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Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16379
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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I have 50/50 custody of my children with my ex-husband. My

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I have 50/50 custody of my children with my ex-husband. My children told me they were questioned by Child Protective Services regarding weapons in the home, physical abuse of another kid (not related to mine) in their household. CPS never contacted me. Im reading that they dont have to contact the parents when children are interviewed. Im assuming this can be used in court?
Recently my child gave a description of what I believe is neglect. Punishment using food restriction (1 meal/day) but apparently was months ago. My ex will not answer the phone when i call to speak to the kids during his week. My youngest child is 4 and is also denied calling me when she asks. I'm the only parent interacting with the school in regards ***** ***** sons behavior and grades. I've signed him up for counseling recently due to his behavior and sadness. My son has had fights, stolen items, and seriously injured a child at school all while in the custody of their father.
Is this enough to fight for full custody of my children? I don't know where to start.
CPS will make a report.. and then what?
Hello there ---I am sorry to hear about this. Can you answer a few questions for me, as follows, and then give me about 20 minutes after you respond to research your issue and type up some answers for you ??-1. What county and state are you located in ?-2. How long have you been divorced (or how long has the current custody and visitation orders been in place)?-3. Do you have any idea HOW this matter came to the attention of CPS?-4. Are the issues raised by CPS things that are happening in his home? When he has the children? Or is your ex claiming that you were the one abusing the children ?-5. If you think of anything else that you have not told me that may help in my review and analysis, please feel free to add it into your response. Even small details make a difference at times. -THanks. As soon as I hear back from you on these questions I will get to work on your answer. Please bear with me because I type very slowly and I also try to provide links to articles or laws if I believe such will be helpful to you and so those things do take some time. Because Just Answer advertises that a new question is answered every 9 seconds, some people take that as a guarantee that their question will be answered in about 10 seconds. It takes me more than 10 seconds to write my name !! LOL. My point is that I want to give you the best service and best answer that I possibly can in this forum and that can generally take me about 20-30 minutes after you respond to the questions above to do that.-MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you so much Mary!We reside in Sacramento, Ca.
The divorce was final and custody orders put in place on the same day in August of 2014.
My ex-husbands new girlfriend and her children moved in with him; It was her (10yr old) child that reported multiple weapons and being hurt in the home.
The issues raised by CPS is regarding incidents that happened in His home while our children were with him.
The mediator didn't listen to any of my concerns even when i mentioned and wrote about the CPS case.
I was their main caregiver all of their lives as a stay at home mother while my ex worked.The day of our custody hearing, the judge asked me if I'd like to expedite my default divorce hearing and be divorced that day, and she warned my ex that he is to pretend hes not present. She then proceeded to ask him questions about documents I'd sent even thought I had the proof and submitted it to her. She disregarded all of my paperwork in regards ***** ***** home, our life insurance and his retirement, it was filed with the courts two weeks prior but "wasn't in the system"Emotional abuse from the step mother has been a concern of mine for some time. She was has a criminal history involving drugs, perjury and welfare fraud and was in a physically abusive relationship for several years. She calls my youngest daughter ugly, tells my kids to refer to me as the "fat mom." She told my 9 year old that she needs to lose weight to be in their wedding, calls her stupid. Forcing my 4 year old to call her mom within weeks of her moving into the home.My ex is an alcoholic correctional officer suffering from depression since his mother passed away in 2009. He received his first DUI when we first separated in 2012 I believe. My two oldest children have even confirmed one incident where he had alcoholic beverages and drove with them.
He's taken the kids to be treated for scabies without telling me, I found out later from our child's pediatrician. There was about 6 months where the kids would return with bedbug bites. Our schedule is Sunday- Sunday. I drop them off Sunday night and the return the following Sunday night. My son has moments where he doesn't want to live there, but he really wants a relationship with his dad so he has mixed emotions. My son keeps getting into trouble during his fathers week and struggles with more then one class. I've met with his counselor, director of secondary education, principle and director of campus security regarding my sons behavior at school. This last incident lead to another child going to hospital with a mild concussion. His father had no reaction.While I have a great deal of anxiety regarding the judge treating me poorly again I also know I need to stick up for my children. I just want to be completely prepared before i stir the pot. The kids seem to always get the brunt of their dads frustration.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've attached a timeline of events if you'd like to take a look.
