My fiance and his STBX are in the process of divorce. I have not intervened whatsoever and have barely had contact with the STBX. She sends him emails all the time making false statements to make it seem like he refuses to see his children (paper trail for the court I am sure). He has never refused to see his children. In the beginning he woud ask her and she woud say yes but give him outrageous demands in order to see them. Such as… you must make reservation to see the children two weeks in advance and you may only see them 24 hours, etc. It got to the point where he said he would just wait and go through the court system to avoid the arguments. At that time he went to the school every week to have lunch with the children. The school secretary knows he and his wife and stated to him that each time he would come to have lunch with the children, the STBX would find out and call the school to have them prohibit him from visiting the kids. The school principal told her there is nothing he can do without a court order. My fiance has filed a temporary parenting agreement. He recieved a response in the mail from the STBX’s attorney which stated that she has made every attempt to “persuade” him to visit his children. She even stated that she communicates with me to encourage visitation. This statement is BOGUS! She emailed me once last week basically telling me that she thought we should all be apart of the childrens lives and that she would like to keep me in the loop and asked that I ask him to see his children. I did not respond to her because I felt it was another one of her attempts to make her look good and it would in no way benefit the children. Every statement she makes is false. She is basically trying to have emails to have in court to say that she has done so much to allow him to see his children when in actuality she has done nothing but cause trouble. I have witnessed so much of these actions and even conversations where she told the children that their father doesnt love them or care about them. She told the children that she would give them a beating if they called me mommy (stated by one of the daughters). I am sick of her and her attempts to make him out to be a bad father.
My questions are…
When it comes time for the custody/visitation hearing, would a notorized statement from me stating the things I have witness be noticed by the court? (I am considered the other woman by her, which is far from the truth. They were already separated when he and I met, but the divorce process began after we met, so in her eyes he left her for me)
Can others give testimony or notorized statements at the hearing such as the school secretary or the principal stating her actions that they have witnessed.
Can I respond to her claim of communicating with me because that has not occured. I would like to call her out on it so the judge/court knows that the statement is not true.
Yes, a notarized statement or series of statements regarding the events you have witness is admissible in court, and is called an Affidavit, Affidavits are commonly used in temporary hearings, as time is limited for live witnesses in most counties.
I was in a similar situation that you are in except that my husband’s ex did not try to create a paper trail. My suggestion is that you do respond, and copy your fiance on the response. Let her know that you agree that since you are to marry their father, that you should be involved in the children’s lives. Be smart about it though…since she’s trying to make it seem as though you and she has had this communication all along, I suggest responding with some sort of shock and a statement about her trying to have him prohibited from the school. Something like, “I think I’m a little confused. He has been going to the school every week to have lunch with the children. He has been doing this since the requirements you made when he asked about visitation previously were not able to be met. I believe that since there is no current custody agreement or court order the requirements that you made and time limits that you put on the visitations are actually illegal. I am confused because if your desire is for him to visit with his children then why would you tell him that he has to make reservations and then can only have them for 24 hours? If you honestly want what is best for the children and truly want your children to visit with their father, then why would you contact the school after his visits to try to have them prohibit him from coming back? You state that you have been in contact with me but this is the first contact that you have made in regards to the children or their wellbeing.” You can be polite but honest about your belief that this is an attempt to create a paper trail. Don’t let her use you to manipulate the system.
I was summons to court as a witness by my husband’s ex in their custody case so it may very well be that you are subpoenaed. You should make sure that you have documentation of this as well as any conversations or contrary actions that you witnessed.
You can have the school secretary subpoenaed but I suggest that you ask if she/he would be willing to give the attorney an affidavit . This may make it easier and they may not have to show up for court if they do this.
My suggestion is that you respond to the e-mail. You don’t have to give a lengthy response, just enough to let her know that since you are going to be part of the family that the children’s best interest comes first. That includes supporting your fiance in his attempts to visit with his children. You want to put enough detail into the e-mail so that IF she takes that into court, the judge will ask her to explain your statements. You will also want to take a copy with you in case you need to refer to it. Be prepared even if they do not have time to question you. Make sure his attorney has a “timeline” of events.
You should also get a recorder on the phone, if possible. They will have to go to mediation prior to a custody hearing. It will be brought up that he has allowed the current situation to continue. This can be brought up in court. Since she has these e-mails and he has continued to allow the visitations to not take place, and if he has no evidence of his previous attempts to gain visitations, then this does look good for her to gain primary custody. He must be prepared to show a different scenario, or willing to allow this to be the custody arrangement.
Erin: Thank you for the information. What is the procedure for filing and affidavit? Is there a form that I can obtain online or do I actually have to obtain form the court?
Stepmother: Thanks a million…
The affidavit normally must be filed with the court, and served on the opposing party 5 days prior to the hearing, however you will need to check the local rules in your county to ensure there is not a different time frame for affidavits specific to your county.
An affidavit is a personal statement of the witness, so there is not form. You should however ensure that each affidavit states that the affiant is over 18 and of sound mind. The affidavit must also be notarized.