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When, if at all, do children go in front of a judge?

Posted by on May. 1, 2014 at 11:08 AM
  • 21 Replies

The basics: SD is 13, DH is LD NCP, ask anything else you may need to. There is a CO in place & he gets what I would understand as the standard in a LD situation. She has denied visits for 3 years. He has filed what he needed to in regards to the contempt but filed it too late (have to file within 58 days of the denial.) However, they did count two of them as she sent messages stating she denied them. You have to have 3 denials until it goes before the judge & if denied this summer, that will be the 3rd & will go in front of the judge for contempt.

My questions: BM says she wants SD to go in front of judge to say she doesn't want to come. Would a judge allow SD to testify & would SD testify during a contempt hearing or would it be something BM would have to file such as a change in visitation? If SD says she doesn't want to come, would a judge say she doesn't have to come & if so, what would allow that? There has never been abuse, neglect, drug/alcohol use in our home. BM has made many accusations regarding me (never DH.) SD has told us many things about what goes on in BM's home & you really have to filter what she says from fact/fiction as well as her saying things to get attention. I know in some states a child can choose where they want to live & that's really not the issue here but can a child just stop going to visits & at what point/age, if ever, does a judge just say no they don't have to go or it's up to the parent's, as it should be but not possible in this situation?SD isn't in any EC's or anything that would prevent his visitation or prevent SD from coming.

Realistically, I think that a judge would continue to enforce visits as DH hasn't done anything to warrant not getting them & it goes against doing what's best for the child. However, the irrational side of me sees how DH has gotten the short end of the stick in a mom friendly state & I'm feeling pretty pessimistic & sad that it is this way with BM. As a BM & SM myself, no matter all the crappy things my ex did to me, I couldn't ever see doing this to my ex or my children. SD seems to enjoy her time while here & never causes problems out of the ordinary for a child her age.

by on May. 1, 2014 at 11:08 AM
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Replies (1-10):
pepper504
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:12 AM
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No, a judge will take the minor into their chambers and have a discussion with them with regards to what it is that they want.  The judge will take under advisement of what the minor child wants, but it is ultimately up to the judge with regards to their ruling.

amyjo76
by Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Would they re-write the visitation at that point? Would the judge strip away all visits without any reasons that can be proven? I know some of the things I've been accused of & wonder if they would have to prove the lies that have been said about me in order to reduce or completely take away his rights. If his rights were taken away (which I hope & pray does not happen but I know the type of people we're dealing with) would SF then adopt SD or is it where they take away his rights but he's still responsible for supporting SD? Not sure if you can answer all of that but figured I'd ask anyway. She is supposed to come twice a year, 6 weeks during the summer & alternating winter break. I just don't see how they can re-do his visits. The amount of overnights he has currently equals out to what he'd have if he weren't LD & had EOW. Take anything away & he's left with nothing.

Quoting pepper504:

No, a judge will take the minor into their chambers and have a discussion with them with regards to what it is that they want.  The judge will take under advisement of what the minor child wants, but it is ultimately up to the judge with regards to their ruling.


Birdseed
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:30 AM

I don't have any first hand experience with this other than when my folks were divorcing and that was 25 years ago so probably no help.

From a rational standpoint though, I think that if I were in Dad's shoes, I'd want to be sure that I was having regular communication with my kiddo--like at least 3 times a week via Skype or something--and trying to make sure that I was maintaining a good relationship.  At some point in the course of communication, talking about plans for the summer may elicit a convo about whether or not SD wants to visit.  This could give your DH some insight.

It seems odd to me that a 13YO with a good relationship with Dad wouldn't want to see him.  Is it possible that BM is just saying "SD will stand in front of a judge..." as a threat?  Because it doesn't seem like a real thing--I've never heard of a kid having to go to court. Maybe talk to the judge in chambers as Pepper mentioned.  But usually there's a counselor, a GAL, etc--at least that's been the case with my friends' kids.  And usually, the GAL files a report and the kid never has to step foot near a courthouse.

Another question for you...if BM has never made comments against DH only you...is it possible that SD really doesn't like YOU?  Not trying to be rude...honest question.  What is your relationship with her like? How long has Dad been LD?

