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Amber E.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience:  Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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The court ordered that my son be interviewed by the Child Custody

Resolved Question:

The court ordered that my son be interviewed by the Child Custody Recommending Counselor at Family Court Services today. We have shared custody of our sons and they spend every other week with each of us.

I am concerned about recent behavior, including last night, where my son is being used as a tool instead of my ex-wife communicating with me. He also called me last night attacking me for going to court and asking for sole custody. The court specifically ordered that the parents shall not discuss court proceedings or show court papers to the child and I have not said this so I know that my ex-wife must have.

Both this son, 16 and my youngest 11 have responded to me often that they cannot trust talking to me about issues that bother them because they are afraid I will use it to hurt their mom in court. Their mom is a survivor of child sexual and other abuse perpetrated by her father, uncle and stepfather from a baby to 16 and she expressed to me that they controlled her by saying that "If your mother/aunt finds out it will kill them." The statements my sons are saying sound eerily similar to me.

My son is with his mother this week so will be brought to the interview by her. Is there any process whereby I can provide my concerns to the interviewer before she interviews our son? Or, would the interviewer likely misread my attempt to inform her as an attempt to manipulate the process? My ex-wife is an expert manipulator and has been very successful at getting me into lose/lose scenarios so I am extra sensitive.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Amber E. replied 1 year ago.

1. I am concerned about recent behavior, including last night, where my son is being used as a tool instead of my ex-wife communicating with me. He also called me last night attacking me for going to court and asking for sole custody. The court specifically ordered that the parents shall not discuss court proceedings or show court papers to the child and I have not said this so I know that my ex-wife must have.

If you believe your wife has violated the court order, there are options. For example, a motion for contempt is commonly used by parents to punish misconduct of this kind, when the other parent is intentionally and willfully acting contrary to the court's instructions. Bringing such action to the court's attention alerts not only the judge but also any evaluators as well about the behavior.

2. Is there any process whereby I can provide my concerns to the interviewer before she interviews our son? Or, would the interviewer likely misread my attempt to inform her as an attempt to manipulate the process?

Without knowing the particulars of the case or the reputation of the evaluator, it is truly impossible to say. In some cases, they will want as much information as possible and tell you so, their requests for insight are on-going. They take the information and assess it along with whatever additional information they receive from the children. On the other hand, evaluators that are particularly biased in favor of one gender or the other (e.g. the mother, for example) may take whatever information is provided and use it against the other parent. I've seen both happen. As noted above, however, the evaluator is able to review the paperwork that has been filed in the legal proceeding, including any allegations of contempt, and so can become aware of the behavior indirectly. Complaints of misconduct can also be brought to the evaluator's attention during any interviews with the parents, or via communications with the attorney or agent representing the children (if any).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Since the interview is today filing a motion for contempt is out of the question. And, since the evaluator showed some bias (I have experienced evaluators with much more bias) towards my ex-wife in the mediation interview, during the original motion, it is probably not in my children's best interest to try and give her any additional information prior to the interview with my son today either.

There is a Review Hearing stated to be "Regarding the Child Interview" on May 16th. Is it legally appropriate to bring any of this or any of the original motion matters that were not dealt with, at that hearing?

During the original hearing I (representing myself) was distracted by the ongoing fraudulent charges that my ex-wife has made over a 12 year, 7 volume case file in Family Court, plus cases in 3 other courts. From the first word out of the evaluator's mouth I fell into a defensive mode. The original motion included custody and support so we were sent to mediation again, before the hearing started. On the intake form my ex-wife made DV allegations from 2001 which is what she used to justify kidnapping the children for 10 days to start the case. Those charges were proved to be fraud 12 years ago but this is a new judge and so the taint and bias was successful. I have felt so burned by the system that I have done everything to stay out of court for the last 5 years but the severely deteriorating mental and psychological condition of my two children remaining at home drove me to brave the system again.

Expert:  Amber E. replied 1 year ago.

That would depend upon the nature and content of the interview. Without knowing what the focus of the discussion will be, it is impossible to say. However, if during the interview it can be determined that the court order has been violated, then pointing it out would not be an untoward action to take. If not, then filing a motion and having a hearing specifically on that issue is another option. This is because, if it can be shown that a parent is manipulating the children, then misconduct of such a severe nature may call into question and undermine not only her own testimony but the past interviews of the children as well.

