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Joseph
Joseph, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7279
Experience:  I have over a decade of experience as a Family Law litigator
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My ex husband and I share custody of our 5 year old daughter.

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My ex husband and I share custody of our 5 year old daughter. A few days ago it came to my attention that while my daughter was with me, her father was hospitalized in the ER and admitted to Vista Del Mar ( a local Psych ward) he was there almost a week. I found this out through some of his family. His dad lied about my ex's absence saying there was an emergency with a friend and he left town to help. He would not willingly share this information. He has a history of depression and chronic migranes that he takes narcotics for. I feel that mentally he is not in the position to take care of himself, let alone our daughter. I have no money for attorneys, but he does. I am afraid if I take him to court I could lose her, and he will come after me to recoup his legal costs. (which he has threatened to do before) What can I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.

As to what to do, you can file an emergency motion to suspend and/or modify contact. The motion would detail what you've described here:

  • He was checked into a psych ward
  • His family lied to you about it
  • You are concerned for his mental well-being
  • You have a reasonable fear for the safety and well-being of the daughter while in the care and custody of her father due to his mental status
  • The court should suspend or modify the custodial arrangement accordingly

You have a lot of options as to finding an attorney that can assist you in this matter.....

 

First, you should begin with your state bar association. The California State Bar has a website, it is located at www.calbar.ca.gov.

 

I do not know your county of residence but your county bar association likely has a similar site that will be more specific to your location.

 

Additionally, Martindale Hubbell is a national organization that rates attorneys across the country. Their website is located at http://www.martindale.com/.

 

Another nationwide website is located at http://www.avvo.com/. This site lists attorneys by geographic location and area of practice.

 

Additionally, there is quite likely a legal aid society in your area. A quick internet search and/or phone book search should locate the society closest to you.

 

Each of these resources will have a wealth of information as to attorneys in your area that handle such cases and that would provide services for free or at a reduced cost. I would suggest you check each site out and you will surely find a great number of attorneys that meet your needs. Pick a few to meet with in person so that you can thoroughly explain your situation and then retain the one that you feel can best represent your interests.

 

Also, please keep in mind that, if he makes significantly more than you do, you may be able to get the court to order him to pay your attorneys fees. Courts rarely award fees as a punitive measure, they are more typically awarded when one party makes more than the other to create an "equalizing" effect.

 

 

Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One of my biggest concerns, since he did not tell me about the incident, and his family is covering for him, is patient confidentiality. Those are sealed tight, how can I prove that he was in the psych ward? Can the courts get those released? Or do I have to have an attorney subpoena the records?

Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.

You have a number of options....

 

If he's in court, and under oath, I would assume he would testify truthfully about the matter.

 

You could also subpoena anyone that would have knowledge of his stay there, including whoever it was that shared the information with you initially.

 

His mental state is clearly relevant to the issues. As such, you have the ability to subpoena his records from the medical provider.

 

 

Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Joseph, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7279
Experience: I have over a decade of experience as a Family Law litigator
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