WifeyC
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM

SS's had to talk to the judge.  He took them into his chambers and talked to each one alone. BM was livid and wanted at least her lawyer in there but was told no.  Once the kids talked to him he ordered that visitation is optional.

If SD truly doesn't want to go, and has good reason, there is a chance the judge will not force it.

pepper504
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Anyone can file anything with the court.  They have to prove the allegation[s] that they are making. 

A parent has to do something seriously wrong to get their parental rights taken away from them. 

https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/groundtermin.pdf#Page=2&view=XYZ

This link should give you a general idea of what you are asking about below.

Take a deep breath.  Conquer one problem at a time as it comes.  Otherwise, it will eat you alive. 

Hugs.

Quoting amyjo76:

Would they re-write the visitation at that point? Would the judge strip away all visits without any reasons that can be proven? I know some of the things I've been accused of & wonder if they would have to prove the lies that have been said about me in order to reduce or completely take away his rights. If his rights were taken away (which I hope & pray does not happen but I know the type of people we're dealing with) would SF then adopt SD or is it where they take away his rights but he's still responsible for supporting SD? Not sure if you can answer all of that but figured I'd ask anyway. She is supposed to come twice a year, 6 weeks during the summer & alternating winter break. I just don't see how they can re-do his visits. The amount of overnights he has currently equals out to what he'd have if he weren't LD & had EOW. Take anything away & he's left with nothing.

Quoting pepper504:

No, a judge will take the minor into their chambers and have a discussion with them with regards to what it is that they want.  The judge will take under advisement of what the minor child wants, but it is ultimately up to the judge with regards to their ruling.


jules2boys
by Gold Member on May. 1, 2014 at 11:59 AM

What state are you in?  That may also determine whether a judge would even speak to the child to get her input on the matter or not.  I have no experience with this myself but I've heard/read that some states will take the childs opinion into consideration as young as 12 (though I think that has to be special circumstances) but usually 14 - 16, and again, special circumstances would apply, otherwise they'll push to stick to the original CO. 

I agree with Pepper, one problem at a time, remember to breathe, and DH should file contempt ASAP, not wait 59+ days to file when BM doesn't send his child to him. 

amyjo76
by Member on May. 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

They don't have a computer. They access facebook & email via phones but say that SD will never be allowed on the computer. As far as we know, she doesn't have a facebook or email. He has tried calling. BM won't allow SD to talk (says she's not home or is taking a shower) or if she does will shout over SD, telling SD to tell DH that he's a shitty father. He is allowed reasonable phone time per his CO but what he's said to me, is it's more detrimental to SD to have to be put through that. That is all on him how he wants to communicate with her. I know that if I were in his shoes, I wouldn't want to listen to my child cry as she's being forced to repeat mean things. There isn't a GAL & never has been. Do all states have GAL's? I'd never heard of one until threads on here.

DH has been LD for the last 8 years. He didn't have a CO in place when I got with him. (yep, already know that was wrong.) He was allowed to see her EOW prior to us together & it worked just fine. She didn't deny visits that I know of prior to us together. BM & SF were doing/dealing drugs. DH reported them, CPS opened a case & BM & SF skipped town. DH didn't know where SD was for a year, finally found them & got a CO in place. At that point, they were out of state & so he became LD. (I'm not trying to add to the story but give you an idea of where it started to go poorly.) I'm sure it's BM thinking everything went bad when I came into the picture but DH wouldn't have allowed for them to do drugs around SD even if I wasn't around. She came to us reeking of marijuana & DH, on his own, took SD to the cops & reported it. I had nothing to do with the situation as I wasn't at pick up that day.

It's a fair question. I feel like we have a good relationship. I enjoy my time with her. She will choose to watch TV or help me cook over hanging out with her dad at times. She has called me mom &  I redirect her to call me by name & I don't want to be mom. (I mention this because I can't see her calling me that if she felt I was a shitty person.) I know BM had an issue with that because SD told her something about what happened here & she referred to me as mom, DH got a nasty phone call, SD got in trouble for it. I told BM that I don't want to be called mom or be mom. However, SD is told she must call SF dad but what can you do? SD compliments me on cooking & tells me how she enjoys helping me cook. SD has never been rude to me or disrespected me. I know that she has an issue with my eldest DD. In order to alleviate that, DD will stay with friend's or grandma while SD is here. My daughter was 15 the last time she was here. DD really doesn't have much to do with SD but they will bicker. If SD does have a problem with me, she's not said or hinted in her actions by anything. If I have done something to alienate her, she hasn't said anything.

