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Everything posted by Ted_from_Texas

  1. That depends on a number of factors not apparent in your brief message. You need to contact your sister's CPS caseworker to find out whether circumstances and their policies and procedures will permit a cross-country family placement and if so, what conditions and requirements you'll have to fulfill. Good luck!
  2. You still haven't produced any evidence that an open CPS case exists. I suggest you wait until you are contacted concerning this matter, which will certainly happen if you are being investigated. If you have reason to believe the teen in question is being subjected to abuse or neglect, you are free to contact CPS yourself and report your concerns.
  3. What testimony? What allegations? Why do you think CPS is investigating you? Near as I can make out from the somewhat garbled syntax of your message, you only have your spouse's word for it. Do you always believe what s/he says? If you really want to know, contact the CPS office in the county where you reside and ask to speak to a caseworker or supervisor.
  4. Unless there's a court order (such as a divorce decree, custody order, guardianship order, termination of parental rights, or restraining order) that says otherwise, or the terms of your mother's probation (if she's on probation) prohibit it, you are free to move in with your mother if that's what she wants.
  5. Actually, this is not a question, nor can I find a question anywhere else in your message. It's not possible for anyone here to comment on the quantity of "paperwork" in your case relative to any other case. You don't say what the paperwork consists of, who filed it, what it's about or even what your case is about. I can tell you that all cases are different and some case files can be contained in a single file folder while others require multiple filing cabinets. Rules for appeals are exacting and highly time-sensitive. If you fired your attorney and proceeded to appeal on your own, it's not hard to believe you didn't do it right, but of course you provide no details so we can't know what actually happened. You haven't provided any evidence that your name has been "dragged thru the mud" or that your lawyer has engaged in unethical conduct, and I fail to see how your ex-wife's appearance, weight, or age have anything to do with the matter. And maybe, just maybe, the court is giving you short shrift not because of the "sheer volume" of your file, but because of its content.
  6. You keep saying you want someone (other than you?) to help your son and to protect him, but you keep refusing to say exactly what you want to help him do and what you want to protect him from. You seem to believe that by stating a series of unconnected facts that the answers to those questions should be obvious, but I can assure you that's not the case. Until you can answer those two questions clearly and unequivocally, no help from anyone, here or elsewhere, is forthcoming.
  7. What makes you think your ex (after the divorce) would be willing to move 1,000 miles to a new state, away from her own support group, particularly in light of the fact that she'll be newly single, starting a new life and needing all the help she can get? What gives you the idea that your support group in your old home environs is better for the child than the support group he or she now has with your ex in Vermont? Why should your ex give up a job she already has to take a new job where your own prospects for a job are by your own admission indefinite? Assuming your ex does in fact need treatment for a mental disorder, will she be more likely to seek it in Vermont or where you want her to relocate? These and other questions the judge is sure to ask, and you need to have well-prepared, cogent and convincing responses. Every time I read your messages, your plan looks a little more half-baked. You seem to think you can just snap your fingers and make it happen. As my dad used to say, it sounds real good when you say it fast. I think you need to slow down, take this a step at a time as others have already said, and try to look at your plan from someone's point of view other than your own.
  8. Are you saying that the father took his son to a dentist, and the dentist refused to examine the child's teeth because he couldn't produce a shot record and Medicaid card? And if that really happened, did he try another dentist? If he wants primary custody of the child, he'll have to go to court to get it, and it won't do his case any good if he's unwilling or unable to provide the same level of care he's accusing the mother of not providing. Consult local counsel.