Okay -- the timeline will help. A few more questions?-How old are your children ? A boy and girl, correct ?-WHat are the ages of the stepmonsters children ? -When your kids are at the house, how many children (total) are there and what are the sleeping arrangements (if you know) ? -WHo owns that house (did stepmonster own it when they met or did your ex buy it after your divorce? A little more detail on that would help)-It sounds like they spend a week with you, then a week with him, and so on. Is that correct? Is the child support he is supposed to pay reduced or eliminated because of this arrangement ?-I am sorry for all the questions but the answers and the timeline really do help in answering you. I am assuming that you will probably have to take any court action on your own due to the cost of attorneys and so I am looking to the paperwork to point you at as well. (and yes, CPS can question your children without your knowledge or presence -- they really have far reaching powers). -MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have three children ages 4yr old girl, 9yr girl and 12 yr old boy.When my children are at thei dads theres a total of 7 children. His soon to be wife's kids are 4 girl, 12 boy 14 boy and 17girl. Their getting married in two weeks.
Her two sons sleep with my son in his room. My 9 yr old daughter shares a room wit the two 4yrs olds. The 17yr old has her own room.
The house was purchased during our marriage by my husband in only has his name on it because I was a stay at home mom with no income..we agreed to add my name later but that never happened. And that's where they all currently stay. In what was our home.You've got the arrangement correct, we go week to week. I do believe the support is dependent upon it being shared custody and other factors like him covering the health insurance for the kids.And you are correct, I will be taking court action on my own. I really do appreciate your help!
Hello again ---Thank you for the additional information. I have been having some issues with the locking mechanism on my answer boxes so please bear with me and I will get some answers to you shortly (within 20-30 mins). The tech gurus are working on the issue now because I guess some other experts reported the same issue within the last half hour.-MARY
Hello again. -Looks like my system is back "on" and I appreciate your patience with this. -Okay, after reviewing all of the information and the timeline (great doc by the way, and you should still keep doing it), it sounds to me like you have a custody mess with an ex husband who probably wants to pay more attention to his new wife and family but does not want to change the arrangement with you because it gets him a reduced amount of child support. In my experience, these types of arrangements where the children spend alternating weeks with each parent in order to facilitate a 50/50 custody arrangement rarely work out and it is the children who end up getting hurt the most. -I am assuming and hoping that your own living arrangements for and with the children are much more sane and stable than what your ex has going on over at his house. Somewhere, somehow, someone called Child Protective Services regarding what was happening or what is happening in THAT home and not your own home and because you have not really heard anything from CPS either means that they are still investigating OR they have closed the case for now. My gut tells me that they probably gave your ex a lot of "leeway" here because he is a corrections officer -- which was probably not the right thing to do. If CPS does get you involved I do suggest that you bring to light your concerns regarding your kids being stuck in and among her kids during the weeks that they are there and it is simply too much for either of them to handle. At the very least, your own kids should probably be getting some counseling so they can deal with this adjustment of all of these additional kids basically coming into the only home they have known and taking over their home and their bedrooms, etc. I cannot believe that there have really been no problems to this point and things might even be worse over there than you even know --- but you simply have not heard anymore on it at present. -Under the circumstances you will have to file an application for Modification of CHild Custody and Visitation with the Sacramento County family court. In your application and at your hearing you want to make it perfectly clear that while the 50/50 arrangement seemed to be working okay before the new woman moved in with all of her kids, it is no longer acceptable and the arrangements and things happening at that house on a day to day basis are not acceptable (this is where you mention the CPS involvement and that they were called on your ex and his new "wife" -- because things such as (a) weapons being handled by other people than your ex and at the very least his weapons are not secured, (b) using food deprivation as a means of punishment, etc. and the other items mentioned by CPS. Also in your complaint to modifiy custody and visitation you need to mention the parental alienation regarding what the new wife is saying about you to your children and the real possibility that she is also getting her children involved in the other parent bashing (so your kids are getting it from all sides -- the parents and the new "siblings"). You should also mention new mom's criminal issues if you are fairly certain that a records check will come up with a few choice tidbits on her. Your final part of your argument is that while you are willing to permit a more