for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

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for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:20 pm

After almost 7 years of fear, I decided to cowboy up and file a motion to modify child custody. I should have never agreed to the initial terms to begin with, but that will be another story, which I will get into a ton of detail later on to help the newcomers about what not to do.

At any rate, the trial is coming up in about a month. I am surprisingly calm about it. Right now, I am going through as many things as I can to give my attorney sufficient information to prepare and to double check to ensure that nothing is falling between the cracks. My question is about the trial itself...for those who got a favorable outcome, what specific things at trial did you present/do (or the opposing party failed) which you think got you the best result possible? Was it something you said on the stand, evidence introduced, or what a third party testified to?

Also, how did you mend the relationship with the child's mother? Unfortunately, I have always had a very poor relationship with my son's mother (after much soul searching, there really is little I could have done to have improved it) but is there anything yo can do over time post-trial to try to salvage some kind of relationship? Frankly, I kind of fell on my sword years ago in an attempt to preserve what has been a very poor parenting relationship we had, and I am refusing to do that again. With that said, I would certainly like to turn down the acrimony as much as possible. Right now, my strategy is not to engage, and if something relates to my child, communicate to her, but if she does not properly communicate back, I simply try to parallel parent on my own.

When you all testified, did most of your testimony/evidence/what third parties said directly relate to the best interest of the child, or was there considerable trashing the other party? Did you find the judge look favorably upon testimony or evidence directly showing how it related to the best interest of the child?
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:10 pm

Trial in a month??

Focus on the here and now. Ignore your ex and take care of business.

BTW - You can't fix stupid. Lord knows, I tried.

Tom
Everyone is entitled to my opinion. - Maxine™
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby massdad1234 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:25 am

hey OP, so I am relatively new at this and am still moving through my own case. Can you help me understand what the intent of the upcoming actions are for and what significant change in circumstances has occurred? If you are using status quo, how have you documented and plan on presenting an elevator pitch to the courts?

I think you still can offer lots to the forum like myself who haven't been living this as long as you. I also think your current efforts are beneficial to all.

Can you summarize your case and main points that you will hope the court addresses?
What is the current parenting plan?
What would you like to see changed?

To Tom's point, i would focus your case on the hear and now, going back at last 12-18 months (longer if it supports your case) framed in the children's best interests. I would think, if you are going in front of the courts for the first time in a couple of years, I wouldn't waste any of that preciuos time to address anything about the mother specifically and only address it in terms of the best interests of the children.

Thought of another way, is the first action you take with the courts, do you want to waste any precious time/money/resources litigating the past? If you keep and only make your efforts about the best interests of the children, what exactly is the courts/ex going to say?

Also, you mention improving the relationship with the mother, how do you two communicate now?
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Still a work in progress, but these are my mental notes:

CURRENT PLAN:

I have him each Tuesday (at her place); EOW from Fri-Mon; every third Friday overnight; two wks in summer; week in spring; week for Thanksgiving; on two Jewish holidays in fall. About 115 or so overnights per year.


SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCE:

1. agmt signed when child was three, based on temp custody order when he was one
2. child in day care, idealized for day care (i.e. payment has to be made for day care regardless of whether child is in day care or not, so I only have him for 2 weeks in the summer)
3. I moved from a little more than an hour from her house to less than 30 minutes. My father is retired now (unlike during 1st custody agreement) and can help out with some transportation when needed
4. mother is very argumentative towards son regarding his activities (sports, violin); constant yelling
5. Child is in middle school, not day care; his needs are different.
6. child has many friends in my neighborhood
7. i am supposed to see him (at her area) one night a week; worked out OK when he was little. Does not seem to make sense now, especially since I am denied access to him on her whims

BEST INTERESTS OF CHILD

1. state now has presumption that 50/50 is in child's best interest
2. I can provide a stable home for him mother is currently unemployed, always changes jobs, unable to hold down a job
3. mother has violent temper; throws things at son (especially when she thinks he incorrectly plays musical instrument) breaks his toys
4. child has difficulty developing friends at mom's n'hood in part because he has to play music instrument for 90 minutes plus each day; has little free time with her
5. son identifies with religion i have; atheist mother is hostile to it, and is hostile to him about it
6. very difficult to discuss co-parenting issues with mother
7. son needs stability from me which I can offer
8. mother is nuts (I know this has to be framed in a more artful manner)
9. It is not in son's interest only to see his father for two weeks in the summer. He needs genuine contact with both parents on a regular basis
10. i have more patience with child regarding homework and other things
11. mother holds him successfully playing music (to her standards) hostage to him engaging in other activities
12. yelling over homework.
13. Without protections of me having him for more overnights, any additional time I get with him outside of the agreement is on her whim. I can't parent a pre-teen if I am only around less than 1/3 of the time.




As an aside, you have absolutely no idea how much aggravation music instructions is. It is incredibly stressful and is the case of most issues I have with her. The root cause is that she is nuts.