  9. I'm guessing here that your daughter's father has a son by another woman, making this child your daughter's half-brother. Is this correct? I doubt anyone here is competent to comment on the state of the child's teeth, particularly from the brief layperson's description given in your post. Has the father taken him to a dentist for a professional opinion? If so, what did the dentist say? I know times change, but I'm old enough to remember when parents didn't get het up about cavities in deciduous teeth, and really only started a regimen of dental hygiene and maintenance when the adult teeth started coming in. Perhaps the mother comes from such a background. Has he discussed this with her? Last time I checked (but again I could be somewhat out of date) kindergarten wasn't mandatory in Texas. First grade typically starts when the child is about six, so it's not remarkable that the child hasn't started school yet. For that matter, Texas has one of the more lenient home-school policies in the country, so the mere fact that he isn't enrolled in public or private school at any age isn't by itself an indication of neglect. What clothing the mother sends with the child for visits is again not necessarily evidence of neglect. What he has in his grocery sack (note that luggage in any form is not required) isn't nearly as important as what he wears when he's at home with Mom. If his clothing is appropriate for the climate and fits reasonably well (bearing in mind that kids are always growing) the minimum standard is probably being met. The sparse supply of undersize clothing Mom sends with him on visits may be just a cheap ploy to get Dad to spring for more clothes. Sleazy, but not necessarily neglect. Again, has Dad discussed this with her? Bottom line, only Child Protective Services has the competence and the authority to determine whether the child is in fact a victim of neglect. If the father believes the evidence supports a finding of neglect on the mother's part, he should contact the DFPS office in the county where the child resides with the mother and report his concerns to a caseworker.
  10. That's better, but not much. You want to help your son "get back to life"? What does that mean? Do you want to help him terminate or modify his guardianship or conservatorship so he can make his own financial decisions? Do you believe he is competent to do so? What do the mental health professionals at his facility have to say? It's up to them to testify in court as to his competency, and their testimony will carry great weight. Or do you want him to remain institutionalized, but with a different guardian? If so, why and who do you propose to take on that responsibility? In any case, you won't be able to do anything useful without the assistance of a family law attorney. You may have to put the matter on hold until you can afford to retain one. If your goal is to help your son get his inheritance back, I'm sorry to say that (based solely on what you've posted here) the money is gone. Whether you (or your son, or his guardian) have grounds for a cause of action against one or more persons (it's not clear from your messages just who) for breach of fiduciary duty, I can't say. You'd need to discuss this with your attorney, but as I said before, this isn't a family law matter. I have no idea what "documents" you refer to, or what they contain. You specifically mention a tax return filed by your ex that falsely claims your son as a dependent, but that has nothing to do with his inheritance or anything else except tax fraud. You are free to report it to the IRS, but I can't imagine how doing so would help your son in any way. As far as allegations of molestation are concerned, that appears to go nowhere. You say (I think) that your son doesn't remember being molested, by you or your ex or anyone else, so what evidence can you present that the crime was ever committed? Note that confessing to being a pedophile (if that's what your ex actually did, which seems far-fetched) is a far cry from confessing to molesting your son. If you do have something tangible to report, you should bring it to the attention of your county or district attorney's office, after which you have done your duty. It is up to the prosecutor to deal with the matter in accordance with their established policies and procedures, and as their resources allow. I know these are things you don't want to hear. I'm sorry.
  11. Your messages are so garbled as to be virtually unintelligible. You only asked one question and that seems to do with an alleged auto theft which has nothing to do with family law, guardianship or adoption. If you speak the way you write, it's easy to believe you can't get help because it's very hard to figure out what you want. What exactly is the family law matter you need help with, and what question(s) do you want answered? Note that matters of theft of money or property, witness tampering, threats against your person, and criminal investigations are not family law matters and should be addressed to a different forum. Also note that we can only speak about the law in general terms and answer questions within the context you provide. We cannot give legal advice or tell you your "best course of action." Only your attorney can do that.
  12. It should be quite clear by now that you cannot be married to this man at common law. If you are to marry him at all while he is incarcerated, you must do it formally, in Arkansas. If you are unwilling or unable to go to Arkansas to do it, you must remain unmarried. Life is full of hard choices. It's your call.
  13. You seem to be under the impression that you cannot marry him formally because he is incarcerated. While I'm no expert on Arkansas law, I don't believe that to be the case. Prisoners get married all the time. Is there another reason?
  14. You just can't get around the fact that Texas law requires you to live together in Texas as a married couple, however briefly, for your informal marriage to be valid. Why the focus on informal (common-law) marriage, anyway? What's preventing you from getting married formally?
