Okay, I’ve posted something similar to this, but some circumstances have changed and other stuff has occurred, and we really, really need some legal advice. This might be a bit long, but I’m trying my best to be concise and clear. Please, PLEASE respond, both posters on this site and definitely attornies, PLEASE RESPOND. This is urgent.
I have posted before about why it’s taking so long for my fiance to get divorced. I called the clerk of court. There was nothing filed at all. His estranged wife has not been served. My fiance contacted his lawyer angrily, because his lawyer has been telling him not to worry, that he’s handling it. Well, turns out the secretary has the reciept for when my fiance paid. Also, my fiance signed papers giving his lawyer the right to fill out any legal forms for him.
The lawyer NEVER FILED. And this divorce should have been done months ago. The lawyer is aging and is very forgetful, which is what a lot of people have told us recently.
In the meantime, the lawyer is also about to set a new custody hearing (or trial or whatever) as soon as my fiance goes and has a meeting with him. He considered firing the man but being that the man was already involved in the custody case, he decided not to.
This are the circumstances as is: My fiance’s estranged wife was being investigated by DSS for abuse & neglect during their marriage.
DSS had been called on her about three times and DSS made her leave their home each time, leaving the child with my fiance, who is her father. DSS told her to get anger management courses, parenting classes, etc. The estranged wife came back and told my fiance she had completed those things, saying she was sorry and etc, and my fiance made the mistake of taking her back 3 times. She also has a drug problem, though whether or not it could be proven, rather than just being hearsay, I do not know.
The estranged wife finally left for good in March of last year, on her own free will. This would be the date of their seperation. She had my fiancee admitted to the mental hospital, so that she could go home and pack and take the child with her. He was released after the weekend and it was determined that there was nothing wrong with him. It was just a ploy for her to leave and take the child… . revenge, basically. She then filed an emergency custody order ex parte, saying the child was in danger from my fiancee… She made a lot of false allegations about his mental state, saying that he would harm the child. The order was granted.
My fiance gathered his witnesses (his mother and family being the main ones, as they had seen her abuse the child. His mother had called DSS on her two out of the three times.) He and his lawyer went to court for custody with the evidence against her. Because my fiance had allowed her back in the home 3 times even though she posed a danger/threat to the child, he did not recieve custody. I’m guessing that the courts were afraid that he would allow her back in the home again after the custody case. They were also concerned about his maturity and his understanding of child development, probably also because he allowed her back in the home even though she was a threat to him and the child (she was abusive to him, as well.) Also, he was only 24 last year, so go figure.
The estranged wife did not recieve custody either, because she was a danger to the child.and DSS has investigated her. There were also allegations of her drug problem.
The judge gave temporary custody to my fiancee’s mother right there. He gave supervised visitation to both my fiancee and his estranged wife. He ordered them to get evaluated by a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) before appearing in front of him again. He was supposed to have a home inspection to, but no one ever showed for that, so we’re going to take pics of the inside and outside of the house.
It’s been a year and a half since his mother has been granted temporary custody. My fiance has completed 2 LCSW evaluations both done by different people. The first wasn’t really a great one, it seems the woman was probably biased against men seeking custody, and recommended that his daughter stay in the care of his mother at that time until he learned responsibility and child development and blah blah. Unfortunately the court is aware of this bad report’s existence. He went to a second one in August of this year. This lady was much more supportive. ThisLCSW recommended that he be strongly considered for the role of custodial parent. The estranged wife has done NOTHING she was ordered to do. Her own mother said she would go to court against her, because she’s had numerous miscarriages at her mother’s home, due to crack cocaine. She said she believes her daughter does not deserve the child and that my fiance does. She knows my fiance was the one taking care of her.
Still, the bad part is that my fiance has waited a long time to talk to his lawyer about setting a new court date. He talked to him a few times but the lawyer kept telling him not to worry. Now, the lawyer told him to come in and discuss it and that my fiance should have told him to set a date. He did not know this. Since it’s been a year and a half, and he hasn’t tried to set a court date, this will reflect not-so-greatly upon my fiance.
Anyhow, we are pretty sure that his mother & her husband do NOT want to give up custody of his daughter now. His mother makes up constant excuses all of the time as to why his daughter can’t come over, such as it’s not clean in here (which it IS), or she’s “forgotten her overnight bag, oops…” and etc. And she told me privately that though my fiance was a great parent when he had her, that he got lazy and didn’t visit her like he should. So she was gonna tell the lawyer “No” when questioned if her son should have his daughter back. But it turns out she was lying; my fiance was making every effort to have his daughter over but his mother would make up excuses every week. I’ve been privy to this information for a few months now, and have HEARD her make up these excuses. It’s just a plot; she’s trying to withhold his daughter from him so she can tell the court that he doesn’t visit her like he should. They also don’t make him pay child support and he gives them money without it being documented, so they can also say that he has not been supporting the child like a parent should.
It’s starting to occur more and more frequently now. Last weekend his daughter was supposed to come over and his mother made an excuse on Friday night, (and said she’d bring her over on Saturday), Saturday rolled around, there was another excuse on Saturday night, finally she couldn’t come up with anymore excuses on Sunday, (plus my fiance got his car fixed and we rode up there, so she couldn’t come up with anymore excuses.) Yesterday, on Wednesday, my fiancee took the day off to try and contact his lawyer about all of this, and he asked his mother if we could bring her to my grandmother’s house who is down to visit. She said okay… but 3 hours later, when we were getting ready to leave, she called back telling him “she forgot” that his daughter had a play date with someone who was coming over. How convenient. It’s always something. It’s obvious she’s trying to pull something. Plus recently the daughter has been saying some weird stuff, like repeating her grandma’s name when asked if she wants to come back to live with daddy. She used to say yes, now she was sitting there chanting her grandma’s name as if someone’s been coaching her. My fiance was asked in court as a young child who he preferred to live with, his mom or his dad. So we think his mother thinks these laws still apply now, and that they will ask his daughter the same. But, she’s only THREE years old. No way would they ask a 3 year old that, not that I know of. Anyway, his mom is trying to sabotage his efforts.
Okay, I also forgot to mention that he tries to spend time with her all the time, and is denied, but we can’t prove this. Also, he completed parenting classes last year, as an extra, which he didn’t have to do. He works a steady job, owns his own home (it’s a mobile home, I don’t know if having a house would make him look better to the courts? His mother went and got a house, and moved out of her trailer, and we know why.)
What else should we do? Are his chances good??? Could his mother take him from her?? Could his mom, the grandma get full custody over him?? Especially if they start telling the courts that he doesn’t spend time with her and doesn’t clean his house (i.e., unsafe living conditions), and he lives in a crappy little trailer park? I know this is incredibly long and detailed, but please anyone with some knowledge about this help. ESPECIALLY THE FORUM’S LAWYER. I apologize for taking up so much of your time but it is urgent that we get advice.