Custody Evaluator/GAL?


#1

I’ve posted here numerous times, but here are the basics again.

Father has never really been part of children’s lives. Visits have been inconsistent and ususally for a few hours once every month to three. There have been a few overnight visits, maybe a dozen in four years.

Children are 9 1/2 years old. Dad remarried two years ago and all the troubles began. Children started having a lot of emotional issues with the visits, but I thought it would pass.

A year ago, I moved to FL with the children to take a job. Father filed Motion to Modify Custody/Visitation/Child Support. A consent order for temporary visitation was entered. Father did not choose to exercise a good portion of the temporary order, claims I’m denying him visitation and files a Motion for Contempt.

Partial hearing heard, ran out of time, rescheduled in June. Father separates from wife (third time in 8 months), terminates his attorney, didn’t show for the hearing and case was dismissed. Left us with the original order, which simply states visitation “as the parties agree”.

On top of the custody litigation, Father filed to reduce child support. Appears and does not disclose all income, judge orders financials, bank statements, tax returns, etc. and continues the case. We’ve been to hearings several times for this and each time he did not bring all that was required. It finally was continued to be heard in Family Court along with the custody hearing (traveled to NC five times for this alone).

The wife filed criminal charges stating I was harassing her and threatening her. Went to court in March and the DA dismissed the charges. I absolutely did not harass or threaten her, its the other way around.

A complaint was filed and I was investigated by FL Child and Family Services (the day after the wife filed criminal charges). There was no basis for the claim and the report was favorable for me.

Father indicates he did not feel it was safe for the children to visit him in NC because the wife is harassing, stalking and threatening him, so he would come to FL for a few days. Father then reconciles with wife, but still states he wants to visit in NC alone. A couple weeks later, Father sends email stating he wants the children for five weeks and I told Father I didn’t think it was in their best interest and he should come to FL. Could even attend therapy session with kids - would be a good thing for all. Father refused to come to FL, claiming he could not afford to.

Father then files another Motion for Modifcation of Visitation, but never schedules a hearing. I filed a response, asking for sanctions under Rule 11. Whole purpose of this mess to to harass me to death.

Now, Father has rehired his attorney and I get a two new motions - yet another Motion to Modify Custody and a Motion for Temporary Parenting Arrangements.

Here’s the basic problem. The children don’t have a relationship with Father, never have. Father and wife’s behavior over the past two years have further distanced the children. They do not want to see him and especially do not want to be around the wife - they are terrified of her. Children do see a therapist weekly - one child has some emotional issues (anxiety disorder) that we are working on.

Father is just plain bananas and it’s getting worse. He’s not truly interested in the children, just seems intent on “making me pay”. The term sociopath has been thrown out by more than one therapist and I absolutely agree based on the list of symptoms I’ve read (not that I’m a professional). It just seems that all of this is never going to end.

My only concern, though, is my children - keeping them safe both physically and emotionally. I’m thinking the best thing that could happen now is that a third party be assigned to evaluate and make recommendations. Is a GAL only for cases of abuse and neglect or is that a possibility in circumstances? Would a custody evaluation be the right or better way to go? Would the Court entertain a request for either at the Temporary Parenting Arrangements hearing or would I actually have to file a written Motion?


#2

You may ask that a GAL be appointed, and as well that the court order your ex to complete a psychological evaluation to determine what exactly his issues are.

Based on the facts of this case I do not believe the court will order a temporary parenting arrangement. Your ex has continually filed action after action and never perused any of them, I do not think the court will view his situation as urgent and therefore will not issue a temporary arrangement, as the case is not one warranting such an arrangement.