Seems like we don't have a chance! Please help!

I also forgot to add that his mother & stepdad never tried to get child support from him or his estranged wife… probably so they could show the courts that neither one are “supporting” their daughter. But he gives his mother money for his daughter all of the time. Should he start getting money orders and keeping the copy to prove that he does support his daughter? Even so, after 2 years it is probably too late. For 2 years he has nothing to show that he’s been supporting her. They can claim that they’ve supported her solely and he could lose her for good…

First, the mother talking with the attorney about the case, if it’s your fiance’s attorney and not hers, sounds like a conflict of interest. He needs to request that the money be returned and hire a new attorney. The attorney is clearly not looking out for his clients interest. In fact, it sounds as though his mother is paying the lawyer. Having a new attorney is fairly common in family law. The courts will not hold it against him that he replaces his attorney with someone who is willing to work FOR him rather than against him. He is paying the lawyer, which means that he should be working for him. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think he will have to expain why he has a new attorney.
Second, ANY improvements to your situation is a good thing to the courts. To the courts it’s never too late to start being a good parent and that includes improving living conditions.
Last, ALWAYS keep finacial records and document everything. Being this long with him paying cash, then it may come down to his word against his mother’s but I would say that he needs to sit down with a calendar and try to figure up how much he had given and when, and also, when he has tried to visit with his child. Get that recorder for the telephone and record ALL the conversations with the ex and his mother.
The courts usually prefer one of the parents to have custody so if I recall correctly, his ex had not completed the courts requirements for custody to change and he did. I think that if he gets a new attorney, he still has a good chance of getting the custody arrangement changed, but he needs to get started and get it done. Move into the new house, hire a new attorney , document everything and record conversations, file for divorce and get a new court date set. Don’t wait because it does not sound as though this situation will change. If his mother does not think at 26 that he is ready to raise his own daughter then maybe he and his mother need to talk. No one is EVER ready to raise a child but that doesn’t meant that they CAN’T raise a child either. If his mother is the “key” witness then make sure that his attorney asks her in court about his contributions and attempts to spend time with his daughter. If he has these requests recorded and she lies about it in court, they will likely doubt anything else she says. It only takes one lie for the courts to doubt your sincerity in doing what is best for the child.
Keep us posted.

Dear melaniekitty:

Greetings. This post is really too long for simply legal questions that we answer here. Tell your fiance to speak with a different attorney. Setting a date is one of the easiest things we do as attorneys. Good luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

I know I have posted about similar stuff a million times so I’m going to try to consolidate this all in a few paragraphs.

Like I’ve said before, my fiancee’s mother has had temporary custody of his 3 year old daughter for 2 years and he and his estranged wife have had supervised visits. My fiance has done everything the judge has ordered and the wife has not.

My fiance has been trying to get his lawyer to set a new custody date for nearly 2 years now and the man keeps telling him, “it’s not a good time to go back to court right now,” and, “Stop worrying about it, I’ll handle it, stop repeatedly calling me.”

Well, he found out what we’ve been suspecting. His mother has been going behind his back talking to the lawyer, telling him that my fiance is in no way ready to have his daughter. The lawyer then told my fiance that he refuses to set another court date unless his mother says he is ready, and his mother says he is not ready, so the lawyer says he believes he is not ready either. THEN the man had the nerve to tell my fiance that if he didn’t stop calling him, then he could just take some of his money back and he would quit the case.

Which probably will not make my fiance look good to courts, if his own lawyer drops him and doesn’t have faith in him. The lawyer also had the same attitude when asked why he did not file for the divorce and just said, “Tell you what, come get all of your money back and I’ll quit both cases.”

His mother has all been telling EVERYONE in my fiancee’s family, as well as the lawyer, that my fiance does not spend any time with her and she just ‘wishes that he would be a father.’ This is an outright lie and I would swear to it in court. He tries to spend time with her all of the time. She constantly makes up excuses as to why he can’t see her ALL OF THE TIME, then turns around and accuses him of not spending time with his daughter. When he confronted her about her going behind his back, she admitted it, and told him that he is not ready for a child because supposedly our trailer is falling apart. It may be an old trailer, but it’s not really falling apart. He’s made several repairs to fix what’s broken, it’s not like he just lets things go. Plus she claims he doesn’t work everyday as another reason, which also isn’t true. He took off that one day to attempt to handle this lawyer business. She told him that he would have to fight her in court for custody of HIS OWN CHILD.

We’re thinking about moving into an actual house, but we’re worried the move right now might not look good, because it wouldn’t have been an established home for very long? But the trailer is old and ugly, and although his daughter would have his own room here, the courts might look down on it for being a trailer, and his mother just conveniently moved out of her own trailer and into a big 2 story house where my fiance’s daughter now has her own room. Probably on the advice of his own lawyer…

Plus, the lawyer wants to quit the case. Can he even get the case date set in court with a new lawyer? But wouldn’t it make him look bad because he has a new lawyer and the old one quit him? And his mother is a key witness. Aren’t they going to believe her lies and give her custody being that they trusted her enough in the first place to give her temporary custody? His estranged wife isn’t even a threat now, she said she is giving up on the custody case.

It seems we are completely screwed. Any advice would be very helpful. Since the courts were against him in the first place and gave temporary custody to his mom, and since his lawyer has been BS’ing him for TWO YEARS NOW, that’s another thing that will make him look bad. In two years they have established a familiar loving home and environment and everything else with his daughter, and I have a feeling a judge wouldn’t want to disrupt her in her healthy environment. Plus my fiance is a 26 year old male, and his daughter is just a young girl, the judge might feel he couldn’t take care of her like a woman could. Plus the judge was against him in the first place.

It seems we are so screwed.