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Visitation w/Special Needs Child. Please Reply!!!

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What is the name of your state? Both parents and child in Texas.

Please any advice! I have been divorced for two years. We have a three year old daughter with a spectrum disorder, similar to high-functioning Autism. She is developmentally right on, but she does have to remain on a strict medical and daily schedule routine to prevent aggressive behavioral outbursts and prevent her from hurting herself. She also has weekly therapy sessions and sees wonderful licensed behavioral and physical therapists at the regional children's hospital. I work at a wonderful job where I am able to work part time for full pay, so I can afford an attorney (I just haven't looked into that route yet. I did have one that handled my divorce, however he recently became a judge)

Now here's the problem: My ex has not exercised his court ordered SUPERVISED visitation since our divorce. He was ordered this due to several violent outbursts he displayed in the court room before the judge. He also has not paid child support either (well...technically he HAS paid a total of $208 in 2 years, but very sporaticly). No oficial withholding ordered. It was all to go through the county. But we do have Temporary Orders in place for Child Support and Visitation. No Final Hearing on the Orders has ever been scheduled. He currently owes over $10,000 in support, arrearages and medical support. Fed up, I finally filed A Motion to Enforce, Pro Se (I am trying to learn the law as I go along. My friend in the courts is helping me with the document format). So, I filed and received an upcomming court date and my ex somehow found out about it and decided to retain a lawyer, who sent me a nasty letter stating that unless I drop the contempt filings, he will file for UNSUPERVISED visitation to begin immediately. In this letter this attorney set out a schedule that is in my opinion rediculous, more time than even what Standard Visitation would bring: 30 hours, 5 days a week unsupervised and EVERY HOLIDAY!!! This attorney also said that he is quite sure that the judge will approve his proposed schedule. He states that he obtained this schedule as it was a topic discussed at the recent Family Law Conference. I know that this is intimidation but I am concerned. I have not been able to get my ex served for the Motion to Enforce court date and I have 3 days left to do so. I do have a private process server, but my ex is very good at hiding. Our current court Temporary Orders in place state that visitation will be supervised at my residence on Tues and Thurs for 2 hours each, until further notice of the court. No mention of Holidays, unless they happen to fall on Tues or Thurs at my residence.

I wrote his attorney back a letter stating that I am not comfortable with unsupervised visitation, as my ex has not called or asked to see our daughter in 2 years. Sadly, my daughter does not know her father. I don't even know where he lives, to be quite honest, though I do know his employer (who pays cash under the table). In this letter I sent to the attorney, I offered for my ex to attend the therapy sessions each week. I offered for him to resume the Ordered supervised visitation schedule. I also got my daughter's licensed behavioral therapist to write up a proposed schedule to integrate my ex back into our daughter's life (ie- what he should do to learn about our daughter's condition, parenting classes, anger managment, ect...). But now after he received my letter, the attorney called me and stated that after Christmas, he is filing for us to go back to court. And if I do not comply concerning the upcomming holidays and handing my daughter over to her father unsupervised, then he is advising his client to come and get our daughter. Word for word. I did tape this conversation with the attorney and I played it for a local police officer (ok, so my neighbor) and she said that I should just not answer my door on Christmas. I have a feeling that this whole situation has stemmed from my ex recently getting remarried. But I am not entirely sure. I have not met his new wife.

I am scared of this attorney and I am scared of my ex. I don't know what else I can do to prove that my daughter needs time to get to know her father again in a supervised environment. Any advice please!!! Or are there any recent rulings on visitation with special needs children? I do not want to prevent a relationship from forming between them. But I do fear him not being able to handle her, as he is not aware of her routine. I fear the attorney stating that he is quite sure that his schedule will be accepted by the judge. Other than getting a lawyer, which I will asap after Christmas, what can I do? Advice!!! Please!!!



I understand your concerns but something caught my eye...

You stated, "So, I filed and received an upcoming court date and my ex somehow found out about it and decided to retain a lawyer...".
If you've filed contempt charges against him, it is his legal right not only to be served and notified, but to retain an attorney.


You are right. I filed the court motions, I went to the court secertary and I received a court date. Then, I was given both the Show Cause and Order to Be Served Affidavits that I was instructed to have him served with. However, that very same exact day, even before I hired the process server, he found out about the court date within very hours after I had filed it and retained an attorney and that attorney sent me the letter 2 days later. This is a man I have not spoken with or seen in 2 years. I have had my process server attempt to serve my ex over 7 different times in the past few weeks. My ex refuses to be served. Him and his wife? are suposedly living with his mother, and the mother always answers the door and states that he does not live there. He always gets into the car in the garage and goes straight to his office parking lot, which is security controlled. The security at the office and the parking lot refuse the process server from entering their premisis. The process server has tailed him everywhere but has been unsuccessful in finding somewhere to get him served. And the attorney states that he refuses to accept service for him. I don't think that for a contempt trial I could serve his lawyer anyway. I have no problems with him retaining an attorney. He made his bed, and I certainly do not feel sorry for him that he has to lay in it. But I do not feel that I should be coerced into droping the hearing, simply because he now has an attorney. And don't forget that he already has one contempt Conviction (oh, I guess I forgot to mention that) on his record from two years ago that he was FOUND by the Judge to be guility of not paying child support. The 3year sentence was suspended provided he played nice for three years (probation). He has not. I do have the signed order from the Judge. So, sure he has a right to be served and the right to a lawyer. But he does not have the right to have his lawyer shred the Temporary Orders that are currently in place, and write up their own to suit them. And threaten to come and get my daughter if I do not relent to their threats.

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