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  • case conference - my ex doesn't appear

    I started a motion. The case conference will be on Jan 24th. What happens if my ex doesn't appear, only her lawyer?
    Will it be just simply adjourned or the judge will hear us?

  • #2
    You can still attend and have your conference where the issues will be identified, but don't expect settlement on any of them as she will not be there to consent.


    • #3
      she will not consent anyways. Thanks, then I will attend, otherwise she will just try to adjourn forever. Ex doesn't want to allow me more than 7 hours access biweekly, for no reason. (other than vindictiveness and attempted parental alienation.) She stated that she will not negotiate anything, so mediation is futile. What can the judge do on this case conference? Can he order OCL assessment? Or just listen to me and set up another date for another case conference?


      • #4
        The judge does not need consent from her to order OCL assessment. I think in your case it might be a good idea to ask for it. Be prepared with all the reasons why so you can ask.


        • #5
          Thanks Billie,
          For what reason they can order the OCL assessment? Is it enough reason that the mother is denying more than 7 hours access with no reason? (actually the "reason" I heard many times was that "more access is not Laura's best interest", without any supporting facts.)


          • #6
            The OCL, be very careful.

            In cases where a child is being denied his autonomy to make decisions about access, or if the child is being unduly influenced to make access difficult or impossible, one should consider the possibility that the child is being emotionally abused through Parental Alienation.

            If that is the case, the OCL is not the best avenue to rescuing the child, and they may be obstructionist in being a positive influence. There are many scared and wounded children and parents who have been badly served by this government agency.

            It may be better to have a private evaluation done of the family. If this is an option then ensure the assessor has a good working knowledge of Parental Alienation and has a track record of at least some cases in the past where parents, of both genders, have been deemed to have committed this abuse.

            Do this before the kids are empowered or assessed by the OCL. In valid cases of Parental Alienation, the empowered child will simply reflect the desires and wishes of the abusive parent.


            • #7
              If you want to go with a private assessor, it's going to cost a lot, and you will need the consent of both parents. I highly doubt you will get permssion from your ex.


              • #8
                In our case the OCL saw the situation very well and did a good job of recognizing bribes/PA attempts. Ended up agreeing with our wishes for a 50-50 arrangement.

                To my husbands credit, I believe that his putting the kids 1st - no matter what - really helped our case. He didn't complain about the bribing or PA attempts, he let the OCL see that for themselves. He focused on the fact that the kids NEED a good influence & that he is the man to provide it. He picked the things that she was bribing them with (no bedtimes, no vegetables among others) and showed the investigator that the children need bedtimes & nutrition and that he provides them (not very hard to do when the kids complain to the OCL that you make them eat veggies and go to bed but mommy doesn't). I think that if you try to keep the "she won'ts" to a minimum and the "I can" in the forefrunt it is a lot easier for the OCL investigators to figure out the situation. If they come across a family where all that they hear is he said/she said them they have to pick a side to believe (thus the crapshoot). If one side slags the other and all that they want to talk about every single little thing that the other side has done wrong and the other side focuses on the things that they do well for the children.... I think that the OCL is more likely to side with the reasonable, positive side.

                Just my opinion - have heard a few cases where OCL hasn't gone well. Ours did. Hope it works out well for you, as I believe that 7 bi-weekly hours with your child is absolutley unjustifyable.


                • #9
                  I'm not sure that a private assessment guarantees a better ability to deal with PAS. The clinical investigators at the OCL are also trained social workers. It comes down to the person you get, be it via public or private channels.

                  A parent can dick around with OCL intervention if they want as well. My ex didn't complete the intake forms after the court order on consent was made. Three months later the OCL declined to take the case, whereupon I had to go back to court to obtain another order for their involvement.

                  Miraculously, the other side produced the half completed intake forms that "they sent in the first time". Eventually the OCL took the case.

                  The point is, if the other parent doesn't want the assessment done (because they have a skeleton or two they want to keep in the closet) that parent can sabotage the process. You have to be diligent and not give up.

                  Here's my OCL story:



                  • #10
                    My OCL case didn't go well. But it didn't sour me on the OCL. Maybe my ex has cleaned up his act, I don't know. Our communication is limited, due to his previous behaviour, but the OCL seemed to think that he was doing a decent job. I know he takes good care of her (well good enough, he's not me ), so despite my disagreement with their recommendations, I still think they were thorough.

                    Maybe they gave him the benefit of the doubt? I know they gave him several "warnings" that I did not get. The ones I got were about communication and they were directed at BOTH of us. I can't say that I would have preferred paying a private assessor though, as the outcome would not likely have been much different and I would have a deeper hole to fill.

                    Personally, I would find out the costs and details about the private assessor, but wait to see what happens at the CC. There's a chance you will have OCL ordered if you ask.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the help! In my motion I asked for 50%, I offered my ex that I would accept 1 full weekend per month + 1 weeknight to avoid the whole endless cr*p, but she doesn't consent. I can't expect any cooperation from her. So I will ask for the OCL involvement on the case conference, doesn't matter what they do, it can't be worse.
                      Btw: how much does it cost? (I make too much to get anything for free, I just don't have money)


                      • #12
                        lumpy, you nailed it.

