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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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  #1  
Old 03-30-2006, 08:34 PM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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Default New Development - Ex is refusing access despite court order

I am literally shaking here.

Two weeks ago the court ordered ( interim) that ex allow me access to my son via telephone 4 times per week. I am to call him on the weekends and she is to use the calling card I sent and have my son call me at work on tuesdays and thursdays.

Today I made sure that at 4:00 ( the specific time as per the court order) I was available at work and made sure I wouldn't take any calls. At 4:45 there was still no call from my son. I knew she had the phone card because I sent it 14 days ago priority mail.

So, I called my son from work. When ex picked up the phone I asked her if she got the phone card and she said yes, but she sent it back to me!!! She said, very bitterly I might add, that she would not make Thomas call me at work.

I was shocked....she was court ordered to do this!!

I don't know what to do now. I obviously have to call my lawyer tomorrow....but the problem is that as per the court order, I am to call my son on the weekends ( last weekend went by and she did not answer the phone once despite 20 attempts per day) and she is saying she won't let my son call me during the week! Essentially she is refusing ALL contact.

So, my lawyer will probably have to send her lawyer a letter now, which will further cost me. She is getting legal aid so obviously she has unlimited use of her lawyer....but I'll pay an arm and a leg fighting this garbage!

What will most likely happen here? I mean, just because she's in receipt of legal aid, can she keep pulling this stuff which is completely unreasonable and which will cost me unnecessarily to fight? I can hardly believe that she would have unlimited use of a lawyer in this way? Obviously there is no court in the world who is going to allow her to do this.

I am so upset here. My boy has the chicken pox and I cannot even talk to him....when I do get to talk to him he sounds so happy to talk to me. What am I going to do?

GDGM
  #2  
Old 03-30-2006, 08:49 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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This is such an unfortunate situation. But yes, you are going to have to have your lawyer write a letter asking your ex to comply with the order and asking her why she will not comply. You need this paper trail if you go before a judge again. Keep meticulous records of all attempts to contact your son.
  #3  
Old 03-30-2006, 09:00 PM
brokendad brokendad is offline
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Default gdgm

Man I can't tell you how much I feel for you and the telephone situation. I have a similar thing going on and the kids are only across town.If there is any comfort in this I;m sure you are not the only one.
Again how Old is your son Thomas ,My children are 4 and 2 but I;m at the point of opting out of telephone contact as I'm sure they are being pressured not to speak when I talk to them.
You can count your good fortune that you have a number that you can call to talk to him--- I don't have this -- she initiates the call a t a set time and if I'm not there then too bad no return call.
I would advise you to pressure your lawyer to have the court order modified to something more applicable or in your case ask him to support going after your spouse for being in violation of a court order.
As well you could get a phone number of the local police and ask if they could act on your behalf either performing a welllfare check or speaking directly to your ex. Of course you will most likely need to provide terms of your court order but they should help you . As well there involement will most likely require an incident report , get the report number and the officers names and badge numbers and provide this to your lawyer.
You may simply have to paper her to death and certainly this would not look good on her in a court of law.
If there is one more piece of advice I may give you it is this... donnot play the nice guy out of fear of loosing your children unless you are happy with loosing your own dignity and self respect as well ..... ask me how I know this.... it does not work with a vindictive spouse. /the only thing that may work is dragging her sorry butt into court for contempt of a court order.
As for your lawyer if he is playing the nice guy collabortive law game remember that you are the guy paying and if you are not happy with the results make this clear to your lawyer. I'm not advocating getting rid of him whren he has intimate knowledge of your file but it has to be made very clear to him that you are not happy with the present situation
It can definately suck out there for single fathers but I'm rooting for you as I'm sure are many others who read this site.
Good luck and I hope this helps.

brokendad
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:08 AM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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Thanks Grace and Brokendad

Last night was such a hard one. I am caught in a vortex of depression and absolute frustration...mix in a bit of anger there too.

My boy is 6 years old and has been identified as exceptionally intelligent...whatever that's supposed to mean. He's very bright, ahead of his age group, and while this was good I now see it possibly as being a bad thing in this particular case. I think he may be even more sensitive to what's happening as a result. I don' t know....

I emailed my lawyer last night. I simply told him that I am concerned about my boy, and that I feel that it's time to become mroe aggressive with this particular issue of the divorce ( access ) I have really had it with this and for the last year I've kept my mouth shut and have tried to play fair....now I don't care how dirty I have to get with the lawyer and tactics. She has pushed me to my final limit with this. I think it's time to haul out the suit of armor....it's time to fight and fight hard.

I can't believe that she can just do this and that I'll have to pay an arm and a leg while she gets the luxury of a free lawyer. I mean, one would think that a persons eligibility to be represented by legal aid would be on the merit of the case. As my mom back in NL said, she's the one who 's paying for the ex to behave this way and get legal representation. The tax payors are paying for her to get representation for not complying with a court order! It's so screwed up.

At the end of the day...there is a beautiful little boy out there who is wondering why his dad isn't phoning him...

I'll let you know what the lawyer says about this, I'm interested in seeing how this is going to play out.
GDGM
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:56 AM
Grace Grace is offline
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I feel for you GDGM, as this must be so incredibly difficult for you with you living so far away. I know you can't find employment in your hometown, but I hope you are still looking.

If your ex is not going to cooperate then I suggest you file a motion for sole custody. This may be enough, to smarten your ex up. Although the reality of this, will be an uphill battle for you.

