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  1. #1
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    Feb 2012
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    Unhappy Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Florida

    Since the title of this situation isn't the full story, I will have to explain in detail and this might get lengthy...

    History:
    Mother came to country in 2005 from the Philippines
    Mother was married to someone her parents had paid $7,000 in order for her to obtain citizenship in US. (A fact I was not aware of until halfway through our marriage)
    Mother had not gone through the Immigration interview process when she met now father(myself)
    Mother and Father married in 2008 after divorcing her then husband, and a child was born in October, 2008
    Mother was granted Permanent status by Immigration's in Summer of 2010
    In October 2008, Father was laid off from work, and Mother was able to find work before Father could. Mother and Father mutually agreed Father would stay at home and raise the child in liu of working and having the child raised by babysitter or daycare.
    Father separated from Wife in Spring of 2010 due to wife making claims to police, ending up with father arrested on Domestic Battery Charges (Charges dismissed on both accounts)
    The child went with father and both lived at fathers parent's house until January 2011 when Father moved back with Mother in an attempt to reconcile the marriage.
    The second separation occurred in April of 2011 when father found wife to be unfaithful to the marriage (I caught her on numerous times doing inappropriate things with other men, while she lied about where she was and who she was with)
    Again, child moved with Father to Fathers parents house, both times no objection was made from mother as to Father taking the child
    Father immediately enrolled as a Full-Time Student in college while Father's Mother helped support both Father and Daughter financially, in the event Mother continued to refuse to support child, Father would have the ability to obtain a better job with more income to provide for the child without assistance from Mother.

    During first separation, Mother would go weeks without attempting to contact Father about visitation of child. On one account we recorded 34 days that Mother had absolutely no contact with child. We begged mother to visit with child, and encouraged she be in the childs life. Mother refused and her irrational excuse was always "My friends party is tonight, I'm not going to get zoe (child)" whenever me or my mother contacted her asking if she was coming to get the child. Mother told me that if I kept harassing her about seeing the child that she would take the child to the philippines and have her parent's maids raise the child so she wouldn't have to "deal" with it anymore.

    During second separation, Mother was in the childs life more. We arranged she would get the child when she had days off, and when she returned to work, she would return the child the night before. Agreement was mutual between Mother and Father. This was typically one day during the weekdays, and on saturday/sunday. During this second separation, Mother on numerous times, had time off work and did not attempt to get child. Mother took a week off work, and went to California to visit with friends, not once did she try to contact Father about visitation or try to contact child via phone. I proceded to place child in an "A" graded daycare so that I could attend college. I also enrolled the child in Ballet, as she loved watching ballerina's and wanted to dress up like a ballerina all the time.

    A month after the first separation began, I asked the Mother to put the child on Mothers insurance plan, and also asked for financial support to help with daycare costs. Mother refused stating "I shouldn't have to give you money to support Zoe when she lives with you, just put her on medicaid".
    The very next day I applied for medicaid, in which the state of Florida demanded I also file for child support from Mother.

    The child support hearing was scheduled for Thursday, February 9th.
    On the Saturday before the child support hearing, after ballet class, Mother came and picked up child for the usual weekend overnight visit. On Sunday evening, the normal drop off time of the child rolled past. I contacted Mother asking if she was on her way yet. Mothers response was "Oh I got a week off work, I'm keeping her for the week so i can spend time with her". Mother had just started a new job in November 2011. It is very unheard of for someone to be allowed a week off of work, only 2 months after starting the job plus the fact that she had also made threats to remove the child from the country previously, gave me and my mother a huge suspicion that she was about to leave the country with the child, and that we would never see her again. I preceded to ask the mother if I could at least take the child to her Ballet class the following day, Monday. This is when things got ugly... Her response was "No, Ballet is NOT important. I'm tired of you and your mother controlling my time with Zoe". This was not the case as me and my mother have never kept her from seeing the child whenever she requested and always accommodated her ever-changing schedule. When I explained to her that we have not controlled her visitation with the child and that if she kept up I would sue her for full custody(not the best thing to say, but we wanted to let her know how serious this was), she began over-talking me, and said "I'm not going to give you back Zoe until a judge orders me to, so I'll see you in court".