Quoting Birdseed:

I don't have any first hand experience with this other than when my folks were divorcing and that was 25 years ago so probably no help.

From a rational standpoint though, I think that if I were in Dad's shoes, I'd want to be sure that I was having regular communication with my kiddo--like at least 3 times a week via Skype or something--and trying to make sure that I was maintaining a good relationship.  At some point in the course of communication, talking about plans for the summer may elicit a convo about whether or not SD wants to visit.  This could give your DH some insight.

It seems odd to me that a 13YO with a good relationship with Dad wouldn't want to see him.  Is it possible that BM is just saying "SD will stand in front of a judge..." as a threat?  Because it doesn't seem like a real thing--I've never heard of a kid having to go to court. Maybe talk to the judge in chambers as Pepper mentioned.  But usually there's a counselor, a GAL, etc--at least that's been the case with my friends' kids.  And usually, the GAL files a report and the kid never has to step foot near a courthouse.

Another question for you...if BM has never made comments against DH only you...is it possible that SD really doesn't like YOU?  Not trying to be rude...honest question.  What is your relationship with her like? How long has Dad been LD?


Birdseed
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Based on your update:

-What was the outcome of the CPS investigation?  If they were found to be doing drugs and such, it seems to me that your DH could've gotten custody?

-If she is not allowing him to talk to his daughter and that's in the CO, then shouldn't he be filing for contempt then as well?  I think if I were in his shoes, I'd email BM, ask what time/day in the next week he can call DD.  Get it in writing.  And if she doesn't allow it or it goes south, file. 

It's ridiculous that he isn't seeing his child and I think that if he doesn't fight a little harder for her, she's going to think it's because he doesn't want her. 

amyjo76
by Member on May. 1, 2014 at 12:24 PM

I'm in MI. I don't know how they handle things here since things have been pretty cut & dry with my ex. He shouldn't have waited to file contempt, I agree. He knows now. I know it will sound like I'm excusing it, his thought process was he's LD & it was too late to get any of his time so what did it matter when he reported it. It wasn't like he could get his time/make up time. However, his case worker explained it all so he understands the process now & that in order to show the contempt, it has to be within the court's guidelines. BM has already stated that she's denying the visit via message but until she actually does, not much he can do. She may just be talking out her ass because she's said she's going to terminate his rights & obviously she hasn't done that. I'm a worrier. I wish I could say, not my kid, not my problem but to be honest, it hurts.

amyjo76
by Member on May. 1, 2014 at 12:35 PM

He actually spoke with an attorney last week who advised him to call CPS & told him that he can request to find out if there are open cases in either state. Not sure how long cases stay open. It's been 9 years since that all happened in our state. BM & SF were to take classes is what I was told by SF's sister. Instead of following through, they skipped state. I don't know if he could have gotten custody because there wasn't a court order at that time. When he finally filed for visitation, he filed for full custody based on that. The judge said no, she's been with mom for over a year with no contact from him & that the CPS investigation meant nothing unless we could prove that they were using then. His attorney asked how DH was to do that when A. DH didn't know where they were for a year & B. there's no way of him knowing what they are doing in another state. Judge said, not his (the judge's) problem, DH needed to figure it out. DH only found out about the drug use because SD smelled like she had been smoking a joint before he got her that day.

I think that's a great idea. I get so caught up in being angry at the situation that I don't always think of the obvious.

I agree. There's only so much you can say. Actions speak louder than words.

Quoting Birdseed:

Based on your update:

-What was the outcome of the CPS investigation?  If they were found to be doing drugs and such, it seems to me that your DH could've gotten custody?

-If she is not allowing him to talk to his daughter and that's in the CO, then shouldn't he be filing for contempt then as well?  I think if I were in his shoes, I'd email BM, ask what time/day in the next week he can call DD.  Get it in writing.  And if she doesn't allow it or it goes south, file. 

It's ridiculous that he isn't seeing his child and I think that if he doesn't fight a little harder for her, she's going to think it's because he doesn't want her. 


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