frivolous court action and sanctions
Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:58 AM
My husband and his ex wife (who have 50/50 placement and legal custody of their 16 year old daughter) were just taken to court under Wisconsin Stat 54 (guardianship) by their daughter's 16 year old boyfriend's parents requesting temporary and permanent guardianship of her. There has never been any reports or investigations or findings on either of these parents that they were unfit parents or unable or unwilling to care for my 16 year step daughter. The boyfriend's parents made claims that the mother had drug problems and the father was not putting the daughter's best interests ahead of his own. The GAL assigned to the case made a recommendation to the court at the first temp hearing that it was appropriate to place the 16 year old daughter at the home of her boyfriend's parents based on only talking to the girl, her school friend and that friend's mother, a school counselor and the boyfriend's parents. He never talked to either of the girl's parents. My husband asked for an attorney at the temp hearing and the court commissioner told him that he didn't need one because it was already set for a permanent hearing in thirty days and proceeded with questioning the GAL and the two parents who were unrepresented. Because the GAL never talked to the parents, the court commissioner continued the temp hearing in 7 days so he could talk to us first. Then the plaintiff's (boyfriend's parents) attorney filed a de novo hearing in front of an actual judge and the hearing was moved up one day. Even after the GAL talked to all of us, he still recommended to the judge at the de novo hearing that the 16 year old daughter be placed at her boyfriend's parents. The reasoning was that he felt there wasn't enough supervision and support because we had not been involved enough in her college planning and she had not taken the ACT test yet and the parents had communication problems. This 16 year old girl is more than adequately provided for, is a good student, no trouble with the law, is healthy and has no other problems other than wanting to live with her boyfriend and his parents because they are of a high economic status and she does not want to follow our rules in either mom or dad's house. There were no safety concerns or anything founded that would even imply any safety risk, abuse or neglect. This girl walked into court wearing a nice columbia jacket and complementing attire and had her hair freshly curled and highlighted, complements of both her mom and dad. The Judge at the de novo hearing was baffled why this was being brought into court and found no grounds for violating our parental rights and dismissed the request for temporary guardianship. The next day the plaintiff's attorney filed a withdrawal of the petition for permanent guardianship. Both sets of parents went through hell during this whole process. What recourse do we have against the plaintiff? This occurred in the state of Wisconsin. The plaintiff filed this petition after my husband and his ex wife discovered that the 16 year old daughter was lying to both sets of parents with a different story that she was staying each of their homes when she was actually staying at the boyfriends and we put an end to it and brought her back to live at her mom's house. The boyfriend's parents never contacted the father to tell him that his daughter had been staying with them for a month. The ex wife was told by her daughter that dad knew she was staying with boyfriend and he did not care. Thank you.
Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:12 PM
I suggest you let it go at that.
This is the age when your husbands relationship with his daughter is at it's most vulnerable and it wouldn't take much to make a rift that can't be fixed.
He should try to heal the wounds, not rub salt in them by seeking "recourse."
"Recourse" is a two edged sword and can seriously cut the wielder.
Let it go.
Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.
Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:19 PM
I'd note that you cannot know what the stepdaughter told her boyfriend/these people (clearly these parents never bothered to talk with your husband, right?). .
Your husband should have had an attorney before he showed up at the hearing (I hope you aren't saying he expected the court to appoint him one for free).
There is no "our" in terms of parental rights as it relates to you (only as it relates to what your husband allows).
"What recourse do we have against the plaintiff?"
Likely none, since in a court/legal action setting, there's immunity for defamation.
"The boyfriend's parents never contacted the father to tell him that his daughter had been staying with them for a month."
Yeah, well, your husband and the kid's mother evidently never bothered to do the logical with a teenager: talk with each other (or the parent of whatever friend she says she's staying with).
"The ex wife was told by her daughter that dad knew she was staying with boyfriend and he did not care."
Not sure what your point is here.
Dad ought to spend time and energy and resources on a family therapist or two (and perhaps individually, we cannot know) rather than pursue a non-winner as it relates to the boyfriend's dolt parents. (If he has tons of dough, fine; otherwise ...)
I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics. If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable. Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:14 AM
Sorry about your current situation. It is in your best interest to speak to an attorney if you want to pursue this, but since you did not state what you would like to see happen, I'm not sure what more I can tell you.
You can visit the lawyer directory we have at the top of the page to find a lawyer in your area or click here for Wisconsin Family Law attorneys.
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