    I immediately went out and retained the best attorney money could buy... and one that specializes in Family Law, and they ONLY accept male clients, as to specialize in helping father's with legal issues. This is a law firm with about 9 attorney's and about 30 other various employees/paralegal's etc..

    The day of the child support hearing, my attorney was able to get her served with a dissolution of marriage, and we also filed Motion for Temporary Relief.
    My attorney informed me ahead of time that the judge may not grant me child support for whatever reason so to not get my hopes up. He also told me that because it was the state suing my wife for child support, he would not be able to represent me, but assured me it wouldn't matter what happened that day because during the dissolution of marriage, we would have child support ordered, because all the evidence and facts would be heard then.
    During the child support hearing, I had brought with me a calendar of all the times Mother had picked up/dropped off or came to visit child, which came out to the child having been with me for 80% of the time. Mother told the judge that Father and Father's Mother were keeping the child from her. The judge immediately looked at me and started to talk to me as if I was a criminal. I began to tell the judge "Your Honor, she works 6 days a week, and is unable to see the child but on her days off, we have not kept her from her child at all." The Judge then looked at me and asked where I worked. My response was that I was a full time student in college and before I could finish my sentence he snapped at me and in an angry voice said "That is a choice. You can go out and get a job just like everyone else does. Going to college is a choice you made." He then immediately asked where the child was at right now and I began to explain how the child has lived with me until last week when the mother took her from me and has refused to return her home or let me see her. The judge then said "I'm not going to order child support, I'm going to let your attorney's handle this." The State's Attorney that was representing me immediately objected saying "Your honor, this is clearly an attempt for the mother to avoid being ordered child support. The child has been with the father up until a week ago when the mother took the child from the father and has refused to return said child." The judge by the astonishment of everyone in the courtroom then said "Then I should order that the father pay child support since the child is living with the mother now." He paused a moment and then retracted the statement and said "I won't order child support in this case, I am postponing this case for another hearing in May."

    I was in shock, at how her lie, outshadowed my solid evidence, and that it didn't matter that it was clear she was doing this to avoid child support, even after the state informed the judge that was what was occuring.
    Having been told a few days prior by my private attorney that this hearing really didn't matter that we would get child support ordered eventually, I bit my tongue and kept my cool.

    Since the hearing, each day I have sent the Mother a text message asking to see the child (no more than two text's per day, consisting of my original request, and an acknowledgement of her response) Mothers response varies between "Not until a judge orders me to" or "My attorney has told me not to discuss anything with you and that our attorney's will talk"

    How is that she is legally able to take the child from her home, and then downright REFUSE for me to even see the child, let alone return the child home.
    I have contacted several law enforcement agencies to see what I can do, and if she is breaking the law and I am told that she is not breaking the law, so there is nothing they can do.

    How is what she is doing not kidnapping? I understand the Mother has equal rights to the child that I do, but what do my rights even mean if she's legally able to do what she is doing... I am just stunned, and everyone around me that knows the situation (even a few of the mothers friends that have contacted me) are in shock, and just as stunned as I am that this isn't illegal.

    I just don't know what to do, and my attorney is doing everything in the legal aspect of getting this fixed, but he cannot tell me when we will be able to get before a judge, he said we could be in front of a judge as early as next week, or it could take a few months before we get to see a judge. I am just so lost, and feeling so violated, and feeling as if something bad is going to happen to my child that I have been primary caregiver to, and raised since birth. I'm going crazy fearing that what happened at the child support hearing, could possibly happen at the custody hearing, and that the mother would be given majority timeshare and I would be required to pay her child support. in the meanwhile the child would be in an unsafe environment being fed junkfood and alloud to do whatever she wants with no discipline or structure. To put things into a little perspective of my fears, if the Mother did not have me in the childs life to take care of the child, it would more than likely end up in another Casey Anthony type situation, or the child would be smuggled out of the country and I would never see her again.