Any comments on the best interest of child and the change of circumstances?
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:26 pm

Also, we communicate by text or email. IF she is in an OK mood, we can get along well. But, if there is a disagreement over something, no matter how major or trivial, she refuses to hear things from my perspective and then automatically veers off into accusing me of acting in "bad faith" or just being "an < Hole >". A true dialogue with her over something we are not in total agreement with is impossible; little to no give or take.

It is hard to communicate to her because she does not explain WHY she believes a certain way. So, I can't get to the root cause of understanding her position, making it impossible for me to have a rationale conversation with him. This fact pattern relates to anything from his interaction with friends in his mother's neighborhood "Son shouldn't apologize to the kid down the road which son pushed. The other kid is a < female genitalia >, and you need to stick up for your son by not having him apologize to the kid" to interactions with friends parents "the friend's father is an < Hole > since he reprimanded son for acting up in the house. He shouldn't play over there" to music issues "If he doesn't play good enough, no sports practice for him" to school issues " When I defend another child or a parent or a teacher against something adverse which happens to my kid, I am automatically not "protecting" my son.
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:17 pm

samnc wrote:
BEST INTERESTS OF CHILD

1. state now has presumption that 50/50 is in child's best interest
2. I can provide a stable home for him mother is currently unemployed, always changes jobs, unable to hold down a job
3. mother has violent temper; throws things at son (especially when she thinks he incorrectly plays musical instrument) breaks his toys
4. child has difficulty developing friends at mom's n'hood in part because he has to play music instrument for 90 minutes plus each day; has little free time with her
5. son identifies with religion i have; atheist mother is hostile to it, and is hostile to him about it
6. very difficult to discuss co-parenting issues with mother
7. son needs stability from me which I can offer
8. mother is nuts (I know this has to be framed in a more artful manner)
9. It is not in son's interest only to see his father for two weeks in the summer. He needs genuine contact with both parents on a regular basis
10. i have more patience with child regarding homework and other things
11. mother holds him successfully playing music (to her standards) hostage to him engaging in other activities
12. yelling over homework.
13. Without protections of me having him for more overnights, any additional time I get with him outside of the agreement is on her whim. I can't parent a pre-teen if I am only around less than 1/3 of the time.




1. Okay
2. Is mother moving or is your child's home with mom stable?
3. Prove it
4. Prove it
5. Yaaaaaawn.
6. Proof?
7. Let's hear it.
8. Prove it.
9. Okay
10. Prove it.
11. Parenting style
12. Prove it
13. Okay


You're slingling a lot of mud. Can you document to the court how increasing your involvement would benefit the child?
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:19 pm

Is your DGAF meter on MEL...?
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:25 pm

What is "MEL"?

To answer the other questions...

2. She is staying put. She has been jobless for about 5 mo.
3. Have photos
4. will be hard w/o son's testimony
5. OK
6. journal; my testimony. Not sure what else I can do
7. I do not get fired from my employers. I do not berate him for issues with his music (do you see a pattern here?) or a bad test score
8. i know this takes elaboration
10. i can testify to this, but don't know how i can "prove" this. Good point though that it is simply an assertion from me. Son's testimony (if he has a private discussion with the judge) can handle this, provided judge or my kid brings it up
11. I kind of disagree. This has been a pattern with her. It happens on a regular basis. I think it is sign of a nut who thinks everything is a crisis.
12. i have evidence of this


I am relying on my attorney to filter out the mud and focus on what is relevant. I am totally biased, so it is hard for me to to this. Thus, the reason for hiring an attorney. I am not looking to sling mud or to drive her through the wringer; I simply want to present change of circumstances and why it is in the best interest of the child for him to be more with me. I want him to have a good relationship with his mother.
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby clevelandbrownz » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:37 pm

I am also calling multiple people who will testify that I am "super dad"; many of them do not really know my kid's mother, and they are not intended to talk about her shortcomings; I am only using them to talk about me. Using a wide variety of people from neighbor parents to work colleagues who have seen me consistently interact with child and have known me for over a decade to friends to others who know me.

Any suggestions regarding character witnesses/people who are familiar with how you interact with son?

Only person ex will probably bring (per discovery) is the music instructor...who I don't think will be harmful to me. My attorney will have a conversation with her shortly. Might want to give her a deposition of necessary, but I really think she will say good things about me and his mother, but might say his mother is too intense and it is a pity that we are unable to successfully co-parent (which I fully agree with).

I am really not proud of the fact that I am relitigating this.
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Re: for those who went through a bitter custody hearing

Unread postby Campfire » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:26 pm

Sam,

What can you testify to in regards to how you parent? It's a huge mi$take to allow your attorney to be your brine filter. Just like whales use their filter, your attorney will $uck in vast amounts of money to filter out the small, shrimpy details.


How many of your 13 points "could" be attributed to parenting differences by a judge who is more concerned about what's for lunch than your parenting disagreements? Serious question. How many?
The List: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divor ... hp?t=13374


The question is how much conflict you can control, negate, or avoid.
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