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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 02-13-2014, 06:11 AM
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Default No Answer from Respondent

Hi All,

I am self representing in family court. The application is in regards to custody and a reduction in child support to the levels in the federal tables. The package was served to my ex via a process server through her lawyer of record, at my ex's request. For no reason whatsoever, my ex refuses to tell me where she and the children live in Ottawa.
The papers were served on January 6th, and I filed them with the courts on January 8th. It is well past the 30 days to respond, and I am getting worried that maybe I have made a mistake somehow and that she was told by her lawyer not to bother responding because of that.
I verified that all the paperwork was in order by FLIC, and even the clerk at intake said I did a good job of getting everything in order. I know that they cannot offer legal advice, but it did get my hopes and confidence up. Now that she has ignored the thirty day deadline, I keep questioning myself and going over everything in my head, and also re-checking the copies I made to make sure I did not screw up somehow.
Anyone have any advice on how to double check without a lawyer(can't afford one) or am I just psyching myself out?

Best,
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:05 AM
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Get a date for a case conference for your issues, also ask for disclosure of address. You have a right to know where they live - unless there is an order stating otherwise.

How is access and exchange arranged if you don't pick up or drop off at their residence?
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for the reply. There is no order stating otherwise. I have my first court date on March 11, before the clerks. I will be going in next week to schedule a case conference.
Because of the work I used to do when the separation agreement was drawn up, we determined that sole custody would be retained by my ex. What a mistake. She has engaged fully into a full blown parental alienation campaign against me. I have not seen my children in over two years...even though we live in the same city. They will not respond to my phone calls, texts or emails.
One of the reasons I am asking for shared custody in my form 35.1 and the application.
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:14 PM
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You have a good case to ask for sole custody and to have OCL involvement. You state that she had sol custody, but what was the access schedule? Have you attempted contact, and do you have proof of your attempts?

IMO, if it were me, I'd be asking for sole custody and negotiate to shared if the situation is appropriate.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:44 PM
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The wording for access, was free and reasonable access. We lived in the Toronto area when this was agreed to. The first summer after our separation, she took the children to the family cottage for the summer and did not return phone calls or emails. At the end of the summer she decided that she was moving to Ottawa with the children, and informed me via email. I had moved to a small basement apartment in downtown Toronto in order to be closer to work, as I had signed over the vehicle to her. I still cannot afford to purchase a vehicle.
I do have partial records that show my attempts to contact my kids, as well as emails that show her passive aggressive reticence in allowing me to spend time
with them. I know this is a longer reply to your advice...and I appreciate your time in reading through.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:13 PM
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OK...so the one thing that will look poorly on you is that you did not take the time to fight for access to your children, however you are willing to put in the effort to pursue lower custody. This never looks god because it can appear that money is more important than the children.

So your steps should be:

1 - get your ass to court and secure a proper custody arrangement with a detailed access schedule not left up to her discretion.
2 - have CS adjusted accordingly, with an agreement to review annually upon exchange of NOA's
3 - an OCL evaluation, if you feel it is necessary, given you feel she has alienated the children from you.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:20 PM
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I appreciate your comments and advice. It is hard to get a full picture with the snippets that I have presented. I do want to steer this back to my original question, and distill it to this: If she has not given an answer as the respondent, what are the possible, real life, repercussions for both myself and her?
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:45 PM
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Get a case conference date scheduled. I've sent you a PM as well.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:33 PM
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Thanks for your advice. I will go tomorrow and get a case conference date. I tried replying to your PM and sent you another one...the forum interface keeps indicating that I have not replied nor have any sent emails. Thanks again.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:01 PM
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Default No Answer from Respondent

What I don't understand is that you haven't seen your child for two years and you didn't do anything about it? And now you are filing to lower child support and want to deal with custody? It will not be looked upon nicely

In my opinion, you have ok grounds for sole custody unless ur ex is mentally unstable. You might have a chance for shared custody but don't know how it will work if you both re not in the same area as it would effect te kids schooling etc.

OCL is the right way to go but once they make a recommendation then courts heavily rely on that. Having not seen ur kid for two years I can assure u that the kid will have a hard time adjusting with u.

Anyways good luck!
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