Help, Going to court for comtempt of visitation


#1

I’m not sure I understand this…your ex’s scheduled visitation was on the 3rd. What would he file on contempt if you have scheduled the visit and intended to allow this to happen. If I read this right, he filed contempt papers against you on the 2nd, visited the children on the 3rd, and you got a court summons on the 6th?

I suggest you sit down and write down every date of importance you can think of. Dates that he did show up, dates that he didn’t show up, times and date of the phone calls. Dates that your ex father-in-law refused visitations. Talk to him and see if he will be willing to testify that you have been following the order.
If the contempt is for refusing visitations then I do not think that you have anything to worry about. It sounds as though you have followed the order. You have primary legal & physical custody of your children which means that you have the right to refuse visitations based on the standards set in the order. With the history that you have stated here, given proof in court, I do not think that a judge would find you in contempt of the order.

Your children have nothing to do with this. This is not about modifying custody, this is about you not following a court order. IF your ex files to modify custody to get more visitation time with the children, then you can worry about whether or not their wishes would be a factor…


#2

Yes, that’s correct. He filed on January 2nd, knowing he would be visiting with the children on January 3rd and I received the notice January 6th. This is why I am surprised by this and do not understand his reasoning.

I have recently become engaged, and in all honesty, I think he’s doing this out of spite. That, and he’s angry that I did not grant him an unscheduled visit for Christmas. My reasoning for that was #1. It was not in the order and #2.The last contact I’d had with him, he was drunk and very unruly. Why would I grant an unscheduled visit under those circumstances? I needed to know his state of mind first. Once I discovered that he was sober, I willfully granted the next scheduled visit on Jan. 3rd.

This is word for word what he wrote in the order: (of course, I’m marking out the names)

XXXXXXX had denied me any visitation or communication with my minor children XXXXX and XXXXXX since May 20, 2008. I’ve tried to communicate with the kids mother and she has not responded. My father XXXXXX is the supervisor of my visitation with the kids. XXXXX told my father that if I were at his house, the children would not be able to visit. My oldest son XXXXX in fear of getting in trouble with his mother, snuck to write me a letter while visiting with my dad, expressing his pain and sorrow from not seeing me or talking to me. XXXXX would not let me see or talk to the kids for the last two Christmas holidays or thier birthdays. XXXXX broke his arm and I was never notified of it. I am not aware of how they are doing in school and never informed of address change or current residence.

OK, most of this in inaccurate. Denial of visitation and communication was while he was on a very destructive binge and was not in any shape to visit with the children. Also, he lives several hours away and does not have a car. So, for the most part, he has not been around to visit. Of course, if he calls my house while he’s drunk and irate, I am not going to answer. I have numerous ansering machine recording that will show this.

As far as not allowing the children to visit his father’s house if my ex is there; He is referring to Christmas. His dad told me my ex would be at his house for Christmas and asked if the boys could come. I had not had any communication with my ex in a very long time and he was drunk at that time. I was not aware of his mental state and this was not a scheduled visit.

THEN, a after speaking to his dad just after Chirstmas, his dad informed me that my ex and been through rehab (explaining the lack of phone calls for several months) and that he was doing quite well. It was after that that I agreed to his next schedluled visit, then told my children I believed their father to be in a good place and would agian allow communication and visitation.

And for the letter, my son asked me in advance about writing his father a letter and giving it to his grandfather. I said that was fine. I did not read the letter, but my son told me he simply said he missed and loved his father. So no, my son was not in fear of getting into trouble, since I knew before hand about the letter.

This past Christmas was the first Christmas he has asked for. He wasn’t even around for the previous Christmas nor for their birthdays. And, that was BEFORE the binge that initiated the period of no communication.

As far as not being aware of how the children are doing or of the broken arm; My son never actually broke his arm, he injured a growth plate and was casted. This happened Dec. 2007 and he signed my son’s cast. My son spoke to his father on the phone only two days after and told him about it. And for keeping him updated, that’s not easy to do when he does not have a phone or a permanent residence. He drifts a lot and I never know HOW to contact him. Also, I have copied and e-mailed many report cards to his mother, sister and father and stay in communication with them. He could easly get any information he wanted through them or just call us to get it.


#3

It seems like you have gone above and beyond to help your ex out. You need to appear in court on the date noticed and you will have the chance to testify and let the judge know your side of the story. It is very important that you reiterate for the court what you have said about being happy to foster the children


#4

Thank you so much for your response. I am relieved that the judge will likely listen to those recording. If he/she only listens to one, it will explain why I would not take my ex’s calls.

I did not realize that I could actually direct questions to my ex about rehab. That’s good to know and will help me establish a timeline.

Since I cannot afford an attorney, should I ask the court to appoint one when I am there, or just present my side on my own?

I will prepare a written statement in order to keep my facts straight and to prevent myself from going off on any tangants. I want the judge to view me as level-headed and know that I am only acting in the best interest of my children. This is why I have and will never stand in between them and their father while he is sober.

From what I understand, he is still in some sort of rehab facility and working through a program he called, ‘The Discipleship Program’. So, of course he’s sober right now. If he drinks, he’ll be homeless. He is allowed to come and go as he pleases and is working at a car wash. He said he’s saving money to get his own place and will move out once he can afford it, then he wants to have the visitation order changed to have more time and unsupervised visits. He said he’s completed some sort of parenting class and is working through steps to gain unsupervised visits. What will the court ask for before the visits will be changed? Can I ask for a provision that will still allow me to deny the visit if he does drink again? I have known him to stay sober for up to a year at a time, then go on a binge. This is what I’m afraid of. He lives several hours away, so if the order is changed, and my sons are at his home and he drinks, I will not be able to just run over there and get them.