  15. Filing taxes jointly is not by itself sufficient under Texas law to establish a common-law (we call it "informal") marriage. There's not enough information in your brief message to tell whether you may in fact have a valid marriage under Texas law, but even if you don't you still have certain rights under laws governing the landlord/tenant relationship. Married or not, I take it this is your principal residence and a simple "5 days to vacate" notice will not cut it. I'm not a property law expert but my understanding is that you must have a minimum of thirty days' notice to vacate (maybe more depending on local ordinance) and only then can he start a formal eviction process which could take even more time. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances under which you purchased and improved the home where you live, you may be entitled to some relief under contract law. Don't panic. You have time to work this out. He can't just put you and your stuff on the street, but you need to start immediately to unravel this complicated arrangement. A family law attorney can help you establish whether you are, in fact, married. If you are then yes, you'll have to get a divorce to terminate the relationship. Your attorney can help you assert your marital rights concerning the house and your personal property. If you're not married, a property law attorney can help you assert your rights as a tenant. (But note that you may have some tax issues to address because you can't file "married filing jointly" if you're not married.) Bottom line, you need to be looking for another place to stay ASAP. From the tone of your message, it doesn't look as if this relationship, whatever it is, is meant to last. I'm sorry.
  16. You cannot compel your wife to seek treatment. Involuntary commitment would require the testimony of at least one (or more, depending on Vermont law) mental health professional that she poses a credible threat to the safety of herself or others, and you can't get that without acknowledging her violent tendencies. Even then, institutionalization would probably be temporary and, as you say, expensive. A restraining order against her with regard to yourself is moot, because, as pointed out above, you have already placed yourself at a physical distance. To obtain a restraining order against her with regard to your daughter, you would need to testify that she poses a credible threat to the child's safety, which once again requires you to acknowledge her violent tendencies toward the child and produce evidence thereof. As long as you are married your wife has the same legal right to possess your daughter as you do. If your goal is to separate your wife from yourself and your daughter and care for your daughter yourself, the appropriate course is to file for divorce or legal separation and seek primary custody of your daughter. If your goal is to keep your family together and obtain treatment for your wife's illness or condition, you have a medical problem, not a legal one. You should consult with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to learn what options, if any, are available.
  17. Has the court appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the child? If so, what does he or she say? Since the child is a resident of Delaware, that's where the action takes place. Person A is under no legal or moral obligation to accept guardianship of the child. If he or she is unwilling or unable to do so, they should withdraw their petition. If person B is interested in guardianship, he or she should definitely attend the hearing and put him- or herself forward as a candidate. Assuming (as you imply) that they have already been in contact with Social Services and found acceptable to them, the caseworker's recommendation will carry great weight with the court. Note that there may be some details to be ironed out in order to comply with Social Service's protocols, such as formal application, background check, home study, and so on. Whether a transfer of the case from Delaware to Maryland is necessary or appropriate under the circumstances I can't say, but if so, however long the process takes, that's how long it'll take. It may be necessary to start the child in a Delaware school and transfer later. Consult local counsel.
  18. Your problem is not with the school. It's not their job to make up for your ex's inability (or refusal) to communicate by duplicating notifications. Your problem is with her. If she is violating your custody order by withholding information concerning your child's schooling, you can take action to enforce the order in court. If your custody order is silent or vague on the matter, you can petition the court for clarification. Consult local counsel.
  19. Some states place restrictions on what you can name your adoptive child, and others do not, and you don't identify your state. With that caveat, I'll say that you can probably change her name to whatever you wish, and that will become her "legal" name and her birth certificate will probably be modified to reflect her new name. As a matter of convenience, most adoptive parents choose for their child to have their own last name, but that's really up to you. If you want to hyphenate her "old" name with yours, that's fine, or you can even leave it the way it is now. But just so you know, your daughter can use whatever name she wants informally, regardless of what's on her birth certificate, with your approval. So for example, if her name is Jenny Jones and yours is Smith, you can name her Jenny Smith or Jenny Smith-Jones, or Jenny Jones Smith. She can then call herself Jenny Smith or Jenny Jones to her friends and classmates, who I dare say won't be checking her birth certificate. She will of course have to use her legal name for important matters such as hospital admission, school registration, or her drivers license application. A local family law attorney can give you more specific advice with respect to your unidentified state's laws and judicial guidelines.