                        You have to be VERY, VERY child centred. We spent dozens of hours pouring over the intake forms for the OCL. I had probably 20 pages of attachments expanding on the questions in the intake forms.

                        We wrote, wrote and edited, edited the heck out of those intake forms. Then we did it again. Then I had another person in the social work field review it to make sure that it presented well.

                        During the assessment it was always about the kids needs. I was extremely sensitive about not slagging Mom. A big big challenge was to identify the conerns I had about her without trashing her.

                        I was very fortunate in that the clinical investigator assigned to us is very highly regarded in the field with a wealth of experience. She almost certainly realized that I had researched the crap out of the process and knew how to present to her in an effective way. In her report, she said that I was "sophisticated" which probably was social work speak for "he played the game well".

                        It's true, I did all that. I turned over every stone I could trying to get behind the scenes as to how they work. Fortunately I know several people in the field and was able to draw on their wisdom and experience. I also poked around the internet like crazy looking for more nooks and crannies.

                        The huge amount of preparation and research that me and my family put into the assessment was a key in obtaining the custody outcome I got. Beyond all that though, it was all true.

                        You can prepare and research all you want. That increases your chances of success. But nothing beats being a good parent who truly puts his/her kids interests at the fore!!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rszalai View Post
                          Btw: how much does it cost? (I make too much to get anything for free, I just don't have money)
                          It's free. It's a government agency. Which is one reason they can only take a limited number of cases.


                          • #14
                            Thanks again!
                            The CC is on Jan 14th.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dadtotheend View Post
                              The huge amount of preparation and research that me and my family put into the assessment was a key in obtaining the custody outcome I got. Beyond all that though, it was all true.

                              You can prepare and research all you want. That increases your chances of success. But nothing beats being a good parent who truly puts his/her kids interests at the fore!!
                              Funny - Our lawyer left her firm just as we got the acceptance from the OCL. Our new lawyer was a useless piece of... well... she didn't tell us anything about the investigation, how to prepare, or even when it was... We went into it completely blind. We were very lucky (and naive) in many ways, but our approach of trying to do the best by the kids worked wonders.

                              We didn't make a big deal of it with the kids. We told them that a lawyer that works for children was coming over to talk to them because occassionally they do that with families to check and make sure everything is OK. At the same time they admitted to the OCL that apparantly mom had a little chat with them just before the 1st OCL visit where she was slamming her hands together yelling (because she was excited) that they HAD TO tell the lawyer the right answers to his questions and who they liked more. When one of the kids came to me and asked me why she was so upset (and saying that she was making them really nervous), I told them that mom is just nervous because she was meeting a new person (she's quite shy and our child bought my excuse for her). I went on to tell her that the lawyer will be asking them a few questions. If they don't know the answers they can say that. If they are unsure but think maybe they know the answers they can say that. If they are absolutely sure of the answers they can say that and if they change their mind about any of the answers they can tell that to the lawyer too. I told them that there were no right and no wrong answers. Either way it wasn't a big deal and to think of it like a nosy family friend is over!

                              With the actual OCL investigator we never actually said that mom has no bedtimes, etc. We just stated that we had X bedtime and that we felt it was very important to be consistant with our bedtimes, as the kids were often tired when we pick them up. Subtle hint... He then asked the kids what their bedtime was at mom's... answer: none aren't we lucky we get to stay up until midnight whenever we want .... dad's.... answer: 8:30 every school night and 9:00 on weekends which sucks eh (says the youngest). In hindsight I realize that if we had gone at the investigator up in arms screaming that the kids stay up until midnight every night that they are with mom because she is a useless parent, they probably would have thought that we were
                              1. exaggerating (how would we know when the kids go to bed every night unless we were interfering and questioning them about the other parent's custody time - being controlling)
                              2. suddenly making up a bedtime to look like better parents (trying to one up her)
                              3. complaining about what she does and not trying to help the kids
                              4. proving mom right - we can't communicate and we are judging and slagging her - no chance for 50-50

                              Instead we came across as wanting the kids to have a meaningful relationship with BOTH parents and if we have to take up the slack for the lack of rules/discipline/sleep/nutrition and be called the bad guys by the kids then we were OK with that, but we made it very clear that they absolutely needed us for the structure and learning part of their upbringing.

                              The ruling was that it was "absolutely essential" to the children that no time be taken away from dad. It was "absolutely essential" to the children that dad keep his 50% custody time and say in how the children are raised.

                              Moral of the long story; If you can figure out the weaknesses of the OP, try to accept that not everyone is good at everything, and try to make up for them in your child's life then you will be doing a great service to the child. And a happy bonus - you will look indespensable to anyone outside of your family trying to decide upon custody time. You will surely benefit from doing your research, as DTTE did, but I think that the #1 rule is keep the kids best interests at the front - and usually those best interests include a meaningful relationship with BOTH parents. Even if you are the one fighting for more time make sure that you can praise somthing that the other parent does (truthfully).

                              Good luck at the CC
                              Last edited by lumpy; 12-22-2010, 01:49 PM.


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