    Someone with some good advice, please help me... I am very scared and I just need to know if there is anything my attorney's could do that they aren't doing, or if I am just screwed and have to live in fear for the next few months waiting to get before a judge.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    It's not kidnapping. She is not breaking the law.

    What concerns me though is that you said the attorney you chose only accepts male clients - that tells me that there is a very clear agenda and your best interest may not be included in that agenda. Then again, it's your choice.

    That aside, if you both have attorneys you really need to do what Mom is saying - stop texting/calling her, and let your attorneys communicate with each other.

    I know it's frustrating, but this is a complex situation that honestly goes beyond the scope of a message board.

    Out of interest..have you posted here before, maybe with a different name? Your situation - and state - sounds terribly familiar.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    They only accept male clients because they specialize in defending father's like myself in a court that usually sees women in my seat, and the deadbeat dads they are having to get to handle their responsibilities. It was clear to me the courts are biased towards women when I appeared before the judge at my child support hearing and how he acted towards me before even knowing any facts. They've been around for years and were recommened to me by several people who have used them and I heard nothing but great things, so I'm not worried about my attorney choice, as it was either them, or some run of the mill attorney choice.

    I stated in my OP that I knew she was not breaking the law... I am just dumbfounded that what she is doing ISN'T illegal, because she is clearly defrauding the state, has lied to a judge in court under oath and is refusing me access to a child that I have raised and taken care of and have the same legal custodial rights that she does. The refusal of visitation completely takes my rights as the childs father and throws them out the window (I know only for now, but that isn't the point I am making).

    My attorney has tried to contact her attorney, and she has yet to respond. What obligation does my wife's attorney have to return the call to my attorney, or at least return it in a timely fashion.

    No, the only issue I posted here before was about a criminal case in where I was arrested for exhibition of a firearm and I asked for some information on that case, that was eventually dismissed due to a valid self defense defense

    This has all occurred last week, and until then I have not had the need for legal advice as everything has been relatively smooth(as in I hadn't even considered filing for divorce or anything else) while I still had my child living with me. Also, I was informed that it is a good idea for me to contact the mother daily requesting to see the child, but to not go overboard with it. And that if she responds no, it shows that she is unwilling to cooperate on issues regarding the child, regardless if her attorney has advised her to not talk to me. Which would solidify my case even more than it already is

    My real question is really this... What do my rights as Father of the child with 50% legal custody (due to still being married and no other orders of custody issued) mean if she is able to refuse me access to the child without ANY reason whatsoever... How can this POSSIBLY be legal, and what can I do to work on getting things changed so that other parents in my situation aren't put through this torture and misery when they have equal rights to the child as the other parent.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    It's legal because there are no court orders saying she can't do it.

    Dad - it really is that simple. You could do the same thing. It's a simple matter of who has physical possession of the child.

    If you want the law to be changed, petition your congressperson, and/or join one of the many Father's Rights groups.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
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    It's legal because there are no court orders saying she can't do it.

    Dad - it really is that simple. You could do the same thing. It's a simple matter of who has physical possession of the child.

    If you want the law to be changed, petition your congressperson, and/or join one of the many Father's Rights groups.
    Well I will be doing so, It's not even a matter of father's rights I wanted changed... I want to help change the law alltogether, so either parent cannot do this to the other parent. This is an absolute nightmare... she has no interest in the child, she has only done this to avoid having to pay child support, and is continuing to do it in an evil and malicious attempt to hurt me and my family, and she is doing a very good job at doing so. The whole situation sickens me and something has got to be done to change the laws regarding situations like mine, and the many others that are going through similar situations. Your response, with its lack of compassion for a fellow human being and what they are going through, makes me feel as if you are in favor of the way things are. If this is not true and I am misinterpreting your response then excuse me. I am very bitter about this and I want answers, and I won't stop until I get this resolved

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    Dad, you were given the legal truth. I have not condoned Mom's actions in the slightest - I just gave you the legal truth.

