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hocuspocusme, USA Legal
Category: Family Law
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If I have an initial hearing to modify the current custody

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If I have an initial hearing to modify the current custody arrangements how should I go about requesting reasons why I feel it is necessary for the court to consider my request?
What is the situation surrounding the change and what kind of custody are you requesting and what kind of custody do you currently have?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

My ex currently has full custody and I have the generic court ordered visitation schedule i.e. alternate weekends and midweek Wednesdays from 5 to 8 wen weekend visitation does not occur. Summer break is also mine for 3 consecutive weeks, and then odd years for Thanksgiving, Spring break, Memorial Day weekend, and my sons birthdays. My ex has repeatedly interfered with this arrangement and enrolled him in basketball leagues and told me if I can't get him to and from his scheduled tournaments and practices on my weekends that he can't come ( I work every weekend). My ex has used my son as a pawn and tells him I am stupid etc etc, and tells my son to call me and deliver the news of what is going on rather than my ex and I discussing it between ourselves. When I try to call him out on his behavior, he hangs up on me. He also regularly denies my son access via phone (which we talk everyday). My ex also punishes my son for sharing any information about the goings and my son is fearful of hi s father's retaliation due to me opening up this case. I am requesting custody based on the fact that my ex is not taking into consideration the best interests of our son, rather a selfish vindictive spirit that is not conducive to a positive parenting partnership. Just to name a few things.

That is a good reason to ask for a change in custody. Now I need to know why the father has custody in the first place? What was the situation then with you and what has changed since then?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It was originally a temporary recommendation based on the GAL when she came into my home unannounced, there was another lady and her 2 children there as they were closing on a house and the builder pushed the closing and they had nowhere to go. Being that coupled with I was not married to my partner she said she felt it might be best temporarily to award Dad (who was living alone in a 3 bdrm home) temporary custody. The family moved out within weeks of the decision but I had no money to retain an attorney and my son was living with me anyway as his dad was too busy to be bothered with the commute to his private school. My ex said no need to pay support as I had my son anyway and I made a huge mistake and didn't get this in writing. When the situation changed 8 months later, my ex lied and said I had not paid support and opened up a DCSEA case against me in which arrears were around 11,000 and I was expecting a baby and had no income so I had 3 choices 1) go to jail for 6 months 2) pay the $11,000 arrears or 3) give up custody I had been tricked and was told by counsel I could always go back and change it anyway so I did #3 . The final divorce decree went into effect last April 08 so now I have to come up with a substantial change in circumstance since then. I am still (4 years later) living with my partner and 3 daughters while my son is begging me to change his situation back to living with me. My ex since last April as taken my son out of private school and put him in the fall of 08 into public school where he went from a 1 to 6 ratio to a 1 to 25 ratio and has had a difficult time adjusting to the more independent requirements and less nurturing environment. My ex as been pretty hands off in this transition and my sons grades have fallen since the transition and his confidence in school has dropped even more. I have also gone back to work August 08 so I could financially get back on my feet and make some changes to this as I knew it was going to take $$ to fix it.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Forgot to mention, my ex since last decree has also moved his girlfriend into his home with her 6 year old daughter. I can't prove this took place since the final decree was made as they may have moved in prior to that but it was not known to me until later after the decree had been submitted to the court.
Two specific factors:
He is not promoting the relationship with you and your son. He is actually alienating the relationship.

He has changed the child to public school and the child's grades have been affected.

The child wants to live with you. The child has to be 10-12 with a maturity level to choose the parent he wants to live with and the judge will 'consider' the child's choice if you are stable and can provide a loving home.

You are still with the same partner and raising your children. I am assuming your partner has a job and no criminal record. If this is the case then you have a good chance to gain custody. The child will have to testify his wishes to live with you and that his father is alienating the relationship with you.

Best Interests of the Child Factors:

As used in this act, “best interests of the child” means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.

(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Can I pay you another $15 and ask you something further?
Please see last posting for best interest of child factors used by the judges in making custodial decisions.

You don't have to pay me again, simply ask me. Just hit the green accept button ONE TIME.
See last post. Youre so fast:)
hocuspocusme and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Now ask me anything else you want to and you dont have to press the green button again unless you want to.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I can't express how grateful I am as this situation has spiralled out of control :-) I have assured my son that I am doing everything I can in my power to change the situation I just didn't want the judge to deny my motion to amend the custody arrangement. You are very fast yourself!! I was told by the attorney I just went to that I should have been calling the police everytime my ex denied me visitation; however, I was told by previous consults that I should be logging this as proof to submit to the court. The last attorney furthermore called me nothing less than an idiot and said even an uneducated person would have done this. I told her I was never directed to do that and that I thought simply logging events and going back to motion the court was sufficient but she told me otherwise. I guess that is part of the reason for my feeling so fearful of what I will go through in the morning because she told me I had nothing but an uphill battle, so I thougt for sure my request would be denied.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
When the judge asks me why I feel it necessary to modify the current custody situation should I simply state the specific factors you mentioned, or should I go into the lengthy explanations? 2) Can I ask the judge that based on the circumstances I would prefer a GAL be appointed to handle my son rather than having him testify against his father?
Well, he does not have to testify in open court if he is not comfortable. He can speak to the judge in closed chambers. The judge would allow that because of his age.

About the police reports, yes that would have been better, but if you have good documentation with the dates and times that the incidents happen you can refer to them when you testify and the judge is more likely to believe you that have documented this and can refer to them easily than someone who was not organized. Your ex will then have to respond to each incident where he denied the visitation.

It will be an uphill battle. Be confident, loving and you can even cry on the stand.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much hocuspocusme. I will apply this tomorrow and pray it all works out!!
Let me know how it works out. I mean that. I would like to know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I will do that, can I just come back here and request you or how do I go about getting in contact with you to provide you with an update? I really feel you sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this Smile and I am very grateful.
I think this question will be open for another day. If not type for hocuspocus me with your same username birdie and i will see it. dont put a deposit. thanks.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks hocuspocus, it's ironic that I need a little magic to get this turned around haha!!
Sleep well, you will need to be fresh for tomorrow. Bye.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you!!! We went in for the preliminary this morning, and the judge honored my request and our trial date is set for Sep. 4th as now the following need to take place: the guardian ad litum has been appointed and both my ex and I had an initial meeting with hiim this morning, there will be home visits, parental evaluations, and assessments that must take place and the judge will then listen to all the evidence that is presented to him on the 4th of September to make his decision. My ex was livid and kept saying this shouldn't have to take place because the final decree has only been in place for a year and he spent a fortune to get things the way he wanted them!! Your guidance and insight kept me calm and prepared (for this morning I was way overprepared) but nothing like I need to be over the next 6 months. I can't thank you enough for your professionalism and encouragement, it was truly a godsend!!