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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-24-2011, 08:22 PM
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Exclamation Need to protect child from mother...

Hi everyone,

I'm new here so apologies if something similar is posted already. i have been read but haven't came across anything...

Background: My common law boyfriend has a five year old daughter. Her mom and him broke up four years ago. About two years ago his ex relocated to Ottawa with his daughter with only three days notice.

He at the time still had a great relationship with his daughter. When they moved he still have phone contact. Although he doesn't drive he managed to go up to Ottawa for a weekend with his daughter and took his daughter for a week over Christmas with no problems. A few months later she had met a guy. Then the contact between my boyfriend and his daughter abruptly stopped.

He had tried for about a year to settle issues and regain contact with his daughter with no avail. Right as he was about to seek legal advise his ex contacted him. She said she just had a baby and couldn't handle a newborn with his daughter. She needed a break and had asked him to take his daughter for a bit. He agreed and had everything arranged with work. She canceled the next day.

She stated she changed her mind and wanted to only deal with it through court. That very day my boyfriend started the legal process. He had a lawyer by the end of the week and offered for his ex to meet him at the lawyer (in Ottawa) to make up visitation and have it done legally. She wouldn't respond.

She then changed her phone number and wouldn't give him the number. We then started contacting her through the internet. We received a bunch of nasty replies from her new man. She would just refuse to talk about it and would only say she is taking him to court. (not bothering to tell us if it was to grant access or block it)

About 6 months later the lawyer still had not done much except put a thing into the court asking for every other weekend and one evening a week. The whole thing had huge mistakes and couldn't work as we live 2.5 hours away. Leaving for Ottawa after work at four for a one hour visit doesn't make much sense.

Things got much more complicated as we learned about neglect and abuse of his ex's and her partners part on his daughter. We had then decided that his daughter wasn't safe and wasn't getting everything she needed. We were going for custody. The lawyer then decided he was no longer qualified to represent my boyfriend. Because of the way legal aid works we had to reapply to them to have a switch in representation.

We were denied because he makes just over min wage. However we cannot afford our own lawyer. So he is now forced to represent himself.

Just before a special occasion my boyfriend's ex's husband contacted him asking if my boyfriend would be open to take custody of his daughter. Of course he said yes. They then talked on the phone (number blocked) and came up with a plan for my boyfriend and his family to see his daughter the following weekend. There we would further discuss the custody. My boyfriend was then allowed to talk to his daughter for the first time in a year. She was told that she would see her daddy this weekend and all sorts of stuff. However they canceled again. Stating "we want to go to court, please do not contact MY family again."

During that phone call however something was said that set off alarms. We were told that my boyfriends daughter was telling other adults that her mom's husband has been touching her in bad places (while pointing downward). However we were told not to pay it any mind because the five year old was a liar. We didn't say much at that point because we were afraid they would take the visit away and we were planning on doing something that weekend about it. But they canceled so that didn't work.

We then contacted local law enforcement and C.A.S. They launched an investigation. Since then have had weekly visits and they are currently trying to enroll his daughter for a meeting with a psychologist. We are not allowed to know anything though.

We also have some insight about the condition of the house. It is always messy/dirty. They smoke in it (his daughter has asthma) and usually the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes and cig butts. His daughter gets all of her toys locked away in a closet if she doesn't clean her room they way they want (including sweeping and mopping the floor!) she gets locked via baby gate in her room to clean. When she does something bad her mom's husband rips apart her closet and makes her put all of it back.

She has been kept home from school because her mom was "too tired" to take her to the bus and was locked in her room from about 10:30am till 6:00pm to clean and was not given food until 6 and all she got was a PBJ sandwhich. There was another time where she stole a chocolate bar, they made her return it (as good parents would) they then went to a fast food place but wouldn't allow her to eat that. Instead they took her home and made her eat a can of sardines while they laughed about it.

They always eat in the living room but make my boyfriends daughter eat in the kitchen by herself. There is so much more but I am trying to keep this as short as possible.

We are afraid that she is being brain washed. She is force to call her mom's husband Dad. If she doesn't she gets punished. She is never to speak about her real dad either. We need to get her to a safe place. Her mom and her mom's husband just had their second child in under a year and we are concerned because she couldn't handle it with one baby and a 4 year old. How will she handle a newborn 10 month old and a five year old. C.A.S. has not taken his daughter from the house but we feel as though she would be safer and have better opertunities here.

We do not want to exclude her mom at all. We only want to help his daughter as she has been having very bad behavioral problems and has nothing to look forward to in life except cleaning her room.

My questions are:
1. Would any judge allow the change of residence and parenting under these circumstances? We have had a stable life/relationship/home for three years now and do not have any other children. Thus we have more time to help his daughter and more resources at our fingertips.
2. How do we approach this legally while representing ourselves?
3. Does self representation work for you or against you? His ex will have a lawyers as both her and her husband are on welfare.

