I live in a different state than my children right now. (me/CA, kids/MO)
I sent the form letter to my children's schools to obtain their school records. The elementary school asked for a notorized copy of picture ID to prove I was the father. That's fine, I understand that.
The middle school told me I had to furnish a copy of the divorce papers. I don't have a copy and the courthouse where they are just moved offices and I can't even request a copy until after 1/20. (Filing cabinets won't be in until 1/19!...grr)
Why the difference in what is asked for by each school? In my request to the school, I did cite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
I am seeking custody of the children (2) as my ex-wife was arrested and is sitting in jail right now on multiple DRUG charges! The children are with their maternal grandmother who lives in the same county as the the ex-wife did.
That is BS. They should have a copy of the Birth Certificate naming you as the father and that is all they need. If the mother wants to raise objections to your having the records SHE needs to provide the decree indicating that you can't have them, not you. Besides some information in the decree may be private and none of the school's business. Almost all schools are online with email. Get on the web and find the principals email as well as the school board and reiterate your request, mentioning the FERPA. Remind them that "you are ENTITLED to access until proven otherwise as the children's father. If they wish to notify the child's custodian, they may do so. But you expect copies of all records regarding your child(ren) in a timely manner."
This the letter I sent the other day. They knew I wasn't kidding. They called me within minutes of getting the fax. Keep in mind that the Court Order does not have to state you can have access to records. If it does not state you can't then you can.
Mrs. Sue Bradshaw Guidance Counselor My kids Middle School 33 School Bus Drive,
RE: XXXXXXXXX - RECORDS ON FILE
Dear Mrs. Smith:
Pursuant to the Court Order on file with the XXXXX Middle School, please forward to me immediately and without delay any and all information contained in XXXXXX's school records, file or otherwise, including, but not limited to, all grade or progress reports, attendance records, contact information sheets, registration forms, parental notes, notes to file or any information that is contained in any file and /or other documents in the possession of the XXXXXX Middle School that pertains to XXXXX XXXXXX.
Additionally, please forward copies of the same to the law firm listed below:
If there are any fee’s associated with this request, please contact me via email or telephone at the numbers listed below as soon as possible with the amount and/or payment requirements.
As far as going to get my children, here is some background on myself:
I have not seen the kids in about a year and talked to them on the phone sporadically as I suffered from depression, couldn't hold a job, was behind in child support, lived with a family who moved to Oklahoma, felt worthless/hopeless....when they moved I moved with them because I didn't know what else to do. I don't understand "the system" well...it overwhelms me.
In August, 2004, I tried to commit suicide......my family (in CA) was called and they came and got me. I am living at my parents and my sister/her family lives next door. They have been helping me. I went to counseling, was put on medication for depression. In helping me, they took me to court to get a "small fraud" warrant behind me. It was welfare fraud that my ex-wife did when we were married & living in CA in 1998. (She is the "system worker"/very aggresive person.....I am passive and have been in mental health hospitals 3x since I married her.)
In the course of taking care of the "small fraud", a warrant showed up from MO. for back child support and I was extradited to MO. I was in panic mode during that ordeal. I was released and allowed to return to CA with family, but had to fulfill the remainder of the small fraud charge, which was 19 days under house arrest, which was completed 1/1/05.
My back child support is now paid in full (with the help of my family) and I am current. I am now seeking employment and back on medication. I've never drunk, smoked, or done drugs (other than my depression medication RX). I am doing better.
I have been in contact (by phone) with the kids since November. I called weekly until I found the phone "no longer in service"....a few days later is when we found out about the arrest (12/2004) of the ex-wife when her mother notified us. I talk to the kids frequently.
I have been told that I can't just go get them and bring them to CA....that I should go to court and get a modification of custody order first. I am seeking an attorney right now. As stated previously, I have to wait until after the 20th to get a copy of my divorce papers.....ex-wife had custody and I have "flexible" < parenting time >, but as to exact wording, I am not sure.
I am getting better, but without the help of my family, I couldn't do this. My sister has really helped me. And the fact that my ex-wife is in jail right now (sentence hearing is today) makes it much easier to call the kids. Ex-wife is intimidating/manipulative/controlling, etc. The maternal grandmother is not happy about her daughter and is glad that I am back in the kids lives. I appreciate what she is doing, but also want the kids to know that I love and want them.
Go get your kids from the grandma. She has no legal right to them and you do. Just go pick them up. I don't care what you have to do about taking care of them or arranging school enrollment or whatever. Just go get the kids now.
I believe this is a 'form' letter that I used. I used it for my son who lives out of state. I sent it certified to the principal, district supervisor and the legal dept. for the school. I got response in 2 days requesting that I send self addressed stamped envelopes and then I got a monthly update with his work.
THIS IS AN ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT. CORDELL & CORDELL, ST. LOUIS, MO. Attorney services are provided by licensed attorneys in every state where Cordell & Cordell offices are located. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Joseph Cordell, Principal Partner, licensed in MO and IL only. Michelle Ferreri licensed in PA and NJ only. Offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA. Kimberly Lewellen licensed in CA only. John Bundy licensed in KY and IN only. Jerrad Ahrens licensed in NE and IA only. Lauren Dabule, Florida Resident Partner. Tampa, FL.