Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
How long have you been traveling 100 miles for this visitation?
How far away will you be when you relocate? When is the relocation scheduled?
Have you set up a mediation date yet?
I apologize for the delay -- I popped offline for a bit. Yes, you want to speak to the magistrate about scheduling mediation at least a week or two before the next court date so that the mediator will have time to write up a report as needed. Every court in every state handles mediation scheduling differently so you should ask the magistrate if there is a general manner in which mediation scheduling is handled. Does the court set it up or do you have to do it privately between you -- and then go by what the magistrate suggests and if you have to set it up privately then send the ex a certified letter requesting his agreement and participation for getting the mediation scheduled and completed (also send the letter via regular mail with proof of mailing -- so that if he does not pick up the certified letter he will get the regular mail letter). You want to make sure that you are seen as the reasonable one and the one that wants to get some definitive answers, agreements and rulings as quickly as possible.
Regarding the requested move to Texas, you will have to show the court that it is in your child's best interest to go to and live in Texas with you and your husband rather than remain in Ohio and living with him. That will require that you bring out all of his problems to the court and show the court that there is no good reason to order that your son remain with his father. This is where the testimony regarding his addictions, personality and from his wife and daughter (which, if she comes through for you will be the icing on the cake). I do not think you will have much trouble in getting the court's permission to move - however you might end up having to pay more of the travel expenses if the court finds that you can afford it more easily than he can (the court does take into consideration the child support payments he must make for his other child or children).
Regarding his motion for contempt and possible bid for custody in this regard you have the facts that HE is the one who made the move so far away from his son and you have been reasonable every step of the way during the past 4 years to get your son to where he needed to be every Friday night when he had visitation so I honestly do not think that the court will get excited over these issues. If push comes to shove and mediation fails you can ask the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) who is either an attorney or a psychologist who will review the parents living arrangements, parenting skills, and lifestyles, and will speak with your son, other relatives, the school, your son's doctors, counselors (if any), his criminal record and the restraining order against him, even the mother of his daughter and his daughter if you give the GAL the information. The GAL will then deliver a report with recommendations for custody, the proposed move to Texas, the visitation to and from Texas and anything else that the GAL believes that the court should be made aware of.
Given everything you have told me I cannot see any reason why you would lose custody or why the Judge would prevent the TX move. I wish I could give you a 100% assurance that this will happen all in your favor but I do believe that you should prevail on most of these matters.
Please let me know if you have more questions. If I go off line for the night I will pick it up again in the morning. Good Luck.
Let me answer your questions as presented -- that will make it less confusing for us:
1. I am sure that mediation must be set up by the patents, as stated in the SPP.So at this point I write just a general letter to Father stating....????Q:It's our responsibility to share the cost associated with it. So with him to do find out where to obtain the mediator and the cost associated with it? Obtain a list of the mediators available from whatever company the court directs you to and enclose the list with your choices marked in order. In the letter, state that "we are required by the court to submit our issues to mediation prior to our next court hearing date on June XX, 2012. To that end, I have enclosed a list of mediators provided by the court and have marked my choices in order of preference -- please make choices for a mediator, and list some good dates and times for you up to about a week before the court date on the enclosed sheet and return the form to me so that I can arrange for the mediator. Also, according to court rules we are to split the cost of the mediator. I will arrange a date, time and place for the mediation and pay half the costs of same when I make these arrangements and I will arrange for them to send a confirmation and an invoice for your half in the mail. " You have no control over whether he will do this or not and if he does not then you should inform the court about this by filing a "Motion for Contempt and Order to Compel Mediation" - you can type this up on one page and file it with the court if he has not made his selections or paid his portion by the two week date before the court date and in the motion tell the court in numbered paragraphs briefly what has happened and then tell the court "therefore, because the father has made no effort to schedule or pay for the mediation required by the court, mother requests that the court find him in contempt and assign an immediate mediation date for the next 10-14 days" Then you have to wait to see what happens. 2. I have the mother of his daughter, both, at the next court date. To testify to my truth regarding the Father.Q:Am I required to submit a request to have her testify on my behalf or does she just show up? She just has to show up and be ready to testify.
3. I request GAL If all else fails.Q:I request this verbally/ written at the conclusion of court with the magistrate, Or at the conclusion of mediation? You would request this at the court with the magistrate -- if mediation does not work and you are not any closer to a resolution at the end of the hearing -- then you should ask the magistrate if a GAL review and report might be helpful to him. Also, if for some reason this is not resolved by the next court date.... Is there something I can file to expedite resolution? Are something I can file to be allowed to Temporary take my son out of state till the next court date? This is for both of the questions above -- there is really no way you are going to be able to expedite resolution and the court will set up mediation or a GAL (or both) and you have to go from there. However, because the date is approaching that you need to move to TX, if things are not moving well by the court date, you should ask the Magistrate for a temporary order permitting you to relocate to Tx with your son. Point out to the court that you believe your ex is stalling deliberately just to make your life more difficult. If your ex annoys the court by failing to cooperate in the set up of the mediation then that will help you here and I think you will get your temp order and when the final date does happen I do think you are going to get the permission to relocate. Are there not any laws to protect my son during his visitation with his Father? If he physically abuses your son then you should call the police and report it and you may be able to get a restraining order which would stop visitation altogether. YOu can also file a motion with the court to limit his visitation or make the visitation supervised by a county social worker when he sees his father. You should bring this up to the magistrate also -- and if a GAL is appointed this should all come out in one way or another to the magistrate on the hearing date or subsequent hearing date after the GAL issues a report.Should I quit my current job.... Since the Father is no longer willing to meet me on Saturdays and stating I'm keeping him from his visitation rights? No. Not unless the court suggests that you do this in order to preserve the original visitation schedule -- otherwise you should ask that the time be revised to accomodate your schedule (if you are moving soon this will not be an issue any longer).
I hope that helps. I would appreciate it if you would press the ACCEPT or SUBMIT button below this answer box so I am paid for my time. I am not paid anything (we do not receive paychecks) and this is not a hobby for me -- it is how I earn a living -- so I will appreciate it when my customers press ACCEPT or SUBMIT below. Pressing the button will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU !!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).