  20. The purpose of this forum is to answer general questions about the law, sometimes (but not always) in the context of the fact pattern of a particular case. There is nothing in the fact pattern you describe in your original message to indicate that your ex would be able to terminate the guardianship, but we have no way of knowing that the facts you present are complete or even accurate. Your post raises a number of questions, not least of which is why your child is with your mother and not you. Since the devil really is in the details, the most relevant and reliable response you can get here is to consult a local family law attorney who will have access to all the details as well as knowledge of the judge and court system in which the matter will be decided, and to follow his or her counsel. You appear to already have done that, so there's little left for us to say. You did say you wonder whether there's something you can do to "halt this", by which I suppose you mean prevent your ex from seeking to terminate the guardianship on whatever grounds he chooses to present. The answer is no. I'm sorry.
  21. It is the school's job to be concerned with what "could" happen to any student, and to impose restrictions commensurate with those concerns. You say they are being speculative that your son might leave the group, but you are being just as speculative that he would not. Maybe he'd be afraid to go off by himself in the woods, but what about during the trip to and from? I speak from experience when I say that herding a group of kids of any age, however cooperative and well-behaved, on a field trip to keep them together and out of trouble is a very big deal. Add a child who has a history of taking off for no reason, and you are asking for trouble. Life is full of "once in a lifetime" experiences. What about Homecoming? Or Prom, or even Graduation? And that's just high school. Surely your son and your family have a life outside of this school, and plenty of opportunities to build and maintain important memories and traditions of your own. I dare say a one-on-one parent-son camping trip in one of our beautiful national parks would be as memorable and instructive as any class field trip where he would be constantly chivvied and harassed by teachers and staff - and other students - to stay with the group and pay attention. My advice to you, which is free and worth every penny, is to stop building up the significance of this one single camping trip that he cannot attend, and replace it with other experiences tailored for his own needs and enjoyment, instead of a questionable high school "tradition". I'll wager that twenty years from now, you'll be so glad you did.
  22. Your messages are somewhat garbled, but it appears you have taken an interest in keeping the father (if he is indeed the father) away from the minor child on the grounds that he is a bad person, and you are hoping that evidence of his "badness" will strengthen your case. I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way. The father could be a career criminal and a real jerk to boot, but that by itself won't serve to call into question his fitness as a parent. The criterion almost universally applied is whether his presence poses a threat to health or safety of the child, and even if he does the court would probably try to arrange for supervised visits to protect the child. Parental rights are important and the courts do not abrogate them lightly.
  23. The purpose of the CPS investigation is to determine whether the child's father's contact with the child poses a threat to the child's health and/or safety. It's up to CPS to decide whether to extend the investigation to certain of the father's friends or relatives who may come in contact with the child as a result of the father's visits. Whether this "adult child" is related to the father, and if so whether the relationship has heretofore been hidden, is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether the CPS caseworker thinks the "adult child" him- or herself poses a threat to the minor child if they come in contact. To that extent, and that extent only, the existence of this "adult child" could affect the case.
  24. The law has nothing to say about the living arrangements of married couples and their children. If she wants to move to Mexico and take the children with her, she is free to do so, assuming that the children have the necessary passports and identification. If they don't, obtaining them without his consent could be problematic, but I'm no expert in that area of the law. Furthermore, if he files for divorce or legal separation there's no way to predict how the court will rule on custody given his occupation and the fact that his wife is apparently the kids' primary caregiver. Your friend needs to consult with a local family law attorney who is familiar with international custody matters to get a reasonably accurate picture of how Texas laws apply to his particular circumstances.
  25. 1. Legal guardianship cannot be "given" by the parents, only the court. However, since the children have already been placed with you by DFACS and it was presumably they who told you you could "get" guardianship, the question is really moot. In this instance the parents' wishes and the court, through DFACS, happen to agree. 2. Legal guardianship is any guardianship established by court order. Guardianships can be permanent or temporary. Generally speaking, the difference is that a temporary guardianship order contains language that provides for the termination of the guardianship under certain stated conditions, such as after a certain period of time, or certain conditions have been met. A permanent guardianship contains no such language, and the guardianship remains in effect until a new petition for termination is filed in the court, or the child "ages out" and becomes an adult. The difference between adoption and guardianship is that while a guardianship can be terminated by the same court that issued the original guardianship order, adoptions are permanent and irrevocable. If you adopt the children, all legal ties between them and their parents would be severed, and you would become for all practical purposes their new parents. I hope this answers your questions.
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