitioner responded saying there was no need for a CFI. Magistrate denied the CFI.
    Respondent requested a reconsideration of CFI and provided the court with 280 pages of evidence of neglect, including medical records, dental records, school records, and her previous child abuse charge as evidence. Petitioner responded a lengthy letter denying all the allegations and made it explicitly clear no cooperation would be awarded unless Court finds it absolutely necessary and Respondent pays all fees in full. The Magistrate denied the CFI once more.
    Respondent requested a PRE or GAL in lieu of the CFI to represent the Child. Petitioner responded that there was no need for such representational experts and Child was fine in the full care of Petitioner. Again the magistrate denied the motion for representation. Respondent then requested magistrate to speak directly to the Child in chambers.
    Meanwhile, Respondent noticed drastic changes in Child's behavior as the Child stopped sharing things, became quiet, and would instead shrug his shoulders and say, "I don't know" to questions.Petitioner wrote a response to the Court again asking that Child not be put through the ordeal and Child is happy and healthy in current parenting arrangements. Magistrate denied private chamber discussion with Child and demanded a court hearing to be set immediately.

    More strange happenings occurred right before the court date, including more missed days of school, a strange phone call from Child at 11:00pm, and extreme behavior changes, pathological lying, and mood swings exhibited in Child. Child also became combative and stopped trying in school.

    The Respondent gathered 586 pages of evidence proving neglect and possible physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. However, there were indications that the Child had been possibly lying about certain things such as being pushed off the roof by his half brother, being locked in his room without food or water, and being denied appropriate private time during baths. These stories became destorted and eventually details forgotten as time moved forward. Respondent had no choice but to hit upon only a dozen key points on the stand, including dental, education, and last physical indicating obesity affecting pre-existing heart condition. Despit the evidence, the Court awarded 50/50 with a reduction in child support to reflect only one child, not four children as in the original order. The magistrate annotated that 1) there was no reason for the Petitioner to be unemployed, and 2) there were possible signs of neglect, however the Respondent failed to file the correct paperwork indicating the reason for custodial change was due to the Child's dependence. Thus 50/50 proved reasonable in this case.


    So the question is what went wrong here? What could have been done differently for best interest of child?
    I do not think that anything could have been done differently. You had no proof of neglect or abuse. You had some things that suggested possible neglect, but no proof, and a bunch of wild stories from the child that were probably untrue...or largely untrue. I think that you actually got a better result than you might have received.


  3. #3
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    I'm gonna guess Respondent (you?) did not have a lawyer. Big Mistake #1.


  4. #4
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    I don't know that an attorney would have resulted in greater success. I absolutely think the court made the right decision regarding child support. I also think that you maybe showed a possibility that the child is being neglected, but no proof. Child has an array of medical and emotional issues, as well as learning disabilities. That complicates the situation, because absent expert witnesses testifying, it is left up to the judge to determine if these issues are a direct result of the parenting issues that were alleged, or would be an issue regardless.

    50/50 time share will allow the previously non-custodial parent a LOT more influence on the child's daily life than was allowed previously, and time will tell if this is of benefit to the child.


  5. #5
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    My thinking is that an atty would have helped OP either gather admissible evidence or hold off filing until s/he had it.

    ETA: What CTU says. An atty also would have helped present any evidence more succinctly. No judge is going to read 200+ pages...


    Last edited by stealth2; 09-13-2017 at 03:44 PM.
  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue3807 View Post

    In December of 2015, Respondent filed Motion to modify Child Custody and requested full physical custody due to possible neglect and abuse of Child. Petitioner immediately filed Response denying all accusations of neglect or abuse. Respondent replied again asking the court to grant a CFI. Petitioner responded saying there was no need for a CFI. Magistrate denied the CFI.
    Respondent requested a reconsideration of CFI and provided the court with 280 pages of evidence of neglect, including medical records, dental records, school records, and her previous child abuse charge as evidence. Petitioner responded a lengthy letter denying all the allegations and made it explicitly clear no cooperation would be awarded unless Court finds it absolutely necessary and Respondent pays all fees in full. The Magistrate denied the CFI once more.
    Respondent requested a PRE or GAL in lieu of the CFI to represent the Child. Petitioner responded that there was no need for such representational experts and Child was fine in the full care of Petitioner. Again the magistrate denied the motion for representation. Respondent then requested magistrate to speak directly to the Child in chambers.
    I can just about guarantee that while the parent had 280 pages of something, that something was not proof of neglect. If there was such clear evidence, why then did none of the mandated reporters involve child services? More to the point, why weren't those 280 pages of whatever submitted BEFORE the judge first denied the request for a CFI?

    It sounds as if the respondent was woefully unprepared, and may have filed one too many petitions and requests. Even to a layman, there seems to be a lot of "Denied." "Okay but what about ... " "Denied." "Well what about ... " "NO" going on which serves only to irritate the judge and paint the respondent in a poor light.