The difficulty in representing yourself is how emotionally attached to the case you are. Parents who allow themselves to become distracted or defensive can at times appear uncooperative and even aggressive, which the courts generally do not want to see. This is especially true if the parent is a male. Sometimes it helps to observe other trials in court to see how attorneys operate, and adopt a similar straight-forward, direct, calm and even manner. And when you have an opportunity to speak or present your view, be it in the form of written motions or verbally, pro se litigants tend to fair better when they are clear and concise, even when they feel that they want to scream. If you are unrepresented, I would suggest that you keep contacting private attorneys - there are literally hundreds in your area, to see if any would at any time accept your case or agree to assist you pro bono or at a reduced fee. Many attorneys frequently take on case or provided limited assistance for pro bono credit, and you may convince someone to help in time. Even fresh young attorneys can be sought out, and though limited in experience they have the knowledge and TIME to really devote to the case unlike some more experienced attorneys might.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You hit the nail on the head regarding "In Pro Per" repesentation! WIth well over 100 court appearances I've had enough observation to know how to act and had prepared for weeks but I am always caught off guard at the depth of manipulative power my ex-wife has. In the end you get what you pay for! I had previously observed the new judge, a female, and felt she was pretty fair but those were cases that she heard from the very beginning and so knew the history.

I'm also concerned that the events last night were designed by my ex-wife to put my son in an angry place before he has the interview today. Telling him that I went to court to get sole custody (which was not my motion) feeds into the other statements she tells them that anything they tell me will be used in court to hurt her and direct him to protect his mom. I did what was right by refusing to discuss with him saying that those are issues parents should talk about and not involve him but that just made him feel more distrustful that I won't be honest with him.

Despite the ongoing harm I feel my children are enduring all I guess I can do is document and collect to a point that the evidence is overwhelming and file a new motion. Clear and concise is always the hardest part as my ex-wife will have 4 or 5 fraudulent insinuations in just one sentence. She masterfully redirects any questions to her this way. I am always in the lose - lose position of not responding to defend or correct and leaving the insinuations in the judges mind or coming off as "uncooperative and aggressive."

I appreciate the advice about finding Pro Bono help. Until she caused the complete finacial distruction of our family there were attorneys involved and most of the experienced attorneys know the case but a fresh attorney does have more legal knowledge than I and cannot do worse.
Expert:  Amber E. replied 1 year ago.
The eldest child probably feels left out of the loop, he knows to some degree what is going on and it is reasonable for him to want to know more. Sometimes in cases where older teens are involved, parents can seek permission to answer the children's questions concerning the case or even to arrange for them to speak to the judge directly so that the judge can explain what is happening. If the children a not in counseling, that too might help minimize any resentment that might be building up due to the isolation he may feel.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience: Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
Amber E. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If you are aware of any men's rights groups that take on cases like mine I would be appreciative for the direction. Thanks in advance!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a way for me to obtain the evaluator's report of today's interview prior to the May 16th hearing?
Expert:  Amber E. replied 1 year ago.

You should receive a copy of the report prior to the hearing by mail, but if not you can check with the court where it should be filed or the judge's office if it is being sent directly there.

As for father's rights resources, we are not allowed to make referrals. But, I can direct you to about.com webpage that may be a good place to begin. If you join one or more of the online support networks, you are sure to find other fathers in your state who can help refer you to resources they have benefited from.

http://singleparents.about.com/od/legalissues/tp/fathers_rights_organizations.htm

Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience: Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
Amber E. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My son's evaluation was on April 18th and the review hearing is Thursday May 16th. I have not received a copy of the report by mail and so I just called Family Court Services. They told me that minor reports are only available to the judge. Is this accurate?
Expert:  Amber E. replied 1 year ago.
1. They told me that minor reports are only available to the judge. Is this accurate?

No, not "only" the judge. Child Custody Recommending Counseling reports are confidential, this much is true. But they ordinarily are allowed to be released to the court, an attorney of record, or the named parties to the proceeding, with limited exception. However, it may be that they have been directed to send the report straight to the judge. That happens. That's why I suggested that you might want to check with the judge's office also, if it is being sent there. The judge can then dictate how sensitive information is transmitted, this process helps control distribution and preserve privacy.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience: Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
Amber E. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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