Also, I do believe Legal Aid places on cap on the amount of funds for litigating. Perhaps you could search the web site for Legal Aid in NL, and see if its detailed there.
  #6  
Old 03-31-2006, 12:25 PM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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Thanks Grace

Every day I seek employment back home. The logistics of going back without a decent job would be enormous! Ex has everything I ever owned ( even sold my rare book collection ) so I would be going back with literally nothing. Lord knows I haven't been able to save any money here. Despite my large income, after child support, there is literally nothing left at the end of the month.

Since this happened yesterday, I've been seriously thinking about going back home even without a job. I could live with my folks and get a legal aid lawyer, then go for sole custody of my son.

I think ex is seriously emotionally disturbed. Last year when I had to call the police on her, the officer who spoke with me afterwards actually asked me if there was something seriously wrong with her. She was/is apparently seeing a psychiatrist.

I never would have tried to take my son from her....I think my son does need his mother....but I am genuinly concerned for his emotional well-being now. I think she's really on a steady path of going off the deep end. This is a woman who has a lot of time on her hands....does not work....has no hobbies and very few friends....all by choice. I have a feeling that she is sitting at home just thinking of ways to be vindictive and is just simmering is a world of negative thoughts.

I've been checking out some info about legal aid and there doesn't seem to be any clear answers. I am really curious though, how far she will be permitted to go with her actions, and still receive representation. I do believe that she should have representation, but I also feel that when there is no merit to her actions ( as is the case now) then why should she be given the free and unlimited access to a lawyer who is getting paid out of the tax payors pockets. Even outside of my particular situation, if I found out that my tax money was paying for people like her to be defended for blatently inappropriate actions, such as non-compliance of a court order, I would be pretty ticked off!

That's my rant for this morning! Ha!! I hope this doesn't offend anyone who is in receipt of legal aid. Please understand that I am only having an issue with the very specific circumstances as previously mentioned. I know, and believe, that everyone should have a lawyer...even a legal aid lawyer. I just don't think people should have the freedom to abuse it. If ex had to pay a lawyer $150/hour, do you think she'd put herself in a position where she knows she's got to pay out another $500 bucks to defend herself? I can guarantee you that if she didn't have legal aid, she'd think twice before behaving this way! Sadly enough, it will be me who has to pay that amount to enforce the court order. Unbelieveable...

Curious to see what the lawyer is going to respond with....

GDGM
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:20 PM
applepie applepie is offline
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I'm sorry GDGM for the problems that you are going through with your son. That's hard and I can feel your pain. I'm pretty sure that there is a cap for the legal aid help. Why don't you ask your lawyer if you can sue for legal fees also? This may make her think twice about pulling another stunt like this if she knows she have to pay your costs to go to court.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:02 PM
sasha1 sasha1 is offline
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GDGM, there is no excuse for her behavior, and I'm sorry you're dealing with her BS; more than that, I'm sorry for your son! I hope she at least has the decency to tell him that you can't call right now, but that you love him... although, I doubt it; she sure doesn't sound like a woman who's known for her moral fibre. Even if you were an abusive pedophile on drugs, what's the problem with phone contact?! Unless you're in the habit of trashing Mommy to your son whenever you talk to him (and I'm sure you're not), she can't possibly have any leg to stand on in court. And the judge will NOT be impressed with her behavior; she's so clearly acting out of anger and thoughts of revenge, and not the boy's best interests. The best thing you can do is remain calm and fair if you do talk to her at some point (while having your lawyer hit her with contempt), don't let her pull you into an argument, and document EVERY attempt to reach your son. Send registered letters that she has to sign for, too. If she refuses them, that will also be on the record. And in those letters, just in case she does accept them, tell your son nothing about what his mother is doing; just assure him you love him and will contact him by phone as soon as you can. I can't recall if it was you or someone else that wondered about purchasing a voice recorder? Either way, get one. Record every attempt to call, whether you get through or not. Get a digital one, so you can download all saved calls to your computer; the recorder time and date stamps the file, and if an answering machine picks up, or your ex does, you'll be able to show the calls on your phone bill as well. If you get no answer after several attempts, dial the operator, tell them you're having trouble getting an answer when you know the person is expecting your call, and could he/she try the number for you?, all the while, recording. You can transfer those files to a CD, if you have the software and a burner in your computer, and you can transcribe any calls that have voice on them. If you need a hand with that, PM me.. I'm no computer expert by any means, but I've gotten pretty handy with my own voice recorder and software because I'm dealing with the same kind of idiots you are. Have you considered having your parents or someone else back home go by the house to bring a present from you for the child? If your registered letters are refused, that's what I would do; send letters/presents to whomever you trust that is willing to try to deliver them and willing to sign an affidavit detailing what happened, if she refuses delivery. (Oh, and send them during the day, when you know your son will be in school, just in case there's a scene.)

Bottom line; keep fighting to stay in contact with your child, keep doing things by the book, and keep calm.. it's very frustrating, but right now, your ex is hanging herself with the rope she's been given. She is really screwing up her position, all in the name of anger, and this is your opportunity to really illustrate the differences between you and her, by continuing to do the right thing by your child. Judges do NOT take kindly to having their orders ignored or disobeyed, and particularily when there's no valid reason for it; this WILL come back to haunt her in some way, even if it's not through her legal aid being pulled.

Speaking of legal aid, are you sure she's getting it "free"? In Alberta, when you get legal aid, you don't have to pay full fee up front, but depending on one's financial situation, and often the outcome of the case, recipients often have to pay back a portion, from what I understand.

If there's any way you can realistically move back, you should. As you've said, you're not saving squat up there, and you're so far removed from the situation. It's a pain having to move in with your parents, but it would only be temporary, and your son would be so much more accessible to you once the courts force the issue. Clearly, your being far away hasn't helped her to get past her anger issues, so what have you got to lose? Especially if you would qualify for legal aid yourself.
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