Thank you.


#5

The court does not appoint attorney


#6

That’s good to know. Thank you. Would it be possible for me to get copies of his arrest arrest history? I believe that is all public record, right? How would I do that? I know he’s been arreted in Mecklenberg and Iredell counties. It may help if he does take me to court to modify the order.

Thanks


#7

Yes, you can usually access these through the website of the Sheriff


#8

Thanks.

My son told me that when he was visiting his dad this weekend, he heard his dad and grandpa talking about going to court and that he, (my son’s grandpa) will be a witness for my ex at the hearing. I’m not surprised by this because my ex can usually coerse his dad into doing whatever he wants, but I am hurt by this. I don’t understand why Grandpa is against me. Before this, he was always very nice and seemed very supportive of me.

I will be going to court alone. I can’t take my fiancee becase he and my ex absolutely HATE eachother & I’m afraid that would not be a good idea. If he has his dad to lie for him, and I have no one there to back me up, will that be a bonus for him? Will that make me look bad?

I don’t know how truthfull Grandpa will be or if he will just back up what my ex says. There have been occasions that my ex had gotten drunk during his visits and Grandpa cut them short or cancelled them and during the time that I stopped answering my ex’s calls, Grandpa would not allow him to come to his house for visits, anyway. But, I’m afraid he’ll lie about that.

What can I do? I don’t understand why my ex is so bent on finding me in contempt. What does he hope to gain from this? My only intentions are to keep my children safe. My ex knows this. He knows that if he’s drunk, I will not allow communication, but when he’s sober I will.

How do I protect myself?


#9

Make sure you bring to court ALL evidence, records and such the substantiate your side of the story. Since he’s been in court already concerning his drinking, they will be particularly keen on looking at how he has gone about changing. If he or his Dad lies, all you can do is tell your side of the story, tell the court that you don’t think they’re being truthful and DO ask your ex the questions Erin suggested. He MAY not be expecting that and if he’s lying, he’ll trip up. It’s ok to say 'my ex’s father has always been supportive of me and fostering a safe, sober environment for the children…'
I’m not sure if you can question the grandpa or not but If so, ask him particular questions and see if he is honest.

You can’t make them tell the truth. All you can do is tell the truth yourself and express your concern for your children. Your ex’s record with drinking has laid out a situation where he has to convince the judge that things have changed.

I wish you the best. [:)]


#10

The judge will have to decide whether or not he believes your ex


#11

I am very confused by this. My ex is an alcoholic and was given visitation every 1st and 3rd Saturday, 10am to 6pm, supervised by his father. He most often lives several hours away and goes long stretches without trying to excercise his visitation. He went on a very destructive binge and was calling our house for several months at all hours of the day and night leaving threatening messages. This is in violation of a provision on our order that states

‘Father may call the minor children at REASONABLE TIMES AND INTERVALS BUT SHALL NOT CALL THE MINOR CHILDREN AFTER 8:30 PM WHICH IS THEIR BEDTIME’.

During the summer break, with no notice or warning of any kind, he even showed up at my house, very drunk and irate. I wasn’t even aware that he was in Charlotte. I quickly locked up the house and called the police. My children were terrified and hid in their rooms. He left and I did not file a report. This was in violation of a provision in our order that states

‘Father shall not come to Mother’s residence at any point during the excercise of his visitation priveledges or at any other time unless invited to do so by Mother’.

I never filed any violations. Nor did I ever take him to court over non-payment of child support or for failure to keep me informed of his work status. In fact, the we have not been to court since we got the original consent order in 2004.

Now, in our order, it says he forfeits his visitation if the drinks the day before or during the visit. He has done this on several occasions, so I denied the visit. His father, who is appointed supervisor has also refused visits or ended them early due to my ex’s drinking or being in a bad frame of mind, creating a harmful environment for the children.

For several months, every time he called, he was drunk or irate, so we did not take his calls. Now, he’s taking me to court saying that I am keeping him from seeing the children. This is unfair.

He stopped calling for quite some time and I had no idea why. I’ve recently found out that he was in rehab. After learning that he is sober, I arranged a visit with his father on the 3rd, which is his scheduled visitatin day. Knowing that he would be seeing the children on the 3rd, he went to the courts and filed a contempt order against me on the 2nd. I found out on the 6th, when I received the order to appear in court.

I don’t believe that I am in contempt, but my ex can be very convincing. I am afraid of what will happen.

Now that I know he’s sober, I am happy to give him his visits and phone calls. I only have a problem with it when he is drinking. He is a very angry drunk and the kids are afraid of him when he drinks.

Will the judge take into account that I was only protecting my children from a toxic situation? My children are 10 and 12. I will assume I should not bring them with me, but if they write letters to the judge, will he/she consider them? or will the judge think I coersed my children to write them?

I have numerous recordings that my ex has left on my answering machine that clearly depict what a destructive frame of mind he was in and his drunkenness. If I take the recordings, will the judge listen and consider them as a character reference?

Please advise. I am very afraid and I cannot afford a lawyer.

The sad thing, when my ex is sober and reasonable, I am fully willing to work with him. In the past, I’ve given him more than I was ordered, because he was doing well and I felt safe.