traditional visitation schedule (every other weekend and some school holidays) because you do not want to deprive the children of their father, but that the current 50/50 every other week method is not working due to the fact that it is simply too much on both your ex and the new wife to properly care for so many children all at once, and that in weighing all relevant factors, it is truly in the best interests of the children if the custody and visitation arrangement were changed and you receive sole custody of the children with your ex receiving traditional visitation. Finally, tell the court that mediation has not worked in the past but that you would be agreeable for the court to appoint a "guardian ad litem" (some people call the GAL a custody investigator) -- to represent the children and to do a thorough investigation of the situation. CPS will have no choice BUT to talk to the GAL and the GAL will also talk to teachers, counselors, doctors, your kids and all parties involved and will go to each residence to see the living arrangements for the children. If a GAL is involved the judge will take the report very seriously and from what you have disclosed here, it seems to me that you will most likely get at least most of the changes in the custody and visitation that you seek. -Knowing that you need to handle this yourself, I am giving you a link to the Sacramento County Self help pages -- there is an employee of the court system called a "Family Law Facilitator" and that person's job is to assist people like yourself who do not have an attorney. You can get help completing the paperwork and assistance in requesting the GAL through the Family Law Facilitator. Here is the link those pages, it will lead you to contact information for the Family Law Facilitator AND it will lead you to the Modification of Child Custody and Visitation forms that you need to start the case again in Sacramento Court. I think you have a very, very good chance of getting this arrangement changed simply because his circumstances have changed dramatically since the two of you came up with the prior arrangement. As a matter of strategy at this point, you might want to wait on the issue of child support and keep the case focused on the best interests of the children and what the best living arrangements are for the children. Obviously, if the court brings up child support and asks for new financial information from both of you then you must respond -- but if you can handle the child support issue in a separate hearing it simply avoids the new wife standing there saying "she's only doing this because she wants child support or increased child support" (be prepared because that statement is bound to get tossed at you). -I hope that helps and again I am sorry for the delay. This is definitely a case where the Family Law Facilitator can help and from what I understand they do a very good job in the Family Courts there. Please let me know if you have any further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above so I will be paid for my time assisting you today? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating above (pressing the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right of the middle star). Doing so will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. After pressing a positive rating, a bonus pop up box will appear and although not required, any bonus is paid directly to the expert without deductions AND is greatly appreciated !! THANK YOU VERY MUCH-MARY
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for your help!
Hello again ---I wish you nothing but the best with this and with your children. MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about him not allowing me to speak to the kids during his week? He just told me I need to respect their time together and I should wait until my week. Is he in contempt?
Hello again --- Is it specifically written into the agreement that each of you will be able to speak with the kids when the other has physical custody of them? Or was this a verbal agreement between the two of you? -MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will have to read our agreement. I was reading only that it is an unspoken rule with California custody that each parent can have one phone call a day as long as it's made at a reasonable time. But I will check our parenting plan once I get home.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I've just read the parenting plan the judge placed in the order and it states that " Each parent shall be entitled to reasonable telephone communication with the child. Each parent is restrained from interfering with the child's right to privacy during such conversations"
Hello again ---If you have that in writing then you can charge him with contempt of court as well as seeking the custody change. You should put it all in the same complaint so it is heard at the same time. I am not aware of any "unwritten" rule like the one you mentioned -- the difference between having a verbal agreement and what is written in the actual settlement agreement is the contempt of court issue. If you have a verbal agreement it is a little harder to prove what the actual agreement is and he would most likely deny it and then you get into a back and forth between the two of you on the issue. As far as parental alienation goes, though, you could still use the refusal to let you speak to them as part of your overall custody case and the parental alienation issue -- it is just harder to get to a contempt of court claim against him when it is not written in black and white. -MARY