    Yes, you're reading too much into what I said (or rather, didn't say). This is, after all, a legal forum. It's not a support group. It is not about emotion. If I didn't color my response with roses and chocolates, that doesn't mean I support the way things are.

    On a personal note? I'm neither pro-Mom, nor pro-Dad. I'm pro-child. I abhor the way parents of either gender use their children as pawns and if you read my post history, you'll see that I support the rights of BOTH parents, equally.

    You also need to curb your bitterness - remember, this is about legalities. I KNOW it's emotional - trust me, I know. But the very second we let our emotions take over, we lose the edge. It's got to be business-like as much as possible.

    Are you in counseling? It can really help, especially if you're going through an acrimonious custody battle. (Many parents and stepparents and blended family members who post here can attest to that, myself included).

    There are support groups out there - have you been to deltabravo.net?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    I have been told that therapy, could hurt my case because then I could be seen as being unstable... I have wanted therapy for a while because my wife was extremely verbally abusive towards me, often times being abusive in front of others, embarrassing me with things she would disclose to people around. That being said, I think its best that I wait until after custody is order before I do anything to slander my moral character. With what you said earlier about having the childs best interest, well that is what I am doing here. I've never used the child as a pawn. and having grown up without a father in my life (due to my mother and father not staying together) I would never want to keep the childs mother away from her. This really is a nightmare, and I just know my daughter is not being taken care of while she is at her mothers.... Ive come home some nights to find my wife out at the pool, and the child in the apartment alone... ( I have no proof so there is nothing I can do)... also, I left all of my leather furniture with my wife when I left because it is COVERED in black magic marker from where she took a nap and let the child run rampant in the house, came home to finding the child sticking speaker wires into an electrical socket, and then noticed the couch, and my wife sleeping on it.... She is really in danger being over there, and I have no proof showing the danger, so it is an extremely bad situation for me and my daughter, and I am doing everything possible to try and get her back home where she is safe, which is why I came here. I'm sorry if I am bitter, but this isn't something that is easy for me, KNOWING my daughter's life is in danger, and legally unable to do anything to protect her until I see a judge, which could take months... I'm scared out of my mind, so "business-like" doesn't even come to mind at all

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    The only legal option you have is to wait until the child is not with mom and pick the child up. This would put you back on the other side of this same game.
    With enough thrust, pigs fly just fine.
    You may believe that you understood what you think I said. I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    Oh my gosh no...therapy actually shows the court that you are trying to make things better! But again I do understand where you're coming from.

    I know it's a nightmare, and I know you're terrified. But until you see a judge, there's really not much you can do. Well, there is, in a way. You can read the forum (and other legal forums if you wish...though I'll give you a bit of a warning. Not all are as "nice" as this one ). Read through old threads, and certainly read posts from other fathers who have gone through this and have obtained or retained custody. Learn what does and doesn't matter to a judge, and what the courts want to see from parents.

    And bear in mind that times are changing, and it's no longer a case of Mom automatically getting custody just because she owns the golden uterus.

    So moving on. You know that without proof of danger, you have nothing you can use. So what you need to focus on is yourself, and being the best father you absolutely can be. This means holding back when necessary and trusting your attorney - and if you can't trust your attorney, you need a different attorney.

    I know it's hard not to want to contact Mom because of the immediate situation but it's vital that you keep you head. Let your attorney deal with her attorney. And don't let her push your buttons.

    I would again suggest you look into some online groups. You're certainly not alone, and it might provide some relief to know that it IS possible for Dads to get custody.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mother Kidnapped Child to Avoid Child Support, Refusing to Return Child

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    What concerns me though is that you said the attorney you chose only accepts male clients - that tells me that there is a very clear agenda and your best interest may not be included in that agenda. Then again, it's your choice.
    Whether it "concerns you" or not, the attorney DOES have an agenda, which is to help male clients. How on earth could his best interest be overlooked? Because not enough politically correct BS is expended on a woman in some way?

    The best thing he can do is get an attorney like that who knows how one-sided and female-oriented the family courts are and maybe how to counter it at least to some degree.

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