    Y'all need an attorney.


  7. #7
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    thank you all

    I didn't have an attorney during my divorce in 2013 which ultimately left me standing in my sister's living room with a suitcase asking to sleep on her couch. Fast forward to January of 2016, you bet I hired and attorney! My son had a 1st grade education, rotten teeth, and arrived in my care often smelling of urine in filthy clothes. Child protective services were involved at least six times and the police were called a couple times as well until she was cited for child endangerment which charges were dismissed after she took a parenting class.
    The child custody case took 16 months from start to finish and I ran out of savings about month four. I then depleted my retirement accounts to pay for the attorney fees which took me into month 7. I subsequently had to continue forward on my own. I became a Google lawyer at that point.
    Did I have enough evidence? I didn't have a credible witness to definitively say yes there was neglect. My son told me story after story, some believable and some really far fetchd. I did believe him when he said he had to take baths with his half brother and I did believe his story about being hit with a baseball bat. Police were called but Petitioner told the officers the story was made up and that I was trying to get her in trouble to gain custody. There were a few more hair raising stories which he told that I did believe.
    I dnot know why the CFI was denied. My lawyer drafted up that part of the paperwork so I trust it was complete and precise. My lawyer was shocked when it was denied, in fact she was speechless. I believe from the bottom of my heart that the CFI would have made some impactful conclusions about the situation if one would have been awarded to the case. The Petitioner would have fought tooth and nail though so would a CFI gain enough information from an uncooperative party?
    What now? Well, I don't know if I have any leg to stand on to start another case in 2019. I do not have enough funds to hire another attorney. Sad to say that 50/50 made it more difficulet for my son in a lot of ways, however I now have more say in his every day life. At least now I know that all but a small fraction of what I used to pay in support goes to whom it should go to supporting. Plus I am grateful for what I do have now, it could have gone the other way too.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue3807 View Post
    I didn't have an attorney during my divorce in 2013 which ultimately left me standing in my sister's living room with a suitcase asking to sleep on her couch. Fast forward to January of 2016, you bet I hired and attorney! My son had a 1st grade education, rotten teeth, and arrived in my care often smelling of urine in filthy clothes. Child protective services were involved at least six times and the police were called a couple times as well until she was cited for child endangerment which charges were dismissed after she took a parenting class.
    The child custody case took 16 months from start to finish and I ran out of savings about month four. I then depleted my retirement accounts to pay for the attorney fees which took me into month 7. I subsequently had to continue forward on my own. I became a Google lawyer at that point.
    Did I have enough evidence? I didn't have a credible witness to definitively say yes there was neglect. My son told me story after story, some believable and some really far fetchd. I did believe him when he said he had to take baths with his half brother and I did believe his story about being hit with a baseball bat. Police were called but Petitioner told the officers the story was made up and that I was trying to get her in trouble to gain custody. There were a few more hair raising stories which he told that I did believe.
    I dnot know why the CFI was denied. My lawyer drafted up that part of the paperwork so I trust it was complete and precise. My lawyer was shocked when it was denied, in fact she was speechless. I believe from the bottom of my heart that the CFI would have made some impactful conclusions about the situation if one would have been awarded to the case. The Petitioner would have fought tooth and nail though so would a CFI gain enough information from an uncooperative party?
    What now? Well, I don't know if I have any leg to stand on to start another case in 2019. I do not have enough funds to hire another attorney. Sad to say that 50/50 made it more difficulet for my son in a lot of ways, however I now have more say in his every day life. At least now I know that all but a small fraction of what I used to pay in support goes to whom it should go to supporting. Plus I am grateful for what I do have now, it could have gone the other way too.
    At this point I'm not even sure what you're asking. You have a 50/50 timeshare which is what many parents would sacrifice a limb for, and you've managed to keep that 50/50 despite your credibility suffering a big hit in court.

    You speak about your son having to bathe with his half-brother. I'm not sure what the problem is with that.

    You speak of the child being hit with a baseball bat. The child would have had bruises, no? Did nobody else notice bruising? How did you find out about it?

    All of the things you're talking about would have been noticed by professionals who are, by law, required to contact child services if they suspect neglect or abuse.

    Do you see what I'm getting at here?

    You mentioned going back for custody in 2019. You need to understand that if you do, you cannot use anything you've already mentioned to the court. In other words, all of these accusations and circumstances you brought before the court this time around, can't be used again to build another case against Mom.

    I'm seeing some frustration and bewilderment at what's going on around you. Have you sought therapy for this?

    Edited to add: I do have one question. What is it you want the court to do? Are you asking for sole custody? Are you asking that you become primary and Mom gets EOW?


    Last edited by CTU; 09-14-2017 at 03:23 AM.
  9. #9
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    How old is the child? And what did you do about the teeth?

    ETA: How did these stories come to be told you?