Thanks so much. Sorry it was so long.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:54 AM
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Your b/f screwed up first by not preventing his ex to move with the child in the first place and thus creating this issue of not being local to the child. He could have either prevent her from moving with the child, allowed her to move but got custody or hammered out a clear separation agreement then which would have provided for his parenting time. Now he is behind the eight ball and at her mercy (to a point).

What agreements or court orders do you already have? If nothing, you must be pushing you court order through while also requesting to mediate with his ex (requesting mediation is good for 2 reasons 1) you may work out an agreement outside of court and 2) if you are unable to get her to mediate, at least you look reasonable in your attempt to try and work with her outside the court).

Your b/f can self rep. His best bet is call his local court house and see when duty counsel for family law is in and see if you can go in. Also, see if your local court has a FLIC (family law information centre) who will help you with the basics like preparing filings and proper procedures.

What he needs to ask for is:

1. regular scheduled parenting time (every other weekend is what he will pretty much end up with and an evening a week, which apparently isn't feasable). Also ask for extended time over the summer holidays (at LEAST 2 two weeks), every other March Break, every other long weekend and 1/2 of christmas break.

2. ensure that your b/f is listed as an emergency contact for schools etc.

3. counselling for the child as you believe she is showing signs of behavioural issues and appears confused about her relationship with her dad.

4. have child support spelled out.

5. allow for regular and open phone access (or skype if the have it).

If the ex resists anything, ask for the Office of the Childrens Lawyer to be involved. It gives the child someone that will represent them and their interests.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:09 AM
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Thanks Hammer for the advice. Yes I agree he messed up in the first place by allowing her to move but in his defence... His daughter was the result of a teenage relationship in which both parties didn't take proper percations. At that point in time (when she told him she was moving three days before moving) he had not felt as though his relationship would disolve like it had. His ex was mostly reasonable and never really denined him before.

There is no court order for anything. They were both very very young and didn't know their options. My boyfriend wanted to remain civil, as he never planned on taking custody of the child he simply wanted a relationship with his daughter. It wasn't until recent months that he has found out that (in our opinions) she is not taking care of their daughter to the best of her abilities and abuse, neglect and alienation are common factors of his daughter's life.

Between him and his ex they came up with their own virsion of child support and visits. He paid every month. It wasn't until her welfare worker told her she needed to claim that it changed. His ex then claimed he wasn't paying so they had it ordered but nothing had been ordered on the custody factor.

As far as mediation goes....We have offered that (even to foot the whole bill). She wont respond and if she does it's "I want to go to court". We have given her many many different options to make up a visitation agreement legally but out of court all of which she wont do. Yet when told that we would get the ball rolling her and her husband taunt us with how they are moving (yet again) and how we'll never find their address to serve them ect. SO basically they are playing games with all this. Any time she is asked (when she responds) why she is doing this she tell us it's because my boyfriend hurt her so bad (not his daughter, his ex). They are not looking at what is best for the child as they are too busy holding grudges.


Again thanks so much, I'm going down to our court house as we speak! Hope it works out
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2011, 10:16 AM
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You need a court order or an agreement to provide for parenting time (please dont call it visits, he isn't in jail or the hospital). Mediation is better as it is cheaper and less conflict. FLIC offers subsidized mediation based off your income, so that can help.

Once he has an agreement or a court order for access, he needs to follow it to the letter. If you mediate an agreement, file it with the courts to effectively make it a court order. Should she try to deny access, you journal it and after about 2-3 denials take her to court for contempt, request make up time, costs etc. If you have to take her back to court for contempt multiple times each time up the stakes to the point where you are asking for custody.

It sounds like this is a messed up situation. But step back and go from there.

It would also really help if Dad was on here as sometimes working through 3rd parties (even if they are articulate and whatnot) can be hard.
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2011, 10:30 AM
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Thank you,
Sorry for calling it visits, just from the lawyer that was what it was called.

I will be showing him these posts. Between full time work, his mother's deathly illness and all the running around and paper work he does on a daily basis conserning his daughter he is very busy. I have started as a way to help him find information that he is having a hard time finding himself.

But again thank you for your time and help.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:54 AM
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If these allegations are as serious as you are claiming, keep reporting it to CAS. Everything that is said by the child, report it to the worker. Ensure the worker knows whom he is, and that he is ready, willing and capable of taking the child. IF CAS finds grounds to remove the child from her, she'll spend 5 days (max) in Foster care, then CAS by law, must go before a judge.

IF he's on file as a parent, they are legally obligated to inform him. Keep in close contact with the worker. Make sure you get the workers name, AND her supervisor's name. If the worker isn't responding to you in a timely fashion, start including the supervisor in the mix.

I know it's frustrating as hell to be kept out of the loop, but legally the worker cannot discuss specifics with you UNLESS the ex consents.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:16 PM
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Thanks so much NBdad. My boyfriend has (tonight) called again. We have reported and e-mail the proof we have. She told us that things would be checked asap. He explain the full situation to them and I think they now understand. They were under the impression (from the ex) that my boyfriend wanted nothing to do with the child and that he abuse her (not true). They were even told he doesn't pay support ect.
Great advice
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