  10. #10
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    to CTU

    To CTU
    Originally I had only 3 weekends per month at her descression and the entire situation was a mess. Was there bruising? My son was always covered in bruises. His brothers relentlessly torment him? Was CPS called? On many occasions by a lot of people. She was eventually cited for child endangerment with cruelty toward child but was dismissed after she took a parenting class. A 10 year old taking his weekly bath with a 15 year old is an absolute no-no in my books. I did report it and was asked if I know if any inappropriate touching occurred and I didn't know. My son made a few strange comments sexual in nature then stopped talking about everything, assuming he was told to shut up. 50/50 didn't solve the main issues of neglect. The entire query was about what I possibly did wrong to not be awarded full custody and if I have a leg to stand on going back to try to get full custody.


  11. #11
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    to Stealth2

    To Stealth2: I made sure his teeth were repaired and now that I have 50/50 I make sure he sees a dentist regularly, however I am still not entirely sure he is brushing his teeth regularly when not in my care if he still continues to get cavities. I don't know what legal recourse if any I have if he continues to get cavities.

    He used to tell me everything that would happen to him. His brothers were very mean to him and he was treated very poorly by some of the strangers and random guys that would be invited over. He never knew any of their names except for a Tony and Larry whom I guess was over frequently. We used to be able to talk about anything and everything that was bothering him. The dynamic changed once he started going to therapy. If he had said something unusual I could ask more questions about it but after he started going to therapy he started to get really angry at my questions and say, "not that you are gonna believe me." Then after the court case got rolling he clamped up completely and wouldn't talk to me much at all. If he should happen to slip and say something about what was going on he would deny it or say nevermind. He even told me one a couple occasions to mind my own business. It remains this way even now so I really do not know what is going on generally.
    I did put him in a school half way between both his mother and I and the school is a lot better quality than the one he went to before. I told him he can talk to any of his teachers if he needed to and the school he is in now has a counselor and a resource officer so he can always talk to them if something happens. So far he has not taken advantage of that resource yet.


  12. #12
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    So.... you had/have no independent verification that his stories are fact.


    Last edited by stealth2; 09-15-2017 at 10:33 AM.
  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue3807 View Post
    To Stealth2: I made sure his teeth were repaired and now that I have 50/50 I make sure he sees a dentist regularly, however I am still not entirely sure he is brushing his teeth regularly when not in my care if he still continues to get cavities. I don't know what legal recourse if any I have if he continues to get cavities.

    He used to tell me everything that would happen to him. His brothers were very mean to him and he was treated very poorly by some of the strangers and random guys that would be invited over. He never knew any of their names except for a Tony and Larry whom I guess was over frequently. We used to be able to talk about anything and everything that was bothering him. The dynamic changed once he started going to therapy. If he had said something unusual I could ask more questions about it but after he started going to therapy he started to get really angry at my questions and say, "not that you are gonna believe me." Then after the court case got rolling he clamped up completely and wouldn't talk to me much at all. If he should happen to slip and say something about what was going on he would deny it or say nevermind. He even told me one a couple occasions to mind my own business. It remains this way even now so I really do not know what is going on generally.
    I did put him in a school half way between both his mother and I and the school is a lot better quality than the one he went to before. I told him he can talk to any of his teachers if he needed to and the school he is in now has a counselor and a resource officer so he can always talk to them if something happens. So far he has not taken advantage of that resource yet.
    Dad, a ten year old is old enough to know that he has to brush his teeth. If he is not brushing at mom's that is on him, not her.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    Dad, a ten year old is old enough to know that he has to brush his teeth. If he is not brushing at mom's that is on him, not her.
    Also, some kids can brush their teeth religiously and get cavities, while other eat tons of sweets, rarely brush and get none.


  15. #15
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    If the CFI had been granted I am positive the outcome would have been different. Just the fact that he was sleeping in his half brother's urine soaked bed, wore the same filthy clothes every day, never showered, never brushed his teeth, and had severe gum disease would have caught someone's attention. Not to mention the fact he missed a day of school about every week and was completely illiterate still by 5th grade. I am not sure why the CFI was denied except I know the Petitioner was adamant that she was not going to cooperate with one. Especially since she was already cited once with child endangerment. Perhaps her argument against the CFI was taken into consideration? I don't know. All I do know is that the case went completely sideways and slid south and I am not sure I can have a fighting chance next time unless something insanely crazy and devastating happens. I had the teacher testify that he was not passing 5th grade English, Social Studies, Science, Math, and PE. and I had the head of the school administration testify that there was no policy set in place for helping a child that far behind in school, meaning that the district just pushes kids through if you read between the lines.
    I have been recently told that unless I hire a CFI, the chance of winning custody is slim to none. And someone yesterday told me that unless he ends up in the hospital with obvious injuries due to neglect or abuse nothing will change. Thus I don't have a long shot to get full custody.


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